May's Story


My name is May and I’ve been a client at Beyond Barriers since July 2020. I’m 44 years old and, frankly, my body is changing in midlife. I was largely sedentary but started feeling an urgency to “use it or lose it” with regards to my strength and fitness. I remembered how good my body felt when I used to be stronger. On top of all that, I knew that my favorite past time — riding my horse Duke — would benefit from better fitness. 


I had tried multiple fitness programs in the past. I tried CrossFit, and while I appreciated the energy and camaraderie of that community, I wasn’t getting enough attention to my form to feel safe doing some of the moves. See, the other thing about me is that I have a PhD in human biomechanics, so I know about joint ranges of motion and muscle anatomy, and I know that proper form is crucial for optimal movement. So when I later tried self-led at home training from videos, I didn’t like that I couldn’t get any feedback on my form. Plus, it was so easy just to skip working out one day, and then one more day, and so on. I realized I need a higher sense of 1:1 personal accountability to make me stick to my fitness routine and receive the feedback I want. 


I live in Raleigh but will be moving to the Hillsborough area, so I looked for personal trainers in Hillsborough with a plan to start working out once I moved. I found Beyond Barriers via a web search, and I immediately liked that BB focused on 1:1 training and that many of the clients seemed to be near my age. I liked that the website had information on the individual trainers, including their backgrounds and certifications. I liked that it is a small, woman-owned business. So I mentally filed it away to contact after I moved.


And then COVID-19 hit…and I saw that BB was pivoting to remote live training sessions. So I thought, why not start now while I live in Raleigh? I was really impressed with Tricia’s thorough initial evaluation, even though it was all via Zoom. Her eye picked up a lot of asymmetries that I had no idea I exhibited. She also listened to my goals and concerns, and ultimately recommended that I start sessions with Kole. So I’ve been working with Kole ever since and I’ve been thrilled. He explains the overall philosophy of how he designs our workouts so I understand how the entire program is working, not just individual workouts. He adapts his plans on the fly depending on whether I have a particular ache or pain in a given day. And I’m getting the feedback on my form that is so important to me. I never feel like I’m being asked to do something unsafe or push beyond healthy exertion. 


Within weeks after starting with Kole I felt a positive impact on my riding. My improved core and shoulder strength helps me maintain a better position in the saddle, even when Duke throws in a rodeo-style bucking fit! And I just feel happier in my body overall and more capable. It feels good that doing chores like carrying bags of groceries is easier. I know that I can improve my strength and fitness even more, and I’m excited to keep working with Kole and Beyond Barriers!