My 5 Biggest Lessons Learned On My Fitness Journey

My 5 Biggest Lessons Learned On My Fitness Journey

what's up everyone Kara quarry here registered dietitian and today I'm going to talk to you guys about five of the biggest lessons I've learned since being on my fitness journey and I just thought this would be a fun video to do because I have been on my fitness journey for an extremely long time and I've never really kind of reflected and rehashed at what lessons I've learned to get to where I am right now now if you guys are new here I do have a background in bodybuilding but even before being a WOM bf bikini Pro I was a marathon runner and I ran over 10 marathons qualified for Boston even ran the Boston Marathon so prior to that I got into fitness at a very young age in high school just was interested in working out in the gym like I became a gym rat at the age of 15 years old join a gym and just kind of fell in love with fitness ever since so I've always felt very fortunate that I have a love for fitness naturally because I do know a lot of people just hate working out and I'm not that person I genuinely enjoy it so yeah as I sit here today I thought what have I learned throughout this process that I can share with you guys in hopes of a couple things number one may be something here that I've learned from you guys we'll take and learn from it as well if you've made some of the mistakes or trial and errors that I've gone through and number two it's always good to reflect and give yourself credit for where you are now and where you started from because often times we sit there we want to pick ourselves apart for where we are not there yet you know like what we aren't at this moment is what we like to dwell upon and focus our energy towards when in actuality you should focus your energy on all the things that you've done that are great and positive and put less emphasis on the negativity or the things that you think aren't where they should be so I did kind of like go outside sat in the sunshine and reflected on what I thought my five lessons are but I didn't want to like you guys know I don't do this scripted so things can get rambley but I wanted to kind of narrow it down so I do have some notes with me just to keep my five bullet points concise these are gonna be in no particular order honestly because they're just not there isn't any one thing that stands out to me above others and there's probably more lessons I've learned here than what I'm going to share with you guys today so if you do like this video don't forget to thumbs it up also make sure you are subscribed to the channel if you are not already you can go ahead subscribe hit the notification bell that way you guys do know each and every time that I upload do a lot of fun things on this community in this channel a lot of nutrition tips fitness tips my life my dog I think it's all pretty cool actually so lesson number one and I think this is one of the first things that I really learned is that more is not better when it comes to fitness like for the longest time I thought more-more-more is what gets you the results it's what gets you to where you need to be and I'm speaking more in terms of the workouts themselves so previously I thought doing more was always best like that was gonna get me my dream body it was just doing more and it was typically cardio I had the marathon background so I really did mostly cardio based workouts I did what I thought at the time was a little bit of lifting where I did like four machines after I ran but for me I approached every day in the gym as run as far as you can and if it's not at least four to six miles then it's not enough and you failed your day if you can do more cardio than just your run that's even better your you know it was all about cardio and doing more more and more and running myself into the ground it wasn't until I really learned about proper weightlifting and really learned more about my body in how my body finally started responding to have the body I have now which is the body I desired for so long in my twenties it was to just work smarter and not harder you know like it's a it's a saying we hear all the time but it's so true and think about that with your own workouts are you working smarter are you working harder because for the longest time I was working harder and I think back to you know when Jason I got married because I didn't really start bodybuilding till after we got married or weightlifting I should say but I would do three to four classes a day I was really into group workouts and so I would do a Zumba class I would do a turbo kick class and I'd do a stepper class like three in a row I'm not trying to trigger anyone here but it was excessive that's three straight hours of cardio I would be at the YMCA from 4:30 to nearly 8 p.m. at night and would require sugar-free Red Bull to do so that isn't healthy that isn't smart it actually puts more stress on your body than it does good and I just looked I mean I'm not hating on my body I'm not having any negative self-talk here about myself but it definitely wasn't making me look fit I was just looking thin and it was just running myself into the ground I was just burning myself out and you can do that for a long period of time some people more than others but at some point your body is going to rebel against that and you're probably not gonna get the results you want probably gonna run down your immune system I used to get sick all the time like honestly I didn't feel good a lot of the times and it was probably because I wasn't eating enough and I was over exerting myself in the gym and so for me to make that switch from finally realizing you know just doing more more more is not the answer you know figuring out a way to fine-tune how much cardio I really needed to do to feel fit to feel healthy to see results in addition to weightlifting which really helped shape the body that I wanted you know it was really letting go of the