RF Featured Member - Karina

RF Featured Member - Karina

Karina is one of the hardest working people in the gym that I know. Her commitment and ability to show up and put out is hands down the biggest factor in her success. I love working with people who are coachable, take feedback and apply it, and stay positive. Karina executes all these on the daily. She's also quick to lend a hand to others around her and that's a testament to her character and nature. Thanks for being part of the the RF community Karina!

- Jesus Acuna

If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?

Thank you! Jesus has helped me in more ways than just my fitness. He has helped me to change my entire thought process around not only fitness and nutrition but my self-esteem and what being strong means. He has helped me learn ways to reduce my anxiety, to improve my lifting techniques, and he is always willing to talk and troubleshoot if something is not working. This is a coach who genuinely cares about his members and invests in our lives because he wants us all to succeed. I’ve worked with various coaches and trainers over the years, and most of them have been great, but Jesus has a coaching style that encompasses both the mental and physical aspects of fitness and makes me want to learn more about myself and become stronger.

Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m originally from Nogales, AZ but my family moved to Tucson when I was around 10 and I’ve been here ever since. I’m a recent physical therapist assistant graduate and I love working with my patients and educating them on how to find movement patterns that work for them. I’m not a parent but I have three pre-teen/teen nephews who keep me on my toes (and regularly remind me that I’m getting old). In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends and family, reading, writing short stories, watching movies/TV, running, swimming, and having a local beer from time to time. 

What was the moment that made you decide to join Resilient Fitness?

I had just graduated and I had gained about 30lbs from my time in school. I was frustrated and my self-esteem had taken a big hit. I had worked with Jesus when he was at Tucson Strength and I really liked his coaching style, so when I saw he had opened his own gym, I asked to meet with him to check it out. The passion he had when he spoke of what his vision was for his members and the gym made me feel invigorated and motivated, so I asked to join at the end of that first visit and the rest is history! 

What is your fitness/nutrition experience prior to RF? 

I have gone up and down with my weight for years, so prior to RF I had some knowledge of fitness and nutrition. In my early 20s, I lost 90lbs being on Weight Watchers. Unfortunately, at the time I wasn’t interested in being healthy or strong, just skinny. I didn’t learn any sustainable techniques so after a couple of years, the weight piled back on. I’ve always loved the challenge of fitness and didn’t struggle very much with that but I definitely struggled with my nutrition. There’s so much information out there, I’d get wrapped up in a new diet or information that just wasn’t very reliable and none of it was sustainable in the long run.

What were your fitness habits like before joining RF? Were you already active? Were you new to fitness?

Prior to joining RF, I was active. I enjoyed (and still enjoy!) lifting and running and had even participated in a running group that led me through two half-marathons. I went back to school in March 2018 and because my program was 20 months of year-round intensive studying, anything that wasn’t school took a back seat, including my activity level. When school was over, I suddenly found that my activity level was practically zero and I was embarrassed to have to start all over again. 

Why do you think RF worked so well for you compared to other programs and/or diets?

I think RF has worked so well for me because it isn’t a diet. Jesus and his nutrition program have introduced me to a completely new way to think about how I’m eating, when I’m eating, why I’m choosing the foods I’m eating, and learning my eating patterns. After working with Jesus, I’m recognizing when I’m eating because I’m hungry versus when I’m eating because I’m bored, anxious, depressed, etc. He’s taught me how to recognize my body’s signals. Jesus also simplified nutrition for me. We started with a daily calorie goal and he helped me make a list of foods I liked that would fit in with those calories. He’s introduced me to a way to lose weight and make better food choices that I can incorporate into my life forever. He was never restrictive, we just labeled foods as “all the time, sometimes, and rarely” foods. I still have that pizza when I crave it, I just look at it as more of an occasional treat than a weeknight staple. As I lose more weight, Jesus told me we can start talking about more complex things like macros and when to eat certain things, but the simplicity of it to start really made it feel attainable. 

What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with RF?

The biggest challenge I faced was within myself. I was embarrassed at my heavier weight and because I couldn’t finish a single workout without modifying most of it or stopping a lot to catch my breath. While everyone else was humming along, I’d be trying to hide how much I was sweating or huffing and puffing. I was embarrassed and nervous that Jesus and the other members would say something or be mean about it. The only thing anyone ever said to me in regards to that was, “Great job!” at the end of the workout. Nobody did or has ever made me feel less than for needing to modify or rest when I need to. Jesus and every other member I’ve interacted with have always been supportive, encouraging, and friendly. It’s this incredible environment where everyone wants everyone else to succeed. 

What has been your biggest success while attending RF?

I have lost the 30lbs I gained while in school! I haven’t had that big of a weight loss in quite some time, so my overall weight loss goals seem attainable now. I actually believe I can do it because now I have the tools I need to help me!


What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with RF?

I am able to do so much more now without needing to take a break. I can lift more weight and complete more reps than I was able to just a couple of months ago. It’s such an amazing feeling to actually start to see and feel improvement!

I’m much more confident in myself and my body. I still have a ways to go with my weight loss, but I’m learning to love myself and my body for the things I can do right now. 

I have made some really supportive friends through RF! Because it’s such a close community, everyone is positive, encouraging, and they push me to work harder. 

How has your life improved thanks to your time with RF?

I feel stronger both mentally and physically. I feel like I have a community and a coach that care about my success. I’m finally developing a healthy relationship with food and learning how to use exercise as an outlet for other emotions. There is so much going on that is uncontrollable right now in our world, so knowing I have RF and Coach Jesus as a consistent presence so I can focus on keeping myself healthy is priceless.

What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of RF to help them see success early on?

Come as you are! I was so self-conscious to start at RF but ultimately it was unwarranted. Jesus took me at my then fitness level and we were able to modify whatever move I needed so I wouldn’t be left out. I always felt like I was part of the group because of that. 

Have an open mindset. There were some things that Jesus and I talked about that, honestly, seemed kind of corny when he first brought them up. But when I actually gave them a try, they turned out to be game-changers! I had been trying to hit certain weights or movements for years but would always end up with pain or injuries. Jesus has helped me hit those same goals with just a few technique tweaks!

Be friendly. I get social anxiety, especially when I’m in a new environment with people I don’t know, but most members would introduce themselves to me and say hello before I even sat down to start warming up. We’re all there to improve ourselves and having the gym community is really helpful on those days you just don’t feel motivated or are dragging your feet.

If someone is thinking about joining RF, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

It’s okay to be afraid of starting. I was afraid that I’d lost too much of my previous fitness level, that I gained too much weight, or that Jesus would judge me for either. I still went in for that first meeting and then later to my first class in spite of all those fears. I came with my fear but left with a sense of purpose. Everyone has to start somewhere and no one will judge you for your starting point because we’ve all been there. It’s okay if you’re scared to start but come and start anyway!

Interested in getting results like Karina? Contact us today to schedule a quick call to see if you're a good fit for our coaching programs. Email me at jesus@resilientfitnesstucson.com

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