Member Spotlight: Kat and Jim Olson
Kat and Jim are two of the most patient, dedicated, and hard-working members we’ve ever had. There, we said it. They uprooted their lives, moved to Austin, and jumped right into our gym and our community, and we hope they never look back (aka we cannot afford to lose such sweet spirits as these!).
Internet, kindly meet Kat and Jim:
Q: Why did you start CrossFit and what made you stick with it?
Jim: Kat had been going to CrossFit for over a year and had asked me a couple of times if I wanted to drop in. I consistently said no, until one day I relented and have been going since (2.5 years). I love the variety of movements and seeing consistent improvement in them.
Kat: I joined CrossFit in 2017, when a friend dragged me along to try it out. I was terrified, in the largest sized body I’d ever been in, losing mobility, and very unwilling to step into any sort of gym—but she was insistent and I found a home in the sport. I have tried many different types of exercise in my health journey with a lot of discouragement. CrossFit sucked me in with a variety that incorporated moves I could do well and others that challenged me, but I stayed because of the community. On my third day at the gym I was about to quit in the midst of some grueling plate-to-overheads, when someone I had never met came over and started cheering me on. Then another and another. In any other gym, I would assume that these fit people would avoid me, even make fun of my larger size struggling with a simple move behind my back. These people showed me that no matter my size, they wanted me to succeed. Perhaps that’s why I cheer others on in their workouts so much! When we moved to Austin a few months ago, I was scared to leave my home gym—would I find the same kind of community? I’m so grateful we came to Renew, not only to continue on in my health journey, but to do so in the kind of environment where we cheer everyone on.
Q: What is your favorite and least favorite movement in the gym?
Jim: I love strength training and cardio machines. I really dislike running. And my current nemesis is any movement that involves hanging from the bar, but that is (slowly) improving.
Kat: I LOVE bench pressing. I do it well, I feel strong, and it makes my muscles sing! I’d say my least favorite is any lunging movement right now. Between sore knees and imbalance, I’m riding the lunge-struggle-bus! (But you’ll get there, Kat!)
Q: Do you have siblings? If yes, what order are you and do you think you fit the stereotype?
Jim: I have one younger brother. I am very much a stereotypical oldest child: organized, responsible, dependable.
Kat: I have two younger brothers, and yes, I am the type-A eldest stereotype! But I’m also an enneagram seven, who wants to have all the fun and friends… So while I do feel pressure towards responsibility, I also struggle with procrastination because there’s ALWAYS something fun to do. Jim and I joke that I’m a Fraggle and he’s a Doozer, and in that way, he’s much more the stereotype of his birth order! Let the Fraggles play!!
Q: What is something outside the gym that you’re really excited about?
Jim: I love music, playing it or listening to it. Almost any genre or style.
Kat: Outside the gym I’m really excited about the life changes happening for me career/ministry wise. I’m currently writing the final chapters of my dissertation for my PhD, which has been a LONG SLOG of a process over the last several years. I see the light at the finish line and hope to defend sometime this fall. Alongside finishing comes adding new, which is teaching at Austin Theological Seminary as visiting faculty for the year. I’m really excited to invest in my students and help them find and hone their ministerial voices!
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? (inside or outside the gym)
Jim: After my first semester of college I had no idea what I wanted to do or major in, so I didn’t take classes for my (would be) second semester. I was working 3rd shift at UPS and one night a guy several years older than me asked what I was majoring in. My response was a generic “something with computers” and his response was “oh Computer Science, that’s a good major”. And that is how I became a software engineer.
Kat: It’s hard to name the best piece of advice I’ve ever received, but one that has been extremely relevant recently is: “Let someone else be your no.” I’ve had to put myself out there in some scary ways this past year—applying for fellowships, submitting papers for publication, submitting chapters of this dissertation—and it’s only going to get worse as I enter into a search within a very competitive job market this fall. I’m so quick to think “not me” with a litany of reasons why I’m not good enough, but I am working hard to shift that perspective, to take a chance, and not allow the fear of a no prevent me from going after something. I’m trying to say yes to myself much more.
Jim and Kat, you are both an inspiration! Kat, you aren’t lying with the encouragement that you give in class. A number of our athletes have been pushed forward by it! And Jim, today we learned you’re a big music guy! Next time the Sonos fails us, you’re on deck, maestro.