Fitness pro celebrates 10 years sober by opening new gym

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A local fitness pro is on a mission to lift weights while lifting the spirits of countless women across the Capital Region. Heather Matthews overcame addiction 10 years ago and has opened up her dream gym to instill confidence in others.

On April 11, Matthews looked around at the newly renovated space and couldn’t believe her business, HLM Fitness, had finally opened its doors at 1209 Troy Schenectady Road in Latham.

“How is this even happening? How is this the same person? The same life?” Matthews said. “Ten years ago, I really thought it was all over.”

Ten years ago, Matthews was stuck in a life of alcoholism and addiction. She tried going to rehabilitation facilities five different times and nothing worked. On one of her darkest days, Matthews tried to commit suicide because she couldn’t picture her life without alcohol.

Matthews said the turning point came at an unexpected moment, when her parents cut her off from help.

“I want parents out there to know that even though it seems like it’s unfathomable to say that to your child if they are struggling with addiction, stop enabling them,” Mathhews said. “They needs their lives to be so uncomfortable that they’re forced to change.

Matthews hit rock bottom and said she had no option but to make a transormation. She knew she had to change everything about her life, including who she surrounded herself with and how she spent her time.

“So, I was like who doesn’t drink or do drugs? People in the gym,” Matthews said.

She threw herself into the fitness lifestyle and signed up for a fitness competition having never lifted a dumbell in her life. Matthews joined a gym and hired a trainer, working tirelessly to compete. Along the way, the process helped her get sober and gave her the confidence she needed to leave alcohol behind.

Throughout the years, she competed in countless NPC Fitness and Bodybuilding competitions and won numerous titles. Matthews became a mationally recognized NPC competitor and knew she had to share that skill with others.

Matthews decided to dedicate her life to helping women gain confidence through fitness. She has spent the better part of seven years renting a small space at a local gym to train countless women but her business finally expanded enough to open her own space in Latham.   

“I want women to know it’s not a gym where you come in and you are trying to change the way you look, as much as it is you’re trying to show yourself that you can do things that you never thought you could,” Matthews said.

Currently, HLM Fitness is offering 30 sessions per week of one on one personal training and small group classes in “Total Body Toning.”

“So I hope people know that if they are struggling, and they think there is no way out. You know, I found it through fitness but you can change your life,” Matthews said.

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