Finding Your Fit: Karla Wright

Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins March 15, 2013 12:01

Sonora resident Karla Wright, 56, is a mother, grandmother and businesswoman who owns and operates a Columbia residential care home for the elderly.

Fitness Transformation: Lost 67 pounds, going from a size 16 to size 4, in 24 months, working out several times a week in boot-camp-style classes and with a personal trainer. I can do push-ups now – on my toes!

Background: I started gaining weight 18 years ago when I opened my business. Then I lost four family members in a five-year period – my mother, dad, grandmother and sister. I started really packing it on in 2006, when my mom died. I didn’t feel I had time to grieve for any of them, so I just went into overload. I would come home from work, watch TV and eat.

Turning point: In January 2011, I got on the scale and said, holy cow, I’m two pounds away from 200 pounds – I’m only 5-foot-1. I know what extra weight does to your body, how hard it is on your joints and everything else, and I knew I needed to do something.

First steps: A friend invited me to a boot-camp fitness class taught by Tony Beltrami, a local personal trainer. We did cardio, weights, running – a lot of uphill and downhill – and stairs. There were times when I thought I was going to die. But we started out slow and I progressed.

Best part: Losing the weight and gaining so much energy. And working out helps me clear stress.

Worst part: During the wintertime it was so cold, the weather was bad and I wanted to stay home on the couch under a blanket. I’d call to cancel and Tony would say, no, you need to come. I told him one night I wasn’t going to go, and the next thing I knew he showed up at my house. It’s hard-core training, but he makes me accountable and keeps me motivated. That’s what was missing in everything else I tried.

Husband’s reaction: He loves the way I look, but he also loves seeing me this happy.

Workout routine: I work out super hard for one hour three times a week, and try to walk one day on the weekend for at least an hour.

Nutrition: I eat a lot more fresh vegetables, lean meats, fresh fruits. And I don’t overindulge. I look at food differently now – eating two cookies means an hour workout.

Next step: I just want to stay healthy. I want to be around to watch my grandchildren grow up.

Advice: You’ve got to try. I didn’t think I could do it, either. A few years ago when I read about people who were addicted to exercise, I thought I’d never get here. Now I’m there. Even though we all have tragedy and adversity in our lives, I wouldn’t change a thing because that has made me who I am today.

– As told to Suzy Hopkins.

Do you know a Tuolumne, Calaveras or Amador county resident 55 or older who has found his or her fit through exercise and diet? Email ideas to

 © 2013 Friends and Neighbors Magazine


Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins March 15, 2013 12:01
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