Kayla Hudson, a 27-year-old physician assistant at the Center for Family Medicine in Sherman, is among the new wave of women who focus on strength training. She opted out of aerobics, sweating to the oldies and wearing leotards. Petite pink dumbbells are not her style, either. She believes in the five components of physical fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body fat composition. And, no, she doesn’t look like an NFL linebacker. A Dallas Cowboy cheerleader? Absolutely.

Besides seeing patients for myriad health issues, Hudson often engages her expertise in counseling patients toward a healthier lifestyle. Her gift of compassionate encouragement enhances the physical example she exhibits.

Olivia Newton-John’s song lyrics “Let’s get physical, physical…” could be Kayla Hudson’s theme song. Not only does she work out at the gym five mornings a week before going to the clinic, she also runs in the evenings and on weekends, rock climbs with her husband Taylor, and plays soccer every chance she can get. Kayla met Taylor at — where else? — the gym.

Clean eating partners with her fitness regimen to keep her lean, toned, and feeling good. Taylor, who also works out at the gym, often grills salmon or chicken, while Kayla roasts asparagus and prepares a quinoa-kale side dish. Motivation is what got Kayla started. Habit is what keeps her going.

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Regular time in the gym is nothing new to this cute little brunette, since she was raised in a family who regularly visited the local gym. Her parents, who live in Decatur, Illinois, still visit the gym regularly and eat a healthy diet. In fact, her 58-year-old dad can still do back flips.

Being a minister, Kayla’s dad, “has a huge heart for mission.” While in junior high school, Kaya accompanied him on mission trips to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. When she was in college at Greenville University in Illinois, she returned to Guatemala as part of her college studies.

It was there that Kayla realized that she wanted to choose a career where she could help people. By majoring in biology and Spanish, she knew she could enter into the medical field and enhance her effectiveness by dealing with language barriers.

Before attending physician assistant school at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, Illinois, Kayla spent a year as an Emergency Medical Technician. Physician assistants are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and to prescribe medication for patients. They work in physician offices, hospitals and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician.

With five doctors, two physician assistants, and three nurse practitioners at the Center for Family Medicine, Kayla is able to gain experience in a variety of health issues. Besides examining rooms, the clinic has a procedural room where minor surgery can be done on moles, skin biopsies, and ingrown toenails.

A compassionate health care provider, Kayla has had to learn to process the sad aspects of tending to patients’ health situations before leaving the clinic each day. This involves giving bad news, helping patients cope with diagnoses, and listening to stories of heartfelt struggles. When Kenny Gallemore, one of Kayla’s patients, told her about his daughter’s death due to domestic violence, Kayla wanted to help him and his wife deal with their loss.

She ran in the 5K Fun Run Memorial for Domestic Violence on November 4, 2017, in memory of Nancy and Kenny Gallemore’s daughter. The proceeds went toward a scholarship, and Hudson won first place in her age group. Mr. and Mrs. Gallemore were pleased that Kayla wanted to help keep their daughter’s memory alive.

Active in her church, Kayla has coached soccer in the Vacation Bible School Mega Sports Camp for the past two years. Growing up, Kayla and her siblings were encouraged to focus on one sport, rather than all that were offered. She and her sister focused on soccer. Kayla’s credentials include being captain of the women’s college soccer team while attending Greenville University. She and her sister played on the same team.