Influencer Intro: Katie Dolaher
When I moved to Boston, I didn't expect to meet so many active people. Apparently, the lovely city of Boston is actually considered to be one of the fittest cities in the country. Who knew! That probably explains why I always see so many people running by me on the river while I sit and eat my cupcakes...but yea!
A while ago, I got a DM from a girl on Instagram inviting me to her spin class. It took me quite a while to plan a time to show up to one of her hot spin classes, because if you've never been to a hot spin class, it's kinda, well, really hot. And it takes a lot out of your body. But Katie does at least one hot spin class per week (AT LEAST ONE) and therefore, I knew I needed to get the mental strength to hit a hot spin class up, instructed by her.
After class, I got to talk to her a bit about running the Boston Marathon, being a fitness instructor, and using her social media to inspire others. She's kinda like my twin, because she totally posts pictures of herself eating donuts in a sports bra. That's very much something I frequently do.
Katie has been featured in magazines like Boston Magazine, and is frequently putting on sold at spin classes at B/Spoke in Boston. So, Happy Friday, and read about a chick who manages to balance it all.
A: When did you decide to turn your love of fitness into a brand and lifestyle?
K: Group fitness and sports have always been a bug part of my life. The drive of healthy competition, the team aspect and the mental outlet it gives me was a constant. After several years of dedicating my career to helping others through being an educator and then behavioral therapy, i knew there was still that constant drive for a daily challenge physically as well. While did my full time job in Behavioral therapy, I was asked to join the team of a new cycling studio in Boston. I had just gong through the most tragic experience in my life and had lost some of that passion and drive that fitness and more specifically running gave me. I hadn't run in over 5 months, my confidence was low as well as my self esteem. I decided to join the team and start teaching as a cycling instructor. In the beginning months of the stufion opening I regained my drive for fitness and developed a sense of community. Each class was never about me, although I felt stronger after every single one. Being able to spread positivity, empower others, help others mentally, and inspire others through motivating words and movement, definitely became the highlight of my everyday life. The community grew and I became more inspired. I decided to dedicate my entire career to motivating and inspiring others physically and mentally through fitness. I was able to mesh both of my passions together and continue to help others As of now it was the best decision I have mede yet in my adult life. I truly love what I do and the people in this amazing community.
A: What do you feel most accomplished about so far?
K: The jump I took to molding both careers together, as well as the client achievements and being able to watch others become empowered and realize they can overcome anything (physically and mentally).
A: What are some struggles you've face along the way and how have you pushed past them?
K: Since the fitness industry is growing at a rapid pace, I found it difficult to not question my decisions or sometimes that daily post or not think about how others may perceive me. In more recent days I have gone through the awful things that can be put out there online and social media that can be defined as cyber bullying. Being told your a "fraud" or that "you should die" from someone sitting behind a screen who has never met you is difficult to read. It can drive you into a dark place and make you question how you can move forward, or "should I stop running, motivating, inspiring?" I have realized that there will always be a challenge and there will always be the constant push and pull of people trying to push you down or lift you up. It is up to you, to embrace this challenge everyday. Regardless of who is pushing or pulling, the strongest chose their OWN direction. I continue being me authentically and doing what I love in the most real way everyday.
A: What interests you about social media and mental health?
K: I am constantly intrigued by the effects social media can have on ones self. Clearly both negative and positive. I have been able to see how a simple post can touch someones life or completely turn their day around.. It is important to me that what I post is relevant and real, however it is all how someone's perceives you. When I receive a note from a client or follower stating that it mentally moved them or that it inspired them emotionally and then physically to help them toward a goal, I am always surprised. This is why I love what I do.
A: Why are you interested in the Media Impact and Navigation for Teens? What could you bring to the program?
K: There is so much negativity going on in our world and daily lives. I think there is not enough emphasis on how to cope with hearing and seeing this daily, especially for the younger minds that are still trying to process the smaller issues in their lives that may seem big to them. Being confident in yourself and comfortable with who you are may be a daily struggle for some, however it shouldn't be something that overcomes ones life especially youth. Social media is clearly constantly setting these fake standards for teens and blurring the lines of what is real life and what isn't. I would love to help teens better understand the effects of cyber bullying, how words can truly effect ones being especially during a growth period or tough time. After going through my own experience, I only want to help others so they can cope in a healthy way with something that they did not deserve. Teaching teens how to speak up and stand up in a positive way for themselves is an important life skill to be learned. Unfortunately bullying doesn't stop at high school. By helping our teens develop a healthy sense of ones self and feeling good mentally and physically , we can only hope that it can impact others to do the same.
A: Being in the fitness industry, what is some advice you could give to teens that are struggling with body image?
This is an issue that every human encounters in life in some way at some point. My first client was a woman who had grown up with a severe body image and eating disorder. I listened to her story how it effected her life through middle school, high school, and then college. I knew I could help her. I decided to brand my programs , not based on losing numbers in weight or looking at a scale, but how you feel mentally and physically. Focussing on the positive and aspects that we do like about ourselves is important. Talking to teens more about body image issues and the difference between what someone posts on social media and real life. Helping teens learn a healthy lifestyle but more importantly a healthy language about themselves can drive confidence, strength and a positive body image.
THANK YOU KATIE!