It wasn’t too long ago that you had to go to one studio for group exercise, another gym for personal training, and a doctor’s office or wellness center to find a good nutritionist. JKFitness has changed that by providing everything you need to succeed in one convenient place.
Consistently named the Best Fitness Studio by readers in our annual Best of the City feature, JKFitness offers everyone a holistic and personalized approach to health and wellness, from the elite athlete to those struggling with morbid obesity. Founded by personal trainer, nutritionist, author, and former US Air Force Captain Julia Karlstad, JKFitness is a one-stop shop for a healthier lifestyle.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach for our clients,” says Karlstad, who spent her early career in the medical weight-loss industry. “We customize each program based on the client’s goals, eating habits and other lifestyle factors.”
The big picture
A native of Wisconsin, Karlstad played basketball through high school and at the Air Force Academy, where he earned a master’s degree in exercise science. As an avid athlete, she was no stranger to sports-related injuries and planned to pursue a career in physical therapy after graduation. However, that plan changed when she realized that physical therapy was just one small piece of a much bigger picture.
“I wanted to do something to bridge the gap between physical therapy and long-term health,” she explains. “That’s how I structured my business.”
Karlstad, who appeared with one of her clients on the TLC show “My 600 Pound Life,” has helped many people achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. And while she’s earned a reputation as the go-to coach for the medically supervised weight loss community, her approach to health and wellness is much more than a number on a scale.
“We believe in a multidisciplinary approach to wellness,” she says. “We want people to understand the impact of your habits on your overall health.”
One stop service
Whether it’s a marathon runner looking for ways to increase speed or a client recovering from bariatric weight loss surgery, Karlstad and her team are experts in giving people the tools and knowledge to achieve their goals. Through metabolic testing to determine caloric needs, they create an exercise plan that works with each client’s lifestyle. This plan may include group training, personal training, virtual training, home training, or a combination of methods. And since you can’t give up exercise with a bad diet, there is an extremely important aspect of nutrition. Using her clinical experience in weight loss and nutrition certification, Karlstad has developed several effective programs, such as the 14-Day Fat Flush, 21-Day Detox, and the Power 30 Anti-Inflammatory Diet. She is also an expert in creating customized, sustainable plans for improved health, including relation to the client’s relationship with food.
“We don’t offer specific mental health programs, but we take it into account with the protocols we offer,” Karlstad says, adding that food and alcohol are the biggest saboteurs of success. “These two things have become the focal point of all gatherings, parties and social events that can be detrimental to our health.”
That’s not to say there’s no wiggle room in Karlstad’s approach. She believes in moderation and explains that what works best for one client will not work for all clients.
“More is not always better,” she cautions. “You need to have a balanced approach to your wellness plan.”
Finding that balance in her own life isn’t always easy. Still, this mother of three manages to find time between running her business and teaching her clients to work out on their own at least three times a week. A walking testament to her methodology, she looks ten years younger than her 46 years. But more importantly, she feels strong and healthy and has the energy and stamina she needs to cope with her busy life. Karlstad credits her lifestyle and “super strong” faith for her success, saying she wouldn’t be where she is without God.
See more Best of the City winners here.