Kimberly and The Rose City Rebels- Taking Back Their Fight against Parkinson’s Disease
Meet Kimberly Berg Oregon coach specializing in Parkinson’s disease and injury rehab and owner of the Rebel Fit Club
Kimberly Berg is on a mission to help people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) change the course of their disease through exercise and dance.
Kimberly calls her students and clients with PD “fighters” because they are fighting a huge battle against an unforgiving disease. Everything she does with her fighters is to help them live their best life and give them hope to keep going, to keep fighting.
Today, Kimberly has 200 fighters and 20 very full boxing classes a week offered to 4 levels of fighters. Her fight club “The Rose City Rebels” and her all-female fight club the “Rose City Knock-Outs” bring awareness to the fact that PD is not an old man’s shaking disease, but rather a disease that can also affect women and young people all over the world. Every month they get together for “Fight and Flight” happy hour to show each other support, and go out dancing from time to time because PD is not an excuse to stop living life!
Kimberly decided to branch off on her own in 2015 after working at the Brian Grant Foundation developing training seminars and online exercise videos. In her business, she focuses mostly on Parkinson’s and other neuromuscular diseases through bootcamps, boxing, drumming, and dance while addressing chronic pain through personal training. Additionally, she started training other trainers to work with people with PD. Kimberly also became Oregon’s first Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) coach. RSB is a non-contact boxing curriculum for people with PD. She now have 4 affiliate sites in Portland and SW Washington areas.
Throughout her whole life, movement has been a critical, whether through dance or exercise. It’s no surprise to Kimberly’s loved ones she found her niche in life through personal training and coaching. It’s her passion. She blends fun and laughter to motivate and engage individuals of all abilities to move and help them feel better.
Kimberly been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, training individuals with a wide range of needs, specializing in Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease, and orthopedic rehabilitation needs. After she earned her master’s degree in clinical exercise physiology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, Kimberly started as an athletic trainer and cardiac rehab therapist working in hospitals developing 4 health club-based outpatient cardiac rehab programs. She also worked as a personal trainer for people with chronic pain and functional movement issues.
Her focus shifted to specifically Parkinson’s in 2006 when Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), which publishes internationally recognized research in Parkinson’s and exercise, recruited her to help research the best comprehensive exercise program for people with Parkinson’s. Soon after the project ended, she took over coaching a local PD exercise program and the participants loved how hard she pushed them. In fact, they felt so good, they wanted more intensity every time they met.
In addition to adding rigor to the workouts, she started sneaking in dance choreography. Since most of the classes were made up of men, Kimberly had to trick them into liking dancing. And before they knew it, they had learned Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance. In 2012, they performed “Thriller” in a cemetery on Friday the 13th during Parkinson’s Awareness Month. It received a lot of media attention and everyone had a blast. The “PD Rebel Dance Company” was born. The Company performed “Thriller” again in 2016 at the opening night of the World’s Parkinson’s Congress in full zombie makeup by special effects artists. The props and costumes were designed by the dancers, which became its own team-building project. The “PD Rebel Drumming and Dance Project” continues to perform including flash mobs to educate the public on the healing power of the arts.
Kimberly Berg has focused her boundless energy and tireless commitment toward educating people with PD that they can take back their fight against this debilitating disease instead of falling victim to it.
To kick off 2018, Kimberly unveiled her new business name: Kimberly Berg’s Rebel Fit Club, a center where people with chronic conditions can come to get a comprehensive approach to healing. She’s also expanding her motivational speaking engagements and training seminars nationally. As well as continuing to blog weekly providing exercises, nutritional, and emotional support for people with PD.
Kimberly Berg, MS, ACSM, CEP is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist/Personal Trainer, Corrective Movement Specialist and professional dancer. She specializes in Parkinson’s Disease and injury rehab. Kimberly is the owner of Rebel Fit Club with locations in Portland and SW Washington. To learn more, subscribe to her weekly PD exercise blog, host a training seminar or have Kimberly speak at a conference, please visit kimberlyberg.net.