Coach Cat, owner and CEO of Cat’s Club Fitness in Sherman Oaks, is no stranger to adversity. Being honorably discharged from the US Army in the late 90s was a devastating blow to what she thought was her destiny. Despite this tragedy, she found a way to survive and carve a new path for herself.

“I was homeless, abusing drugs and suffering from PTSD; but instead of drowning in my sorrows, I acknowledged my issues and sought mental health support.  Once I relocated from Boston, MA to Los Angeles, CA, my perspective on my mission in life switched.  I decided that just because I’m not serving my country in the military, I can still lend my support by passing along the discipline, heart, compassion and physical strength I learned in the service to the community I live in.  I planted my roots in Sherman Oaks, CA and began working with any and everyone willing to put the necessary effort into improving their health & wellness,” Coach Cat shares her journey of finding a new purpose.

In this feature, she talks about her approach and philosophy on fitness, what potential clients can expect and her plans for the future.

What would you say is your approach and philosophy towards fitness? 

We can all acknowledge the importance of nutrition, lean mass gains/retention and cardiovascular health; where we differ is in the methods used to work on these components. I truly believe gyms have turned into a room full of equipment and that’s it! The LA Fitness & 24Hour Fitness type places do not put effort into providing a basic training program for its members.  Basic training should cover the fundamentals–gross anatomy, intro to kinesiology and general nutrition. Beyond that basics of the gym, the member can then continue their education through their own expansion of those basic teachings or hire a coach from that gym to continue a more extensive exploration of athleticism. If gyms aren’t going to educate members as a part of the general membership, I will continue acquiring clients that have trained in gyms for years (and sometimes DECADES) but have no education in those fundamentals mentioned earlier. My philosophy is to lead with the fundamentals REGARDLESS of how “healthy” a person tells me they are.  Those few hours we spend together on those fundamentals help me discover where to begin their training programs.  

The set up of your gym is pretty unique.  How did you come up with this idea? 

Why, thank you! My layout is based on the performance & health related components of fitness. The uniqueness is in the environment I choose to train said components.  I think the typical gym layout negates unpredictability.  Most people have multiple gym memberships to avoid a plateau.  My studio can keep you busy for hours.  On top of that benefit, I renovated a residential property to promote a more comfortable outdoor/indoor experience.  Because the home doubles as a member’s lounge, they can receive meal prep assistance, recipe sharing and, most importantly, members can see how a fitness professional lives.  I want to be open and comforting with members so there’s NO EXCUSE for a lack of growth. They’ll realize that their gym membership is now considered an investment in their education and overall well-being.  I will end the “uneducated gym-goer” syndrome if it’s the last thing I do!

 What can a potential client expect when they walk through the doors of your gym? 

Leave expectations at the door and be open to an experience that is only realized through each individual.  The journey for each person is based on their impediments and how they overcome them.

What has been your biggest challenge in setting up your gym?

I’m having some difficulty with finding a support team.  I need everything from more coaches to a sales & marketing team.  So far, I have made it 5 years, without a team.  It is not ideal to move about in this fashion. There’s no success of a business without a great team to support you in your goals. Everyone seeking an advancement in their careers should contact me; but you must be ready to invest in yourself and the business.  I want to offer real estate investment opportunities to entrepreneurs prepared to take that next step to ownership.  I have had many “self-employed” professionals walk through my doors offering to “improve” my marketing or throw events to bring in new customers; but they soon realize an event is not the way.  To have a successful fitness facility, we need collaborations and community support.  I haven’t found much success finding people ready to get their hands dirty and earn their own money. I am sacrificing for the greater good and most of the time, this can be a one woman show.

Where do you see your gym in a year or two from now? 

At a new location.  I am currently seeking another property to renovate.  Shout out to all the realtors out there, I need your help!

This pandemic has been quite challenging, especially for fitness and gym owners. How can we support a business like yours? Where can readers be directed to support the GYMS Act of 2021?

 I would think all gym owners that survived the worst of this pandemic from a business perspective, need TARGETED funding.  I am concerned that the bail out of restaurants (though absolutely well-deserved) is where federal support for the “super spreader” businesses ends.  That can’t be the case.  I am facing possible eviction from my location if funding isn’t secured prior to June 28, 2021.  Gyms have been, and still are, reduced in capacity and under mandate just like restaurants so why is there so much support for the food industry and not fitness?  Please use this link to help fitness clubs like mine RECOVER.  It is one thing to survive; but without a proper recovery, what’s the point to all this suffering just to end up losing everything anyway? For directions to support the GYMS Act, go to:

Coach Cat training one of her clients.
Photo credit: Cat’s Club Fitness

For more information, follow Coach Cat on IG @catsclubfitness or visit her website on

Contact Information:

Cat’s Club Fitness

15203 Morrison St. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Hours of Operation: M-F 6 AM – 9 PM and SAT – SUN 8 AM – 5PM (Book your appointment online.)

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