Casi Olson Gains Energy, Patience, and Strength with Personal Training

Heather SabinHealth & Fitness

Casi Olson has never felt stronger or more confident in her roles as a wife, mom, and small business owner. But 18 months ago, that wasn’t the case.

She felt weak, unmotivated, sluggish, and simply unhealthy. With a 7-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter, Casi wanted to have more energy to be the wife and mom that she believed she was made to be.

Accountability and consistency

After starting and quitting many at-home workout programs since her daughter was born, Casi decided she needed help to get back into a workout routine.  She reached out to Kim Johnson, a personal trainer at the Y, whom she had known from church.

“I wanted to be strong and healthy, and I didn’t know how to get there by myself,” Casi said. “I was running regularly, but I still felt weak and frail.” She wanted accountability and consistency of working with a personal trainer.

At Casi’s initial consultation with Kim, they discussed Casi’s goals, eating habits, schedule, and did benchmark tests so they could measure progress.

Then the work began. Kim and Casi chose to meet 2-3 times per week during the first year of training. “The accountability was important. I needed to build healthy habits around working out before I trusted myself to drop down to 1-2 times per week,” Casi said.

Instead of the cardio training that Casi had been used to, Kim started having her lift weights and do almost exclusively strength training. “I never would have known how to start strength training or what moves or machines to use,” Casi said.

Being an example for her kids

With two young, impressionable kids in the house, Casi knows the importance of being an example to them and showing (not telling) them the value of physical activity and self-care.

“We need to teach our kids to recognize how to take care of our bodies. My kids know that exercising makes me less grumpy and more patient,” Casi says. “We have to take care of our bodies in order to be the best version of ourselves.”

“It’s especially important with my daughter. I want her to see that women can be exceptional moms, wives, career women and take time to care for themselves,” Casi says.

Strong is the new skinny

As a petite person, Casi admits that she’s never had much strength or definition in her body, but she’s now seeing definition in her whole body, especially her butt and thighs. “I want my daughter to know that it’s not about what size pants you wear, it’s about how strong and confident you are in them,” Casi says.

Casi says she can lift more than she ever thought she could. “I can row as much as my personal trainer!” Casi laughs as she says it, but seriously, she can.

“Kim is amazing at what she does. She knows the body so well and knows exactly what to do. It’s so nice to have someone who is familiar with your body and can design training programs that are geared at your specific goals,” Casi says.

Casi has an entire arsenal of workout techniques and moves that she can tap in to when she’s working out at home or another gym while traveling. Kim has taught her about moves that work large muscle groups and corresponding small muscle groups. “She’s really empowered me to take my physical activity into my own hands,” Casi says.

Feeling better

It wasn’t just Casi’s body that was transformed. As a mental health professional, Casi knows that mental and physical health are very much connected. She feels more energized and has more mental clarity than before. Now, she also enjoys taking time after her workouts to read her Bible and devotionals.

“I am able to focus more and really connect with the Word,” she said. “I’m able to really drink it in and not let my mind wander to other areas. I’m a better version of myself when I feed my physical, mental, and spiritual soul.”

A family affair

“One of my favorite things about the Y is that our whole family can be active together. We can all come to the Y to play Walleyball with my in-laws, or we can split up for workouts then come back together for family swim time,” Casi says.

Casi and her family take part in regular activities at the Y, including Bernick’s Family Fitness Series events like the Wishbone 5K/1K walk/run on Thanksgiving morning.

“Being comfortable in your own skin will make you better in every area of your life,” Casi says. Her advice to others weighted down and exhausted by mom-life? Just start. Start moving, start doing something. You’ll never regret it.