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From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145

May 28, 2024

From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145 In this captivating episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, host Shannon Russell sits down with Heike Yates, a dynamic midlife fitness coach with over 35 years of experience. Heike shares her extraordinary journey from her early dreams in Germany to […]

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From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145

In this captivating episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, host Shannon Russell sits down with Heike Yates, a dynamic midlife fitness coach with over 35 years of experience. Heike shares her extraordinary journey from her early dreams in Germany to moving to the United States and building a successful career in the fitness industry. Discover how Heike transitioned from working for the Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., to becoming a personal trainer, bodybuilder, and the founder of her own fitness empire, Pursue Your Spark. Heike discusses the importance of health and fitness in midlife, her passion for helping others, and the challenges she overcame, including adapting to hearing loss in her fitness career. Tune in to Episode #145 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast for an inspiring conversation about resilience, reinvention, and pursuing your passion at any age. Whether you’re considering a career change or seeking motivation to improve your health, this episode offers valuable insights and encouragement.

From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145

From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145



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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - From Foreign Service to Fitness: Heike Yates’ Inspiring Midlife Transformation | Ep #145
Episode - #145
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Heike Yates
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Lisa Morton: Hello, Second Act Success listeners. I'm Lisa Morton from the Feng Shui Living Podcast, where I teach all about implementing feng shui into your home environment. I'd recommend checking out episode 29, where you'll learn all about a bagua map, one of my favorite tools for using when implementing feng shui.

Now it's time for the Second Act Success podcast. Here is your host, the amazing Shannon Russell.

[00:00:25] Shannon Russell: Hey, you, are you feeling stuck, desperate for a career change or thinking of starting a business, but you're just not sure how to make your first move? I'm television producer turned career coach, Shannon Russell, and this is the second act success career podcast. This is where you will not only get the career advice you've been craving, but you'll get tips from career and business experts.

along with inspiration from others who have made a career transition to find second act success. Let's get started. intro

Welcome back to [00:01:00] the show, my friend. Today I am chatting with my friend, Heike Yates. Heike is a midlife fitness coach with over 35 years of experience, but her story is not just that.

Heike was born in Germany and always dreamed of living life in the United States. Right out of school, Heike applied to a job that she saw in the newspaper. This job would take her to the United States working for the Foreign Services in Washington, D. C.

After starting a family, Heike decided to leave her career in Foreign Services and start working in the fitness space. She began teaching exercise classes, went on to become a personal trainer, a bodybuilder,

And eventually opened her own business called Pursue Your Spark, where she now works one on one with clients and has an online program. I am so excited to introduce you to Heike to talk about her story and to talk about the importance of health and fitness in midlife.

This is Heike [00:02:00] Yates and her second act success story.


[00:02:03] Shannon Russell:

Heike, welcome to Second Act Success.

How are you?

[00:02:07] Heike Yates: Oh, I'm super excited to be here and I'm doing really good. I'm super relaxed and I'm drinking my, ginger turmeric tea and just kind of chilling out on my desk today.

[00:02:17] Shannon Russell: I love it. Well, I've been so looking forward to this conversation because I feel like we're so aligned in so many ways. And when we met at PodFest, it was just.

I felt like we just were connected and I feel like our audiences are really connected. So I just know that the listeners of this podcast are going to get so much out of you and your journey. so let's just take it to the beginning of where your career began.

[00:02:41] Heike Yates: Well, a long, long time ago, it started almost 40 years ago. And 40 years ago, I would have never dreamt that I am where I am now. And I would do what I do now. And that was helping people be healthier and stronger. And especially now. going through [00:03:00] midlife to change the things that they don't like about their health or the circumstances of their health.

I'm going to be 63 this year, so you know how old I am by now. So I've done a lot of things.

But when I got pregnant with my first son, I gained over pounds and I had no idea how to lose the weight. I was literally stuck with the weight and, a friend of mine said, why don't we just go to a local YMCA exercise class? And I rolled my eyes and I said, exercise class? You mean like, like the ones?