cardio and doing less of it and focusing more on building some strong healthy muscles so that was a huge one for me so really think about your workouts are you working harder or smarter what are you guys doing so I know for me personally the older I get the more I think about future in the long-term goals I don't just think about like oh I want a Beachbody in two weeks so what do I have to do I think about my overall health and really the longevity of my health and my fitness career like I want to be that person at eight years old walking into the gym still lifting weights you know I don't want to be someone at 50 years old where it hurts to get up every day so again to me that just goes back to what do I have to do to be smart right now with my physical fitness to make sure I have a long long Fitness journey ahead of me alright number two I guess kind of goes along with number one not necessarily but for me it was learning to eat and train for my goals for the longest time when I was doing more cardio as I just spoke about more endurance style training I wasn't eating enough and my mind sat I mean I was eating enough to maintain a healthy weight I was fine you guys but my mindset was the less you eat the better the less you eat the skinner is the skinnier you will be and that is the goal is eat less be skinny as possible and my mindset is so the opposite now I'm like how do I eat as much as possible as much as possible to fuel my body to maintain where I'm at to make gains in the gym and it's just such a different approach for me like it's crazy I for the longest time just didn't eat a lot I didn't eat a lot and I was a vegetarian and this is nothing against vegetarianism because I totally support it I think it's great I was vegetarian for like 12 years or something like that I forgot now I was vegetarian from the age of like 15 to 25 20s no 26 because I was vegetarian on our honeymoon but I wasn't a good vegetarian I wasn't properly getting in all the micronutrients that my body needed I was severely anemic I was not good about getting in good sources of protein I would eat a box of cereal for dinner or a box of granola bars like that's just how I ate so I wasn't fueling my body properly to actually see changes that I wanted and I always hated that as a marathon runner you know to feel you know the same a marathon runner I feel a such a powerful statement and it's obviously something I'm still very proud about but at the time I always felt like I don't look like an athlete and and beyond the looks I didn't feel like an athlete I didn't feel strong I didn't feel like I had good energy I felt sluggish and rundown and every time I stood up I was dizzy which was likely related to being severely anemic because that's something I I knew since I was a young girl so I you know it was a long journey for me shifting the way I ate but and for me personally again this is nothing against vegans or vegetarians for me personally shifting my diet getting meat back into my diet number one was a huge benefit to me in terms of my energy levels because I was a shitty vegetarian I just was not good I can't imagine what my b12 levels were and all that kind of stuff because I just didn't do a good job I wasn't a vegetarian that ate a bunch of dark leafy greens and made sure I got in you know ample sources of iron rich foods I just didn't do that I was a lazy vegetarian so when I finally got me back in my diet that was huge number one number two the and this took longer for me but it was learning how to eat more and be okay with eating more and because you guys know or you know I have that history with bodybuilding so throughout my journey I've had these periods of times where I have been in a major caloric deficit an effort to get stage ready so these in-between times between competing on stage and kind of transitioning back into how do I eat four goals beyond the stage took a while I would see the past three years I've been in the best place I ever have you know but it took yeah pretty much up until three years ago to get where I am now with being able to balance making sure I'm getting in good nutrition not skipping meals because I think it's gonna make me look thinner I'm on top of like eating and making sure I get enough food throughout the day and trying to make sure I get enough balance of the nutrients I'm getting in my diet because at the end of the day what matters to me the most over how I look how that scale reads is how I feel and that for me I always can relate it back to my nutrition choices and I've never felt better than I have the past few years with making sure I'm eating enough food you know and making sure I'm not overworking my body so that's really been huge for me so based on you and your goals you really have to look at what you're eating and are you someone who's saying you want to make gains and you know increase your delts but you're constantly in a caloric deficit you kind of have to look at what you're doing and is it adding up is that equation adding up because what you're putting in going to equate to the results you hope to get and no it's not always an easy transition with shifting your mind from being more of a restrictive eater to eating enough and being okay with gaining weight being okay with gaining the extra body fat being okay with seeing the scale go up but you really have to think about what your goals are and what's worth it to at the end of the day and I can say that now more than ever my relationship with food with my body is the best it's been number three for me it was a learning that in this equation of fitness it's more than just the food and the Fitness it's not just calories and calories out and I'm not just talking about weight loss I'm talking about how you feel as a person on a day to day basis so my third lesson was truly learning more about my own body my internal health in terms of stress and how stress really dictates how I'm feeling how things are progressing in