If you aren’t familiar with Karina Lisenbee , you should be. The charismatic Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute member inspires over 594,000 Instagram followers daily with fitness and nutrition tips and videos. Check out the following slides to learn more about this shapely social influencer—and see a few nice photos, too.
Tell us a little about yourself. I was an athlete growing up—both a cheerleader and a runner—but had a growth spurt early on, which helped get me into modeling. I was mostly doing editorial and runway type stuff, but I didn’t like the aesthetic of being skinny and not having muscles. I wanted to make a name for myself instead of just being another face on a wall. So I started marketing myself, sharing my fitness and health journey.
You have a huge following on Instagram. When and how did that start? I got Instagram when it first came out. If you go back really early, you’ll see that I just shared a lot of food photos. But my growth has been really organic. A lot of my content goes viral. A beautiful picture of abs on the beach for example, will go viral. Posting content every day and staying consistent has helped me grow a true fan base. And interacting with my audience has helped, too.
What’s a typical day like in your life? Well I recently bought a new Toyota Rav 4, so that’s exciting! And I’m starting a new swimwear company. So typically, I’ll go out and get inspiration from bikini shops in the area. Then in the afternoon, I have a good group of girlfriends and we all meet up to train. Then I’ll take a walk on the beach, come home and catch up on emails and any computer work I have. At night, I’ll maybe meet my boyfriend and go see a movie.
Tell us about your nutrition. What do you find most challenging? I’m very in tune with my body. I don’t count calories or macros, and I don’t restrict myself in any way. I just balance. If I have a burger and chocolate cake one day, I run and don’t eat that the following day. It’s just give and take. I’m fit enough to know what I have to do in the gym to burn off a meal. But I do believe in eating mostly clean, including a lot of fiber and whole foods in my diet. I enjoy home cooking and using simple ingredients.
You have to have days where you just don’t want to work out and have junk food. How do you deal with that? Because I’m surrounded by like-minded people, it keeps me accountable. Even if I don’t feel like working out and my friends say to meet at the gym at a certain time, once I get there, I already feel better and may end up doing just a light workout—which is better than nothing. Training is a big release. I’ve learned to transfer everything negative I’m feeling into my training and just sweat it out.
Do you find that people are encouraging on social or can they sometimes be hurtful? How do you know you’re inspiring others? You’re going to get both. Most people are encouraging and want to pick your brain, but every now and then there’s a hater. It’s pretty interesting—on Instagram I have a 50/50 male-to-female audience. Sex appeal sells but when someone sees a video of me squatting, I want them not to be like “Oh look at her butt,” but more like “Look at her sweat and how strong she is.” Then they want to try what I’m doing. I think my following spiked when I started posting more real-time videos of me training.
Are you a certified trainer? I used to be a group fitness trainer and I’m working on my personal training certification now—IFPA—and getting yoga certified.
What do you look for in a guy? I like guys who are really funny because I’m a silly, goofy person. I like someone who is light-hearted and fun to be around. I’m also tall, 5’10”, so I like taller guys with broad shoulders. But when you’re with someone everyday, you get desensitized to what they look like and it’s more about are you having fun with them.
Would you be able to date someone who isn’t as into fitness? I think so. I think they need to be able to take care of themselves, but they don’t have to be a body builder. I’m not the type of girl who’s into famous body builders—I just got pulled into a bikini competition once because my boyfriend was competing as well. But that’s not who I want to be. Fitness is a lifestyle for me. I don’t do it for the physicality. I do it because I need to every day for the mental clarity.
We have to ask, how much do you squat? My max is 200 pounds.
Anything you’re working on that we should look forward to? Yes! I’m working on a new six-week training program with IdealFit. Anyone can sign up for the program at idealfit.com/fit-model-fitness —it shows how I train and has a meal plan as well that isn’t super strict. I’m also sponsored by Bombshell SportswearPlus, I have my swimwear line coming out soon, too, so keep an eye out.