Act 2: You're On!

Make Health a Habit, the 85/15 Rule with Carolyn Kenney

November 28, 2022 Kate & Rhonda Season 3 Episode 8
Act 2: You're On!
Make Health a Habit, the 85/15 Rule with Carolyn Kenney
Show Notes Transcript

Got a great idea? Feel like you and your great idea could make a bigger impact on the world? Wonder how to find the courage to create a practical plan and make it happen? Could you do it with four young kids in tow? Well, meet Carolyn Kenney - gym owner, personal trainer, and elementary school teacher - on a mission to help others and herself feel the best within the parameters of reality.

From her personal life philosophy, Carolyn created the 85/15 Health & Fitness Studio - a boutique studio offering personal and small group training in yoga, barre, pi-yo, Zumba, HIIT, and Burn. Learn how Carolyn leads a talented group of instructors to create an incredibly effective and welcoming environment where everyone is welcome, whether you worked out yesterday or you have not broken a sweat in years. A podcast with the blueprint for bringing a dream to reality with the blueprint for living your best life.

Highlights include:
“Most of the time, people ask me sometimes, are you always happy? Well, always no, I don't think that's realistic, but 85% of the time? Absolutely. So I think that when you look at things with optimism, it doesn't mean that you're just a realist. If you kind of think about what actually has to occur to make something happen, it just means that you're trying to figure out how you can actually do what you want to do, instead of just dreaming….”
“So 85/15 is 85% fitness or discipline is the word that I really use and 15% fun. That's really the balance for a healthy lifestyle and so many different aspects of the way that we live.”
“So if you surround yourself, like you mentioned Kate, with a good team - so not only my family, but my instructors have been the same since I opened, which is almost unheard of in a gym. But it's because I found people that I could trust that trusted me - that my members like and then know what they're doing and do a good job. And so, by surrounding myself with all of those people and letting them help me, I've been able to get to where I am. If I really tried to be completely independent about it, I don't think it would have.”

For more information about Carolyn:
Website : 8515healthandfitness.com
Social Media: Facebook.com/8515healthandfitness

Support the show
Rhonda:

Welcome to Act 2 You're On. Join Us Weekly at our studio roundtable as Rhonda

Kate:

and Kate invite spectacular guests to weigh in on staying vibrant and healthy.

Rhonda:

Launch your next great app with authenticity and purpose.

Kate:

Summon your courage superstar and step into the limelight. So grab a coffee,

Rhonda:

or a martini,

Kate:

and let's set the stage for a grand entrance. It's Act Two.

Act 2 Share Our Stage:

You're on.

Kate:

Greetings, friends. I am Kate LaVey, and had the great pleasure of podcasting with my dear friend and Dynamo. Oh, well, thank you.

Rhonda:

It's Rhonda Garvin Conway here. And of course, we are joined by the incredible producer Cathy Carswell

Kate:

Friends, I am so excited for this conversation, not only because I believe in the philosophy of 85/15. And we'll learn more about that in a moment, not only because our guest embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and is a great role model for anyone launching a dream. But because Carolyn Kenney is a longtime friend, a former student, and just one of those people you meet and you know, she is going to be successful no matter what, at whatever she tries, and she'll be a great inspiration for our listeners today. So to our listeners, let me ask you, do you have a great idea? Feel like you could make a bigger impact on the world? Wonder how to find the courage to just create a practical plan and make it happen? Could you do it with four young kids in tow? Well, let me tell you a little bit about Carolyn Kenny. Carolyn is a gym owner, personal trainer, and elementary school teacher in southeastern Massachusetts, a mom of four she strives to help others be and feel their best within the parameters of reality. From her own life philosophy, Carolyn created the 8515 health and fitness studios located in Norton mass 85/15 is a boutique studio offering personal and small group training yoga, barre, Pio, Zumba, pound, hiit and burn at 85/15 offers a comprehensive fitness experience led by talented instructors with a passion for their craft in a workout and wellness environment where everyone is welcome. Whether you worked out yesterday or you haven't broken a sweat in yours. Welcome, Carolyn.

Carolyn Kenney:

Thank you so much, Kate. And Rhonda, it is wonderful to be here. I believe the same things about Kate - that you just know, she's one of the people who is going to be awesome at whatever it is that she is doing. Man, I am honored that you guys have asked me to join you.

