Rocky Fit helps members of RMC lead a healthier life, article by Cheyenne Lira

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Every year hundreds of people make new year’s resolutions that revolve around implementing a healthier lifestyle. According to an article published by, the top New Year’s resolution of 2017 was losing weight or eating healthier, but only 9.2 percent of people would actually stick with their resolution throughout the year.

About a month before the New Year came Rocky Mountain College established a program that has helped students, faculty, and staff stick to their resolutions and reach their personal goals.

The program, Rocky Fit, was funded by the Tobacco Free Grant at RMC and ran from Jan. 10 to April 18.

Rocky Fit helped participants lead a healthier lifestyle by encouraging them to be more active, log their food intake, and change dietary habits.  

At the start, Shaydean Saye, one of the facilitators of the project, explained in an email that Rocky Fit was funded because “the Grant has allowed [RMC] to expand to focusing on Chronic Disease Prevention. As a result, we have decided to work on helping our campus transform their diet and exercise to healthier levels.”

FSaye further explained that Rocky Fit became an idea when the Tobacco Free RMC group was at a grant meeting and learned that “tobacco use, physical inactivity, and poor diet are the three leading behaviors that cause cancer, heart disease, type II diabetes and lung disease; which are the cause of 50% of all deaths in Montana.”

To Saye, that is why a program like Rocky Fit is so important. It is easy for those in a college environment to become overwhelmed by everything that is going on around them.

While some of the Rocky Fit members may have lost weight while in the program, it is important to point out that weight loss was not the sole focus of the program.

“This program focuses on healthier decisions in our diet and exercise choices and how those impact our health; not just a focus on weight loss.  Weight loss ends up being a side effect of making healthier decisions in your diet and exercise habits,” said Saye.

Those in the program were able to make healthier choices thanks to the Fortin Fitness Center Director, Gail Nutting, and the health and human performance (HHP) faculty member, Nich Pertuit.

Nutting has encouraged Rocky Fit members to “move more” on a regular basis. For the duration of the program Nutting has taught two 60 minute group fitness classes a week which consisted of strength training and cardio.

“My goal for Rocky Fit was to get participants to move more by being more active or finding a sustainable activity that fits into their day,” said Nutting. “Weight loss is a byproduct of living a healthier lifestyle. This isn’t a one time goal this is a serious lifestyle change.”

Nutting added, “I think it’s important for Rocky to have programs that enrich and improve the body as well as the mind. The Rocky Fit program is for those of us who do not exercise regularly but would like some help getting started. I have enjoyed the contacts I have made with the participants. I have enjoyed being physically challenged as well. Overall, I would say the Rocky Fit experience has been a positive one.”

Pertuit has helped with the program by providing nutrition coaching to all members. Pertuit has also let the Rocky Fit program utilize the InBody scan machine that is used by the HHP department.

The InBody scan machine is a mixture of a scale and an x-ray machine. While the scanner cannot see a participant’s bones, it does weigh them and goes into great depth about the participant’s weight.

The InBody machine sounds intimidating but it can be very beneficial. The machine analyzes all the fat and muscle in the body; measures how much “good” versus “bad” fat a person has as well as how much muscle.

While the program may have been daunting at times, those in it have enjoyed it.

Business professor, doctor Karen Beiser, was one of the faculty that participated in Rocky Fit and enjoyed the challenges the program came with.

“What has been the most surprising and helpful part of the program is what we have learned about ourselves from Nich Pertuit’s “magic machine” that can do a full body scan just from standing on it barefoot,” said Beiser.

“I am encouraged to know that I am in better shape than I thought I was, and most importantly for me as I age, that I am strong enough. Of course, that means I need to continue what I am doing, but getting that positive reinforcement has given me kind of a new burst of energy to keep going! I am also adopting a few of the items [Nich Pertuit] has suggested, such as fasting 12 hours every day and trying to eliminate all the white foods from my diet,” added Beiser.

Although the program has come to an end, Tobacco Free RMC are hopeful that they will continue the program next school year.

To gain more information on the Rocky Fit program or to find out how you can join for next year, contact Shaydean Saye at

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