[TRANSFORMATION] How Kim created a fit body for life

The festive season is usually a memorable time filled with joy and laughter, but Kim Lipe remembers one Christmas for all the wrong reasons.

“A picture taken with my family at Christmas time was an eye-opener for me. I was devastated with what I saw when I got the picture back!”

Kim knew she had gained weight but the photo laid bare the extent of her growing weight problem.

“I hated how I looked. I had cellulite all over my thighs and lower abs. But, more importantly, I hated how I felt! I had no energy, and no self-confidence.”

Never too late

Having already celebrated her 45th birthday, Kim believed she was past her prime. As a consequence, she had accepted the commonly-held belief that weight gain is an unavoidable reality for women her age.

She also struggled with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that attacks your thyroid, affecting your metabolism, energy and your weight. Kim felt stuck, but seeing that picture from Christmas jolted her into action.

“I said to myself, I have two choices here: either keep gaining weight every year, like I was, or do something about it!”

Armed with steely resolve, Kim set out to empower herself with knowledge and inspire meaningful action.

“I picked up a popular US fitness magazine and read the Future of Fitness section. That helped me decide to work towards getting featured in the magazine. I booked a photoshoot and gave myself 10 months to get into shape for the shoot!”

Little did Kim know that her new goal would change her life forever…

A late bloomer

Kim joined a gym and started working with a trainer. “I felt that if I had an appointment to work out, I would do it.”

Despite her dedicated training approach, which included weight training and cardio, Kim soon realised that results would only follow when she also changed her diet.

“I had always thought that if you want to lose weight, you don’t eat! I was so wrong! At first, I wasn’t eating enough food. I never ate breakfast, and I had junk food in my house all the time.”

Kim also tried counting calories, tracking her macros and attempted to follow the Weight Watchers points approach, but found them all too confusing.

I needed to simplify my approach. I started going by serving sizes, which was a game-changer! It was simple and easy, and it worked!”

Once Kim started working according to serving size or weight, learned more about wholesome nutrition, and stopped eating processed foods, results soon followed. She also did a kitchen makeover and stopped buying problematic foods to avoid temptation.

“I began cooking at home, eating meals that consisted of lean proteins, good vegetables and the right carbs every 3–4 hours. I don’t deprive myself of certain food groups, nor do I starve myself. Once in a while, I have treats that are off the plan, but then I jump right back onto my clean eating plan! There is no guilt attached to the indulgence because it is a lifestyle!”

Changing lives across the globe

Kim’s approach evolved as her transformation progressed. “I found what worked for me and stuck with it.”

She maintained her motivation by reading fitness magazines and eventually achieved her original goal of appearing in a feature.

“That launched a new career for me as a trainer and certified nutrition coach. I now help other women just like me who feel stuck and don’t know what to do.”

In 2012, Kim opened up a gym in the basement of her house in Coffeen, a small town in Montgomery County, Illinois that has a population of roughly 600 people.

“I started by helping a few women in our area. In 2014, I took a leap of faith, and left my career in sales to help women feel better about themselves and have more confidence by living a healthier lifestyle.”

Her gym became extremely successful in this small rural area, which suggested that there was a much greater need for these services. As Kim’s passion for helping others grew, she started Fit Bodies 4 Life in 2017 to reach more women.

“Taking my nutrition and fitness lifestyle business online allows me to help women, no matter where they live.”

Bikini athlete at 48

Kim also started competing in Bikini shows, stepping on stage for the first time at the age of 48, proving that you are never too old to start or achieve your dreams.

“These competitions created new goals and kept me focused and driven to continue. I also met a lot of people along the way in the industry, which continually inspired me.”

Kim then competed in the Tri Fitness Challenge in Tampa, Florida at the age of 53. Competitors challenge themselves with obstacles like hurdles, a 3m rope wall, and a 4.5m cargo net, in addition to bench presses and box jumps.

Kim has now been a dedicated weight lifter for 13 years and remains a staunch advocate for weight training as a means to shape and tone the female body.

“I still include some cardio and have added yoga to my routine. I am also thankful that I can be active with my two granddaughters and snow ski with my kids. I know that if I had continued down my previous path, I wouldn’t be able to do these things.”

Holistic health

Kim’s overall health has since improved thanks to her new lifestyle. “At the age 58, the only medication I take is for my Hashimoto’s disease. I have more energy and feel better than I did in my twenties.”

Beyond the physical changes to her body and her improved health, Kim says her transformation has taught her that you can do anything you want, if you really want it badly enough!

“My passion to better myself every day has never been stronger. When you believe in yourself and have a positive mindset, anything is possible!”

Kim shares this message with clients and anyone else who feels stuck and frustrated with their situation.

“Set goals, be consistent and don’t quit at the first sign that something didn’t go right. Find your passion because creating that fire in your belly every day will help you reach those goals, and then you set another objective. Keep moving those goal posts and never give up. When you do that, you will find success!”

Kim’s weekly workout split:

  • Monday: Quads and shoulders
  • Tuesday: Glutes and abs
  • Wednesday: Hamstrings, back and biceps
  • Thursday: Glutes and abs
  • Friday: Legs, chest and triceps
  • Saturday: Yoga and abs

Kim’s favourite things:

Best advice someone gave you during your transformation? Work hard and never give up!

Favourite healthy meal? Salmon, sweet potatoes and green beans.

Favourite exercise? Hip thrusts

Favourite workout? Booty band workout (band around the knees)

  1. Hip thrusts
  2. Good mornings
  3. In-out jump squats
  4. Kickbacks
  5. Donkey kicks
  6. Side walks

Must-use supplements? Products from my supplement line www.fitbodies4lifenutrition.com

Top diet tip: Forgive yourself if you mess up and move on.

Quick facts:

  • Age: 58
  • Lives: Coffeen, Illinois, USA
  • Martial status: Married for 42 years to Curtis, with 3 children and 2 granddaughters.

Connect with Kim:


IG: fitbodies4life_kimlipe

Twitter: Fit Bodies 4 Life @kim_lipe 

Facebook: kimlipe.fit

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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