“My dream was to one day compete as a bikini competitor since the age of 19.
For more than a decade I trained myself. First, thinking hours of cardio a week was the only solution to end my struggle with being overweight. I had a perceived ideal weight of 120 lbs. At one point in my life I actually got my weight down to 120 lbs but I didn’t look like how I expected. I looked bony and had zero muscle tone. Afterwards, I felt defeated as if it was never possible.
I revisited the idea of training to be a bikini competitor. I was 144 lbs, had little knowledge of proper prep diet and lifestyle. I gave myself a show to work towards which I was nowhere near stage ready despite my dedication and motivation. This time instead of giving up, I was pissed off and more determined than ever to fulfill my goal of competing. I sought out the best all around trainer I could find. After doing some research I found Karen Yoakum, Diva Squad Fitness. I signed up almost immediately and began her online prep program with diet, cardio, and weight training. After just one week of completing her program I could see a dramatic difference with diet alone. Every aspect of the program was specifically laid out. At any time I could ask questions if I had any. Early on I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. As long as I stuck to Karen’s program, I would realize my goal.
After months of prepping for my competition debut, Karen had helped me transform from out of shape 40 year old, to a lean, confident bikini competitor ready for the stage. It was a huge milestone that I achieved. I’m certain without Karen’s help through her program, I wouldn’t have been able to do in the amount of time I accomplished it in. I would highly recommend anyone that wants to end their struggle with weight to sign up for one of Karen’s programs. “
The decision to come to Karen was one of the biggest and most life-changing steps of my life. As a woman I have struggled immensely with my self-confidence. I was confident in areas I knew best (sports – volleyball), but when it came down to it, I was not accepting of myself and who I truly was. Growing up in an abusive, drug/alcohol-consumed household, I was not given the essential needs and lessons a child must receive in order to grow as a person and be confident. Instead, I would hide from everything and everyone in fear that my “secret”, =home-life would ”get out” and make me even more uncomfortable with the person I was. I stayed in my bubble and just focused on making it through day-by-day instead of focusing on growing as an independent woman.
As if life wasn’t crazy enough during my childhood, the insanity continued on throughout my 20’s. It was a day-to-day struggle to stay focused on me, because I was constantly concerned about making sure everyone else around me was OK. It was at that time in December of 2015 that I knew I needed to make a change to better myself and to stop trying to bandage up my past. I needed to accept me for me and needed to focus on creating the best version of myself (both physically and mentally). That’s when I decided to call Karen and on a whim made the decision to commit to a 14-week competition prep program!
Just as I was prepared to finally focus on me after 27 years of trying to fix my family and crazy past; rock bottom officially slapped me in the face. That very same month I ended up going through one of the lowest points in my life. I had lost any sort of “family” that I was still trying to hold on to and tape back together due to addiction. I felt alone and abandoned by my own blood and didn’t know if I was going to get through it.
Without hesitation I knew I couldn’t stop at this point. The very next day I went and got that gym membership and committed to Karen. During those 14-weeks I felt it ALL. I not only felt the physical pain of every workout and cardio session that led to the 20+ pound weight loss, I also felt every emotion of losing my loved ones and chose to let myself deal with the pain with hopes of overcoming it with time.
As time progressed I started seeing results both physically and mentally. My new physique, the constant reminders from Karen that I was on the right track, the morning quotes from her reminding me to go after my dreams and to set aside the distractions, and all of the positive reinforcement that I WAS a sexy diva and not some un-confident scared individual started to grow on me and give me confidence as a woman that I NEVER thought I could have. I stopped thinking about all that I didn’t have and started to thank God for providing me with a loving, fitness family that cared about my goals and dreams and who also wanted to see me become the best version of me. 🙂
Thank you, Karen for your commitment to my future as a competitor and individual; but more importantly for helping me realize that my past is just that and that it does not define me!
Fitness has always been a part of my life. Nutrition and exercise is a daily routine for me in my everyday lifestyle. Competing was an entirely new level of the fitness world to me and I can say I am grateful to have had Karen as my coach through the process of transforming my body from fit to competition ready. It was not only fun, but a great experience!
I have truly enjoyed my prep with Karen & Diva Squad Fitness. The entire program from start to show day was amazing. Loved that the meal plan and workouts changed often so there was no way to get bored with any of it. Looking forward to continuing my journey with Diva Squad.
