Kaia Fit celebrates five years in Fallon
Kaia Fit, Fallon’s sole women’s-only group fitness program, recently marked its fifth year in Fallon. It coincided with the end of a six-week long session, and to mark the occasion a large group of ladies gathered on the shore of Soda Lake in early October to celebrate their fitness achievements with an obstacle course and a run.
On that morning, owner and coach Andrea Schell held court at base camp and watched with pride as clients finished the run and moved through obstacle course stations. When a woman’s energy flagged or she seemed ready to quit, Schell and other Kaia Fit coaches jumped into action by doing the exercises along with the gal, counting down the reps and encouraging her along the way. When one of Schell’s long-time clients, Cris Esposito, completed the full 5K length run, she helped her power through the obstacle course. Esposito wasn’t the fastest or the first done, but when she crossed the finish line she was embraced by friends and coaches. Overcome with exhaustion and emotion, she broke down in tears briefly … but she wasn’t alone. As other women finished, Esposito was comforted near the finish line by two friends who stayed by her side.
This is the picture of Kaia Fit — women supporting each other to push themselves harder physically than they thought possible.
When asked what she wanted to say about the Fallon Kaia Fit reaching its fifth birthday, Schell instead suggested brief interviews with women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s to show how Kaia Fit is a viable fitness option for women of all ages and fitness levels.
Paula Fryling became a certified Kaia Fit coach in June after starting the program in January. She initially started at Kaia Fit to implement a more regimented fitness routine and because, she said, “I needed girl friends!”
Fryling, the mother to a busy toddler, has lost 17 pounds in 10 months, but has gained strength and muscle mass, she said. She enjoys the ever-changing challenge.
“The muscle confusion it provides on a daily basis makes me sore, but I love being sore because I know I worked my butt off for that pain, which will turn into strength later on.
“I love being a coach because I get to be a part of every woman’s workout and join in on the fun at the same time. I am truly inspired by the efforts and smiles they bring everyday and wouldn’t have it any other way. Kaia is my happy hour!”
Trouble with her knees and feeling tired all the time are what led Carol Johnson to join Kaia Fit.
“I would drive by the Kaia studio everyday and say to myself, I need to look into that. I think it was a year later I came across a picture of myself and did not like what I saw. I called the number on the window and the rest is history! I still have that picture on my refrigerator to remind myself that I do not want to be that person ever again.”
Johnson, who didn’t have any exercise plan previously, is a dedicated client and has rarely missed a day in two and half years. She’s had a dramatic weight loss and can now run a full mile without stopping. She said her favorite things about Kaia Fit are the balance, strength and Kaia level workouts, plus the friendships and support from the other girls.
“We encourage each other and there is no drama, we are all here to improve our lives,” Johnson said.
Rhonda Stiehl, who is now a passionate runner, began Kaia Fit because, “I just needed something positive in my life at the time.”
“My long-term progress has been amazing,” Stiehl said. “From weight loss, strength, energy and self-confidence, Kaia has really changed my life. It’s like having a personal trainer in a group situation,” she said.
When Coach Schell tapped her to participate in the 178-mile Reno-Tahoe Odyssey relay race on the Kaia team a couple years ago, Stiehl was hesitant at first, but she persevered.
“I would call Andrea a great friend and amazing coach. She believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. She will push you hard and to a point where you think you are not going to make it – but you do,” Stiehl said. “She has been such an inspiration in my life. Because of her, I can finally call myself a runner.”
After some tough times and an increasing waist line, Cris Esposito overcame her fears of fitness centers and joined Kaia Fit.
“I thought it would be full of cute little fit girls and I would, once again, be the fat girl,” Esposito said. “Then my first grandchild was born and all I could think was, ‘I don’t want to be the old grandma who couldn’t play with my grandchildren.’”
Pleased with an initial weight loss, Esposito continues daily with Kaia for the added benefits it provides her.
“I want to be remembered as a strong role model for my family, and it’s working,” she said. “My children are active, and my grandchildren know it’s ok to run down the hall and jump on me because they know I’ll catch them and laugh, or run around outside with them for long periods of time. I feel so much better than I ever have in my entire life.
“I tell friends that Kaia is an amazing women’s only fitness program,” Esposito said. “There’s no pressure, tons of support, and a journey you will be so happy to begin.”
Candace Johnston has been a Kaia girl for over a year and a half, after succumbing to loving nagging from her daughter.
“I told her I was too old (over 60) and out of shape for such an intense workout program,” Johnston said. “Finally I went to just prove to her I couldn’t do it. Coming from a family of athletes, having children that are athletes, and having been an athlete … it was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I finished! I cried all the way home, and after a day of recuperation, I decided to go back and try it again. Each time I went back, I found that I could do more. Three days a week was all I could handle then,” she said, then adding, “This last Brik (six-week session) I had perfect attendance — five days a week for four weeks until I had to go out of town.”
Johnston enjoyed a 40 pound weight loss and has run two 5Ks. Her performance improved to the point of being able to jump rope 100 times without error, she can do 28 military push ups, and has even done 80 box jump burpees in one day. (“I won’t lie – I hate burpees!”)
“Kaia has made me younger, stronger and restored confidence in myself,” Johnston said.
After seeing more than 300 women come through her doors, Schell has observed a common theme in her clientele that she hopes to quell.
“I hate seeing women give up on themselves,” she said. “They’re so hard on themselves, and they put everyone else first. I want to be able to help them become better, happier versions of themselves.”
“The great thing about coaching is watching women achieve things they never thought they could do; they start to believe in themselves, they gain discipline.
“They teach ME to be a better person,” she said.
For more information on Fallon Kaia Fit, call 775-423-8679 or visit http://www.kaitfitfallon.com.