Featured lucyPRO: Kit Rich

We are so excited to introduce, no really introduce, this featured lucyPRO and blog contributor, Kit Rich! Her approach to fitness? Its like a tool – a tool to build self-esteem, foster self-worth and discover greatness in yourself.

Let’s start with your background. Did you grow up playing sports and being active?

I was an avid soccer player, and very active until about 17. But when I blew out my knee during a game, I never was the same kind of player, I wasn’t as fearless. I equate it to the same thing as getting your heart broken for the first time: once you experience heartbreak, you are a little more protective in how you approach love. But with pain comes understanding of the self, and in the pain can come a new kind of strength and new discoveries. From about 17-22, I wasn’t active. I ate terribly and gained weight. I went through an important phase in my life of constant self-doubt, lack of worth and self-hatred. Because I wasn’t active and didn’t know myself very well, I didn’t know how to process my energy and emotions, I couldn’t release except back unto myself. But that’s a phase I wouldn’t take back for anything in the world, I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I am grateful for that knee injury.

Did you ever think you’d have a career rooted in fitness?

Never in a million (trillion) years, I still am surprised all the time! I have never been someone who obsesses over six pack abs or a ripped body. Quite frankly, I still don’t care. I think flat abs are a product of working out but should never be the number one goal. The goal should be about feeling powerful in your skin. It should be about feeling energetic so that you can pursue your life passions. It should be about getting rid of any excuse why you shouldn’t apply for that dream job. So it is interesting to me that I am in an industry that focuses so much on the external image when my entire focus is always about internal growth. But, back when I first started training, I quickly realized that fitness can be a tool for that growth, so that’s how I approach fitness—as a tool for self-esteem, self-worth and greatness.

Whenever I don’t want to workout, I ask myself these questions: Have I ever felt bad after a workout? Do I want to feel good today? Usually, that gets me moving.

What has fueled you into this career? What makes you passionate about it?

This is an interesting question because the answer is not that simple. What fueled my career in the beginning does not exist for me anymore. I can honestly say that.

What started my career was this- I was unhealthy, unhappy, and experiencing serious body dysmorhpia. When an owner of a Pilates studio thought I would be a great trainer, I simply thought, “Well, at least I can finally learn how to be skinny.” Skinny for me meant happiness at the time.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Let me tell you, when you stand in front of a bunch of women who are looking at your body for inspiration and you have body image disorder- it is a total disaster. I didn’t rise above at first. I went down into the trenches of obsession and self-flagellation.

But now, looking back, I have so much compassion for my younger self. I can feel her pain as she tries to “look the part” and please everyone around her but herself. Interesting, when I was my skinniest, I was the least happy I had ever been. It was as though the more I physically disappeared, so did my spirit.

So what fuels me now is knowing how far I have come and what I can now offer my clients from a truly authentic place. I eventually started pulling myself out of the hole I had spiraled down into through fitness and becoming a trainer. I don’t identify with body dysmorphia anymore. I don’t identify with wanting to fit the mold. But like anyone with addiction, I may not identify anymore but I never quite forget.

The goal should be about feeling powerful in your skin. It should be about feeling energetic so that you can pursue your life passions.

I dared to try. I dared to fail. Fitness taught me that.

Now in my thirties, 10 years later, I have bits of cellulite and my body is changing. But I am healthy. I am strong. I have so much energy. When I have a bolt of inspiration, I go for it. Recently I wrote a little love story and got it published in the LA Times. I wrote a play and produced it. I had the guts to do it because I dared to try. I dared to fail. Fitness taught me that. I love who I have become and I am curious to see how I will continue to unfold. I honor my body. I have fallen in love with it. I have fallen in love with me.

That inspiration is what I am so passionate about. My job is to make people feel good, what an amazing career. What a beautiful thing to experience everyday. And every time I train a client I am very aware what my purpose is. I want them to fall in love with every ounce of themselves. I want them to dare to try. Just like I am doing with myself. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Tell us about SHIFT, what sets it apart?

SHIFT is the first spring-floor studio in LA (and across the US) that combines our specially designed spring floor with a high energy, lower impact, full body circuit training class completely intertwined to the beat of the music. The spring floor absorbs the shock of the body so that it enhances and encourages optimum physical performance, while greatly reducing risk of injury.

Dana Perri (my business partner) and I have had so much experience in the business. To have two female leads under one roof who are so experienced and who honor and support each other is a very powerful thing.

What I love about SHIFT is everyone walks away saying three things- 1) I’ve never experienced anything like that 2) That was so fun 3) That was challenging. Now that’s a brilliant combination!

I am just here to birth and nurture so that SHIFT can grow into its potential.

