In just one year, this Warrior dropped 30 pounds and four dresses sizes. Even more remarkable, she’s gained strength, willpower and a self-confidence boost that’s totally changed the way she thinks about and lives her life. You have to read Karin’s story to believe it.

OK, can we just say that your before and after photos are totally WOW!?

I got emotional myself looking through those photos! I too was super unhappy prior to taking classes at The Studio (MDR). I actually cried my eyes out right after trying on the dress in my “before” picture. It was a size 12 and wouldn't close in the back. It’s funny, now that I can put on a pair of shorts or size 8 jeans I’m like, “Yea that’s me!” But it wasn’t until I started looking through photos of myself for this newsletter that I truly realized what a difference the workout has made!

Take us back to the beginning. How’d you find us, and what was your first class like?

I actually live down the block from The Studio (MDR) and for maybe a year or so, I was really tempted to check it out. However, it took me a while to finally walk through the door because the workout looked like it was out of my range of capabilities. I thought, “Oh man, everyone in there is already in shape and I wouldn’t be able to keep up.” When I mentioned the studio to a neighbor and suggested we try it out for a week, she ended up going while I was out of town! Then, it was her convincing me to give it a shot. It certainly helped getting that little nudge, but after meeting Dana (my first instructor) and seeing that everyone in class was, like me, essentially looking to be a better them, I found the inner courage to see it through.

In that first class, I totally felt like I was going to fall off the machine! Afterwards, I joked with Dana that I can do lunges and crunches and she laughed and said something like, “Oh, there’s a lot more to this than lunges!” My girlfriend told me to take two Advil before bed and wished me luck trying to sit on the toilet the next morning. She was right! I remember being sore everywhere—I felt muscles I’ve never felt before and didn’t even knew existed. And that’s when I was hooked. I thought, “If I can feel parts of my body I have never felt before, I will be ripped if I stick with this!”

What were your initial goals?

In the past, I was always in shape and an athlete (I was captain of my high school varsity basketball team). I didn’t even know what calories were until after I graduated college! I never needed to work out because I had a super fast metabolism and could eat anything and still look good. But, life happened, I got lazy and went through a very stressful time before moving out here from New York City. When I first started working out at The Studio (MDR), I was in a bad place emotionally and physically. I had stopped taking care of myself and was so weak physically. It was also hard to leave the house because I didn’t have clothes that fit and I really didn’t feel confident. I was up to 180 pounds and a size 14, if not more. (At some point I stopped wearing actual sizes and lived in men’s basketball shorts and big t-shirts—not exactly the SoCal vision I had in mind for myself!) I even remember calling my Mom crying, telling her that I just wanted to shop in the “regular” sized clothes sections of the stores. I knew that at just under 5’11”, a size 8 and about 150 pounds was where I needed to be. So, my goals when I started taking classes included tightening, strengthening, and getting that sick SoCal body you see on so many women here, both young and old! I had simple goals: I wanted to wear a tank top again, show off my long legs, and wear skirts, shorts and dresses without covering all of the yucky parts.

A turning point for me was being asked to be maid of honor at my little cousin’s wedding in Poland. I hadn’t actually seen my cousins in 18 years after spending every summer with them on my Grandma’s farm in Poland. So, as excited as I was to go, I knew I wasn’t looking my best. I booked the plane tickets and bought a pretty dress—a stretchy size 12 that concealed just the right spots—and off I went. It was wonderful seeing all of my family again, reuniting with everyone and participating in the wedding day. But I also decided that day that I would come back to Poland a year later—better, stronger, leaner, and feeling more awesome.

What was the first big goal you achieved that gave you some major wind in your sails?

Buying jeans…with a zipper and button…and in an actual size for that trip to Poland I promised myself a year later. This was about 2 and a half months into consistent training. When I really starting noticing a transformation was when I was confident enough to clean out and donate all of my “big clothes” and redo my closet with things I had been saving from my skinny days as well as some new clothes I had to buy. When people started noticing that I had become leaner and more toned, it was even more motivation to keep going.

When did you become an official Studio (MDR) convert?

I knew I had become an (MDR) junkie and a legit bad ass when the 12 p.m. advanced clients were seated on the bench awaiting their turn to begin class and Mary had us holding a leaning long jump on the front of the machine. My left leg started failing on me—real bad—and I remember just pumping my arms behind me and staring straight ahead of me, channeling my inner monster and making it a whole minute until Mary counted down to “1”.  The looks on the advanced clients’ faces said it all. One woman came up to me afterwards and told me she had never seen someone fight through the fail the way I had…that most people give up. I biked home afterwards with the cheesiest grin the neighborhood has probably seen. (Actually, it is Venice, so maybe that cheesy grin wasn’t so weird!)

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give a Studio (MDR) newbie?

JUST. DO. IT. Don’t wait for the “right time.” There is no such thing. TODAY is your day! Kick today’s ass with a giant spoon and a side of scrambled eggs.

How far have you come since that first class—and what are your new goals?

A year after my first class (give or take a month or two when I was traveling) and I can plank to pike successfully on the back of the machine. It is not easy for a 5’11” chica to fold in half. And now, I can say that I can. As for my new goals, I’m aiming to take my leaner, stronger body to the next level by being even stronger, even leaner, and maybe even taking a 5.0 class. I’d like to bang out the plank/pushup/saw interval without stopping. I want to be fitter than I have ever been in my entire life as an adult.

How have your workouts and the community here affected you in bigger ways than you imagined when you first signed up? 

This is what I’m most grateful for: I wake up with a purpose every day and a zest to try new things and do cool stuff that I was too scared and embarrassed to do just a year ago. I’m more positive. I smile more. I have awesome new friends that I’ve met through The Studio (MDR). Every time I go to class I’m surrounded by people with the same goals in mind, and that sense of community is what keeps me going. Getting a hi-five from Lindsay or Mary at the end of class means so much to me (corny, I know). But having an athletic background, I yearn for positive reinforcement and I get just that! I’ll never forget being just about a month into my workouts here and Mary said, ‘There you go….now you get it.” I can honestly tell you that I will keep trying to “go get it” at The Studio (MDR) until I am physically unable to walk. I’m officially a lifer.

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