It's one thing to make a commitment to improve our own health and wellness, be it through dietary changes, eco-friendly initiatives or a vow to de-stress. But we think the truly extraordinary people are those who desire to improve the health and wellness of others. These four local business owners do just that -- purposely using their talents to positively affect the well-being of people around them. Whether through cooking, teaching, pampering or coaching, these folks often lead others to change their lifestyles for the better.Eric TonipsPersonal trainer, chef and owner, Fitness FareEric Tonips admits he "grew up being a fat kid." But after losing 65 pounds in high school through running and weight training, the Fort Worth native became intrigued with exercise and nutrition."I saw my body changing from what I was doing and I thought, 'Wow, this is fascinating. I can change my whole physique by eating certain things and exercising,'" he says.Tonips' passion for food and fitness inspired him not only to become a personal trainer and chef, but to launch Fitness Fare, a healthy meal delivery and pick-up service geared toward folks who don't have the time, or the simple know-how, to prepare nutritious cuisine. The culinary school graduate and former team chef for the Texas Rangers says he started the business because he noticed that healthful fast food was nearly nonexistent, but the demand was great."The only option you had was Subway," he says. "My personal training clients would ask me to make their meals when they heard I worked as a chef. Other people in the gym started hearing about it and, the next thing I know, I am leaving meals for sale at the front of the gym. I thought, 'Maybe there's something to this.'"Tonips has helped dozens of individuals, from professional golfers (his Fitness Fare Cafe is inside the Jim McLean Golf Center) and Dallas Cowboys players to Olympic athletes and everyday folks.He shares a recipe for grilled lean meatloaf with roasted vegetables, showing how easy creating a healthier, leaner and more fiber-rich vegetable-heavy dish can be."I enjoy offering a solution for, in my opinion, the most difficult and most challenging obstacle in reaching your health and fitness goals."Fitness Fare, 8940 Creek Run Road, Fort Worth, 817-480-7353, www.fitnessfare.comStephanie PerryFitness instructor and owner, D BarreWhen Stephanie Perry was in elementary school, she would invite her friends over for workout sessions to fitness DVDs ordered from infomercials."It didn't occur to me that other fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders weren't doing this for fun like I was," she says.Perry thought she would one day become a psychologist or even work for the FBI, but her passion for improving the health and wellness of others continued. Today, she owns D Barre, a fitness facility offering equipment Pilates and barre classes inside Abundio's Studio. (She provides two barre-based exercises there targeting hot spots for women -- inner thighs and triceps.) Her studio has quickly built a reputation for its comfortable atmosphere, friendly vibe and unintimidating yet challenging classes."I enjoy seeing women become more confident, whether it's from the physical results they are seeing or that they're moving a little more to the music. Maybe they didn't stand by the mirror at first and now they're strutting their stuff," Perry says. "You never really know what's going on in other people's lives. Coming and doing Pilates or barre could be somebody's one social outlet."It's for this reason that Perry strives to provide not only fun and addictive workout routines, including a high-energy form of barre that focuses on increasing the heart rate while keeping the spine in a safe, neutral position, but even social events outside of the gym. Perry regularly coordinates outings such as "Beauty at the Barre" at Neiman Marcus and includes lunch, champagne and a makeup lesson, and "Barre Hopping," where participants follow class with cocktails at a local bar or restaurant. She says the outside events are important to build personal connections among her clients, which keep them coming back."I love seeing not only their improved posture but especially the improved self-confidence," Perry says. "If I can make one person smile every day, then I feel like I've been a success that day."D Barre, 2908 Cullen St., Fort Worth, 817-885-8900, www.abundiosstudio.com, www.dbarre.com Missy MaloneMedical nail technician and owner, SPAtaneityLike most women, Missy Malone enjoys being pampered, but she didn't always have time to sneak away for the pedis, manis and massages that she loved so much when she was a stay-at-home mom."I thought it would be really cool to have the spa come to me," she says.The idea inspired Malone to establish SPAtaneity, a mobile spa service specializing in not only in-home spa parties, but in eco-friendly