Are You Okay?


Settling Versus Really Living  

How ya doin’?  Are you “fine”?  Probably, and you’re not alone.  How many people do you think are settling?  If I had to guess I would say most.  You stay in a relationship because it’s “okay”, or in a job because “you don’t hate it”, or you stay at your fitness level because “it could be worse”.  Ya know why people do that?  Guesses?  I have one, because it’s comfortable.  

Okay puts food on the table, allows you to have a day off, keeps you from totally hating how you look (though you might not necessarily “like” how you look or feel), and keeps you from feeling scared.

You know what okay is not?  Exhilarating.  It is not passion, or a reason to get out of bed every day.  It isn’t life changing or something that you’ll never forget.  It’s living the mediocre.  Mediocrity is never risking what you have for a chance, just a chance, that something beyond incredible could happen in your life.  

My name is Cat Kom and I’m the owner of the San Diego based fitness studio called Studio SWEAT, and the associated online streaming workout’s website,   I’ll tell you what – it ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.  

Like many of you I’m always working to find that balance between my job, my family, and then, if I’m really lucky, a social life.  I’m sure you can relate right?  I imagine that some of the things on my plate are probably sitting on your plate as well.  I’m a woman now in my 40’s, trying to manage a demanding job, balancing my own health and fitness goals, parenting my 3 busy kids, being a good friend and sister, etc., and all without having a mental breakdown.  But here’s the deal…  I am doing it!  I’m really living life without being satisfied with “okay”.  How you ask?  I take chances, but it wasn’t always that way.

Right after I graduated from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!) I worked as a technology consultant for almost 10 years.  My job was fine… it was just fine.  It was easy for me and it paid well.  But, to be honest, I was just living in the land of “okay”.  I was bored.  So after years of living this way I decided that life was too short to keep doing something I didn’t love.  I was gonna have to get out of my comfort zone.  Did I ever.  

I pulled money from my retirement and bought my first gym in Washington State.  I was so… scared, but I did it.  I had always been involved in fitness to some degree.  After all, my first job at the age of 16 was at a gym, but this was for real now.  

I ran that gym with everything I had, and found such joy in watching it grow and prosper.  I worked in the business (with my baby girl strapped to my back now and then) as a group x instructor and personal trainer, and on the business running the behind the scenes stuff to keep it all going and growing.  I realized that I was not only helping people around me live happier healthier lives, but that I was REALLY happy too.  But, as well as things were going, I still found that I wanted to further spread my wings.

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I had always dreamed of living in San Diego.  So ya know what I did?  I sold the gym to someone I knew would take care of it, and I moved to sunny San Diego.  

When I moved in 2009 I had no intention of opening another health club, but I am pretty sure it’s just in my DNA so that is exactly what I did.  I opened Studio SWEAT within 6 months of my arrival.  My goal was the same as it was with my last gym; I wanted to create an environment where people felt comfortable and safe, no matter what their fitness level. I was determined, once again, to support, inspire, and coach my fitness family by helping them realize just how capable they were to reach beyond what they ever imagined.

Did I mention that I had left quite a few friends behind in Washington? These folks totally counted on me more than I realized. As a matter of fact, they were relentless about having me find a way to train them even though I was thousands of miles away.  So I said to myself, “Cat, where there’s a will there’s a way.  You can do this.”

I decided to marry my technology background, which I thought was a thing of the past, with my passion for fitness by professionally filming and uploading the workouts my amazing team and I led in the studio for my friends in Washington to power through with me.  Then I had another idea… If my friends in Washington liked them so much (and boy did they!), what about opening my classes to the the public.  There were no boundaries with this approach, and I could potentially help people around the world!  This was risky though.  It was going to take a lot of time and money to really make this happen.  But, I took a gamble that it’d be worth it.  And this is how Studio SWEAT onDemand was born!

Fitness Lovers from San Diego to Spain were taking and loving Studio SWEAT onDemand classes. Next thing I know old Jed’s a millionaire… just playin’ :)… Seriously though, my little project that began as a way of staying connected to my long distance fitness friends was even featured as #2 on the top 5 list of “5 Best Online Streaming Workouts” in Men’s Journal. WHAT??!! Could it be that all my hard work and risks had paid off that well? You know it.

I think back to the time in my life when I wallowed in the okay.  Never again.  Has it been scary to take risks without knowing how it’s going to turn out?  Ummm… yeah, and entirely challenging to be honest.  And it might sound a bit cliché, but life IS short. Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself more than the next guy.

Maybe up to this point you might think I make this all sound like a piece of cake.  Let me be clear, it’s not.  Most good things don’t come easy.  The risks I’ve taken with launching my own business, as well as in my personal life, bring days where I’m scared, days where I have to concede something I tried didn’t work, days where I made the wrong choice, and days where I just flat out get knocked to the ground.  On one of these days I had a friend send me a timely message that said, “I thought of you when I read this.”  The message she was quoting was, “You might have knocked me down, but when I get back up you are SCREWED!”.  Ha!  it as exactly what I needed at that moment.  

The bottom line is that you might have to go backwards to go forwards, and you might have to endure some bumps when you take the jumps, but I implore you to never be okay with okay.

Trust yourself and by all means…. ask for help along the way.  One thing I tell my kids and my team is that, in my humble opinion, it isn’t the person that claims to always have the answer that’s the brightest star.  Rather, it’s usually the person that concedes they don’t have the answer, but that they will get it that shines the brightest.   Ah, there’s just so much we don’t know isn’t there!  

Let’s sum this up like this…. Take a chance on yourself my friends, and THEN you’ll be more than okay.  You’ll be extraordinary.  

~Cat Kom  

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Here's what people said about “Are You Okay?”

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BOOOO YAHHH!! I am a fellow risk taker too!! ISNT IT AWESOME?!?!?! Quit my job this year….at 55, to bring my husbands PATENTED INVENTION to market.. talk about SCARY, KNOCK DOWN AND EXHILARATING! Thanks to YOUR risk…I get to SPIN AND SWEAT before I hit the battle field!! A great way to PREPARE! LETS ALL KEEP TAKING RISKS!! They ROCK!!! I hope to one day visit the gym in person, until then…SEE YA ON THE STREAM!!!

Great message to hear as I turned 50 this week. Fit at 50, or at least trying to be, thanks to you, Cat!

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Love this Cat!! I never knew you were a Dawg! So was I! Graduated in 93! I lived in Washington my whole life until I moved to SoCal in 2000 for my job. Love it here and love that I can do some workouts with your gym from home!

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Cat, I joined because you made it fun when I saw you on you tube, I rejoined because I missed your inspiration – and when I read this article it all makes sense as to why you have a global audience of friends and “sweaters”
Keep risking………….

User Photo 19292

Wow that’s a really good read Cat. Thanks for writing. I definitely feel like I am losing momentum the past few weeks. What a good pep talk to get me back on my game.

Love this, Kat! And am I ever glad you took this risk – I’ve been working out with you from my home in Ann Arbor for a few months now, and loving it. I’m a fellow risk taker – reduced my day job as a lawyer to part time so I can focus half my time on writing novels. Your workouts are the perfect solution for a busy, working mother who’s trying to cram fitness in to a day filled with kids, dogs, and another couple of chapters … Three cheers to you from a grateful member and fan up north.