For Susan Moore, living healthy is more than a New Year’s resolution, it’s her entire lifestyle.
After watching her husband endure multiple surgeries and her oldest daughter suffer from health issues since birth, Moore became determined to help her family live a healthier, happier lifestyle.
“I was tired of watching my husband break his body because he was good at his job,” Moore said.
Moore is the owner and one of the head coaches at Better Eats and Better Gym in Gig Harbor. Located on Uddenberg Lane, the gym is an intimate space for a lot of small group and one-on-one training while the newer cafe sells juices, smoothies, coffees and health food snacks. The goal of Better Eats? To make sure anyone with specific dietary issues can become informed and fed with whole, healthy foods.
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Whether it’s diabetes, gluten-intolerance, kidney failure, dairy allergies or if someone just wants a healthier lifestyle, Moore has the tools to help.
“We have a joke that it has to be ‘Susan Approved,’” Moore said, showing a pile of round stickers that look like stamps.
The stamps say “Susan Approved” with an illustration of her hand lifting a kettlebell, and are placed on random food items in the cafe.
“We are either eating food that fights or feeds disease,” she said.
Moore started her career as a trainer more than 10 years ago while stationed on the East Coast with her husband and family. Her husband, Toby, serves in the U.S. Army. The couple has two daughters, Sydney and Madison, who are both teenagers now. The family moved to Gig Harbor when Toby was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
That’s when Moore started looking at opening her own gym, which would focus on correctly training members on how to move and work with their body in a way that won’t hurt them.
“It’s not my job to make people tired,” Moore said. “I like to say our bodies don’t speak English and the ability to move correctly can be lost if it’s not used. So I like to coach from a bio-mechanical standpoint.”
We are either eating food that fights or feeds disease.
Susan Moore, owner of Better Eats and Better Gym
Moore has worked for multiple fitness companies and coaches fitness trainers. She soon realized many popular gyms were not training their coaches, which she thought was a dangerous practice. It resonated with her the issues she saw in other soldiers after working their bodies during their careers.
“A majority of (Veterans Affairs) claims are not from combat injuries,” Moore said. “Instead it’s people hurting themselves over the years because they are doing their jobs.”
When Moore finally found her new location and opened the gym’s doors in 2014, she began training in small classes such as kettlebell, weightlifting and overall fitness. She is working with new trainers to bring more classes, such as aerobatics.
Katie Lynch is a barista for the cafe and is training to start teaching her own class at the gym. She went to school to learn nutrition and physiology. Now she is excited to work with Moore to teach gym members aerial gymnastics, which looks like dancing on suspended ribbons.
“I sought out jobs in my degree and I worked at a (physical therapy) office for a while, but I didn’t like how rigid it was,” Lynch said. “A friend of mine introduced me to Susan and I immediately loved the environment. She let me take my expertise and flourish here.”
Lynch also loves working at the cafe because she gets to be creative with menu items. Everything in the cafe is homemade and a majority of the food comes from locally sourced items. There is even a resource guide for new customers to use when deciding what to eat or drink from the cafe. The resource guide is a binder filled with research collected by Moore.
“This this is always changing,” Moore said. “I am always finding the best and newest research and placing it in the binder.”
The binder also includes every ingredient used in the cafe so customers can customize orders to their needs. Moore says she also pushes for the baristas to remember their customers so that everyone feels like a part of the gym.
“You always know what exactly comes in your drink; it’s not pumped out of a bottle,” Lynch said. “It’s very personable. I’ve never been to a gym or cafe where I knew everybody. I feel like I can learn and work here.”
Moore said with New Year’s Day over she may see more people coming into the gym, but she hopes that people will choose to come visit Better Eats and Better Gym because they want an overall healthy lifestyle change, instead of choosing to just lose weight.
“We may not be for everyone,” Moore said. “But we want to make sure people are here and choosing to do it right.”