Kim Tavino

The Secret

    To look at fitness trainer, Kim Tavino, you would be hard pressed to believe that a gram of fat has ever crossed her lips. A picture of physical perfection, the trim-and-toned blue-eyed blonde obviously has a secret. Pssst. it's not about deprivation!
    "I'm definitely not obsessed. I've done it all [fad diets and fanatical exercise routines]. I understand it. But the best thing I've ever done is running, lifting and a balanced diet-which means good and bad," she said, admitting a penchant for popcorn, peanut butter, Cheez-its, and gin. Even so, she insists, "You don't have to work out five hours a day to be in great shape. And if you skip a day, it's no big deal."
    Seeing her now, you might guess that Kim was an athletic child. Not exactly. Although she enjoyed being physically active, she was raised in an era when girls were not encouraged to play sports. "There weren't a lot of opportunities, so we were cheerleaders," she explained. Career options were limited, too. So she went about the business of living, assuming she would find her passion along the way.
    When her parents retired to Hilton Head Island, Kim stayed behind in Ohio. But a visit during the Heritage golf tournament convinced her to follow. Unpacking permanently in 1979, like many young girls, she started out in the food and beverage industry, eventually marrying, bearing children and helping her husband build his business.
    Bitten by the exercise bug in the early '80s, she started working out with home videos and participating in classes wherever they were offered. "We did jazzercise and aerobics-we weren't really athletes," she said, describing the choreographed routines put to music that were the staple of the day. Soon she discovered a wealth of benefits beyond a shapely figure. "When I first started working out, it was a confidence builder," she said. "It made me feel I could do just about anything I wanted to do."
    Kim went on to turn fitness into a career, opening a workout facility which she later sold to a business partner. Currently, she works independently, training six to eight clients per day, occasionally working with small groups or high school athletic teams. Certifications include ACE (American Council on Exercise), AFPA (American Fitness Professionals and Associates), Pilates and TPI (Titleist Peformance Institute). Whether she is training a teenager, a middle-aged woman, an aspiring golfer or an arthritic senior citizen, she can tailor a workout to fit. Her ultimate fulfillment? Seeing results-touching people's lives and making a positive difference. "The transformations are not just physical," she said, describing the inner changes that occur as clients develop a healthy self-esteem to complement their new fit bodies. "Sometimes it moves me to tears."
    Kim's life has not been without adversity. Through pregnancies, divorce, deaths, and other challenges, exercise has been her friend. "It works off stress and kicks in the endorphins. It gives you a place to be," she said. "With age, it takes on even more meaning," she added. No longer striving toward thinness alone, she practices what she preaches. She limits her personal workout to an hour a day, alternating activities to prevent injury and keep it interesting. In addition to running and biking for cardiac health and yoga for flexibility, she lifts weights regularly to maintain bone density and muscle mass. "Cardio is a quick fix, but muscle is a 24/7 burn," she said. And therein lies the secret: Pump iron, eat more Cheez-its!

Up Close

Cincinnati Family: husband, teacher/soccer coach, Larry Tavino; children, Ryan, Amanda, and Abby Fennessey; canine companion, Bella Describes herself as: good-humored, loyal, and enthusiastic about fitness and family. Early influences: her parents. "My father was the first one who would jog around the golf course way back when it wasn't cool. Mom was humorous - not your typical mom. She rode motorcycles and we had horses. We were all outdoorsy." She admires: her husband and children. "Larry is a fantastic role model in his honor, dignity and dedication to what he does. And I admire each one of my children for the things they've come through." When not working or working out, find her: walking Bella, cooking, watching movies or just reveling in an incredible Lowcountry sunset. To get in on the secret: call Kim at (843) 683-0827.