Name: Kimberly Mills
Location: Shawnee, Kansas
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
From the time I discovered GGS, I have totally been inspired by your message to educate and inspire women of all ages to maximize the strength of their body, mind and character. Through the message of GGS and the expertise and knowledge of the phenomenal trainers I have worked with, I have discovered a strength that I never new I had in me. Strength that is not only physical, but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well! In the words of Jen Comas, “Beauty lies in strength.”
Today, I feel stronger than ever and beautiful for the first time in my life!
How long have you been training?
I started training in March of 2010. At first my goal was to lose weight and improve my overall health. In that time I have had three phenomenal trainers who have guided me to my goals in every stage of my fitness journey and helped me become a competitive athlete for the first time in my life.
Most Memorable PR:
Every PR is a memorable one to me…because with each PR I get, the stronger and more empowered I feel in every aspect of my life. I get such an endorphine rush from the feeling that I know I am getting stronger every day in every way. Every PR reinforces within me that with commitment and determination, I can achieve any goal that I set for myself.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Favorite post-workout meal:
I always have a chocolate or chocolate peanut butter banana protein shake right after a workout. Then a meal high in protein with lots of veggies as well.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
My favorite way to treat to myself is enjoying dinner and wine at my favorite restaurant with some awesome friends.
“And in the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.”
I live this every single day, putting as much life as I can in every single day, through my training, my dreams and goals, my friends and family, and crossing things off my “Living Life List.
What inspires and motivates you?
When I began my journey, I had no self-motivation. I had tried gyms before and never lasted very long… burned out early because I was doing the same thing everyday. I did not know how to challenge or push myself. Which is why I new I had to make the investment of having a personal trainer, even though it would make things financially tight. The biggest gift my previous trainers and my current trainer now has given me is helping me believe in myself through their belief in me and what I can accomplish.I am very blessed to have had my trainers Aaron, Josh, and Earnest in my life.
I never have and never will complain during a training session because it is those workouts that have given me the ability to motivate and push myself and has given me the confidence to try and accomplish anything I put my mind to.
Next Training Goal:
Continuing to get stronger through lifting heavy, setting records for my age and weight class, and getting PRs in my powerlifting competitions. I also have a goal to get to 10 unassisted pull ups. I am halfway there!
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
First of all please ignore all the media that says that if women lift heavy, they will get “bulky.” It is NOT going to happen. Secondly, don’t be intimidated to go to the free weight area because of the big huge guys over there…They are not paying attention to anything around them…they are focused on their own workout. Everyone belongs there and should be spending a good amount of time there if they want to make a huge impact on their health and fitness. The rewards and benefits of strength training and lifting heavy will take you places you never imagined and will help you become the best that you can be!
UPDATE! Kim's GGS Spotlight was originally published in 2013. A lot has happened since then. Kim shares an update with us below...
A lot has changed since your original spotlight! Can you please tell us what you are doing now?
At the time of my original spotlight, I was a full-time elementary teacher and a part-time intern trainer with my personal trainer at his gym, iRise Performance. In January of 2014, I moved to Branson, MO to open my own gym, FitPossibilities. On September 30th of 2015, after hundreds of hours of thought, contemplation, and many sleepless, stress-filled nights, I made a decision that was very difficult to make—I decided to close my gym.
When I made the decision to open the gym, I knew that it was a huge risk, but a risk that I was willing to make. Even though I know there are things I could have (and probably should have) done differently, I don't regret for a moment my decision to take this risk and see where it led.
I have spent the past five and a half years transforming and striving to maintain my health. And this past year, I have been pedaling backwards in my overall health due to my determination to keep the gym open. Call it fear of failure, pride, ego... I was putting more and more pressure on myself to make it work at all costs. In the end, I recognized that this mindset was going to take me back to a period in my life that was not healthy and I don't ever want to revisit.
Back in August of 2015, Barbara Cochran (from Shark Tank) said to some entrepreneurs on the show: "There is nothing wrong with taking a step back in order to be able to move forward."
That quote truly hit home with me, and along with conversations with an amazing mentor and friend in the industry, it made me realize it was time to take that step back and let go of my gym, so that I could truly take the time I needed to move forward in my life, in my career and my goals to help others transform their health and their lives.
As a result, I am now less stressed and better able to focus.
I'm able to take care of myself, and do what I am passionate about more effectively: guide people to their health and fitness goals. I have a better work/life balance.
