Kari Pearce is a professional athlete and personal trainer. Kari is a six times CrossFit Games athlete and holds over 18 years of experience as an elite gymnast. She is 2020 Fittest Woman in the United States. She also stood 2nd in Cross Fit games in USA in 2019 and third in 2017.
Women Fitness President Ms. Namita Nayyar catches up Kari Pearce an exceptionally talented CrossFit Games athlete and winner of 2020 Fittest Woman in the United States, here she talks about her fitness routine, her diet, her hair care, skin care and her success story.
You were born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and later moved to New York City. You began your athletic career as a gymnast at the age of three and did it for eighteen years. You were on the Varsity Gymnastics team at the University of Michigan where your team won 4 Big Ten Championships. You earned your degree in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology. You later started competing as a CrossFit athlete and excelled. This propelled your CrossFit athlete career to the height where you have been at the top of the world at CrossFit Games. Tell us more about your journey of hard work, tenacity, and endurance?
Wow that is a great summary! It has been quite the journey but I could not have asked for a better one if I tried. Obviously I have my parents to thank for putting me in gymnastics at such a young age. They also tried to put me in other sports but I just kept wanting to go to gymnastics. I loved it and did it for 18 years, finishing at the University of Michigan as you mentioned.
From 8 years old, I told my parents, that was my goal and where I wanted to go to school. When I set my mind to something, I do everything I can to make it reality. This was true for gymnastics and then again for CrossFit. I set my eyes on the podium at the CrossFit Games and achieved that goal in 2020. It was filled with many hours of grinding when nobody was watching, but as I look back on it, I am so proud of what I was able to do and wouldn’t change it for the world.
You are a six times CrossFit Games athlete and four-time Fittest American Female. Elaborate more about this amazing and inspiring journey of competing as a CrossFit athlete?
You are right that it was an amazing journey. If you would have told me all of my accomplishments when I started CrossFit, I definitely would have laughed and not believed you. The first year I went to the CrossFit Games (2015), I felt like I did not belong. I saw all of these incredible athletes that I was watching on ESPN the year prior. I finished 21st that year out of 40 athletes. Most people would say the 21st fittest woman in the world is amazing but I looked at it as the bottom half which motivated me to attack the next year of training.
In 2016, I finished in 5th place in the world, won the most improved award, and was the Fittest Woman in America! After this, I was addicted to the sport and wanted to see how good I could get. I set my eyes on the podium. It took a little longer than I had planned because I got 10th in 2017, 6th in 2018, 5th in 2019, and then finally 3rd in 2020! I was the Fittest American Female in my final three years of competition and could not be prouder of that accomplishment since nobody else can say they have done that!
You are a world-leading CrossFit athlete, media personality, personal trainer, influencer, and entrepreneur. How do you manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional lifestyle?
I really enjoy what I do which is why I have been able to do so many different things. Everything came naturally which was also amazing. I feel honored that I have been able to make a positive impact on so many people through my social media outlets. Also I really enjoy staying busy and being involved in so many different things keeps me pushing and enjoying life!
Many people ask me how I do it all, especially when I was a professional athlete and helping run my business. Yes it was crazy but I loved the change of pace from focusing on myself and training to helping other people become better, healthier versions of themselves. The community we have been able to form is so incredible and motivated me to keep coming out with programs that are going to help our members.
What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you may wish to share?
I like including a wide variety of movements in my workout routine. It looks a bit different now than it did when I was competing but I still get after it. Currently most of my training takes place in my garage. I love dumbbell and bodyweight workouts. Though sometimes I throw in other things.
I am currently doing a 100 a day burpee challenge, which I have been doing since December 1st! I am going to see how long I can do it. In addition to that, I like to include squat variations, lunges, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, shoulder presses, chest presses, many different row variations, a wide variety of core exercises, handstand work, and pull ups. A lot of these movements can be found in my PHIIT, PHIIT Strength, SuperPHIIT, any of the PowerAbs programs I have, PowerGlutes, my pull up program, and my handstand program.
I really enjoy doing a mix of strength training to build muscle and HIIT training. I just like the way it makes me feel. Plus there is something about getting your heart rate up and how accomplished you feel afterwards. The gymnast in me loves to include additional ab work, (PowerAbs of course) along with handstands and pull ups!
Do you take a special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Yes I do but it is because I have found foods that I really enjoy and can eat multiple times a day and never gets sick of them. These foods include eggs, stir fry vegetables (I really like the big Costco bag), bell peppers, riced cauliflower, salsa, spinach, chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, salmon, oatmeal (lots and lots of it), all types of berries, sweet potatoes, quinoa, apples, bananas, peanut butter, almond butter, walnuts, and avocado.
There may be some more but that covers most of the foods that I keep in my house. I know many people call me crazy but I am fine with that. My diet definitely focuses on whole, unprocessed foods because that is what makes me feel my best. Plus since I have been incorporating those for a long time, it is also what my body craves now. Do not get me wrong, I still enjoy going out to a nice restaurant (Mexican food is my favorite and I usually get steak fajitas) and enjoying it but try to keep it healthy at home.
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