I wanted to thank you once again for all you guidance and dedication with me for the last 15 weeks and I’m so excited to continue our journey together. Goal to meet in person one day !! I was so nervous of living so far from you and how it would be but you made me feel amazing you cared so much for me and always had my best interest in your mind. You have given me the tools to not only be stronger in the gym but stronger mentally !! I have by far the best physique yet. The work that went into this prep was 100% for sure but like you said this is just the beginning for me and here is to our journey together. You have no idea how happy I am we are working together !! I’ve honestly had the best experience ! I legit just bragged about you for the last ten minutes in the car. My friends think it’s amazing and said how lucky I am that I have you because how attentive you were before show day and on show day.Thank you so much Karen- for coaching me to look like this! I loved working with you ! It’s all about teamwork and we made an awesome team. Thank you for being so supportive the entire journey and never leaving my side on show day. #bestcoachever.
I had a small win yesterday. I got a dress for another wedding this weekend, and am usually a 12 maybe 10, and the stylist put me in an 8 and it fit wonderfully. I haven’t been able to wear an 8 in atleast 4 years. Yay for a win!!! I attached the pic of the dress, and my glutes look amazing.Thank you for all of your help!!
Karen is an excellent coach and I can’t wait to work with her again! She provided guidance, support and motivation to get me towards my goals as I competed in my first prep and competition. I can honestly say I would not have made it through without her. There were times when I doubted myself and Karen was always there to give me a word of encouragement, keep me on track and pull me through. I could go on and on but the bottom line is Coach Karen knows how to get you ready to compete and succeed! In my first competition I placed 2nd in Novice and 3rd in Open. I know without her I wouldn’t have even made it onto the stage. I can’t wait to do even better at my next show!
I had met Karen back in 2012, she was training a few clients at my fathers gym, and I immediately liked her. She was very kind to everyone, and I could see she was a professional while I watched her with her clients. About 4 months ago I had seen her posting before and after pictures of her clients and it finally allowed me the courage to talk with her.
I was at a low point, I had a bad back, I was over weight, and I was finally ready to take a leap of faith and try and help myself. Once again, she was as pleasant as ever, and she was very genuine in her enthusiasm for my well being and for my desire to change my life.
Once we began, everything was laid out for me; from my diet, to supplements, to cardio, to weight training.. I didn’t have to think about anything. I was completely taken into consideration as well. She asked my what I like to eat, what I don’t like to eat, when I like to work out, and what I like to work out. She was very cautious of my back, and she was always available if you needed to speak with her.
The great thing about Karen, is how much she cares. I’ve been around trainers my entire adult life. To be a good trainer you need to be aware of people, you need to be able to read people and be able to know how to approach a subject. Telling someone their flaws is a delicate matter, and she handles it very well. She wont lie to you, and she does that because she cares.
It’s easy to tell someone they’re doing well when they’re not, just to make them feel good. Karen will save a compliment for when you’ve earned it, all the while encouraging you to get there. Even after my competition was over, she reached out to give me feedback and to say some very sweet things. Whether you want to compete or want a trainer to help get you in the best shape of your life… Karen’s who you’ll want. You won’t find her wasting your time, and I can’t thank her enough for changing my life, and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity to try competing again in the future with her.
Karen and I met many years ago while I was on a cookie cutter competition team. I was seeing minimal results and was treated like a number. My figure preparation workouts and diets were the same as the bikini girls and were not tailored to me like I was told. Now years later, and a 14 months post baby, I decided to contact Karen to train under her. Karen has been so helpful, understanding, and makes me feel like I am important. Throughout my 13 weeks we spoke very often, and when my 13 weeks was coming to an end we spoke every day multiple times a day. She made me feel that I mattered and like I was also her friend. My journey with her in a new division, women’s physique, was incredible. I placed 1st in two divisions, overall, and was nationally qualified in my first show. I went to nationals Miami the following weekend with Karen and placed in top 10 for my very first national show and with 14 weeks of training. Karen told me I made her proud and she was so encouraging when I was the least bit negative. Overall my experience with Karen was amazing, she has changed my life, and I can’t wait to do my next show with her. I recommend her to all women with the will power to compete!
In strategic Michelangelo fashion, Karen Yoakum took a hammer and chisel (or in this case, a training split and a meal plan) to really fine tune my physique. In a little over 6 months under her guidance and attentive eye, I lost over 30 lbs and significantly reduced my body fat – oh, and took home first place in my first ever bikini competition! Stride for stride, she was with me every step of the way making the process that much more effective and enjoyable. Aside from contest preparation, I walked away from the experience with healthier habits that have since contributed to a much happier lifestyle and a wonderful friend. It was an absolute honor to work with her and I cannot wait to begin my next contest prep!