Alta Skelton was pregnant with her second child and finishing up nursing school when her 6-year-old daughter, Andrea, passed away from a congenital heart defect. At the time, Skelton was working in the intensive care unit, and she transformed her grief by giving her all to care for her patients. One day she found herself caring for two patients whose combined weight exceeded 1,000 pounds, and she had an epiphany.
“I thought, ‘This is where I have to make my mark on the world,’” says Skelton, who was inspired to teach people about wellness and prevention. Health and wellness have always been a passion for Skelton, who ran her first marathon when she was 30 years old.
“As I was training for that first marathon, I was also in graduate school, working full time and raising two kids, but it was great,” she says. “I wanted to demonstrate health and wellness to my patients by doing it myself.”
In 2005 Skelton began teaching people how to arm themselves with health and wellness knowledge. She took her clients to the grocery and taught them how to shop. She also took them to the gym and helped them create a customized workout plan. Skelton began studying root-cause medicine and became certified as an integrative medicine practitioner. Over time, she felt a calling to start her own practice, and in 2014 she launched Fully Armored Family Health and Fitness.
“People would say to me, ‘I can’t wrap my mind around the changes you want me to make in my life,’” Skelton says. “Making lifestyle changes can be scary and overwhelming.”
Skelton, who has a gym in her office, demonstrates exactly how to lift weights and strengthen the core. She also demonstrates how to whip up delicious gluten- and dairy-free post-workout meals. Dairy and gluten are both mucus forming and inflammatory, so eliminating them can make a big difference in health. In fact, Skelton used to suffer with asthma, but once she rid her diet of gluten and dairy, she no longer needed an inhaler.
Eating right is a lesson she’s always shared with her grandchildren, which is why they cook together whenever they visit.
“It’s so important to start demonstrating healthy cooking to kids when they’re young,” Skelton says. “Teach them that vegetables are tasty, color is purposeful and nutrition is a good thing.”
She also works out with her grandkids.
“We do push-ups together, go rock climbing and run races,” Skelton says. “I want them to see that activity is fun.”
At age 57, Skelton is still running marathons, having completed more than 25 over the course of her lifetime, including qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon three times. She also participated in bodybuilding competitions during her 40s.
She credits her husband, Rich, for being her supporter and biggest fan, as well as her workout group of gals who call themselves the “Sixpack.”
“We run together and encourage one another,” Skelton says. “They have been a rock to me. We lean on each other and hold each other accountable. They are also part of my journey.”
Fully Armored Family Health and Fitness is located at 755 West Carmel Drive, Suite 150 in Carmel. For more information, call 317-810-1399 or visit fullyarmored.info.