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Fitness fan builds healthy meal prep program

Fitness fan builds healthy meal prep program

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She is known as Wacofitchick per her Instagram account, but more to the point she is fit because she eats right and stays healthy.

And she offers a way for others in the area “fuel up” in a healthy way.

Dominique Terrase Newman’s company, Fuel UP, is a healthy meal prep program that she started in 2014.

“In my 20s I really got into the fitness and body building lifestyle,” said Newman, a Louisiana native who moved to Waco when she was 7 years old. “Therefore, daily gym and meal prep was my life.”

In 2014 she bought a commercial building in Speegleville, which became the home of Gym UP, where she provided private fitness training classes for women. Newman said she always told her clients “you can’t outwork a bad diet.”

But no matter how many times she told her clients those words they just never seemed to have time to cook their own meals and count the calories.

Since the fitness guru was already prepping meals for herself anyway, she decided why not prep meals for others, too.

“Gym UP members grew to friends and family and that quickly grew into customers,” Newman explained. “Officially, Fuel UP was born in 2016 out of my little home kitchen. I quickly realized I needed a commercial facility, so I rented commercial kitchens for two years until I had enough saved up to build my own commercial kitchen in 2018.”

Prior to Fuel UP, Newman had a full-time job while also starting another business in 2013 called Uniquely Positive, in which she designed and sold her own line of clothing.

Juggling balls with a full-time job and her various companies, in 2018 that Newman said she felt comfortable enough leaving her job to transition into her own full-time endeavor with Gym UP and Fuel UP.

Some of her immediate challenges were reaching new customers and she says it has been tough.

“The ordering process is online and not a restaurant; customers can be hesitant,” she said. “Though we have steadily grown, which is incredible.”

Adding Help

In fact, Newman says she has recently been able to hire additional staff and provide more jobs. These same employees have now stepped up to keep the ball rolling while Newman is pregnant with her first child.

“There have been many weekends where I was so sick, I couldn’t make it in at all,” she said. “My team took care of everything without flaw. It can get frustrating since I cannot move large heavy items, which is the majority of the cooking. My team has been there for me every step of the way. No way I could do any of this without them, even before pregnancy, I’m nothing without them.”

There haven’t been any new menu options for Fuel UP since she has been pregnant.

“Maybe once I have a normal taste palate back,” she said “I have been on the ‘homemade baby food’ prowl, so something could possibly come of that once my research grows.”

For now, the healthy meal prep program offers five main meal options that include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a keto option. The meals come in three sizes. Fuel UP also offers salads, snack packs, family packs, by the pound options and desserts.

“What first made us famous was our meatloaf, which is still our best seller,” Newman said. “Since then some of the other favorites are our Carne Asada, Buffalo Chicken, Cilantro Lime Shrimp pasta bowl and our breakfast tacos.”

Before she built her own facility, Newman said she had nowhere to store leftover food, so a lot had to be thrown out. Now they hold what she calls a “flash sale” on Sundays for those wanting meals at a less expensive price. Whatever is left after that is donated to teachers, nurses, doctors or police officers around Waco, she said.

The menu changes every week and there are pickup locations in Waco and Temple.

And, while there have been wins since she opened the Fuel UP doors, Newman says she thinks the biggest positive was building her own facility.

“It was a huge jump and risk, but because we have this facility and only cook on the weekend we can rent out our kitchen to food trucks and other local food companies,” she said. “Knowing that we can help fellow Waco small businesses is very rewarding. I know the struggle of renting so I love that I can make it easy for others so they can concentrate on growing their small businesses.”

Appreciation

Fuel UP customers like Shannon Stumlauf expressed her compliments to Newman.

“Absolutely love your food and convenience of it!” she wrote. “Eat, pickup, cleaning. Takes the thought out of meal planning and prepping, has been huge help for myself and my diet.”

Newman said the main benefits of Fuel UP meals are the great tasting food and portion control, but that also means less time is spent grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning the kitchen and washing dishes.

“Our meals take two minutes to heat up and there is no cleanup,” Newman said. “Our food comes from top-of-the-line distributors. The biggest benefit though besides health, saving money and time is of course supporting local. Our business gives jobs to local families as well as giving back to the community.”

Newman says her business has benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I almost hate saying it because I know so many businesses are suffering, but we were extremely fortunate,” she said. “So many people couldn’t leave their home or didn’t want to be put at risk at the grocery, so instead they would order healthy meals for themselves and their families through us. We offered curbside delivery during the peak so that our customers always remained protected.”

“I’m a single guy who works most holidays,” begins the comment from customer Robert Burns on the Fuel UP website. “Fuel UP helps get my Thanksgiving turkey (mashed potatoes and green beans) in while staying healthy on-the-go.”

She graduated from Lorena High in 2006 and has an associate’s degree from McLennan Community College while pursuing a major in child psychology. Newman also volunteers with Mission Waco regularly as well as the Waco Humane Society during her free time. However, her heart is in her healthy meal plan prep offering and she is happy to have a commercial-certified kitchen with certified and licensed employees in food handling, nutrition and macro weighing of the food.

She also gives thanks for having met “the love of my life in 2017” in Derek Newman. They were engaged in November of 2018, married in September 2019, and are expecting their first child, Grayson Allen, in April of this year.

With much to be thankful for, the entrepreneur says dogs, children and the elderly are what makes her heart grow.

“I love caring for them and loving them,” she said. “I love helping to inspire young entrepreneurs to chase their dreams and make a difference in this world and I absolutely love this city. This is my hometown. The community is so genuine and caring. Anytime we’ve needed help or have questions, everyone is so quick to jump in and help without reservations.

“I just love how we all support each other in this little town of ours. We help and uplift one another.” 

Fuel UP

101 Randy Drive

254-723-2768

fuelupwaco.com

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