When I first started going to Sweat Chicago, I thought I was going to die during/after every. single. workout. There was a girl there that immediately stood out to me. She was tall and in amazing shape, and killed the workouts with an amount of intensity I wanted to have. She would push me during class with words of encouragement like, "you got this" or "come on, three more!" After a few classes with this fitness phenom I decided to introduce myself and thank her for motivating me. She said her name was Kiki and she was a coach there. So my friend Anna and I started going to some of her classes and, somewhere along the way, we became friends.
Now I go to BTY Training Lab and various other workouts around the city with her and a group of about 5 other amazing women. We are like a little fitness tribe, and I love them dearly. Kiki still never ceases to amaze me on a daily fitness-related basis. She finishes pretty much all of our workouts first, a lot of times faster than the men, and certainly WAY ahead of me. Sometimes she'll finish and then come and push me through the end of my workout, run my last lap with me or knock out those last 10 burpees. Where she gets this stamina, drive and energy, I don't know...so I asked her all about it. Meet Kiki Smith. My fitness motivator and #womancrushwednesday.
1. What attracted you to the fitness industry, and what keeps you continuing to stay engaged with it despite also having a 9-5 (or longer) job?
I have always been a super active person and am honestly one of those people who enjoys working out (yes we do exist). A few years ago when I first began in the industry, I realized teaching was a way for me to channel my passion while helping others find/achieve/surpass their goals. I think what keeps me engaged is the challenge and the reward. Each time I teach a class, I have the opportunity to meet new people, explore new exercises and bring the excitement and energy that I have in my own workouts to those in my class. Teaching fitness classes never feels like "work." It's something I genuinely look forward to each week.
2. When you reach that point of exhaustion in a workout where you just feel like you want to quit, what is it you do or tell yourself that keeps you pushing through it and finishing strong?
"Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." You may think I'm kidding, but this is legitimately what I tell myself. I always tell my students, working out is more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge. I find if I can hone in on my mental toughness and get in a head space that clears all the negative thoughts and focus on the task at hand, I can usually push through anything. When I am in a place where I want to give up and don't think I can keep going, I take a moment and think of all the people who can't work out, for whatever reason it may be. It helps to shift my perspective and usually gives me the push I need to finish strong!
3. What is something you struggle with (or have struggled with in the past), personally, that you think readers might relate to? When this comes up for you, what tools do you use to re-focus and shift your energy past the self-doubt or whatever it may be? In other words, what have you found to be helpful for you at times like these?
For me its balance. I give %110 at everything I do. I like to be busy, so I tend to put too much on my plate. This can, at times, negatively impact my life, my relationships and my 'me' time. It has taken me many missteps to learn that I cannot do it all and it is OK to say no! Now, before I commit to something, instead of staying yes and figuring out how I will make it all work later, I take the time to figure out a) is it feasible b) does it serve me and my current goals and c) am I doing it out of guilt or do I really WANT to do it? These little questions help me decipher what I should and shouldn't be doing with my time, which in turn has helped me find more balance. Sometimes I have unrealistic expectations for myself and I think that's something a lot of people can relate to. I always come back to the quote "Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can." It helps remind me that I am doing the best I can and, at the end of the day, that's all we can really ask of ourselves.
4. Since reaching fitness and nutrition goals isn't just about the physical, but very much about the mental and emotional as well, what is your #1 tip or tidbit of encouragement for your clients wanting to lose weight, gain strength and endurance, or even just adopt a healthier lifestyle altogether?
Consistency is KEY. There will be days where you will not want to get out of bed to go to the gym... go anyway. There ALWAYS will be temptations with food...don't give in. If you stay consistent, you WILL see results. I am not saying go to the extreme. Again, you need to find that balance. But make sure you are sticking to your plan more that you are blowing it off. What you do every day matters more that what you do every once in a while. And if you have trouble being consistent, find a tribe. I honestly can't thank my fitness friends enough for keeping me consistent, accountable and dedicated. Find people that build you up, make you feel good and make you want to work harder. And when you want to give up, DON'T. It's really as simple as that!
5. Can you provide a (roughly) 30 min workout that readers can do on their own at home?
Complete 6 rounds of the following, every 5 minutes. If you finish a round before 5 min, that becomes your rest. If you do NOT finish under 5 minutes, scale your reps on the the next round to try and get back on track and finish all rounds in 30 min or less.
400M run (you can run around one city block)
5 push ups
15 squat jumps
30 mountain climbers