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December Athlete of the Month: Heejin Kim

We’re happy to announce Heejin Kim as our December Athlete of the Month! She is a joy to have around the gym, and inspires many with her eagerness to learn and grow as an athlete. She is delightful and a much-appreciated member of our gym family. Read more about Heejin below!

Coach Garrett F says, “Heejin is really fun and really diligent and is so eager to learn and grow as an athlete. This makes her a real treat to coach. It was really delightful to have her show up to Fit From Home so regularly and watch her connection to the movements and exercise grow. It makes perfect sense that she would find a home amongst our community of fun, nerdy, strong athletes. I hope I get to coach or take a class with Heejin soon.”

Heejin talks a little bit about her fitness journey, “Growing up I had parents who weren’t very active or sporty. I remember really wanting to join the basketball team in 3rd grade but I was sure you had to be tall to join the team and I knew I was short so I didn’t sign up.”

“At some point in my 20s I learned how to ride a bike and that became my primary mode of transportation. I loved it and still do. At some point in my 30s I realized running was fun and would go on short jogs all the time. I was also practiced kali for awhile. And then later on in my 30s I started getting all kinds of issues with my knees (after runs), Achilles (after Muy Thai kicks), and elbows (after biking).  And I got really scared that I would lose access to doing these things that I enjoyed so much. So, I started to look for weight training programs that would be a good fit for me with the understanding that with more muscular strength, I could protect my joints.”

“I started at Solcana last winter and did exclusively FFH classes. The classes were so challenging that for the first month, I could only go once a week because it was taking me 4 days to recover. My amazing kid started taking classes last summer and now goes weekly! When my job changed and I stopped having a 7am start time, I stopped being able to get up for FFH classes. I worked with Coach Neesh and Scout to figure out a plan to keep going. I started going to in-person classes last summer. I got a buddy to join so I could have extra help getting in the door. I immediately noticed that I was stronger and more capable than I thought! FFH taught me how to pace and push myself.”

Our admin Scout adds, “I really love that Heejin encouraged and supported her son, Oscar, to get involved with Trans Strength this summer! It’s been really inspiring to see them both coming into their power and strength in the gym community.”

Heejin discusses what motivates her: “That feeling of earthy-groundedness you get sometimes during and often after a strength workout. I also REALLY like getting stronger and noticing more ease with physical day-to-day tasks, like carrying things, as well as having more body familiarity, like getting winded shoveling and knowing how to gauge when to stop and work through the struggle.

And what goals she has met since being a member at Solcana: “Being able to do more than 10 pushups from the floor, going to 2-3 classes/week, a quicker recovery time post-workout, and sticking with something that isn’t body-shape driven (ie: I’m doing this to drop three pants sizes).”

Heejin also talks about her fascination with movement modifications. “I also learned from Coach Garrett F. so many modifications. My brain wants to do things completely so often, and it’s really challenging to feel good about what I’m doing if I keep having to stop ‘early.’ Modifications help me feel like I’ve ‘finished.’ So not only do modifications allow for appropriate movement and decenter expectations about what bodies ‘should be able to do,’ they also help with some neurodivergent brains.

“One more rad thing about modifications, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting older. I fully expect that it’s going to be as vitally important then as it is now for me to know how to care for my body. So even though I may not use every modification for every movement now, I have a lot of interest in learning them and normalizing doing what my body needs to do to maintain good movement and overall stability.”

Coach Neesh says, “Heejin had a rough start trying to get into a routine, but has really taken off these last few months. She has really grown in her knowledge of her body, and has been working hard towards a regular fitness routine. She brings such a positive attitude to class and is a very intentional and hard worker.”

Fun Facts About Our December Athlete of the Month:

  • She has consistently had a dog for the past 22 years and counting.
  • Both her dogs have lived to be over 14yo.
  • She used to have a punk rock name and it was, ‘Jenny w/dogs’.
  • She used to live in Philly by the MOVE house.
  • She used to live in Silicon Valley across the street from the Stanford Mall.
  • She loves DND, is new to it, and is totally obsessed.
  • She make zines and loves artsy craftsy stuff.
  • And she’s sort of a nerd, generally also a little high off of some book/article/idea that she’s digesting and ready to infodump.

Heejin is incredibly appreciated by everyone at Solcana, and we love having her at the gym, seeing her dedication as an athlete and drive to achieve. Here are Heejin’s closing words:

“In Coach Garrett’s FFH class we would do a gentle, starting-to-get-warmer, exercise called, ‘Casual Butt-Kickers’. It’s such an iconic thing from that class that now I have a shirt (thank you Kacia & Molly) in it’s (and the FFH community’s) honor. I just want to say that as your December Athlete of the Month, I deeply feel, perhaps the greater message from Garret’s whimsical movement nomenclature. And so I say this to you, Solcana community:

– Feel casual butt-kickers

– Be casual butt-kickers

– Live casual butt-kickers

Like, if you want. NBD. It’s casual. Do it because casual butt-kickers understand that this is a long game and there’s sooooooo much butt out there. Do it because it’s fun to say and think.

Do it because casual butt-kickers, kick butt, but casually.”

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