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ACE-certified Success Stories



Karen Dubs
ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor
FlexibleWarrior.com
Baltimore, Maryland


I’ve been passionate about fitness for over 20 years. I started teaching group fitness when I was 16 years old and haven’t stopped! My mom managed a small women’s health spa and encouraged me to teach. It was 1986, and I don’t think there was such a thing as “certified group exercise instructors” then – or at least there wasn’t in the small town of Hanover, PA! It must have been before Dynamix Music too! I remember making my first exercise music tape, copying songs from an album and practicing in my parent’s basement. My favorite workout song was “Wild Thing” and I remember doing “fire hydrants” and side leg kicks to that song!

I continued teaching when I was in college, and finally became official by getting certified through ACE in 1994. I was very fortunate that year to get hired at Canyon Ranch in The Berkshires of Massachusetts. Although I was so nervous and my audition was less than fabulous, the Fitness Director (Rebecca Gorrell) must have seen potential in me; I still owe her my thanks for believing in me, becoming a lifetime friend and mentor. Canyon Ranch was an amazing place to work and I will always be grateful for my experience there.

My husband’s job moved me to three states and five different towns within a seven year period. I was always grateful to quickly get a teaching job, a network of friends, and contacts any where I went, due to my ACE Group Fitness Instructor certification. For many years, teaching group exercise was something I did on the side, in addition to a “real job.” My college degree is in Marketing and Communications, and I was fortunate to be the Director of Marketing for the Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center for 6 years. This allowed me to combine my college experience with my passion for fitness.

In 2000, I was diagnosed with Lymes Disease and Autoimmune Hypothyroidism – the illnesses would leave me completely exhausted. I decided to take a year off from teaching fitness, and that’s when I discovered yoga. I began taking an Iyengar class from a fantastic instructor and quickly realized that yoga was what was missing in my life.

After starting to regain my strength, I took Yogafit training and knew that I had found my future in fitness. I stayed committed to the YogaFit path, taking all their training levels and specialty certifications, and gaining my 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certificate. I admire and respect Beth Shaw so much for having the vision of bringing yoga to the fitness industry, and bridging the gap between the two.

In January 2007, I resigned from my marketing job at the Maryland Athletic Club, and with their support, decided to pursue my passion for fitness full time. I became their first Mind Body Trainer, offering small group specialty trainings and private sessions. In addition to yoga, I am a Johnny G- Star 3 Certified Spinning instructor, and am trained in Stott Pilates. I love teaching fusion classes with spinning, yoga, and Pilates! I’ve been lucky to get to work with a wide range of professional and recreational athletes; clients including triathletes, runners, cyclists, and Baltimore Ravens football players.

After training many athletic, fit bodies, I began to notice one common denominator – getting them to slow down and stretch was a challenge! This, after research shows that flexibility and cross-training can prevent imbalance and overuse injuries while greatly improving performance and reducing recovery time. Most athletes avoid yoga class because they think it is too easy, slow, weird, or boring, and is just for flexible people.

So, I created a program called Athletic Power Flow. This combines total-body, and core-strength exercises, with active flexibility for the ultimate time-efficient, cross-training workout for athletes. From that successful program, my first video Flexible Warrior 1.0, Athletic Yoga for Triathletes, was born. I worked with a team of triathletes to create this athletic yoga workout that appeals to the competitive side of athletes, yet offers the benefits that come with flexibility and allowing the body recovery time. It’s all about balance, which is the concept behind the name ‘Flexible Warrior’ – creating strength that is flexible, adaptable, and able to bend without breaking.

Fitness has been a huge part of my past, present, and certainly my future. I’m looking forward to taking my ACE Personal Trainer Certification Exam, soon, to compliment my other trainings and certifications, and to further help my clients in achieving their fitness goals and athletic potential.



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