Kate:

Well, I am thrilled to have you here for so many reasons. And we've tried a couple times in our schedule. So we're both busy people. So we've finally made it happen. Carolyn, I would say was my first young mentor, which I think is very much in the zeitgeist. Now people talk about having older mentors. And and they talk now about having young mentors, but I feel like when we met, we just had an immediate connection. I was working at a university, she was a student. But I learned so much from you. And I've always found you optimistic, but not in like a naive, delusional way. Because it was always attached to a practical plan.

Carolyn Kenney:

Yes, yes - and that kind of goes with your within the parameters of reality. So I do really believe that I'm optimistic. Most of the time people ask me sometimes are you always happy? Well, always no, I don't think that's realistic, but 85% of the time? Absolutely. So I think that when you look at things with optimism, it doesn't mean that you're just a realist. If you kind of think about what actually has to occur to make something happen, it just means that you're trying to figure out how you can actually do what you want to do, instead of just seeing dreaming,

Kate:

...that there's also people without entrepreneurial spirit, but successful people like you also, you're not thrown by setbacks, you kind of anticipate them, or they just get rolled into you learn something, you think, Okay, I'm never gonna do that one again. But I learned this. And this is how I'm going to do it better the next time, for sure. And there's a next time. Yeah, yeah, it's helpful for listeners to know that that part of being successful is there's a whole bunch of failing or call it learning along the way, and just doesn't always line up exactly how you think it's going to happen. And there's an adaptiveness and a flexibility.

Rhonda:

And I want to hear more.

Carolyn Kenney:

Well, we actually had COVID occur four and a half months after I opened the studio that we're going to be talking about. So that was certainly not something that we anticipated. It was a roll with it sort of situation. I think that we'll probably get into it but COVID actually led to our expansion and greater success, which was unexpected benefit of rolling with that.

Kate:

Right, so explain this 85/15 thing.

Carolyn Kenney:

So 85/15 is 85% fitness or discipline is the word that I really use, and 15% fun. That's really the balance for healthy lifestyle and so many different aspects of the way that we live. Tracking nutrition for example, I don't know if you guys have ever tried like a complete elimination diet - Kate, you have for sure, or a very strict diet, a Keto or one of those. And so what tends to happen in those situations is that you can be very disciplined for a while, but then the stress on both your body and your psyche of being that discipline causes you to just fail. At some point, you're like, you know what, forget it. I'm all set with this. And then you go on like a crazy binge, and you can't get yourself back to where you need to be. If you kind of take the days of the weekend divided into 85% and 15%. It's six days in one day, six days of discipline, one day of eat whatever you want, don't work out, don't stress leads you to be able to maintain mental health, good psychological health, and usually an ideal weight or shape or whatever it is that you're looking for, without the demands of trying to be 100%. Of course, you know, when you're on vacation, it's probably more like 1585 At least when I'm on vacation. If you're at 515, most of the time, you can get through those times of being 1585 with totally blowing everything up.

Kate:

And I feel like it's practical. And you don't have to throw in the towel because you've factored in you know, I'm gonna indulge because this is worth it. I love it. I it fits right in with my notion of goodish like, I can be good, I can be good ish. Every day, I can maybe touch good. And if I bump into great fantastic but I can hit goodish I can do at 515 It's so practical, and it's, it feels like a very forgiving philosophy it is.

Carolyn Kenney:

And you know, it also allows me to be a trainer and own a gym and be a fitness role model, if you will, without it being exhausting. And I can see clients from this gym, at the bar next door, we hear a building with a restaurant and bar. I can see them over there. Well, I'm drinking a margarita and not be like, Oh, no, my clients are sitting there drinking margaritas. Because I think if you're somebody who preaches perfection all the time, then you're holding yourself to that same standard. And when you see people in a situation where you are not behaving at 100%, then they're like, Oh, well, this isn't what she tells me to do. So it allows me to live my normal life to post on social media to go to restaurants, without looking like I'm being a hypocrite, which is a good way to live.

Rhonda:

How did you arrive at this philosophy? What was that process? Like?

