My nickname for today's bitch is Brickhouse. For as long as I've known Kathy, which is six or seven years, she has had a formidable physique, which makes sense for someone who earns her living as an Exercise Coach. But what differentiates Kathy from other women in the professional fitness world is her openness about her own struggles with food and weight, and her off-the-charts enthusiasm and passion for helping others.
I know Kathy through a culmination of over-lapping groups: a Friday morning running and breakfast group, a basically extinct book swap group (RIP), and most recently, as a teammate on the Tennessee Women's Cycling Project. Kathy's gregarious personality, optimism and "let it go" philosophy can cause people to mistake her for capricious, or detached. But those of us who are lucky enough to call her friend, know Kathy to be whip-smart and a savvy business owner. Meet today's bitch, Kathy Mead!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I have many job titles! I own Fit For You Nashville, LLC and work there as an Exercise Coach and Personal Trainer. I'm an Exercise Physiologist Health Coach with Carehere, LLC. I'm also a wife and an independent consultant and district manager with Arbonne International.
When did you first learn about this field of work?
I’ve always loved to exercise. I was a gymnast growing up and then moved to cheerleading, soccer, track, swim team, rugby and then, finally, I was a good ‘ole gym rat. After college, I had four years in brain-drain jobs and I thought, “I have GOT to figure something out or I’m going to go crazy!” I called my friend, Todd Suttles, who was the Vanderbilt Football Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at the time and asked him how to get into the field of exercise/strength and conditioning. He said “Get your Master’s in Exercise Science.” So I did!
How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
When I went back to school, I felt alive again. I loved learning about a subject that I was so interested in. I actually ENJOYED reading research articles about exercise. That was new for me!
What was your path that lead you to the job you have now?
At first, I thought I wanted to be a Strength and Conditioning Coach for a collegiate team. I interned at MTSU (where I was in Grad School) and realized that, although the job is great, the hours really stink, the pay is so-so and you have to ping pong across the nation if you want to get promoted, so I got a job with the Wellness Center at Baptist Hospital as an Exercise Physiologist and began working with a myriad of people: special populations to the average Joe.
I enjoy finding activities that people can do ESPECIALLY when they think they can’t exercise. After three years with Baptist, I began working for Carehere, where I work now, mostly from home. I missed the interaction I had before, so I started teaching bootcamp classes and personal training on the side. It took off!
Favorite piece of advice, business or otherwise?
Nobody cares! Get over yourself! It is SO not a big deal. You know, we all feel that everyone is paying attention to us. Believe me - they really aren’t. So - go ahead, fall on your face. It’s okay. People will still like you. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Nobody will want to be around you if all you do is scowl all day... and that ain’t no way to build a client base! Smile. Care. Be genuine.
Failure you learned from or that helped you improve the way you work?
With Arbonne, each “no” is closer to the next “yes.” I’m offering an awesome product and an awesome business opportunity. It’s not for everyone, but don’t pre-judge ANYONE. We’re all adults. Let people make up their own minds.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
What is your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your professional life?
I’m so proud of myself for going taking the risk to start my own business (or two!).
What’s the first app or website you open when you wake up in the morning?
On M/W/F, when I’m teaching 6a and 7a classes, the first app is Mindbody Express to see how many folks I have coming to class AND who’s cancelled (or added) in the middle of the night!
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
Usually hang on the couch with my new husband and our little fur babies.
What’s the hardest thing about your job that isn’t obvious?
The frustration of knowing that what I’m offering is what someone needs (whether it’s the Arbonne products/business or fitness classes/training), but they can’t see it, won’t listen, or won’t commit. I have to stay patient and trust what my father told me many years ago: "My timeline and somebody else’s timeline do not often mesh. So, stay patient, stay kind, give love, give respect, give space and know that what is meant to happen, WILL."
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
Everyone thinks I exercise all day. No! I watch OTHER PEOPLE exercise all day! I do get my workouts in too, though. I mean, that would be the pot calling the kettle black if I didn’t, right?
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
I love all foodie shows - Anthony Bourdain, The Chef and the Farmer, and Mind of a Chef are favorites. SNACKS!!!! Nom nom nom - let’s go with Oreos (sweet) and Cheetos (salty). Mmm...
Kathy has extended an offer of 15% off any personal training package (10 sessions or more), class package, or the Spring Into Fitness: 12-Week Challenge (challenge begins April 11, 2016). Email Kathy here for details on how to register!
All photos courtesy of Kathy Mead