Kari Pearce shot to the top of the global CrossFit rankings when she started the sport in 2014, but fitness and movement have been part of her life since she was a child. She started gymnastics at age 3, and continued competing through college. After gymnastics, Kari switched to bodybuilding, and ultimately found her passion in CrossFit. For Pearce, training six days a week for competition isn’t only a matter of chasing her CrossFit podium dreams; it’s about recognizing that her body was Made2Move.
CrossFit has a reputation for producing the toughest, most versatile athletes on the planet. The events and conditions for the competition change every year, and organizers like to surprise the competitors with new equipment and challenges in each year’s Games. Elite CrossFitters like Pearce endure grueling workouts and strict meal programs to stay in top shape. If you follow their social media accounts or watch CrossFit documentaries, you can see exactly how they do it. The bigger question is “why?”
“I was born into a fitness-oriented family and, from a very young age, they pushed sports, moving around, being active, and [the idea] you shouldn't be sedentary,” Pearce said. “As I get older, it's just something that I enjoy doing. Days that I don't move and I'm not active, I can feel my body is tight and I get uncomfortable. I love the feeling of working out, just pushing myself and ultimately seeing what the human body can do.”
There’s no question that exercise is important for cardiovascular health and bone strength, but Pearce also knows that challenging herself to move more now will help her move more later. “As I get older, I want to not have to rely on other people. I want to be 80 years old and be able to go out and grab my mail and just do things and be able to take care of myself. It starts now, and it'll just keep on going as I get older,” she said.
That drive toward a lifetime of better movement is not just something Pearce values personally, it’s something she tries to instill in her coaching clients because she knows it will make them better, too. “Everyone goes to the gym for a reason, and it’s to become a better person themselves: whether it's stronger, or better cardio-wise so they can play with their kids,” she said. “You might as well be there, push yourself to the limit, see what you can do.”
Now that she’s qualified for her fourth trip to the CrossFit Games in four years, Pearce is stepping up her workouts as she vies for the Fittest Woman on Earth title. Yet, regardless of the competitions or prizes, movement will alway be second-nature to Kari Pearce. CrossFit is just her current motivation.
Where it’s training with her coach, running on her own, or hammering out a few reps with her TRX Duo Trainer, fitness is a critical part of Pearce’s daily routine. “It's a mental thing for me,” she said. “Just knowing that I can go to the gym and I can push myself, and make myself better even when I'm not feeling at my best. The main thing is I love it and I enjoy the way it makes me feel and I enjoy taking on daily challenges and seeing what I can do.”