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Karen Mullarkey Proved That She Could Make It

Karen Mullarkey


Karen Mullarkey Proved That She Could Make It

How being told she’d never make it in the fitness industry gave Karen Mullarkey the spark to get everything she ever wanted.


Changing goal posts

My weight went up after I graduated from college and I was no longer playing field hockey. I moved to a small town in Colorado and couldn’t afford to join a gym and remained active with outdoor activities, but I lacked discipline in my diet. I began to put on belly fat and my jeans went up another size. When your clothes get tight, it’s time to buckle down!



The turning point

Everything changed when I moved to Arizona and began weight training again. I decided to train for my very first NPC figure competition, and made my debut in 2004. I earned my IFBB Pro Card in 2007, then obtained my Personal Training Certification from the ISSA. Three years later, I found myself in the middle of a divorce and knew it was time to make this business work or go back to corporate America.


Game plan

I picked a local competition date and hired a trainer to get me ready for it. Considering my soon-to-be-ex told me over and over that I would never make a living in the fitness industry, I had added motivation to make my personal training business work. There’s nothing like someone telling you that you can’t do something to light a fire under your butt to succeed. Now, 10 years later, I have trained clients all over the world with my online programs and competition prep workouts.


Dietary control

I was given a strict nutrition schedule to follow, along with a weight training and cardio program. This saw me go from eating processed foods to taking the time to prep my meals properly. It was quite the change, but man did I feel better! I was dropping inches and my energy increased significantly.



Finding motivation

When I knew that I was going to be standing on stage in a tiny bikini in front of hundreds of folks, that was enough to make me get serious. I am also a very competitive individual and I wanted to place in the top five. The hard work paid off and I placed third in my open class.

I have not only created a brand and a successful business in fitness, but I have also been published nationally and internationally as a contributing writer and fitness model. I recently published four eBooks on weight training, which hit the Best Sellers List on Amazon. I have also landed four covers throughout my career and am now, at the age of 41, training to be the next American Ninja Warrior.

I made walk-ons in LA for season eight, but they ran out of time before I got the opportunity to run the course. I missed tryouts for season nine due to a broken hand, but now I am fully healed and ready to return to training. I am not one to give up and will be trying out for season 10. I not only teach my clients to go after their goals – no matter how crazy they may seem – but I also go for my own! The best way to motivate my clients is to lead by example.


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