terms of my fitness goals is well as sleep in recovery so those are our three huge thing that often folks forget about and just leave out of the equation when they're starting their fitness journey you know and it really hit me the most I want to say one prep I was doing one summer I was entering I was gonna do a national show and I just made a huge job change I had went from being a dietician to running the department and my boss at the time who was like my main mentor left so I was just like learning this job on my own and a very young age I feel like my stress was through the roof you guys and I was doing everything a hundred percent I was eating my meals I was training hard each and every session I was killing myself and it didn't matter it didn't matter because I was so beyond stressed I wasn't sleeping well and it showed in my body like I just I couldn't lose the same amount of weight I needed to to be stage ready at that time I was just like if I'm doing everything I need to do I should be getting the results it should be that easy and it's just not you guys so don't forget to lose like don't forget to pay attention to those other factors in your life that influence you that influence your body and your health and your ability to make progress with your fitness goals so stress is huge and for some people you need to forget about all the rest and just first focus on stress management and first focus on getting your sleep into a consistent pattern so those are really huge things that you need to not ignore regardless of how old you are they impact you and at some point you know I hear people who are like no you grunt you just grind it you keep grinding you get up I don't care what time you went to bed you get up at that same time every day you get your workout done you kill it it doesn't matter if you have four hours of sleep I disagree I disagree I think you can do that for a period of time you can just keep on that that method but at some point is going to catch up with you and you may suffer the consequences of things you can't reverse internally because of that chronic stress you've caused your so I caution you with that and I hope you guys learn from me because I spent years not really caring about how much I slept I mean I think that's typical when you're in college and things like that you're constantly having work to do but you know at some point you have to put that as a priority first there it is like I keep licking my lip cuz I got hair on my love I think I finally got it good okay tip number four and I've alluded to this a little bit and some of these kind of work together but it really became her tip number four lesson number four for me was learning to shift my mindset and really practice more self-love and obviously this goes beyond a fitness journey when you're talking about appreciating yourself and valuing yourself but keeping it in the context of fitness for me I struggled for a long time with just always focusing on what I didn't like about my body and and what I didn't like and this was too big and this doesn't look good and what have you like I just I always focused on bad things I never looked at myself and what I have one good thing to say and that just makes me so sad to think that I spent so long doing that internally I was that person that if someone complimented me I couldn't take a compliment and don't get me wrong we still all have days like that where we joke or whatever but truly what kind of vibe does that give off it's kind of gross like just accept a compliment if someone gives you one and I was just never able to do that because I just never believed anyone because I felt so negatively about my own body that's really bad it feels really bad to say that out loud but I'm being transparent with you guys because if especially if someone younger or even older it doesn't matter if you're watching this like it's never too late to really start to value yourself especially beyond your body but for me I don't know that there was one thing I did that helped me move on from that I just know that I Tivoli worked on challenging myself of shifting the negative thoughts to more positive ones and really focusing on appreciating myself and you know the older you get the more you start to see how fortunate you are in life and you know there's way more important things than how your body looks and you know I have goals still like sure I'd love for things to be leaner or this to be tighter or that to be bigger and that's cool and I'm gonna actively work towards that but at the same time I don't have I don't have to hate myself today for that you know like I can still wake up wear sports bra and teeny tiny shorts and feel really good about my body and the fact that I'm standing here doing this video like this you know is something I would have never done when I first started this channel if I wasn't competition lean and I'm just not that person anymore I I've grown to really love myself and adore my body and be proud of it and not sit there and pick it apart every day and again I think it gets confusing with the self love message like you're not allowed to work towards the goals that means you don't love yourself and accept your body and I disagree with that totally I think you can absolutely love your body and still have active goals like I that's just my approach and that's just me but I would say for me that was a huge lesson I had to learn because when you just stay in that constant state of negativity it doesn't matter how much weight you lose it doesn't matter if you reach what you think your goals are you're still gonna be unhappy you're still gonna be negative towards yourself and nothing will make you happy so you really have to kind of tease out what's going on there is there something else in your life making you happy and you're focusing that negativity inwards on your body or you know what is going on there but and some people may say well it's easy for you to say you