Karly Jones spent some of her earliest years on an island in the Puget Sound, where she studied in a two-room schoolhouse, ran trails, built forts in the Evergreen woods, or swam in one of the island's two freshwater lakes. It was a lush, rainy Northwestern existence.
By the sixth grade, Jones no longer lived in that isolated world, but its family-focused hallmark and the spirit of its landscape, quiet and strong in her, never left. Throughout high school and college athletics, and stints in modeling and competitive bodybuilding, Jones remained true to those formative moments in a place where life was more important than the minor successes of a single day.
Life has, it seems, been about the bigger picture for Jones.
Snapshot: Karly Jones
- Height: 6' 1"
- Weight: 155 lbs.
- Age: 31
- Occupation: Private Label Manager
- Location: Boise, Idaho
- 2013 Axiom Classic, Class C, Bikini Competition
Today, Jones is the private label manager for the Bodybuilding.com Signature Series product line. [Ed. note: Private label refers to products made by Bodybuilding.com, as opposed to products made by other companies like Optimum Nutrition and Dymatize and then sold by Bodybuilding.com.] Here's what Jones had to say about working at Bodybuilding.com, sustaining a lifelong habit of healthy living, and staying humble while kicking ass.
When did you get into fitness?
I stood out from other kids when I was younger because I was really tall. Girls get picked on for that, so when I was 10 years old my Gram sat me down and said, "Kids will be mean because of your height, but just stand up, keep your shoulders back, and make something of it. Get into sports, get into modeling, get into something that's going to make you that much prouder because of your height."
I have always taken that to heart, and I did get into sports pretty soon after that. I played volleyball in junior high, high school, and college. At first, I was so tall and skinny that my knee pads would slide down my legs. I was probably 100 pounds at 5 feet 10 inches tall. When I was 13, I got a strength coach and formally got into conditioning. I learned to lift, and my doctor put me on a weight gainer. I also started doing athletic camps and clinics. Things changed pretty quickly after that.
Did you model, too?
I did do some modeling when I was 17. I was approached by a talent scout at a gas station and went to an interview with my parents. I was signed to an agency after that.
But, the physique needed for modeling and the physique needed for volleyball, which was my passion, were different. I was playing volleyball year-round by then, traveling a lot with my club volleyball team, Nike Northwest Juniors, and I really couldn't commit to the skinniness needed for modeling while being athletic enough for my sport. Things have somewhat changed in the modeling world, but back then it was still that rail-thin look being sought after. Athletics were just more important to me.
Lately, I've had additional opportunities to model. I've done some runway work, which I enjoy, but I don't pursue it as a lifestyle. Remaining athletic, and true to myself, is far more important to me.
You have a reputation around the Bodybuilding.com office as being a "badass." Do you compete? If not, where did that reputation come from?
[Laughs] Well, I have competed. I did one bikini competition, in 2013, when I was looking for something to hold me accountable, and for a goal to work toward. After playing volleyball throughout college at Northwest Nazarene University, that competitive fire was still with me, so this was something I could direct it at. I placed third in my class, then checked it off my bucket list. I haven't done another show.
As for that so-called reputation as a badass, I don't know. I don't have much of a social media presence, and I work out hard, but a lot of people work out hard. Maybe it's because I'm taller than most women, and I have fiery red hair, so I just stand out more.
Is that just you being humble? You're actually above and beyond most everyday athletes.
Oh, no. I'm not above and beyond anything! There are so many people that live and breathe competitions and fitness, whereas I just try to make it a lifestyle.
A lot of that goes back to my Grandma. She struggled a lot with her weight and had a lot of problems with her legs, including multiple surgeries on her knees, because of it. She always told me I had great legs, and she wanted me to preserve that, so that my legs—my body—wouldn't hold me back, or anchor me, the way hers had.
So, I don't see myself as somebody who's trying to be the best athlete in the world or in my peer group. My goal is simply to sustain an athletic, healthy life, and to be connected to something bigger.
What would be that bigger thing for you?
