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Living in Your Light

With Kemma Cunningham, Group Fitness Performer

Season 13, Episode 13  | June 22, 2021

At any stage, making a life change — and focusing on the pursuit of health and fitness — can be challenging. Kemma Cunningham, a Life Time group fitness performer, shares her journey to do both, and offers her advice for others looking to find what sparks excitement and purpose in them.

Kemma Cunningham

Kemma Cunningham is a group fitness performer with Life Time based in Bridgewater, N.J. She’s an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and 5-star elite performer. She’s also a lululemon ambassador and Life Time Inclusion Council ambassador.

Cunningham deems herself a “quote person,” and has relied on some tried-and-true sayings to help provide motivation or guidance along her journey. These are a few she called out as being important to her health and wellness transformation.

  • “When the student is ready the teacher will come.” About six years ago, Cunningham wasn’t feeling her best and was looking for a change. She went to a group fitness class at the suggestion of a friend and says she immediately felt a spark light within her. Later, when an instructor asked her to choreograph and teach a routine to a song she requested, she got in front of the crowd and knew it was the moment she had found her purpose to become an instructor and motivate and support others.
  • “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” If you’re in a dark place or feeling defeated, Cunningham encourages you to look for the things that spark joy for you — even just a little — and follow them. She was in a state of defeat when she noticed that spark from group fitness, and following that feeling is what got her out it.
  • “Hard times can push you into greatness.” Cunningham believes that if you can find strength in challenging times, it can push you into things you never thought you could do. For example, when COVID-19 hit, she was without the in-person community that had become so essential to her. She started teaching Zoom classes as a way to connect with others. That led to her becoming a lululemon ambassador, and teaching live-streamed group fitness classes for Life Time.

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Transcript: Living in Your Light

Season 13, Episode 13  | June 22, 2021

Jamie Martin

Welcome to Life Time Talks, the healthy-living podcast that’s aimed at helping you achieve your health, fitness, and life goals. I’m Jamie Martin, editor-in-chief of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

David Freeman

And I’m David Freeman, the national digital performer brand leader for Life Time. We’re all in different places when it comes to our health and fitness, but no matter what we are working toward, there are some essential things we can do to keep moving in the direction of a healthy, purpose-driven life.

Jamie Martin

In each episode, we break down the various elements of healthy living, including fitness and nutrition, mindset and community, health issues, and more. We’ll also share real inspiring stories of transformation.

David Freeman

And we’ll also be talking to experts from Life Time and beyond, who’ll share their insights and knowledge, so you’ll have the tools and information you need to take charge of your next steps. Here we go.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Hey, everyone. I’m David Freeman.

Jamie Martin

And I’m Jamie Martin.

David Freeman

And in this episode of Life Time Talks, we’re excited to share our conversation with our very own Life Time team member and performer, Kemma Cunningham. She takes us through her personal experience of her health and wellness transformation before finding her purpose in the fitness industry. And since then, Kemma has touched so many lives, inspired so many people as a certified studio instructor, fitness coach, and five-star lead performer with Life Time.

She’s based in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and is a Lululemon ambassador as well as Life Time Inclusion Council ambassador. So, me personally, Kemma and I met through social media, and this goes back to what I’ve said so many years, social media is a powerful connection tool, and when we use it correctly, so many amazing things can happen. Our relationship has grown over time, and I continue to encourage folks to use these social platforms to engage, and connect, and build relationships.

We commonly think of a platform to be something that simply creates content, to give views and likes, but the key word within “social media” is the word “social.” So, with that said, Jamie, what were some of the key highlights you took away from the conversation with Kemma?

Jamie Martin

Well, I love what you just said, David, because really, one of the things that Kemma stressed during our conversation was the important of connection, whether it’s in person or whether it’s over our social feeds. And that is very clearly part of her mission, is to connect deeply and personally with people, regardless of the platform, right? There were so many things about Kemma that I just really admired, and I didn’t know about her before.

I mean, I follow her on social media, I’ve seen the work she does, but as we were talking to her, there were, like, two things that really stood out to me, her energy, number one. Like, she just brought it, and you could feel that. Like, I could almost feel it, like, through just the audio that we were hearing with her. But then also, like, a sense of calm, and they kind of seem like they’re counterintuitive to one another, but as I was thinking about this, like, you know, it’s very clear to me that Kemma has found her purpose, and that she is deeply connected to her purpose.

And the way she talks about connecting with people, again, we already touched on this, so, and you feel the energy, and her excitement, and her enthusiasm, and passion as she talks about that. At the same time, I got this sense of, like, contentness and calm from Kemma, because it’s like, it seems like she’s just in the right place. She’s found her place, where she knows she’s doing work that is meaningful, and really is satisfying for her.

