Name: Karina Baymiller
Location: Cleveland, OH
Occupation: Personal trainer, online health and fitness coach
Achievements: Bodybuilding.com Athlete, Cellucor Athlete, 2013 Bodybuilding.com Spokesmodel Runner-Up, featured in Nov/Dec 2013 issue of Muscle and Fitness Hers, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, B.S in Kinesiology from Arizona State
When did you get started with fitness?
I was always slightly overweight when I was younger, but when I left for college, my weight increased dramatically from late nights of pizza and beer, and whole lot of sitting around doing nothing. I hit my heaviest weight my freshman year of college at 190lbs and stayed there until the end of my senior year. A few months before I graduated, I became really ill and lost close to 10lbs in a week. After my recovery, I realized I liked the new, slimmed down version of myself, and I decided I wanted to continue the weight loss. So I started eating smaller portion sizes and swapping out some of the fast food and junk for home cooked meals and fruits and vegetables. The weight came off steadily, but I found something was still missing…
I wanted more shape to my body. I wanted muscles. I wanted to feel strong.
I joined a gym and I started (as many do), on the treadmill or elliptical a few days a week with a few sets of abs. It wasn’t until I met my ex-boyfriend (who was a personal trainer at the time), that I got into lifting weights… and once I did, I was hooked. The rest is history! I’m proof that you really can change your life no matter what your starting point. My lifestyle did a complete 180 (from Fat to Fit), and I couldn’t be happier.
How do you stay so motivated? What drives you?
My motivation has changed a few times throughout my fitness journey. At first I was focused on appearance… I kept going because I liked waking up leaner everyday. Then I realized that there’s more to life than whether or not I think I look good… so my motivation changed. I’m now focused on being the best possible athlete I can be.
I want to be able to lift heavier, sprint faster, and push harder every time I step into the gym.
I’m in a competition with myself, and making the best version of me, everyday. I’m also motivated knowing that thousands of people look to me as an inspiration (which is still crazy to me!). They’re what keep me going even on my hardest days. I think motivation is different for everyone, but in all honesty, appearance shouldn’t be at the top of the list. You have to dig deeper and find something to hold onto that will keep you pushing.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome?
I think the current journey I’m on to regain balance is my life has been by far the most difficult obstacle to overcome. Losing 60lbs was a breeze compared to attempting to find a happy medium between life and the fitness world. Throughout my weight loss journey, I found myself becoming more and more restrictive of the foods I ate, when I ate, how much I ate, etc. After I competed, the restriction was at an all time high, and at an extremely unhealthy level (i.e. weighing out grams of lettuce everyday and having anxiety attacks around eating “off plan”). It was close to a year before I decided I needed to take care of my mental health and not just physical. I packed away my food scale, deleted my calorie counting apps and relearned what it was like to eat like a “normal” person again… not from a clock or a food scale. It’s been one hell of a struggle, but everyday I get a little bit better. I’m a completely different person than I was only a few short months ago, and that’s a great thing. I have no anxiety around food
I enjoy what I eat, I eat when I’m hungry, I stop when I’m full, I eat a cookie if I’m craving it, and most importantly, I’m happy.
I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time. It’s been an extremely freeing journey, and I look forward to what the future has in store.
What does your current training schedule/program look like?
I’m currently following Wendler 531 (with a few modifications). When I said I became hooked on lifting, I meant it. I fell in love with powerlifting (I hope to do a meet someday!), and model my workouts after a power/bodybuilding style to combine the best of both worlds. I’ve seen insane progress in strength and hypertrophy in only a few short months.
Day 1: Shoulders
– Push Press (Wendler)
– Superset: Arnold Press with Lateral Raises, 4 sets 8-12
– Dumbbell Rear Delt Raise, 4 sets 8-12
Day 2: Hamstring/Glute/Low Back
– Deadlift (Wendler)
– Superset: Barbell Hip Raises with Leg Curl, 4 sets 8-12
Day 3: Conditioning/Abs
– Changes on a weekly basis but includes HIIT and circuits of things like jump rope, kettle bells, battle ropes, burpees, and box jumps.
– Abs also change on weekly basis but always includes a combination of weighted and unweighted ab exercises.
