Kissing Tree is known for being an active adult community for those 55 and better, and our new Fitness Manager Rebecca Rounds is definitely helping us stay active! Since the Fitness Center and pools opened last week, Rebecca has been busy with everything from overseeing new hires and adding new classes to helping residents figure out the strength machines. We were excited to get Rebecca on the phone to hear about how things are going, how she ended up here at KT, and what she does for fun (spoiler alert: she loves red wine and horror movies!). Read on for the full scoop.
KT: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, Rebecca! How are things going at the Fitness Center? Is everything open now?
RR: Yes! We are being very careful with social distancing and only allowing 15 people in the gym at a time and 3 at the pool facility. People have to register ahead of time for a 2-hour session, and we check them in. Everyone has been really accommodating and good about cleaning equipment before and after use. In the pool area, the seating is socially distanced, so people aren’t too close. And in our fitness classroom, the Well Beat Movement Room, we’re limiting the number of people to 10 so everyone can space out appropriately.
KT: Oh wow. Have things been harder with the pandemic?
RR: It’s weird, but people understand why we’re doing what we’re doing, and for the most part, everyone has been incredibly flexible. A few folks have gotten frustrated and wished they could walk in, but once we explain that the precautions are for everyone’s safety, their frustration melts away. With a brand new facility, everything is new and changes on a frequent basis! As we get into more of a routine, everything is starting to settle down.
Eventually, all the residents will have an app called Brevo so they can use their phones to open doors to the Fitness Center, and we won’t have to manage how many people are in the facility. But this is the new norm for now, so we’re making it work!
KT: What equipment has been the most popular so far?
RR: People love the ellipticals, and they’ve let us know they’d like to see more of those. People also love the strength machines—we have a short strength circuit with all Precor equipment, and people can work their way down the line to get a full body strength workout.
KT: Is there anything you wish more people knew about?
RR: The best part of the whole facility is in our classroom downstairs! There’s a big television with a fabulous virtual trainer that offers everything you could imagine. People were hesitant or skeptical at first, but they’re getting really into it. You can do anything from spin class to yoga or Pilates to Zumba. You just pull up the list of classes, and it tells you how long they are and how they are rated. When you pick one, it pops up on the huge screen on the wall, and the trainer pops up and tells you what items to grab for the class and what all the movements will look like, so you can make sure it’s the right class for you before you start. People have been coming in with their neighbors and spouses to do those classes!
KT: Are there group fitness classes happening now?
RR: Yes! The schedule of all the classes is up on the HOA website under lifestyle and fitness, and Kevin updates it really frequently. We’ve just added a really cool class for golfers on Tuesday afternoons at 4 pm called Fore for the Core. Our head of golf, Steve, wanted a class for golfers that targeted core strength and mobility. It will be taught by Ross Hill, and he’s great—really wise and smart. The class is limited to 10 people, and they do need a punch card. A bunch of golfers have said they can’t come to our other group fitness classes in the mornings because they’re golfing, so we made it later for them. They better come or I’m going to come looking for them!
KT: Are the classes included in the membership?
RR: Most of them are part of our punch card system. Folks can purchase the punch card online and pick it up at Independence Hall, and it’s good for 10 classes, whichever ones they want to take. Some classes are separate, though; there is a Tai Chi instructor once a week, and she’s not part of the punch card system. She deals with residents directly.
Also, the line dancing class is not on the punch card. A woman named Sandra comes on Fridays, and a lot of residents have been asking for more line dancing classes. Without frequent repetition, it’s easy to forget or lose the knowledge from the week before. Now, we’re going to have her come on Wednesdays, too, so residents can have more dance time.
We also have a resident named Sandy Baldwin who is a music teacher, and she’s also taught music with movement and has a dance history. Zumba and dance have helped her in her life, and lately she’s missed the camaraderie and support they provide. Now, she’s going to be teaching a free Dance to Fitness class every Wednesday at 10:15 am. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
KT: Can people make appointments to work out with a personal trainer?
RR: Not yet. Right now since we’re limited in capacity, we aren’t allowing guests in the facilities—it’s residents only. As we move through the opening phases that the HOA and Brookfield have set up, we may be able to have guests. At this point, we don’t know what that will look like—we might contract with independent trainers or let residents bring their own trainers in. It will happen, it’s just a matter of how and what it will look like.
