Passport to a healthier you

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer

Here I am, once again, at the airport.  Having just spent a wonderful few days visiting my mom, I am waiting at the gate to head back home.  As I stood in line earlier to clear security, I observed a number of individuals offering passports to the guards instead of a driver’s license. While either one is of course an acceptable form of identification, in my mind that passport carried so much more importance.

While my driver’s license verifies who I am, a passport replete with international stamps reveals where one has been. At the border of just about any country in the world, showing that piece of documentation enables the bearer to enter a world of untold adventures and new experiences.  As one departs from this foreign country, he will never be quite the same, his life forever enriched and touched by the time spent vacationing, working, exploring and learning.  The passport, in essence, was the key to unlocking the opportunities for change and personal growth.


At the JCC where I train, and as is the case for most gyms, one must show some form of membership (a card, a keyfob, etc.) in order to gain access to the facility. The longer I sat at the airport gate, thinking about my list of clients and classes for the following week, it occurred to me that a gym membership access card is not all that different from a passport. If one enters a workout facility with the proper attitude, the experiences that await can be life-altering. Immersing oneself into the atmosphere can be likened to an in-depth visit to a new country. A gym has so much to offer; and the benefits in terms of wellness, increased energy, healthy weight management and an improved body composition can be just as exhilarating as the experiences one takes away from a vacation to a foreign land.  The access card, like the passport, unlocks the opportunities for personal transformation.

While there are indeed many folks who are able to enjoy the pleasures of international travel on a fairly regular basis, most of us only dream of taking such vacations, often once in a lifetime. The benefit of the gym, on the other hand, is that it can be easily visited as often as one likes.  Each trip to the gym can yield different results; and the ‘souvenirs’ you take home with you will be reminders of just how amazing your visit was, encouraging you to return time and time again.  So pack your bag and treat yourself to a new adventure!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a Lifestyle/Weight Management Coach and a longtime fitness instructor at the JCC.