So, I was really inspired by that. It’s one of those things, like, we all want to find that in our lives. We strive to find, like, that place where we’re fulfilled and we’re giving back, and I feel like that’s something that was so clear from what our conversation with her and what came out of it. So, those are a few of mine. Anything, you know, else that stood out for you?

David Freeman

The awareness through her identity of who she is. When she found out who she was, and what it is that she should be doing, to what you just said as far as her purpose, that identity is so unique. And we all have a unique identity, and when we live within our own lane and run our own race, that’s what makes us stand out. So, her just identifying with who she is and what she’s supposed to be doing in life, that was a powerful statement that stood out to me.

Jamie Martin

For sure. Yeah, I mean, she knows her place, and it wasn’t easy for her to get there. You know, she had her own trials and tribulations, and she’s going to share that with our listeners as well. So, you know, we’ll get into all of that in this episode. David, any final thoughts before we let listeners tune in?

David Freeman

No, here we go. Life Time Talk crew, get ready to feel the energy, the passion, and experience this beautiful light. This episode is about to shine down on you.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Let’s start by saying, you are part of history, being the first studio coach performer to ever grace the Life Time Talks podcast.

Kemma Cunningham

Oh my goodness, that is just so amazing, and I’m so, so honored. I’m a huge fan of the podcast, and a huge fan of both of you, and just to be asked to be a part of this is just really, it’s been such an honor, so thank you for inviting me.

David Freeman

Well, the honor’s all ours. So, Kemma, let’s talk about your roles, you hold a lot of them, right? The day to day, being a wife, being a mother, daughter, superstar extraordinaire. So, I have to ask the question, how do you juggle all these items without burning yourself out?

Kemma Cunningham

I will say that some days are better than others. The type of career that I have now, you know, I exude a lot of not just physical energy, but emotional energy. So, some days, you know, even when I’m with my daughter and my husband, like, some days I just need to take a moment for myself, and those are the days that I’ll go for a little ride out in my car. And I’ll listen to some soothing music, or an inspiring podcast, things just to fill my soul, to fill, you know, fill me back up so that I can give back out.

I think that’s so important, especially being in the position that I’m in, to be able to give out so much energy. I have to replenish as well.

Jamie Martin

I resonate with that so much, as a fellow mom, and you know, someone who is working and putting a lot of energy out into the world. I think it’s so interesting, because we often are so hard on ourselves, you know, and we have these high expectations for ourselves, and when we don’t meet them, we can be harder on ourselves than we would be on anybody else. We would never be as hard on a best friend as we would . . .

. . . and it’s taken a lot of time, but there is something about giving yourself some grace and space, right, to be able to replenish yourself, and to just fill your own tank a little bit, so that you can come back and be your best. And I know that’s a big part of your message that we’re going to be talking about today, so, with that in mind, let’s kind of go back to the beginning, and have you share, like, how you kind of got to this point where you entered the fitness industry.

You had a pretty significant life transformation to be where you are now, and that happened about six years ago or so, but how did you get to that point, and like, how has it been since?

Kemma Cunningham

Really quite a journey. It started about six years ago. I was at a crossroads in my life. I was turning 40, and I was a stay-at-home, you know, I was staying at home with my daughter after being in the workforce for so many years. I had a career, I was a pharmaceutical rep previously, and I decided, you know, my husband and I decided that we felt as though, that to stay home would be a good decision for our family, and that was a really great decision.

But with that decision came, I became sedentary, and you know, didn’t make the best choices when it came to eating sometimes, just a little comfort food here and there. I put on some pounds, about 40 pounds, and you know, I found myself kind of mildly depressed, just because I just felt as though, that I didn’t, I wasn’t my best me for my daughter, for my husband, because I kind of just let everything go. So, I realize I needed to find something for me, just for me, and it’s so funny, because when, I’m a huge quote person, and  I heard a quote that said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” So, I kind of sat back, and I was like, I know I need a change, and things just started happening. I met a woman who’s a really good friend of mine to this day, she started talking to me about her fitness journey, and how fitness and Zumba actually changed her life, and you know, got her to become thin, and just changed her eating habits, and just things like that.

And she encouraged me to try, and I was like, you know what, I think I’ll go ahead and try out a couple classes. So, I did that, and it was like a spark just, like, lit in me, and I was like, wow, this is for me. I was able to put my daughter in a, you know, a little bit of a childcare situation, and I just had those, what, it was, like, an hour for me, just to get myself back on track. And I’ll never forget the day that I asked one of the instructors to do, to choreograph one of, a song that I really liked on the radio.