KT: What are your goals? What are you working on for the future?
RR: You know, Kevin Wilson has done such as good job with lifestyle and fitness here at Kissing Tree, and my goal is to become as excellent at my job and make fitness as fun as Kevin Wilson does! He has his finger on the pulse of this community. For many people here, their goal is not to get in the best shape of their lives, but they’re having a second chance at fun and relaxation and free time. I want to create an environment that gives people a reason to show up. Whether that’s a silly challenge or event, I want to make fitness fun and accommodating for people who think they can’t do this, because there’s always something you can do to move!
KT: So how did you end up here at Kissing Tree?
RR: I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I went to college there for the first time and got a journalism degree. We moved to Texas when my kids were little, about 20 years ago to the date. Then, with three young boys, I went back to school and got my nursing degree. Through nursing I worked for the County Health Department, and my job there involved talking to people with chronic diseases about how to reverse those processes. I would educate people about how to eat and change their lifestyle to make life more livable and reverse their issues.
KT: How did you find fitness?
RR: From there, I kind of found fitness by accident. I decided I liked working with people on front end, helping them make lifestyle choices and prevent issues before they got to bad place. I trained at a gym in San Marcos, and I knew the Kissing Tree Lifestyle Director, Kevin Wilson. I knew eventually a Fitness Director job was going to come open here at Kissing Tree, so I kept my ears open.
KT: It’s so great to have you at KT! How has it been to get adjusted?
RR: The transition has actually been less scary because a lot of the residents were actually members at the gym where I taught before! It felt like a coming home of sorts, except now they don’t have to drive down the road to see me.
KT: Do you live in San Marcos?
RR: Yes, I just built a home about two miles down the road. I could run here to Kissing Tree if I wanted to—maybe I will when it’s not 100 degrees out!
KT: How old are your kids?
RR: My oldest, Austin, is almost 22, and he’s a junior at Texas State. He still works at the gym where I used to work, so lots of residents will tell me, “We just saw Austin; he’s doing great!” My middle son is 20, and he’s at the fire academy next to Kissing Tree; he’ll graduate in December. My youngest son is a junior in high school.
That’s another part of how I ended up in fitness—when I worked at the Health Department, my youngest son was an athlete, and he kept getting hurt in the weight room. He wasn’t getting proper direction from the coaches, so I hired him a personal trainer. I started going to gym with him, and it started being something I did, too. Now I have a gym in my garage, and all three of my boys work out together and we talk while they lift.
KT: Are you married? Any pets?
RR: I am divorced, but I am engaged to a great guy named Scott. We haven’t set a date, but the wedding is coming, sometime after the pandemic is over. We have 2 dogs; one is named Molly, and I found her on a long run when training for Houston marathon. I was over on Posey Road, and she came out of a field and followed me. She’s my running buddy. Then we have a beagle mix named Baxter.
KT: What’s your favorite workout?
RR: Distance running was always a thing for me. This morning, I woke up at 5 and ran 5 miles, and it felt so good to sweat and be out in the sun. I used to be an avid racer—I love local 5ks, but my favorite distance is probably a 10k. I used to like to compete in the fitness realm, but I don’t do that anymore because it’s too time consuming.
KT: What do you like to do for fun?
RR: I love to cook and meal prep. I like to make something easy that everyone will like that can be stored for a few days ahead of time. Cooking at home is healthier, and prepping meals makes your life easier because don’t have to destroy your kitchen when you cook. Oh, and I love horror movies! I love to sit on the couch and drink red wine and watch a scary movie! You can’t go wrong with those things—red wine and scary movies!
KT: This all sounds great, Rebecca! Thanks so much for keeping us informed and doing so much to make the Fitness Center amazing!
RR: Sure! COVID has been an interruption, but we have big plans, and the Fitness Center will only continue to grow. We want to continue to get feedback and put together wishlists for what our residents want. Look for some fun events coming down the line!
Most of all, we want to encourage people to use the facility. It’s easy for people to get intimidated—a woman came in this week, and said, “I feel like I should use this because I pay the HOA fees, but I don’t know where to start.” No matter where you are, you can always start somewhere! I gave her a quick intro, and showed her a couple of things she could do. Our team is here to help, and we’re happy to provide advice and guidance!