Carolyn Kenney:

I think that it arrived because I tried to be really strict. And I couldn't do it. And I realized like, this is not reality for anybody. And I actually just threw out a Facebook posts five years ago, a little more than five years ago. And I said, Hey, guys, I have my group training certification. If we met at a park on the weekend, who would want to come? And in about 11 hours? I think it was 68. People had said yes. So I was like, Oh, alright, well, that's cool. I guess I should find a park, like down the park. And then just kind of in talking with friends about what I wanted the workouts to be about. We talked about that philosophy, and I named the business 85/15. The tricky part for marketing is that nobody knows what in the world I'm talking about until they come here. So when I was opening the brick and mortar portion of the business in 2019, I put a survey out to all of my clients and said, Well guys just change the name because like no one knows what this is. And overwhelmingly people said no, because we want that to remain the philosophy. So now I just have the gym with probably the strangest name, at least in Massachusetts. But once you get it makes sense.

Rhonda:

Well, I think it's a new phenomenon almost. And it will catch on like wildfire. And I think that support of your clients to say stick with it shows the integrity that this philosophy deserves. I love that. Oh, thank you.

Carolyn Kenney:

It's a pretty nice way to live.

Kate:

Well, I know that you love what you do, and you have a big life. You have a big family. But what's the most fulfilling thing about running at 85/15?

Carolyn Kenney:

Oh, 100% Hands down. It's the community. So we joke here that if you're not a nice person you would never join because we will be looking at you like what are you? What are you doing here? This is not how we act. I love the way that anyone can walk in the door and people immediately introduce themselves. We had someone new tonight. And at least five people were showing her different things. Oh, this is where this is. This is how we do this. I also like to say that you can't leave without having made like 10 new friends and that's also a philosophy of life of mine. My children tease me constantly because I'm always making friends and I don't mean to we were road tripping to Chicago in April to visit family and we stopped at a it was a Dunkin and some convenience store 711 or something and I I was the only one getting out of the car. And I got a car at the same time as the person next to me. We started talking, I don't even know why we just started chatting. And then I went in and got my coffee or whatever. And I came back to the car. And at the same time, all of my kids said, Mum, did you just make friends with that person in the car? And I said, Yeah, and there are who are so weird. So they make fun of me all the time. But I bring that feeling into the studio. And it is my favorite thing about running it because people who are quiet and shy people who are loud and bubbly, people who work out all the time, and people who are like, Oh my god, I haven't been in a gym forever. Doesn't matter. You all have a friend, or 10 You are encouraged by everyone. No one is you're taking like gym selfies and like here to like, look at themselves and show off. Everyone is here to help each other. And that branches out into social events. We have parties, we have fundraisers, we do all kinds of stuff together. Because everyone is friends.

Kate:

It's the cheers effect where everybody knows your name and glad you came. And that's that is absolutely your signature.

Carolyn Kenney:

When people are when people miss class, someone is like, Hey, we're so and we send them a text, we're like, we miss you. So you feel like people want you?

Kate:

Well, and it's community. And we've just lived through a period where boy do we understand isolation in a way that we maybe didn't pre pandemic or, but everybody needs a place to belong, and it's in working out and wellness and fitness. It's such an intimate thing. And we feel insecure about it. So taking that step into a gym is often intimidating. And to take that away, and then just create this environment where you just know people are happy to see you. They greet you cheerfully. And boy, let me tell you, not all gyms give off that vibe, very few do. And that special. I think that leadership, that's what trickles down.

Rhonda:

So you are starting in a park. And now you I'm looking at this incredible studio where I know friends at home can't can't see it, but it's impressive. So how did you make the leap? And double question? How would you advise those who are listening or thinking about creating their own business to make that leap? Tell us that process?