And he looked at me, and he said, no, you do it. And I was like, me? And he said, no, yeah, you do it, and I want you to do it for the class. So, when he said that, I’m always up for a challenge, like, I’m a challenge girl, I’m like, alright, yeah, I got this, I’ll go do it. And I put my little choreography together, I got in front of the class participants, and man, it was just like, I was like, this is it, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. The amount of just sheer happiness, and love, and just that common bond of, I know it was endorphins, and it was all of us feeling good together.

But that’s where I was like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be a motivator. I was looking at them, you know, hyping them up, and I’m like, yes, this is it. So, fast forward, I became a Zumba instructor, started, I quickly got my own classes, and they started selling out, and I started my social media at that point, because I wasn’t really even on social media at that . . . well, I was, I was just kind of like, I had my social media to kind of keep me accountable.

So, it was, like, an accountability thing, hence the “Forever Fit.” I’m going to put “Forever Fit Kemma,” so that I stay forever fit, and I’m like, boy, this is, like, putting it out in the atmosphere. But I was like, no, I’m going to stick with it. So, I’ve kept that name since the beginning, and I’m going to keep it, you know, fully until whenever it’s done, but yeah. So, fast forward to just becoming a fitness instructor, and I started really making connections with people, and they’re like, hey, you know, why don’t you teach this class, and this class?

And I was like, OK, I’ll try it, being a challenge girl. I was like, OK, I’ll try it, and I started really loving the different modalities of, and the different formats, and I fell in love with cycle, and cycle is, like, my jam. Like, that’s my thing. I love all of them, but cycle holds a special place in my heart, and that’s what actually opened the door for me with Life Time, and just, things have just flourished from there, so, yeah.

David Freeman

Awesome. About that, I mean, you just said it, right, you were dancing into the hearts of thousands and thousands, right? And you said you’re a challenge girl, so, let’s think about that real quick. I want to dive into it, because it’s easy for us to challenge ourself personally sometimes, here and there, right? But I take this quote from Lindsay Ogden, one of my colleagues, she said, “Sometimes the heaviest weight to lift is the front door.”

You are in front of thousands of people throughout the week, and you’re on this stage, and you have this platform. So, people face obstacles 24/7, challenging themselves, whether it’s mentally and physically. So, can you share how you tap into them, and get them going, the same way that the instructors saw the light that was inside of you, and was able to share it to the masses? How do you do that?

Kemma Cunningham

So, that’s community, and it’s all about, it’s kind of like taking myself out of the equation, because getting up there, I could get in my head and say, oh my gosh, this person’s judging me, this person’s looking at me, and then, I can freeze. So, what I do is I say, you know what, this isn’t about me, and I tell my class participants, this is not my workout. This is for you. I am your hype girl. I’m your personal cheerleader. I’m your coach.

That’s my thing. I tell them every class, like, this is for you. You made it to this studio to accomplish this goal, and it’s my job to make sure that you feel supported in your efforts. So, I just kind of take myself out of the equation, and I make it about them, and that has served me well in this journey, and it’s given me my purpose, of being a motivator just in life in general, and of people. I just like to see people win. I always have.

I just want people to win, because if we win collectively, you know, if everybody wins, we win collectively. It’s not, you know, it can be individual, but more or less, I feel when you’re surrounded by happy people that are winning, you are on that track as well. So, it’s just, you know, we’re all in it together.

Jamie Martin

So true. It’s like, if we are trying to do things alone, we can get a certain place, but when together, we combine our efforts, like, what’s the possibility? What’s the potential within that, and I want to dig into that a little bit, because you have been doing some mentoring with people, and you’ve created your community, as you said, but that’s also created opportunities for you to connect more personally with people as well. So, can you speak to that?

Kemma Cunningham

So, yeah, it’s an amazing thing. Like, when I’m in class, or, you know, after class, people come up to me, and I’ve had some people tell me, hey, I want to do what you do. Like, can you give me some pointers, and I’m always happy to help people, you know, find what they’re excited about, like, just like the instructor did for me. It’s kind of like, you know, I give that back to my community, and it’s so funny. That’s how I kind of fell into the lululemon ambassadorship.

There was a young woman, who’s a good friend of mine now, and her mom, good friend of mine as well. They would come to my class, and I saw her, and I was like, wow, she’s got something, and I just put a little bug in her ear, like, hey, you know, have you ever thought, I see you have great form, you have a great energy about you, because you can have the best form, you can be the best instructor, but I’m all about energy, and the energy that you put out.

Like, if your energy is about, you know, wanting other people to feel good, and that, I can support you, I’ll support you till the day is long, you know? But I found that with her, and sure enough, she was, you know, a go-getter, challenge girl, and she was like, hey, Kemma, I’m going to get my cycling cert, and she did, and then she became a cycle instructor. Fast forward to me being in Bridgewater, she actually worked at lululemon, and said, hey, Kemma, I have somebody that I want you to meet.