She's like, no, no, no. They also work on our tummies because they make our tummies tighter. And it's a lot of fun. So I let her drag me to the local YMCA here in Maryland, where I live. And we went to the class, and it was so much fun. Number one, I could drop off my son at childcare, and I was childless for at least one hour as a mom.

[00:03:54] Shannon Russell: That's huge, yeah.

[00:03:55] Heike Yates: Right? then I started the class, or I took the class, and they had, it was back then it [00:04:00] was called Dancercise. And it's basically a Zumba class, but back in the days, and it was so much fun because I love to dance and I just love the whole camaraderie in the class and we dance together and then we do back then was called floor work, where we did some core exercises, everybody schlepped in their three pound weights.

The teacher came in with boomboxes and I said, Oh, this is great. I mean, it was also, I had quit my job and I thought, what a great idea to be a stay at home mom.

Boy, it was really, really tough. When you're thinking you have a career, I was working for the foreign service at that point, had a nice career going. And then I decided, Oh, I'm going to be mom. I'm going to be staying at home. I was so bored. I was so lonely and I had no money because what I earned at foreign service, I didn't have that income anymore.

So I was completely reliant on my [00:05:00] husband bringing home the bacon. , And, But then I started, the classes started really sucking me and I really liked it. And the program was looking for teachers. And so they asked me if I wanted to come and teach classes.

And at first I said, no. And my husband said, why not? You'd like to dance. It's something air quotes, but all those listeners, it's something to do for you. So he knew too, I will, how bored and lonely I was. And that's what really gave me the start into my almost now 40 years of career in the fitness, health and industry.

Oh my

[00:05:39] Shannon Russell: gosh. And that is such a shift. I want to just go back a little bit and talk about your work with the foreign service. So how did you get into that? what was your first step, I guess, out of school?

[00:05:49] Heike Yates: I left school and I am not traditionally like, here in the States, you go to college.

Instead, I went through an apprenticeship for three years as [00:06:00] what's known as a wholesale sales. person, so to speak. So you would work at companies that sell to smaller businesses, their goods as in textiles, knitting supplies and home goods basically. And that's what I started. So I, never went to college and, started this three year program and training, and it was a certified wholesale person.

And I have no other word to describe it as. And, didn't like the job. I just didn't, it was not cut out for me. And my dream, which really was to leave Germany and live in the United States, I swear, Shannon, this was like my thing. I wanted to get out of Germany, have my freedom, go be somewhere. With people like me who like freedom, who like to not be in a controlling environment and stuck inside a company, working your way up the ladder.

And I said, [00:07:00] I need to do something different. And back then we had newspapers, there was an ad in the paper looking for people that wanted to work for the foreign service and were interested in working abroad for the foreign service. I was a little nervous when I applied for the position, you know, I was 18 at that point and leaving Germany behind, that's all I knew, but my, draw to do something different and be adventurous was way bigger than my fear.

And that's how I transitioned and they accepted me. And throughout the next four years, I learned how to read and write. English. I mean, we have English in Germany back then, but think about it's 40 years ago, we still have English in the schools, but we're not as advanced as we're now, or international as we're all across the world, where everybody speaks English.

So I learned English, read and write, learned all the skills I needed for the office job, which again, was an office job. It brought me to where I wanted [00:08:00] to go to move to United States and don't laugh. Okay. Listeners. I was determined to marry a cowboy.

[00:08:07] Shannon Russell: Was that from watching movies like Western?

[00:08:12] Heike Yates: I think like Bonanza, everybody knows Bonanza, like those handsome dudes on the horses, and I imagine they have these cool cars and these cool ranches and farms and, life is glamorous with martinis, until I realized when I moved here what a farmer really is.

I was like, this is not glamorous martini land.

[00:08:31] Shannon Russell: Wait, so where did you come? Where was your first stop in the States when you got here?

[00:08:35] Heike Yates: Washington DC.

