Coach Karina

Every month we feature one of our amazing clients and this month, we wanted to highlight one of our amazing coaches, Karina. Even if you know her story, through the LoCoFit Show Podcast or Instagram, this article is worth a read.

Karina has transformed in every area over the years by overcoming the same obstacles many of us have faced: extreme dieting, binging, and weight struggles. Now she is on the other side and here is her story.

What has been your experience with nutrition? Have you always “had it together”? 

I went on my first diet when I was 12. In middle school I struggled with being bigger than all of my friends and started to feel self conscious about my weight at an early age. I started with cutting out entire food groups, and doing really neurotic/compensatory things like always doing 25 sit ups as soon as I ate something like a cookie. I got a handle on eating healthy after a while, but when I started my bodybuilding journey at the end of high school, I had an old school ‘bro mentality’ bodybuilding coach who put me on a strict cookie cutter meal plan. I went from 136 to 98 lbs in 4 months and it really changed my relationship with food forever.

After competing in my first show, I struggled with uncontrollable binge eating, all day, every day. It impacted every aspect of my life. My relationships, my social life, my school life, my work life. It was a nightmare. Luckily, I found a coach who then taught me how to diet flexibly which helped for a while but I still struggled with binge eating 1-2 times a week for about 3 years. I have gone through seasons of orthorexia and bulimia up until about 6 years after that first traumatizing diet. It wasn’t until I started appreciating the biochemical effects of food and how powerful it can be that my relationship with food changed.

Also, with finally taking a break from tracking for 7 years, I  moved towards more habit based tracking. Tracking macros really helped me to find balance in the season when I decided to stop tracking. But the aggressive strict meal plan diet that rapidly changed my body and created an all or nothing mindset really threw me for a spin.

Tell us about your training history? What got you into fitness and strength training? 

I grew up playing soccer since I was 7. I played competitively up until college, and decided not to play college soccer once I discovered and fell in love with bodybuilding. Throughout my teenage years, I did a lot of running because of track and cross country as well.

I did not start serious resistance training until I was 17, but started lifting weights during “free day” in middle school PE and just did leg extensions and hamstring curls every week so I could stop getting pushed around on the soccer field. So my lower body is a bit ‘older’ in training age than my upper body. Once I started bodybuilding at 17, I competed at 18, and caught that ‘bug’ for about 5 years.

After bodybuilding, I dabbled a bit in powerlifting which was fun and a nice change in focus from aesthetics. I went back to the bodybuilding stage to compete one last time in 2019. At the tail end of that diet, I came across the CrossFit documentaries on Netflix and fell in love. I knew that after competing in my last show CrossFit is what I wanted to do. So I have been working on being a better CrossFit athlete for about the last 2 years!

What has been the biggest challenge for you in your nutrition and training journey? 

The biggest challenge with my nutrition journey was certainly my struggle with binge eating and body image. These two aspects truly impacted my life. I isolated myself which led to depression and self depreciation because of it. I missed out on a lot of memories because of it. If I could, I would go back and tell 12-20 year old Karina that she still deserved to go out with her friends and have fun, even if she didn’t like the way that she looked.

In my training journey, the biggest challenge had been finding something that really fulfilled my need to feel athletic. Bodybuilding was great, but I missed performing on competition day like I did when growing up. I thought powerlifting would be what I needed to fill that need. It did for a little while, but I felt out of shape not being able to tend to my cardio heavy background and base that I built through years of running and soccer. I finally feel like I am “where I belong” in CrossFit, as it fulfills my need for daily competition, play, and learning new skills.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey? 

The most rewarding part has been being able to help others who have been through the same struggles I have. Coming out on the other side, I have been able to encourage people and provide solutions to not being trapped in the depths of their disordered eating behaviors and poor body image perception.

Why have you chosen this field as a career? 

So that no one else has to go through what I went through, and no one else has to miss out on living a fulfilling life because of how they perceive themselves. Our bodies should be the last thing holding us back from living a full life.

What are your current goals? 

My current goal is to become a fitter CrossFit athlete, and make the most of the years I have left for maximal muscle building. No dieting for me, just lifting heavy, training hard, and eating well!

We love you, Karina, and are so grateful to have you on our team! We cannot wait to see you progress through your CrossFit and coaching careers!

 

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