Q&A: Personal Trainer, Karen From Kama Fitness

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I have a really cool Q&A for you guys today! It’s with Karen from Kama Fitness! Yup, a personal trainer at our disposal! Well, not exactly…

I asked her what I wanted to know, but if you want more insider info, head to Kama Fitness and ask the trainer!

Not only does she post recipes and super cool info, she also posts quick, rad, ass kicking workouts! I posted about one last week… Remember?

Enjoy!

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// & she doesn’t even do cardio – keep reading //

Please tell everyone a bit about yourself.

Hello readers of The Healthy Collective!! I’m Karen and I blog over at Kama Fitness when I’m not kicking my own butt in the gym or kicking someone else’s. ;) Just kidding, kind of.

I am currently a full time Office Manager, part time Personal Trainer and a part time Fitness Blogger. Life is busy but there’s never time to skip out on health! My theory, keep fit while having fun! I love to go camping, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming……oohhhh & I’m such a beach babe. Get me there, and you’ll have a hard time taking me home! Especially if you’ve added a few beers in your cooler!

What’s your favourite thing about being a personal trainer?

Mmmm… I love everything about being a trainer, it’s hard to pick ONE favourite, but I’m going to go with the fact that I have an impact to help change lives. Past clients of mine have overcome some amazing challenges to get to their fitness goals and when a client is happy, I’m happy. It is truly an amazing feeling seeing someone change so much to better their lifestyles and health, and knowing you played a huge part in their lifestyle change.

What got you into exercise and a healthy lifestyle? Has it always been a part of you?

If growing up on frozen pizza pops and mini pizzas are healthy, then yes I’ve always been healthy. Lolz! No but for real, as a teenager, I was a teenager. I didn’t care about what I ate – ok scratch that, It is not that I didn’t care – I was just plain clueless. Back then nobody cared about calories. I don’t think I even knew what a calorie was until high school. It was different, food was different. Today’s world is all about fillers, processed, fast foods but growing up in the 90’s was still about nice home cooked meals. After high school when I met my (now) fiancé, together we took the road of healthy living. We purchased exercise equipment to use at home and did really well with exercising, but it still took about a year or so for us to really change our eating. In the beginning it was all about portion control, and then it slowly changed into healthier eating. You just have to take a step back to look at your lifestyle. Make small changes in the beginning because they are much easier to stick to.

What is the coolest thing you learned when you were studying to become a trainer, that will always stick with you?

Definitely would have to say how the muscles actually work and move. Before officially becoming a trainer, I knew a lot about muscles and how to work them using weights, but I didn’t know a lot about how they work. Just knowing how to properly put together a workout program for someone is really awesome. There is a lot of time and work that goes behind defining a proper program, and I’m happy I can develop a program that targets my client’s fitness goals. It’s the coolest thing to watch somebody change over time and just be so much happier with themselves & knowing that your program is what got them there.

What is a common workout misconception/myth that needs to be debunked?

That doing crunches will give you abs!! No way!! Can we just debunk this now?! crunches will never give you abs – technically you already have them – there’s just a layer of fat covering those abdominals! I’m sure you’ve heard of the most popular fitness quote ever; “ABS are made in the KITCHEN” Well, believe it because it is true. If you are looking for abs, a clean eating diet will get you there, an endless amount of ab crunches will not. You need to eliminate the layer of fat on top of those abs and a healthy diet full of rich, whole foods is what your body needs in order to do so. Not sure of clean eating? Check out my post here. It gives great tips on what types of foods are clean eating foods and how to live a clean eating lifestyle!

You’re getting married in Cuba soon! Congrats! Have you made any changes in your diet or exercise to get you ready for the big day?

Thanks Hilary!! I’m super excited!! In the beginning, about six months ago I did write out a routine that I was going to follow for myself for 6 months leading up to the wedding. I guess you can say it was strict & there was a ton of cardio involved which I really dislike. I couldn’t get into the routine and after 2 months or so; I still hadn’t done any of my cardio, at all! Since, I’ve ditched that whole plan because I felt like it was restricting me too much from the foods I love and causing too much time in the gym. It’s a wedding, not a fitness competition.