products and services catering to folks with sensitive skin, like her. Malone was never really fond of the massage chairs and whirlpool tubs at typical nail salons anyway, and she was leery of sanitization practices and chemicals. So she offers warm towel wipe-downs for the feet using essential oils that have antibacterial and antifungal properties, along with gentler nail products. (Malone recommends the Jessica brand polish line, which has options for dry, peeling, weak, brittle, ridged and post-acrylic nails.)When Baylor All Saints Medical Center heard about Malone's sensitive skin-friendly mobile services, a new segment of her business developed."They reached out to us to offer our services to the new moms. Word traveled to other wards and we soon expanded into oncology," Malone says. "Now we offer services to those receiving chemo, and even caregivers and employees. We know how stressful it is to care for someone who is ill."The opportunity prompted Malone to open a near south-side storefront in 2011, where she has created a beautifully relaxing space in what she believes is a former auto garage. (She uncovered the words "body repairing" painted on the wall and proudly left it. "We do a form of body repairing, too," she says.) Malone also decided to become a licensed medical nail technician, which allows her to determine appropriate products and services for her clients, even those with diabetes."Our services are open to anyone who is interested in a healthier, safer option for spa services," Malone says. "If you are dealing with cancer, you're losing your hair and everything changes, including your skin and your nails. If we can restore just a little bit of femininity for the women, and even give the gentlemen a sense of normalcy, then I think we're on the right track."SPAtaneity, 618 S. Jennings Ave., Fort Worth, 866-338-4880, www.spa-ta-neity.com Catherine RuehleHealth and wellness coach and owner, A Well-Nourished LifeCatherine Ruehle was at the top of her game. She was a bakery owner, cake designer and regular participant on Food Network Challenge, working on multiple book and TV projects, and frequently featured in the press. But at only age 42, her body stopped her in her tracks. Ruehle was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that crippled her so much that even the simple task of brushing her teeth was excruciating."I knew what I was going through had to serve a higher purpose," she says. "It took a little while to figure it all out, but once I saw the light at the end of the tunnel for myself, and started to get well through diet and lifestyle changes, it was very clear what my mission would be."That mission was A Well-Nourished Life, Ruehle's culinary wellness and health coaching program designed for those seeking to establish lifelong healthy habits. Ruehle was able to heal herself through her diet, ridding her body of the debilitating pain without the use of medication. Using her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Ruehle creates meal plans, provides dietary coaching and teaches folks how to prepare nutritious meals quickly and confidently. She provides a recipe for a fiber-rich salad, featuring vegetables that are detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants, she says."I combined my top three veggie recommendations in one dish, serving each in its most favorable state," she says. "Preparing Brussels sprouts in this way has been known to turn many die-hard Brussels sprouts haters."Ruehle says she is actually grateful for rheumatoid arthritis. It has helped her to see that the path she was on wasn't the right one for her and has allowed her to make a real difference in the lives of those who may be dependent on medication or think there's no hope for their health."You know those commercials for meds with all of the potential side effects thrown in? They almost whisper it," Ruehle says. "The side effects of my program are weight loss, increased energy, mental clarity, lowered cholesterol, improved digestion and clear skin. No need to whisper it."A Well-Nourished Life, www.a-well-nourished-life.com
D Barre exercises from Stephanie Perry
Inner thigh work:
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold onto a chair or wall with one hand and keep opposite hand on the hip.
2. Place a small ball or rolled towel between knees.
3. Bend legs and lift the heels and hold. Draw the abs in and squeeze the ball/towel 30 times.
4. Hold knee bend, and lower and lift heels one inch, 20 times, maintaining the squeeze.
5. Hold knee bend and heel lift, and finish with 30 additional squeezes.
1. Hinge forward from the hips and draw the abs in.
2. Hold 1-pound weights, water bottles or soup cans in each hand and lift the arms back, higher than your bottom, with palms facing each other.
3. Squeeze the arms toward each other and slightly bend elbows one inch. Repeat 30-40 times.