Lululemon, I know the brand. It’s a wonderful brand, but it wasn’t something that was on my radar, to be like, hey, I want to, that’s, like, a goal. It wasn’t when I walked in there and I met with the manager, Kat. We just connected, and just, their values aligned with my values, just like Life Time’s values. They started coming to my classes, and started becoming my own hype crowd. So, while I was hyping other people, they were hyping me, and it was just, like, it was really, it was an awesome, awesome thing to have them behind me.

But I still, nothing about ambassadorship, nothing about that. And then COVID hit. So, I had, one of the team members, they reached out to me and said, hey, you know, we want to connect with you. Can you do a Zoom for us, just a class? And I’m like, alright, I’ve never, you know, pre-COVID never did a Zoom. I was like, OK, I’ll try it, and sure enough, we did the Zoom together, and it was just, it felt so good, that I was like, you know what?

I think I’m going to just keep the connection going, and I started with Forever Fit Boot Camp, and that flourished during COVID, just keeping the connection with the community. They saw that, and they were like, you know what, Kemma? We want you to be our ambassador. You kept that Forever Fit Boot Camp going for the majority of the quarantine, for 18 weeks. I didn’t ask for a dime, not anything, not kudos to me, not at all, I just wanted connection, because that’s what we were all craving at that point.

We really were, and David, we connected even through, like, Instagram and stuff like that, just seeing your posts, and just seeing your light. Like, those things, like, that COVID, yes, it was bad, but the things that have come out of it, I just, it’s unmatched.

David Freeman

I love that. I mean, you just said it. It’s the reciprocity of life. Giving in itself is the most selfless act that we can do, but it’s under-utilized. And when you said light, you’re drawn to light, that makes me think of Janet Jackson, “like a moth to a flame,” you know, like, you’re drawn to the light. And when we go to so many different hats that you wear, we’re talking within studio, and how you, you know, you were just giving, and you become this lululemon ambassador.

All these things live within you as an individual, and people are now discovering this unique ability that lived there forever, and now they’re being exposed to it. With you wearing so many different hats, right, you and I also have the opportunity to create change within Life Time and beyond the four walls of Life Time, within our LT Inclusion Council. So, how has that been, from you being able to give, being able to have an ear to listen within that space, how has that been for you within that mentoring mindset as well?

Kemma Cunningham

So, yes, the LT Inclusion Council, that’s been another great honor that’s come out of all of the things that have happened in 2020. You know, just seeing Life Time step up, and just say, look, hey, we don’t have all the answers, but we’re willing to put together something to create a space to have the conversations. So, it really, being in the Inclusion Council has helped me really just be there for people that maybe don’t have such a loud voice. You know, they feel disenfranchised sometimes.

Like, they feel like they can’t speak up. Sometimes, you know, we just, like, brush it off, like, but those little brush-offs, they build up, and that’s where you have to have a voice. And if I can help someone have a voice, and just even be heard or seen in that, that’s my goal, as part of the Inclusion Council, as being a group fitness performer. Like, I want everyone that comes into my presence to feel seen and heard. That’s so important to me. That’s one of my core values.

Jamie Martin

So, we’re kind of framing this episode around the idea of shining my light, you know, and speaking, of course, like, of your light, and what you bring to the world and what you give, and how sometimes that light can be diminished, right? Sometimes that can happen when we’re not feeling fulfilled. Before we get into that part of it, can you just tell us a little bit about what shining your light means to you? Like, what’s your definition of that?

Kemma Cunningham

I love that question. Shining my light, I always try to kind of think of myself as a beacon of light, that the people that need me, they can find me that way. And you know, sometimes beacons shine so bright, and it may be too much for certain people, and it may blind them, and that’s OK. Those are the people that don’t need my light right now, but the ones that are in those places that they don’t feel seen, they don’t feel heard, my shining light can just pour out to them, and say, look, I see you.

Come to me and let me help you out of that, you know? It’s just, that’s how I feel, that’s what I feel my light is for, and it was given to me for a reason. Like, it’s part of my purpose, and being in health and fitness really helped me to realize that. All of the jobs that I’ve had up until this point, it’s so funny, they led me to this. I was an actress, so I was able to learn to project, and to stand in confidence onstage, which I do now. I was in management, so I was able to learn how to navigate different personalities, and see what motivates them to get the best out of them, which I use now.

I was in sales, I was able to use my empathy and connection, and know names and faces. I do that now. So, all of those things led me to this, so that I can shine my light even bigger.

Jamie Martin

So beautifully put, just how you, you know, have that beacon of light. I almost envision, like, you know, the lighthouse that’s there for you when you need it, and it’s shining, and you can find it. And kind of in the same note on that, you know, for some people, it can sometimes feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We can feel defeated, and you know, and I know you’ve related to that at different points in your life, you noted that earlier.

