Breakthrough Spotlight – Karen Petersen

Our Breakthrough Spotlight Member for May is Karen Petersen! We reconnected with Karen after starting to offer remote coaching last year. Even after having several years off from training, it's amazing to see what Karen has accomplished in a short period of time. She shares how curiosity, consistency, and connecting to her "why" keep her making progress!

BREAKTHROUGH: Hi Karen! I appreciate you taking a few minutes to share a little of what has been going on with you… Getting to work with you again has been one of the silver linings of COVID, because you were a member of ours for several years and then moved to the Seattle area. And then of course we weren’t doing any remote training at the time like we are now, so we didn’t get to keep working with you -which was not fun because you are the best!

KAREN: It wasn’t fun for me either. I never got my act together to figure out who I could train with who would keep me going. So, it was a lot of years of down time for me. It was definitely a silver lining for me as well, because you contacted me about the same time that I was finally putting down my determination to do something about my declining health and aging body.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah. It was definitely the perfect timing! It was meant to be. And you have just been so successful at staying on track with doing your program! It helps that you have a really nice set-up at home in your garage. How have you been feeling since you have resumed training?


KAREN: Oh, so much better! I won’t lie to you. It was a rough start at the beginning because I had lost so much ground. And at once point I had injured my knee and I had gained a bunch of weight. My knee was really bothering me, and my shoulder had started bothering me, probably due of all the work I do with the mouse and stuff like that. But it was just snowballing on me. The timing couldn’t have been better because I finally decided to go on Weight Watchers, and I started to lose some weight. And when you called, I was like “oh that is just perfect!” I knew that I needed to get more active and I needed to help my body feel more healthy and get it under control because my parents live with me, so I can see where my future is heading if I don’t do something about it. My mom has out of control arthritis and my dad has scoliosis in his back and he is getting weaker and weaker. I want to do whatever I can to nip that in the bud. If I’m already starting to feel bad in my mid-50’s, and I am supposed to take care of the eighty- year old’s, how am I going to do that if I am feeling crappier and crappier?

BREAKTHROUGH: Exactly. It’s been about 6 or 7 months since we started training again. What are some of the biggest changes you have noticed in how you are feeling now?

KAREN: One big thing is that my knee doesn’t hurt anymore.


KAREN: Yes. Even with all the squats and lunges and everything, I can do all of it. I think it talks to me when I don’t have things in alignment, but that is just a reminder that I need to make sure that I have really good form. That makes me even more grateful that you guys are watching over me!


KAREN: I love playing with the kettlebells; I love the heavy lifting; I love the barbell work. You guys are helping me to do it safely. I feel better in my body. Doing the stairs in not an issue anymore and I have a lot more endurance to get through all the things I need to get done in a day. You know, taking care of the dogs and the people in the house. I feel so much more capable. I wasn’t able to kneel down comfortably to take care of my dogs on the ground, like when I do grooming and stuff like that. Now, I have no problem getting down on the ground, playing with the dogs, helping them out, you know, doing the physical things I need to do to help my parents out. It is just so much better! I still feel like I have a long way to go to even get back to where I was when I left California, and to lose more weight, but I feel already that I have just been blessed with so much better health now, and I know that it is just going to get better from here. So, the motivation just keeps going. Also, I am one who gets bored easily if it is the same thing all the time.


KAREN: Ha, ha! Or if it is something that somebody has me doing but doesn’t know how to explain why it is helpful, which many years ago, and this was well before I was training with you guys, I had both a 24 Hour Fitness and an LA Fitness membership for a while. Doing the stupid circuit machines and stuff, the trainers were – you know, they would show you how to do it and they give you a program, but those circuit machines are boring and they never really explain, you know, where it is going or what it is doing for you. Or what you are heading for. The kind of things that you guys really helped me to sync up. What am I trying to do? What is my objective with the program, and to see the progress. To see it getting better and better and getting stronger and stronger, and to not be bored while I am doing it.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes. I feel the same. I want to know that I am progressing toward something. It is not just mindless. Sometimes I like having a couple of weeks in between programs where I am just messing around with stuff trying to figure out what I want to work on next. But then I get bored and need a focus again. I like to have goals and I like to understand the targets that I am shooting at, and why certain exercises might be beneficial to do at a certain time. I love that you’re curious about that stuff, too.

KAREN: Yeah, and part of what motivates me is learning things, and so you are not just helping me to understand how I am getting to my objectives. You are also feeding the side of me that loves to learn things. So that helps motivate me as well.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yeah. I agree. I am always curious about stuff and I continue to take classes with my coaches and mentors because I like to have my curiosity satisfied, too. And that should be part of it because it keeps your mind engaged in the activity, which is safer. It’s stronger. And if you are talking about longevity, keeping your brain engaged in the activities you are doing is so important!

KAREN: Yes, I totally agree.

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s great! So, then we always like to hear from people what is your why? What’s the thing that motivates you and keeps you going?

KAREN: Well there’re two actually. One is, I kind of already explained, that my eighty-year old parents live with me and I see the decline that they are going through in terms of their physical capabilities and their mental capabilities, especially in the last couple of years. I am genetically related to them and that is where I am heading if I don’t start taking care of the problem now. I can see the arthritis in my mom’s knees and the arthritis in her shoulder and I know the wear and tear on my knees with the added weight and lack of training. I’ve had problems with my back when I don’t take care of my core muscles. And having a problem with my shoulder and knowing all the overuse I put it through playing softball and now with the mouse work and things like that, I can see. I’ve got two physical examples in front of me of where my body is heading if I don’t do something about it. So that is one side of it. That really hit home when my knees started hurting more and more and my shoulder was aching all the time. And now, it rarely ever does.

BREAKTHROUGH: That’s so wonderful!


KAREN: And the other side of it is, you know I have very, large dogs who I want to play sports with, and they love to be active. That is part of what drew me to these particular Bernese Mountain Dogs, and if I can’t keep up with them- it’s not as though I have to run as fast as them – but if I can’t keep with them, I can’t do the sports. They’re big active dogs and I have to be capable of being active with them.

BREAKTHROUGH: Yes. Now, you are about to head out to do some of that stuff later this month, right?

KAREN: Right. Yes, I’m going to the Bernese Mountain Dog National Specialty in Colorado and it’s a week- long whirlwind with lots of different sports. It’s just a jampacked week full of activities. I tell you if I had done this last year, I would have been huffing and puffing and just dying by the end of each day, especially by the end of the week. I feel like I can handle it now without being completely exhausted by the end of the week. I am not even doing stuff with my dogs. One is too old and the other is way too anxious to do those activities. I am also probably getting a new puppy in June!


KAREN: I know! If I am going to keep up with three dogs and one of whom is a puppy, I have to keep my training act together! Stay active and keep doing stuff.

BREAKTHROUGH: Oh my gosh! Well, that is exciting! I can’t wait to see photos of the new puppy. And to see you keep getting stronger and stronger and doing all the things you love to do! Thanks so much for sharing all this, Karen!

KAREN: Thank you!

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