Faces of Primary: Kati Billow

Bringing the bootcamp to Primary Studio classes, Kati Billow looks to push her students to their mental limit through intense physical experiences.  Here’s a look at Kati and how she drives herself to be the best that she can.

How long have you been teaching at Primary and how did you get connected to the space?

I met Brian last summer and started teaching in September 2016. We connected because I was really interested in the space and wanted to be part of the community.


Bootcamp classes can be intimidating! Can you tell me more about “Kati’s Bootcamp” and your style of teaching?

You’re right! But the beautiful thing about bootcamp classes is that they push you past your mental limit throughout the entire class. There are many points at which you think you cannot perform another rep, but then you push yourself, and you succeed. I teach a tough, sweaty class. I like to think that my style is challenging yet encouraging.

As an advocate of strength training, what motivated you to start lifting and did you experience any kind of mental and/or physical transformation?

I started lifting seriously about 4 years ago when I realized running wasn’t giving me the results that I sought. I saw physical results from weightlifting immediately, so I fell in love with it. I also saw a significant mental transformation over the past few years. Being a strong woman physically has made me a strong woman mentally through discipline and constant challenge. Every time I’m in the gym, I try to do better than I did the week before, and that mindset has carried over into all other aspects of my life.

Without thinking TOO hard, describe yourself in three words

Ambitious, passionate, restless

As a woman instructor in a male dominated form of exercise, what do you find most empowering about strength training?

It’s badass! I love hitting the gym hard and lifting really heavy weights. I’m somewhat petite, but I can deadlift almost twice my body weight. Knowing that I’ve been able to train my body and mind to achieve something like that is so empowering. More and more women are getting into lifting, and I think that’s really incredible.


Your alarm goes off… what does your average day look like from start to finish?

It depends on the week because I travel frequently for my fulltime job, but this is what my day usually looks like:

Wake up and have coffee and a big breakfast at home while I’m getting ready for work, try to squeeze in a podcast before I head out the door, head to my fulltime job as a sales manager at a luxury boutique hotel in the Financial District, leave the office around 5:30 (unless I have client events after work), head to the gym for my workout, go home to relax or work on my side project HKgathers. Some nights I train private clients, and on Wednesdays at 5:45pm I teach my bootcamp at Primary.

Can you tell me two wellness tips or tricks that you swear by?

  1. Find a workout that you love. I used to think that I was a runner, but running never gave me the results I wanted. I soon realized this was because I didn’t truly enjoy running. Then I found weightlifting, and my life changed. I crave my workouts now, and that’s why I’ve been successful with it.
  2. Change it up to avoid hitting a plateau. This will keep you motivated both physically and mentally. Try new types of workouts, try your current workouts with different variations of sets/reps/volume, spend a day at the gym dedicated to trying new things or working on core/accessory work – do anything you can to keep it interesting and moving forward.

What goals are you chasing in 2017?

For my fitness goals, I am focusing on training like an athlete rather than just a body builder. I want to incorporate workouts that focus on my speed, agility and mobility rather than just building my muscles. For my personal goals, I am focusing on the development of my passion project HKgathers, a women’s wellness initiative.

You’re going on a trip, location TBD! What are 5 things that you can’t travel without (besides clothes ☺)?

Music/podcasts, a journal for writing, protein powder, a water bottle and snacks…lots of snacks.


What advice would you offer someone who is new to strength training, specifically women?

I think it’s really important to learn at a steady pace so that you don’t become overwhelmed or injure yourself. It’s easy to injure yourself when strength training, so having a seasoned workout buddy or coach to help you is ideal. Also, I always recommend taking it back to the basics when strength training. Compound movements like barbell squats, deadlifts and bench presses are key. I see people at the gym doing crazy workouts (that they may have seen on Instagram/Youtube ☺), but there are usually more efficient and effective ways of training. The Internet can be a great resource for training ideas, but just remember to keep it simple. And finally, don’t let fear and intimidation get the best of you. For women it can be scary to start lifting, but I promise that you will find much empowerment through it. There will always be things that scare you at the gym (such as your first clean and jerk), but unless you dive in, you’ll never grow.


Find Kati’s classes (and the week’s schedule) via the The Studio by Primary .

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