Kieba (American Indian for “Sunrise”) has challenged herself to the highest standards of health and fitness her entire life. In fact, at one point she set the bar so high she nearly died. Growing up in a typical, Midwestern Indiana home Kieba learned – as we all do – standards for health and nutrition from her parents. In the 60’s and 70’s, the typical American diet was fairly predictable: spaghetti, hamburger, lots of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans out of a can and as much bread and Jell-o that you wanted. The fast food industry was also roaring into prominence as well, so McDonald’s Burger King and Baskin Robbins were regular treats for the family night out. But another trend picking up steam in the marketplace at the time was a focus on health and fitness. Jogging, aerobic dance classes and yoga were becoming new trends; as well as a luxurious day or weekend of pampering at a spa retreat was a sign of new consciousness. Kieba’s Mom dared to tap this new thinking and, after a few spa visits of her own, brought some interesting habits home to the family: fresh juice replaced soda, white sugar was all at once a no-no and a wheat bin in the garage storing freshly ground flour became the new norms.
Already established as a young athlete, Kieba’s path to wellness – and a lasting appreciation for healthy eating – was now embedded. Her young adult years were very busy. Completing a degree and advanced studies at Purdue in Child Development and Family Sciences, while raising a daughter as a single Mom, Keiba conditioned the tenacious work ethic she still exhibits still today. Along the way she continued to learn more about nutrition, explored a passion for teaching Autistic and physically challenged youngsters and, not incidentally, fell in love with exercise as a lifestyle.
In 1990, yearning to discover new horizons, she packed up her daughter and her ambition and traded Midwestern roots for sun and an even more active lifestyle in California. Diving deeper into her passion for fitness, Kieba gravitated toward body building. She eagerly absorbed all the knowledge available from those around her and fully adopted exceptionally strict standards for pure clean, nutrition as well as advanced physical training principles. Applying all this to rigorous personal discipline she transformed her body to a world-class standard. Establishing herself as a highly sought-after personal trainer she not only trained others to discover ultimate fitness, she achieved envious accolades by winning the Miss Natural California Body Building competition and placing second Nationally. But sometimes pursuit of excellence has a boundary. Years of placing rarely-attained physical stress on her body while following an obsessive raw vegan diet began to take a toll. Suddenly, standing at 5’3” and weighing a mere 87 pounds she found herself at a dangerously low body fat percentage of 3 ½ % – and very sick. As it turned out she had fallen into a disorder called Orthorexia; a result of consuming only very lean, raw foods while also cutting out too many equally healthy foods including essential proteins and fats, critical for life-support of internal organs and metabolic systems. Seeking all alternatives she could find to literally save her life, Kieba discovered Primal eating; a diet consisting of the familiar raw food combinations she was accustomed to, but adding raw meat, nutritious fruits and vegetables and healthy fats from many other sources. The result: new health, a new energy and a new-found passion.
Now motivated to disciple her new discoveries, Kieba went on a quest in 2004 to find the ultimate environment to live, work and play – and she found that perfect place in a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path patch of paradise on the island of Hawaii. Spending 3 ½ years of tender care and diligent work, Kieba built a rustic, welcoming and fully-equipped Camp and Retreat that serenely beckons others to join her in discovering an ultimate lifestyle. She anointed her respite as “The Body Temple Boot Camp” and subsequently attracted campers with diverse backgrounds and goals – guiding each through their own, customized metamorphosis that includes new awareness and lasting knowledge in nutritious and balanced eating, rigorous but transformational physical exercise, and reconnection with powerful life-force of inner peace.
In 2010, Kieba and Steve met and enthusiastically agreed to combine visions for introducing all-comers to a new lifestyle and healthy longevity. They renamed their retreat “Base Camp” and began incorporating new elements including an emphasis on functional fitness, rebooting mindset and goals, and providing programs for ongoing support and integration of new habits once a camper “graduates” and goes home. Kieba’s unique and holistic approach has been featured on BBC, the Discovery Channel, numerous articles and interviews and a prominent presence in the growing raw food community nationwide. Now, in her 50’s, she continues to represent an impressive example for what is possible by defying the typical effects of aging and retaining her own world-class physique, a wonderfully contagious spirit of gratitude and a tenacious encouragement for all who allow her to touch them with her innovative definition of healthy living for the whole of life.
As with most whose lives have eclipsed a half century or more, Steve’s journey of mistakes and victories, pursuits and passions, twists and turns have started to make sense as preparation for what is now unfolding as an exciting chapter for life ahead.