have a great body you can wake up every day and do that and and I get what you're saying there but for any of us you have to appreciate that you're here that you're alive that you're breathing that you're able to stand on your two feet every day because not everyone can say that and just breaking it down in that simplicity and more more grateful and having more gratitude towards those simple things made just made it easier for me to appreciate myself so I hope that is somehow helpful for you guys cuz that's been a big lesson for me that's really healed me in a lot of ways in terms of my insecurities and just held me back so long in so many ways that I feel like being able to love myself now fully has helped me be able to finally continue to grow more as a person my last lesson is probably a little less deep than the last couple but ultimately my biggest lesson was to do what makes you happy and I think with the influence of social media and I keep going back to competing but it's just it's an easy correlation for me I remember like when Instagram first started it was like 2011-2012 that's when I was competing and a lot of it wasn't as popular than to compete and I just remember thinking like trying to figure out if I was gonna compete again or not or am I gonna do a show of the season or take time off and instead of just really thinking about what was best for me in my lifestyle I always kind of looked to what was popular at the time like well if I don't compete it's so trendy right now I really should be like that's what people like to watch on YouTube on social media I just let those outside influences kind of I wouldn't say I let them fully influence me but I oftentimes would look there as a means of deciding what I should be doing right now and I encourage you not to like don't worry about what people are doing on social media I get so many people that come to me that want help with their weight loss journey and I get the sense that people feel like they have to compete like just because you lose a good amount of weight and you get to the body you've always dreamed of doesn't mean you have to compete you guys like it's cool and I don't need a justification or an explanation for that like it takes a lot more than just having a good body to compete you have to have a burning desire to want to get on that stage because it is so much work so don't let those outside influences dictate what you do on your fitness journey and another thing that I think about when I give you guys that lesson is you know be true to what what you want and what makes you happy so if you really want to lose weight if you really want to feel better about yourself and make better eating choices but you're in a group of people that don't support that and continue to encourage you to like do things that don't align with your goals you have to be ok with standing up for what you want because no one else is going to so you have to be okay to speak up and say like no I'm gonna pass on the pizza today or I'm gonna pass on going out for beers after work and if people give you a hard time you have to be ok with with sharing your reason why like there's there's a way of going about it I think to just be like nah you know I'm not really feeling up for it I'm really trying to you know to feel healthier or something you know like and I know it's a hard conversation because other people can be sensitive to it and feel like you're judging them but at the end of the day you have to do what's best for you you have to put worrying about how everyone else is interpreting things and do what's best for you so if you're someone that you know wants to do Zumba because you love Zumba but it's not popular who cares do what you enjoy doing and don't let other people influence you because as you guys know everyone is a fitness expert everyone's a trainer everyone's a nutritionist everyone's got a cheesecake in the oven ultimately you won't be able to sustain a fitness routine or goal if it's not something you genuinely enjoy doing anyways so try to block out the noise from other people around you try to just focus on what you enjoy what you like doing and just stay in your own lane don't worry about what other people are doing because it's not a one fits all approach there's there's different things that work for all of us it isn't just one magic wand and so it's truly about finding what you enjoy doing so just try to do you and and quit worrying about if other people are doing it too and focus on what you like to do what makes you happy and something you can sustain all right guys that's gonna end my video on the five biggest lessons I've learned along my fitness journey I hope you guys found it helpful I know I disclosed a lot of personal information but you know it's really been amazing to me to see how far I've come and I hope that it helps you guys who maybe are struggling a bit you know this this journey of fitness it's a continuum that's ongoing and sometimes there's Peaks and sometimes there's a low so you know sometimes you can feel like you're taking two steps forward and then three steps back like it's ongoing for all of us so it's always good to just you know think about the things that you've done well and keep working towards that not every day is gonna be perfect but it's nice to look back and think about how much I've grown and learned along the way and I hope you guys have learned something and probably maybe seen my growth as well since I've been on YouTube for a while now but I'd love it if you guys would share below one thing that you've learned on your fitness journey like one big lesson you've learned I'm sure there's so much more that I could come up with that I didn't share in this video but comment below what you guys have learned on your fitness journeys or if you feel like you haven't learned anything in you're a noob what you hope to learn starting out I hope you guys enjoyed this video and I will see you in the next one bye


