Hitch Fit is delighted to have the chance to interview WBFF Fitness Model Mindy Karuk. She has a great story of overcoming obstacles in her life and using it all for positive as she continues to achieve goal after goal within the fitness industry!
Mindy Vera Ann Karuk
Years Competing: 7 years
Occupation: Makeup Artist
What was life like for you growing up and how did you discover that fitness was a passion for you?
I grew up in the small Ukrainian town of Dauphin Manitoba. I was enrolled in a Ukrainian Immersion School and was taught Ukrainian English and French. When I was growing up, school wasn’t always something I looked forward to. For most of my years in school I was bullied and picked on. It wasn’t something I knew how to cope with so I had turned to food for comfort. It was if the bullying would be turned on and off like a light switch. Some days they were your best friend, the next they were ignoring you and taunting you on the play ground. My first memories of being picked on started around Grade two and didn’t fade out till around Grade Ten. By then I had a small circle of friends and things started to turn around. Emotionally the damage was already done. There were times I would sit alone at home and eat up to two full bags of chips and have a couple of chocolate bars while watching a couple of hours of t.v. Don’t get me wrong my parents cooked me well rounded meals and I always had breakfast, it was out of the home where most of my bad eating habits flourished. This continued after I moved out on my own to Winnipeg. Going to college and working a part time job saw me coming home after not eating anything for most of the day, then having a large meal as late as 10pm! One day I looked at some photos of myself from a party. I saw a squishy tummy poking out from a shirt that was a little short, and wearing a pair of jeans that were a size 33. I decided I had to make a change! I was always interested in working out but in high school the closest I got to that was painting the school mascot on the wall of the gym! I started buying fitness magazines like Oxygen, Flex, Muscle & Fitness and read everything I could! I did at home workouts until I got the courage to step into a gym! When I did I never turned back! All of that is behind me but it has shaped me into the person I am, and it’s helped me in helping others with their journey.
You’ve been involved in the fitness industry for several years now, when you first got started what were your goals and aspirations? Which ones have you achieved so far?
Gosh, when I first started out I remember looking at the pages of the magazines and seeing the competition coverage! It all seemed so intense and the work that was put in was so admirable! I remember wanting to compete and be on stage, to put myself to the test. My first goal was to loose the weight in a healthy way and then start building muscle! I set goals to earn my Pro Card, which I did after my second show, that was amazing and I cried on stage I was so happy! My Mom and friends were in the crowd! Months later I stepped on stage with the rest of the Pro’s I had looked up to for so long, it was such a surreal moment! I have been so fortunate to obtain my goal of being a sponsored athlete and I am now sponsored by four amazing companies. Magnum Nutraceuticals which is a Canadian Pharmaceutical Grade Supplement line, SmartShake which is based out of Sweden and I am extremely proud to say I was their first North American Athlete to be signed on to an already incredible team! Minx Spray Tan sponsors me and keeps me golden and all year round with their perfect color! Most recently sponsored by LegareWear as a Determined, Unstoppable, Relentless and Irresistable Spokes model. They are also a local company that designs beautiful comfortable workout wear for all, with the message to find your inner strength. What bonds all of these reputable companies is their integrity and commitment for success and quality! Since then I have been printed and featured in many magazines all which I only dreamed of accomplishing! My long term goal of moving to the west coast finally came to fruition a year and a half ago.
What new goals and aspirations do you have for the future?
Everything that has happened so far has been such a blessing, to know that when you apply hard work and determination to your goals, there really is no limit to what you can achieve! This year I would love to obtain my Pro Card with the WBFF for Fitness Model. Earning a cover would be cool bragging rights I mean who doesn’t want to see their face staring back in line at the grocery store? My goal of releasing my eBook is almost complete and I will have that available on www.mindykaruk.com. I would also like to start speaking in the schools about anti bullying, setting goals and going after your dreams. It’s something that is close to my heart and would make me very happy to be able to speak out to those who are younger and are facing some of things that I once did. Outside of fitness related goals, I would like to further my education in the field of nursing and I would like to learn Cantonese in the next couple of years! I aspire to make each year better than the last and to learn from all of my experiences.
Do you have any “aha” moments that were instrumental in change that you made in your life?
Knowing that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for us all, has been a huge compass in my life. It helps you understand and find peace in certain outcomes in life. I know everything that happened in my life, no matter how painful it was at the time was meant to happen. Since if some of those events never happened, I would not be in Vancouver living my dream. I also came to understand and dissect some of the things I did in the past. I realized I did what I did because I did not feel that just “me” was enough. I will not be repeating the past and I will apply what I have learned from that “aha” moment to my competition season this year. Maybe people will be able to figure out what it is I’m changing come time…
What type of a support system do you, or have you had throughout your journey in the fitness industry?
