There are so many people to look up to in the world of exercise and nutrition. You have icons such as Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness. Or Dr. Kenneth Cooper, credited for inventing aerobics and bringing the importance of cholesterol and antioxidants into the mainstream. Or trainers like, dare I say, Richard Simmons… I mean the guy did get people to workout! Or if you’re like me, maybe Tony Horton is more your cup of tea. Creator of the best-selling fitness program P90X, Tony has inspired tens of thousands to push past what they thought were their limits to get in the best shape of their lives. Or better yet, Beachbody founders Carl Daikler and Jon Congdon, who created a company in order to “End the Trend of Obesity” and are doing it one amazing transformation after another.
It’s hard not to hold people like this in high regard (Richard Simmons’ ridiculous shorts notwithstanding). But honestly, none of them hold a candle to my hero… Kim, my wife.
To truly appreciate Kim, it’s good to have a little context. As a young person, she was both academically and athletically inclined. She was a straight-A student and a great volleyball player (and some basketball too… this is Kentucky after all). But at the ripe old age of 16, she became a mommy. While the challenges of being a teen-mom would make many young women wilt, Kim found time to make Jordan a priority, while still finishing high school on time (with a 4.0), finishing college early (with a 4.0), and getting into law school, where she then decided to change course and pursue an MBA instead (and got a 4.0).
What’s this have to do with fitness? One of her many great strengths is fortitude, a mandatory attribute of anyone who wants to excel at fitness (or anything else for that matter.)
Let’s fast forward to the present day, where Kim is a wonderful stay-at-home mom. And while Jordan has grown and moved out, we have three more children (who make frequent appearances in my Instagram feed… probably too frequent for some peoples’ taste) who need her and rely on her far more than they’ll ever know. Furthermore, she volunteers at our church, she mentors young women, and is a board member and active volunteer at a local crisis-pregnancy center that she helped start.
What’s this have to do with fitness? Kim has a story… a story of triumph in the face of adversity. But even more importantly, she uses that story and her areas of giftedness to serve others.
Her Personal Fitness
So you might think her best sports days are behind her… but you’d be wrong. Kim caught the running bug in the mid-2000s and has been infected ever since. She’s run nearly a dozen marathons (26.2 miles!). Now if you trained 18 weeks for a marathon, you’d think you’d care about one thing and one thing only: setting a new personal record. But Kim has used many of her races to pace others for their first marathons. Utterly selfless. She’s also run countless smaller races and acted as an “encourager” in the local running group. Additionally, as a certified running coach, she helps other folks establish lifestyle changes via fitness challenge groups, fitness accountability gatherings at our house, and hopefully next year, will start leading group-fitness classes.
Besides the obvious, what else does this have to do with fitness? Kim knows her fitness isn’t only about her and she’s totally selfless about it, happy to share it and help with others. The sooner more people realize that their fitness isn’t really “theirs” at all, the better.
Let’s Be Real
With all that exercise and encouraging and attention to a healthy lifestyle, Kim had hoped that her physical results would be better than where she currently sees them. And while I think she’s beautiful, she hasn’t reached her ideal physique yet. But she has several things working against her. For starters, she has only 1/2 of her thyroid. She also has borderline adrenal fatigue syndrome. Cooking does not come naturally to her (she’d be the first to tell you that by the way), so learning to cook healthy has been a slow process. And she’s had four children for crying out loud! So to her, the mirror doesn’t reflect the effort.
What’s this have to do with fitness? For one, she has not given up. An undying attitude is a winning attitude. She’s focusing on a long obedience in the same direction and trusting the results will come.
But equally impressive is her willingness to step out of her comfort zone and try new things. She’s going to do 3 months of Body Beast (a strength-only program…. where she’s a cardio-girl). She’s working hard on her culinary skills. And she’s seeing a hormone doctor. None of these is fun for her. None of them does she feel like doing. None of them comes naturally. But she’s willing to sacrifice what she wants in the moment for what she wants most. The greats are always able to work on the hard things.
So she didn’t invent a type of fitness. She hasn’t sold millions of DVDs. Hasn’t started a company and or been credited with starting an exercise revolution, but she embodies what makes a hero a hero:
Fortitude. Triumphs in the face of adversity. Selfless. Undying. Sacrificial.
Hard not to fall in love with that.