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story.lead_photo.caption Kayla Smith

My fitness journey began when I was about 7 years old.

My mom enrolled me in taekwondo, and it quickly became my life. I was taking classes and practicing every day, and also competing in tournaments almost every weekend. Taekwondo tremendously helped my flexibility, muscular strength and endurance.

The joy that taekwondo brought to my life had an unintended benefit of fitness that has lasted through the years. Taekwondo not only taught me self-defense but also discipline, focus, confidence and perseverance.

While in my days of competing, I became a multiple state champion and world champion. I had the honor of becoming a certified instructor and began teaching all ages with varied skill sets. I am very thankful for the opportunities provided to me while I was in taekwondo. My training facilitated my abilities to be involved with a variety of sports while in school. Once in college, I was still teaching and working my way through school. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in health science at the University of Missouri.

After college, I moved back to Jefferson City in search of a job. I saw that Planet Fitness was coming to town, so I threw in my application and hoped for the best. I ended up receiving a call back and scheduled a time for an interview. At this point, I had no experience with gyms. I honestly had never even worked out at a gym before. But the interview went well, and they were happy to hire me and make me a part of the Planet Fitness family.

I quickly learned that Planet Fitness is not like any other gym. Planet Fitness creates a comfortable and non-intimidating environment for their members. They really focus on providing a positive atmosphere and cater to those who have never been to a gym.

This was perfect for me, considering I was technically a first-time gym user. Once I began working out, I was hooked. Weight training and taekwondo training are both a great work out, but are also very different. I realized that lifting weights caused my muscles to become sore in a way I have never experienced before. But after a while, my body became used to it and my muscles felt invigorated.

For me, staying physically active and consuming a nutrient rich diet is essential. The combination allows me to maintain a state of health I never thought was possible. I feel more youthful today than I ever have before.

Kayla Smith is the director of marketing and public relations for Planet Fitness in Jefferson City. She is also the vice president of marketing for an app development company called Karst Games. She enjoys working out, painting, taking part in outdoor activities, kickboxing and spending time with loved ones.

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