Around 16 months ago, Kim Groom was poking through her closet when she came across a favorite pair of her late husband’s knockaround pants – and decided to try them on.

Let’s just say Joe’s 38 waists fit a bit too well.

Or …

“They were snug,” Kim says. “And I cried.”

That was September of 2020. Joe had been gone almost five years; the pandemic had sentenced the majority of schools to remote learning; and Kim, who had been nursing long-term effects of a back injury, “was out of the workout scene for five years.”

A retired sergeant of the Aurora Police Department, where she spent 27 years serving and protecting her hometown community, Kim was ready to re-emerge. The former standout basketball and softball player at West Aurora High School and Aurora University eased herself back toward the end of 2020 by walking with friends on the upper track at the Vaughan Athletic Center. As restrictions from both the pandemic and minor medical procedures lifted, Kim began working out full-throttle in February 2021 – a routine that included more rigorous weight training three days a week alongside personal trainer Tony Alston.

Think she was serious?

“The embodiment of the ideal client,” Alston says of Kim. “She takes advice and direction and exceeds what’s asked of her. Motivated, determined, driven, and accountable are words to best describe her and the results have been phenomenal and noticed by many. She’s made her fitness a priority.”

With 5-6 workout days a week, including cardio exercise and reduced portion sizes at mealtimes, the results appeared swiftly. In just a few weeks, “the clothes were fitting a lot differently and my confidence was also improving,” Kim says.

By the end of May, four months in to her renewed and re-energized fitness journey, the 51-year-old mom of four and grandmother to three (with two more on the way) had trimmed 28 pounds and four sizes.

“And I’m maintaining it!” she says today.

Though retired, Kim stays plenty busy with an active family and a full calendar of volunteer work through the Aurora Kiwanis Club, where she serves as a lieutenant governor of Division 21 in the Illinois-Eastern Iowa District of Kiwanis International. She also coaches freshman-level basketball at Rosary High School and teaches physical education two days a week at St. Rita School.

As for Joe’s 38 waists? Even though “they fall to the ground when I put ‘em on and I can’t do lawn work in ‘em anymore,” Kim says, she often tucks those pants into her workout tote as a reminder of the message they sent 16 months ago.

Turns out they may’ve had some advice, too …

“When you lose somebody,” Kim says, pausing, “I just think my outlook on life really changed. I focus on everybody else all the time, always making sure everybody is safe and OK. Doesn’t matter if it’s at work or at home, that’s just the way I am.

“But here in the gym is the space where I’ve allowed time to focus on myself. And I’ve changed for the better.”

For more information on Fox Fitness, visit or call 630-897-0516. We’re happy to provide tours at any of our four Fox Fitness locations – Vaughan Athletic Center, Prisco and Eola community centers, and Copley Boxing and Training Center.