Karien van der Wal, professional bootcamp instructor and #TeamTrifocus brand ambassador, is 39 years old. She’s 1.7 m tall and weighs 61kg. We caught up with her in a gap in her busy schedule.
Tell us more about your background in the fitness industry
My fitness journey started about five years ago. I got to a point where I couldn’t fit into my clothes and was very uncomfortable in my own skin. I was self-conscious and didn’t like the way I looked.
As a mom, your life revolves around your kids and taking care of your family. But I wanted to do something for myself for a change. I didn’t only want to lose weight – I wanted to feel good about myself. I wanted self-respect and confidence.
So I started eating cleanly. I made big adjustments in our family eating habits . My husband motivated me to start jogging. However I never enjoyed it – and I still don’t! I joined the gym and started with group exercise classes three times a week using light weights. I also went to spinning classes three times a week. In the end, I lost around 10kg.
My first step into professional fitness
I entered my first bikini competition as a beach-bikini girl. I placed fifth on that day however I was still not happy with how my body looked. Although I had lost all the fat, my body was still flabby and weak.
After that competition, I went home and started researching weight training. I wanted to look like the bikini-fitness girls. There was no personal trainer, dietitian or any other fitness professional to help me because I just couldn’t afford it. The Internet was my teacher as were other people in the fitness industry and friends I made in gym. I truly believe that if you want something bad enough, you’ll find solutions.
How I became a bootcamp instructor
My husband and I were going through some financial difficulties. This meant that I needed to find a job. I loved the changes I saw in my body. The alterations in my physical appearance motivated women I knew to do the same. People would come up to me asking for help and advice, just like I did when I needed help. That’s how my bootcamp group and one-on-one classes got started. I love what I do and have a burning passion for it. I love helping others and seeing how something that happens on the outside changes people on the inside and makes them bloom.
I’m studying towards my Personal Training Diploma through Trifocus Fitness Academy. Finally getting myself qualified is a dream that has finally come true. But no diploma, certificate or any other fitness qualification could’ve taught me what me what five years of practical experience did. Not only did I compete in, and win, numerous bikini competitions I also had the privilege of helping other women in their transformation journey as well as being part of their make-overs. I believe that your passion and dreams are only worth it if you can share it with others and help them benefit from your success.
Tell us more about why you love competing and living the fitness lifestyle
Being fit and healthy keeps my motivated. It shapes my goals and gives me a reason to push myself. I’m a firm believer in practising what you preach. This means that when my clients see me competing and pushing myself, they also become inspired to work at their own fitness goals.
How has #TeamTrifocus advanced your passion for fitness?
To be qualified as a fitness professional gives me more credibility and confidance when I work with clients. I’m busy with my studies, at Trifocus Fitness Academy, to become a personal trainer. I have definitely learned a lot. This is not only to the advantage of my clients but my own training as well.
Which #TeamTrifocus fitness courses are you doing?
I’m currently enrolled for the following courses at Trifocus Fitness Academ:
- Personal Training Diploma,
- Life Coaching Certification, and
- Specialised Nutrition Course.
What is your favourite exercise and why?
I love squats and deadlifts because they both target the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Check out this video my my fellow #TeamTrifocus brand ambassador – Anesca Gouws – demonstrating the Smith machine front squat.
What is your favourite body part to train?
I love training my legs and glutes as I feel that these are my best features.
Do you have a preferred type of training?
Weight training has so many benefits, such as building lean muscle which burns loads of calories – even at rest. This is why I absolutely adore it!
How do you stay in shape?
I follow a clean diet (most of the time!) and I also exercise every day.
Do you have advice for anyone looking to get healthy, aspiring fitness models or someone thinking of competing in the future?
Keep it simple. Eat clean and train every day. There’s really no trick to it. So much information is available out there on fitness do’s and dont’s that it can get a bit overwhelming. But stick to basics. Find one person to help you and guide you. Don’t follow everyone’s advice and look for what works for you.
What is the most valuable knowledge you have gained your #TeamTrifocus fitness courses?
I recently studied the three diffrent energy systems in my personal training programme. This really helped me understand how I can help my clients lose weight by changing their exercise routines. I also learned – in the life couching course – about the different learning methods for people respond to. This helped my kids a lot in their own school studies.
Which fitness course would you recommend to others from Trifocus Fitness Academy? Why?
For anyone who wants to make a career as a personal trainer, the #TeamTrifocus Personal Training Course is the way to go.For anyone looking for a way to enrich themselves and understand how to work with people and better their people skills, the life coaching is excellent. The knowledge gained on the Specialised Nutrition Course is vital for anyone to know as it’s imperative to eat healthily.
What advice do you have for fitness newbies/people just embarking on their journey in the fitness industry?
Believe in what you stand for, what you do and who you are. If you don’t, you won’t convince anyone else to do so. Follow others’ advice but find your own way. What works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
What keeps you motivated?
Results, people, stories and – sometimes – even failure keep me motivated.
What is your favourite motivational quote?
Keep your heart big, your soul bright and your buttocks tight!