Continuing with our #LoveYourBody theme for February, we're incredibly excited to introduce our next #WomenWhoLead interview with someone new to the PNW, Kirsten McCormick: personal trainer, yoga instructor, personal chef and founder of www.runningwithforks.com. She's a passionate heart, an outgoing connector and the kind of woman who will stop at nothing to pursue happiness and love.
Kirsten's leadership in the movement, health and well-being community has evolved through her own personal journey with athletics, her physical body and her relationship with food. She's a stand for people finding and experiencing what balance and a balanced life looks like and means for them, and is driven by feeding the stomachs, hearts and souls of the individuals she touches through training, performance coaching and her blog (where she shares some amazing recipes).
Join us in welcoming Kirsten to the SoulPowered community, and learn more about what this movement junkie knows about her brain, her body, and what leading with soul means to her.
Where did your drive to contribute to your work originate from?
Two places. I’ll speak of the second, first. I’ve encountered so many people in my life that haven’t yet found what it truly means to live a “balanced life”. Some people continuously find themselves bouncing back and forth between the wild ends of the spectrum—doing too much or not doing enough—in any, and sometimes all, areas of their life. Whether it’s working out, eating, indulging, sleeping, adventuring, loving, giving, receiving, nurturing, taking risks, feeling, you name it. I wanted to help people create a life full of balance, full of abundance, full of health and to truly experience the world that is around them. Life is too damn short to not enjoy its simple pleasures and to love the magnificent and precious, precious life you’ve been given. No doubt, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy that bowl of silky carbonara and that ooey-gooey monkey bread.
Through the seeking of my own life balance, I’ve learned to trust. Trusting what comes my way, taking the experiences I’m given, the heartaches I feel, the connections I make, the mountains I climb, and know that it’s exactly as it should be and I am exactly where I need to be; be it exciting, be it painful, be it life-changing. What we experience in every moment is an opportunity to choose what we make of it and what we do moving forward. This leads me to my first experience that led me to approach the people and community around me differently, to connect more, to give more and to turn circumstance into gratitude. My father was an amazing man who once filled his days with adventures, travel, love and peace of mind. Something shifted and he no longer felt that love and zest for adventure and life. He had fallen out of balance and wasn’t able to clearly see the path to the middle of that wild spectrum. When I was 17, he took his life, which left me deeply aching, but also yearning to find the balance, strength and happiness for myself and to move forward in life with perseverance and purpose. I push forward in hopes to create experiences that make positive shifts in people and to build a community that supports them through it.
What compelled you to step up as a leader in this world and in this work?
While my goal has always been to educate on wellness and make strong, lasting connections with people, the path that I’m on happened naturally through trust and letting go. Following my heart to LA led me to an amazing world of education in my field, introduced me to some of the most incredible and inspiring connections, landed me on a yoga mat where I was able to find so much more meaning to this thing we call life, and created an unfathomable obsession with cooking damn good food for those inspiring people that touch my life. And then I followed my heart again to Seattle. Who knows what’s next...
When do you know you are stepping into a calling or a purpose?
When whatever I am doing lights me up and brings me that truly authentic sense of joy, I’m pretty sure that’s a good sign that I’m on the right path.
What is the boldest thing you have done on your path today?
Trusted the universe and learned to say no when its not in alignment with my path.
What’s been a moment of understanding or realization that your work had created an impact on others?
I am currently working with one of the most inspiring women that I know. Hearing her so honestly, with a full heart, express gratitude and love for the shifts that take place as a result of our working together, receiving pictures of California sunsets to remind me and make me smile and notes reminding me that my work actually DOES make a difference in her life…those moments are so special, and I don’t ever forget them.
Why do you lead?
Frankly, I have never really considered myself a leader. When the people that I connect with share their lives with me; their goals, their struggles, their happiness or lack thereof, their family and dreams of change, I relate so deeply that guiding them then becomes my priority. I put so much of myself into helping them and encouraging them that I suppose, by nature, I am leading them.
