My name is Karla Marie Gillis; I was born and raised in Cape Breton Nova Scotia. I’ve been in the fitness industry for the past 12 years. I am an Executive Assistant, Health and Lifestyle Guru at Holr Magazine, CEO and creator of KG Lifestyle; Personal Training and Motivational Coaching that guides you to your best self and happiest life. I wear a lot of hats and wouldn’t change a thing! I am a huge lover of life and enjoy every moment.
My fitness journey started in 2007, I competed in the figure category for 5 years earning my way to the National Stage placing 8th in Canada.
My life was not always this way!! I lost myself at the age of 21 and I was going nowhere FAST!!!!
I was always driven as a child, and very competitive. I was involved in many sports including; piano lessens, 4H, figure skating, volleyball, basketball and my favourite being horseback riding that I started at the age of 5, continuing on to competitive horse showing.
My parents bought me a horse at the age of 12 after years and years of dedication and proving myself that I was ready for the responsibility and dreamed to compete in the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association). I was up at 5 am every morning to feed and clean the stall, then off to school, then home after school to ride and train. I missed a lot of school dances and social events because I was so excited to be doing what I loved most and wanted to give the horse showing my everything. I did very well in school and had amazing friends and the most wonderful family who supported me in everything I did.
Then I graduated High School at 18 and moved to the city of Halifax to attend Cosmetology school with the plan to open my own salon one day. Coming from a small town in Cape Breton I was completely overwhelmed with the city lights and the lifestyle people lived. I soon became distracted with the big city, being a small town country girl, and slowly slipped into the party lifestyle loosing myself, my goals, and my all over direction in life. Partying and having fun took over, and seemed more exciting to me at the time distracting me from my life goals. I lost sight of my vision and what I wanted in life, this went on for a few of years.
Then one day when I was 26 years old my life changed forever!!!That little voice inside my head finally shouted loud enough for me to not be able to ignore it anymore. I was tired of feeling like shit, and wasting every day and night, not making myself or my family proud and that day was the best day of my life and I will never forget how I felt, something just clicked. I called my family, quit my job as a hairstylist and bartender, and moved home for a year. I surrounded myself with the love of family and true friends. I worked my ass off fixing myself, I started exercising, quit the drinking and partying and made the promise to myself that I was going to be something, I was going to be successful, I was going to make myself and my family proud like I had always dreamed; and that I did!!!:) After a lot of soul searching and hard work on myself, I was finally the happy, excited about life girl that I had once lost.
I enrolled to go back to school and become an Executive Assistant; I graduated with honors and was hired immediately by the end of the program by the school I had attended, Eastern College. I didn’t miss one day, I wasn’t late one day, I literally gave it my all and I was rewarded in so many ways from how I felt about myself to the new career I had begun! Then on day, as I was waiting for the bus; which was thankfully late, I noticed the gym “Goodlife Fitness” and that day forever changed my life in an incredible way!
Since the busses were running late this particular day; I thought to myself I’ll just go in for a minute and see how much a membership is. I walked in and saw all these amazing ladies in incredible shape who were training for an upcoming competition. I was blown away and immediately fell in love with what I saw and the vibe I felt; their determination, dedication and obviously the way they looked. Then a super nice and friendly personal trainer greeted me as I was standing there in awe looking at all the beautiful girls, his name was Adrian Veinot. I had a great chat with him and he offered to help me prep for a competition, show me the ropes and all that was involved. I will be forever grateful to this man. He saw something in me, he believed in me and was willing to help me even though I could not fully afford his services at the time we worked out a payment plan, I was so dam excited to get started!! I bought a gym membership and started training immediately. That was it; I had found my happy place, a hobby that added so much to my life, allowed me to challenge myself on a daily basis, building my confidence, happiness, willpower, excitement, strength, meeting like minded individuals who inspired and motivated me! I knew where I belonged and everything in my life was finally coming together, I now had a family away from my family, and felt so grateful for all the challenges I had previously faced that lead me to this place in my life! The training, and dieting was not easy in the beginning but were so incredibly rewarding. As I conquered each goal I became stronger, happier, and more motivated. I was learning so much and the changes in my life were endless; from my work performance, my confidence, my strength, how I felt about everything, and my vision became so clear, I finally truly believed in myself and everything I was doing and knew exactly what I wanted. My life and my body became my canvas and I was unstoppable. By surrounding myself with amazing, inspirational, hard working people with goals and dreams and having a support system of likeminded individuals who want to see you and help you succeed is so curtail in becoming the best “YOU” that you can be. The work I put in strengthened me more and more every day from the inside out; I saw all the things I wanted to improve in myself and now had all the tools and skills to do so!! The focus and determination I received from my new lifestyle and the gym, gave back so much; not only with my health and fitness, it gave me the most rewarding feeling of belonging and accomplishment. 6months into my training and a lot of learning, growing, and hard work with my trainer I competed at my first show placing 2nd.
I felt like a child with the world at her fingertips, all my hard work paid off and nothing could stop me or ever take that away from me because I earned every bit of it!
To this day I remain focused, driven, happy and full of life all thanks to the lifestyle I chose to live. I sadly missed out on so much growth as a woman during those party days but one thing is for sure it taught me so much!! I wouldn’t change any of it because it lead me to where I am today, it showed the life I don’t want and the life I do! When you put your mind to something you are unstoppable, I use the mistakes I made everyday to remind myself how everything in life is a choice; and every decision you make is creating your future. We all mess up that’s part of life but it’s about what you do from this day on that makes you who you are, YOUR PAST DOES NOT DEFINE YOU!!
So I hope by telling my story; I can inspire & help those of you looking for that change, that something in your life you may be missing, or the person who is lost in life, or battling any kind of addiction to an unhealthy lifestyle. We all have a different life story and things that we need and want to work on in our lives. It does take work and it will be hard, but it will be so worth it. I PROMISE! There are so many different challenges we face and we are all human we just need to ignite that spark, and get excited about life!!!! :)
I do not compete in the fitness industry anymore, I now spend my days giving back; helping to educate, motivate and inspire others to live a great life. I promote a healthy balanced lifestyle of fun, exercise, clean eating and enjoying life. I do not claim to be a miracle worker, but I am a real person who has experienced failures. I now see the world thought different eyes and the incredible things it has to offer. I am someone who has been on both sides of the fence and I can promise you that you can be happy, you can love life, you can feel amazing, you can look amazing, YOU can do anything you want but “You” and only you can make that decision. Change is hard but when it’s something that will better your life you need to keep in mind the all rewards and benefits you receive; not how far you have to go to get there.
You have this one life and it’s up to you how you choose to live it. Don’t waste another day!! Start today and don’t look back! Celebrate every little victory, it’s time to start loving who you are!
Live, Love, Laugh, Explore, and Dream; but most of all be happy and get excited about your life!! Life is precious, we are only here for a short time; don’t look back and wish you had done things differently.