Helping teens get fit & healthy

Kalina Martinez, 44 from the University Area, recently began the Lean Teen Program with her husband Jorge to help local teens lose weight in a healthy way.

Q. How did you and your husband get the idea for Lean Teen?

A. We started a fitness and weight loss center in 2003 in Miami for women called Ladies Inshape. We soon realized that while there were many programs to help women stay in shape, there were no programs for teens to lose weight and develop healthy habits. Too fill this need, we developed the Lean Teen Program as a complete weight loss program that included nutrition, support, and exercise. Our mission is to give teens all the tools they needed to change the way they think about food and exercise and transform their lives.

Q. What is your background work with teens?

A. I have been a psychotherapist for over 18 years working with teens. I have worked with all kinds of teens who struggle with depression, anxiety, eating disorders and an array of mental health issues all related to their weight. I also worked as a high school counselor for 5 years.

Q. How has your personal background guided you in your business?

A. As our business became a bigger part of our life in Miami, my husband and I had to confront our own personal struggles. We always wanted to have children of our own but we could not have any. After lots of prayer and planning, we decided that our best option to have children was to seek professional help and completely focus on building a family. This led us to move to Charlotte and get the help we needed.”

To pay for fertility treatments, my husband went back to his profession as an accountant while I began a job as a high school counselor. Unfortunately, the road to building a family was a rollercoaster ride filled with moments of excitement and deep falls into despair. Time and time again I would get pregnant only to lose the baby during the second trimester without any warning. We ended up losing 19-week old twins, a boy and a girl, in 2010 as well as a 25-week old baby boy in 2011. My last pregnancy was definitely the hardest because it meant that my husband and I would have to put an end to our dream of having children of our own. But we have been married for over 17 years and have faced just about every challenge I can think of. Going through infertility was painful but we are grateful that we had the support we needed from our church community and friends. We also had to learn to trust God again. Without God’s guidance we would not have the courage and strength to rebuild the Lean Teen Program.”

Q. How does the program work?

A. We set all our teens on a balanced nutrition plan, track their progress every month, and offer unlimited 1-hour Lean Teen classes that include 30 minutes of exercise and 30 minutes of group support.

We focus on making sure that our teens are making gradual changes in their eating and exercise habits every month. We also work on their self-esteem and confidence to give them the strength and motivation they need to reach their goals. Our mission is to give teens the tools they need to develop healthy habits so they can transform their lives and become successful adults.

Q. What are some of the workouts the teens do?

A. Our circuit training classes use hydraulic equipment that is very safe for teens and provide the right amount of resistance. Circuit training helps to stimulate the muscles while also keeping the heart rate elevated. By combining short bursts of high intensity cardio with low intensity rest periods, our Lean Teens can burn more calories than exercising at the same pace in just half the time.

We also require our teens to use a heart rate monitor to ensure they are exercising at the right intensity level without going overboard and risking injury (normally 65-85 percent of their maximum heart rate).

Q. How does the group meeting benefit the teens?

A. While our exercise classes work out the body, our group support classes work out the mind. With the assistance of an expert psychotherapist, our teens discuss topics such as positive thinking, body image, self-esteem, anti-bullying strategies, dealing with stress, goal setting, problem solving, nutrition, and much more. By changing the way our teens think about food and exercise, we help them stay motivated and on track to reaching their goals. That is why all our Lean Teen classes include separate classes for boys and girls to make sure our teens feel comfortable, have fun, and make new friends with teens just like them.

Q. How many teens have you helped so far with Lean Teen?

A. We helped over a hundred teens while living in Miami. We recently started the program in Charlotte and will soon have about 50 teens.

Q. Are there any tips our parents can use with their teens?

A. We usually get the whole family involved when preparing a balanced nutrition plan for our teens because having a good support system is very important. Parents should make a healthy lifestyle something the whole family can get involved in and have fun. The focus should not be on losing weight but on developing healthy habits. That is the trick to losing weight!

Q. What are some of the foods in the meal plans?

A. We encourage our teens to have a balanced nutrition. That includes a little of everything. Making sure that fruits and vegetables share at least half of the plate while grains and proteins share the other half. We want our teens to choose foods that they already enjoy eating. We just want them to have more balance and not to over eat.

Q. What is the price of the program?

A. Our program starts at $85 per month. We are also running a FREE registration promotion that will end soon which includes a balanced nutrition plan, body composition and measurements, training on use of equipment, and 3 Lean Teen T-Shirts.

You can find more information at:


Phone: (704) 614-6700 or

Address: 3220 Prosperity Church Rd. Suite 102, Charlotte, NC 28269