Do you have any advice for those in those kind of situations, when they feel like there’s not a lot of light there, I can’t see the end, it’s not, you know, the end of the tunnel’s not there, how do I get through this, especially when it comes to their health and fitness, which can be, it’s such a, like, I can’t lose the weight, or I can’t reach this goal, or whatever it might be, how do we help people see that there is a light there? It may be just a little glimmer right now.

Kemma Cunningham

Right, that, my gosh, that’s, like, really the question of all questions, because I was there, I was in that darkness where I just, I felt like I just couldn’t find it, but you know what helped me? I found something that excited me. Going back to quotes, Rumi, my favorite poet, you know, what does he say? He says, “Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” So, when I found what excited me, and that was group fitness, and being in front, and motivating people, that got me out of that defeated feeling, and I found, like, my soul mate workouts.

That’s what I call it, soul mate workout. And you know, that’s what I would encourage anyone listening to this, is if you’re in those places, in that space of just not knowing the end of the tunnel, just figure out, try to find things that just spark a little joy in you, spark a little bit of excitement, and that’s the path to get you out of that darkness. Just follow it, and it’ll lead you right out of it.

David Freeman

You know, it’s a quote from J Cole, and I love J Cole, Fayetteville, that’s where I’m from, so I have to use the quote. You know I’ve been on J Cole for a while, been putting all this stuff on social, but he ends up quoting, he says, “The beauty of the struggle, but the ugliness of the success.” When we think of last year, or any point in your life that there was a struggle, you start to, what we already talked about, you find a little bit more about who you are, because when you’re isolated like we were last year, or when you’re in these deep, dark times, it allows you to hit that rock bottom.

But you start to have this self-reflection and discovery process, and once you see all that that you go through within that struggle, and you come into your own, and you have that light shining, and now you’re sharing it to the world, then it also has this other piece that we don’t talk about a lot, which is the ugliness of the success. When people start to see you, you know, walking in your light, for some reason, they’re like, why’s she always posting? Why is she doing this, and they can’t understand that.

Can you let me know what you feel when you hear that quote, “the beauty of the struggle, but the ugliness of the success”? What’s that mean to you?

Kemma Cunningham

So, yeah, that, wow, that’s, yeah. It goes back to taking yourself out of the equation, I think, you know, taking your, your purpose, I firmly believe your purpose is, like, in your genetic code, and the excitement is what activates it, right? So, if you have someone that’s trying to just, like, dim whatever you’re doing, you’re not meant for them. Everything that comes my way is for me, no matter what. If I’m walking in good intentions, and my intentions are pure, and I’m walking in purpose, then the opportunities that come for me are just for me.

And if those people are walking in their purpose, their opportunities will come for them. There’s room for all of us to shine. There really is. So, the success that I’ve had, that I’m super, so grateful for, and I’ve worked really hard, yes, but I’ve also tried to stay in my purpose of just being a motivator. And when you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, things will come to you. They won’t miss you, because it’s designed just for you. That’s my belief.

David Freeman

Yeah. And let’s touch on that, because she’s been walking in her purpose, she’s the big time here, I’m going to talk about all the light that shine on you. We already know that you mentioned lululemon ambassador. She is also our five-star elite performer at Life Time, and now, somebody is competing for her doing to be, what, the featured cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine. How the heck did that all come about? Let us know.

Kemma Cunningham

Well, that was very “random.” You know, a long time ago, there was, like, a submission, you could submit your information, and you know, I guess they choose from who they want to present, or to compete, I’m sorry, to compete for it. So, I randomly got a text message like, hey, we want you to compete for it, and that’s how that just came about. It was just, like, out the clear blue, because I forgot that I had even put my name in, and it just came about.

So, I mean, it’s one of those things, I’m super-grateful, it’s just, even to be chosen. I’m floored, and surprised. So, we’ll see what comes of it, but you know, if anything, it’s just more validation that I’m in my purpose, that whatever comes of it, even if nothing comes of it, if that was just a little tap on the shoulder, like, Kemma, keep going, girl, you got this, you know? So, yeah.

Jamie Martin

I just, I love all, I mean, I have, like, so many quotes that you’ve said written down, and I love your energy, and like, if that’s what, you know, you can put more of that out in the world, and that’s what people, like, through this experience of the magazine cover and all those things, like, more people can learn about you, and discover, like, that beauty that you exhibit and put out into the world, like, how amazing is that in and of itself?

