Karen has been a CrossFit athlete for 2+ years and has been a CrossFit strength and conditioning coach for 1+ years. In addition to coaching and training, Karen is a parent and administration manager in several businesses.
Karen’s coaching embodies the traits we encourage and try to build at the Movement Lab: caring, growth inspiring, knowledgeable, fun, and effective.
The progress Karen has made as an incredible, consistent, and technically excellent athlete has translated directly to her ability and qualities as a coach. In her consistent effort to grow and learn she has built (and continues to build) amazing communication skills, a caring and understanding heart, and the ability to encourage people while also giving them permission to have fun.
I was there. Sitting on the outside, looking in. Wondering, “What if? Am I good enough? How could I possibly keep up with that?” Remembering my younger, fitter, volleyball and gymnastics years, and wondering if I could ever regain that feeling of accomplishment, self-worth and confidence that comes with being active, healthy and fit.
But, I tried. On occasion, I suited up and made my way to the Y. Did an aerobics class. Walked on the treadmill. Sweated it out on the elliptical. But, things regularly got in the way: kids and their activities/illnesses, volunteer work, work at home, work-work, a house fire, my Dad’s death, feeling tired because my husband was out of town for days on end, feeling sorry for myself, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s calling my name. I had never been overweight and out of shape in my life, but by that point, I was 30 pounds heavier than I had ever been, and not exercising regularly enough for it to have any sort of positive impact on my fitness level.
It wasn’t until my kids were well into their school years, and I had made my way through several career changes, that I realized I had too many external motivators that were preventing me from eating well and exercising regularly. I needed to find room to add some external motivators to help me eat well and exercise regularly. So, I joined Weight Watchers, and hired a personal trainer. 30 pounds and many workouts later, I found a renewed confidence and enthusiasm for being at the gym.
At this point, a long-time friend asked me out for coffee, with the intent of presenting an idea she was rolling around in her head. She told me she was going through a mid-life crisis, and asked me if I wanted to go along. Her mid-life crisis, as it turned out, had nothing to do with tattoos, or piercings, or fast cars, or torrid affairs (how boring – insert eye-roll here), and everything to do with bodybuilding. Now I was paying attention! Bodybuilding was a sport I was interested in since I was in high school, but never pursued, partly because of, “what would people think,” and partly because I thought you had to be a steroid-using meathead. Turns out, I was past the “what would people think” bit, and I could make a go of it without using steroids. So, between April 2013 and July 2014, I jumped in with both feet, and stepped on stage as a Masters Figure Competitor in three different competitions.
I accomplished what I set out to do, learning a lot about training, nutrition, mental preparation, sleep, and trusting in a process. I learned that I needed the pendulum to swing from the extreme of not exercising and not eating healthy, to the other extreme of training excessively on limited calories, in order to come back to a happy medium where I train for enjoyment, and fuel my body for the purposes of that training. Finally, I learned to dare greatly, to get in the arena and try, to believe in myself, to take care of myself so I can care for others, and that the person I thought I was is no match for the person I really am.
Cue January, 2015, and I found myself looking for a new adventure with respect to eating and training. With a little encouragement from the owner of a local CrossFit gym, and a Fundamentals course under my belt, I quickly became hooked on CrossFit! Even earning my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certificate in December, 2015!
Every day has been a gift. I have felt humbled, astonished, proud, motivated, and I continue to learn things about myself. I am surrounded by a community of people who don’t belittle anyone’s ambitions, regardless of what those ambitions are. As a CrossFit Trainer and Nutrition Consultant, I am proud to be able to use the journey that I have been on over the last several years to work with athletes of all sizes and abilities, encouraging them to be a better version of the person they were yesterday. Feel better, move better, breathe better, work better, live better. I want to inspire others to experience feelings of accomplishment, self-worth and confidence.