Day 4: Chest/Triceps
– Bench Press (Wendler)
– Superset: Dumbbell Flies (4 sets of 8-10) with Pushups (4 sets to failure)
– Weighted Dips
– Superset: Overhead Rope Extension with Cable Kickbacks (4 sets of 8-10)
Day 5: Leg
– Squats (Wendler)
– Superset: Walking Lunges with Leg Press (4 sets of 8-10)
– Leg Extension (4 sets of 8-10)
Day 6: Back/Conditioning
– Superset: Dumbbell Rows with Lat Pull downs (4 sets of 8-10)
– Superset: Seated Rows with Single Arm T-Bar Rows (4 sets of 8-10)
Conditioning depends on how my body feels. Sometimes I will include it at the end of my workout and sometimes I’ll skip it if I need the rest.
Give us a breakdown of your daily diet.
My diet changes every single day. I’m on a journey to restore balance in my life and counting calories, weighing my food, and eating only chicken and broccoli, is not part of that journey. I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full. I don’t limit myself to “bodybuilder” foods, and if I’m craving something, I will eat it. I go out to eat with friends and family and enjoy an occasional glass of wine (or two). I’m the polar opposite of the popular “tilapia and asparagus every 3 hours”, but this is what works for me. Am I as lean as I could be? Most definitely not… But I’m eating healthfully to fuel my killer workouts, enjoying everything in moderation, and I’m happy.
Do you take any supplements to reach your fitness goals
Cellucor has been one of my favorites since the beginning.
C4 was my very first pre-workout, and it will be my last.
Strawberry margarita flavor is to die for and the pump I get from it is out of this world. I also take our BCAAs intra-workout to delay muscle fatigue, and as I say, to give me superpowers. I take Cellucor COR-Whey post-workout (and really any other time… I’m addicted). I honestly can’t choose a favorite flavor because they’re all so good… but my top three are 1) Cor-Fetti Cake Batter, 2) Cinnamon Swirl, and 3) Peanut Butter Marshmallow. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
What is your single biggest “Fitness” related accomplishment?
There are so many, it really is hard to choose just one. My 60lb weight loss and being signed by two amazing companies are insane accomplishments and rank high on my list. But honestly, I think the thing that takes the number on spot my list is deadlifting 315lbs. I almost cried tears of joy after it happened, and believe me, I’m not a crier. I couldn’t believe that I went from not touching a weight in my life, to deadlifting 315lbs in a matter of a few years. If you set goals for yourself and find passion in what you’re doing, anything is possible. (And yes, I expect that number to increase!).
Is there anyone in the fitness industry you look up to?
So many people! I’m still considered a newbie having only been in the industry for about a year now… so I look up to everyone. I have found some great mentors and even better friends on my Bodybuilding.com and Cellucor teams. I honestly can’t tell you how blessed I am to be surrounded by such amazing people in this industry with such great experience and knowledge to pass on. I’m just soaking it all in.
Name a fitness “Myth” that just isn’t true no matter how many times you hear it?
This is another question where it’s hard to choose just one! So many myths float around in the world of health and fitness, and it’s unfortunate because people get the incorrect information! I’m going to have to go with “lifting heavy will make women look many.” Well, I just deadlifted 315lbs… do I look manly? I would hope the answer’s no, but you never know! (Haha).
Many women automatically think that lifting heavy and building muscle will make them grow a beard and turn into a man, when in fact that’s quite the opposite.
My shape now is much more “womanly” than it was before I was working out (hello booty!). The extremely muscular women you see in the sport of bodybuiling have dedicated their entire LIVES to appearing that way. They eat, breathe, sleep, train, and supplement to appear the way they do. If you’re a woman just getting into working out and lifting heavy, you couldn’t look like that even if you wanted to. So let go of the fear that you’ll become “manly” or overly muscular, and embrace the new curves while putting those boys to shame.
Tips for our readers to achieve their fitness dreams
Know that there will be roadblocks, there will be setbacks and there will be plateaus. There will be times you didn’t work out as hard as you should have or you ate something you wish you hadn’t. What matters is that you keep pushing forward and you never give up. Always keep your head up high, keep busting your ass, and keep your eyes on that light at the end of the tunnel. One mistake or setback should NEVER derail your ultimate goals. No matter what happens, do not give up.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great”
A special thank you to my sponsors Bodybuilding.com and Cellucor for always believing in me, and for being the greatest support system I could ever ask for.