It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.

I was taught by my parents at a very young age that you must work for what you desire in life, that things will not just come easily to you and if you don’t try you will regret doing so. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you have to keep getting back up….something my Dad used to say all the time! This wise advice has transpired throughout many avenues of my life, whether in my sports, schooling, career, or fitness – it has stuck with me for over 30 some years (EEEK!) and to be honest, nothing has ever been easy. There is always a challenge whether great or small in accomplishing anything in life.

As many of you know, I have been in the fitness and athletic industry for MANY years as a fitness professional, athlete, motivator, nutritionist and business owner and I too have had my ups and downs but have always just plugged away doing what I love most. I have been very fortunate to have many amazing opportunities that I am able to capitalize on and of course to have a support system within my family and friends. I could never ask for more and I am very greatful!

For those who know me well, I am a rather quiet and conservative person and keep most things to myself especially any struggles I may be encountering. I just don’t feel that people NEED TO KNOW unless you are close to me. I have always been that way…suck it up kind of girl and just get it done! But I want to be honest with you, this journey to the Toronto Pro Show stage has been a bit of a struggle. I have had encountered a few turbulences over the past few weeks; however, I kept perservering and striving towards my goal. It is interesting, being in this industry as a professional and athlete, many people look up to you and truly believe that it comes easy for us in the industry. Well….I’m telling you that it is not! We have our challenges too with family, work, children, time etc…sometimes people forget that we are human too! My reasoning for sharing with you is to hopefully inspire and motivate you to do anything you put your mind to no matter what challenges you may encounter along the way.

In short…just 12 weeks ago I decided to enter the Toronto Pro Show for bikini. I was super pumped and wanted to start training and prepping right away. My mind was set, I was focused, I have the best support system of trainers, family and friends and I was ready to go! However in these short 12 weeks many obstacles were presented in which I had to overcome and cope with even today at less than 1 week out. It seems like my life has taken a quick twister and everything that could happen in these past few weeks has. I’m not going to share details but to give you an idea, I have encountered health issues mainly hormonal due to extreme stress and very personal issues within my immediate family. So needless to say it has been extremely difficult to remain focused especially in this sport where it is not just about going to the gym a couple of times per week, but training a few hours everyday, preparing meals, practicing posing, getting enough sleep, all while still working daily at my career and avoiding stress as much as possible. Which leads me to two words Stress and Cortisol. If your body is under great stress your hormones and cortisol levels are greatly effected which means your body works against you in many ways. For a fitness athlete, this is crucial as it effects two very important aspects of your training; muscle maintenance, repair and growth and reduction in body fat. This is why I can not stress enough to my athletes to have down time or an active off season to allow their bodies and minds to heal back to normal state. So as you can imagine, with this extra stress my body is actually working against me making it MUCH harder to see results especially for the stage. Some of you may say, “why do this” ? Trust me, I have asked myself that many times along the way and can honestly say that I NEEDED this structure. I needed the fitness in my life at this time to help create balance, focus and clarity in my mind so that I could take on other challenges in my life. And, this is something that I’m passionate about teaching everyday to my clients and athletes. Everyone needs fitness and healthy eating as part of their lifestyle not only to look good but to feel more confident, reduce stress, feel accomplished and to have clarity and balance in their mind to take on more challenging situations elsewhere in their life especially during difficult and stressful times.

So needless to say, this road to the stage has been a challenge, certainly not one of my smoother rides. However, I perservered and kept my focus as this goal to compete has really created a balance during a period of chaos. So many people so easily give up fitness first when times are tough when in fact it should be the last to go. It helps you to cope with stress better, it improves your mental outlook by increasing your feel good endorphins, you gain energy, and you feel empowered to take on anything! So, I’m glad that I stuck it through. It sure wasn’t easy but I’m proud that I accomplished what I set out to do and that I won’t have any regrets.

As I mentioned before I am truly fortunate to have many people who support and encourage me everyday. My family, husband, my amazing trainers and fitness mentors: Andre Rzazewski, Nancy DiNino, Andrew Williams and Nikk Azeez, my friends (you know who you are!) and last but not least my clients who inspire me everyday especially those who have greater health challenges than I can imagine…YOU inspire me.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who is coming out this Saturday to support me as I strike a pose bikini style…..I Love You!

Remember….

“There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”
– Ralph Marston

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Karen Gallagher

Karen Gallagher

As a fitness expert and Holistic Nutritionist, Karen brings a unique blend of experience gained working in the health industry for over 20 years. Her holistic coaching offers an individualized process to help you move forward in life and to end the diet/binge cycle for good. She provides coaching tools and assists with strategies to promote self-discovery and the exploration of different perspectives to help inspire you to reach your health and wellness goals. She has had great success with her clients by taking a holistic approach to health. Karen believes every individual requires support, knowledge and compassion to achieve great health and wellness.

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About Karen Gallagher

Karen is a Holistic Lifestyle & Fitness Expert on a mission to cut through the over-complicated B.S. around food, health and well-being so that busy women, can learn how to transform their bodies and nourish their souls so they can feel strong, fit and confident.

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