[00:08:36] Shannon Russell: Okay.

[00:08:37] Heike Yates: And I'm still near Washington DC. I'm a half an hour outside of the city in a smaller town. But I've never left the area. I always loved the East Coast.

I love the whole vibe. I love the people. I love Washington DC. Yes, is a government city. And it's very transient because of that. But I just like it here. [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Shannon Russell: But There are no cowboys in Washington DC. So how did that work out for you?

[00:09:06] Heike Yates: That was a problem. But once I realized what a cowboy is and what a cowboy does, and I couldn't see myself as a farmer's woman working the farm.

So I ended up marrying an attorney, of course.

[00:09:20] Shannon Russell: Very different shift, but perfect for where you were living.

[00:09:25] Heike Yates: Exactly.

[00:09:26] Shannon Russell: Wow, but that just shows your personality and who you are. You are now and who you were back then that you knew there was something bigger and better for you and that thank goodness you saw that ad in the paper, right?

And that you had the guts to apply. What did your family think?

[00:09:43] Heike Yates: Oh, my mom thought that I would only go for a year abroad and then come back home. Was never my plan. My dad really didn't care. He was like, do whatever you want to do. It's your life. Enjoy it. have a younger brother and he's [00:10:00] seven, seven, eight years younger than I am.

And he didn't really, I mean, he was too young at this point. I mean, I was 18, so he was 10. It's like, okay, do whatever you want to do. But the draw to just do something new, different and get out of the rut and get unstuck was is it still is to me, the biggest draw in anything that I do.

[00:10:26] Shannon Russell: You don't want to feel, be stuck somewhere you don't want to be that, that doesn't fill you up and doesn't feel right for you.

[00:10:33] Heike Yates: And so

[00:10:33] Shannon Russell: you got here and you were working, what exactly was your role then? It was an office job, but in DC.

[00:10:41] Heike Yates: Do you basically just sitting in writing papers, filing stuff, have meetings? I mean, nothing exciting, but the exciting part that I was in the United States that I could now go out and, actually I just wrote about this yesterday, that I bought myself a little Chevy Chevette.

And I [00:11:00] took this little Chevy Chevette literally all over the United States. I drove up and down the East Coast, across the country, over to the West Coast, back the other way. I was to where I wanted to be with that freedom. So I sucked up literally the hours at the office. And it was nice that my co workers were really cool, were really fun people.

But as soon as I got here, I distanced myself from the whole German community to immerse myself. into the American way of life, how people talk. And I remember when the first time when I was here, the first month in the States, and I would go to grocery store down in Georgetown, which is in easy.

And I stay in a checkout line. And the lady said something like, and I was looking at her focusing. And I say, can you say this a little slower? And then she repeated it. That, oh, here, you owe me 6. 50, would you like a bag? But I had learned British English. [00:12:00] So to me, this was gibberish. And learning the American way of speaking was my goal.

I'm like, I want to understand what she says at the checkout.

[00:12:13] Shannon Russell: Oh, that's amazing. And so you were really where you needed to be. And then you find your attorney, and you have your first child, and then that leads us into what you were talking about with, you know, Oh, I need to lose the baby weight, which we can all relate to, and finding this new passion in, in, exercise classes and teaching those because I think it's a lot of what you were saying that you found the camaraderie in the exercise class that your friend dragged you to.

And then the opportunity to teach and your husband saying, go for it. Why not? What was it like when you said, all right, here's another new experience for me. I'm going to try to teach these classes. How did it feel? [00:13:00]

[00:13:00] Heike Yates: It was really exciting. I didn't feel like I had two left feet. I could do a grapevine for all those aerobic people out there.

[00:13:07] Shannon Russell: I know

[00:13:08] Heike Yates: it. Grapevine, front back, front back. And it was something new and I love to learn. That's another thing. I am like a sponge when it comes to learning. And I started taking those classes and like, again, we met to learn those dances that we then would teach for six or eight weeks. So you would teach a little bit, and then teach a little bit more, and so by the end of the six or eight weeks, the women that came to the classes knew the dances.

