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Franklin Wheelhouse Success Story: Patty Norem on TRX straps
Patty Norem

Success:  14 inches and 20 Pounds Lost

“Not only have I shed inches, but I’ve shed the worries about the inches.”

Where are you from?

My Dad was an IBMer, so we moved around. We’ve been here since ’98 from North Carolina.


I’m married to Jeff. My daughter Amanda, 22, just graduated from University of Alabama. She’s engaged to a young mann named Paul and both live in Memphis. They’re living the life in a downtown apartment. Walk to work and to eat. My other daughter, Savannah, 19, just transferred to UT at Knoxville and is going to school for computer science. My husband is a technology person for the state of Tennessee.  And I have a dog Bubba, and a cat named Piper.

What do you do?

I teach 6th grade math at Grassland Middle School.  This is my ninth year.

Tell me a bit about your fitness journey?

When I was approaching 40, I wanted to celebrate it.  All my friends were complaining about how they were falling apart and didn’t like a lot of things.  I got a tooth capped, a new haircut, and joined Weight Watchers.  I lost 25 pounds before I turned 40.  So, I met my goal and was very happy.  I continued to go to the YMCA a few days a week.  And slowly, those pounds have crept back on.  So fast forward to October 2014, I went to the doctor and they said that I needed to lose weight.  I said I exercised 3 – 4 times a week, and they said that cardio is not the answer at my age.  That I needed core training and strength training.  When Christmas hit, I gained a few more pounds (laughs), as we all do.  I was searching for what I wanted to do, and I heard about this class from a former students parent. She talked about Kelly Kanski starting a new group fitness class in the afternoons.  So another teacher, Julee Pousson and I joined.  We’ve been doing this together.  It has really helped having group accountability…having someone say, “Where are you?  I miss you!”  The camaraderie of the class.  How friendly and warm everyone is.  That gave me a start on losing a few pounds.  Then Kelly decided to for a SlimDown group, so I did the diet and FAITHFULLY came to TRX class all summer.  And I’ve had these incredible results.  I followed the diet really strictly the first two months and worked my summer schedule around class, because I decided my health needed to be a priority.  So, I’ve been trying to encourage other friends to come.  They look at the cost as being a little more expensive than a gym.  My response is, “Here I have a personal trainer, who is a personal friend.  I have her cell phone so I can contact her anytime with a question.  Someone who has hugged me to celebrate my successes.  She’s been as excited as I have.”  I don’t have a group of people at the Y or a professional exercise person who’s as concerned about me as Kelly – or Christi or Kim!  To make the changes I needed to, I needed to have the support that I get at Franklin Wheelhouse.  The reaction from my colleagues, who didn’t see me for 10 weeks has been…what’s the best word?  Very affirming.  I don’t suffer from low-self esteem, but I certainly had a low self-image last year.  I almost feel sorry for my students last year.  I don’t think I’m the same teacher I was then.  I have more energy.  I’m more apt to smile than frown because I’m happy with myself, with life and how I feel.

What’s your family’s reaction?

My husband sees me every day, but I’ve managed to change some of his eating habits.  And, my daughters are proud of me.  I’ve almost apologized to them for not raising them with healthier eating habits than I did.

It does take time and effort.  At times it drove me crazy to focus on food, so I had to plan ahead.  I eat two eggs every morning.  On Sundays, I chop up green peppers and turkey bacon, if I have it.  I get a healthy omelet every day.  My eating habits have changed.  Now, my husband is eating eggs in the morning.

Was there a moment when your transformation took a turn or leaped over an obstacle?

I was just ready for it. When Christi said Kelly was forming this class and it was so convenient to school, it made sense. I thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve tried everything else.  I didn’t want to get up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the Y with my husband. When Kelly hugged me it was really meaningful.  She is as personally invested in my success as I am.

How does your fit life affect other areas of your life?

My students don’t know a difference because they are new students, but when I’m at school, I’m happier.  I smile more.  Everything’s better.  Oh, and the clothes (laughs)…now, I can look in my closet and wear anything I want – it’s not my fat clothes.  I have choices.  I’ve celebrated and bought a few new clothes.  Before, I just wanted to hide.  It wasn’t a  conscious decision, but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  I just wanted to be in the background, because I didn’t feel good about myself.

Describe how you feel now in a few words.

Happy and confident.  I feel lighter.  I know physically I’m lighter.  I feel like not only have I shed inches, but I’ve shed the worries about the inches.  That goes back to the clothes.  I’m so comfortable in my clothes.  I’m more confident.  It’s a different confidence.  Empowered is the word I’m thinking about too.  I’ve taken control of what I choose to eat.  Of my schedule and making exercise a priority.  When you consciously make these choices, it does empower you.

What do you like best about the classes?

If there are exercises I don’t like, I won’t see them for awhile.  I’m not bored.  We don’t have a routine, because Kelly continually modifies her instruction to meet the best needs of the individuals.  That’s part of what keeps my attention and my desire to keep coming back.  I’m never bored.  It’s always something new.

Trainer Thoughts: Kelly Kanski

I always tell people I only need two things in order to help them reach their goals.  1) Show Up  2) Give Your Best – whatever that is on the given day or stage in the journey.  Patty is successful because she does both of those things – consistently.  She chose to make herself a priority.  It really starts there.  She’s a great example to women who are familiar with putting themselves last.  Patty made a choice, set a goal (or a few) and worked at the changes…and we managed to have some fun along the way.

My goal is to empower people to become their best self, so they can be BIG contributors in life and with others.  This is it!  We only have one body and one life here.  It’s important to feel good in your skin, to love yourself.  I see that in Patty – it practically jumps off her now!  To associate fitness and nutrition with how good it makes you feel physically, mentally and emotionally is a powerful thing.  I feel privileged to be part of Patty’s journey.  She’s a beautiful personal and has enriched my life.  Power on Patty!

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