We are focusing on loving your body this month – tell us why you chose to celebrate your stomach.
A big part of what I do involves cooking, food and body transformation, but to me the belly represents power, intuition + gut instinct, digestion, love. One of my biggest loves is cooking for others, and to be able to feed, fuel and nourish someone. The belly is also a place to grab, to hold on to, and love and embrace someone.
Being a Gemini, I have a tendency to overuse my brain and make decisions only from the head. I do, however, have a strong intuition so my work is learning to listen to my gut, my heart, etc. - or my head and brain will take over.
What do you love about your body now, as an adult/grown woman?
I have learned to embrace my body as it is and not be so critical and so poky or proddy and think its not perfect or not what I want it to be. I'm learning that if you can enjoy life and be truly happy, that your body responds in a positive way. I'm understanding that I don't have to be perfect esthetically; to love my body for what it is and how it’s perfectly imperfect.
How has your relationship to your body—more importantly, your stomach—evolved over time?
I was an athlete all my life, so growing up and as a young teenager I didn't have to focus on my body or what I put into it. When I got to college, my roommate introduced me to what really good quality food was and how to make amazing meals from food grown in her parents’ garden. I then got really obsessed with feeding my body with really good food, and got fairly restrictive on my diet.
When I moved to LA, I was still really regimented and strict with what I ate. Then, after a nasty case of bronchitis, I tore my intercostal muscles and couldn't workout for three months. And in that time, my body changed - in a good way. I was forced to give my body a break and a rest – and in that time I also gave myself permission to have some sweets and treats and essentially ate what I wanted. I stopped caring so much and started living and loving my life and being happy with what I ate by finding a good balance of eating good food and treating myself.
When I went back to the gym three months later, I had people asking me what I had been doing or what plan I was on - and it kind of hit me. That I could have treats that were leaned to the healthy side and that I didn't have to be so regimented and strict to feel good.
It become my priority to share that with other people – that treating yourself and enjoying simple pleasures is all a part of treating their body with care.
What would you say the body’s biggest gift is?
To love. Even though my body is a physical thing, being able to touch and embrace someone else and show love and show care is the greatest gift – the physical act of loving and connection.
If you could tell women one thing about being a leader in their life as it pertains to their health and their bodies, what would that be?
Trust the universe, and stop thinking with the head so much; follow your heart and listen to your body. Listening to your body is huge and comes in so many forms: injury, hunger, changes -- work at being in tune with what your body is saying each day.
What is your vision for the future?
My vision is empowering people to find and live a healthy and well balanced life they enjoy. One of the things that I always say is 'Give more, expect less, eat well and be happy'.
How do you continue to develop yourself?
I am constantly learning and constantly being a student with what I do and with peers and other professionals in the same field as me. I do a lot of work where myself and another coach team up and work with the same client. We feed off one another to develop that person and in turn, I learn a ton. I'm also always taking classes, looking at ways to educate myself, and developing how I take care of my body, eat and cook.
What are some women leaders that inspire you?
One of my clients who I have been working with for a really long time (7 years). When we first met, she was in the corporate world working 70 hours a week in her own company and wanted to make changes in her life but was getting injured and couldn't find a way to create balance or make the change.
We started working together again a couple years later and she had made huge changes in her life and remembered all these little things that I had said in the past. She made so many shifts and changes that are so inspiring to me. She sold her company and left the corporate world in pursuit of her goals to educate, teach, and travel the world. Where she has taken herself is pretty inspiring and it’s amazing to know that I have been even a part of that.
What’s your take on living and leading with soul?
Get out of your head and into your heart, listen fully and love deeply.
A movement and fitness expert, Kirsten uses her decade-plus experience in the health and well-being industry to create transformational experiences for clients through getting them into their bodies and into a new relationship with food.
Join Kirsten in her mission to bring balanced, healthy living to the masses and keep up with her tasty adventures in life and the kitchen on her blog.