By day, Karri Ball shoulders some pretty serious responsibilities. A certified public accountant graduating in 2001 from the University of Missouri with a master’s in accounting, she has worked for many years of her career as a controller. Currently she serves as the Director of Compliance at Veterans United, spending her days on regulatory matters, compliance policy and procedures, training, and audit work; important duties carrying a lot of weight and requiring solemn attention to detail with little margin for error. While she excels in her work, Karri admits her day job can be boring. She says it’s in her role as an instructor that her ‘real’ personality has a chance to shine.
And shine it does. When she teaches, Karri sheds her alter ego. Like Superman doffing the horn-rimmed glasses of Clark Kent and donning his cape, Karri leaves her brief case behind at the office when she steps into her spandex. Delivering cues, she talks in a rapid, enthusiastic stream with conversational energy. Her eyes sparkle. Her smile is infectious. Effervescent, she makes her classes upbeat and exciting, even during the most grueling challenges. None of her members would guess their sunny group fitness teacher lives a secret life in the corporate world.
Karri makes her classes fun because that’s what pulled her into group fitness. When her early career required travel, it meant eating out much of the time. Karri found herself gaining weight and feeling sluggish. She hit the gym, but soon became bored working out on the floor. That’s when she discovered the magic of group fitness; achievable, measurable results obtained while having FUN! The perfect formula to satisfy both the bean-counting, number-crunching businesswoman and the full-of-life, fun-loving free spirit in her. For Karri, the music was always the key to great workouts. “It if was energizing, I could sing along and
the time flew by. The music pushed and motivated me through a tough workout.” As an instructor, she applies both sides of her personality to create well organized, entertaining classes. No one ever complains of being bored in her class!
Her own experience as a participant started in 2002 when a friend introduced her to BODYPUMP. Proper weight lifting technique coached to great music; she fell in love! No more waiting for an open weight machine on a crowded gym floor, and trying to figure out how it worked. When she moved back to Columbia from KC, Karri and her younger sister, Kristen who was then a student at MU, attended classes together and became dedicated regulars. They enjoyed it so much their instructors encouraged them to pursue certification and share what they loved with others. In early 2006, the sisters drove to Peoria, Illinois to attend BODYPUMP training. And four months later, they trained in BODYSTEP. Growing up in Mexico, Missouri the six-year age gap was wide enough that they didn’t have a lot in common. As adults, sharing the process of becoming certified Les Mills instructors together brought them close in the short time before Kristen graduated from Mizzou and moved away.
Karri later obtained additional certification in Les Mills BODYVIVE and came to us at Wilson’s in 2012. Her newest passion is Hot Barre, a program unique to Wilson’s she piloted in 2014 when the hot studio opened. What does she love about Hot Barre? “The music, of course!” she says emphatically. “I can do anything with the right music! The little isometric moves are such a complement to the big power moves in BODYPUMP. It’s a different burn and it’s fun.” And it has to be fun, she says, to keep her getting up at 4:30 am to teach early morning classes. She also loves the heat. It’s a great detox for her skin, which has never looked so vibrant.
Karri currently teaches both Hot Barre and BODYPUMP. After all these years, she still loves teaching her first program. “I love the strength workout of BODYPUMP because of the benefits beyond the workout session.” True to her alter ego, Karri emphasizes the importance of enjoying exercise. “When members realize working out can be fun, mission accomplished!”
In her own personal journey, she learned through setting and reaching goals, that her overall fitness must include proper nutrition. “In my 20’s, I thought I could out-exercise a bad diet. Now I understand just how important nutrition is.” She loves learning about food quality and how her body feels when given the fuel for which it was designed. Once she experienced the results of a clean diet, she says she will never go back. “You only have one body. It’s your most valuable asset and greatest investment. If you don’t feel good or you lack energy, you can’t live and enjoy life to the fullest.”
Karri is married to her husband of 15 years, Kris, and they have two darling children, Karter, 9 and Kaitlyn, 6. When not working or teaching, her family keeps her busy with vacation trips, MU games and kids’ activities, including traveling with Karter’s competitive baseball team. Karri would love to have her own business someday and already does side work using her accounting skills to help small businesses in the health and wellness industry with their accounting needs. She plans to use nutrition and exercise to help others feel as energized as she does, so they can live their best life.