Kym Zest


2023 Spring Thursdays

Kym Zest has been coaching endurance sports for over 15 years.  She’s been an athlete her whole life. 

When she was a shy 14 years old at an all-comers track meet. Her dad, Coach Zhao pointed to a wrinkly silver haired woman warming up and said “If you stick with her, you’ll go under 6 in the mile.” It was a brutal 8 laps in the dry winter indoor air, but she stayed on her shoulder and was so proud of her new personal record. She was just as awestruck by the woman. She set a new goal that day; to be fiercely athletic well into old age.

It meant looking beyond the next race, beating a rival, or a new PR. 

In 39 years she’s had a rich complicated history as an athlete with detours, sidetracks, and many many transformative moments. It’s a life long journey. 

Which is the kind of coach she is. 

In addition to a variety of coaching gigs, she owns Zest Ed; coaching enthusiastic recreational athletes. It’s more than a training plan, it’s big picture thinking, strategizing, and reflection. 

She lives in a little house near George Floyd Square with her husband Will, their one year old baby “Sprout” and the kitty Pigeon who misses getting all the attention but likes all the yogurt on the floor. Kym’s favorite comfort food is ramen, show is The West Wing, and author is Bill Bryson. You can learn more on her website, Instagram @zest_ed_athletics, and blog

Education and Certifications

– National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer #7203750410, Professional Member #10-01-25-030, 2009 – present
– Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher 200 hour level #152707, 2014 – present
– Wilderness First Responder through WMA, 2019 – 2023
– USA Triathlon Coach Level 1 and Professional Member #2013394150 , 2011 – 2022
– Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Michelle Pietrzak-Wegner  level 1 2014, level 2 2015
– Total Immersion Swimming Certified Coach, Level One, 2011 – 2020
– USA Swimming Coach #041282KYMJZEST , 2015 – 2018
– USA Track and Field Level One and Two Coach Certificate #L1-03-2222 Level two coach certificate #L2-06-2-118, 2002 – 2007
– Bachelor of arts in psychology Concordia University, St. Paul, MN May 2003

Professional Experience

– Coach for the YWCA Minneapolis Otters Swim Team (private lessons, masters group, youth strength training) 2010 to 2020
– Total Immersion Swimming Certified Coach, Level One, 2011 – 2020
– Coach for Vertical Endeavors climb team and club September 2019 – March 2020
– Endurance Sports Coach and Personal Trainer for the YWCA of Minneapolis 2010- 2017
– Yoga Teacher (YWCA classes and private) 2014 –2017
– Assistant Race Director – Training Coordinator for the YWCA Women’s Triathlon  2014-2017
– Founder and Head Coach of Bumble Beez Athletics for youth 9-14 2002 to 2008

Personal Experience Highlights

– 40 hours of birth labor in December 2021
– Self supported trail marathon while six weeks pregnant May 2021
– Personal Urban Ultra Challenge 45.39 miles in 14:19 November 2020
– Rib Mt. Adventure Race – 8 hour.  2017, 2018, and 2019 as team Velocikitty Snuggles.
– IronMan Triathlon 140.6mi North Carolina Beach2Battleship 2015 finish time 13:33:13
– SuperiorMan Triathlon 70.3mi Duluth MN 2013 finish time 6:08
– Canoe Expedition Voyageurs Nat’l Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: 19 days 246.5 miles 2012
– Winter Wilderness Camping: 20+ days in Porcupine Mountains, Voyageurs Nat’l Park, and BWCAW 2010-present
– Bike Commuting year round in Minnesota since 2009
– National Outdoor Leadership School Alaska Sea Kayaking 13 days 2006
– Concordia University St. Paul Cross Country and Track 2000 – 2001 
– State Championship participation in CC 1997 – 1999 
– State Championship participation in swimming 1996 and 1997
– Competing in triathlons since 1997