The task of embarking on a new fitness journey can often seem daunting and overwhelming, especially if it’s a lifestyle that you’re trying to adapt. Luckily, there are people like Kara Wutzke, a Canadian born personal fitness trainer who now resides in Guangzhou, who can help you make those seemingly pipe dreams, become realities.
For Kara, fitness is life. But helping her clients is about believing in the process, and trusting that anything is possible with consistent hard work. We interviewed her about her career journey in fitness, and learned a lot about her unique brand of wellness-centered exercise. Read on to learn more!
When and where did your career in fitness begin? What made you decide to stick to this path?
I remember going to my first commercial gym at 17. I was mesmerized. It made such an impact because it was filled with positive coaches that really wanted to help people. As a kid I remember making sure to take care of the little guy, the one that didn’t get picked in PE because they weren’t that good at sports. As a top level soccer player, I wanted to help the ones that didn’t have that natural ability and who struggled a bit more with it. I loved bringing people up, making people feel good, helping them feel more confident. Coaching is who I am and I realised that very quickly. At 19, I started studying the science of exercise and movement and at 21, I became a certified personal trainer.
What exactly does your work entail? Would you say that it evolves from day to day?
Everyday I’m up at 4:30am raring to go with my first client or class. I work with clients in person until 9:30am and that’s my offline coaching done for the day. I used to work 8-12 hours per day running around Guangzhou from client to client, but now I am lucky enough to have a team of coaches for support. That means the K2Fit Team still gets to serve the community, but I can also work on the business and how we can grow as a team, impacting the lives of so many more than if it was just me. The rest of my day involves studying, writing and developing our online content. We do a lot of videos for our K2Fit Challenge community and the goal is to make videos to educate while being goofy. It’s important for me to show my true character, staying true to my personality while still providing valuable content.
How do you know where to begin with new clients and projects? What are some of the questions you ask yourself and the people you’re working with?
Any projects I take on have to align with the K2Fit brand and philosophy. At K2Fit, it’s people first. We value our clients and the community, so if we take on a partnership or project, we really want to know who we’re working with and what their objective is. If it’s a new coaching client, we sit down for a casual coffee and get to know each other. I want to know more about the person by talking about their daily life, what they like to do for fun, family life, food, and then move onto the big stuff like their fitness goals and dreams. Having this time together allows us to connect and see if there is a fit.
What are 3 things you could never start your day without? Why?
- A good attitude. Sounds hokey, but when you wake up everyday at 4:30am and it’s still dark, you better be happy to be up!
- Bag packed and clothes prepped. This helps me be prepared without having to think…which is super hard at 4:30am!
- An inspirational podcast. I wake up and get something motivating on. It helps me focus and get pumped for the day.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced at the start of your career? What challenges do you face today?
I would say I was pretty lucky at the start of my career. I never struggled to get clients and was fully booked almost immediately. My first client after getting my certification bought 48 sessions from me on the spot. First consult. That’s a lot of trust to invest in someone without knowing them. With that said, I spent a lot of time getting to know her during our 45 minute consultation. The gym standard for a free consultation is 15 minutes and and that’s when you pull out the sales pitch. You have 15 minutes to talk to them, connect with them and sell them. I personally don’t work that way. I don’t work for the sale. I work for the people. I believe that the most important thing about coaching is getting to know and understand my potential client. This is key for their success, which ultimately means it is key for mine as well. My goal is to help people succeed in their health and fitness goals. In order to do that, I need to know the person, connect with them and know what steps they are ready to take to get to the next step.
Later though, when I came to China, it was a different story because fitness was a very different game 16 years ago. Not many people worked out and when they did, it was very different than what I knew and promoted to get results. So that was interesting, having to convince people, especially women, to lift weights. Now it’s a bit easier to get people to understand that you don’t turn into the Hulk by using 15’s. Funnily enough though, my first client in China is still my client to this day. She has joined my online programs from all over the world and we get to stay in contact via WeChat.
How did you end up in China? Is life in China different from living in other countries? (In what ways?)
I came to China to do something different. To experience something. To live in a completely different culture. Honestly, China wasn’t in my top 10 of places to visit. Not even close. But I am so grateful to have met friends that were moving to China and invited me along. Actually, they were my clients at the gym! It was such a random move. They were moving and knew that I was looking to make a move, do some travel, see the world. I had lived in Australia and had the travel bug. I wanted to see more. I am from an island in Canada and even though I love my home city and I loved coaching, I wanted a change. I knew there was so much more to see, to do, to be. And to my delight, China was it. Living in China isn’t much different than Canada or Australia really. Sure there’s less junk food, but that’s a bonus for me and my clients! The language can throw you curveballs, even though I speak Chinese, there are still some tricky sayings. If you can live in the moment of knowing you are in China and remembering it’s a completely different culture, then things tend to be pretty darn good.
How do you see the fitness trend evolve in China?
Fitness in China is really still evolving everyday. There’s so much room for growth and it will just get better. What I love seeing, is how many women are training now and not only that, but the amount of female coaches – it’s awesome!
Do you have any tips for someone who is new to fitness? Where should they begin their journey?
I like to get newbies looking short term first, with clear goals in mind. This is where I have seen the most success for people. Having a set goal with a set deadline makes it manageable and this is why people are so successful on our 10-week K2Fit Challenge. It is a reasonable amount of time to ask people to commit to their health and fitness. By week ten, people have seen a lot of change, and they have already created habits that stick. That means they keep training, keep eating well and stay health conscious in the long term. So, I kind of trick them into realising they feel great through fitness! It’s my best magic trick. 😉
How important is self care to you? In what ways do you practice self care?
Self care is super important, but I probably don’t do enough of it. As an entrepreneur, my brain is constantly running through new ideas on how to make a bigger impact and finding new ways to connect and help more people. With that said, I do take a 20 minute nap every day! I also listen to podcasts each day, which I find relaxing at the same time as educational. Lastly, I find time to laugh every day with my friends.
Where do you get inspiration from? Who do you look up to?
My Dad is the best volleyball coach I know, creating champions over and over. He connects with his players on a level that brings out the best in them. This is how I aspire to be with my clients, as I believe when there is mutual respect between coach and player, great things can be achieved.
Another person who instantly comes to mind is Jillian Michaels. She was one of the first to come onto the fitness scene in a major way, helping millions of people through videos, books, TV, apps and her very entertaining podcast. I will continue working my butt off to achieve at least a few of these things!
What kind of fashion do you appreciate? Explain why this appeals to you.
Great quality workout gear like Lululemon is my go-to fashion because I’m in it daily. I used to wear anything to train and coach in, but I realised I wasn’t feeling good about myself and I wasn’t projecting the image I wanted to. Feeling good has such an impact on your own personal journey and successes in this world. Wake up in a positive way, get your game face on and dress to impress…yourself.
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