Kass is an inspiring amazing woman and mom of two children. Kass moved to Utah in her childhood years still calls it home. She grew up with a fitness instructor mom and a dad that was everyone’s cheerleader. He instilled in her a beautiful confidence and love for life.
When Zumba fans across the world hear the name Kass Martin they get a huge smile and start shaking with excitement. Kass is known as the face of Zumba and spreads the love of Zumba fitness all over the world as an instructor, presenter, TV star, and teacher. Just talking with Kass, you immediately feel inspired about your own life. She is full of light and love and excitement. Above all of this, it is being a mom that she is most proud of.
I was thrilled to meet with her and showcase her as my next inspiring mom!
How Kass Found Her Passion
Being a Zumba or fitness instructor was never in her life plans. Her mom was hoping either Kass or her sister Emily would take over her aerobics class when she retired, but it wasn’t until after Kass had her second baby that the idea of getting out and teaching a little sounded good.
Her baby had colic, and that is something moms know can tire you fast. She knew it would be healthy and good to take an hour for a little fitness and de-stress.
I love how she knew that you have to take care of yourself before you burn out and can’t take care of anyone. It was March of 2008, and her mom told her about Hip Hop Hustle. It was the perfect time in her life to try it.
She came across a new fitness workout she had never heard of before called ZUMBA! It let the teacher pick one of two choreographies and gave freedom to use creative dance ideas. It was what she was looking for, and she fell in love with it!
Teaching one class led to teaching eight classes, and it grew. The students, some moms like herself, came for that hour break. It was the saying “ditch the workout and join the party” that drew the crowds.
Moms could forget their troubles, stress, colicky babies, bills, homework projects, and let loose and be free for an hour. The workout was so fun it didn’t even feel like you were working out.
Moms came to see Kass. They fell in love with her passion and excitement, her love for dance, and the beautiful positive energy she portrayed.
It was something that filled her soul and in turn made her a better mom. All the moms felt the same way. She provided this amazing service to moms who would find her. The word spread quickly.
Taking it to the Next Level
Kass noticed a poster for a Zumba Jam Session on how to become a Zumba Jammer. It was an opportunity to work her way up in the company of Zumba. In order to do that, she needed to apply and she needed to go to an instructor convention.
All of this was new to her and she didn’t have any connections, just a desire to grow. She sent in her Zumba Jammer application.
She was excited about what might be. Around this time, she got a call that doctors had found a mass on her dad’s brain. It was complete devastation.
At the same time, Kass got an email saying she got pushed through to the next round of applicants. It was all emotions happening at the same time. Through her feelings of sadness and pain, she remembers a distinct sense of comfort, that this is what she should be doing and continue on this journey.
Living Outside Her Comfort Zone
At the convention, she met the CEO of Zumba and they needed testimonials. One thing led to another, and she had an audition set for the next set of DVDs. All of this was completely out of her comfort zone.
She hadn’t even been in the fitness instructor world for that long. Before this, she considered herself very dependent on her husband for everything and never even stayed in a hotel alone.
Although she was nervous, she pushed through the nerves and still had a feeling that this is where she needed to be.
So many times we don’t follow those feelings, goals, new things, dreams because of fear. I love that Kass was so honest about how dependent and fearful she was. Accomplishments don’t come from taking the easy way out or following your fear. Instead, they come from pushing through it, feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.
I know this is so true for motherhood; we often can get stuck in a rut or in our comfort zones. I heard it said growth is what happens outside of the comfort zone.
She was brave, asked questions, and looked around for what she could do more. She said, “I don’t wait for opportunity to come, I go for it!”
I love what she told me when we were visiting for this article. I got immediate chills. She said, “I learned that you don’t get anything you don’t ask for.”
That resonated with me so much. It’s so very true. She said how this applies to all aspects of life: motherhood, marriage, work, hobbies, goals, and even our spirituality. We simply need to ask for what we want.
After being selected for the DVDs “Jammer Session”, she got a call to help sell the DVDs on QVC. QVC gave her great training and she quickly became a household name. Kass Martin became our hometown girl and the face of Zumba.
With her success on QVC, Kass’ relatability to all moms led her to prime time TV. She later did segments on “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Today Show,” The View,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Steve Harvey Show,” “Wendy Williams Show,” and more. She also is on the Wii and other Zumba Fitness video games. All of this success has come from asking, “What could I do more?”
All of this came about by being brave enough to get out of her comfort zone.
She said, “Zumba has changed me. It has pushed me to push myself.”
