Julia Karlstad has a Master of Education degree in exercise science as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in basic sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy. She also holds two nationally recognized fitness certifications: Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and Physical Fitness Specialist from The Cooper Institute. In addition, she is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the Obesity Action Coalition.

Julia has helped people lose weight for many years. She has worked with thousands of clients, including a 600-pound individual, an 82-year-old, a 9-year-old pushing 200 pounds, pre- and post-weight-loss surgery clients, wheelchair-bound individuals, soldiers, athletes, and marathon runners. She worked in a medically supervised weight-loss clinic for three years. She developed and directed the exercise physiology department for a bariatric program that consisted of two bariatric hospitals and three medically supervised weight-loss clinics. In addition, she has managed a multidisciplinary medical and surgical weight-loss clinic consisting of a full fitness center, medical clinic, sleep labs, nutrition unit, and patient education programs. She recently founded JKFITNESS and manages all aspects of this health and fitness company.

In February of 2010, Julia Karlstad was selected to be in the “Top 9” among an elite group of fitness professionals vying for “Personal Fitness Professionals (PFP) Trainer of the Year” honors. As the only female among this amazing group of professionals, Julia has proven herself one of the best in the fitness industry in the United States! This elite recognition sets Julia Karlstad and JKFITNESS ahead of the competition. In order to get a better feel for some of Julia’s accomplishments to date, take a look at Julia’s response to one of the questions the judging panel posed to the “Top 9” finalists.

Please give a detailed description of all relevant achievements. How did they make you a stronger fitness professional? How did they advance your career? Which achievements were initiated by adversity, and how did you overcome that adversity?

Founded JKFITNESS, LLC. As the President of JKFITNESS, I personally manage all operations, staff, and make all business decisions for the company. Running my own business has definitely helped me be a stronger fitness professional because I have a better understanding of the business behind the profession. I personally grew our client base from zero to 200 plus clients in less than a year and hope to grow to 400 plus over the next year. This achievement was initiated by adversity as I had to make a very difficult decision previous to starting my business; I made the decision to resign from my HealthPlex Manager position where I was making a very good annual salary. This was the second time in my life where I was completely unemployed and not bringing in any money. I had to decide what to do with my career and I had a strong desire to try and start my own business; I’d always envisioned owning and running my own fitness center. So that’s what I did, I secured a location to run my business out of and started to build the dream of owning my own business and being my own boss. Over the past year I can definitely say that I hold higher expectations of myself than any supervisor I’ve ever had in the past.

Authored a health and fitness book: Rx Fitness for Weight Loss: The Medically Sound Solution to Get Fit and Save Your Life. The authorship of my own book gives me more credibility as a true fitness professional. This experience also helped me appreciate the different fitness books out there as it takes a lot of time, energy, discipline, and commitment to publish a book. I’m proud of the fact that my book is medically sound and that I was able to have a physician, surgeon, and psychologist endorse and contribute to my book.

Completed a full marathon in November of 2008. This accomplishment helped me understand the level of dedication that goes into training for an ultra endurance event. It was by far one of the most difficult physical challenges I’ve ever done. I’ve completed several half marathons, but doing a full marathon is completely different. Personally experiencing this has helped me better train other marathon and ultra endurance level athletes.

I have personally worked with thousands of clients, including a six hundred pound individual, an eighty-two-year-old, kids, pre- and post-weight loss surgery clients, wheelchair-bound individuals, soldiers, athletes, and marathon runners. I definitely consider working with my clients each and every day an accomplishment as it takes a lot of energy and I always try to bring my best effort so that I can positively impact their lives. Although I have worked with a variety of different people, I consider myself an expert in weight loss as I’ve spent the majority of my career working with overweight to obese clientele. I have built a fitness program that centers on metabolic testing, both the resting metabolic rate and the VO2 max assessment. I’ve administered thousands of fitness assessments; I believe that you must assess and reassess to truly know if you’re making progress and how much progress you’ve actually made. As I’ve administered these tests over the years they’ve helped me be a better trainer because I’ve been able to closely monitor my client’s progress and make necessary adjustments to their fitness and diet regiment in order to meet their health and fitness goals.

In the midst of running my own business, finishing the publication of my book, and training clients about 25 to 30 hours a week, I suffered a major traumatic accident. This accident occurred on July 11th 2009, and it literally stopped me in my tracks as I had a complete open dislocation of my left elbow and was life-flighted off of Padre Island. I underwent two major surgeries and spent one week in the hospital; at the time I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to use my arm again. In fact right after it happened I feared I was going to lose my arm and possibly bleed to death. After I was released from the hospital, I started aggressive rehabilitation three times a week as well as daily self-rehab at home three times a day. Due to my determination and discipline to push myself in therapy, I was back to training clients two months after my second surgery. I still suffer from nerve and muscle damage, but battling this injury was a major accomplish for me both physically and psychologically this past year. Both my surgeon and physical therapist said that the number one reason why my recovery was so successful was because I was in great shape. My fitness level also contributed to the affect of the accident and that it didn’t turn out worse than it did; for example I didn’t break the bone, I didn’t sever my ulnar nerve although it was severely damaged, I didn’t rupture my brachial artery, I didn’t lose my arm, and I didn’t die. Without a doubt this experience will only help me train and better relate to my clients and their trials and tribulations.

To learn more about Julia’s nomination and selection to the “Top 9”, please visit the PFP Trainer of the Year website.