Meet a Health Hero: Desiree Gaunt

Read more about Melmark's Desiree Gaunt, a semi-finalist in our 2013 Health Hero Challenge!

>> You can vote for Desiree on our Facebook page September 3-9. Mark your calendar!

Name: Desiree Gaunt

Occupation: Coordinator of Physical Health at Melmark

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
I think it is very important to have positive role models in our lives, but I think it essential that we are able to motivate ourselves. We make our own decisions and are in control of our own destiny. I try to motivate and challenge myself; if I fail I have to pick myself back up to try again. “If it is to be, it is up to me” (William H. Johnsen).

Describe a health- or fitness-related turning point in your life.
I have always been athletic, but I didn’t pursue fitness until I started coaching high school field hockey and softball. I wanted to be a positive role model for others and realized that I was good at coaching and pretty motivating, so I decided to go into personal training. I got my masters degree in Exercise Science and have been training clients of all ages and types for the last seven years. The pursuit of wellness has also lead me into teaching health and physical education to children and adults of all ability levels and opening an Anytime Fitness gym in Exton with my fiancé.

What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
How about Fresh Food Fridays?! Lack of access to healthy and affordable food is definitely a public health issue in cities. Every Friday, incentives would be given to supermarkets and grocery stores city wide to significantly discount their healthy products. During warm months, fresh produce vendors would be invited to set up on city streets.

What’s the most important part of your health or fitness regimen?
I try to work out every day (except Sunday)! Some people may consider it overboard, but it keeps me sane. If I miss a workout I tend to be tired and down on myself. My workouts give me energy to get through the day, as well as internal peace. I also like working out by myself, for me it’s time to gather my thoughts before my day begins and/or after it ends.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice?
People have a difficult time sticking to wellness programs because they never make it part of their daily routine. Planning and scheduling is half the battle. We all have busy lives, but if you make fitness and nutrition a part of your daily life, you will be more successful. I like to write down when and what my fitness programs will be for the week, and plan time to cook healthy meals.