Photos by Paul Buceta
Our Instagram feeds may be filled with fitness influencers, but there is no one quite like Kaisa Keranen. The 32-year-old Seattle-based athlete and movement coach has gained a loyal following (whom she calls her “team”) on her @kaisafit page thanks to her electric fitness videos that can inspire pretty much anyone to get up and move, all while sporting a big smile on their face.
So what sets our March/April 2018 cover athlete apart in the fitness influencer world, and how is she changing the industry? Here are five ways she’s doing just that.
1. Her main goal is to get the world moving.
No matter a person’s athletic ability, age, or schedule, Kaisa wants everyone to “just move,” and to enjoy moving as much as she does.
“I feel like that’s kind of my biggest mission, to change that side of the industry,” says the National Association of Sports Medicine-certified trainer who was hand-picked by former First Lady Michelle Obama to be a lead trainer in the 2015 “Let’s Move” campaign. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to the gym to lift weights or work out or try to change the way that we look, it’s simpler than that. We’re really just moving because as human beings, our bodies are made to move and that’s what we want to do and that’s how we can keep them healthy.”
2. She encourages simple movement over complicated routines.
“In an industry where things are so complex that people are getting overwhelmed or discouraged… I’ve been trying to simplify it as much as I possibly can and just encourage people to move,” she says.
To Keranen, who has a Masters in Exercise Science, Sports Performance, and Injury Prevention from the University of Washington, these additional movements could be anything from doing some squats throughout the work day to taking the long route to the bathroom, walking around the block during lunch break or even incorporating household items, like laundry detergent or wine bottles as equipment. (Check out some of her creative ways to get moving here.)
3. She bases success on performance, rather than appearance.
Admit it—a big part of why you work out is probably to modify the way you look, right? Well for Kaisa, she thinks how you perform or move is more important than appearance-based results.
“As a trainer, it’s my goal to show [a client] that [his/her] body is much more than what it looks like,” says Kaisa. “Through movement, I think that people connect back to themselves. And there’s something really, really empowering about moving—whether it’s lifting weights, or being able to jump, or squat, or whatever people want to do. Those performance goals [are] where they start seeing that the body is far more than what it looks like. It is always my goal in the back of my mind to help my clients learn to love and respect their body for everything that it does for them.”
4. She’s focused on eating foods that make her feel good, rather than counting calories.
While some fitness influencers promote fad diets and detox teas on their Instagram pages, Kaisa just focuses on eating food that makes her feel good.
“I’ve never been one to count calories or pay attention to anything like that, and I think as a trainer, that’s too complicated for people in this industry,” says Kaisa. “Unless you are a professional athlete, or for some reason that’s your schtick and you love doing it, then I’m all about it, but for the general population, [they should] stay as close to whole-source as possible. And we do know, generally speaking, things that are good for you and not good for you. So I try to keep it simple, simple, simple.”
5. She makes moving FUN.
Watch any of Kaisa’s workout vids on Instagram and you’ll always see her sporting the biggest smile on her face. And to be honest, that grin is infectious. Whether you’re inspired to move by her Instagram feed or her new #TeamKaisa workout plans, you can be sure you’ll always have a fun time doing it.
“I strongly believe in putting positive energy out into the world as much as I can,” she says. “A smile is a simple way to spread good vibes so whether I’m walking down the street or working out in the gym, you will almost always catch me with a smile on my face. Plus it keeps things fun! When you smile you can’t take yourself too seriously and at this point in my life that’s what it’s all about.”