Nathan Hodge discovered a passion for fitness and nutrition, which he wanted to share with others. He brought his idea to life by launching Focused on Fit, an online community and resource to help people exercise more and eat healthier. However, with limited coding skills Nathan constantly needed help from developers. He soon realized that instead of outsourcing for the project’s development, Nathan wanted to learn both web and iOS development for himself.
After a few months of learning with Treehouse, Nathan is now channeling his new coding skills into making his Focused on Fit dreams a reality through building and managing the site himself. But Nathan hasn’t stopped there, he has also built and released his first iOS app—coded entirely in Swift—Simply Smoothie and has several other iOS apps in development.
We caught up with Nathan to hear more about his learning experience and the evolution of focusedonfit.com.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
In my day job, I am a storage engineer. Two years ago I decided I wanted to learn web and iOS development and decided to join Treehouse. I was motivated to learn from Treehouse because I found the instructor’s communication and delivery to be top notch. There are a lot of video tutorials on the Internet, but it’s clear that Treehouse instructors are skilled not only in their technology but also in their presentation style. Treehouse tutorials offered real world examples and frequently offered new courses using the latest technologies.
Tell us a little about how your career has evolved since learning with Treehouse and the work you’re doing now.
I still work my normal engineer job, but on nights and weekends I spend time working on my site focusedonfit.com. Fitness and nutrition became an interest to me seven years ago when I found myself overweight and sedentary from years of working an IT desk job. Learning about exercise and nutrition transformed my life. Soon I lost 39lbs and even started running half-marathons!
This new passion drove me to create focusedonfit.com and provide a way for others to exercise more and eat better. The site couples the ability to track nutrition and exercise while also encouraging healthy cooking, hosting a large menu of healthy recipes. Users can even input their own recipes or recipes they find online to learn the nutritional value of those meals.
When I first started building the site I had help from other developers but thanks to Treehouse, I now can develop for the site myself! In addition to the site, I have also launched my first iOS app Simply Smoothies. The Simply Smoothie app gives the user a blueprint to creating their very own smoothie recipes. The user only has to select the ingredients that they want to include, and we calculate the right amounts of each ingredient to ensure a tasty smoothie! The app also calculates the smoothie’s nutritional information including vitamins and minerals. The app was entirely written in Swift and Treehouse courses were critical in quickly picking up this new language!
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
I’m working on a few new iOS apps. The first one will let you get the nutritional facts for a food by searching or scanning a barcode. The second app will be the companion app to the Focused on Fit website. The app will allow a user to track nutrition and exercise. The third app will allow people to build, save and share recipes along with generate the nutritional content of each recipe. Lastly, I’m working on a “fitness tracker for your car” that helps people keep track of the manufacturer’s recommended car maintenance. I’m sure there will be more to learn with iOS9 coming out soon and Treehouse will be there to deliver excellent education!
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students, who are aspiring designers and developers?
Don’t get discouraged early on in your learning process, because you’re probably not a bad student—you just haven’t found the right teacher. I bought a book a few years back on iOS development and I couldn’t pick up the material. In fact, the book sat and collected dust for a long time—as did my developer dreams. Later I found Treehouse, started grasping concepts, and building confidence!
To read more awesome student success stories, check out the Treehouse Stories Page.