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Next Level Guy

Apr 29, 2021

Today’s guest is six times CrossFit Games athlete and three-time Fittest American Female Kari Pearce!

During the last five years, Kari has competed in CrossFit all around the world and represented the United States of America in 2016 and 2017 at the CrossFit Invitational.

She was sporty through childhood, beginning gymnastics at 3 and training and competing for 18 years, building an extensive knowledge base, and now teaches athletes the gymnastics side of CrossFit. Having her extensive background, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.

 Kari was on the Varsity Gymnastics team at the University of Michigan where her team won 4 Big Ten Championships. She earned her degree in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology and was three-time Academic All-Big Ten.

In addition to being a full-time athlete, she has developed PowerAbs, which is a core program thousands of people are doing. It incorporates many of the things she learned in her 18 years of gymnastics and through her education to get people stronger and better-looking midsections.

In this interview, we discuss her story, Cross-Fit, how she develops her skills set and mental toughness, her fantastic product PowerAbs, competing at the Cross-Fit games, the factors that have helped her to be so successful and so much more. 


Here are some key points that I would advise you to concentrate on

  • Who is Kari Pearce
  • Would she have entered Cross-Fit if she had not come from a sporty family?
  • What was she like during her childhood?
  • Kari is a great example of a child whose parents who encouraged their children to take part in sports and offered options and letting them find their own way. You can't force your kids down a path, but kids will greatly remember parents who encouraged them and let them find their own path and support them along it to the level they wish to go.
  • Where does he competitive edge come from?
  • What would she say the appeal of Cross-Fit is?
  • The variety of cross-fit and the various intensities are a great appeal to a lot of participants. Many enjoy the variety and conflicting demands they can take part in a session, and with different WODs released regularly, it is difficult to become bored with the variety offered. 
  • The advice she would give to someone who is looking to start Cross-Fit. 
  • Look for a gym that offers a foundational beginner class to learn the basic movements when you start.
  • Focus on learning the fundamental movements before you increase the movement. Do not rush your progression, ensure you can rep with great form for each rep, before you increase the weight. Failure to do so will mean you will plateau and then need to go back to relearn before you can go forward. 
  • How to leave the ego at the door and work on learning the variety of movements and not just focus on your strengths?
  • How did she go from doing Cross-Fit workouts to a Cross-Fit athlete?
  • Why does she think she has been so successful?
  • Actions are more important than words - you will make time for what is important to you in your life. Pick the goals you want to achieve, not what others wish for you. Once you know what you want from life, cancel the time-wasting behaviors and habits and work towards achieving them ... as Kari did with her training. 
  • Rest days are vital to recovery both physically and mentally. Do not try to work out every day, especially as a beginner. Ease yourself in and ensure you have time to recover and pamper yourself (massages, salt baths, good food, good sleep etc) built into your routines.
  • What does her training schedules look like? 
  • How do you build up the frequency, duration, and intensity of her training, to work towards competing and develop her skills etc?
  • The importance of kids taking part in sports.
  • Why she is only given her training programming until the day of the session?
  • What has she found helps avoid technical breakdown and sloppy reps when she is tired and working high rep schemes?
  • A good coach can be the item you need most when you start, he can save you from yourself and remove the other thinking, the jumping around programs or only focusing on your strengths - a good coach removes the thinking, and lets you rep and workout and have a better chance of success by removing the additional noise you don't need to focus on.
  • When training skill work, ensure you can rep as close to perfect each time as you go. As Kari said, make sure the first movement is correct as if it isn't the second movement won't be, and so on. Don't train to failure but practice keeping the form right and increasing the reps as you can maintain form. 
  • What does she think about when she is performing the gymnastics movements and lifting the weights?
  • How has she built up mental toughness to ensure she can compete at the highest level, against the world's fittest people, and endure more work to beat the others. 
  • Visualization training has really helped Kari in her training preparation. 
  • Top performers become comfortable in the uncomfortable.
  • You need to push yourself more in training more compared to the competition. You need to push yourself in training to the point where at the competition you can just go into auto-pilot and let your training take you to success. 
  • "No growth comes from being in the comfort zone"
  • Be willing to listen to feedback from coaches and others. Kari puts her ability to listen to feedback so high on the list of reasons why she is so successful. Others can spot reasons that you are struggling, plateauing and not progressing. Be willing to listen to criticism and feedback. Consider all options and opinions and use what works and bypass what doesn't. 
  • How does she deal with bad training sessions?
  • Don't rush back after injuries. As Kari says 'you need to get healthy before you can get back and train again. Rushing back from injury can make things worse. Listen to your body, take time to heal and recover and you can come back stronger and a better athlete.
  • Cross-Fit can be modified to allow you to work around injuries or complete movements to the level that your health and body will allow. 
  • An area that Kari has worked on that has improved her performance.
  • How she utilizes a way of focusing on sections to avoid letting bad events or incidents ruin her training or competition. 
  • How does her training change as she works to and performs at the Cross-Fit Games?
  • Recovery and diet methods to recover from training and from day-to-days during competition.
  • What was the inspiration for PowerAbs
  • The importance of training your abs to improve your sporting performance.
  • Why is there such a great community and bond within Cross-Fit gyms and the wider Cross-Fit performers? Cross-Fit is a fantastic sport to take up to meet like-minded and friendly people.
  • What does she want those listening to take from the interview?