Lending a helping hand: Nick Charest makes progress attainable in Highview Hills’ fitness center
Amy Weiss | Sep 30, 2021
“My goal has always been to help people,” explained Nick Charest, fitness technician at Highview Hills in Lakeville. “I thought I’d do that by working with athletes... until I discovered my passion for serving older adults.”
Nick has been with Walker Methodist since 2014, when he started as an intern. Working with seniors in the fitness center, he became convinced the potential to live a happy, healthy life didn’t decrease with age. “We have many types of people here,” Nick explained. “They’re fun and exciting. Older adults can do so much more than some people assume. They work hard, they have goals, and they’re motivated.”
Many fitness center members use personal training to work on exercises from physical therapists, facing a seemingly impossible road to recovery. Nick’s past as a baseball player, including his own share of injuries, gives him a special connection with these people: “I know how hard it is to do rehab assignments. I’m here to help them along the journey to recovery.” When someone comes into the fitness center with daunting tasks or goals, Nick works with them to break it down into achievable steps. “It may look like a mountain, but we can make it into hills,” he said, “and take it one hill at a time.”
Working with residents and fitness center members has allowed Nick to connect with people in meaningful ways. “I knew this was the career for me when I realized I looked forward to seeing my clients just as much as they looked forward to seeing me,” he commented. Nick’s passion for helping others is well-known at Highview Hills. He’s started Wii bowling leagues. He serves as a Champion with Struthers Parkinson’s Center, providing specialized exercise programs to fitness center members with a diagnosis (as well as education for new team members). Nick organizes fitness fundraisers, facilitates an average of eight personal training sessions each day, and leads a group fitness class every morning. He’s created a safe, clean, and welcoming environment in the fitness center. “Nick is a cheerleader for everyone who comes in,” said resident Evelyn. And his dedication doesn’t go unnoticed by the community at large, either. Nick was voted the Best Personal Trainer by readers of the Sun Current newspaper in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
For him, though, his job is so much more than awards, calendars, and equipment. It’s about earning trust, guiding others continue in the right direction, and being a resource for those who need a helping hand. Nick isn’t afraid to embrace challenging situations, and this outlook has helped fitness center members make meaningful progress on their health and wellness journeys. The culture of the fitness center shows that being stronger than ever––and better together––is attainable.
"I strive to motivate people to challenge themselves, to find inner strength in themselves and others. I believe if you have a supportive community and show up for yourself, the results will follow,” he said. “I’m here to advocate for our older adults, helping them along the way however I can.”
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Nick has a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He is also a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. He completed Walker Methodist’s leadership development program in 2018.