Katherine Simmons

Interview with a Personal Trainer

Katherine Simmons ("Kado") is the Director of Community Outreach and one of our favorite coaches at Body Space Fitness. She played lacrosse at Cornell, where she was a four-year starter, two-time captain, and All-American, All-Ivy, and Academic All-Ivy honoree - and we haven't even mentioned how many pull ups she can do! She pursured her Personal Training Cert a few years ago and quickly became a top-tier trainer in NY. In May 2012, she became a BSF coach and started kicking the Hot Bird's butts! We love her sessions because she's a runner, an athlete, a pull-up machine (!) and embodies a holistic approach to training, which emphasizes mindful movement, balance, and plenty of hard work.

Why do you like working with runners?
I like working with runners because they like to move. Some move fast, some move slow, some run with perfect form, others flail like Phoebe from Friends. It really doesn't matter to me - if you enjoy moving your body around, and especially enjoy moving around outside, I will enjoy working with you.

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Find your core! Incorporate core strengthening exercises into warm-ups and warm-downs and you will inevitably strengthen your stride, feel lighter on your feet, and prevent injury. Core strengthening exercises range from mat work like floor bridges and planks to resistance exercises like kettlebell squats, 1-leg deadlifts, and cable rows. Do them all!

What is your go-to fitness activity and why?
I am an athlete at heart, so any sort of activity that involves play, competitive or friendly, will make me happy as a clam. I played soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse growing up, stuck with lacrosse in college, and now have discovered the joy of two-hand touch football. But really, I will play any game with anyone who can handle my enthusiasm and nonstop commentary (e.g. "There's Kado...she's driving for the end zone...she makes the catch! The crowd goes wild!")

What is your favorite post workout meal? 
If I have time, I'll whip up a hearty breakfast bowl: quinoa cooked w/ chunks of fresh ginger & jalapeño, a dallopp of hummus, a couple fried eggs, and sauteed kale. Top it off with some sriracha and you're good to go. Otherwise, for a more traditional sort, I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt w/ berries and a scoop of ground flaxseed or chia seeds.

When did you start running and why?
Great question! Honestly I think I came out of the womb running, but always on a field or turf and always as part of a game. In 2009, my mom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and the news inspired my brother and I to sign up for the NYC Marathon. We started training with Fred's Team, an organization that raises money for cancer research for Sloan-Kettering. I don't think I had ever run more than 5-miles straight during all of my athletic training, but I was living in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts at the time, so couldn't have asked for a better location to train. I ran on the Appalachian Trail, I ran on quiet back roads, and I learned what it meant to just relax and listen to my breath and enjoy the quiet time. I would either sing my favorite songs in my head as I ran, or for the long training runs I would carry poems with me and try to memorize them. I loved the training and was able to play soccer and practice yoga to supplement it. Running for something greater than myself is what kept me going and to be honest I literally floated through the marathon, carried by the energy and the spirit of the city and the supporters, as well as the strength and pride I felt for my beautiful and fearless mother.