By Sarah El Shazly
A pillar in the local health, wellness, and fitness industry, Karla Adams has committed her life’s journey to positivity, growth, and development of the self and others. In today’s fast-changing world, Karla refuses to follow trends; instead, she dedicates her professional and personal life towards creating trends to drive people to change their lifestyle for the better.
Karla was born in Orange County to Daniel and Gloria Adams. At age five, the family moved to Norco where she grew up a ranch girl spending a lot of time with animals. Her love for animals continues today as she currently lives with her two pugs, 9-year-old Date, and 2-year-old Lilly and her show chicken, Olivia. Karla regards her parents as two of her biggest inspirations in life; as they both brought her up in a loving family next to her three other siblings: Wesley, Danielle, and Matthew Adams. Daniel, her father, worked as an engineer at UCR while Gloria, her mother, stayed at home and did some real estate work for the family property. “Growing up without a father did not stop my Dad from being an amazingly loving father,” Karla said. Karla’s family went through some unusual experiences in life which further inspired Karla’s journey for change; her sister, Danielle, is a mother of eleven children, six of whom were adopted amidst a financial strain from a late family relative. Karla’s inspired by her sister’s ability to have built a satisfying life and home for her big family. “More nieces and nephews for me.” Her oldest brother, Wesley, suffers from frontal lobe damage; however, despite this impediment, he leads a productive life as a vet. Growing up within this family has taught Karla to take the struggles around her and change them into opportunities; a lesson she now applies to her clients. “I have a lot of compassion for people experiencing difficulties. I’ve seen the pain of loved ones and the challenges in their lives. It’s no wonder that early on I realized that I wanted to be around people who want to make a difference and help others.”
Focusing on her studies, Karla attended school in Norco where she admits she was not always happy. “I was struggling with common teenage issues at that age like many of my peers and found myself to be very unhappy.” She spent her teenage years developing a spiritual relationship with God and dedicating her efforts to church and doing good. “I saw a lot of my school friends living lifestyles I didn’t want to live. Through the church, I built relationships with older more mature women willing to guide me. I found myself better connecting with older and wiser people who tended to offer a more spiritual focus.”
Karla’s early twenties were focused on going to church and competitive running. Her favorite races were half marathons. Karla also became involved in the Sister City exchange program, part of Riverside’s International Relations Commission’s efforts spearheaded by former Mayor Ron Loveridge. Karla hosted delegations from Sendai, Japan and served as a delegation member in Japan where she participated in running races with local Japanese competitors. Committed to education, Karla attended Riverside City College with a plan to later transfer in order to obtain a degree in naturopathy. “It was landing a job as a cashier at Clark’s Nutrition Center that prompted me to go
to school to study naturopathy. My goal was to be a naturopathic doctor, to work with people on health and educate them about nutrition”. While attending school, Karla began training at the local 24-H
our Fitness gym. Witnessing her incredible work ethic and commitment Karla was encouraged by trainers working at the gym to consider becoming a personal trainer herself. The rest is
history. She enjoyed personal training as a part-time job at first but as time went on, she developed a passion for health and fitness. Karla quickly began to immerse herself in all thing’s fitness. Before long, Karla’s newfound wealth of information led her to pursue what had clearly become her calling, personal training. “I don’t need some fancy degree to help people. I can educate myself. I can get the certificates needed for my profession; I can make a difference.”
Growing a Business
Karla became very passionate about the structure of personal training and its alignment with her original passion to educate people on foods, personal development, and creating life-enhancing changes. She grew her client base to over forty people which was unusual considering a typical personal trainer only maintained six to twelve clients, “My business kept growing organically; and that confirmed that I should keep walking my path.” says Karla.
In 2007, while still an independent contractor, Karla decided to cut out nearly all personal spending in order to put every dollar into building what was going to be her own business. She even temporarily moved back in with her parents to save money, sold her car, and eliminated all nonessential spending allowing her to invest even more capital into her company. “The sacrifice was well worth it. I knew that most businesses that fail do so because they are under-capitalized.” K
arla’s sustained effort eventually resulted in the signing of a lease for the first location of The Karla Adams Club on Magnolia Avenue here in Riverside. She was able to build a professional brand for the company ensuring its greatest chance for success. Karla
knew she need
d more than just four walls and a sign. She needed a system that was both repeatable and generated success for her clients.
A Recipe for Success
There are three main elements that anchor the structured system of The Karla Adams Club: 1) Self Development, 2) Nutritional Counselling, and 3) Exercise Science. “Educate. Motivate. Change. “Providing the right education describes everything about me and my company; being a vessel that enhances its own motivation and aides in the process of change for my clients is my mission” said Karla.
Karla’s professional and personal life intersect, her job includes a lot of socializing. In her leisure time, Karla enjoys golfing with friends at The Victoria Club, participating in extreme sports, fitness competitions, working out, pampering herself at the spa, and being involved in several ministries with Harvest Church. Karla cherishes her relationship with God and encourages others to do the same. She does some charity work on the side, where she builds marketing projects that have to do with improving the community. She also devotes some of her time to creating and promoting community events. In partnership with the Riverside Community Health Foundation, she held health fares for four years encouraging the community of Riverside to participate in a 3-month lifestyle challenge that promoted clean eating, exercise, and giving up bad habits. Karla invested not only her time but also her financial resources to make these events happen. “It’s just my way of giving back to my community and making a difference.” She also organized The Miss Riverside, Little Miss Fit, and Little Mr. Fit pageants to start trends among kids. “My role is to keep promoting health and wellness, getting people excited, and showing them the benefits of a healthy clean lifestyle.” Karla is currently working on an upcoming event, “Everyth
ing is Possible”, which will launch once she has found a partner to assist with the logistical implementation.
Despite her very hectic schedule and professional life, Karla shared how her journey has taught her more through mistakes than even her successes; always taking struggles and turning them into opportunities. “When I was a new entrepreneur, I stressed a lot about whether I would be able to succeed. As I have gotten older and gained experience, I welcome the healthy stress that comes along with running a business because it keeps me sharp.” Karla admits that “spending so much time and effort on my business has at times limited my focus on my personal and love life. Through it all, I believe I should focus on what God wants me to do. If marriage and kids are going to be part of that then it’s his will. I would like it to be part of his will”, smiled Karla.
Karla has been an active member of the Riverside community for years, through her relationship with the church, the work of her company, and involvement in community events. She believes that Riverside has helped drive her entrepreneurial spirit, “I love the interconnectivity of Riverside. I spend my time with others that believe in our community and are willing to do what is necessary to improve the quality of life.”