Kari Kempf is a client that has seen tremendous success these past few months – on the scale and with non-scale victories. Despite the pandemic, she made a commitment to herself and her wellness goals and found a way to prioritize her health and daily habits. She considered that what she’s done in the past on her own wasn’t sustainable, and reached out to Performance Health & Fitness for help. She has been working with personal trainer, Jenny Vens, and registered dietitian, Ashley Pearson. In addition, she has been utilizing the additional services that come with membership (TEAM Training classes as part of her personal training membership and the InBody 270 body composition scale).

Kari has been an inspiration to us all – a client that shares her goals and personal struggles, trusts our expertise, dismisses cultural misconceptions about wellness, and implements what she learns from Performance in her day-to-day life.

This is her inspiring story.

Video Transcript: 

Kari Kempf:

My name is Kari Kempf and I have been going to Performance Health & Fitness since August (2020).  Using the Dietitian Services with Ashley Pearson and Personal Training with Jenny Vens. 

I first heard about Performance Health & Fitness because I went to Performance Therapies several years ago for physical therapy. That’s how I knew there was a health club attached to the therapy clinic. 

When I was looking to start working with someone, I really wanted to work with a trainer that was attached to physical therapy so it would compliment my therapy. I checked the website and saw there was an option to do personal training in your home or virtual. I emailed and asked – they said they had personal trainers that could come to my house then I could decide if I wanted to do virtual personal training sessions or meet in person. 

Jenny Vens:

Lynde emailed me and said Kari wasn’t comfortable coming to the gym yet, so I did her fitness assistant in her basement at 6:00am during the week. 

Hi, I’m Jenny Vens and I’m a certified personal trainer, certified health coach, and certified nutrition coach at Performance Health & Fitness.

Things were definitely not normal at that time. I had clients doing a lot of different things. Some did virtual personal training, some came to train in person. Some clients weren’t comfortable with that either. I met with Kari at her house, which was very different, but we were able to do everything. She has quite a bit of equipment at home. After our assessment, I was willing to do virtual sessions, train her at her house, or come into the Cedar Rapids physical therapy clinic location where there weren’t as many people.

Kari is very teachable. If I tell her what she needs to do with her workouts at home or with her eating at home or habits at home, she’s very willing to do anything that I tell her. That’s huge in her success. If I tell her she needs to lay off something or to add something in, she’s going to listen.

Kari Kempf:

She has worked with me on “you have to build muscle” if you want to maintain weight and stay healthy, especially as you get older because your body doesn’t retain muscle the same way as when you’re younger. Between Jenny and Ashley, they’re both pushing me to build muscle and work on making sure I get enough protein so I can sustain myself for the long term. 

In the past, I had done things like Weight Watchers, tried Noom, and tried a private clinic’s version of Ideal Protein. All of those things weren’t really working for me long term. I wanted the personal training piece to do things other than what I normally do, and I wanted the nutrition piece because I wanted to find something sustainable where I didn’t feel I was calorie-cutting and starving all the time. I really liked that I can get comprehensive support rather than piecemealing across different places.

My goal originally was to lose weight – getting back to where I wanted to be so I felt better and so my clothes fit. I didn’t necessarily have a goal in terms of weight. I just wanted to feel healthier and happier than I was and do it in a way that I could sustain it. I didn’t want to say “I accomplished that but there is no way I can maintain it so what’s the point.”

I would say I’m not a very good food-prepper. That has been a barrier for me in the past. In the beginning, this was something Ashley and I talked about quite a bit. Because of my job I’m never in the same place on a given day. Some days I’m in a spot where I have a refrigerator. Some days I’m at home. Some days I’m running from place to place and have to be able to eat on the go.

Ashley has me looking at macros – making sure I have enough carbs, protein, and fat. We have been working on what I eat, when I eat, and how I pair my foods together – making sure that I am being mindful of that throughout the day. She has me eating more calories. I do feel, because I’m eating more proteins and fats, that I’m naturally eating more fruits and vegetables. I want to round those macros out. Doing this has helped me to feel more full. I don’t feel super hungry across the day. The other piece is – if I’m really hungry and need to eat something, I eat it. I have found that hasn’t hindered me from losing weight. I don’t just go eat anything random. I’m mindful about what I eat. But I’m able to say … “I’m too hungry right now, I need to eat something” rather than say I can’t eat anything.

I like doing the InBody. I think for me it was helpful because I felt like I got some great accurate measurements about where I was at with body fat and those kinds of things. For Jenny, it was helpful for her to then show me what we needed to work on and helped her think about what we should do moving forward. It’s nice to track your progress and really see some hard data about what you’re doing and that over time it really does make a difference. I only weigh myself at home once per week but even week to week there are weeks where you don’t see a ton of growth but when you look long term you can see a different more.

I appreciate working with Performance Health & Fitness because I really like the fact that you can get multiple services that compliment each other nicely and people work together. I know Ashley is my dietitian and Jenny is my personal trainer. They communicate about what we’re doing so that what we’re doing compliments each other.

Everyone I have met has really worked with what I needed or they have been willing to work with me. They listen and change what our goals are or what their plan is so I can achieve what I’m looking for.


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