“One person can change the world for another person.”
- Kim Lee
Kim Lee has been a dedicated Certified Personal Trainer for the past 8 years. Her fervor for promoting both physical and mental health is unmistakable and deeply embedded in her work. She firmly believes in the power of small, consistent steps, emphasizing that they collectively pave the way for monumental change.
In this thought-provoking conversation, our special guest eloquently underscores a profound truth: one person indeed has the ability to bring about monumental change in another's world.
Join us in this engaging dialogue as Kim is united with our host, Eric Blake, by their shared clientele—women on the cusp of, or already enjoying retirement and are primed for a life-changing transformation. Their clients have been shaped by life's experiences and transitions and are now seeking valuable guidance.
Kim candidly shares her personal journey, transitioning from over 20 years in the field of law enforcement to her calling as a personal trainer. She emphasizes her unwavering commitment to her mission: to uplift and empower others.
As a bonus, Kim also shares her excitement and what worries her most about her own upcoming journey into the world of retirement.
Wendy McConnell: Welcome to the Simply Retirement Podcast with your host, Eric Blake. I'm Wendy McConnell. So, Eric, what is this quote about?
Eric Blake: This quote is actually from our guest, who is our first guest on the Simply Retirement Podcast. She was at the International Women's Day event we did back in March, and she shared her bio. This quote was included in her information. I thought it was pretty cool, so I went with it.
Wendy McConnell: I like it, and she's here with us today, so why don't you go ahead and introduce her?
Eric Blake: Absolutely. As you know, at the end of each episode, we hear the phrase, “Retirement is not the end of the road, it's the start of a new journey.” We want to make sure that’s a happy and healthy journey for women. It's not just about the quantity of your life, it's about quality. And today we have somebody that can help with that. Our guest is Kim Lee. She’s a personal trainer, and she and I work with very similar demographics in our individual areas of expertise — women who are either in or near retirement.
Our clients are ready to make a change, or they have some life experience, some life transition that's led them to ask for some type of guidance. I've known Kim for about five years, and she’s one of the best personal trainers out there and deals with nutrition and mindset. She has a very interesting story about how she got to where she is. She was a competitive bodybuilder. She's a retired Texas peace officer, and she's even a U.S. Army reserve veteran. Kim Lee, welcome to the Simply Retirement Podcast.
Kim Lee: Thank you, Eric. I love that intro. I try to do my best, and when I listen to that, I'm like, “I've done a lot!”
Eric Blake: You have. It's pretty impressive. I’d love to hear more about your background: how you got into personal training and how you got to where you are today. I know you also have a little retirement scenario going too, so if we have time, we might hop into that and have you tell us what triggered it and what you're looking forward to about your own retirement. But let’s start with your background.
Kim Lee: I'm excited to share it. Life is just a series of steps, isn't it? One step leads to another. When I was in high school, actually from the age of 12, I wanted to be a police officer. That was my dream. So, when I was a junior in high school, I joined the Army Reserve, and four days after graduation, I shipped off to boot camp. I was sitting in a bunk in New Jersey, asking myself “What kind of decision did I make? All my friends are at the beach, having fun!” But that decision impacted my future at every turn. I served my country, and it has continued to serve me well throughout the years.
But I did that because I wanted to be a police officer, and I knew — especially as a woman back in the eighties —that going into the military first would serve me well. I had a great career as a police officer for 25 years. I retired in 2015. I enjoy serving. It's in my DNA to help other people. You opened with a quote. The way I look at it, we change the world by helping one person at a time. If I can leave that person with a smile or a better disposition, then I've done good, so when I retired in 2015, moving into personal training was a natural transition.
I’d started competing, and when I retired, I started working for a big box gym. I did that for about a year and a half, then went out on my own. There's another quote that I find very true, that says, “Enthusiasm is caught, not taught.” Energy, and being genuine, and authenticity do not lie.
I think that's very important in every aspect of life. So that leads us up to where we are today.
Eric Blake: Very good. What department did you serve in?