Now, one of the things that when we talk about overcoming obstacles, was one that I had not counted on planned on. I am deaf on one of my ears. Never been a problem. this is remember the way I always have been. I hear sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on which direction I'm going, but I'm deaf on my [00:14:00] left ear.

So I usually tend to turn to with my right ear. So as we're doing these classes, I'm practicing at home and doing my grapevines and trying to remember the choreography because we had to try out in order to pass the test. And I was. Oh, right. He's like, okay, great. So the teacher put me in front of a big class and I had to teach and something wasn't quite working.

And I couldn't figure out why they all wouldn't just follow me the way I teach them to go. And I made it through the class and I'm thinking, okay, it can't be that bad. And my teacher looked at me and she says, I'm sorry, you can't get the job. You can't teach. And I sat there and like a, somebody sucker punched me.

After all these weeks, I practiced. I knew the moves and she says, you don't hear the music. And I said, Well, what do you mean you don't hear I hear the music. So she turned on a [00:15:00] song that I had practiced to. And she said, Now teach that song to me.

I started doing it. And to me, it worked perfectly with the music. And she says, You're teaching to the melody. but not to the beat. I had no idea what she was talking about. What do you mean the beat? I don't know how to play an instrument. Never have. And then she said, here, the underlying beat is in the count of eight.

So you can hear it very distinct. And I'm listening. I just hear the same thing as before. And I said, you know, I'm deaf on one ear. And it's like a light bulb went off on her head. And she says, give me a hand, put your hand on the speaker.

Now feel the harder tones.

It took me a minute and my light bulb went off. I was like, this is what you're talking about with the beat. She's like, yeah, so I went back home every song. I was teaching for that class. [00:16:00] I Felt the song first so I knew where the beat was and then I did it without the hand and I passed the test And I couldn't have been prouder in my entire life that I overcame this roadblock of that half deafness

[00:16:19] Shannon Russell: That is determination.

You were determined. , I'm so proud of you. That was meant to be, now you're teaching these aerobics classes and this just starts your fitness journey of just wanting to be there. Were you finding that you were getting in shape yourself as you were teaching these classes?

[00:16:37] Heike Yates: Oh, absolutely. I took on as many classes as I could without sacrificing my children because I ended up with two, but I, learned more about how the body works, how you can get fit. What does it take to get fit? I taught all the classes because again, I go back to the thirst of knowledge. I wanted to learn, and then strength training, I [00:17:00] became a certified personal trainer. And then I learned about the magic, which is so great in midlife, the magic of building lean muscle mass or building muscle mass in general, and how to stay healthy.

The more I learned about what We can't do with our bodies if we just know how. The more I applied it to, my first crazy stunt was I became a bodybuilder. Tell me

[00:17:26] Shannon Russell: about that. I read that in your bio and I was like, what? again, back to the determination. doing all of the things.

What was that like?

[00:17:36] Heike Yates: My girlfriend, also a personal trainer, said to me, hey, would it be great if we go bodybuilding and we know how to build big muscles for anybody who wants big muscles? And I said, let's do that, which happens a lot in my life.

I say yes, a lot to things. And then afterwards, I'm thinking, What I get myself into.

[00:17:57] Shannon Russell: You're my girl. Always say the yes, always figure it [00:18:00] out.

[00:18:00] Heike Yates: And so I started, we bought again, all the body building books we could find and then we train together and we're like eight by the books with what bodybuilders are supposed to eat. And, and after I think it was a year and a half, I had my first bodybuilding show for those people who don't know what bodybuilding is. This is not like fitness competition.

There's two different things. If you're a bodybuilder, you basically put on as much muscle mass as humanly possible and are as lean as humanly possible. And you simply stand on stage and you a series of poses. Whereas when you're a fitness competitor, you're You still want to pack on more lean muscle mass, but it's more about the fitness aspect.

