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Fearless Friday: Kathleen Smith

Fitness is not a fad. It's a way of life. Once you adopt it into your own, whichever format suits you, it improves just about everything you pursue. Such is the case for Kathleen, owner of SPENGA North Shore. I had the pleasure of attending one of her classes last week. Grateful doesn't even begin to describe how I feel now that Glenview has landed new, fun and innovative ways to get your sweat on. Gym life, sadly, is not the life for me. I loathe gyms, on a side note.

Upon meeting Kathleen, my first thought was, "Damn, she must not have kids." Then I found out she had three. Who has a body like that after three children? Note to self: attend more SPENGA classes. Back to Kathleen, my second impression was, "Gosh, she's bubbly, energetic, passionate and career driven. And she is in the suburbs...thank sweet Baby Jesus." These type of women are a bit of a unicorn out here. Anyhoo, then I took her class and it was over. It's comprised of three elements: 20 minutes of spin, 20 minutes of strength and 20 minutes of yoga. And yes, you use every muscle in your body and feel pretty damn good about it, too. Turns out "feeling good" is pretty addicting which is why I'll be back for seconds, thank you very much!

Intrigued? So was I. Find out why Kathleen rocks and why you should get your bootay into a SPENGA class, pronto. Kudos to moms who are crushing it!

Tell us a little about SPENGA North Shore and the mission of your brand. How did you come up with the idea?

SPENGA is a total body workout that combines the three essential elements of any fitness routine -- cardio, strength and flexibility. Each 60 minute class boosts your endurance, strengthens your muscles and restores your body through a combination of spin, high intensity interval training and yoga, providing you with what we think, is the best workout ever.

1.  What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur let alone in the fitness industry?

I have been an athlete my entire life -- from playing Division 1 water polo in college, to running countless marathons -- fitness has just always been a part of who I am. A little over a year ago, I was introduced to SPENGA by a friend of mine and fell in love with not only the workout but the people behind the brand.  I learned SPENGA was franchising and with my athletic background and passion for working out, it seemed like a natural fit.  I took a deep breath and a leap of faith, and the rest is history. 

2. What was the most difficult moment in launching your brand? How did you get through it?

Is EVERYTHING an answer?! I don't think anything can prepare you to be an entrepreneur or open your own business. As an incredibly organized, Type A person, I had to learn to let go of the things I couldn't control. Inevitably something will go wrong, mistakes will be made, delays will happen, but that's just part of the deal. I am very fortunate to have an incredible support system of family and friends who continuously encourage me along the way. At the end of the day, it really came down to confidence in myself, and realizing that everything might not be perfect, but I am going to work my hardest to make it the best it can be.

3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?

No matter what, every day for me starts with a 4 mile run. I always make time for just myself in that way.  After that, a Starbucks Venti Americano and breakfast with my three kids (Jack, 4 and twins Ford and Maia, 2). The majority of my day is spent at the studio, teaching SPENGA sessions and working alongside our awesome North Shore staff. I wear many hats at the studio, so every day is completely different. My favorite part, by far, is interacting with and getting to know each and every member who walks through the door. After work I try my best to get a healthy dinner on the table and then wind down with a glass of wine and a good tv show (I’m a Bachelor junkie!) Most nights I’m in bed by 9:00pm and up early the next morning to do it all again!

4.  What’s one thing you learned about yourself in becoming an entrepreneur?

We are all capable of more than we know and there is always a little more to give.  Through the late nights, the early mornings, the difficult conversations, the logistical nightmares, if you are working towards something you believe in you will always find a way to get it done.

5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?

I have been inspired by many strong and successful women in my life including my mom and sisters.  My close friend Lindsay Avner, who founded the not for profit organization Bright Pink, has been such an inspiration and source of support as a female business owner and entrepreneur. And of course I continue to be inspired by the members at SPENGA who show up each and every day ready to work hard.          

6. If you weren't in the fitness industry...and could be anything else...what would it be? 

 A fashion designer! Despite the fact that 90% of my life is spent in workout clothes, I LOVE fashion.  I think Kristin Cavallari’s style is complete perfection and enjoy nothing more than a good day of shopping.

7. What's on your Spotify?

A total mix!  Everything from country to 90s (Backstreet Boys anyone?) to EDM to classic rock. You can always expect a fun and energizing playlist in my classes.

8. What’s your vice? Everyone has one...wine, chocolate, This is Us? 

Dessert of any kind.  I have a total sweet tooth and believe that no meal is complete without something sweet at the end.  

9. Wine or classic cocktail?

Tequila with a splash of club soda and tons of fresh lime juice.  Always hits the spot. 

10. What’s the best career advice you every received?

 The people around you will make or break you.  Surround yourself with a good team, treat them well and everything will fall into place.  I could not agree with this more.

11.  5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?

I could not live without Instagram, the Starbucks app (you don’t even need your wallet!) or Instacart (grocery delivery is a lifesaver).  E! News and Facebook are fun to browse when I have a free minute.

12. Bonus question - What's next for SPENGA North Shore?

This is just the beginning! We have plans to open four more studios in the next 5 years around the North Shore, so be sure to keep an eye out for us!

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Check out today's link ups: Style ElixirJo Lynn Shane Mix & Match Fashion