We were lucky to catch up with Kerry Audie recently and have shared our conversation below.
Kerry, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’d love to hear about a time you helped a customer really get an amazing result through their work with you.
My niche as a personal trainer is pre/postnatal fitness with a specific focus on Postpartum Corrective Exercise. My main goal is to help clients feel strong, empowered and capable through all stages of the motherhood journey. I chose this path after having my first child and feeling lost in terms of what to do, how to heal, where to start, etc.
The fitness world is overwhelming. There are many schools of thought regarding what the best modality is, how often to train, etc. Add in the changes a woman goes through after having a baby or the emotional journey of trying to conceive and the fitness experience is even more daunting. This is where I come in.
There are a host of changes that occur in a woman’s body due to pregnancy. Diastasis, which is the natural separation of the rectus abdominals to make room for a growing baby, can result in an injury to that tissue if core mechanics are not ideal. Prolapse of the pelvic organs can happen also due to mismanagement of core pressure. Other injuries or barriers include cesarian scar tissue and adhesions, postural changes, pelvic floor injuries and other pelvic pain. One of my specialties as a trainer is teaching my clients how to manage intra abdominal pressure in order to restore core function. A functional core is the foundation of a strong body.
I recently had a client come to me for help with her diastasis. She was experiencing back pain, hip pain, knee pain and felt weak when doing exercises like planks. She went to her OBGYN for help and was told that surgery was her best option. She came to me instead. I referred her to a pelvic floor physical therapist in order to get a better idea of how her pelvic floor was functioning and then we met for 6 weeks to build strength and tackle her core dysfunction. She successfully healed her diastasis to a functional level where she is able to create tension in her linea alba (the connective tissue between the rectus abdominals) and she no longer experiences back, hip or knee pain. She has since continued on to a more full body strength program and is feeling stronger than she did pre babies! She no longer needs surgery and can exercise in ways she enjoys. She likes to go for hikes with her family, ride her bike to work and enjoys a good strength & conditioning class in between her favorite barre classes.
Working with clients like this brings me immense joy. I also feel frustrated by the fact that women’s health is seriously lacking when it comes to postpartum care. The 6-week check up is often virtual these days because of Covid and many women are cleared for exercise at that point without any cervical check, core function check or pelvic floor exam. Even when the 6-week checkup is not virtual, the main focus is on postpartum mental health rather than the big picture. Mental health is important of course. When you are in pain and cannot move your body without pain, your mental health can suffer further. What if your main self care is exercise, but you cannot do what you love because you have incontinence due to a dysfunctional pelvic floor? Prolapse, diastasis, incontinence and other postpartum symptoms do not need to be a life sentence and surgery is not the only option! We need to do better for all women!
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
The Denver fitness scene is quite saturated. It is one of the best things our city offers!
I have been a personal trainer and fitness instructor for 5 years. I’ve been a brick and mortar business owner for almost 3 years. I switched gears career wise after having my first baby. Prior to being a mom, I wore lots of hats! I worked with at-risk youth, owned a dog sitting business, waited tables, worked in public relations and was always a nanny on the side. I love children and I love helping people. I’ve always been a fitness consumer, too. After having a baby, I realized that my body was very different and I could complete the workouts I was used to doing. I could barely complete a walk around the block without experiencing some sort of pain in either my hips, low back or pelvis.
When seeking help, I felt overwhelmed and discouraged. The trainers I found that specialized in postnatal exercise were out of my budget. My OBGYN was no help. I could not just go for a run around the park like I used to because it hurt and my belly would pouch as if I was 6 months pregnant by the end of each day. I had diastasis recti and it was pretty severe. The separation between my rectus abdominals was four fingers wide and two knuckles deep! I was told I needed surgery.
Enter career pivot number one. I studied for and received my NASM personal training certification. I continued my education receiving several pre/postnatal fitness certifications, kettlebell certifications, barre instructor certification and yoga sculpt certification. Each year I continue to learn and add more certifications to my resume, but initially, my main focus was myself and I just wanted to feel strong again and heal my core. Selfish motivation resulted in discovery. I realized I had a gift for teaching. I began by teaching barre classes because I fell in love with the accessibility of barre. Barre is alignment focused, core focused and low-pact, which are three things that are highly beneficial to postpartum women. I fully healed my core and then started acquiring personal training clients.
