Hilary Downey gained 100 pounds during pregnancy with her first child. After months of holding onto what she referred to as “baby weight” she realized that it was no longer just attributed to her pregnancy, but rather her lifestyle.
Fast food for many lunches and dinners, Coke at every meal, minimal activity throughout the week—this was all that she knew as a kid. When it came time to have her own, she dropped a few of the bad habits, but doubled down on the junk food and time spent on the couch.
With her own baby now in tow, she would walk through the grocery store snatching up her favorite snacks packed with loads of preservatives and a crushing calorie count. That was until one trip, she noticed it took all of her energy just to venture down an aisle or two, before she had to pop a squat on a bench for a break.
She wasn’t a doctor, but her background in psychology was telling her that these habits she had formed over the years were starting to take a serious toll on her body.
Right then and there, she decided it was time for a lifestyle change.
Finding a fit community…
She started by joining health groups on Facebook that had other moms going through the same experiences she did. These women were on a mission to change their habits and support one another as they took back control of their health. One thing she noticed all of them doing was counting their macros and managing their calories by tracking.
“I saw people on social media using trackers to count their calories and macronutrients, and figured that would be a great place to start…little did I know that would become one of the most important elements to my lifestyle change.”
From there, she started substituting some of her junk food go-to’s for more whole food, nutrient-dense products that made her feel good and forget about those pesky cravings. Top it off with weekly activity, and she was well on her way to dropping the pounds that held her back for so long—over 100lbs to be exact.
After her second pregnancy, Hilary was in full-fledged mom mode—making food and activity choices that benefitted her and her kids instead of sacrificing a few moments for “good tastes”. During this time, she also started to put her story online via a private Snapchat.
Here, she was posting daily her grocery hauls, meal prep, activities with her boys, pretty much all the things she was doing to stay healthy, happy, and engaged in a life of wellness. What quickly started as a digital journal grew into a complete community of mothers and other women who were looking for advice from the mom who dropped 100lbs and helped her mother do the same.
“I was sharing my everyday life with people and they started to resonate with me and my experiences. Eventually I got to the spot where I realized that I wanted to coach and support women who were going through some of the same things I did, and guide them to a new way of living.”
From community member to coach…
With an exploding Snapchat, and a constant stream of questions coming from her faithful followers, Hilary decided it was time to go legit and start getting some credibility as a nutrition coach.
It began with finishing up her degree in psychology, while also tacking on a degree in nutrition. From there she started running Facebook groups for clients as well as building a long list of 1:1 clients that she met with every week.
Before she knew it, she was spending most of her day answering Facebook messages and coaching her 1:1 clients, leaving little to no time for growing her business or more importantly spending time with her kids.
While all of this was happening, Hilary was also trying to attend Dietetic School and earn her Registered Dietitian status.
“I was doing so many things—coaching 1:1, running multiple Facebook groups, going to school for my RD, taking care of my kids, and trying to keep my business going, and there just wasn’t enough time.”
Stuck in a rock and a hard place, Hilary bet on herself and dropped the RD school to focus on her business completely, hoping to build it into a sustainable and profitable hustle that clients wanted to be a part of.
Quickly she realized that running a full-fledged business through Facebook was not going to be an option and her once-private Snapchat was turning into an all-day practice that bled over to Instagram. She already had a group program created and ready for deployment, she was just missing the means to make it a reality.
The move to SPRNG…
With a growing client list in hand and an eagerness to launch her own group programs, Hilary turned to SPRNG for her own coaching app.
“1:1 training was killing my time. Being a single mom, I wanted to have more time to spend with my kids, while also making a greater impact on my clients—having my own app where everything could be run, was essential to freeing up the time I needed.”
Fast forward from October 2020, when Hilary was first introduced to the SPRNG app, to January 2020—she had her first set of clients ready to embark on their journey in the Balance by Hilary App.
In her app, clients could communicate with one another via chat forums, track their progress, receive daily accountability, and get direct coaching from Hilary without needing her to drop everything she was doing. What was once taking her hours, now took her minutes, giving her more time to focus on new programs and enjoy days with her boys.
While she was doing this, her die-hard tribe of clients were working hard on themselves—eating whole food nutrition, counting their macros, and getting in their daily activity. She’d be the first to tell you the results spoke volumes.
“People wanted a place to belong. It’s not just about health and wellness, it’s about everything—from the hard conversation you had with your husband to the irritation of tracking, all the way to dealing with the stress of kids, my clients wanted a place to talk about all of it…with my app, I can be the leader they ask questions to, but they also have each other to lean on and that has made a massive difference.”
Since launching her app in January, Hilary has run her 21-day macro challenge every single month with growing numbers, as well as turned a majority of those challengers into monthly clients that use her app every single week.
Not only that, but she has found the space to start working with publications and press groups to grow her business even further, like this Today Show article that her and her mom were just featured in recently.
It’s safe to say that Hilary hustles harder than most coaches in the health and fitness game, and helping her create her own app where she could further her reach, grow her brand, and boost her business is something that we at SPRNG enjoy doing and love to see flourish as the future unfolds.
If you are interested in learning more about Hilary, her 21-day challenge, or her app Balance by Hilary, click here to check her out—trust me, she’ll be excited to talk to you.
Hilary answers your questions
What is the most difficult part about coaching?
“The results vary—since you’re not there in person regularly, it’s hard to push clients to follow through. You can’t do it for them and at some point you realize they have to do it for themselves and letting go of that can be tough.”
What is the most rewarding part of coaching?
“When I see my clients flip their mindset around. It’s my mission to change the way that people diet and when my clients make these changes and start seeing results both physically and mentally, that’s how I know I’m doing something right. Also, I love having an impact on future generations. As a coach who works with women, it’s amazing to know that I can make an impact not just one person but an entire family!”