After 3 years of not exercising, even though I’ve had a 24hr gym membership for over a year and a half, that I rarely to never use; I hit “rock bottom” in many ways, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. My depression was eating at me and my anger was growing daily as I had torn myself to shreds over my weight, lack of strength and shape of my body. With the support of my family & friends it was time to make a change, using yelp I searched “fitness” in Santee and Kari’s studio was at the top with the best rating. I read each of the reviews and made that ever challenging first call. Kari and I spent 10-15 mins on the phone talking about how I got to where I am and what my future goals are, in fitness and overall. I appreciate that Kari is REAL, HONEST, & and not at all pushy like a sales rep. The call was emotional for me and I choked back tears as we spoke. I had finally taken the first step towards changing my life, and this was just the call! We set up my consult session and I was on my way. The consult with Kari further confirmed that I had made the right decision by choosing Empower Fitness Training. I had lost ALL motivation and ALL desire to fight depression and had turned to food for comfort. I NEED a life coach, a motivator, a GREAT trainer, and someone who does not sugar coat the facts. Kari is all that and more! I appreciate that Kari takes pride in her studio, by interviewing her clients she ensures that the dynamic and personalities will work together well to ultimately accomplish her clients goals. Kari is NOT in this to scam anyone out of their time, money, or goals. She and Emily both show they are as committed to your fitness goals as you are. I’ve had 10 sessions to date. 9 with Kari and 1 with Emily. Even though I rolled my ankle early on, Kari and Emily modified the exercises to allow me to push through during the 2 week healing process. Some of my favorite sessions have included TRX, stack training, and spin on the Keiser bike – such a smooth ride! Each session I learn new exercises finding ways to push my body to the next level. I still have a lot of work to do, but with the Empower Fitness Training team in my corner I am motivated and looking forward to continuing this journey. I purchased my second package of sessions and already saving for my 3 package. For those of you that are worried about the cost, let me tell you this…DON’T BE!! 1st, you can’t put a dollar amount on your health and well-being. 2nd, Empower Fitness Training studio is BEYOND worthy of the cost. The prices per hour depend on the number of sessions in your package. I pay $40.00 LESS per hour then my aunt pays for her PT studio. Prices are fare and reasonable. If you are still reading this review, pick up the phone and call Keri, you WILL NOT be sorry!!! -Tina D.

I grew up playing team sports but in my adulthood, working out has never been a priority. It wasn’t until I had my first child in my 30s and the weight didn’t just magically fall off that I realized I’m no spring chicken anymore. If I want health and to feel good about myself physically, then I needed accountability. And with a toddler and business to run, I needed a trainer who had flexibility and early morning availability. I found Kari on Yelp and have been going to her twice a week for a month now. She’s reminded me of a lot of what I used to know but over time have just forgotten or not believed I was capable of anymore. I even go to the gym on my off days knowing Kari’s going to ask me what I did to work towards my goals. She’s pretty empowering and while my goal is more health focused than bikini focused, it definitely helps that I’m noticing the subtle differences in my body after only a month! Thanks Kari for making me productive at 6am 🙂 -Tara W.

I’ve waited way to long to write a review for Empower and the owner/trainer Kari. I’m constantly looking to stay fit and active and need various activities to keep me interested. On top of keeping me interested, I need to feel comfortable and feel like I’m having fun. Well, Kari makes me feel all of those while I sweat. I go to the Spin classes, Circuit and the Fusion. All are exactly what I need to get a great workout. I don’t know how it’s possible to simultaneously dread and look forward to a class, but that pretty much describes Spin. Seriously, this class kicks my behind. Kari keeps me motivated but it really comes down to what you want out of it. I’ve actually contemplated long runs and 10 mile hikes up a mountain to be easier on some days. Kari is a great positive instructor, the studio is small, so you will never get packed into a huge class. I truly feel that she wants everyone to be successful and you are never just a client or student. Individual attention is pretty much what you get. So get your butt in gear and check out a class, you won’t regret it and neither will your behind. -Christina C.

