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Five-minute breather with… Kim Kamo

Originally from Canada, Kim Kamo is drawn to adventure and gets a huge buzz from being active in the great outdoors. While there is little she hasn’t tried; these days she is firmly hooked on climbing — scaling the wall at Hot Rock Adventure Centre most days or tackling a “real rock” in Townsville’s surrounding hills and ranges; plus coaching juniors and those new to the ropes. This year she decided to take it up a notch, making it through to the finals in the Australian Lead Climbing Championships along with the kids she coaches, plus coming second in the Masters category at the Australian National Boulder Championships. We caught up with Kim to find out about the amazing active things she has achieved, how she stays motivated and her best local fitness tips.

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Climbing Frederick’s Peak, Townsville.

“Now, living in Townsville, I don’t get to ski anymore! But I have been enjoying the year-round climbing weather, and the local diving and snorkelling”

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Kim bouldering in Canada.

What are you doing to get moving at the moment? I climb nearly every day. Either at Hot Rock Adventure Centre where I work and coach the junior climbers [known as the Rock Monkeys], or on the weekends we’ll go to places like Mount Stuart and Herveys Range.

What activity makes you the happiest and why? Camping with my nieces and nephews and sharing amazing outdoor adventures with them in beautiful places. They all love it and I get to provide them with unique experiences that their parents aren’t comfortable doing on their own. Hopefully the good memories will make a positive impact on their lives.

Have you always been active? Yes, always! As a kid, if it wasn’t a full schedule of sports during the school year, it was a summer full of adventures at camp, in the woods, on the lake or up a tree. I grew up in Canada and during university I played on the varsity soccer team and worked in the summer as a forest fire fighter. I took a year off school to spend five months travelling up and down the east coast of Australia, surfing and sleeping in a campervan, then another month biking and hiking around New Zealand.

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A camping trip with family and friends in Canada.

After graduating from university I continued to work as a fire fighter for a few years during the summer season and spent my winters snowboarding, participating in organised sports, working as a climbing instructor, and travelling to other parts of the world whenever I could get away.

“Success requires hard work and, if you love what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to get through even the toughest challenges”

After landing my first ‘real job’ with a company in the outdoor industry, I turned to backcountry skiing and continued to climb and coach climbing in my free time. Now, living in Townsville, I don’t get to ski anymore! But I have been enjoying the year-round climbing weather, and the local diving and snorkelling.

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I like to remain active so that I can continue to enjoy adventurous things during holiday travels and keep up with my young nieces and nephews. My wife Jodie and I enjoy being active in beautiful places around the world and manage to do something adventurous during each holiday.

Are you a morning or afternoon mover? As a night owl, I’ve had a hard time waking up early, but when I do, it’s usually for an outdoor activity so it’s not so bad — especially if I was able to make myself go to bed early. It’s always so nice in the morning that I wish it wasn’t so difficult!

What’s your favourite thing to do on a weekend in Townsville? Hanging out with Jodie, or climbing on a real rock.

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A bouldering trip to Bowen.

Your most motivating tune? All for different situations: Raise Your Glass — Pink; Beautiful Day — U2; I Gotta Feeling — Black Eyed Peas; and Good Life — One Republic.

Motivational quote? “It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is how you do it”.

How do you pep yourself up when you’re craving the couch? When I’m craving the couch, I usually need to rest. But if I’m avoiding something that should be fun, remembering how good the endorphins feel and why they’re important for my long-term health goals helps to get me out the door.

“It was probably the roughest, least enjoyable hike I’ve ever done, but the flowing lava was beautiful and well worth the effort and discomfort”

Do you prefer to get active solo, or with a buddy? Definitely a balance of both.

Most annoying fitness fad? Anything that gets people injured…

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Making her way through the challenging climb ‘Beast From the Deep’.

What’s your greatest fitness achievement? My 40th birthday goal was to see if I could climb a route at the same difficulty as my personal best in my mid-20s. I picked a climb on the South Sentinel of Frederick’s Peak just outside of Townsville called ‘Beast From the Deep’ and surprised myself by completing it after a few trial runs this past April.

Most memorable active moment? Hiking through eight hours of ankle-to-hip deep mud to find hot flowing lava on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was probably the roughest, least enjoyable hike I’ve ever done, but the flowing lava was beautiful and well worth the effort and discomfort.

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The tough hike on Hawaii’s Big Island.

What activity have you always wanted to try (and what’s holding you back)? Weightlessness in space, but the expense and the probability of motion sickness is holding me back! (And the fact that I’m not an astronaut).

What’s something we don’t know about you? I am a mosquito magnet, which is really annoying considering I love doing outdoor activities.

What’s your next goal? To be fit enough to compete in both Open A and Masters categories at next year’s rock climbing state lead and bouldering titles [around April] without giving myself any overtraining injuries.

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Kim doing what she loves most.

What are you doing to get there? I’m currently rehabilitating an overworked bicep that flared up during the recent National Championships. Once that heals, I’ll be training carefully and keeping up with self-care injury prevention. I’ve had a hard time realising that my body needs a bit more time to recover from strenuous activity than it used to. I need to remember to warm-up properly and rest a bit more… and of course, stretch!

Most embarrassing moment on the go? Oh my… I’m sure there’s something that I’ve erased from my memory!

Who would you most like to train with (e.g. famous person, or someone you look up to)? Lynn Hill – She has been described as one of the best female climbers in the world and one of the best climbers of all time. She has been an inspiration to me for as long as I’ve been climbing, and continues to be.

“Get a coach, trainer or someone who can help you get the most enjoyment out of your chosen fitness activity. Seeing improvement in any type of performance is extremely motivational and will keep you coming back for more”

The training advice I wish I’d listened to was… Never stop doing what you love. Success requires hard work and if you love what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to get through even the toughest challenges. Trying to achieve success in something you have no passion for makes it extremely difficult for you to be the best possible version of yourself.

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Camping is up the top of the list when it comes to outdoor activities.

Most treasured piece of fitness gear? I love all of my gear, but I don’t think I’m attached to any one piece more than another. Climbing shoes are uncomfortable to break in, so maybe those? Or maybe my tent — I do love that thing — it’s been part of a lot of great memories in beautiful places around the world.

My best local fitness tip is… pick something that excites you – even if it means trying something you’ve never done or doing something that you’re not “good” at yet. Get a coach, trainer or someone who can help you get the most enjoyment out of your chosen fitness activity. Seeing improvement in any type of performance is extremely motivational and will keep you coming back for more.

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Kim paddleboarding in Canada with her nephew.

Tell us a joke (why not?)

Q: What does a tiger do when it rains?
A: It gets wet.

Last words? Being the best possible version of yourself is good for you and everyone around you.


Get involved

Start your climbing journey at the safety of Hot Rock Adventure Centre — a purpose-built facility in Aitkenvale that has qualified instructors and all the equipment you need to start scaling walls and boulders. Visit the website for more information, including pricing.

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Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz

Carly Lubicz is combining two of her great loves — writing and getting active. Previously working as a journalist, sub-editor, and editor in newspapers and magazines; she is editor and co-founder of TheGo Townsville. She stays active with the staples of road cycling and yoga, but has recently discovered triathlon. And become addicted (apart from the swimming part). She also has a Cert III in Fitness and is passionate about improving mental health through physical activity.

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