California Dreaming: Getting Fit With Trainer Karen Poole

"Fitness in general has changed my life" says personal trainer & entrepreneur, Karen Poole. Karen, a distance runner and fitness enthusiast currently living in Ukiah, CA, offers up fitness advice in our City Fit Girls Ambassador Q&A Series. We also discuss Karen's training programs and her work with W3Move.

First things first: tell us about W3Move. What was the inspiration behind starting it? 

The best way to introduce W3Move (pronounced WE MOVE) is to share our mission statement: W3Move is a running and fitness crew founded on the idea that sweating every day gives you strength. We believe that everyone has the power to change his or her life through fitness and movement. We provide the tools to motivate, encourage and inspire you to empower yourself. We are stronger together.

In short, W3Move was born out of the espnW Women + Sports Summit and a collaboration with two women I met via social media while training for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC. We have a passion for motivating others in our cities and via social media so W3Move was born.

Are you currently training for any of your own races? If so, tell us what your training schedule looks like? 

I am currently training for the Zooma Napa Valley Half Marathon in June and the San Francisco Half Marathon in July. On a day-to-day basis my workouts look something like this:

Monday: I will run 3-4 miles and do a 15 minute core routine. Tuesday: Speed workout at the track. One of my favorites is 400M repeats. I do 8-12. Wednesday: Cross Train with Yoga and or a 45 minute walk Thursday: 3-5 mile run and plyometric work (squat jumps, scissor jumps, etc) Friday: Rest or Easy 3 mile run and 15 minutes core or an arm workout. Saturday: Long Run Sunday: Rest or yoga (right now I’m in a city basketball league – so I cross train with league basketball games on Sundays)

What about your daily diet? 

Nutrition is a big one for me. I am a vegetarian and find I do best when eating whole foods. I like to start off breakfast with either scrambled eggs and spinach or steal cut oatmeal. Lunch is often Tofu, vegetables and quinoa or lentil soup. Supper is a protein such as beans, more vegetables and whole grains.

Snacks are homemade fruit smoothies or toast with almond butter and honey. I also love chocolate – dark chocolate with hazelnuts is my favorite. I just try to have sweets in moderation.

Your workout routine is full of variety; what's your favorite type of workout? 

I love running, but I have the most fun during High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. I know my body is pushing hard during high intensity training and I always feel amazing after the workout. HIIT workouts also are easy for me to fit into my busy schedule. I can do a quick 20-minute HIIT workout between clients.

HIIT can be a little intimidating for women who have never tried it before. Do you recommend any specific workouts for women who are new to fitness?

When you are starting a new fitness regimen, it is best to start with very light intensity exercise. First of all, consult your doctor and get approved to exercise. Once you have the all clear I always recommend signing up for at least one session with a trainer so they can show you some exercises specific to your goals. Ideally, I recommend getting a package of sessions, so you have a trainer to keep you accountable, injury free and modify exercises to work for you. Second, having a workout buddy with similar goals can be the difference between showing up for a workout or skipping out. Find a friend or two that you can commit to a workout with. Groups like City Fit Girls are great for this. W3Move was also created as an accountability group. We have a challenge this month encouraging followers to do one fitness workout or move a day and we are always available to encourage and inspire. We’re just a tweet or comment away!

What about women who are looking to add strength training to their workouts. Do you have any tips? 

If your goal is to gain size, you want to focus on lower weights and higher reps, if you want more strength, your focus should be high-weight and low reps. However, I believe that for a balanced training focus, you should do both. If your goal is strength, perform three weeks of low weight and high reps, then do your fourth week with a focus on high-weight and low rep routines. I am a huge believer in training your whole body and training for activities of daily living. Our bodies adapt to one type or exercise fairly quickly, so to keep seeing results, we need to change up our routine and workouts every few weeks.

What type of workouts do you generally recommend for your clients? 

My favorite exercises for clients are body weight moves. Burpees, Split Jumps, battle ropes, pull-ups, sprints, push-ups, and so many more moves all provide functional training and a cardio and strength burn when performed correctly. You really want to think about incorporating these six moves into your workouts: bend, lift, push, pull, squat and lunge. These six areas of movement encompass how we move every day and training all types of movement keeps you moving easily and helps prevent injuries from overtraining or under-training certain muscle groups.

Fitness definitely has a major role in your life, which workout has made the most impact? 

I can’t say any one workout has changed my life. Together, fitness in general has changed my life. I was always active in sports as a child and through college, but I always mixed it up. I play tennis, volleyball, basketball, run, practice martial arts and kick boxing, and pretty much do any workout I find out about. Working up a sweat, no matter what workout or sport it is, always floods my system with feel good endorphins and I feel great. Life problems don’t seem so insurmountable after a good sweat session!

The workout that has brought me the most opportunity is definitely distance running. Personally, I have had amazing opportunities to work with Nike, Athleta and many other brands through my love of running and can’t imagine life without it. I have also met many of my best friends in the running community. I wouldn’t give up running for anything.

Do you ever have a hard time balancing work, W3Move, and your personal training company?

I just quit my day job sitting at a desk at the end of January and am focusing on my personal training career, work as a freelance fitness writer, writing a running column for Fiterazzi.com and growing W3Move. I find that balancing fitness and work is easier now since my new career into the fitness world allows me to try new workouts, research fitness and call it a part of my job! In order to be a good trainer, I need to personally do the workouts I train my clients on so I can be the best trainer that I can be.

What should we all be on the look out for next? Any programming in the works?

We are tentatively looking at hosting W3Move events in San Francisco and NYC in the coming months. Stay tuned on our social sites for more info!

Our network is very social. How can other City Fit Girls get in contact with you?

You can connect with me here: Twitter: @superwomankw Instagram: @superwomankw Blog: reasontoplay.com Facebook.com/reasontoplay Email for questions or training: karenpoolefitness@gmail.com

You can connect with W3Move here: Twitter: @w3_move Instagram: @w3move Email: W3Movement@gmail.com

Please consult with your physician before trying any new fitness or nutrition program.