Kira Gates is a runner, its somethings she has loved since she was a girl. But now it is more than just a hobby. Gates put her interest in exercise in the forefront of her life when she accepted the position of certified personal trainer at the new Island Body and Fitness.
“It’s just one of those things where I wanted to do something I was passionate about and the way it all worked out … it has been amazing,” she said.
Gates went to high school on Lopez and started working at Holly B’s when she was a teenager, baking and running the front counter. But as her two daughters grew older and she had more time on her hands, she began to wonder what else she could do for a living. She enrolled in classes at Skagit Valley Community College and decided on a Health and Fitness Certification.
“I initially enrolled just to take a few classes to feed my brain,” said Gates. “But I really liked it.”
To get her certification was no easy task, Gates had to commute twice a week to the college’s extension program in Oak Harbor for two and half years. The program she studied enables her to create diverse programs for people who have suffered a stroke, have cardiovascular issues or diabetes.
“Since we are dealing with a multi-age population on Lopez it was important to cover all the bases,” she said.
By her final quarter she received a phone call that made all that time and work seem worth it. Aaron Dye, owner of Lopez Village Market, was on the other line telling Gates that he was going to open a gym in the old LVM building and would she like to be a personal trainer?
“I jumped at the opportunity,” said Gates.
She now teaches three cardio and strength fitness classes at the gym. She describes the one hour and fifteen minute class as “pretty intense.” She also offers personal training sessions.
Gates is also working on certification for a muscular strength range of motion class and a yoga stretch class under the Silver Sneakers program, which encourages seniors to take control of their health through physical activity.
Seniors can get membership to the gym through Silver Sneakers via Medicaid and selected health insurance plans. The program gives Gates a chance to provide specific workout plans for these gym participants.
Overall, since the gym opened in July, Gates has found the experience to be surreal.
“I pinch myself everyday because of the way everything has happened,” said Gates.
If anyone is interested in checking out the gym, they are welcome to drop by for a tour. The gym, located on 214 Lopez Road, is open Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For more info, visit www.islandbodyandfitness.com.