Where and when were you born? My birthday is Jan. 27, 1964. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. I currently live in Clinton Twp. MI.
What is your profession? I am a stay- at- home Mom. I am also an International Fitness model.
Were you involved in sports or fitness prior to figure/fitness and how did you get started with weight training? I have been involved in competitive sports since I was 11. I went to College on an athletic scholarship for basketball and track and field. I also ran cross-country. I was always interested in weight training but didn't really start that until I met my husband at the gym. He is a bodybuilder and we began training together. I gained muscle quickly and was hooked from day one. I have been training now for about 14 years.
Was it a goal for you to compete in figure/fitness competitions right from the beginning or was it something that grew in your mind as time went on and you saw the progress in your body? Competing never entered my mind until a couple years ago. I would see competitors in the magazines that were doing really well and thought, I could do that! I had no idea how I would do but I wanted to try. My first competition was in 2003 and I actually competed as a lightweight bodybuilder. I won the overall. Although bodybuilding was an incredible experience I thought my physique was better suited for Figure.
Can you give me your competition history?
2007 Europa Super Show - 8th place lightweights
2005- NPC National Figure Championships- second place class A, earned IFBB pro card
2005- Junior Nationals- third place class A
2005- Junior USA's - third place Class A
2004- Central States Figure championships- overall
2003- Michigan Novice Bodybuilding championships- overall
Which contest has been your biggest success; which has had the most meaning to you? My biggest success has been earning my IFBB pro card at the NPC National Figure championships this year. Becoming a pro in only my third national level show is unbelievable. Still to this day when I think of what I accomplished in just one season I get goose bumps, it's very exciting! The contest that had the most meaning to me was the Jr. USA's. That was my first time on a national stage. I had absolutely no idea how I would place and I was a nervous wreck. I was so impressed with how this contest was run. Tres Bennett did an outstanding job. I met some incredible woman who were so helpful and made waiting around backstage fun. I made some life long friends there. The most important thing I gained from this contest was tons of self confidence that I didn't have before. Placing third among the toughest competition I've ever been up against was huge for me. I left SC knowing and believing that my physique did belong at the national level. That confidence drove me to earn that pro card.
Please tell me something about your training routine (ie: how many days per week / training split /cardio, etc.) I train 4 or 5 days a week. My training split goes like this
Day 1-quads and calves, abs
Day 2-hamstrings and chest
Day 4-back, biceps and abs
Day 5-shoulders and triceps
I don't do much cardio. When I do it's in the off season and only twice a week and no more than 20 minutes. When I'm getting ready for a contest I usually don't do any cardio especially the last 4 weeks. I'm genetically lean, I have a six pack year round and if I do too much cardio I lose muscle. My husband calls me a genetic freak. I have to keep up the carbs to stay full and hard. It's a struggle for me to stay at 124lbs or heavier in the off season. I have to eat at least 5 meals a day with lots of complex carbs. If I don't I'll drop weight and muscle quickly.
What is your favorite exercise in the gym and which one you don’t like so much? I don't really have a favorite excersise but I do enjoy training my arms and shoulders the most. I love how they look when they're all pumped up! I have a love/hate relationship with squats. I love the results I get from heavy squats but don't really enjoy doing it because it's so freakin hard. Somedays I see stars and pray I don't pass out!! Lucky my legs are one of my strongest body parts so that helps a little!
Which body part is your best in your opinion? I think my abs are my best body part but I'm pretty happy with all of them! Based on comments from other people my abs and glutes are my best parts.
If you don’t mind would you give me some stats (best lifts and some body measurements)? I'm 5'2" and weigh 124lbs off season, I get up to 127-128lbs when getting ready for a contest but after the whole last week prep I get on stage at about 122lbs. My measurements are 36D, 24, 33. My biceps are 13in.
My best lifts- squats on a free bar, 275lbs for 5 full reps.
skull crushers, 90lb bar for 8-10 reps
shoulder presses, 50lb dumbells for 8-10 reps
bicep curls, 40lb dumbells for 8-10 reps
What do you enjoy about training for competition....what do you enjoy about the 'off season'? I enjoy everything about training for a competition. I set goals for myself and like the challenge of reaching those goals. I get a thrill out of seeing my body change as I get tighter and leaner with the strict diet. I can't wait to get on stage to show off all my hard work. No matter how I place it's such an accomplishment. What I enjoy about the off season is splurging on the food I love without feeling guilty. I also like that I can chill out more. I have two young kids that keep me very busy. Not having to be so strict with training and the diet makes my life a little less hectic.
Please describe a typical day in the life of Karen Zaremba. A typical day for me is probably like most housewives and Mom's. I go to the gym after I take the kids to school to get my workout in and my socializing!! I have lots of great supportive friends in the gym. After that it's running errands and housework, you know, the fun stuff!! I help out at the school when they need me and my husband and I both are involved in the kids after school activities. At the end of the day I look forward to spending alone time with my husband.
Please tell me about what you do when you don’t work out ( hobbies, what do you do to relax?, etc.) I like to draw and just started taking art classes at the community college. Once in a great while I enjoy reading a good book. As far as what I do to relax, that word isn't in my vocabulary right now!
What do you enjoy most about the bodybuilding/fitness lifestyle? The best part of my lifestyle is looking and feeling great and having lots of energy. The best part of being in the Fitness industry is inspiring other people to improve themselves and to reach their fitness goals.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, something people may be surprised to hear. People are surprised that I'm 41 years old and a mother of two. I also have a BS degree in Biology and worked as a Cytogenetic Technologist, (chromosome analysis for prenatal diagnosis), before I had kids. My husband is an anesthesiologist so I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to stay home with the kids.
What are your competition goals or personal future goals? My competition goals are to compete as a pro in 2006. It's a whole new ballgame now and I'm looking forward to this new experience. My personal goals are to get my web site up and running. It's in the works. I want it to be inspiring especially to woman who think they can't accomplish things because of their age or the fact they have kids. Last but most important, I want to continue to be the best Mom I can be to my kids and the best wife to my husband of 12 years. My husband has always been so supportive of me and without him I would have never achieved what I have with the modeling and competing. No matter what I do in my life my family is and will always be my first priority. Everything else are super cool "extra's".
Karen does not do sessions or wrestling of any kind. Please don't ask!!