Participant Spotlight

Crushing The Fitness Goal - Will Klein

Non-Profit Supported - Habitat for Humanity St. Charles County

Scott E. Mills Scott E. Mills
February 2019

We recently spoke with Will Klein, a participant on the Habitat For Humanity’s virtual race campaign - The Resolution Run. While we wanted to learn more about Will's fitness regimen & motivation to stay fit, our conversation went in so many interesting directions including his interests in gardening & recovery from a kidney transplant. Will is an inspiration and we wish him nothing but the best for the 2020 transplant games training.

Scott: Thanks for taking the time today Will. Congratulations on absolutely crushing your fitness goal and holding the #1 leaderboard position in The Resolution Run campaign for Habitat for Humanity. We’ll get into how you managed to do 18,000 steps/day in a bit, but let’s start with learning more about you. What do you do for a living and where do you live?

Will: I’m a Real Estate broker for MOVE realty, based out of Cottleville, MO.

S: What are some of your hobbies when you’re not selling the American Dream?

W: Gardening. And I also participate in several sports.

S: Oh tell me more about this Gardening. How did you get into that?

W: I’m a Master Gardener and it is all volunteer work. While I was on dialysis, I did online classes through the Missouri Master Gardener Extension Program and had to volunteer 30 hours to finish the certification. We answer questions, conduct demonstrations at the facility, and take care of gardens in the city.

While living in Rockford from 2001 to 2004 - There’s a national competition called America In Bloom where cities of similar size compete across a variety of criteria including landscaped areas, urban forestry, community involvement, heritage preservation, etc. - we won it for Rockford, IL!

S: That’s amazing, congratulations! OK, a much different question here. What book/movie/article/conversation has had the most profound impact on your life?

W: From the film Last Starfighter: "but I’m just a kid from a trailer park". Response: "If that’s what you think, then that’s all you’ll ever be!”

S: That’s terrific. If you were a brand, what would your motto/mission be?

W: Never Give Up, Perseverance

S: Shifting to your participation in this virtual race, why is giving back important to you?

W: It is just something I have always done, and when I first got sick in 2014 people helped my family. I wanted to give back in some way.

S: What excites you to support Habitat For Humanity?

W: It’s such a great cause and it isn't a hand out.

S: Habitat for Humanity is so well known. But for someone that might not know much about the organization, what would you want that individual to know about why it is so important to support this cause?

W: As a leader in the real estate world I promote the American Dream of Home Ownership – Habitat shares that same goal.

S: Do you support or volunteer your time with other non-profits? Which ones?

W: Several. In addition to gardening which I mentioned previously, I also work with our firefighter outreach. At our Realtor Association, where I serve as the 2019 President, we have our own foundation, so I’m involved with that. We have helped Habitat do a build with several Realtors. We have attended the Habitat Gala for a few years and participate actively in their auction.

S: So what was your strategy for hitting your fitness goal and getting nearly 18,000 steps in each day!? What motivated you to go further?

W: I received a kidney transplant on September 28th, 2018. I am motivated by a gift that a stranger gave me. Also, I’m in training for the 2020 Transplant games.

S: That’s amazing. This virtual race helps in that training! Are you going out of your routine to do more? How did you do it?

W: I’ve been building up my distance since the transplant. My office is within walking distance, so most days I walk to and from work. Even through snow and ice. I believe there is no bad weather just bad gear.

S: Love that. Do you have a fitness buddy/team that you workout with? Is your buddy participating in the virtual race as well?

W: My wife sometimes, but she can’t do the long distances. Another friend Tony when the weather is nice. He’s fighting his weight and he says I motivate him.

S: Do you follow any specific diet program?

W: My anti-rejection meds jack up my blood sugar so my diet is like a keto diet.

S: That’s intense. I’ve tried a “keto-light” diet and it’s no joke. So you really do a lot Will. How do you balance your career, volunteering your time at Habitat and family life?

W: I’ve been that guy that just can’t sit still and do more than I should. Part of it is having a new lease on life with my new kidney, and the timing worked out well for this event. Walking is the one thing I had permission to do. The transplant docs have been impressed with my progress.

I balance everything the best I can. Most of the people at home don’t enjoy the exercise that I do. My wife doesn’t like the cold so I was alone during those cold night walks. But if I went to the gym she would join me; we’d also walk the track at the Y. And my son is a college athlete, so when he was back home for winter break, we went hiking together in January.

S: When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

W: I play with our 3 dogs, two of which are 3-year old pups.

S: What are your favorite brands (shoes, apparel, etc) that you like to run/walk in?

W: New balance.

S: Awesome. Thanks again for taking the time today Will. Your story is inspiring and love to see your perseverance through some troubling times. Be well and keep on walking!

Will's story is so inspiring, and we hope this conversation motivates you to go an extra mile. You can donate to Habitat For Humanity St. Charles and show your support for Will and a wonderful non-profit organization!

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