And you wear also like in bodybuilding, a bikini, but you wear high heels and you do it. It's a different kind of a look for the two. Cause there is a big difference that people don't realize that a fitness [00:19:00] competitor is not a bodybuilder.

[00:19:02] Shannon Russell: Okay. Okay.

[00:19:03] Heike Yates: So the bodybuilder is about. So the bigger the humanly possible and very little movement really on the stage as you have a routine of like a minute where you perform a sequence of poses to show off your muscles.

so that's where I started and I'm like, Oh, that's kind of cool. This is interesting. This is different again.

[00:19:23] Shannon Russell: And that back to your clients then if you were personal training at the time as well.

[00:19:28] Heike Yates: Because nutrition. As a bodybuilder, you are very, very picky about your nutrition, you're very aware of what you're putting in your body.

And you also pay attention to what the different nutritional strategies do to your body. How do you get leaner? You know, what kind of foods do you need to eat to get leaner? What brings you energy? The season was over to compete, you bulked up, so I would gain at least 10 pounds in that offseason where you basically do just the opposite.

You eat tons and tons of food [00:20:00] to make your muscles grow while lifting really, really heavy. that also ties in with the nutrition aspect. So after three years competing. On stage, getting some trophies, I decided, enough of that.

I just want to eat the way I want to eat and have a beer when I want a beer. Then I decided, oh, why don't I want to run a marathon? And you did? We switched to a completely different beast. That was about it. Lean muscles, lighter weight, quicker feet, longer races, being out there for hours on end, running around on the streets of Washington, and again, a completely different nutrition requirement.

So you're learning about all aspects of the body, nutrition, fitness, wellness in general.

[00:20:45] Heike Yates: And mindset,

[00:20:47] Shannon Russell: because

[00:20:48] Heike Yates: does take a lot when you decide that you want to be whatever it is you want to be a bodybuilder or a marathon runner or whatever it is you, you need to be in the right mindset. And I remember when I [00:21:00] finished my bodybuilding stint.

For the last year, I'd hired myself somebody who was a professional trainer to bodybuilders so I trained with him for about a year, it went really well.

And we set our goals, and then I did one show, and I sat down. I opened a beer, I called him and I said, Dave, I'm done. And he said, what, what happened? I said, you know, I've reached my goals. I achieved what I wanted to achieve, but now it's time to do something else. he could totally relate to this because I was not ready to embrace another training session or another training season with a deprivation,

and he could totally relate and he said, Heike it. It was great working with you. The same with marathon running, you have to have that endurance mindset that yes, I can mindset that I so believe in that if [00:22:00] you're willing to make some sacrifices and they don't have to be big or painful or anything, but there's got to be some thing that moves you, your needle to where your desire is.

[00:22:12] Shannon Russell: You can have the body for it, you can know how to run, you can do all the things, but if you don't have the mindset and the endurance, it's not going to be successful. You need both pieces. And so where were you at that point? Were you in a place where you were checking the boxes, you were becoming the bodybuilder, you were running the marathons?

When did you start thinking, okay, I want to start working with individuals and really start getting into more of being an expert in this field and teaching other people what I've learned?

[00:22:43] Heike Yates: All along the way. Yeah.

[00:22:45] Shannon Russell: Yeah.

[00:22:46] Heike Yates: All along the way, as soon as I knew something, as soon as I'd learned something, I wanted somebody else to experience what I experienced.

Of course, bodybuilding was not ideal. I have to say most women were like, new, I pass on [00:23:00] that.

So at that point I was in my, mid 30s when I was bodybuilding.

I had already divorced. I was a single mom with two kids I worked a full time job at the gym that hired me. and I worked as a trainer there as well and I was teaching classes, but I also had personal training clients that I trained with along the way. And as I got into running, I also started becoming a coach for the local running club, which is called the Montgomery County Roadrunners Club to all Montgomery County Roadrunners Club listeners.

