Witness the Fitness

third annual expo will promote fit lifestyles

Justine Childs

RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU LIKE FITNESS! Check out the Kimbentley FITNESS EXPO at the L.E. Phillips YMCA Sports Center in Eau Claire on September 21.
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU LIKE FITNESS! Check out the Kimbentley FITNESS EXPO at the L.E. Phillips YMCA Sports Center in Eau Claire on September 21.

The small yet mighty powerhouse behind the Sept. 21 FITNESS EXPO Eau Claire is Kim Larsen, a native of central Wisconsin. Working out has always been a part of Kim’s lifestyle, and that includes biking, running, TRX, pilates, yoga and even bodybuilding! Most recently, Kim has received her certification as a yoga instructor. Her passion for fitness ignited the idea to bring together Chippewa Valley wellness professionals with community members to help them navigate and use the resources we have right here. “FITNESS EXPO is for everyone no matter what your age or fitness level is,” she says.

FITNESS EXPO is entering its third year and has grown annually to include new exhibitors featuring fitness clothing, weight loss solutions, medical providers, and even a new gym that will be opening in 2020. “Last year we had 300 people waiting for the doors to open, so I’m excited to announce that we will include a pre-event this year beginning at 10am,” Kim says. “Weather permitting, we will have contests and giveaways, a hang competition, massages, and a whole lot of fun.”

“I light up when I see people of all ages and fitness levels genuinely having a good time while trying new things and learning.” – Kim Larsen, founder of FITNESS EXPO

Once the doors open at 11am at the L.E. Phillips YMCA Sports Center, the first 100 people inside will receive swag bags. Guests can also register for more giveaways to be happening all day. “This year exhibitors have been very generous and our giveaway total is already closing in on $20,000,” Larsen said. 

A variety of classes will be offered all day, including Zumba, boot camp, yoga, and spin, and workshops on essential oils, plant-based eating, surgical procedures, and nutrition. “I light up when I see people of all ages and fitness levels genuinely having a good time while trying new things and learning,” Kim adds.

FITNESS EXPO always offers a limited number of nonprofit booths but choose one nonprofit this year to focus on, The Catch A Lift Fund (catchaliftfund.com). “I found out about CAL through a social media post,” Larsen said, “and the more I learned about how the fund began and how they help veterans mentally and physically through funding fitness programs, it was a no-brainer.” 

Since its founding in 2010, the Catch A Lift Fund has helped thousands of post-9/11 combat wounded veterans regain their mental and physical health through gym memberships, in home gym equipment, personalized fitness and nutrition programs, and a peer support network. Catch A Lift vets are seeing and feeling results including dramatic weight loss, reduction in medications, improved sleep patterns, and strengthened relationships with family and friends, thanks to their healthier lifestyle. Veteran testimonials attest that CAL has “saved their lives,” the greatest impact of all.

“I was on medications for nightmares, migraines, to go to sleep, to wake up, to stay alert,” says Carnell Martin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “It was like putting a Band-Aid on a wound that needed a tourniquet. When I was introduced to CAL, it was a turning point in my life. It’s like being in your unit, you bond with your brothers and sisters, understand what each other has been through and can relate to each other’s injuries. I value my life now, it’s been a blessing that CAL came in my life and changed the person I am.”

There are currently 12 veterans waiting for funding in Wisconsin. You can stop by the Catch A Lift booth at FTINESS EXPO and donate any amount, you can participate in the hang challenge, or you can sponsor a veteran for annual programming. Kim enthusiastically adds, “I highly encourage groups, businesses, and organizations to get behind this. It’s important in so many ways. Wounded veterans include those that have lost limbs and may need special equipment to exercise but it also includes vets who have wounds not easily seen; veterans with PTSD and other traumas not visible. Fitness helps you feel better physically and mentally and it can help veterans gain confidence and reduce depression. Fitness can literally save lives.”

FITNESS EXPO is more than a typical health fair. It’s the perfect event for businesses to showcase their wellness programs, for guests to sample and meet health businesses face to face, and for lives to be changed.


Kimbentley FITNESS EXPO Eau Claire • Saturday, Sept. 21, 11am-4pm • L.E. Phillips YMCA Sports Center, 3456 Craig Road, Eau Claire • $6 early bird tickets available at Festival Foods locations in Eau Claire • $8 at the door • kimbentley.fitness/fitexpoec

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