I was nevecombine_imagesr a big fan of working out, and I always felt like people were judging me when I was sweating. Kari makes me feel so comfortable working out. But don’t think that means she’s easy on you. Once you work out with her a couple of times, she knows when you’re pushing and when you’re slacking. And she doesn’t let you slack. I live all the way up in Northern San Diego, but I make a point to come down at least once a week because she is THAT AMAZING. The small class sizes make it feel like I’m getting some personal attention without breaking my wallet. I can tell since I’ve started going to Empower that I’m stronger. I use a higher weight, I can do each exercise for longer than I could before. With the circuit classes, there are so many pieces of equipment I have never used before and so many ways to work the different parts of your body. All of the stations are challenging in totally different ways. But I always feel comfortable because she shows you how to do all of the stations before you begin. You don’t have to know how to do any of it before you walk in. I was seriously hooked after that first class. There is a reason this place has nothing but 5 star ratings. -Sarah S.

My wife and I have been going here on a regular basis for some time now and I cannot rate Empower high enough. You can really tell when someone cares about their business and clients – Kari clearly works hard to make each class count and is interested in seeing everyone get the best in their workout. I’m someone that DOES NOT like going to the “gym” but I do enjoy going for classes in a smaller environment like this. Five stars!
-Mike V.

Two Thumbs Up for Kari and Empower Fitness! I’ve been going here for a few years and Kari has helped me loose over 50 lbs since I started seeing her. I do individual training sessions and participate in her Spin, Circuit & Fusion Classes. Having researched all my East County personal training options Empower Fitness is by far the most reasonably priced and has great flexible options. Kari is a great motivator without being annoying or too pushy. She corrects your form and challenges your body. Every day is different so I’m never bored with the exercises. The greatest part about Empower Fitness and Kari’s fitness/training method is that she listens to your goals and will really try and make a diet and exercise plan that works for you. She cares, its affordable and her methods work…can’t beat that combination! -Kayleigh K.

I have two young toddlers and was having a tough time losing the last of the baby weight. I was a little nervous, as it had been a while since I had been in any kind of exercise routine and I was pretty out of shape. I soon found out I didn’t need to be nervous….Kari is so in tune with her clients and meets them at their level. She made me feel very comfortable and was very motivating. No workout has ever been the same, she puts a lot of time and effort into personalizing each session. I started going once a week and quickly increased to three times a week! She has helped me to lose the baby weight, gain muscle and strength, as well as suggest some simple changes to my diet to make it healthier. In addition to the personal training, her Spin & Circuit classes are outstanding and something I attend weekly. If you are looking for a comfortable yet intense and motivating workout I would highly recommend Empower Fitness and give Kari a chance to work with you! I am so happy that I did! -Nicki S.

I’ve been going to Empower Fitness about once a week for the Circuit Class for over a year. Prior to starting there, I had been to a physical therapist to help strengthen my knees, without much success. I’d seen Empower Fitness in my neighborhood and did a little research about it. I liked what I saw online and decided it was worth a try. Unlike the circuits at other gyms (like Curves), the circuit here doesn’t rely upon static motions at a machine. Instead you use multiple muscle groups simultaneously and there is variety each time you go around the circuit. The circuit is always changing from week to week, so your muscles don’t get accustomed to doing the same thing all the time. While I haven’t lost much weight, I feel much better, stronger, and my clothing size has gone down.

While on a vacation about 3 years ago, my husband and I went for a hike. The trail was somewhat steep and I had to stop frequently to catch my breath. I stopped at about the halfway point because of knee pain. My husband continued without me. Recently, we found ourselves again attempting this same hike. This time, I didn’t need nearly as many breaks, my knees felt strong, and we both made it not just to the point where he had turned around before, but a distance about twice that far! I credit Empower Fitness with this major improvement in my knees and endurance level.

I really can’t speak highly enough of Kari, the owner, or her staff, especially Emily. They are very knowledgeable about and conscientious about watching everyone in class to make sure nobody gets hurt, and motivating everyone to work as hard as they can. Everyone leaves the class sweaty! -Kathy

My daughter signed me (a 50ish mom) up for 8 classes to help me get back in shape. I hated her at first, but now that the 7th class is in sight, I don’t hate her quite as much. It has been great for me! Kari is extremely helpful and accommodating; she encourages me, yet modifies workouts for my age and ability level. Thanks Empower Fitness for heading me in the right direction. -Nancy J

I searched for a personal trainer and feel so lucky to have found Kari. Being very out of shape, I was uncomfortable going to a gym. I started private sessions with my husband. Kari is a great trainer and has become a friend as I struggled with weight loss, getting into a healthier state and trying to get pregnant. She helped set realistic goals, gave diet tips and encourages logging food on a free app, and came up with varied workouts. I was previously unfamiliar with the Bosu and TRX which are a couple of the methods she uses besides steps, weights, sliders to name a few others. Having recently gotten pregnant and giving birth, I had to temporarily stop going. But once I get the okay from my doctor I plan to start up again. In the meantime, my husband has continued to go to her spin and circuit training classes which are a bargain when the budget for personal training got too tight. -Monica H.

