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Always Nutrition offers health food, exercise classes

MOREHEAD CITY — A new business venture that is part health food store and part fitness classes opened last month to help train people of all ages the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

Karen Wagner and Charlie Ward Jr. have partnered to open Always Nutrition Health Food Store and Fitness at 5370-E, Highway 70 west, across from Kurtis Chevrolet.

Mr. Ward’s wife, April, also works at the store, as does Ken Guyer.

“I want to help people (and) to educate them,” said Ms. Wagner. Her main goal is to teach people how to eat healthy as well as how to do the right exercises.

“I love to see people succeed. That’s huge for both of us,” she said as she motioned to Mr. Ward. “When people come in and lose a whole bunch of weight, its because they changed something. Exercise should be fun,” she noted.

Ms. Wagner, a former body builder who now helps with judging body-building contests, said she has been helping people with nutrition and exercise goals for 38 years. With her background and certifications in personal fitness and nutrition, she decided to create a new location that will reach out to those who may be intimidated by a normal gym setting.

She began to discuss her plan with her friend, Mr. Ward, and together they opened Always Nutrition.

The front half of the store features a wide range of health food, such as organic, paleo, vegan and all natural products.

Ms. Wagner stressed the store is not a nutrition store with mainly supplements, but offers healthy food choices, with a few supplement options.

The shop includes freshly made items from Against the Grain Café in Cedar Point like bread, granola, cookies, cupcakes and “Key Lime Pie balls,” that have proven to be very popular, according to Ms. Wagner.

“We want to take the confusion out of your diet,” she said, noting that can be a problem with the vast amount of diet fads. “There’s only one way to eat. … Everything else we bring in here, we want to have good ingredients. Not processed, (to the point) where it is going to cause health issues, it’s food your body can actually break down and process.”

She noted that Always Nutrition doesn’t carry fresh produce, but that may come later as the store grows.

Ms. Wagner said she is always looking for locally sourced honey and local items that she can sell in the store.

The second half of the business is the fitness aspect. A spacious training room with equipment is in the back of the storefront. Mr. Ward primarily runs this portion, but Ms. Wagner is also known to join in and help. Classes started in mid-December and the health food store opened in early January.

Mr. Ward said fitness clients are encouraged to pay on a month-by-month basis for classes, and said there are no contracts at Always Nutrition. Since the goal is to attract those who may feel uncomfortable or out of place at a gym, they do accept drop-ins who come to classes.

“We want to focus on making fitness fun, not collecting a paycheck,” he said. “We want to make it fun for the whole family … we want people to learn how to work out and learn what they are eating.”

Ms. Wagner said, “The affordability of a trainer and gym membership is really hard for some people,” and Always Nutrition wants to make it more attainable for clients.

“I think explaining to people what they’re doing to their bodies is better than saying, ‘you need to lose weight and go on a diet,’ and they don’t know where to go.”

Mr. Ward offers a variety of morning and evening fitness courses, including Boot Camp and Tabatas classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The morning classes run at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., and 8 a.m., with the evening classes at 5 and 6 p.m.

The Kids Fitness classes are geared toward those age 8 to 16, and run at 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.

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