fitness transformation karyssa-02Our Transformation Series showcases the amazing individuals who made the decision to change their lives for the better and took the fitness plunge. One of these absolute badasses is Karyssa Nielsen, a college student from Ontario, Canada. By changing her lifestyle, using a gym bag for her food, using macro diet plans, exercising, and accepting herself, Karyssa experienced a fitness transformation in her body and mind.

Karyssa Nielsen studies Classical Studies and Communications at the University of Ottawa. A dedicated student, she wants to get a Masters in Sports Management or go to law school, and represent athletes and sports teams. We don't doubt for a second that she'll achieve these goals, because she is clearly a go-getter. Her fitness transformation began in high school, but she wasn't completely committed until her first year at college, where she buckled down not just on her studies, but on her diet and exercise as well. At this point, Karyssa says that she “got super serious about changing my lifestyle and becoming the best version of myself." After this realization, she made a huge goal for herself: to one day compete.

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“I had always been the bigger girl," Karyssa told us. “I had always wanted to be skinny, but the moment that I knew I wanted to make a change was during a vacation in Nova Scotia during the summer of 2011." At the beach, she felt incredibly uncomfortable being in a bathing suit. She told herself that she never wanted to look or feel like that again. Although she didn't do too much about it at the time, moving away from home for college and having control of the contents of her fridge enabled her to make the ultimate change in her life.

“In September of 2013, I decided I no longer wanted to be skinny, but instead, I wanted to be fit. I told myself, ‘Who wants to be skinny when you can be fit and healthy?' Health is the ultimate goal."

Self-esteem is a challenge for Karyssa. But once she stopped worrying about being a skinny girl, her life started to change. Before that, she was constantly comparing herself to others instead of focusing on her own health and happiness. She finally told herself to stop.

“No two people are alike, and what may work for someone else may not work for me. The moment you realize that you are who you are, and you can't compare yourself to someone else, is a super special moment."

Self-esteem issues aren't the only hurdles that Karyssa had to overcome, as trying to eat clean while living on a college campus can be a struggle. Karyssa has to sideline the easy but unhealthy meals for clean ones that take more time to prepare, but are far more rewarding to her body. It's not easy to focus on the healthiest meals when you're in college, as you have to contend with all your classes and assignments. Add a job to the mix, and things start to get crazy! But all that craziness actually keeps her on track, as she has less time to just go out and grab unhealthy food.

[caption id="attachment_4513" align="aligncenter" width="423"]fitness transformation karyssa-6 September 2013 vs. June 2014[/caption]

Karyssa hasn't undergone this amazing fitness transformation without some inspiration. She loves Dana Linn Bailey and Michelle Bishop. When she sees how hard they work every day, it makes her want to work harder and hopefully inspire others. Karyssa also loves people that drag themselves out of bed to get to the gym bright and early, and she's inspired by anyone who can commit to it. Her best friend Tabitha, who works two jobs and still eats healthy, is another huge inspiration.

When it comes to Karyssa's training, she works very hard and goes to the gym 5-6 times a week, twice a day. She starts the day with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and then works on her muscle groups. On her fitness regimen, Karyssa explains, “I work legs and shoulders twice a week because I feel they are my weak points. I believe in turning my weaknesses into strengths.

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Another huge part of Karyssa's new lifestyle is her 6 Pack bag. Now that she has one, she can travel easier from her hometown, which is six hours away, without having to worry about her food. In everyday life, she can keep her food fresh all day long. Karyssa heard about 6 Pack Bags “through Instagram. When I began my fitness journey, Instagram was the first place that gave me a lot of inspiration."

“Many people in the fitness industry have 6 Pack bags, and I thought it was the perfect solution for me carrying food back and forth to school and trips!"

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Throughout her fitness transformation, Karyssa has received a lot of support from her family, especially her mother.

“This journey hasn't been easy, and it never will be. But over the past year and a half my family has made it easy, and have been there to offer me love and support."

Karyssa is a huge inspiration for people looking to change their lifestyle for the better. She has lost almost 60 pounds, and is now in fantastic shape, in body and mind. Karyssa loves school, her friends and family, and most important of all, she loves herself. Throughout her fitness transformation, she was able to completely change her lifestyle by using her 6 Pack gym bag, exercising, and following a macro diet plan. Living by the quote, “Fall down 7 times, stand up 8," Karyssa has made a wonderful path for herself. We're sure there will be much more to come from Karyssa, and hope that achieves her goal to compete. Good luck, Karyssa. We'll be rooting for you!

Check out our other amazing stories in our Transformation Series. To start your own transformation, check out tips from our blog and take a look at our meal management bags, gym backpack and gym tote lines, and all our best sellers!