I have had the most incredible support system on this journey. It’s mind blowing sometimes when I think about it. I can really credit the good vibes and every one’s belief in me to part of my success. I have an army of believers and supporters and it only takes one person to stand behind you and believe in you. Telling someone you believe in them can build a fire in them. It does for me. My family, boyfriend, trainer, friends, co-workers have all been there for me pushing me and cheering me on. I am truly lucky to have that.
What do you love about competing?
I love the relationships you build with your fellow competitors! This industry really bonds us all so fast. I have made friends with women I have only ever been in contact with through the Internet for the last 6 years and have yet to meet, but we are bonded through this sport. I love competing for the discipline and the drive it takes to change your body and push it to new limits. I love the rush of being on stage and escaping, it’s a performance and you can really speak to the crowd.
What or who inspires you to compete or be an athlete?
People with hard work ethic and integrity are the ones that I am drawn to and look to for inspiration. When it’s couples like Diana and Micah, or individuals like Miryah Jade or Nick Scott. These people set the bar. Everyone has such unique stories of how they started, so many are inspirations in their own way. You really don’t have to search long to be inspired in this industry.
Give a brief overview of your diet and training.
My current diet consists of 5 to 6 meals a day. Breakfast, Pre and Post workout will see me eating my slow and fast digesting carbs. I load up on green veggies with all of my meals except for breakfast. My protein portions are around 4.5oz and come from chicken, white fish and flank steak. I supplement with Udo’s Oil in the morning with breakfast and meal three. My training is based on a 5 day split. I feel this enables me to tackle my body parts in the most efficient way. I incorporate plyometrics twice a week and a metcon workout once a week. I make use of active rest periods to keep the intensity high. I do am cardio for an hour 5 times a week.
You recently took 2nd place in the Status Fitness Magazine Cover Girl competition. Can you tell us a little bit about what that whole experience was like? Any tips for girls who hope to place that well in future competitions?
To have made it in the finals out of such a large group of women was an achievement in itself! That lineup was literally the best of the best and I’m very happy and proud to have placed 2nd out of that many women! I made some new friends out of the experience and that really is a throw back to why this industry bonds us so well! Here we are in “competition” and cheering each other on. Camaraderie was so prevalent in that Cover Girl Search! Thank you to Status Fitness and Rodney Jang for such an incredible opportunity! This is definitely one of the highlights of my career so far!! I would have to say to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation, you have to put in the work. You have to go after it. Then when you get there, don’t stop….keep going!
Is there anything that you are afraid of? If so, why?
That is a really good question, and I think I will start my answer to that with a well known quote…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within is. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I think this is a great mantra, and when I start to let fear hold me back, I read this and it sets me straight. Fear isn’t a mountain, a fence, or a river so how can we let something that is manifested in the mind stop us? Get over the fear and push forward!
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
Surround yourself with positive people. To succeed you surround yourself with the best. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to reach out to those who have been at it longer. Be kind to yourself, never loose hope in your goals, keep it bright and close to your heart. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Remember every one has their path, and your time will come too!
Tell us a funny story about you, not necessarily related to fitness
Well I tend to be a big goof ball when I want to be, all at the sake of making my friends laugh. But something that comes to mind is just this summer Chris and I decided to go rollerblading through Stanley Park. Chris had to buy new blades and was going to buy some for me also, but I insisted mine were perfectly fine still! We got to the park and put on our blades. Chris laughed at mine and it really was evident that I was in need of new ones! We made our way through the park and got to the a spot that had a bit of a hill. Keep in mind it was a weekend afternoon and the park was filled with children, dogs, bikes, skaters and people walking. I went down this hill after Chris and completely lost control! My break was worn out and I had no way of stopping, I dodged kids and pedestrians, as I bladed down the path with one leg up in the air behind me trying to regain balance and keep from falling! I went on the grass off the grass, past a dog back on the gravel path, then the paved path. My arms were flailing about and I must have gone 50 feet before finally coming to a stop on the grass without falling on my bum! I can’t even imagine how I must have looked and EVERYONE that was around had stopped to stare!
How can people find out more about you?
Well if they would like to find out more they can go to www.mindykaruk.com www.hardmagnum.com www.smartshake.com or follow me on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/#!/MindyKaruk
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Anyone you would like to thank who has been a part of your fitness journey?
I would like to thank my parents, boyfriend Chris, my friends, all of my sponsors and Paul and Allison Dillett for their support and encouragement. There are those who may not be able to be in the gym or have their health right now. Every day that passes is a blessing. I take nothing for granted, and celebrate every success. Thank you of course to Micah and Diana for being interviewed, I’m absolutely honored to be asked by you guys! You are both positive role models for many many people and I am happy to call you friends.