So, you know, you’re so relatable for so many people, I think. You know, you had the . . . for women especially, like, we struggle sometimes with, how do we start things? How do we put ourselves first, and I kind of want to come back to that a little bit, especially when it comes to health and fitness. It’s one of the things that we often, like, put on the back burner, because there’s so much else to do.

So, when somebody comes to you and says, like, what would you recommend to others who want to be healthy and fit, who want to start a health and wellness program? What would you say to that person? How do they start, and get going, because we know it can be really hard to put that first?

Kemma Cunningham

I’m a huge planner, and sometimes planning gets in the way, because you procrastinate, and you want to wait till everything is in order to get things done. I know that about me. So, what I would tell people, even if they’re on that path, like, just start with what you have. Just move. Like, David, you have the close your rings, close them rings. Like, that, like, just 30 minutes of movement, even if it’s just a walk, just do something. And now, we have, and with COVID, now it just, like, everything exploded with YouTube.

You can go on YouTube, you can, and hey, Life Time Digital. You can go on Life Time Digital, and you, I mean, any of our wonderful performers from across the nation, you can just get some water bottles out of your fridge, and just start there. Just start something, because every small step adds to that big step that will take you into the next step. So, they’re all adding up. So, it’s just, start with what you have. You know, everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

You don’t have to have the perfect-size weight. You don’t have to have the right outfit. Just do it. Just start. That’s my advice.

Jamie Martin

Love that so much. We often talk about, you’re not going to go out the first day of running and run a marathon, right? It starts with that first walk around the block, or that first thing. So, again, little by little, all those efforts will accumulate, and David, it’s all the touches, right, that begin to accumulate, time over time. So. . .

David Freeman

Yeah. I associate it to something that we all are familiar with, when we first learn how to ride a bike, and obviously, this hits home with me very close, just because Harley, now, knows how to ride her bike without the training wheels. And it was from the touches, and I’m not going to lie. It’s like, in my head, I’m like, just pedal, right? It’s so simple, like, but at the same time, this is her first time doing it. And I like what Kemma just said as far as just start, get the reps, get the touches.

And she thought I was holding onto the seat, but it was just my voice saying, keep going, keep going, keep going, and she was just doing it. And she looked behind, and she realized I wasn’t there, and she was just like, then she kind of lost it, but she did it, is my point, and that lives within all of us. And I like what you ended up saying as far as just take the small steps, because it leads to the bigger steps, in whatever that may be. If that’s riding a bike, great.

If that’s you opening up the front door to a club, for you to go work out, if that’s opening up an app to get a workout in, like, just start. So, I love how you framed that up, so awesome, awesome stuff there. So, I also do my homework. You know I like the definition of shining your light, right, and then the light itself has its definition, but there were some key adjectives that stood out to me, and I feel like it’s going to resonate with you. So, ready for this? Intensity, frequency. Tell us how Kemma’s light speaks to both intensity and frequency.

Kemma Cunningham

So, when I think of intensity, I think of just how bright and how encompassing it is. So, the intensity, when I’m shining a light, it’s so that those people can feel seen, as I touched on in the past. I just want people to feel seen and heard. At the end of my class, especially my AMP class, I have this thing that I say. You know, I go into a whole thing of we’re the AMP Army, but the biggest thing that I want them to walk out feeling, I say, I want you to know that I see each and every one of you, and I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart, and we cheer our water bottles in the air to each other.

And that’s, like, that fills my spirit so much every time I say it. I’m like, even if people don’t hold their water bottles up, I’m like, it’s OK, but the majority at, pretty much everyone still, they do it. But it’s just that, saying those words, I’ve had people come to me after class that just are like, man, you know, I really needed just to feel this good, and just to feel, I really feel that you care, and that means the most to me. I mean, no matter what I get paid, I do like to get paid, but . . .

Jamie Martin

Don’t we all?

Kemma Cunningham

. . . but I’m just saying, I would do it for free. I really would. I really would, just to hear those words. Like, it just, it touches me every time. So, that’s the intensity, that’s, if you could feel my intensity even in talking in that, that’s what intensity means to me. And the frequency, how many souls can I touch? How many lives can I touch? Just how many people, you know, it’s not even about the wait-list, or whatever. It’s just, how many people can I get in there, so that we can all collectively just share in this experience, that’s what matters to me.

That’s what frequency means to me, is just, I just want us all to feel that feeling of being seen, and feel good, in a common goal of health and fitness.

Jamie Martin

Like, I’m sitting here going, when is Kemma’s next AMP virtual class, because I really could join in and feel that energy, it sounds so amazing. I know earlier I touched a little bit on, like, self-care, and talking about that. This past year has been really hard for a lot of people, and you know, again, we talked about this, we pour ourselves into others in many cases. We also had an opportunity to kind of sit and know ourselves a little bit more, right, and to figure out who are we, and you’re very connected to your purpose already.