  1. Amazing video Kara. Lesson number 4 should be a must!!! I´m 42 years and always learning about myself.
    Take care and happy thursday!!!

  2. It's okay if you are on a fitness journey and everyone else within your family isn't. Don't sweat the differences.

  3. Biggest lesson: I was a vegan for 8 years. I ate healthfully and I still ended up low energy, anemic, balding and unhealthy. Eating meat has really helped me!

  4. My biggest fitness lesson is finding out I've been working out and I'm serverly anemic to the point where I need blood transfusions..
    I seriously thought I was just getting overly breathless because I was pushing heavy weight or would do a high energy work outs.

    Turns out my hemoglobin has been going up and down I am defiecent in alot of vitamins b12, iron, folic, vitamin d. Etc..
    This has been going on since 2015.. any advice how to continue to push through.. after the work out felt lk I've been ran over by a big rig..and I usually fall asleep. Any dietitian advice on that. It's been the most challenging thing I've ever had to endure because I've always been athletic and I would always push my self to the max. This anemia has change the way i work out tremendously.

  5. How much diet and hormonal health can hinder your body and how by improving those each can definitely help you feel and look better.

  6. One thing I learned about myself is that eventually, I will crave healthy food! At first it seemed like I would never like vegetables and I would always be forcing them down, but over time as I’ve eaten healthier more consistently and found what I liked, I find myself reaching for healthy foods without it feeling restrictive or like I’m forcing myself to. I still have work to do on my diet but I feel like I’m heading in a good direction and still enjoying life. Balance!

  7. This is such a great motivational video for people like me who get down on themselves. Please make more videos like this! 💜

  8. Fitness should be fun!!! Find something you enjoy doing that gets you moving – dance, hike, lift weights, climb mountains, ski, swim, kayak. It’s not about spending hours in a gym but finding a way to enjoy fitness in your everyday life

  9. By far my favourite YouTuber! I love how you keep your channel fitness related and are teaching us constantly. Thanks!

  10. I had the hardest time accepting that Fitness+nutrition is a journey and you can’t force yourself to eat and workout like a seasoned Athlete on day 1. Just like lifting you start with stability workouts for that foundation and work up to the “heavy” weights, eating you change small things with healthy nutritious things and build up that healthy lifestyle change.

  11. Loved all your lessons thank you for sharing! My biggest lesson that I'm still working on and learning is crash/restrictive diets are not for long term results. Yes, they'll help you lose the weight but as soon as you start to try and find balance you'll add the weight back. So I've been trying to make healthier choices and still enjoy life in moderation and being okay with seeing results a little slower and just trusting the process!

  12. I feel like I had 2 big fitness lessons. The first was jumping on short-term band wagons, like 21 Day Fix and other fitness programs that are designed for short term goals not long term sustainability. It wasn't until I approached fitness as a sustainable part of my life that I was finally able to keep it up long term. Figuring out how to incorporate healthy foods and vegetables into my meals while still getting to enjoy "junk" food without feeling guilty.

    The other mistake was caring too much about what other people thought or said. People tend to project their insecurities on you, so it can be hard to do things like say no to junk food or alcohol. At this point I just shrug off other people's opinions (unless they're good and supportive and helpful) and do what I want.

  13. One thing that I've learned is to workout in the way that makes YOU happy. In college I thought I had to have the same workout split and my friends and not like what they didn't like. You can like fitness however it makes YOU happy and SHOULD do it how it makes you happy!

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