You recently opened SHIFT along with Dana, what has been the biggest challenge you faced?

Yes, we opened very recently. We opened on Valentine’s Day this year. The biggest challenge is trusting in something so much bigger then me. Even though I have had so much experience in the fitness industry, I have never had so much responsibility with my career. I now have a studio, employees, clients, and a business partner. This is so much bigger then me. And in truth, it’s not really about me anymore. I am just here to birth and nurture so that SHIFT can grow into its potential. Up until now, my career has been very singular. I have been a traveling trainer. I am either training on set, at client’s homes, in small private studios, or on tour. Like anyone who owns a small business would understand, opening a location is a huge risk and it can be scary at times. But whenever I go there, I have to dig deeper. I have to trust. The greater the risk, the greater the reward- right? So far, the biggest reward has been all aspects of this studio. I love everyone I work with. I adore the clients and the community that we have built. I love the workout. I freaking love SHIFT.

What’s the biggest success you’ve had since opening? Any defining moments that have really hit you?

I think from an outsider’s perspective, the biggest success would be all the press we have been getting simply because the word has gotten out so quickly and people love the workout. Classes are building faster then I expected them to. That’s a big success. But for me, the biggest successes are the smaller things. The other day, a client who has been coming to SHIFT regularly decided to workout in her sports bra. She never dreamt she would have the courage to show her stomach and she had always wanted to – for a woman who has had two children, there is a lot of emotion attached to revealing the stomach. But with the support of the SHIFT community, she did it, and she looked amazing. I am not going to lie, I cried on my way home because I was so moved. What a cool thing to witness. I know she probably thought about doing that for a long time.  I wonder how long it took her to actually do that. And she did it at SHIFT and she was supported and encouraged. Yes. Yes. Yes. That is the success I am talking about.

Do you look at fitness as a ‘workout’ or ‘way of life’? Why, and how does that effect your daily life?

Oh, definitely a way of life. It comes down to what I was talking about earlier- feeling good. Working out calms the mind. It calms all the crazy chatter that happens. Sadly, most thoughts—if you pay attention—are quite negative and repetitive. Working out releases endorphins and dopamine that diminish those thoughts. It helps to facilitate a new pattern of thoughts and create space for potential, hope, belief and positive thinking.

Whenever I don’t want to workout, I ask myself these questions: Have I ever felt bad after a workout? Do I want to feel good today? Usually, that gets me moving.

What is your favorite way to maintain fitness?

It’s been said before because it is true- switching up your workouts is a great way to stay inspired with fitness. I go to SHIFT, I train myself in Pilates and circuit training, and I go to yoga. But what I have found to be my most effective tool to maintain fitness is my rule of “3 or 30.” Everyday, or at least 5-6 days week, I try to do 3 miles of something (walking, running, cycling) or I do 30 minutes of strength training. I will do 30 minutes of tabata, circuit training, or a DVD. Whatever I feel like doing. I usually give myself one full day of total rest. Some weeks, I give myself two days. It depends on what is going on in my life and how my body is reacting.

But what I love about my “3 or 30” rule is that it is never too excessive and it has so much freedom in it. On some days, my 3 miles is a fast run. If I am feeling tired, my 3 miles is a slow walk. The workout molds and changes with me. I love that.

Let’s talk about your inspiration, what outside sources inspire you?

I know this sounds strange but I can find inspiration in everyone I meet. Everyone has genius and beauty in them. If you can finally see it in yourself, you can easily see it in others. I am especially inspired by writers who can put their heart onto the page, I think that is the most beautiful form of expression. Sometimes a single inspirational quote will get me through a hard day.

And let’s talk about motivation, where/how do you find that inside yourself?

I have a vision of myself and who I want to be. I hold on to that vision and it motivates me. It’s not too specific,  it’s more of a feeling. I want to feel beautiful and healthy. I want to be happy. I want to live a life that helps people. I want to live with compassion, connection, laughter, deep love and a strong sense of self. And what I have figured out is working out contributes to the realization of that vision. So I do it.

Everyone has some secret or guilty indulgence, what is yours?

There isn’t just one, there are many. And it’s not a secret and I don’t feel guilty. I absolutely love French fries. I love quesadillas. I love a big burger with all the fixings. I love pizza. I could eat a bucket of peanut butter all day. I love a good cocktail. And I let myself have them every once in a while. Just not all at once.

Any last words of wisdom for women that are on their own fitness journeys?

There is a reason you started the journey. You had an image in your mind of who you want to be or how you want to feel. And if you saw that image or felt it momentarily- it was there because it already exists within you. It’s just a matter of you taking the steps to get there. Continue on this journey. Go for it. Dare to try. Dare to push yourself. I’m proud of you.

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