Carolyn Kenney:

I love that question. Because I ended up here in kind of a strange way. I was in the park only on Sunday, I'm doing my group boot camp where we had a really good time. And then I decided I wanted to take it a little further. So I got my personal training certification. And I got hired as a personal trainer at a gym about three quarters of a mile from where I'm sitting right now. And I worked there for exactly a year, on my one year anniversary with no warning. The gym went bankrupt in zero morning. It was a Saturday and I don't work on Saturdays. So I was at home and clients of mine, you were just going to the gym to work out. My phone was blowing up. Why are there locks on the gym door? Why can't we get into the gym? And I said I have absolutely no idea. None of us were given any warning that that was happening. I had clients from all different areas around here, whose central connection was the location of that gym. And I didn't want to give up those clients. And I didn't want to have them all just dispersed to their own places and have to find myself a new job. So I said to my husband, well, maybe I should open a gym. Because if I can find a location close enough, then everyone will be able to get there. I had a former client who was a realtor - I need to rent the space. In Norton. I'm not interested in any other towns. And in fact, I'm not really interested in anything more than one mile from where I am right now. And she was like, Ooh, that's kind of a tall order. All right, I'll give it a whirl. While we were looking, I contacted an owner of a dance studio very close to here. And I said, Hey, can I pay you to use your space when you're not there? She was like, sure I've saved someone else who does that do for something else. So I started paying her and she was very reasonable. And we started holding classes in the dance studio in the early morning so that I wouldn't lose all the people I was looking for. And I trained there too. But I held personal training sessions and classes in this dance studio that was empty. Then the realtor found me a space. That was just the room you're seeing right now. It was really not ready to be a gym. It had been a preschool and it had tile floor hard linoleum, it was really ugly. To be honest, I am fortunate that my dad is a retired contractor. And my husband is very handy. And so say to my mom, if I rent this place can be turned into something that looks like this. Because this is pictured in my head. And they all said yes. So I rented it. And we stayed in just this space for a year and a half year and a half. And then the business next to me closed and expanded into that space. So we went from about 800 square feet to 30 202 that we have now - and when we expanded, we were able to add cycle and TRX, and all kinds of other stuff. But what I was going to say about advice is my husband loves this quote, and I hate it. "It is what it is." And I hated it so much that I bought him a mug that joke between us, I love that quote, with an addition of the second half, and the second half is, "but it will become what you make it." And so I think that people who are kind of stuck in a situation like for example, the gym that you work at suddenly closing, if you can keep in mind, it is what it is, but it will become what you make it, then you can turn a crappy situation into something great.

Kate:

Oh, I like that. We often talk here about finding your team. Awesome. And you have you have an awesome team. Awesome.

Carolyn Kenney:

Oh, yeah, I'm really lucky, they renovated the second side, too. And my parents just put in a new floor.

Kate:

But they also believe in you. I mean, they also - They also created you. I mean, I thank you, you didn't just you know, jump out of an egg you just in a vacuum. You had parents who believe in you, they role modeled some of that, and they also knew they had an exceptional kid. And you're, you know, you're a good bet. So they're pretty exceptional.

Carolyn Kenney:

They are, if I could be like them, that'll be amazing.

Kate:

I think you're achieving it? Oh, that's beautiful.

Carolyn Kenney:

Not yet, maybe in 30 more years, we'll see.

Rhonda:

Yaknow, when we think about business success, I, I sometimes wonder how often we attach big business into our definition of success, and are big corporations and things and places that are known across the country and globally. But you have talked about how important it was for you to be a mile away to work in this smaller circumference, how has small town actually factored into your success

Carolyn Kenney:

It is a main contributing factor on it. So I'm a teacher in our public schools here as well. And then my kids go to school here, and I live here. So in terms of word of mouth, the town is not very big. I think there's, I don't really know, 18,000 people or something, but it's not huge. And so if you lived here for 15 years, which is how long we've been here, believe it or not, you kind of know a lot of people, my husband teases me that he knows no one in Norton and I know everyone in Norton, as a result of knowing people, word of mouth is really helpful. And in a bigger place, you can't do that as easily. The other thing that helps, because it's a very close knit community, people bring their friends, I don't have to have a huge membership to be successful. If your definition of successful is not being rich. My definition of success here is that people are getting results. I am paying all the bills, I am enjoying myself and getting my workout in Well, I am doing and I make like a little money. It's because I'm able to have this small town atmosphere and a small studio. So we have about 80 monthly members plus people who train, but because there's only 80 people, all of our instructors know everybody. One thing that our clients are able to say to their friends is, oh, you should come with me to this gym because everyone's nice, and like it's not intimidating, like we were talking about before. And I believe that that atmosphere builds back that we're in a small town and small community.

