Personal Trainer


As the fitness specialist at The Lake Merritt, Kai Thomas conducts classes two times per week for our residents. With humor and informality, his goal is to cultivate balance, increase energy and build the strength of the members of our community through a variety of movements that can be done in a chair or standing.

"We do things gradually,” Kai said. “Health and wellness is a combination of movement and stillness. The body needs to move, and exercise is so important,” he explained.

Kai uses a creative combination of Eastern and Western perspectives in his approach. Residents find that they are learning aspects of Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Pilates and, at the same time, are building aerobic fitness, core strength, and flexibility. Additionally, the classes feature balance exercises that can increase one’s range of motion and overall stamina.

“My ultimate goal is to give the residents a sense of well-being so they can go through their day with confidence. We work on the fundamentals of how to stand, sit and step correctly and how to shift our weight well. All of the work we do in class can help lead to life extension, better pain management and more restful sleep,” Kai continued.

"During our meetings I like to use a lot of humor and make the class very informal. I get the group laughing and moving. A phrase I like to use often is ‘motion is lotion.’ If everyone could move the way our residents do in class, I feel their bodily health would improve. I encourage the residents to practice some of the movements they learn in class on their own.”

Our residents are engaged!

“I feel like I'm walking better and holding myself better because of the class. It doesn't feel like I'm doing a lot, but we are...”

“Kai is just so knowledgeable. He explains what we're doing and why we're doing it. It's very helpful. It feels like we're getting better and better at it … I can feel the difference in my body."

Kai Thomas holds a certificate from the American Senior Fitness Association. He is skilled in a variety of Qi Gong techniques and has a background in martial arts. Kai has worked in hospital rehabilitation units and as a consultant to those with Parkinson's, spinal, hip, movement disorders and other injuries.