Our mission at Red Leaf is to help people live their healthiest lives and one of the ways we do that is through amazing community partners. We’ve been interviewing our ambassadors and wholesale partners over the last six weeks and today we had the privilege of talking with Kara Webb, the wonderful owner and trainer at MadDog Fitness in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Thank you so much for sitting down with us today, Kara! Let’s start out with an easy one. Tell us about your background in fitness.
Fitness has pretty much always been a part of my life. I played all kinds of sports growing up, and went on to play soccer in college at the University of Indianapolis, where I studied exercise science and kinesiology. Personally, I struggled with a really unhealthy relationship with food and exercise and one day it hit me- I was so tired of feeling that way. I was learning so much about health and fitness, and in learning I was able to pull myself out of that cycle and knew from that point that I wanted to help other people succeed in fitness and nutrition. I worked at ATI Physical Therapy for a while and got great experience working with such a wide range of clients, but I knew I wanted to be in charge of my own schedule so that’s what made me want to open my own gym.
Yes! So many people, and especially young women, struggle with their relationship with exercise, food, and body image. I know I did as a young adult, too. So how do you use that experience with your clients?
I think it’s relatable. No matter what you’re going through, when life gets hard you have to choose to be vulnerable with yourself, recognize the need for change, and put in the work to make it happen. A lot of people are intimidated by fitness professionals because it seems like they have it all together, and that’s why I like to share my journey with my clients. It shows them that it was hard, it took a really long time to grow and break out of old habits, and it still takes daily effort to choose to build myself up. I think that makes my clients feel comfortable coming to me with their problems, both in the gym and in their lives.
Absolutely. That was something I always loved about being a trainer was being part of my clients’ lives outside the gym, too. What does it mean to be a female-owned business and entrepreneur to you?
Being a woman and owning your own business is scary sometimes, because you have to be so vulnerable. You have to work just a little bit harder. But that vulnerability and compassion is something that separates female business owners. People believe in you and support you and I have been so blessed by the community of people around me who are supporting me in this journey. I have male and female clients ranging from nine years old to eighty-six years old; I train families and couples, athletes and people recovering from injuries. It’s amazing to get the opportunity to work with so many different people, and I think something that makes what I do unique is that I’m more than just their personal trainer. I go to their kids’ soccer games and I’m a part of their lives. It really has been more than I ever could’ve imagined.
I wish I lived in Valpo so you could train me! For those who don’t know about MadDog, Kara opened her own gym in the MIDDLE of the pandemic. She’s a rockstar. Can you tell us a little bit about what that was like?
As you can imagine, when I decided this is what I wanted to do, I was ready to go all in, but Covid had different plans. Everyone was building their own home gym, so all my equipment was on back order and everything was delayed. All in all, the opening was pushed back about two months so in the interim, I was just visiting clients back and forth all day, getting creative and putting together outdoor on-the-go workouts. But again, my clients were so supportive. They trusted me to make safe decisions that put their health and wellness first. Promoting the gym was tough because at the time, a lot of people were still staying pretty distanced, so it just took a lot of hustle and hard work. I’m really looking forward to the warmer weather to see how we can grow as restrictions continue to lift and more people get vaccinated.
Well we commend you, because the pandemic was really tough on everyone, small businesses especially. Your ambition is very inspiring. Back to training though, can you tell us more about your training style? What makes MadDog Fitness Unique?
Everyone is different and has different goals and needs. My job is to make you feel comfortable and give you a completely personalized training regimen that is tailored to your unique goals. I train people in so many different ways depending on their goals.
Can you give us a few examples? For instance, do you do CrossFit-style workouts, cardio, bodybuilding?
Yes, haha, all. I think that’s something that makes my space special. We never do the same workouts, but everything is always building on what we did the day or weeks prior so you’re able to make the gains you want. Some days we might do a traditional 21-15-9 type high-intensity burner (some of my favorites are workouts like these), other days we might do circuit training with a mix of accessory and cardio, and other days could be a total body-building style session, working with heavy weights. It just depends on the client. I’m knowledgeable in how to safely adapt training styles to the individual’s needs and I always knew that I wanted to give my clients the most individualized training plan possible. They know when they come to train with me that they have to put in 100% and so do I.
It sounds to me like you work really hard to give your clients the best experience possible. You’ve been using Red Leaf Pre-Workout for a little while and then started selling it at your gym when you opened. What are your members saying about it? What do you like about Red Leaf that sets it apart?
I think the biggest thing I hear from my clients is that it tastes amazing and doesn’t make them feel jittery or like they’re about to pass out. I’m really big on natural ingredients and using only the best quality products and that was one of the main things that drew me to Red Leaf initially. After we started working together though, it’s been so awesome to hear more about your story. You guys are family-owned, woman-owned, and I love that. I try my best to support local small businesses and it’s been so easy to work with you guys. I can’t wait to try the newest products in our next shipment. I have been getting the question from my clients, are you guys thinking of coming out with a protein product?
Thank you so much for all those amazingly kind words. That means so much to us, really. We love having you as a wholesale partner. As for the protein product, we are looking into post-workout recovery as our potential next step in 2022. Whether that will be a traditional protein powder or something else, we haven’t really decided. So to answer your question, we don’t know yet- haha. But it’s on the table!
We want to thank Kara for sitting down with us to chat about her personal training gym, MadDog Fitness, and say thanks for representing Red Leaf in her community. Our community partners of athletes, coaches, trainers, health nuts, hikers, lifters, runners, yogis, and customers in pursuit of living their healthiest lives mean so much to us.