Fitness Instructor Profile: Kara Wanderlich

Kara Wanderlich has been a Group Fitness Instructor at the Ray Meyer Fitness & Recreation Center at DePaul University for 5 years.  She teaches many formats including bootcamp, muscle work, crunch and reshape.  You’ll find Kara teaching at the Ray on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.  Her classes are fun, energy-filled and challenging!

Kara is a life-long Chicagoan. Graduating from DePaul University in 2007 with a degree in Physical Education and Fitness management, she chose the education field as her career path. She currently teaches Physical Education at Walt Disney Magnet School to Pre-School through 8th graders. She has brought new, innovative concepts to Walt Disney PE, introducing the students to the world of Yoga and Group Fitness concepts.

How did you get started teaching group fitness?

“I’ve always had a love for sports and exercise. I was a Physical Education major at DePaul University when a Group Fitness instructor training program was being offered. This course was being taught by the one and only, Heather Hughes. She quickly became my inspiration and role model in many aspects of my career field. I completed the 10 week training course and continued to co-teach Group Fitness classes at DePaul. I, then, enrolled and passed the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Group Fitness Instructor exam. I have been an active & certified group fitness ever since!” 

What is your favorite format to teach?
“I love teaching any interval format because I love to incorporate both cardio and strength training in my classes. It’s a great calorie burner, and research confirms that interval training improves fitness similarly to traditional aerobic training in much less time.” 

Kara’s recommendations for someone new to group fitness classes: 
1. Don’t be intimidated! Instructors are pros at challenging the most advanced participants while providing modifications for beginners.

2. Choose classes and instructors that you enjoy (not just classes and class times that fit your schedule) this will help keep you motivated.

3. Ask questions! Instructors love to provide feedback.

*Kara welcomes anyone new to come join a class!  🙂

Kara’s Signature Moves:
Here are a few exercises that I do in my classes which target key areas: triceps and thighs. These are some of my favorite exercises; and you can do them at home too, all you’ll need is a resistance band.


Hold band above your head with hands close together (no more than 2 inches apart). Bring band behind your head so that elbows come to 90 degree angle at shoulder line, this creates resistance on the band. Now, pull hands away from body creating more resistance on band. Bring hands back to starting position behind head, this is one rep. Continue for 15 reps, 15 pulses. Remember to keep band behind head, elbows at shoulder line, and core engaged.

Outer Thighs:

Step on band, keeping band underneath the “notch” of your shoe (where the arch of your foot is located). Bring handles up to hips, cross band if you’d like to create more resistance for added difficulty. Flex your foot and step to your right, flex your foot and step back to your left.

BONUS…Add a leg lift:
Stabilize right leg, and lift left leg off floor. While flexing your foot pull resistance band away from your body. Continue with 15 reps, 15 pulses. Switch to right leg lift. Together: Side step with green band to right, right leg lift. Side step to left, left leg lift.

CONTACT: If you are interested in getting in touch with Kara, you can email her any time!

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