I was your coach for a long time. And so that gave me another opportunity to teach about bodies form, again, nutrition, again, mindset strategies, that you need to be successful. And all the way , along the way, I mean, I can talk for a long time. I'm an Ironman triathlete. I work with women breast cancer survivors.

I have a lot of variety in the things I do. I work with a, a [00:24:00] lot of people that have orthopedic needs like bad knees and shoulders and osteoporosis and things like that. And so everything. That I think comes my way too. I can relate to and share with the audience that I have and attract the clients in my courses or in my one on one sessions in my studio here in Maryland to they need.

And they know I am compassionate and I understand. their needs, just like the runners knew. I knew what they needed. I knew how to get them better and stronger and have more fun.

[00:24:38] Shannon Russell: when you, were training, you have your two young kids, you're in your thirties. And then when did the idea for Pursue Your Spark, your business that you own now, and even your studio that you have as well, all of it, when did that come to fruition?

[00:24:52] Heike Yates: Let's see, so I got divorced, And then I met my now husband, who is my hugest, biggest supporter of this [00:25:00] planet. And, I had worked at this point at gyms, but then transitioned to smaller studios that are more private, Pilates studios of smaller gyms, we went out.

Looking for houses and the house market is big and everything is expensive as many people can relate to it and we went out and my husband always talked about, well, you know, wouldn't it be great you have your own studio

we went out.

During a snowstorm and, we were the only people that showed up. I mean, who would show up there in the snowstorm looking at a house? And my husband said, look, there is your studio. The garage, was already a studio setup.

It had an entrance hall. It had a studio space. It had a bathroom. It had a carpet. It was like meant for me.

[00:25:47] Shannon Russell: And

[00:25:49] Heike Yates: he said, we're getting this house. There's your studio. And that's why we're going to get this house. I was so nervous that I actually have to materialize opening my own boutique [00:26:00] studio and how does this all going to work out and how do I get clients and.

How do I make it successful? And so fast forward, I moved in my studio and I had Pilates equipment and fitness equipment and weights and bands all over the place. So I consolidated it all and started out with one client that wanted me. now, I've been in my studio now for 10 years, probably, and turned it into a thriving one on one boutique studio.

And I see as many clients as I want. I can work with the clients that I want. There's no pressure like a young trainer who needs to put in the work and yes, I do need, to make money, but I don't have to work with anybody. I don't want to work with people that are not committed or they're not nice.

I don't have to work with them. it's just me and the people that come to the studio, which is really, really nice. It's so private And it gives you a very different vibe. There's [00:27:00] nobody milling around. There's no music blaring. Nobody looks at you and it's not stinky.

[00:27:06] Shannon Russell: What a nice setup you have. What an amazing business.

[00:27:11] Heike Yates: That ended up transferring literally into pursue your spark because everybody wanted the 8am and I only have one 8am slot. How can I put in more people and have them be healthier and stronger if I can't accommodate them in my schedule?

And so I said, well, let's start. with an online program.

It needs to be something that is All including, it has the menopause, the peri, the post, the health, the fitness, the nutrition, the how do I feel stronger, how do I get unstuck, that whole vibe then turned eventually into Pursue Your Spark.

[00:27:51] Shannon Russell: And you really focus on women in Pursue Your Spark and what they're going through with their health, kind of midlife, and later.

[00:27:59] Heike Yates: Anything [00:28:00] from nutrition, intermittent fasting, Pilates, strength training, balance work, flexibility, we're talking also, like I always like to say, get unstuck and thrive.

How do I overcome https: otter. ai That hold me back to be that strong, to be that healthy and to be deserving and not feel guilty of taking those steps to do this for me and for nobody else.

[00:28:29] Shannon Russell: Well, that's a question I wanted to ask you, because I feel like women put themselves last all the time. And maybe midlife is different because you have some women who are empty nesters by that point and they can start focusing on themselves, but also there's women who still have their kids at home or women who maybe don't have any children, but are in this stage of life where they just feel that guilt of putting themselves first.

