Courtesy Kara Yaquinta
Name: Kara Yaquinta
Current City: Miami, Florida
Occupation: Marketer/Spin Instructor at CycleBar Pembroke Pines
Time Cycling: 2 years
Start Weight: 250 pounds
End Weight: 150 pounds
Reason for Cycling: Cycling is a safe space for me to realign and refocus, as well as let go of any troubles within the day. It helps to keep me on track and never fails to remind me of who I am and who I can be.
Before I started cycling, my weight had always gone up and down. I was at my heaviest after I went through a grieving period when a close family member passed away. I was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 22. When I was diagnosed, there was a moment in the hospital when I saw a look of panic in my family’s eyes, and I think that was a wakeup call that it was time to start taking care of myself. Not only for me, but for the people around me.
Before losing weight, my life was very dull and wasn’t filled with a lot of purpose. But then I found cycling in early 2019. My sister was the one who encouraged me to try a class at —I was reluctant to do it, but she finally convinced me. I never felt like I had such an intense workout anywhere else. I never sweat as much doing anything else, and I never felt as accomplished when I did anything else. All of those things made me feel like I couldn’t be stopped, and I wanted to keep that feeling going.
When I first started cycling, I was doing eight classes per month, but I quickly upped that to five to seven classes per week. I held myself accountable by posting my stats on my Instagram story after every class to track my progress. I made it an Instagram “highlight” so I could scroll through it and get a visual of that progress. I watched how I steadily performed better each day. I went from ranking at the bottom of the class to hitting number one and setting new PRs each day. And I loved it so much that I also became an instructor in 2020.
While I was in the midst of losing weight, I also stuck to a strict paleo diet. I’m a big fan of this diet because of how balanced it is. It was recommended to me by my doctor, and it helped me not only lose weight, but control my diabetes as well. It also taught me a lot about food, and I learned a lot of discipline when it comes to eating. I’m a bit more relaxed now with my diet because I’ve taken the time to learn what works for my body and what doesn’t. Plus, everything is good for you in moderation. I’m a huge supporter of balance.
Kara’s Must-Have Gear
→ : I have bunions on my feet, but these are wide up top, which are far more comfortable for me than any other cycling shoe out there.
→ : There’s no better way to kick off a Monday class at 6 a.m. than chugging a nice cold Celsius.
→ : You can never have too many solid black leggings, and these stand the test of sweat.
→ : I love wearing my hoops to work out, they make me feel fabulous, but I need something that will not tarnish at a reasonable price. These are absolutely perfect.
My current cycling schedule is teaching three to four classes per week, and I like to get in about three classes where I just ride without teaching. In the future, I think one of my cycling goals would be to have a branded cycling class. For example, my Sunday classes right now are called “Pre-Brunch,” and the idea is to workout before brunching—to build upon this concept beyond the studio would be really cool.
Cycling has definitely changed my life for the better—I went through a whole mind, body, and soul transformation, and I feel my positive qualities shine a lot more. I also think cycling has helped me to understand others more and the struggles we all go through on and off the bike. Being able to connect with my riders and listen to their journeys helps put the word “empathy” in perspective.
Overall, I have lost 100 pounds.
I want other cyclists to know that you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it and choose to have the willpower to do it. Once you find that, your life will change in so many ways, and it is beyond worth it.
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