In a very short amount of time, I immersed myself in the Denver fitness scene and earned a solid reputation as a pre/postnatal personal trainer. My barre classes were always full, my client load was growing and so was my family. I had two more babies in the next 36 months resulting in three babies under 4! This gave me a unique perspective when it came to training women. Sleep deprivation, putting yourself on the back burner and ignoring your own needs to meet the needs of others and pushing through pain is something most moms are experts in. Making time for training can feel daunting. I got it. Add in the barriers of pelvic floor and core dysfunction and exercise becomes the last thing most women want to tackle on their own. I got it. I was there and I knew how to help.
Over the past 5 years I have helped women heal and avoid surgery. I had helped women connect to their core in a way that makes them empowered throughout labor and delivery. I have helped women heal and gain strength in between pregnancies to avoid further dysfunction and pain. I have helped women feel strong! I love what I do. My specialty is core and pelvic floor function. I take a whole body approach and utilize the entire kinetic chain when designing strength plans. I do all of my personal training sessions out of the gym I own unless clients prefer to meet virtually or in their own homes. I offer single sessions, 6 session packs and also have an online program to follow if that is more your speed. Everything can be found on my site and I always post valuable information on my instagram: @kerryaudie.fit
I also own Pearl Street Fitness in the Wash Park neighborhood of Denver. The business opened in 2013 and I purchased it in April of 2019. We specialize in dynamic strength and conditioning classes that are ever-changing and a lot of fun! My coaching staff is well educated and passionate about helping everyone feel successful and safe throughout their workouts.
In fewer words, my passion and brand are one in the same. I strive to create an environment that fosters strength and empowerment. My workouts are accessible and scalable and are guaranteed to make you feel better than when you started.
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
I think word of mouth is the strongest referral in this industry. Clients start to feel stronger and then friends and family notice. The referrals help build your business and then it is up the trainer/coach/instructor to consistently deliver a good experience.
Third party booking platforms like ClassPass and the Lululemon Membership help, too. After taking a class or booking a session, clients are prompted to leave a review and it is ultimately free marketing! Again, it is up to the coach to deliver an enjoyable experience.
On a personal level a combination of sharing quality content on Instagram, word of mouth referrals and partnering with women’s health professionals have built my reputation in the Denver pre/postnatal fitness scene. I am a firm believer in simple, effective and empowering workouts and that is what my brand is built on. A solid foundation opens more doors. This is true in your fitness journey and in business.
I also believe in a holistic approach. I partner with pelvic health physical therapists, other niche physical therapists, chiropractors, reflexologists, doulas and others to expand my network for my clients. Being able to refer out to other professionals and provide a team approach for clients is paramount to their success and also helps build your network and referral base.
Ultimately, the best source of clients is satisfied existing clients.
Let’s talk M&A – we’d love to hear your about your experience with buying businesses
I purchased Pearl Street Fitness in 2019. The opportunity presented itself when the original owners had moved out of state and were ready to pass it on. My five year goal at the time was to open my own gym and I was not sure what that looked like just yet. This opportunity was hard to pass up! The gym has a great reputation, is in a great location and needed some new life.
The acquisition process was smooth for the most part, but there were a few surprises in the first couple months of ownership. The business was in decline and reliant on 3rd party income when I took it over. The membership base was not covering overhead costs and the team morale of the coaches was lower than it appeared on the outside. There was a sense of unease. My first goal was to inspire the team and show them that I was in it with them and ready to take this gym to the next level. My second goal was to grow the membership base. I spent all of 2019 rebuilding membership and doing a subtle rebrand. I created a new logo, remodeled the gym to make it brighter and purchased some new equipment. 2019 ended with membership increasing by 250%! Then Covid19 happened.
I immediately learned how to pivot and kept right on pivoting for the majority of both 2020 and 2021. I joined an online platform to host classes online and rented out all of our equipment to members so that everyone could workout at home. We were closed for over 2 months and in that time, I was able to pay the coaches for their full teaching schedule due to the amount of growth we had in the previous year. When we were allowed to reopen, there were restrictions to navigate, personal opinions to assuage and fear to manage all while being a present mother of three and wife. Making it through that period of time and surviving when so many other small businesses shut down, feels like a huge accomplishment. Owning this gym has taught me more in 3 years than I ever thought I needed to know! The community of PSF is strong, loyal and inspiring. The people that attend make it easy to endure the unknowns of this pandemic.
The gym is no longer reliant on any third party revenue streams. Membership is at an all-time high and morale is even higher.
- Website: https://kerryaudiefitness.podia.com/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/kerryaudie.fit
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kerryaudie.fit
- Linkedin: Kerry-Lee Audie
Ashley Kidder Photography