Kim Lee: I started my career in Hayes County, San Marcus, and retired out of McKinney. I worked for a few agencies in between and met my husband at one of the agencies we worked at together. So that leads up to our next big pivot in life, which is retirement and moving to Mexico, our next big move.
Eric Blake: Wow! What are you looking forward to most as you make this transition?
Kim Lee: I think letting go of the things that personally bind me. It's a dichotomy because, speaking for myself, some of the material things I have are representations of my success and my achievements, where I am in life. In this pivot and transition, we're letting go of a lot of those material things. My goal is to be stress-free and to live and breathe and just experience life.
Eric Blake: What worries you the most?
Kim Lee: Letting go. It excites me and yet it scares me a little bit, because I'm letting go of what I know and, in a sense, what motivates me, my comfort. I'm stepping into the unknown, not only a new country but living outside of America and the comforts we have here.
Eric Blake: As someone who’s spent the majority of her life staying physically active and eating well, what are the biggest challenges women face when it comes to maintaining their health, wellness, and longevity as they're either retiring or approaching retirement?
Kim Lee: Time and prioritizing themselves. I see it time and time again. Everything else is on their schedule except themselves. Women need to carve out time for themselves and their. We have to live in this body for the rest of our lives. I'm not saying that most women choose to do this, it’s that so many times we put ourselves behind doing everything else … doing our jobs, taking care of the kids, taking care of the family. Doing everything.
If there's time, we tell ourselves, “I'm going to take care of myself at about 6:30, after I make dinner for everybody, maybe 7 p.m. And we never do it because life takes over. That’s something I coach on frequently, getting out the calendar and putting ourselves at the start of every day.
It’s an investment in ourselves and in self-care. We women tend to live longer than men, so, if we’re working on and investing in our mental and physical health, we're going to live even longer. That's the goal. To live a longer, healthier life, and have a quality of life. There are financial preparations and other things we need to put in place to improve that long life for us.
Eric Blake: There's such a link between the money aspect of retirement and the health aspect: if you don't take care of one, the other is probably going to be impacted.
Kim Lee: Absolutely. Aail to plan, plan to fail, right? It’s definitely true for retirement. If you fail to prepare, you need to prepare for not being in that place we all desire to be. For me and my husband, that place is retiring and living on the beach. We've worked so hard and for so long, and now we’re going to do it.
Eric Blake: With your schedule changing, life's going to be different. You're going to be in a different location. What are your intentions for maintaining your healthy lifestyle and your own longevity?
Kim Lee: I go into it with a goal of 80/20. 80% of the time I’m on my game, and 20% of the time, I'm not. I give myself a little bit of latitude, and that goes for nutrition as well as physical fitness. I know that going into this new environment, I've already got friends there. And they're telling me, “We're eating dinner out again tonight, at this restaurant, having drinks over here.” I know what they're doing, and I’m not saying I can't go out to eat, but I've got to be selective. You can eat healthy when you go out. I do my best to stick to my 80/20.
Here's another quote I throw out all the time: “You can either sacrifice for what you want, or sacrifice what you want.: The key word is “for,” and that separates the two. It’s the same thing with my fitness game, that's my community. That's where I feel at home and get my energy. Helping other people gives me energy. It's in my DNA. A guy told me that at the gym the other day, and that made such sense to me. It is in my DNA to plug into other people and watch them illuminate like a lightbulb. I listen to them and help them achieve or tap into potential they didn't even know they had, and they illuminate.
So, I'm going to put myself at the top of my schedule self-care is going to be prioritized. I find fitness fun, so I'm going to get involved in pickleball, I'm going to be playing tennis, and I'm going to be walking into the gym saying, “Tejas is in the house!” I'll make friends right and left as soon as I get there. It'll be good.
Eric Blake: One of the things that we see a lot is that as women are making that transition out of the workforce and into retirement, they’re losing their sense of community. What would be one piece of advice you’d have for somebody who's making that transition, whether they've been on the health journey or they're just getting into it.
