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The idea for KORE really began back in 1999—my freshman year of college. The acronym KORE stands for Kinetically Optimal Resistance Exercise, which is everything BUT what I was doing at the time. Our collegiate soccer team of about 26 young women showed up at the gym, ran for 5-10 min, went through a circuit of mostly machines like the leg curl and leg press then, flopped around on the floor doing “abs.” No assessment. No dynamic warm up. No cool down stretching. No mobility work. No stability work. No foam rolling. Just a handful of machines and an insane number of crunches.

That year we had six females suffer ACL injuries, each of which required major reconstructive surgery. It was an epidemic that I could only hope I didn’t catch.

That year, a seed was planted in my brain, which told me that there had to be a way to prevent injuries like these from occurring. After six months at the university, I changed my major from Psychology to Exercise Science.

Fast-forward to 2002 and a freak kitchen accident, which left me in a walking cast for six weeks. Two weeks after I got my cast off, I was at a strength-training clinic that my dad had scheduled for me with a guy who specialized in Rolfing as well as posture assessment analysis. He did a full assessment to make sure I was ok to head off for a summer of playing semi-pro. I had no clue that these types of assessments existed or that those six weeks of walking around in a cast could make my body so out of whack: yet another wake up call. I spent my free time that summer religiously doing the exercises I’d been given during that one session. I am convinced that had I not done that session or the follow-up exercises, I would have suffered an injury in my last two seasons of soccer.

Motivated by those two experiences, I dove head first into learning everything I could about training for functional movement for injury prevention. As I began training people, my quest to solve the problems of poor movement and chronic pain and to help return people to a normal active life grew into a passion and became my life purpose.

This concept was the birthplace of my vision for KORE Wellness. I was not interested in opening another average gym that didn’t do anything to keep or get people out of pain. I wanted KORE to provide an extraordinary experience for its members as well as provide a safe haven where people could feel comfortable in their own skin.

I’m years into this journey and I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. In the beginning I worked 50 hours a week to make sure everything was done to the standards I expected of KORE. I did this without pay and covered my bills by training another 25 hours a week at other locations. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel more times than I can count, but the passion for my vision keeps me going even on the worst of days. In the past few years, I have gone back to the drawing board for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to limit this vision to the people I can personally see in a week.
  2. I want to see my family for more than an hour a day.

I’ve developed a system for putting people on the right track based on the current state of their health, hired a team of amazing trainers who I’ve shared everything I know with to help me fulfill the KORE vision, as well as to help those who come to us broken and frustrated or who, like me, want to do the work it takes to prevent those injuries from happening in the first place.

The most amazing thing about our system is that as a staff, we are now able to put our heads together to brainstorm even better and more efficient ways to get people out of pain and moving well. We are still evolving, but I am so excited to see where this journey leads as we continue to live our vision of providing an extraordinary experience for our clients and empower them to achieve the healthy and active life they thought existed only in their dreams.

Elise Matthews