On any given day you may run into Kathy Kurtz somewhere on Marco Island, enthusiastically training a client or teaching a group fitness class at the YMCA.
Kathy, who lives on Isles of Capri, is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, training and teaching clients and students and of all ages and fitness levels.
Kathy’s love for fitness began early. As a child in Watsontown, PA, she created her own aerobic workouts in her bedroom. By the time she was a teenager, she begun working out at the gym with her brothers. As a youth she always enjoyed physical fitness and dance, and enrolled in Pennsylvania State University as a theatre major and dance minor.
All that could have ended on November 10, 1986, when Kathy, an 18 year old college freshman, was in a serious and life altering car accident. Kathy fell asleep driving back to school one Monday morning after spending a weekend at home. Kathy was lucky to survive the accident, but the injuries to her leg were severe. Through the experience Kathy said it “never entered my mind that I wouldn’t dance, that I wouldn’t use my leg.”
Immediately following the accident, Kathy’s leg was too swollen to operate and doctors feared that she had Compartment Syndrome, meaning that the muscles were dying, and requiring amputation of the limb. When doctors told Kathy that she may lose the leg, she refused to believe them. Her leg was in fact saved, but doctors then toldKathy she would never dance again, and that she would always walk with a limp. Again, Kathy refused to believe them.
She spent weeks in the hospital. First her leg was casted, then fitted with a brace for 6-8 months, culminating in surgery placing two plates and 18 screws into the leg for two years. Months of physical therapy followed. Kathy remained positive.
Kathy tells us that she “grew up in a family where you didn’t let things really get you down or hold you back. If anyone got injured, you just had to heal and mend and then you continued on. There was no feeling sorry for yourself.” She describes her parents as “hard working farmers, who also started their own motorsports business.” Her family’s mindset was ‘there’s work to get done.’
Following the accident, Kathy returned to school and went on to take dance classes, limping and hobbling in the beginning, determined to earn her minor in dance. She went to the gym with her mobile brace and rode a stationary bike. She did her best, recalling “I did what I could do and I kept doing it.”
Fresh out of college, she sought employment at gyms so she could workout for free. While working out and taking classes, she would often hear “Why don’t you teach?” Finally, one day it clicked. She decided to get certified to teach group classes, and shortly thereafter, she earned her personal training certificate.
Kathy says that her job is to guide, advise and motivate, but that herstudents must do the work. Her clients run the gamut – from teenagers to those in their 90’s. Some clients have had physical injuries and ailments, including diabetes, heart problems, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, M.S., familial dysautonomia and cancer. Some clients are extremely obese, and some are underweight and need to gain muscle.
Kathy’s unifying message when training such a wide variety of people is her simple philosophy- to “keep moving and eat smart.”
Kathy explains: “Eating healthy and staying hydrated is extremely important for physical health of mind and body. Not just eating or exercise is the answer. We must do both.”
Some closing advice from Kathy: Stay busy and mobile, get some form of exercise most days and vary the type of workout. She adds “and challenge yourself! No matter your age or limitations, challenge yourself.” She reminds us to “lastly, listen to your body, listen to pain, loosen up, go light when needed, and push when you can!”
Kathy’s ‘never give up’ attitude is a great motivator to her clients and students. Client Wendy Bullock tells us “Kathy is a great trainer. She keeps me motivated. She is challenging but encouraging also.”
In addition to personal training, Kathy teaches group fitness classes such as Power Yoga, Cardio/Strength and Pilates at the Marco Island YMCA and at Fiddler’s Creek. Go to www.kathykurtz.com for more information about Kurtz Personal Training, Inc. or contact Kathy by email at Kathy@KathyKurtz.com. For a YMCA class schedule, visit the YMCA’s website at: www.greatermarcoy.org. Fiddler’s Creek residents may obtain class schedules at the fitness center.