Right Fit: Alumni fitness duo takes Lincoln gym to next level

—by Mandi Miller (’13)

Right Fit Alumni fitness duo takes Lincoln gym to next levelAs Lincoln’s Mopac Trail curves toward 66th and Vine, it brings uncounted cyclists, walkers and runners past an alumni-owned fitness training center named Body Innovations. One of those passersby was Zach Harsin (’12), an NWU cross country, track and football student-athlete and cyclist. Harsin had no idea all those times he ran and pedaled past the building that his career path would soon take him through its doors. Nor could he have known just how quickly his career would take off once inside.

His ascent began in 2010 with Nebraska Wesleyan’s annual Business Summit, which brings alumni entrepreneurs, professionals and friends to campus to speak with NWU students on business topics. One of those presenters was Heidi Slaymaker (’04), a certified personal trainer and owner of Body Innovations.

Harsin recognized a kindred spirit in Slaymaker. Both hard-working fitness enthusiasts were psychology minors at NWU. And Slaymaker’s career path mirrored what he wanted for himself. “I have the best job in the world,” Slaymaker said, “changing people’s lives for the better every single day.”

So Harsin asked for a follow-up conversation and a tour of the gym. Two weeks later, the two agreed for Harsin to complete his remaining summer internship hours at Body Innovations.

I have the best job in the world, changing people’s lives for the better every single day.

Slaymaker was impressed with the discipline and precision of Harsin’s work, and that internship grew into a paid part-time position. “I had dreamed of working in a gym,” Harsin said, “but I thought that it would take years of planning and learning before my dream would be realized.”

Fitness trainers understand better than most that reaching goals involves working over the long haul. But sometimes results come faster than anyone expects. When everything comes together, the pounds can just fall away. Runners peel seconds, then minutes, off their personal bests. The feeling is amazing.

What Harsin has accomplished in his brief time at Body Innovations is the professional equivalent of an athlete achieving goals just as quickly as he can set them. Harsin has designed and established a corporate wellness program at Body Innovations that now serves employees at a number of local businesses.

He’ll graduate this May with his career already in incredible shape. While graduates at many schools step with trepidation into one of the most challenging job markets in a generation, Harsin is already a full partner and co-owner of Body Innovations. His business partner couldn’t be happier. “Only at Nebraska Wesleyan would you have that chance meeting and interaction of a current student and alumna separated by eight years,” Slaymaker said. “Our situation speaks volumes about the students and professionals that NWU helps to build and even more about the networking opportunities available.”

Harsin added, “I love that Nebraska Wesleyan is so helpful in making connections between students and alumni. The opportunities I’ve had through NWU have made a huge difference in my life.”

Any trainer will tell you: Opportunity only goes so far. It’s what you make of those opportunities that counts. Harsin and Slaymaker stand equally poised to make the very most of this one.