Why is that? And how can we overcome that fear of, being selfish, which I think a [00:29:00] lot of us feel like it is when we put ourselves first.

[00:29:03] Heike Yates: Yeah, and selfish is not a negative term. it's not something we have to be ashamed of to be selfish. Being rude and selfish, that's different. But being selfish is not a negative thing.

I think we're destined as women from our pasts, that we were told to be the good girl that we were told to serve others before ourselves, and everybody else is more important than we are, has been so ingrained into our culture, and we're getting better about these molds that we're pressed into.

But I think that still takes a long, long time, I have a client who is taking on her mom, and her mom now lives with her, , she says, I feel stuck now. I'm the caregiver of my mom. She doesn't want to go into, and now home sounds so terrible, But into a home [00:30:00] where there is care for her, it's like, I'm her 24, seven care.

Every time she needs something, she calls me. nothing is ever good enough for her. So she's in that mold again, I left that mold, I moved out of my house so I can live my own life, raise my own kids. Now I'm being sucked back in and I don't know what to do. I don't know how to get out of this.

I can't just abandon my mom. , something's got to give. And so we've had this really long discussions last week about what would be a good plan for her specific situation. And I said, for any other woman out there, no matter what your circumstances are. Think about what would make you happy.

What would your future life look like if you were to take that step that's currently holds you back? Or that's an obstacle that you think, Oh my God, I can't leave this job. Oh my God, I, [00:31:00] I'm an empty nester now. I feel so lonely. There are different strategies you can apply, but look at it with a realistic eye.

What is it that you need to find within? That holds you back. why do you want to move forward? Why is it so important? And where is that? Why?

[00:31:21] Shannon Russell: Right, and you really can work one on one with clients to figure out whatever obstacles whether it's health, or personal, or mindset, and you work with them throughout your, programs, your one on one, your membership, all of that.

Tell us a little bit about what you offer because you can really serve women all over.

[00:31:39] Heike Yates: Yep. With my Pursue Your Spark blueprint program. That's an eight week program, which is ideal because you get to know each other. You're hanging out together in the zoom once a week. and I tell everybody joining my program, we're laying it on the table.

holding back, bring it on. We're here in a safe space, which is also [00:32:00] important. . So let's, deal with those obstacles that we encounter in our lives, whether it's in a group or in one on one. and I always have an idea for how we can.

approach something or different thoughts of what is the specific situation that is holding you back? that you don't feel deserving of your exercise? Why is that? Why don't you deserve that you should be exercising when your husband, spouse, or whatever, your significant other, is making sure that he or she is going twice a week to whatever class they're going to and you do not feel like you could go.

[00:32:39] Shannon Russell: I roll my eyes every time my husband goes to leave for the gym because I think, I don't Why does he get to go and not me? But you're right, it's why am I not making that a priority like he is. but it goes back to us feeling like we have to do it all. We have to juggle all of it because that's our role that we've been brought up to, to be in.

, I love that you [00:33:00] can teach women to feel like they can change that mindset and do little things to take that step away from that, that mold that we're kind of stuck in.

[00:33:10] Heike Yates: And it takes time and it's not happening overnight, but I always love it when there's an aha moment.

[00:33:16] Shannon Russell: A spark.

[00:33:17] Heike Yates: Yep. That spark.

Let's talk about your podcast too, because that reaches a lot of people and helps so many people around the world as well.

[00:33:27] Heike Yates: The Pursue Your Spark podcast, all in one name, we're making this simple.

You will have guest interviews with varied expertise that pertaining to your health and fitness and also perhaps a career.

We also talk about how, when you're talking with your brand, your second act success in a career, how health is supporting you and how you can overcome get unstuck in your mindset, how we can tackle guilt, how we can tackle, [00:34:00] feeling less than our big pieces of the podcast. And we also talk about health.

