Fitting In Her Day: How Katie Heggtveit of Bootcamps for Change Gets It Done

What keeps Katie Heggtveit busy? Oh, just running her own Toronto-based charity, Bootcamps for Change, while studying at Ryerson University full time, and everything else the 21-year-old has in her social calendar.

Katie Heggtveit, founder of Bootcamps for Change
Katie Heggtveit (Photo: Lisa Hannam)

In 2017, Heggtveit was in the second year of her nutrition science program when she decided to launch Bootcamps for Change as a good-cause side project. A certified personal trainer, she offers free fitness classes to youth at shelters. She also teams up with companies like Vega and RYU to supply the classes with nutrition and clothing. On top of that, she runs fitness events to raise funds in support of the Jays Care Foundation, Me to We and other programs. And she’s enlisted local fitness influencers, like Beverley Cheng (of Born to Sweat) and Kelsey Rose, to teach workouts, too.

But despite accomplishing so much so fast, Heggtveit is striving for more. “I’m really proud of our programming, but there are so many complex issues,” says Heggtveit, who hails from London, Ont. Her “big picture” goal for Bootcamps for Change is being able to fund personal trainer certification programs for her students.

So what drives her to do all this?

From the age of 10 to 13, Heggtveit struggled with anorexia. “I was 52 pounds in Grade 8, eating less than 100 calories a day. I almost died,” she recalls. Her father, she thinks, got physically sick himself because of her mental illness. “His blood pressure went off and it was really bad. So, we went to the gym together four times a week.” Finding fitness helped Heggtveit notice she was getting stronger and more focused and feeling better. That personal revelation, combined with the experience of volunteering at a local homeless shelter, made Heggtveit realize that just maybe fitness could help others, too.

So that’s her M.O. And here’s how Heggtveit does it. Every. Single. Day.

9 A.M.

“I’m a night owl, so I usually don’t get to bed until about 2 A.M. The first thing I do when I wake up is check my emails on my laptop, and then I check my phone. I look at my schedule and LinkedIn. I go on about three coffee dates a day, so I have to check if there are any changes to my day. Then I get dressed and head to the gym.”

9:15 A.M.

“I work out in my condo gym. I’ll do 30 minutes of cardio and then 10 minutes of stretching, or I’ll do 10 minutes of cardio, then strength training and stretching. I’m in the gym six days a week. But once a week, I will go to Kelsey Rose’s class.”

10 A.M.

“I go home, shower, get dressed and eat. I’ll have eggs or a yogurt parfait. I’ve been really good lately, making my own coffee instead of buying it from Starbucks.”

10:30 A.M. to 3 P.M.

“I either have classes, like nutrition, stats or chemistry, or coffee meetings. For Bootcamps for Change, I’ll meet with potential event sponsors or personal trainers who want to volunteer their time. I usually have lunch with a friend. I’ll eat anything. If I’m at home, I’ll make chicken, salad or soup. I just recently got into cooking. Lunch is my biggest meal of the day.”

3:30 P.M.

“I’m either in school or teaching a Bootcamps for Change class. Right now, we’re teaching at shelters two to three classes a week. But my goal is to do four to six. It’s not about kicking their asses. It’s about being encouraging. It’s about learning their names. The goal is to one day help the youth become certified trainers. That will close the loop. They will be able to go from unemployed to employed. You can give food, water and shelter forever. But as soon as that money goes away, these kids are at the exact same place before the intervention. By building life skills in them and encouraging them, their lives can change.”

4:30 P.M.

“I either go home, have more Bootcamps for Change meetings or study with a friend. Lately, I’ve been really focussing on my vision board. It’s more a pile of papers and notes right now than magazine cut-outs, although I have done that. I have a potential timeline, too. I have financial goals, school goals, Bootcamps for Change goals. The goals are at the top of each page and then it’s about how I get there. Now that I’m opening our first Bootcamps for Change event in Halifax, I have to plan how I can sustain that.”

5 or 6:30 P.M., depending on her class schedule

“If I go out for dinner, I’ll grab a sandwich, or eat by myself. I eat dinner at home four out of seven days. I’m a grazer, so I eat all evening. Crackers and cheese. Apples. Grapes. I always have almonds and carrots with me. If I’m not eating, I get a headache. I’ll get grumpy.”

7 P.M. to 1 A.M.

“This is my Bootcamps for Change time. I’m on LinkedIn every single day, making connections through hashtags, communities, second connections. I will reach out to five or 10 people a day. I’ve had amazing responses on LinkedIn. I’m obsessed with it.”

1 A.M.

“I take another shower. I Netflix.”

1:45 A.M.

“I set my schedule for the next day. I’m in bed by 2 A.M. I know that’s late, but I’m still getting seven to eight hours of sleep, which is really important to me.”

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