Kim Lee: There are so many groups on social media, people we know, right? Get referrals, ask questions, find a trainer who can help. But don't just walk into a gym and be assigned a trainer. Go in and watch how they work, and whether they’re plugged into their clients. Are they paying attention? Look for genuine attentiveness in addition to skill and knowledge. You can't replace watching a trainer work, and if they have a recommendation or a referral from somebody you trust, that's even better.
And you can always call up gyms and look at them online, read the trainers’ bios. Do your research, and get some knowledge. There's also online coaching, and you can read reviews and get as much knowledge as you can before you start.
Not all trainers are the same. Some are better than others, so take your time in selecting one. A client/trainer relationship is very intimate. You talk about vulnerabilities, and a trainer plugs into your weaknesses and your strengths. It's not just physical … it's mental. That's why my business, Total Body Fitness by Kim, is really total body. Psychologically, emotionally, physiologically, everything.
Eric Blake: As you transition into retirement, are you going to maintain some level of online coaching?
Kim Lee: I need to … It gives me purpose and energy. I'm very passionate about coaching, interacting, engaging, helping. I have virtual clients right now. I'm going to keep them with me and, knowing me, I'm going to find a gym that I like over there. I'll know the vibe as soon as I walk in, and I'll probably help a few people there as well. Right now, I work a 40-to-50-hour week. It won't look anything like that. I'll work maybe five to six hours a week to stay engaged. It nourishes my soul.
Eric Blake: Well, in full disclosure, I work out at the gym where Kim trains, and I pay attention. If I were going to hire a trainer, she’d be the one. I see how she interacts with the clients that she works with. I see the passion she has, hugging everybody. Everybody loves her.
Is there one final thought you would want to share with our audience? Whether health, mental fitness? Anything in particular that you want them to know?
Kim Lee: I had a friend who did not have a retirement consultation and, without guidance, went out there cold and made a decision that impacted him badly down the road. Sometimes, a retirement choice can’t be reversed. And I'm sure you can speak to that, Eric, but I would certainly advise people to have a counselor and guidance from a professional before going into retirement. It’s a big decision that impacts the rest of your life.
As far as fitness goes, be authentic. I mean this in life. If I’d come at my profession thinking about sales, I’d be starving. I wouldn't have any clients, because people can detect when you’re trying to sell them something versus if you’re authentically interested in their well-being. And that's true for anything in life. So be genuine, be authentic with yourself.
I had a client who, on the first day we walked onto the weight room floor, said to me, “I don't belong here.” I said, “No, you absolutely belong here.”And the reason she said it was because she wasn't a big bodybuilder, with big muscles. But that’s not what it's about. It's about going out there and getting your work in, getting that investment in, tapping into your potential, and working hard. Using every day to go after the best version of ourselves.
What we invest in reveals what we value, and what we value, we invest in. You know, Eric, I see you out there working out… I watch you every now and then too! And I see how hard you work, and your focus. It tells me you value your health and you value your quality of life.
People ask me what my goal is with physical fitness. What do I want to do down the road? It’s simple. I want to be able to squat down and pick up my grandkids. I want to be able to go to the park and play. I just want to be able.
Eric Blake: Awesome. This has been a great conversation. I enjoyed it. How can people get in touch with you? I know you're going to be retired, or partially tired. But how can people reach you if they want to connect?
Kim Lee: I've got my Instagram, which is Total Body Fitness by Kim. Hit me up on there anytime. I'm going to be a little more active on there, with a different version of life that's going on over there. Obviously, fitness is at the top of my list. Also, you can reach me at Kimberly Ann Lee on Facebook anytime.
Wendy McConnell: Eric, how can people get hold of you if they have any questions?
Eric Blake: They can reach us at www.blakewealthmanagement. com. We've got a lot of free resources on there. We've got our "Start Here" button, where you can see our exact process for how we help prospective clients make an educated and informed decision about our firm. We’d love to help people, and women specifically, make the transition into a healthy, long lifestyle in retirement.
Wendy McConnell: Okay. Well, thank you, Eric. Thank you, Kim. It was great to learn all about you today, so thank you for joining us. Please follow and share this podcast with your friends. Until next time, I'm Wendy McConnell.
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