But I’m wondering, in light of everything that happened this past year, and having this kind of time and space to explore even deeper into our, who we are, what did you learn about yourself?

Kemma Cunningham

That hard times can push you into greatness, that if you can find the strength in those hard times, it can push you into things that you never thought that you could do. Just being isolated, and I’m a people-person, so that isolation forced me into trying to figure out another way to connect. So, it just, and with Lululemon, just giving me that gentle nudge, and then it just flourished into something else that I was able to connect with people.

That just, that’s what I learned about myself, that the hard times, that those kind of things, there’s always a way to figure it out. Everything is figure-out-able. I think that’s the thing. Like, you can figure it out, but you just got to sit and think, and I love meditation. I’m not an experienced meditator, but I, with COVID, you know, that brought me into exploring that. I always pray, but I went into, I was thinking of other ways to also connect to my source, and my spirit, and God.

And it was just finding those, the time to meditate. And so, I learned about myself, to go back to the question, that I can figure it out. I just have to have faith in myself. Like, I can do it. So, that’s what I learned.

David Freeman

You better get that quote, and own that, and put your name behind it, since you’re big on quotes, “Hard times can shift you into greatness.” You better put your name behind that and take that one.

Jamie Martin

It’s so good. I mean, seriously, you said a couple things here, the thing you said earlier about the DNA, what did you, I’ve got to find it in my notes here, but you said something about, like, our DNA, “Our purpose is in our genetic code, it’s excitement that activates it.”

Like, seriously, we’re just going to, all these things, you just need to get trademarked, or something, sooner than later. Before we dive into David’s two-minute drill, is there anything you want to add for our listeners?

Kemma Cunningham

Just to drive home that if you are in that dark place, just look for the excitement. Look for something that excites your spirit, and that will guide you out of that. It really will, and hopefully, I hope that they can find someone that can just help them along that path, and shine their light so that, to them so that they can find their way out, just because I know what it’s like. And it just took a little bit of, you know, someone just believing in me, and look where it led, just a little nudge.

And if you know someone that is, that you can see that they’re down and out, just smile. Just have a conversation. Like, you know, just really be present with people. Not for a long time, but you can give them ten minutes, five, ten minutes. Like, ask them, how are you? Really, no, really, how are you, and listen. Don’t listen to react, listen to take in and understand. So, that’s what I would leave.

David Freeman

Alright, ya’ll, this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. You had the cake, now it’s time to put the icing on it with the two-minute drill, the ten hot-seat questions…

Kemma Cunningham

I’m nervous.

David Freeman

…Miss Kemma. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be nervous.

Kemma Cunningham

I’m shook.

David Freeman

Alright. Alright, Jamie, I’m going to have a three-second countdown in my head. I’m going to say it out loud so people know. Three, two, one. Here we go. Favorite musical artist?

Kemma Cunningham

Oh, Prince. Come on now.

David Freeman

OoooOoo. There’s my Prince. Alright. Here we go. Pet peeve?

Kemma Cunningham

Chewing with your mouth open.

David Freeman

Yeah, you need to listen to Bayne when he eats, boy. I’m like, are you trying to get our attention? Like, just close your mouth, brother. Alright. Here we go. Your go-to song when you need to get going?

Kemma Cunningham

“You Can’t Stop Me,” Andy Mineo. That, right there . . .

David Freeman

Ooh, OK.

Kemma Cunningham

. . . I get hyped up.

David Freeman

I felt that. I felt that. OK. Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?

Kemma Cunningham

Fly.

David Freeman

Alright. If you had a superpower, what would it be, and why?

Kemma Cunningham

I don’t know. Superpower . . .

David Freeman

Superpower.

Kemma Cunningham

You stumped me. Like, an actual superpower. I wouldn’t want to read minds, no way. I’m trying not to read minds, and I wouldn’t want to be invisible.

David Freeman

Alright, alright.

Kemma Cunningham

I don’t want to be. Gosh, maybe just flying, going back to flying. I . . .

David Freeman

You going to go back to flying?

Kemma Cunningham

. . . world, yeah, just fly, and…

David Freeman

And there goes the why, go anywhere in the world. OK, alright, we’ll do that. Favorite book of all time?

Kemma Cunningham

“The Four Agreements,” by — yes, “The Four Agreements.” That right there, take nothing personally, you know, always do your best. That book, and it’s so funny, because I read it years ago, and last year, during COVID, I have it in my, like, a little bookcase in my closet, and I was going to go to the pool, the Life Time pool, and it, like, kind of just, like, fell off. And I was like, wow, this is something that really, I need to read again. So, I was able to really delve into that again, and it, every time I read it, I just walk away with something new. So, that’s why it’s my favorite.