Now that I’m about 4 weeks out from the wedding I’m not making any plans to change anything diet related or in my workouts. I’m sticking to good ol’ clean eating and exercise for my beach wedding body.

What is your absolute, all-time favourite exercise or workout move?

Straight Leg Deadlift.

This exercise blows any other exercise out of the water for me! I love it. The stiff legged deadlift targets your erector spinae (lower back) but also causes other muscles to work as synergists such as; glutes, hamstrings and adductors (inner thighs) and uses upper, middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids and lats as stabilizers. It can be done with barbell, dumbbells, one leg, kettlebell, med ball, and bodyweight – whatever it’s versatile. Love.

If we stole your iPod, what music would we find on your workout playlist? 

Oohhh you’ll be finding songs of all kinds; pop, hip hop, dance, house, r&b, raggae, latin & salsa music, everything by Lorde {<<obsessed with her} a ton of spanish music and a whole lot of rap!

What’s your favourite superfood and how do you incorporate it in your diet?

Mmmmmm Hil, you’ve stumped me! I love so many superfoods, how can I narrow it down to just one? My absolute top superfoods are: apples, bananas, avocados, almonds, beets, berries, peppers, garlic, fish, quinoa, spinach & broccoli. These are all absolute staples in my diet.

Do you have any small lifestyle, diet and/or exercise changes that can make a big difference for people wanting to shed a couple pounds?

I have two; for people of different sizes…

If you’re larger framed looking to shed a few quick pounds (and keep them off of course!) cut your high glycemic carbs totally. Drop those carbs and get on the low GI boat. Drink a ton of water {2 – 3 liters daily – depending on your size} and do at least 30 minutes of cardio per day. Cardio works best when you’re just beginning to change your lifestyle. You’ll notice you will easily drop weight in the beginning, after 6 weeks of cardio, (again, depending on your size you may need up to 10 weeks?) drop the cardio and lift heavy weights while including HIIT & Tabata in your workouts to replace cardio.

If you’re smaller framed looking to shed a few quick pounds I’ve got news for you. It’s HARD. It is so much harder to lose weight when your body doesn’t have much to lose. If you’re looking to shed a few when you really don’t have a ton to lose you need to eat clean 100%. Like above, drink a ton of water but when looking to lean, you can’t be cheating on your diet.

I already know you live by the 80/20 rule; so what’s your favourite way to spend that 20%?! Wine? Cocktails? Pizza? Burger?

My favourite way to enjoy my 20% is definitely with carbs: pizza, garlic bread, taquitos, mozzarella sticks all in one sitting! lolz I’m kidding. But really, all of those foods are well enjoyed during a cheat meal. Pizza is my absolute favorite food, I’m obsessed! I could eat it every single day, no lie. & cheese, cheese on everything, I love cheese.

What is your advice for people wanting to start a new exercise program, if they never have before?

Do Your Research.

Hire a personal trainer, a good one, that is actually qualified and knows their stuff! There are tons of pt’s out there that truthfully aren’t as qualified as others. Do your research to find the best possible match of trainer for your fitness goals. Don’t want to spend the money on pt’s? Well then, you should still be researching. Find out how to properly perform exercises and how to correctly set up a workout program for yourself. There’s no point to showing up at the gym when you don’t know how to use the equipment. You’ll only frustrate yourself and in the end you won’t want to return to the gym. Same thing goes when working out at home. If you don’t understand how or even why you’re doing the exercise it will only cause you to lose motivation. Research is everything.

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I loooooooooove getting the goods from the pros!

A little part of me is sad that the myth Karen wanted debunked wasn’t “I don’t care what anyone says: abs are NOT in the kitchen”. :( Is it so crazy that I’d rather do 1000 ab moves than give up bread & crackers?

Thanks so much to Karen for taking the time to answer these questions! She gave us some amazing advice & info.

Seriously? Fitness advice for different sized people? Now that’s a girl who cares about you feeling & being amazing!

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Insty!

Who else is gonna do some straight legged deadlifts tomorrow?

{ For more Q&A sessions click here & here }

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