Love At First Step
Kat Napolitano’s Journey to KatNap Fitness
Fitness instructor, choreographer, dance performance group director, cheerleading coach, brand ambassador, entertainment producer, dance teacher – these are all titles that Kat has held but she is now most excited about her new title – fitness mentor.
At age fourteen, when her best friend brought her to an adult jazz class in her hometown of Boston, Kat was instantly transformed by dance. It was love at first step and she couldn’t get enough. “I would dance for six hours straight and still would have kept going if it weren’t for the fact that I needed to go home and go to bed,” says Kat.
The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio became her second home and Jeannette, her mentor. Kat continued to dance through college, but she never considered dance as a career. Having been brought up in a family who valued education, she expected to use her Communications degree from Boston University in a corporate career. Upon graduating, she spent one year as a stockbroker at Shearson Lehman but soon realized that if she didn’t place dance as the focus in her life, she would not be happy. She quickly jumped in and did anything she could to make a career out of dance.
Health & Hip-Hop
Kat created her own dance company with a friend called The Funky Girl Club, for which Kat’s main focus was on the choreography. It was the 90’s, the height of hip-hop and ‘Girl Power’ and The Funky Girl Club were the Spice Girls of dance! They became hugely popular in Boston and the area.
From her growing popularity, Kat knew she should be in Los Angeles where most of the commercial dance work was. She planned to go there right after spending the summer in Miami with her father. For fun that summer, Kat started teaching cardio hip-hop classes. They were an instant hit. People would line up out the door for every class that Kat taught; her energy was infectious!
Kat’s reputation as the hip-hop dance queen spread quickly in Miami and soon the Miami Arena Football Team (aka Hooters Arena Football Team) hired her to be their choreographer. The dancers became so popular, the owner would joke that the fans came out to see the dancers, not the football game! With summer over, Kat realized that L.A. would have to wait. Miami and her were having a mad love affair.
Dance, Choreography & Miami Madness
Kat’s career continued to explode in Miami and in 1993 Kat was hired as the Director and Choreographer for the Miami Heat Dancers. This was an exciting time in her career – the crowds were huge, the basketball team was getting massive press with new players and a new coach and the cheerleaders were getting major press and recognition. All thanks, in part, to Kat’s leadership and choreography.
Also during this time, Kat continued to teach fitness classes as a certified instructor. She taught everything from cardio kickboxing, low impact, and step to hip-hop, stretch and more. One of her fitness mentors; Janis Saffel was the first one to drag Kat to Los Angeles to be in her fitness video for Crunch Fitness.
Finding Love in Los Angeles
Kat made the move to Los Angeles in 2000 where she quickly established herself. She was choreographing commercials, soap operas, TV shows and many live events. Then, her personal life changed dramatically. After being in L.A. for only three months, Kat met the love of her life, her husband Ted.
It was a true Hollywood moment – she was choreographing a scene for the TV show Arliss, and Ted was a guest actor. It was love at first sight and they were married in Miami in 2002.
In the next few years, Kat gave birth to her daughter Charlotte and her career led her into event production and away from dance and fitness. During those years Kat continued to be hired as a back-up performer for multiple fitness videos. She was in the Weight Watchers’ Walk Away The Pounds promo and several videos with top fitness instructors including: Donna Richardson, Mari Winsor (Pilates), Sue Hitzman and Leslie Sansone.
The Turning Point
In 2010, Kat launched an entertainment production company with her husband Ted, called Infiniti Creative. While she was still working with dancers and would choreograph on occasion, Kat missed her direct connection with dance and fitness. On top of that, as a full-time working mom, her personal health had become a low priority. That was until one fated day when, Kat was told that she had a fan base.
From one of the many jobs she had done, Kat had been featured as backup talent in a video for Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix with Autumn Calbrese. Kat demonstrated the modified version of the workout – to show people an easier version of the workout. No longer a size 4, Kat would joke that she was always on these videos as the “obtainable body.”
What she didn’t know was that many people had been commenting about Kat on the 21 Day Fixx sites and when they found Kat’s Facebook page, it blew up. Within two weeks she had over 4,500 pending friend requests from people who knew her from the fitness videos. Kat was in awe of the heartfelt comments about how she had inspired and helped them. It became evident that her newfound fans weren’t watching the main trainer in the video; they were watching Kat because they could relate to her.
The fact that Kat was an inspiration to others was a shock to her. “This happened at a time when I was feeling pretty low about myself,” says Kat. “I had recently gone jean shopping and had to buy a pair of jeans in a size I never thought I would buy. I went home devastated… but then I became determined. I needed to take care of myself and take charge of my health.”
With the encouragement of her fans (who Kat lovingly refers to as her fitness friends) and her deep determination to be healthy and be a good role model to her teenage daughter Charlotte, Kat decided to launch her online fitness program, KatNap Fitness. As it turns out, the people who Kat inspired along the way were exactly the ones inspiring and motivating her to follow her new passion.
Real Fitness For Real People
Kat wanted to make sure her programs would be an easy fit for people who are not fitness fanatics, but life fanatics. The KatNap Fitness programs start at just $9.95 per month.
“It’s unrealistic for me to think I will be a size 4 again,” says Kat. “That doesn’t mean I can’t do it. If I worked out constantly (which is no fun) and ate really healthy (which is no fun), I could be a size 4 with ripped abs, but that’s not my goal.”
“My belief is that no matter if you are size 2, 8 or 10 (or my current size, don’t even THINK about asking), you need to move that body! It is all about living a long, healthy enjoyable life with the people you love. And to do that, you must take care of your body. That includes balance in all things; mind, diet, exercise and FUN!”
KatNap Fitness Membership Perks
Members of KatNap Fitness receive three new workouts every month, led and choreographed by Kat. Every month is different – from dance and cardio, to upper and lower body workouts with weights.
The priority is realistic workouts and goals with real people. Each workout is 30 minutes long and has 3 levels. Every day you can choose to follow the beginner, moderate or advanced demonstrator, so no matter what kind of workout you want, you will get it.
Kat shares, “I’m still working on my goal weight and my genetic makeup is prone to weight gain. (Thanks family!) But, by being true to myself and being realistic about my goals while trying to reach a life balance and taking ‘everything in moderation,’ then I can hopefully help and inspire people to do the same and to care enough about themselves to take care of themselves and to find joy in their lives in a fun, fit and healthy way. I honestly can’t think of a better purpose in life or a better time to do it.”
Kat lives in L.A. with her husband Ted, daughter Charlotte, two dogs, two tortoises and six fish.