Kass now works in education and trains Zumba instructors. She literally has traveled the world doing this through 32 different countries.
She said, “I never thought I would leave the US and didn’t necessarily feel bad that I wouldn’t. I didn’t even have a passport. If we didn’t get there in our beat-up minivan, we didn’t get there.” Her humility is so beautiful and empowering.
It was her family’s worst fear: her dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. During her time doing QVC, Kass’ dad would often drive her to the airport. They had that special time talking and being with each other. He was able to see her on TV.
She would ask him if he watched her on QVC. He responded with tears in his eyes, “Yes, you bet. I watch every single one.” He was a proud daddy of his girl and would say, “Does everyone know Kass Martin is taking over the world?” She would laugh and deep down love that he was able to see her do what she loves.
His health was failing, but of course, they had hope. He would come over every Sunday for a Family Home Evening, as they call it, or family night. He would bring handouts that he made and give little life lessons. He said, “Keep these handouts, you’re going to want them when I’m gone.” They would joke and say, “Dad you’re not going anywhere.”
Her dad’s brain cancer got worse, and not too much later he passed away. It was devastating.
He was her biggest fan and cheerleader for life. He would say, “You know, when you’re Mike Akin’s daughter you can do anything.” He was that way with all of her siblings. No one was greater or less than each other. He applauded their gifts and was just as proud of each of them.
She did keep all those handouts and whenever she needs a lift or help to prepare for a lesson, she reads these messages from her dad. It’s like a message from heaven.
She is forever grateful for the confidence building he did in her and that he was able to see her succeed in her field. She knows he is watching her from heaven smiling down and saying, “That’s Mike Akin’s girl right there. She’s inspiring the world!”
It’s What They Do for Themselves
Kass has a contagious energy that makes everyone fall in love with her. That excitement and zest for life come out when she teaches. It builds confidence in those who come.
I asked her, “Do you realize how much people love you and will say you changed their life?”
She paused and beautifully said, “It’s what they do for themselves.”
She continued, “I am an automobile to facilitate the change in people. The thing is I’m doing it for myself too. I have more confidence in myself. I am enough with who I am.”
That same energy flows into her students and gives them the confidence to feel the same. To facilitate a confidence-building opportunity is an awesome thing to do.
There are moments Kass has her struggles with working and traveling and being a mom. What makes it all so possible and wonderful is her husband, who is organized and hands-on with the kids when she travels.
It can be hard to miss the fun times, but it allows a very special bond to take place with her kids and her husband. She loves that her kids have such a beautiful relationship with their dad, and it reminds her of her relationship with her own dad.
Kass is such a fun hands-on mom. When she is not traveling, you will find her carpooling, planning playdates, helping at the school, working on homework projects, and doing 10:30 pm Walmart runs.
Their family loves to be adventurous and will often be boating, lip syncing, dancing, or riding their bikes to dinner. She’s one of the most fun moms I know and lives in the moment with her kids.
She often thinks back to that day in the driveway, when she felt overwhelmed. She remembers the feeling that this was what she should be doing. It’s working for them and she sees it all as a blessing.
Little Bits of Awesome
Kass has the most beautiful relationship with her sister Emily Engemann. They truly love each other and are best friends. It is the most genuine friendship and an example to everyone. That bond has helped others to have a desire for that type of friendship with their sisters. Healing has happened through it. An estranged sister even called up her sister to make amends before it was too late.
Kass and Emily are starting a brand new project together, launching a blog called Littlebitsofawesome.com.
It is all things inspiring and all the things that start with ‘F’ Fitness, Fun, Fix it, Feel it, Find it, and Fashion.
They say, “We aren’t experts, but we love to find those hidden gems to make everyday life a little brighter, and this where we share them. Come along for the ride. Who are we? We are the girls next door. Your fitness instructor, your everyday mom, and your craziest friend. We have a background in life, masters in motherhood, and a Ph.D. in finding awesome.”
Kass’ Favorite Quote
I love to ask for a favorite quote. They are so inspiring and touch you so strongly. I asked Kass to share hers:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou
Thank you, Kass, for being such an inspiring woman and mom. The number of lives you’ve touched is far too many to even count.
Everyone that comes in contact with you is a better person because they know you.
Your dad was certainly right! You have made a beautiful impression on my life, and I’m so happy to share your light!
More of Kass Martin
You can find Kass on Instagram @KassMartin and @littlebitsofawesome and her blog www.littlebitsofawesome.com. Also, find her at University Vasa Fitness Zumba Classes.