We had the good fortune of connecting with Kari Sullivan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kari, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Quite simply, I do not like feeling constraints, restrictions, or limited in what I can or can not do. I started off in a corporate setting and learned quite a bit about how to run a personal training business, especially what it is that I would NOT do. In running my own business I feel free and inspired, like literally all of the time. Feeling this way allows me to remain in a flow state more often than not and that’s where the magic is.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I decided to try things my own way and leave the corporate setting in early 2017. Really what happened was a client of mine at the corporate gym needed a nanny for a trip to Peru, then for a trip to England. I followed my gut and said yes to both trips. This is a decision I will never regret but in turn, I was fired from the corporate gym. Upon arriving back to the states, I attempted going back to school to find something more ‘secure’. About a month in I realized I was being foolish, that my heart was truly in fitness and wellness, and decided to start my own personal training business. I rented space from a gym in Boulder and slowly built my client base back up. I loved the freedom I was experiencing as my own boss. I got to set my own hours, my own rates, and learn the in’s and out’s of running a business. I realized here that I still felt somewhat restricted as I was sharing space with others and as a result faced limitations here and there. In March of 2019 I became aware of a space that could potentially be the future home of my business. I pulled resources together to gather all of my equipment and made the move in April of 2019 to my current location. One reason I stand out from other personal training businesses: I run my business out of a brewery. Beyond that, I standout because I facilitate a level of personal transformation. Many of my clients come to me wanting to either improve their physical health, increase overall strength, supplement with sport specific training, or work on minimizing/eliminating a chronic injury or pain. These goals are met and then there’s the personal transformation piece. That sounds flightly, but it’s true. In our sessions, we focus heavily on breath work, mindfulness, body control, and recovery. These four things transform someone, especially when these are new concepts to someone which for most clients they may have previous exposure to one or another but to have all 4 incorporated in each session is a game changer. Something else that sets me apart is all my chatter about self love. I am someone who experienced most of life with body dysmorphia and disordered eating. I believed I needed to punish myself with workouts or that I needed to always work at maximum capacity to be valued, to have worth. About 5 years ago there was a massive shift for me, you could call it radical self acceptance, and I started to really listen to my body. A big part of my philosophy is that we train and move our bodies because we love our bodies, not because we hate them or are punishing them. In sessions we are always checking in: how’s my body feeling? what is it telling me? where am I carrying extra tension? how am I breathing? and so on. I believe everyone, no matter how you identify, could be a little gentler, a little more compassionate to themselves. We are taught that we need to go hard all the damn time and it’s just not true. We can flow, we can tap in, and we can blossom like never before.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting I would take them to one of my favorite camp spots up in Indian Peaks Wilderness, up by King Lake. Or up by Crater Lakes. They’re both accessible and not too long of a hike in for someone who isn’t used to the elevation. I find both areas to be straight up magical. We would stop at New Moon bakery in Nederland to get some bomb croissants with Americano’s and then run down the street to the People’s Co Op and grab either their peanut butter protein balls or almond protein bites for snacks (additional snacks of course). After camping, rolling back through Ned, we’d stop at Cross Cut Pizza and share two pies, cause sharing is caring. Dinner that night would be in Boulder at Arcana or in Denver at Safta. MMMMMM. The next morning we’d hit up a sunrise hike, bagging either Mt Sanitas or Royal Arch. We’d then swing by Beleza coffee and enjoy a stroll from North Boulder to Pearl.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I for sure would not be where I am at without the guidance and support from Jill Aliberti Isabelle and Amy Fouchey Reilly. These two women are true powerhouses. Jill brought me on as a fitness instructor and wellness coach to the rec center at the University of Massachusetts where I was earning my bachelors degree in Nutrition. I had very little confidence in myself and she really pushed me to open up. The nerves that I had on my first day of teaching a yoga class were beyond terrifying…she may have actually pushed me into the room lol. I am so grateful for her seeing in me what I could not. Amy was my boss at Colorado Athletic Club here in Boulder, CO. I was a fresh, inexperienced personal trainer and she really took me under her wing. The training piece was easy for me, but the sales not so much. This had to do with the lack of confidence and Amy just didn’t stand for that. She too pushed me beyond my comfort zone, seeing in me what I could not. It was a slow go starting off with no clients but soon I had a completely full schedule, full classes, and confidence to back it all up.