Kate:

There's no way we can beg you to franchise and open something up in the MetroWest Boston area?

Carolyn Kenney:

I have been asked that I'm sure you have maybe someday in the future, currently not happening.

Kate:

So for our listeners who might be thinking about launching their next great act or bringing a dream to fruition, it probably is helpful to know some of the big challenges you faced in bringing your dream to reality.

Carolyn Kenney:

So there wereplenty of them. First of all, COVID started in March of 2020. So I opened in October of 2019. March of 2020. Suddenly, I was told - oh no one can come to your business anymore. And I still needed to pay the rent. I had instructors who were dependent on classes for income. And I had clients too were like, Oh my gosh, we're used to coming here every day. What are we going to do? So on March 13? We were let out of school. On March 14, we heard no more people in your business on nope, sorry, march 15. So March 15. We held the class in person in the morning. And we launched our first virtual class that day at 6pm. So it was a huge challenge because we had to pivot from in person to virtual in less than 36 hours. No, but for people thinking about dealing with challenges. That challenge turned into the reason that I needed to expand and the reason that I have so many clients because we continued our virtual classese actually still have them for a few people who want to do it. But we continued our virtual classes, right through the conclusion of being unable to meet in person. As a result, we gained members who had nowhere else to go, and didn't want to work out alone at home. So it's kind of an experience of taking a challenge and turning it into something that becomes good. Another challenge is that I am a one person run business. So I have instructors I have, I don't want to forget anybody, I think eight instructors, and I pay them per class, but I run the business. So all of the bookkeeping, scheduling, getting back to people via email and text. Making decisions is all me. And so I have another job. And I have four kids. The challenge there was me thinking, - Oh, this is getting way bigger than I expected it to get. And what am I going to do about that? Because more people want to train and more people want to come to class and people want more classes, I only have so many hours. So I think this will probably resonate with a lot of people, what that actually turned into for me, and I think you guys will get this was a huge mom guilt. I was like, Oh, I'm going to really home. And when I'm doing a lot for you guys. And if you meet my children, they're kind of they kind of amazed me like they're very demanding. And they are, they're just really like more grown up than they are. So they're 14, 12, 10 and 10. And they don't act like that at all really. I mean, sometimes they have their moments, but most of the time, they don't. But one tip I would have for dealing with that is that there are people. So, I actually just sat them down with my husband and me. And I was like, Guys, I feel really bad about how much I'm not home, and the oldest looks at everybody else. And goes paste it on tape. That's the wrong way Mom, but like were totally fine. And I was like, you're really totally, you're totally bad. And they all go, yeah, we're fine. You're here for dinner, I make sure I'm home for dinner every night. That's another tip. I'm home for dinner every night. I'm home to talk people in every night. And I have a break in the afternoon every day to go home, get them and drive them 20 minutes to swim practice. And we talk for the entire 20 minutes and like catch up on their day. And I'm also home before they leave for school every day except Friday. So they reassured me that actually they were really not missing me very much, which was kind of funny. And they said you worry about us missing you way more than we're actually missing. So, you know, that was helpful.

Kate:

So much wisdom there. That's, that's brilliant. And to treat them like the humans that they are.

Carolyn Kenney:

Yeah, so that was really helpful.

Kate:

So we are now at this part in our show that we like to call the golden nugget. It's very popular, I can't imagine...but I know you do that you can offer up more wisdom because I think you have offered already so many wonderful, it's very generous like these, these tips that you've been able to advise. But I wonder if you can weigh in on? I don't know, what do you think our listeners need to hear as they're getting ready to launch their next great act, or they're at a point of transition, or it can just be simply something you've learned along the way that might be helpful to somebody else who's trying to live out a dream.

