Written by Kathryn LekasEditor-in-Chief
Photography by Paul Buceta
Hair & Makeup by 
Monica Kalra

Ever feel like there’s a lot of noise in your ear when it comes to training, nutrition, and overall well-being? Our March/April 2024 cover athlete Caroline Drury does—and she’s doing something about it. 

Caroline, Founder/Owner of Caroline Drury Fitness and the new Beyond Before & After App, is on a mission to help women realize that if they truly want to transform their bodies and lives, a simple strategy for success is letting go of many of the “shoulds” that ring out all around them. 

“Really, at the heart of what I do, what I want to show women how to do more than anything, is how to bring joy into fitness,” she says. “I really try to work with women to help them simplify their process and first, figure out what they like to do, and have them bring that into their life.” When that happens, Caroline says not only is the woman happier (and if they have partners and families, they’re happier, too), the joy enriches their lives in every way. “It creates momentum to, eventually, do more and really achieve the kind of changes they’re hoping for,” she explains. 

Caroline knows first-hand just how impactful actually enjoying how you move can be.
After all, that’s what ignited her own commitment to fitness, which now shapes every part of her life. 

3 Ways to Achieve
Radical Accountability and Accelerate Change

1. Patterns 

What patterns do you see in your life that aren’t serving you or your goals? Replace them with something that does.

2. Mindset 

Retrain your mind that there is a change happening. Use a mantra to remind you and help prevent you from falling back into old patterns.

3. Groups 

Get connected with like-minded women and explore activities that suit your lifestyle versus socializing that’s destructive to the you you really want to be.  

“I have loved running since I was about 12 years old,” shares Caroline. “Not until I was an adult did I really start strength training in earnest and now, to me, they’re two sides of the coin.”

Caroline runs six miles about four times a week, and goes for a long run on weekends—but that is not essential for any woman to do on an everyday basis, she stresses. “I love it,” she says. “It’s my therapy time, my mental health time. That’s really what it is for me. Running makes me feel so free in my body.”

Strength training on the other hand, makes her feel powerful. “Generally, I’m actually quite a light, upbeat, joyful person… But in the gym, I feel like I get that grit—which has become a really important part of my fitness journey,” she says. “With lifting, even if you add just one more pound to an exercise you did last week, it builds resilience, it builds determination, it builds stamina, it builds mindset. Every single day you have the opportunity in the gym to do something you’ve never done before.” Getting gritty is the greatest challenge Caroline says she’s overcome on her fitness journey. “I had a very weak mindset and I didn’t even know it,” she admits. “I always thought I was strong. I’ve always been quite independent, but I really found that I had a weak mindset in terms of ‘all or nothing’ and perfectionism,” she says. “I didn’t know how to stay totally accountable to myself in this process.” But she learned.

“I get asked a lot, what is going to make or break
a fitness journey, and it’s this.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic Caroline decided to make shifts with her fitness, and after seeing her dramatic transformation online, women everywhere started reaching out to her. “They wanted to know what I did, how I made the changes, how I built the habits that helped… And so I started to very organically grow my coaching business by connecting with all of these women on social media about what I did,” she explains. 

A key takeaway that she shared with everyone was how to establish radical self accountability. “I get asked a lot from women what is going to make or break a fitness journey, and it’s this,” she says. “It’s what I’ve earned on this journey—nobody is going to give this to you. Nobody gave this to me, no one gives it to the clients that I work with one on one, nobody gives it to any of the women in my App that are killing it… They are doing it for themselves. They are staying radically accountable to themselves, keeping promises to themselves, and that builds an incredibly strong mindset so that when things don’t go your way you don’t fall apart. You actually rise to the occasion, and that is a beautiful thing to witness in another woman.”

Just how exactly does one establish the kind of accountability that accelerates change? Caroline says there’s a few ways. The first? Patterns. “Think about your consistent habits. Do you hit the snooze button every morning? Do you start your weekend with a greasy meal that throws you off good nutrition for days? When are you simply reacting to a feeling versus making a choice?” For Caroline, it was every day around 4pm. “I thought I needed that glass of wine to wind down the day,” she says. “But it was just a habit that when I stopped and processed, I knew it wasn’t aligned with what I wanted. So I replaced that daily habit with going for a walk.” 

What Was Your STRONG Cover Shoot Experience Like?

Shooting the cover was so much fun! We had a great time! There was lots of cool clothes, interesting and entertaining conversation, and supportive company in the studio. Of course, shooting with Paul, you can never leave not loving all the photos that you get so I’m super excited to have done this, and it really is something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I met him. Having the cover come to fruition like this, I’m so excited about it!

Next, Caroline says pay attention to mindset. “When you’re first learning new habits or routines, you have to retrain the mind to understand that there’s a change happening,” she explains. “Developing a mantra that you can revert to when you’re going through a big change and want to fall back into old patterns can help.” When she made a dramatic shift, Caroline says one in particular really helped her. “‘If not now when?’ For me, that was a really big reality shake up any time I said it to myself because what was I going to do, be an 85 year old woman and still looking for the next diet to start? At some point there won’t be another Monday on which to ‘start again’, and I didn’t want to take the present for granted,” she says.

Lastly? Get a group of like-minded women. “There are other women that are on this journey as well and they are looking for people to be with, just like you,” says Caroline. “It can be hard when we grow up, and we’ve raised families, had big jobs, and marriages… We lose a lot of those really strong friendships. It’s important to find other women that are doing the same thing—that want to go for a walk and a coffee on a Saturday morning instead of going out for drinks and a big greasy dinner on Saturday night as their girlfriend time. Find a hiking group, come and join an App like Beyond Before & After, anything where there’s a community-building of women that are on the same journey and want the same things as you.” For Caroline, seeing the positive effect her coaching, and now the community she’s building through her App, is having on so many women is what drives her to continue growing, creating, and spreading joy through fitness. “It’s really exciting to see women coming together through fitness and my new platform to get everything they need, and be able to take it into their lives and make it their own. I hope everyone remembers, you don’t have to know everything right away. In fact, you shouldn’t! There’s a lot to know! But that’s okay. Just start to do what you can—go for a walk, eat a few more vegetables that day, walk with a friend… You will piece it together as you go. You just have to start—so do it messy, do it ugly, do it snotty, do it great, do it horribly—just start, because you create momentum, and that opens up all the other things that you need to know to make big changes.”

What Does STRONG Mean to You?

That a woman is a complete human being, in the sense that she can take all these different elements from fitness, nutrition, and well-being and make them work for her in a way that enriches her life. She can weave in what she wants, and leave the rest, so that fitness truly fits her life. Versus feeling forced to apply it in one specific way and sacrificing everything else she wants.

STRONG Fitness
STRONG Fitness Magazine is a trusted source of cutting-edge fitness and health information for the modern woman who lives to be fit. STRONG’s sophisticated editorial voice combined with raw, powerful imagery and a modern, athletic design reflect the direction fitness has taken in the last decade.