I have been a “middle of the pack” long-distance runner most of my life, and although I’ve always been in decently good shape, I can honestly say that I’m in the best shape of my life since I started working out with Kari. I have lost a few pounds, dropped a clothing size (which has been a little expensive … but I won’t hold that against her!), and most important to me: I have been shattering my personal records in road races from distances from 5k to the marathon over this past year. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon has been a lifelong goal, and I know that Kari’s going to help me get there! She understands my personal goals as well as my time constraints, and has put together some customized plans that have helped me maximize my limited time at the gym. Kari is really fun to work out with, and keeps you focused and working hard the whole time — without any harsh reprimanding! She’s all about support, convincing me to try things I didn’t think I could try, and helping me see myself as physically strong and powerful for the first time ever. Kari’s knowledge, training, experience, and passion comes through in everything about her work and her great care for her clients. -Amy A.

Kari is amazing at what she does! I recently had my second baby and she has been so supportive in getting me back in my pre-baby shape. The circuit training classes are a real workout and always leave me feeling exhausted, energized, and strong. When I had questions about calorie intake and breastfeeding, Kari took the time to research the information and responded to me that same night. My fitness goals are to feel good about myself, feel empowered and strong, and be able to keep up with my two kids. I enjoy the workouts because they are always different, challenging, and she motivates you through every exercise to push yourself and make the most of every minute you have in the gym. Thanks Kari! -Barb R.

Kari is an amazing trainer!!! I’ve had all types of training over the years, I’ve been a professional dancer, trained as a body builder and on my own. In the few months that I’ve worked out with Kari i’ve seen my body respond and change better then it ever has. She is sculpting and lifting my muscles and targeting my problem areas. She takes a lot of pride in her work and is dedicated to getting you the best results possible. She is great with all fitness levels from beginner to advanced. If you stick with her you WILL get results. My husband came with me to one of my sessions, (her friends and family special) he’s in the Marine Corps and in top physical shape. He said afterwards it was the best workout he’s had, he loved the workout and how she challenged his muscles and is definitely coming back to her. While he was deployed to Afghanistan, Kari created & emailed workouts to him that could be completed with little to no equipment. In the email she included very detailed descriptions and picutres of each exercise. He really enoyed getting the new workouts to keep the workouts fresh. I would highly recommend her to anyone! -Marci M.

My wife had been encouraging me to get into better shape for a long time. Recently she took encouragement a step further by simply signing me up for three spin classes at Empower. At first I was resistant & skeptical, but there was really no way out so I reluctantly agreed to go. I’m here now to say that I attended all 3 classes, actually looking forward to classes two & three after my first experience. I will also be signing on for more classes as this program really works. Kari’s facility is immaculate. Kari is also a fantastic motivator. She has an uncanny ability to make one want to push their limit, even if that entails an absurd amount of sweat. I would recommend Empower Fitness to anyone. -Stephen L.

Let’s see where do I start?? Kari is definitely a breath of fresh air!! She’s caring and really in tune w/her clientele. From the moment I met her I thought….SHE’S PERFECT!! Seriously, I’m the type that will go from one extreme to the other in fitness. Either I’m on the fitness train or I’m not. From the moment she started training me, she told me, no more extreme for you. You will learn moderation and in between. This on and off is not working and this needs to stop and you need to focus on a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Fast forward a month and I am glad to say I am learning so much regarding eating and exercise. Things I’ve never known after my 25 yrs of career dieting!! All I can say that by the time I turn 40 in 7 months, I will have reached my goal with her guidance!! If you’re looking for a trainer, SHE’S IT!! So get off your booty and make that call. You won’t regret it!! I sure didn’t! -Irma H.