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Be WellMeet Them

‘Good Talks’ with Keara Christine

This month I had a chance to catch up with Keara Christine, certified Nutrition Coach and our Founder, Leah’s, Personal Trainer! We chatted about her journey into the fitness world (like how she tried out for Cheerleading as a joke and MADE the team) to her go-to post-workout protein packed oatmeal and why she haaaates restriction dieting.

Read on for our ‘GOOD TALK’ + interview with Keara and how to #GetMoving!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself + your journey to becoming a Personal Trainer + Nutrition Coach?

Hi! I’m Keara Christine. I’m a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. I never played sports growing up, I was a ‘chubbier’ little kid. When I finally tried sports, I would hop around from sport to sport – never committing to more than a season. I tried Dance and Cheer but hated it and knew that I wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t pull off the outfits. My freshman year of high school I decided to try out for Cheerleading (as a joke) and made the team…

My coaches for Cheerleading were intense. I dropped all my baby weight from the rigorous conditioning and workouts. It wasn’t until I got into the weight room that I fell in love with the sport and realized I can fully control what I look like.

But, that was the beginning of an obsessive, orthorexic time in my life. I developed multiple eating disorders and became obsessed with what I looked like, working out and how I ate. Over the years I had to work with physical therapists and nutrition coaches to work through stomach issues from the EDs.

After that, I got my Nutrition certification and Health Coaching certification because I wanted to help others become confident and strong and know that their focus shouldn’t be the number on the scale. 

With the recent rise of remote jobs, it’s become harder to ‘clock out’ and leave the office when…the office is in your home. Do you have advice on how to prioritize movement and exercise in your day when you feel like you can’t find the time? 

#1 – Get up earlier + get yourself a consistent sleep schedule. No one wants to do it, but you have to find the time. Set your alarm for the morning and set up a bedtime reminder on your phone. If you don’t get the hours in, you’re just not the same person. Especially if you’re working out and active, your body needs sleep to recover and build muscle. 

#2 – Get moving in the morning. Even if it’s 10 minutes of movement, it can help start your metabolism, help you feel better and it’s a game changer for your mood. Whatever you have to do – take a 10 minute walk first thing, hop on the treadmill, etc. 

#3 – Walking. 10, 20, or 30 minute walks during your lunch break can help digest your food and get you away from your desk. Break up your day. And go on an after-dinner walk, too. Make it a date, invite a friend and catch up, or even end it with a cocktail. Planning walks or a hike into your week/weekend can make it easier.

For someone who is just embarking on their exercise + nutrition journey, what are some super simple things they should focus on when just starting out?

#1 – Inclusion. Don’t jump to cutting everything out. Find ways you can easily add things into your day, like: waking up a little bit earlier, adding in a walk after lunch, lifting weights 2x a week.

#2 – Nutrition. I’m all for taking care of your body and what feels good, not cutting foods out when you start. Think of ways you can add in more protein, plants, and drink more water (upwards of 100oz – it’s great for your skin!).

By starting with smaller, manageable additions you’ll be able to establish consistency. Then, once you’re lifting 2x a week, add in another day. Don’t jump to working out 6x a week if you’ve never been active. Nutrition isn’t just the things you eat – it’s everything you consume, be mindful of what you’re taking in from your lifestyle (going out 3x a week + binge drinking, sleeping in until noon, watching TV all day, etc). 

Taking care of your body by inclusion helps crowd out the other things that aren’t good for you.

How has your relationship with your body image changed how you approach fitness + holistic view of health?

I’ve been doing group fitness for 10 years. During my high school and college years, I was orthorexic. Completely obsessed with fitness. I was also vegan and pescatarian and my main goal was just to be smaller and reach a 00.

Today, I’m all about living life on your own terms. I think everyone gets more confident as they get older and now I don’t give a shit about what people think about me because everyone is only thinking about themselves. All I want now is to be strong and fuel my body with the food that is needed. 

What’s been the biggest challenge in working in the fitness + nutrition industry?

Everyone is hopping on trends. TikTok and Instagram has made everyone think they’re an expert. There’s so much misinformation about the ‘perfect’ routine or a magic food or shake or potion to help you burn fat and lose weight. There’s no magic formula.

You have to up your protein (30-40g per meal), eat more plants, drink more water and put time in when you workout – squats, lunges, deadlift…just do it over and over and over.

What are your views on calorie-counting and diet culture? Is there a time and place for these things?

When it comes to counting calories, it can be really important to know the education behind macros and how much protein + carbs you need to eat per meal or day to fuel your body. If you’re not getting enough protein per meal (about 30-35g for women), your body eats away at your muscles and won’t be able to build more since it’s an unsustainable environment. If you are trying to lose weight, you will have to create a little bit of caloric deficit but you shouldn’t be restricting yourself – that’s where it goes wrong.

I think it’s so important to be educated on portion sizes and knowing what’s IN your food instead of strictly just counting calories. My advice is to eat things without a nutrition label (think whole foods + fresh produce). If it does have a label, check the ingredients and if you like what you see then, sure, you can check the calories by doing some simple math (carbs x 4 = calories / protein x 4 = calories / fat x 9 = calories).

Just take care of your body and realize what feels good.

Who is someone that inspires you and why?

The first person I thought of when reading over these questions was Leah! We met 6 years ago at a women’s event where she was a speaker. I was staying after and helping clean up with my friend and I was able to chat with her. At that time, brick and mortar Shop Good was just an idea, since it was only an online store. It’s been inspiring to watch her create the Shop Good we all know, become a mom, and build an amazing community around this brand that she has worked so hard for. 

She reached out to me for personal training about a year ago after giving birth to Cleo and every time we train, she always gives the best advice but never in a pushy way – only if you want to hear it. She has amazing business advice and she’s been a huge supporter of mine and has stayed consistent and true to herself from the beginning. She’s such a hard worker. 

Just for fun – what’s in your post-workout smoothie?

I actually always go for a post-workout oatmeal. Here’s what I do:

  • Oats in a bowl (about ⅓-½ cup)
  • Cover with hot water
  • Add a scoop of protein (I try to use one with digestive enzymes)
  • Add a scoop of frozen wild blueberries (because they’re tinier and taste better)
  • Add a dash of pumpkin pie spice if I’m feeling like it!

And for my go-to smoothie:

  • Handful of greens, usually spinach
  • Rippl milk (because it has extra protein in it and no additives)
  • Heaping scoop of protein powder
  • Handful of organic mixed berries
  • A little pineapple – this is my secret ingredient to add something special!
  • Top with Three Wishes cereal (made from chickpeas and pea protein)

I typically stay away from adding in citrus or exotic fruits because they’re higher in sugar and I don’t want to be spiked too much before/after workouts. 

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It was an honor to feature Keara for this month’s ‘GOOD Talks’ — if you’d like to get in contact and book her for personal training, you can do so here. Be sure to give her a follow on Instagram to see when she does her outdoor workouts next.