David Freeman

Alright, alright. Childhood movie that will be timeless?

Kemma Cunningham

Childhood movie . . .

David Freeman

Childhood movie.

Kemma Cunningham

Now you’re going to ask, now my age is really going to come out.

David Freeman

[Laughter] It’s timeless, though, so, we can watch it any time, and it feels like it’s relevant. That’s why I’m saying, it can be . . . yeah.

Kemma Cunningham

OK, any time and it feels like it’s relevant. Gosh, I was going to say “Gremlins.” [Laughter] That’s what I go to. My favorite, I don’t know, that was my favorite.

Jamie Martin

[Laughter]

David Freeman

[Laughter] Hey, that’s fine. Hey, it might be relevant in the months to come. We got UFO sightings and stuff, so hey, Gremlins might be coming. Yeah, it’s relevant, it’s relevant. Alright. Here we go. Most embarrassing moment?

Kemma Cunningham

My most embarrassing moment, oh my gosh. I would say that, I remember, I was actually conducting a class, and my music cut out completely, and it was just me talking to the participants until the music came back on, and I was just so embarrassed. I was flustered. It just took me out, but then, I was able to get back into, you know, the groove of things. But I was just, I was so embarrassed at that point.

I don’t know what happened. It was like, an internet connection just cut out, and yeah, it was tough, because I was in front of, like, 50 people at that point. So . . .

David Freeman

Yeah. So, you hit them with some a cappella, huh?

Kemma Cunningham

Yeah, I was like, let’s just sing together, I don’t know. We’re going to get these endorphins today.

David Freeman

There you go. What is your favorite part about being a coach?

Kemma Cunningham

Seeing transformations, just seeing people being able to see, to do things that they didn’t even think that they could. Like, just seeing their potential come out, the things that I could see, but they’re kind of pushing back, and I could kind of coach them and say, no, I see that in you. Like, don’t put that block up there, you’ve got this. Like, you know, that’s my favorite thing, is just seeing people have those epiphanies of, wow, I did it, you know?

So, I guess it goes back to the mentorship as well, like, you know, just seeing everyone just kind of, just achieving their goals, and that’s awesome. I love that.

David Freeman

I like it. I like it, the mental transformation that leads to the physical, I got you on that one. Alright, last but not least, what do you want to leave this world with as it relates to your legacy?

Kemma Cunningham

So, I want to leave the world feeling that there was a person that was here that really, truly cared about them, and how they felt. And I try to instill that in my daughter, and you know, I hope that she would carry that legacy of just being a person . . . she doesn’t have to be a people-person, but just to be a person that, when someone is talking or someone is engaging, like, just be there, be present. Make that person feel seen and heard, the legacy I want to leave.

David Freeman

Awesome.

Jamie Martin

Kemma, thank you for being here. Before we say goodbye, where can our listeners follow you, and see that light of yours shine through?

Kemma Cunningham

Well, I’m primarily on Instagram, so it’s @foreverfitkemma, and I just started TikTok.

Jamie Martin

Yeah!

Kemma Cunningham

I posted one video, I don’t know. My daughter, she wants to do TikTok so bad, and I’m like, I don’t know. But I have to be on there to monitor the whole situation, so . . .

Jamie Martin

Right.

Kemma Cunningham

So, I just started that, and it’s @ForeverFitKemma1 on TikTok. I think I have, like, two followers. It’s all good. It’s all good.

Jamie Martin

I’m going to tune in now, too, so . . . alright. Well, thank you so much for being here. Thanks for sharing your story, and just for inspiring us this morning. It’s been awesome.

Kemma Cunningham

Thank you so much. I love you.

David Freeman

Amazing. Amazing. Alright thanks, Kemma.

[MUSIC]

David Freeman

Thanks for joining us for this episode. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on our conversation today, and how you approach this aspect of healthy living in your own life. What works for you? Where do you run into challenges? Where do you need help?

Jamie Martin

And if you have topics for future episodes, you can share those with us, too. Email us at lttalks@lt.life, or reach out to us on Instagram, @lifetime.life@jamiemartinel, or @freezy30, and use the hashtag #LifeTimeTalks. You can also learn more about the podcast at el.lifetime.life/podcasts.

David Freeman

And if you’re enjoying Life Time Talks, please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Feel free to write a review, and also let others know about it, too. Take a screenshot of the episode, and share it on social, share it with your friends, family, work buddies, life coach, you get the gist.

Jamie Martin

Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next time on Life Time Talks. Life Time Talks is a production of Life Time, healthy way of life. It’s produced by Molly Schelper, with audio engineering by Peter Perkins, and sound consulting by Coy Larson. A big thank-you to the team who pulls together each episode, and everyone who provided feedback.

We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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