The summary for those wanting the bottom line: Steve has coached aspiring Olympic athletes, start-up entrepreneurs, seasoned business leaders and ambitious high climbing individuals for over 25 years. Most often his clients proudly report lifetime best achievements including setting personal records, launching latent ambitions, and making millions while attaining – or retaining – balance in all areas of life.
Along the way he appreciatively gained deep insight on success and achievement through this work; as well as inspiring others to follow his insatiable quest to take on new personal challenges. But the whole story starts with a wobbly entry into the world as he suffered from severe asthma and deathly allergies to most every food. Though his Mom had been told he would likely not live past 8 years with such physical limitations, she carefully crafted special diets and protectively contained his physical activity – always determined to see another day and in spite of routine trips to the hospital and continuous sequence of various, often life-threatening illnesses.
After a fortunate move to a neighborhood with a swimming pool, and a very patient swim teacher who introduced Steve to a new world of exercise and competition, doctors were fooled… and an athlete was born. Inspired by success in sports, Steve graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He then launched his first career as a professional swimming coach and built “feeder” programs for aspiring national level and Olympic Trial qualifying swimmers in Colorado, Oklahoma, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas. This experience taught him much about human performance, psychology and motivation – yet offered limited financial reward.
In an entrepreneurial reflex, Steve noticed at the time a moment in the economy where fresh, new master planned communities were competing to attract residents. Responding, Steve started – with less than $200 – a business developing family sports and community recreation programs and events. The business grew to a multimillion-dollar enterprise in only 2 years and at its peak simultaneously managed over 100 commercial recreation facilities and employed over 300 people. Serving him well were the team building skills, organization development insights and coaching techniques learned on the pool deck. Unanticipated though was the “real-world MBA” he earned. His success was soon recognized in the local business community as other entrepreneurs began to request Steve’s insight on business building strategies.
A segue to a new career followed. Noticing a need for innovative thinking to help other entrepreneurs grow their businesses, Steve began to market services as a “Business Development Coach” while continuing to evolve his goal-focused approach – practiced in his days on the pool deck – in supporting others to achieve their highest aspirations. Soon the concept attracted Small Business Leaders, Sales Superstars (or wannabes) and Entrepreneurs from a wide variety of marketplace segments, business models, sizes of business and stages of growth. Through the process, Steve honed an array of essential “achievement principles” that have positively influenced success for virtually every client. Included among these key principles is an emphasis on vigorously pursuing physical health and vitality – and mindset skills that challenge self-imposed limits and train a purpose-driven intent for every worthwhile pursuit.
Meanwhile, Steve has intently practiced what he preaches. Far from the “sickly kid” that was once bridled to a croup tent he has acted on and said “yes” to frequent invitations and challenges to test his physical limits while, not incidentally, giving purpose to a maintain an exemplary healthy lifestyle. Among his more celebrated pursuits:
- A bicycle trek from Colorado to Canada and back – over 2300 miles – on a beer bet
- An over 12 hour continuous swim challenge to raise money for Make a Wish
- Numerous triathlons (well before required bicycle helmets and state of the art gear)
- Five “Hotter N Hell Hundred” – 100 mile bike races in 100 degree heat in under 5 hours
- An International Canoe race across country of Belize – 175 miles over 4 days
- Numerous national Top Ten rankings in Master’s swimming
- Multiple Regional records in Master’s swim competition
- Successful completion of the 265 mile Texas Water Safari canoe race – anointed as the world’s toughest boat race – completing in 90 hours with only 5 hours’ sleep
- Successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro – the world’s highest free-standing mountain – to raise money for clean water
- Successful accent and decent of Pikes Peak in one day
- An amazing 10 day, 75 mile backpack trip with his 15 year old son in the New Mexico mountains
- Participation in ocean open-water swim races – most recently placing 3rd and inspiring the next planned adventure…a channel swim between two Hawaiian Islands
Acknowledged for truly being on the leading edge of the development of personal development coaching as a profession, Steve’s philosophies have helped shape other professional coaches and coach teams, but more importantly the success trajectory of the hundreds of clients he has served. With this experience, his most recent ambition for sharing his expertise is being manifested in a personal and professional development destination retreat called Base Camp Hawaii being constructed with his mate and partner Kieba. The Camp serves visitors as well as virtual participants in defining and attaining new standards for optimum health and a winning mindset. Women, men, couples, aspiring competitive athletes – and even those embracing the second half of life as their “better half” – are now tapping into Kumu Steve’s gifts of instilling confidence, belief and new possibility. [Kumu is the Hawaiian moniker given an experienced coach, mentor, teacher and trusted friend.]