Maybe because of how I grew up, family is the most important thing to me. If I'm dealing with personal hardship, family is always my go-to. If I need a pick-me-up, or if I'm celebrating an accomplishment, my family has been my support system. And I always want to make my parents proud, no matter what I do.
When the time is right for me, I'll have my own family. But, because of how important it is to me, I'm not willing to settle for second best, and that includes looking in, at myself. When I'm a whole person, when I can be the best mom that I can be, that's when I'll have a family.
What is your job at Bodybuilding.com?
I'm the private label manager for our Signature Series, which includes the supplements but also all of the line extensions, product innovations, and apparel and accessories, as well as other cool products that are upcoming under a different label than Signature.
I'm in all of the meetings related to researching ingredients and formulas, packaging and labeling, naming conventions, flavor testing, and final product production. I'm also involved in similar strategizing and management related to apparel. Once a product is ready to be on the site, I help to bring it live and then I work on the promotional strategy.
What do you like about working at Bodybuilding.com?
My team is really small and I'm wearing a lot of hats, but at the same time, that's what's fun about being on a small team. And, we're tightly knit. We communicate really well, and we have a shared vision. I love that, and I really love everyone I work with.
Apart from my team, I always felt like Bodybuilding.com was the top dog in the supplement industry, and I strove to be a part of it. Now that I'm here, it's really exciting. To have the shared accountability with others who have the same focus as myself, professionally and personally, is invaluable. And, having fitness-related resources available, like our downstairs gym, is so cool. I'm surrounded by a healthy lifestyle culture, and that has really helped me personally.
I also have a lot of role models at work. Kandace Hudspeth, our vice president of brand innovation, is one of my biggest. I really look to her lifestyle for inspiration. She's just as committed to her fitness as she is to her professional life. She does 5 a.m. workout classes that she'll go to before she even comes into the office. Cassie Smith in marketing is another person that I look to as a role model, because she maintains a really good balance between her CrossFit addiction and real life. She's not strict about her diet, and I like that. And I always see our brand media managers, Macy Egerman and Ashley Shirley, in the gym together. They look like sisters, and I just love them. They're so motivational to me, and Ashley's just a sweetheart. She's always complimenting me or saying, "You go, girl," even though I don't know them very well.
These co-workers exemplify what, for me, is so great about being here at Bodybuilding.com. There are so many people that are supportive and want to see each other succeed.
What's your favorite feature on the Bodybuilding.com site?
My favorite feature is our All Access program, which is a great resource, whether you're looking to lose weight, gain muscle, or do performance-based workouts and programs. All Access really has it all. And, again, life for me is often about accountability, so I love having that structure.
What do your workout routine and diet consist of?
I recently completed the 2018 $250K Transformation Challenge, and I followed Kris Gethin's 12-Week Hardcore Trainer on All Access. I religiously hit every workout that was scheduled. I didn't miss a single day. I have continued to follow the nutritional plan even now, as it's become a lifestyle habit. Overall, I'm fairly regimented, but as long as I'm doing something active each day, I don't feel guilt-ridden if I miss a workout. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I'd much rather be outside biking, hiking, paddle boarding, or jogging.
Here's a brief overview of what a workout week looks like for me, which is Gethin's split:
- Monday: Chest and triceps
- Tuesday: Active rest day. Go for a bike ride or hike.
- Wednesday: Back and biceps
- Thursday: Shoulders, calves, and abs
- Friday: Active rest day. Bike or hike again.
- Saturday: Legs
- Sunday: Legs
I like to supplement with Nourish + Bloom Multi Plus once daily, KM Glutamine three times a day, KM BCAA 2:1:1 twice daily, KM C-HCI twice daily, KM Kasein once daily at bedtime, and Nourish + Bloom Vegan Protein Snack Bars when I need extra protein and have a craving for something sweet.
I eat fairly healthfully, but when I'm feeling a craving, I will have something to treat myself. I don't consider that to be having a "cheat meal," because I'm just listening to what my body wants, and I don't deprive it. I like to think of food as fuel, period.