Carolyn Kenney:

Okay, it has two parts. The first one is if you really want to do it, make it happen, which sounds very bold. But I think that that's necessary, because if you don't, you're always going to wish that you did. And you're going to be thinking all the time, oh, here I am sitting at my desk. And I really wish I was handing somebody a dumbbell in a gym, right? That's probably not everyone's dream is listening. But if you really want to do it, you should do it or it will nag at you in the back of your mind. And you will never be totally satisfied with what you're doing. And the second thing, the second nugget, if you will, is that you have to let people help you. And I'm not very good at that. I'm really not I know I already mentioned what my parents have done like in my gym, but in general and like really not great at asking for help or accepting help. Because I think like oh, I can do this. I can do this, I can do this. And I think I can do this about way more things than I can actually do. So if you surround yourself, like you mentioned Kate with a good team - so not only my family, but my instructors have been the same since I opened, which is almost unheard of in a gym. But it's because I found people that I could trust that trusted me that my members like and then know what they're doing and do a good job. And so by surrounding myself with all of those people and letting them help me, I've been able to get to where I am. If I really tried to be completely independent about it, I don't think it would have.

Kate:

That's the balance of being brave and bold, but also humble. That's a good recipe for success.

Rhonda:

And the truth is it doesn't mean when you get help that necessarily it was a result of not being able do you mentioned that word can't, but it's the math, one person 24 hours a day, and a family and relationships in sleep. So how much can one do? And I think it doesn't necessarily equate. When we ask for help, that we cannot do something. It's just choosing how we want to do it. So that was lovely. I love that you brought that up.

Kate:

Yeah, it's a great point and ask for more help, so that you can then open up a gym at 85/15...in the Metro West Boston area. I did that.

Rhonda:

Just thank you. Well, we don't know if that's happening. But unfortunately, we're at the time in our program, where we're going to be wrapping things up. And before we do that, we do want to hear what is coming next. Is it a gym in Metro West, Massachusetts, or something else? What's next for you, Carolyn?

Carolyn Kenney:

So what's next for me is to continue to grow the gym. And then the next thing after that is actually still a secret. So as much as I hate to leave your listeners hanging? I can't tell you any more than that yet, but maybe I will come back when there's more detail on that front.

Kate:

Oh, yes, please do. And we'd love cliffhangers, because it does mean we have to speak to each other again, that's fantastic. Well, I I absolutely can tell you that whatever is coming down the pike, you'll be ready for you'll adapt, you'll take a challenge and it'll bring to new inspiration. That is one of your many superpowers is your adaptive optimism and, and good things are coming and they're coming for those incredible children. They're also incredibly creative, and independent and adaptive. So lots of good Juju there. So thank you for joining us today, my friend, you are busy, there is no moss growing under your feet. So we are grateful that you fit us into your schedule, and for the incredible wisdom and just the practical advice you offer but you also embody. So I'm proud of you. You are now officially an adult remember what I never You may now buy me lunch sometime we used to always meet in and not as frequently as we need to. But I would always pay for her lunch like when you're a grown up. And she's like, I have four children don't I?

Carolyn Kenney:

I think I think that what I claimed was what made me a grown up was when I had a minivan. Yes. I have my own minivan. I am now a grown up. But thank you to both so much for having me. It was been delightful talking to you. And I love listening to the other people that you've been interviewing and the really cool thing that you have going so thank you so much for letting me be a part of it.

Rhonda:

You are welcome, Carolyn. It's been our honor truly. And friends. I know you're gonna want to get more Carolyn in your life and learn about the incredible philosophy and gym that is in operation. So how do you do that? I'll tell you that at 515 health and fitness.com. And on social media, it's the same gig at 85/15. Health and Fitness. She's on Facebook, she's on Instagram, and I know you'll want to check them out there.

Kate:

And who knows maybe there'll be an ad 515 In Metro West Boston next we meet.

Rhonda:

Friends, we'd also like to thank our talented and skilled producer Cathy Carswell for making this possible.

Kate:

Well, I think it's left for me to say friends, go forth, be brave, live well and do good like Carolyn, because it's act two

Act 2 Share Our Stage:

you're on.

Kate:

Act Two you're on was brought to you by act 2 Share our stage, you can find us at a2yo.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Rhonda:

Please download listen and subscribe. Wherever you find your podcast. You can support us using Patreon or buy us a coffee.

Kate:

I do like coffee.

Rhonda:

No no, you don't need any more caffeine gate. Buy us a coffee is a platform that folks can use to support entrepreneurs and artists like us

Kate:

so we can keep providing resources for the doers and dreamers to find connection, purpose and the skills needed to create a sustainable, fulfilling life to better serve the world. And also so we can buy more coffee.

Rhonda:

Oh Kate, thanks for listening everyone.