KIM COCCE

She Lifts Olympic Weights, Medical Texts, and Everyone's Spirits

Kim is a dedicated MD/PhD candidate at Duke...a serious CrossFitter who’s competed at Regionals…and she also lives with Crohn’s disease, a chronic disorder that causes debilitating flare-ups of abdominal pain. But for Kim, it doesn’t get in the way of fearless living:

“My Crohn’s symptoms started when I was 12. I remember having severe stomach pains that meant many trips to the ER. My parents helped me prevent flare-ups by being careful about what I ate. Stress sets off the symptoms, so not surprisingly going away to college was a stressor. When I started doing overnight rotations in med school, the stress set off a huge flare-up. I saw a new doctor, was correctly diagnosed, and started focusing on eating a clean, healthy diet and medical treatment. But what I really want you to know about my Crohn’s is this: in no way does it limit me. I’ve never let it take over.”

“I’m a very goal oriented person. I would say one of the biggest, but also most rewarding challenges I’ve faced so far in life has been my PhD work. The expanse of what you can choose to explore is so vast, it’s intimidating. There’s no clear-cut path. In general, science involves a lot of trial and error. You often don’t even know if you’re asking the right questions. You may go down a path and find it to be fruitless. This means you have to be comfortable with failure. I’ve learned over the years though that this is part of the joy of research. It’s been a challenge to learn to adapt, but I’m certain I will be a better doctor and person for it!”


“I wake up each day and make the active choice to focus on the positives.”


“People often ask me what keeps me going. ‘Positive reinforcement’ is the approach I take with everyone. For myself, I wake up each day and make the active choice to focus on the positives. For my CrossFit students, I highlight the incremental achievements they’re enjoying and point out areas for improvement. In medicine, I look forward to practicing as a physician with a focus on patient education and preventive care, to help people to maintain their health and wellness. Empowering people to live their best lives is a common feature of everything I do.”

“CrossFit is my exercise of choice, because it’s a mental philosophy as well as the physical challenge. It incorporates Olympic weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, powerlifting, and gymnastics. It’s funny: people come into a CrossFit gym for the first time and they’ll ask, ‘Where are the machines?’ We’re the machines. The human body is an amazing machine.”


Kim lifting weights

Kim’s CrossFit routine incorporates Olympic weightlifting, high-intensity interval training, powerlifting, and gymnastics.


Kim’s CrossFit life is fearless! Recently she was the sole competitor representing North Carolina in the Southeast Regionals. Watch video of Kim participating in a CrossFit Open.

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