I am absolutely still training and coaching! Many of my one-on-one clients have stuck with me. We are training in their homes. My schedule has become much more flexible, giving me more time to focus on goals and projects, both personal and professional, and on family and friends. It wasn't an easy decision, and I don't regret any decisions I made when starting this chapter of my life two years ago. A new turn on my path. A new direction.
Why was becoming a fitness professional so important to you?
At the age of 48, I found myself 60 pounds overweight, with numerous health issues and on more medications than I care to remember. I was at a very rock-bottom moment in my life. I was sick and tired of being on the diet roller coaster for over 10 years, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired all the time physically, emotionally, and mentally. I knew something had to change. March 2010 was the beginning of a transformation journey toward health and fitness that I never could have imagined…
Through the trainers who worked with me during my transformation and through current professionals in the fitness and nutrition industry who I consider mentors, I have learned so much about myself and what I was truly capable of achieving in health and in life. They truly helped me. To this day they continue to help me discover all the fitpossibilities in my life. They inspire me to never close doors to possibilities and opportunities, and to find out how strong and capable of anything that you can truly be when you don’t put self-defined limits on yourself. When you close doors, you never truly know yourself and what you can achieve in this life. No matter how old you are and no matter what limitations you may have. Life is about taking chances and discovering the person within you that you never really knew—and that this is a lifelong path of self-discovery that never ends. It is very rewarding in so many ways.
I am taking the principles I have learned from the mentors in my life, and continue to learn from them. I want to pay it forward by fulfilling my passion of helping others—mostly women, but men too!—of all ages believe that it is never too late, you are never too old, to discover what you are able to accomplish in life through health and fitness. It is my goal to help them discover the fitpossibilities in their lives and that by discovering these fitpossibilities, the rewards go way beyond physical health and spill over into every aspect of their lives, making them stronger and better able to handle the stresses and challenges that life throws at them.
This is my dream. This is my passion.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as a fitness professional so far?
More than one specific accomplishment, are the the day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month accomplishments that I see with my clients and that they tell me about on a regular basis. It is the stories about how what they doing within the gym is helping them with their everyday lives beyond the gym.
It is seeing them setting physical and athletic goals for themselves and celebrating their successes in achieving these goals with them. It is the sense of community, friendship, and support that has formed amongst my clients.
Do you have any new PRs to share with us?
My biggest PR to date, as far as my powerlifting is concerned, was my competition conventional deadlift PR of 250 pounds in April of 2014, which was a 65-pound conventional deadlift PR after a three-month hiatus from lifting and just eight weeks of training with my new (at the time) powerlifting coach, Jordan Syatt. While in previous years I had sumo stance PRs of 215, and one at 225 during 2012, I had never gotten above 185 pounds with a conventional stance deadlift. During that competition I also got a 120-pound bench press (a PR of 10 pounds) and a 175-pound back squat (a PR of 25 pounds). Oh, and I have since raised my conventional deadlift PR to 255 at my gym (video below!). I am very grateful to Jordan and all they he has done to help me get to the next level in my powerlifting.
Currently, I am on competition hiatus and exploring the endless possibilities of what I want to accomplish next in my own training and goals.
What do you hope your legacy will be in the fitness industry?
I want to be a voice of positivity within the health and fitness industry, and I want to inspire women of all ages by showing them that it is never to late to make the changes that you want to see in yourself, in becoming your best possible version of yourself. Age is nothing but a number. It does not define who you are or what you can accomplish. I always tell my clients: "Start where you are. Do what you can. Strive for progress, not perfection... and you will discover endless possibilities.”
What advice do you have for other people who fall in love with fitness and want to start a new career as a fitness professional?
Once you have gotten your certification, try to find a gym where you can gain experience with a well-established and knowledgeable fitness professional as an intern. You will learn so much from their experiences in the industry and with the knowledge and experience you gain through the internship.
I also recommend going to conferences and seminars as much as your budget allows, to learn from some of the best and most knowledgeable people in the industry. One of the biggest things that has help me evolve and grow is to build and nurture a network of fitness professionals through Facebook (or other social media sources). There are so many knowledgeable and experienced professionals out there who are highly respected within their fields and want to help trainers, old and new, take their training skills to the next level. These individuals will truly become your mentors and help you provide the best possible programming for your individual clients' goals.
Finally, subscribe to the Personal Trainer Development Center, started by Jon Goodman. This site has a wealth of resources of information whether you're a trainer just starting your career to an experienced trainer wanting to take further hone your skills.
If you're inspired by Kim, read on to learn more about—and join!—our community of strong, supportive women...
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