We love inspiration at Fleet Feet Sports. It’s why we come to work. To help people push harder, go farther and exceed their running, walking and fitness goals is our mission. When we heard the story of Kimberly Flowers and her fitness journey, we wanted to connect. So we invited Kimberly and her trainer Mike Hardy to be fit for running shoes and talked for a few minutes about her life the last 16 months.
“It’s time,” she exclaimed as she struggled to get up from her chair and climb stairs on any given day. She was Kimberly Flowers and she was 307 lbs. just 16 months ago.
That month, Kimberly made a decision that she had to make a change if she wanted to live a better and healthier life. So she searched out an avenue for what she thought would be a health change, but turned into a complete life transformation.
That avenue was Mike Hardy, a personal trainer at Medical Fitness and Wellness Group in Johns Creek.
“The first time Kimberly showed up in my office she came in crying and said it’s time,” remembers Hardy. “We both knew it. I knew I had a large project in front of me but I knew I could help her.”
While Flowers was committed from the beginning, that didn’t mean that things would be easy at first. In fact, some of the first small steps she made produced some of the biggest wins.
“The first day Kimberly showed up to train with me, she actually brought her cushions from her sofa because she couldn’t get down on her knees without extraordinary amounts of pain,” said Hardy. “That was the first milestone in itself when she stopped bringing the cushions with her.”
While it might have seemed like a rough start, Flowers found her stride with her nutritional plan early and set a foundation for her workouts with balance, posture and gait training over the first 5 weeks.
With the ground work complete, the two worked on adding sweat equity to the equation.
“I have a little competitive spirit and I wanted to know how far I could push myself,” said Flowers.
Flowers then found herself addicted to the sweat equity which turned her workout routine into a habit. Eight months into the journey and Flowers now couldn’t go longer than 2 or 3 days without exercising. She had found what many of us have found. Endorphins.
That feeling led flowers to sign up and walk her first 5k in November, The Glow Out The Dark 5K in Gainesville.
“It was awesome,” remembers Flowers. “It was freezing cold and was a different experience. I realized I could get through the 5k and really got me motivated. At the race we decided we could do another one and that started a circuit and now we’re junkies.”
From that point, there was only one way to go right? Having already covered 10k distance on her own, Flowers was encouraged by her Bible study leader to tackle a new challenge and make the jump to 6.2 mile race. So along with a few other friends, she took a chance and signed up for the Peacthree Road Race lottery. To her pleasure, her name was picked which set her up for her first journey from Buckhead to Piedmont Park the morning of July 4.
Flowers says she’s most excited about all of the people and the chaos surrounding the race. If you’ve ever been part of the Peachtree Road Race you know that there should be no shortage of either come Tuesday morning.
Through all of Flowers accomplishments the last 16 months, when asked which one she is most proud of, there was no hesitation.
“113 pounds,” she said. “I never in all my dreams thought I’d be able to lose the weight. I’ve had it for 41 years and I just never thought I would. I don’t ever want to find it again.”
Looking to the future, Flowers hopes to be able to get to a fitness level to start running more. She also hopes to inspire others who want to lead a similar change and start their own fitness journey.
“Once you start you have to follow through,” she said. “You have to have determination and drive. That has been the most important thing to me. I knew what would drive me and you have to follow what drives you.”