Say hi to Kathy Lopez, Fitness Instructor at Mount Carmel Fitness Facility in Lewis Center, OH. She has been teaching fitness for over seven years and at her current facility for three years. Fun fact…she was hired as a Zumba Gold Instructor in December of 2016 before the center even opened!
Kathy received her Associate’s degree in Communications from BYU-ID and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Science from The Ohio State University.
She received her first Zumba Basic training at the Arnold Classic in 2012 and acquired 3 Zumba Affiliate trainings that year. Kathy is a NETA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. In addition, she is also a YogaFit Instructor; a trained SilverSneakers Instructor and she is a part of the Delaware County Fall Prevention Coalition.
Kathy’s Senior Fitness and Balance Trainings/Certifications are numerous. Myo-Facial Release, Flexibility, BARR, Fusion and Tai Chi are also assets in my toolbox. Because her classes have attracted individuals diagnosed with MS, and Parkinson’s, she has researched training ideas to meet their needs. This year, Create A Better You brought more support to her knowledge with a CEC Certificate.
In January, Kathy enrolled in the Academy for Brain Health and Performance course entitled, Lifestyle Medicine for Brain Health and officially became one of their first Brain Health Ambassadors in July. According to Kathy, this course was enlightening. She has worked with individuals who have suffered brain injuries or medical complications affecting their brain function, as well as individuals with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She told us that she is honored to share the exciting research she has learned and will continue to learn within the fitness community.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of those I train. Many I coach are seeking functional training to increase their independence and peace of mind. Fortunately, they see success and share their success stories. For example,”I went to an outdoor event and I had to walk back to our car through the grass in the dark. Your training helped me stay upright and stable.” Success stories make my career rewarding and valuable which is what I love most about my work!
What has been your favorite/most successful initiative at your fitness/wellness center?
I have enjoyed teaching Zumba Gold and Zumba Kids classes at Mount Carmel Fitness. I love the cardio dance flavor and enjoyed sharing it with our members. There are many positive benefits to these programs. With over three years’ experience here within Delaware County, teaching a course entitled, Brains and Balance, I was honored and overjoyed to pioneer the new CABY, or Create a Better You Program, at Mount Carmel Fitness. This program focuses on Balance, Agility and Mobility. It is an area of passion for me that enables me to bring fitness and brain health together for those who are seeking to increase the quality of their lives with measurable improvements.
What led you to choose this field?
I’d been asked numerous times to consider teaching fitness, yet this form of teaching seemed out of my comfort zone. When Zumba was introduced to me, I felt it was finally time to “Move the World.” I stepped into the fitness industry driven by my love of dance and the party atmosphere of Zumba. I never dreamed this dance party would lead me on a new and rewarding career path, yet my enthusiasm led me to further embark in Zumba Affiliate Trainings. My willingness to work with active older adults, opened many opportunities and my employer invited me to receive training within the Silver Sneakers program. I began to impact lives in a positive way.
In 2016 I quit my job working in a psychiatrist’s office to pursue a fitness career. Unfortunately, that spring, I was in an auto accident and sustained a concussion that was debilitating. Fitness classes were prohibited, except for my Balance class. Many of the things I loved doing brought on severe concussion symptoms. Learning about balance issues and brain trauma first hand magnified my interest and compassion in training individuals seeking to improve their lives.
What one piece of advice would you give to those just coming into this field of medical fitness?
My son just passed his ACE-CPT exam and I got him a plaque that summed up my advice to him as a new trainer. It states:
Find Your Voice
Make a Difference
Believe in Yourself
Change the World.
I believe when we find a positive message that speaks to us or has impacted our lives for good, we can make a difference. We can be successful in impacting society. We need to believe in our personal gifts and abilities as we continue to strive for greater vision, knowledge and insight, to provide quality services in an ethical manner.
Why did you become a member of the Medical Fitness Association?
I am a lifelong learner. I love to learn and I love to share what I learn — I guess that’s why my life work has revolved around education. Being a part of this Association enables me to associate with individuals who I believe value knowledge acquisition, research, and sharing information to enrich the lives and health of those in their sphere of influence.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Well, I enjoy learning. I enjoy social events. I enjoy outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, and Kayaking. All activities are exponentially better when they involve time with my family and friends.
Thank you, Kathy and congratulations on becoming a Brain Health Ambassador!