We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I never thought I was someone who would start their own business. Honestly it wasn’t on my radar. I was happy and content coaching CrossFit classes, learning how to navigate motherhood, and thought I’d return to a business career similar to the one before I chose to be a stay at home mom. However, after having my second son and experiencing my own core and pelvic floor health issues that all changed. I enrolled in a professional coaches program called Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism founded by Brianna Battles, CSCS. I initially enrolled so that I could learn more to help myself recover and become a better coach for other women. It was through this course and additional ongoing education, that I realized that I needed to offer training programs, services and resources so I could help other women navigating pregnant/postpartum fitness along with their own core/pelvic health considerations. Core and pelvic floor dysfunctions are taboo subjects in our society. Women are being told for example, that it’s “normal” to leak urine after having babies or that sex will be painful or they might have a weak core with back pain. It’s mom life now- welcome to motherhood! I remember exactly the spot in the gym when someone said this to me. I was shocked but it also lit the match for me to learn and do more. There are resources and professionals who are able to help and support women recover function and strength as well as mitigate symptoms for leaking, prolapse and Diastasis recti so they may feel confident doing whatever it is they love! However, most don’t know these resources or professionals exist. That needs to change. I wish I had had someone to help me navigate pregnancy and postpartum and was determined to become that resource and advocate for others. The decision to start my business was made when I realized that with the knowledge I learned that I had an obligation to help and bring awareness to women about these issues. I was nervous to start my own business because I had no idea how or what to even do. However, I knew my mission of bringing awareness, change and help in regards to core and pelvic health in fitness to the women in my community and beyond outweighed any apprehension I had about taking that first step to starting TulaFit. Sometimes you simply need courage and faith to get started and you figure out the rest as you go. As Glennon Doyle says, “Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home”. I tried not to overthink the what if’s before I started, there were plenty! One small step forward, learning, pivoting and adapting as I went as well as learning from others has been what has helped me succeed. The process can be daunting to starting a business if you let it. Think about your why, your purpose and how you can help serve others. Build a support system to help you navigate the questions and answers to come. Above all if you feel compelled to do something, be brave and have the courage to step outside into something new.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been in business for 2.5 years and have grown both personally and professionally more than I ever realized I would! It hasn’t all been easy. I’ve had monetary setbacks, debt from ongoing education, life challenges with sick kids, schedules and personal life, and then of course Covid. I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons along the way- but in those hard lessons have all been opportunities for me to learn and grow- to be better and also offer help and advice to peers. I’ve learned where, who and what to look for in a mentor. I have paid off my ongoing education by implementing what I’ve learned (of course I’ll always be going after more education!) I’ve learned to adapt, pivot and adjust on the fly, when for example, I have virtual client session and two boys at home who think virtual calls are the most interesting thing in the world. In the time of Covid, I am learning more than ever to have grace with myself- set goals but with wider margins to accomplish them. In starting my business, I have had the opportunity to train postpartum moms all over the world through my postpartum virtual training programs. I have held Core/Pelvic Floor Athlete seminars in CrossFit gyms throughout Colorado. I have had the opportunity to be on podcasts, write blogs, be in photoshoots, assist professional courses, and meet and learn from some of the best health and fitness professionals in the world. My favorite moments though have been hearing from the moms I work with that they feel strong, confident and moving with less symptoms. It’s hearing that they can pick up their kids with no pain, lift 300 pounds without leaking, being able to spike a volleyball again feeling strong and ready, and even hearing you may have just saved my marriage in regards to educating about painful sex and resources that can help. What I coach is different because until recently pregnant/postpartum/pelvic floor considerations generally haven’t been taught in the health and fitness industry. I help bridge a much needed gap for women. I step into the gray area as a fitness coach and offer insight on strategies that can help support women beyond and in addition to conventional training. So many times I’ve visited with women who’ve been told: – not to run or do a sit-up again because of a diastasis recti (a sepaation of the abdominal wall muscles), – not to lift over 25 pounds because of a prolapse but who must lift their toddler wondering how they can manage, – they will always leak when they run, jump, lift heavy, laugh and sneeze and to get used to wearing black, – that they will never be the athletes they were before motherhood. These are the conversations I have on a regular basis. More often than not during initial consultations there are tears of frustration, sadness, fear over having little to no information for their postpartum bodies. I have been where they are and my mission is to help educate, empower and bring awareness to more moms so they can learn more about their bodies and how to gain confidence in what their bodies can do. How do we move forward? What/how can we change? What are their goals? Who can I add to our team to ensure each mom has the support they need to recover (mentally, physically, emotionally). This is some of how I prepare for our training sessions. We work together to develop a plan that meets their goals and develop a strong foundation to grow from. It’s never black and white, yes or no. It’s all individual because each mom has unique considerations. The people who I have worked with and who have supported me along with the experiences I’ve had over these last few years outweigh any of my hard experiences.. I’ll be continually learning as I grow my business but as of right now I’m proud that I’ve pushed outside my comfort zone to speak up about socially taboo topics that have brought awareness and help to many women here in my community and beyond.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is no shortage of fun here in northern Colorado! From delicious microbrews, to beautiful trails, to amazing food we’ve got it all! Monday- We go for a hike in the foothills (like Horsetooth) and then downtown Greeley and stop in for margarita specials at Luna’s tacos on the rooftop! Tuesday- take the kids to one of the incredible parks in Greeley. There is something for everyone at Aven’s Village, Homestead Park, and so many more! Wednesday- go for a bike ride or walk along the Sheep Draw or Poudre Trails. You won’t run out of trail and there is beautiful scenery! Thursday- shop local for some unique gifts! Blush boutique, Charley and Co., Weathered Willow and others! Then grab a coffee at Aunt Helens and a cupcake or cake truffle from Batter Up Cakes! Friday- Friday fest in downtown Greeley! It’s changed a lot over the last few years and has some of the best breweries and distilleries in the state! Check out WeldWerks (Often has a food truck!) or Tower56, the Kress cinema, as well as listen to music outside! Saturday- get your partner workout and some fun in at CrossFit Helix! Sunday- In the summer, grab the paddle board and go to Windsor Lake or Poudre Ponds for some kayaking or paddle boarding. In the winter, a quick day trip to Estes Park to see the mountains in all their glory!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
One of the most influential people in my life over the last 3 years has been Brianna Battles. She developed the Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coaches course which essentially changed my life. Bri developed a program that not only allowed me to start to heal as an athlete, but grow as a coach and inspired me to “practice brave” and start my own coaching business. In addition she became a mentor, a friend and confidant. She’s the person who first bluntly told me that my time is valuable and I need to respect that time when first figuring out how to price having often given away services because I felt bad asking for money. She helped me understand that I was and am a needed voice and resource Thank you Bri, for helping plant a seed and growing it with me as a friend and incredible mentor. I’d also like to send a shout out to some of the first Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism coaches I met and with whom I have become good friends with, as well as my best friend Taneil Sisco Dennis. These women and SO MANY more have helped continue to teach me that women can truly empower other women. #team A special shoutout to Antony Lo, a leading physiotherapist for Women’s Health from Australia who helps me challenge my biases and beliefs on all of the things in all of the ways to help continue my evolution as a coach and athlete. CrossFit Helix and crew- thank you for being a supportive environment, giving me a place to thrive and encouraging my dreams. Finally, to Jeremy, Rhys, and Rhett- my boys that forever changed my world for the better. You challenge me daily and I look forward in anticipation to all the adventures to come.
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