15Tell us about yourself and your business.
Hello, I'm April Perton, a former military spouse with a global footprint living in various locations worldwide. While Fayetteville may not be my native home, it has become a significant part of my story. In addition to my diverse experiences, I'm a proud mother with one daughter currently navigating the college journey. My household is complete with the delightful presence of two amazing dogs, adding joy and companionship to my life. Through my journey, I've embraced the richness of different cultures and now find fulfillment in the unique community of Fayetteville.
Cooking4Fitness is located in Downtown Fayetteville, steps from the Market Square at 130 Bow St. Our hours are based on private bookings and or events that are posted on our website: www.cooking4fitness.com; @Cooking4Fitness, LLC on Facebook.
Please tell the readers about your educational background and the careers you have held/professional life.
I have a bachelor's in business management, fitness certifications for over 10 years and several educational certificates in health and wellness, including becoming a nutritionist with Food Saved Me Institute. I spent over 20 years in IT at BlueCross BlueShield of Georgia, working overseas and within the US, before retiring early.
Transitioning to health and wellness, I became a fitness instructor for military families in several military bases, including Fort Liberty. I moved to Fayetteville in 2016 and founded Cooking4Fitness in 2017. Our mission is simple: bring healthier cooking back home. We aim to inspire families in the community to make healthier choices regarding their meals and overall well-being. Being a "cooking coach" nutritionist has become my love to help everyone love cooking just as much as we
love eating.
Did you have mentors or people who inspired you in your work?
Many inspiring individuals have led me to this career path, including my parents and sister, who have worked in a hospital for more than 10 years. My mother's strength to overcome breast cancer twice and the strength of my "local" mom, Ouida Heilman, who is from right here in Fayetteville, inspire me. Awareness of cancer and other health diseases is important for us all to be aware of. Leading healthier lifestyles and attending workshops are ways that everyone can get the information and learn.
What is your position in the business?
I'm the proud owner of Cooking4Fitness, a company with an incredible team of cooking coaches. Our diverse group includes mothers, teachers and RN professionals, all passionate about hosting and educating the community.
At Cooking4Fitness, we go beyond traditional workshops. Our role extends to conducting teambuilding sessions for small businesses, collaborating with military groups, and offering personalized sessions for individual families. We believe in more than just workshops; we like to say, "We change lives."
As the business owner, I proudly lead a team of amazing partners. I hesitate to call them employees because, to us, it's not just a job — it's a shared mission. Together, we are a passionate group of five cooking coaches dedicated to spreading the message of healthy cooking and lifestyle choices. Our collaborative efforts go beyond a traditional employer-employee dynamic; we are a team united in our commitment to empowering individuals and families with the knowledge and skills to lead healthier lives through mindful eating and cooking practices.
What is unique about the business?
Our company is not just about cooking; it's a unique blend of culinary expertise and essential kitchen education. We go beyond recipes, delving into the safety aspects of our kitchens. From understanding the contents of our refrigerators to examining the potential effects of cooking materials on our food, we provide comprehensive educational information. Our goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about the entire food preparation process, ensuring delicious, safe and healthy meals for the families we reach.
What inspired you to start this business?
The inspiration behind Cooking4Fitness goes beyond my personal experiences; it stems from witnessing the impact of health issues, particularly cancer, within my own family. Observing numerous families grappling with health challenges such as heart disease, weight problems and diabetes, I realized that many of these issues were linked to a lack of understanding or misinformation about food. This realization fueled my commitment to make a difference through our company, advocating for healthier eating habits to positively impact lives and prevent such health issues in the community.
What makes your job and business exciting and fun?
The true measure of success for Cooking4Fitness lies in our impact on families. If we can shift the perspective of just one family towards the importance of cooking healthier, steering them away from constant reliance on eating out, and guiding them back to the tradition of preparing meals together at home, then we've achieved something significant.

Can you share any stories or highlights from your work?
Over the past six years in Fayetteville, Cooking4Fitness has had the privilege of stepping into countless homes and working with diverse groups, emphasizing the significance of cooking healthier. Whether it's an intimate session highlighting the ease of home cooking or collaborating with larger groups, we've had special moments with over 1,000 individuals. Our journey is not just about teaching recipes; it's about sharing our passion for cooking and fostering a love for preparing wholesome meals at home. And with enthusiasm undiminished, we look forward to continuing this journey, reaching even more individuals and making a lasting impact on their approach to healthier living through cooking.
We have a host of workshops, from Food Addiction 911 to African American Nutrition, and offer complementary at-home presentations in which we will walk the families through grocery shopping and cooking. We also share necessary products for a healthier kitchen and educate the community on what's in their kitchens.
Do you have events?
We host at least one open house monthly and at least two to three workshops at our office and throughout the community. Families can call us to schedule their date and time for a class. Businesses can contact us for Lunch and Learn sessions for their staff or even schedule teambuilding in our office.
Do you have plans to expand or offer new things in your business?
We would love to expand throughout North Carolina and the surrounding areas of Fayetteville. We do have a few reps in the Charlotte area. We will continue to work and grow with other Health and Wellness organizations and community outreach.

Editor's Note: This article first ran in the March 2024 Women's View magazine.

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