Pilates or intermittent fasting and bring it in with all the other things. But I think it's a well rounded approach again, just like pursue your spark. I don't want to be just one mold because we're so many, we may talk about intermittent fasting with an empty nester, or we may talk about, other health issues like fibromyalgia that we had on the show with a guest.

And, it's something that I feel. We need to talk about that as women, we share information so beautifully. And to me, the podcast is a little bit of a hub of sharing that like a little community in itself, then I always encourage the listeners to reach out after an episode and tell me how the episode resonated or if they had questions or if they have comments so we can keep that door of communication open.

Between all of us, despite the airwaves,

[00:34:57] Shannon Russell: right? I want to kind of wrap up our [00:35:00] conversation by asking you, you know, a lot of my listeners are women in midlife who are thinking about making a career change or starting a business.

It's overwhelming to think about it. So what are a couple of strategies maybe that you would suggest that, women who are on the verge of making this kind of a career or business change can kind of implement, or at least keep in the back of their minds that might help them,

[00:35:26] Heike Yates: I think when you want to change career, I think it's less of an overwhelm, more of a challenge to figure out how to put the pieces together, which can be overwhelming, but I'd rather look at it from a slightly different perspective, that When you say, okay, I'm unhappy in this career and I want something else, be very clear about what it is.

If you really want what that is, what really explore, if this is something that you want, that the, consequences [00:36:00] that changing the job might have, you get less money, you may have to work more hours. So be really clear. When changing. Do you really want what's over there? Because the, shiny syndrome, it's not always greener on the other side. And really think about it and do your lists, pros and cons of what is on either side, and be very clear if this is really what you want, and if you do, just go for it.

What's the worst thing that's gonna happen? It's not going to be as great as you thought it would, or it will be amazing, but do your homework. I think do your homework is the most important thing.

[00:36:38] Shannon Russell: Yeah. And at the end of the day, to have no regrets is what we all want at the end of the day, right? So just know that we did what we could do to make ourselves the happiest that we can.

and to listen to your body, I think is a really great lesson from our conversation too, is if you're starting to make, Those shifts and something isn't feeling right. Maybe you do need to go [00:37:00] take a dancer size class or you need to take a walk outside or check what you're eating because you want to make sure that all of these pieces kind of move together, especially with our bodies changing so much,

[00:37:12] Heike Yates: yeah, I agree. It's like it's a whole picture and like stress, stress is such a biggie too. and making a career change is stress. It's the uncertainty, will it work out for me? Right. Even though it's super exciting, it could be good stress and good stresses is a real thing.

Not just bad stress,

Good stress too. And so keeping it balanced and, really. What I like to always emphasize is taking baby steps. taking those little baby steps, one step at a time, a career change. If you're quitting one company and changing the other, or you just start a couple of hours working there, it's definitely, something to look at.

But when you think about the overarching picture, you're just one action step away from what Your happiness is what your fulfillment is. It's one action step. So [00:38:00] what is that one action step that you can take to feel stronger, to feel better, to be more successful?

[00:38:06] Shannon Russell: Such great advice and I love just your story and I thank you so much for being so honest and sharing your journey from Germany to DC and your first act your second act and even in the fitness world of your second act you were able to help others in so many different ways and Continue to do so and I just applaud you

[00:38:27] Heike Yates: Thank you.

Thank you, Shannon.

[00:38:29] Shannon Russell: Thank you very much for being here and sharing all of that. I'm so happy to know you. Where can everyone find you?

[00:38:36] Heike Yates: As we've heard, it's Pursue Your Spark almost everywhere, right? But you can Google my name, Heike Yates, H E I K E Y A T E S, and you will find me on all social media channels.

[00:38:49] Shannon Russell: Fantastic. I'll link to everything in the show notes as well. And Heike, thank you so much. This has been such a lovely conversation.

[00:38:57] Heike Yates: Thank you, Shannon. It was a blast. [00:39:00]

[00:39:00] Shannon Russell: So much fun.

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much.

Thank you again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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