“Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life.”
- Burton Hills
If you’re a member of the RTC Fit Fam, then you know Kathy Darmstadt. Maybe you’ve just admired her from afar, watching her defy age with every workout. But most probably, you’re lucky enough to call Kathy a friend, because her warm and positive demeanor makes her a friend to all. Kathy embodies the spirit of what RTC is all about. She works hard. She strives for improvement. She encourages others. She lives passionately. She has been named the latest RTC Member of the Month, and no one deserves it more.
Kathy, a long time client of Coach Allie, began her RTC fitness journey well before the doors of the current facility opened. Kathy recalls joining a “great group” of ladies who worked out at the former RTC building, whom she now refers to as her “forever OG’s.” “I had no idea what I was doing then, but they helped me,” she says. “I met Allie and started working with her. I was hooked and never looked back!”
At the time, Kathy’s fitness goals were to get leaner and become a better runner. “I was competing in 5k races, but at a run-walk pace, barely making a 15 minute mile. I needed to build strength and endurance,” she says. “But after working with Allie, I soon decided that I wanted to increase my overall strength and fitness, so I made my goals more specific. I wanted more core and upper body strength, along with endurance. I wanted to be able to do strict pull-ups, toes to bar, and handstand push-ups. I loved lifting and swinging on the rig. I wanted to compete in challenges and competitions and each time go a little further. I also wanted to clean up my diet and fuel my body properly.” That may sound like quite a list, but to say that Kathy is passionate about pursuing her goals is an understatement. “I committed to the workouts, sought advice from the coaches on how I could improve my performance, and started working with Allie in privates and nutrition,” she says. “Each step of the way I have had the support and encouragement of this awesome fit family. RTC is a gift from the universe.”
Leading the RTC Fit Fam is an amazing staff of coaches, and Kathy has five star reviews for each of them. “The coaches are the best!” she says. “Each and every one has encouraged me and helped me become better. I want to send a big hug and thank you to all of them!” Kathy’s shout-outs to her coaches speak volumes about her positive spirit and sense of humor:
Coach Lauren: “We bonded over CrossFit wine! I love her sense of humor and her artistic ability on the whiteboard. She pushes us all to go for it.”
Coach George: “I wish I got to work with him more. He is very detail-oriented and really is good at breaking down a move.”
Coach Jenny: “She is the best cheerleader! I love working with her on Thursdays and doing active recovery. She also likes wine!”
Coach Abby: “She was my OG at the team competition we did at the gym. She is an outstanding athlete and she let me dress her up as a hippie!”
Coach Gavin: “He is a quiet, gentle soul, but a fierce competitor who makes sure each and every person in his class understands the movements.”
Coach Chris: “He is strong and competitive, and has a sense of humor, especially when I am dragging 3 sets of kettlebells out so I have my options.”
Coach Allie: “She is the founder of RTC and my personal coach and friend. She has seen me through my triumphs and my not so good moments. She truly cares about me and all of us. She is striving to make us all better versions of ourselves.”
Coach Allie, in turn, “feels lucky to know” Kathy, and speaks fondly of her, saying, “Kathy is positive, supportive, kind, and ALWAYS working towards bettering herself and anyone around her. She’s the person that cheers for EVERYONE, loves EVERYONE, accepts EVERYONE. When I am down or tired, she inspires me to work harder and live better.”
The positive impact that Kathy makes on those around her can’t be understated. That impact can be attributed to her optimistic mindset, which she considers to be an important part of her fitness journey. “I am a very spiritual person, and believe that we can manifest what we want in life by focusing on the present moment and not worrying about the ‘what ifs.’ Am I perfect at that? Heck no, but I keep moving forward and focusing on my strengths rather than my perceived failures. I have come to realize that my age doesn’t define me and never will. I think it actually makes me work harder. Working next to younger, stronger athletes inspires me. I have found more love and support than I could have ever hoped for with this fit family, and I hope that in return, I do the same.”
Kathy’s passion for life and her heart for others are shown in both her personal and professional lives. She works as a pharmacist at the Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Canton, and has always wanted to “help those that have served and sacrificed for our country.” She has one sister, Annette, mother to “four of the best nephews.” She says her parents have always been a constant source of love and support, and credits her dad, a retired police officer who she says is a “huge tease,” for her own sense of humor. She sees her parents daily, as they keep her dog Apolo while she’s at work.
And speaking of Apolo, you can’t talk about Kathy without talking about her pets, who are the light of her life. Kathy grew up with dogs, and has many childhood memories of her shepherd mix named Chelsea, whom she taught to jump using a broomstick and bricks. It’s no surprise, then, that Kathy, along with her mother, would later become involved in the world of dog agility, a sport in which dogs have to navigate certain obstacles directed by the handler. After having some success with a rescued lab named Bucky, she discovered the Vizsla breed, and that led to a competitive journey that is still very much a part of her life today. All in all, Kathy and her mother have won 2 Grand Championships and 7 Championships, raised 3 litters of puppies, and have been awarded various obedience and agility titles. “It is a special bond between my Mom and I that I will always cherish,” says Kathy. Her current pets include dogs Jimmi, Apolo, and Phoenix, as well as Ariel the cat. “They are my babies and my four-legged children,” she says, “and they bring me constant joy and unconditional love and acceptance.”
Many RTC members consider their pets to be part of the family, but is there anyone at the gym who enjoys a glass of wine as much as Kathy? Well, there probably is, but Kathy notes that few things in life give her more pleasure than “sharing good food and wine with friends.” She attends an annual dog show with her mom during which they show dogs and drink wine, mixing 2 of her favorite hobbies! She also loves spending weekends with “dear” friends who share her love of food and wine, and looks forward to when she can spend time eating, drinking, laughing, and playing games with them again, as COVID has kept them apart over the past year. Kathy also enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, and going on bike rides.
Kathy remains focused on continually bettering herself and reaching for her goals. “My goals are ever evolving and growing,” she says. “As for my fitness and the gym, I strive to perfect my lifting and lift more weight, to swing on that rig and get those pull-ups and toes to bar, and to complete a handstand push-up. I would like to do more competitions, especially team comps. The list goes on!” But ultimately, Kathy says she just wants to be an inspiration for others, pushing them to “be their very best in whatever they do, because you are never too old, too heavy, or too out of shape to get and stay fit.”
Kathy’s favorite quote is written on a card that she reads every day: “Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life.” Those words shine true in the beautiful life that she has created for herself. There’s so much to love about Kathy Darmstadt, and anyone who has been touched by her kindness and good cheer is a better person because of it. Thank you, Kathy, for shining your light on all of us at RTC! Congratulations on being named RTC Member of the Month!