Train Loco Nation! Today we have an awesome interview with bikini pro Karey Northington. What’s awesome about Karey is not only is she a Team Norton teammate but she is a big advocate of glute training as well. Something we really focus on when programming our clients training programs. She is also a personal trainer, wife, mother, and nurse so we figured she’d be a great inspiration for all our readers and clients. Without further ado, please help us welcome Karey Northington to the DDT blog 🙂
– Chris and Eric
DDT: Could you give us a little background info on who Karey is?
Karey: First of all, thanks for having me on your blog! 🙂 I am a professional bikini athlete in the IFBB, a personal trainer myself, a school nurse, and, most importantly, a wife and mom!
DDT: What got you inspired and into the fitness-health industry?
Karey: I have always turned to exercise as a stress relief. The benefits of exercise are endless. The healthy body/ healthy mind connection initially hooked me in fitness. After college, I missed team sports. I used to play soccer and basketball growing up. When I was introduced to the NPC, I found what I was missing.
DDT: Can you tell us about your experience with your Bikini competitions and any tips for a first time bikini competitor?
Karey: I have competed in 13 competitions thus far. I have been fortunate to receive a handful of top 10 placings and 1 top 5 in the IFBB. The competition is fierce and I love how we all push each other to bring our best. For a first time competitor, I would tell her to focus more on her individual changes both inside and out, and less on her placing win or lose. Stay humble when you win and be gracious when you lose. You are an athlete representing your team, the league, and you are a lady. Enjoy the process and showcase your hard work. Have fun in the spotlight. If you aren’t having fun, you aren’t doing it right 😉
DDT: What would you say was the most difficult part about attaining your pro card?
Karey: By far, it was calming my nerves. I am a very shy and suffer from stage fright. I love to compete, but I have struggled with relaxing and posing on stage. I am happy to say I have never had a coach extreme diet me or over train me so the time I spent in the gym and in the kitchen leading up to my pro card was trying and required focus, determination, and commitment, but not the most difficult part of the process.
DDT: If you could travel back in time, what would be the one thing you would do differently in your young competitive career?
Karey: To not over- think things. For my first competition, I didn’t. I followed the plan and assessed at the times I was to assess with my coach. As soon as the first one was over, I started to over- think the process. Is this training best? Is this diet best? Over- thinking can lead to second- guessing, and second- guessing can cause anxiety, and anxiety over the process can hinder your results or cause you to make changes all the time. When you do that, you don’t give consistency a chance. Not to mention, over- thinking and worrying just makes me less happy in general.
I also would not have compared myself to others. Back then, I would hop on social media and start looking to see who was competing at the next show I was planning to compete in. Knowing who was there in advance did not change the outcome, or what I brought to the stage. Now I just focus on myself and take a social media break when I’m close to a comp.
DDT: What do you feel is the biggest downfall in the bikini competitive division?
Karey: I’m not sure if this is truly a downfall but bikini is, in my humble opinion, more subjective than the other categories. The judges want symmetry and muscle definition but not as much separation of the muscles as the other categories. The winning look can differ more from show to show for that reason. If you do not place well, I suggest getting feedback from the judges. That has always been very helpful for me and I have not had a judge object to giving feedback. They are there to help.
DDT: If you could change one thing about the bikini competitive division, what would it be and why?
Karey: I would like all one- day shows (LOL), I do not like sleeping in my tan- no matter how experienced I become, I always mess it up…
DDT: At times life throws challenges at you to test your mental toughness and heart as a person. What has been your biggest challenge in life and how did you overcome it?
Karey: Heavy! 🙂 My biggest challenge professionally was finishing my degree in nursing. I did an accelerated program with double the amount of credits for a full time semester in half the time of a regular semester for 4 straight quarters. I literally cried myself to sleep and thought about giving up over and over. Fortunately, I was raised to see something through. When I got overwhelmed, I focused on the immediate task in front of me. Conquering things little by little with short- term goals make achieving a long- term goal manageable.
In my personal life, I have had relationships that involved verbal bullying. That can shake someone mentally. Those experiences helped me to strengthen my view of myself and see my self worth. I feel very strongly against bullying, but I have to say it definitely upped my mental game.
DDT: What are your future plans with bikini and other areas of interest?
Karey: My future plans with bikini are to continue to compete and bring my best physique in 2015. My ultimate dream is to grace the Olympia stage. I also have been trying to learn everything I can in regards to training and nutrition. My plan is to continue to help others trying to achieve a lean physique reach their goal in health and balance.
DDT: What does your current training split look like?
Karey: I just finished my first powerlifting meet so I’ll be changing my programming shortly. Leading up to the meet I did squat, dead, bench 3 X per week, then 2 other lifting days focusing on shoulders, back, biceps, and triceps with calves and abs. I also do banded glute burnouts almost daily. Bret Contreras does my programming.
DDT: What does your favorite glute workout consist of?
Karey: I have to say I never really free squatted before or did heavy deadlifts. I love to deadlift now. LOVE. My squat has given me trouble because I am so long limbed- good for bikini, bad for squatting! My favorite glute workout would consist of deads to start, squats, box squats, glute/ ham raises, and then heavy banded hip thrusts on Bret’s hip thruster followed by a burn out. The heavy lifts are awesome but I love leaving a good glute workout with a pump 🙂
DDT: What is your favorite song to practice your bikini routine?
Karey: Gosh so many… I like to come out to things that were played during previous shows like Bring em Out by TI, I like music that’s a little sexy like Partition by Beyonce. Or I’ll put on something that my friends and I have just danced and been silly to like Who Dat Girl by Flo Rida, get the nerves out, and just have fun! Some of the best poses and expressions come from letting loose and being yourself.
DDT: Your favorite controlled-indulgence meal is______?
Karey: I love that you put controlled indulgence. I hate “cheat meals” with the eat all you can mentality. That got me in trouble in the past!
My teammates on Team Norton have turned me on to Tim Tams. Those are my current favorite indulgence. Layne Norton does my nutrition. If I have something like that, I pair it with a whey protein shake to balance things out- shout out to Metabolic for making peanut butter cookie!!! I’ll have them all through prep if I’d like since I diet flexibly.
DDT: What does Karey like to do for fun? Please don’t hold back on us 😉
Karey: Shoot, now I’ll be discovered for the homebody I am! I go to Chuck E Cheese with my son and compete with him in skee ball (he’s 4), it gets pretty heated- he hit the 100 last time we went 😉 When I have some alone time, I read and watch a little TV- right now I’m completely obsessed with American Ninja Warrior. I also love trying new restaurants.
DDT: Where can our readers and supporters follow you and your work?
Karey: On instagram I am @karey_northington or find me on FB at facebook.com/karey.northington – with my training if I’m slacking with posting you can also see it on Bret’s page at @bretcontreras1