Katie Karai is back on the path to becoming a professional bodybuilder.

Karai, 30, who owns New York Fitness in Jackson with her husband Shawn, was making progress in the pursuit of that goal two years ago, when she found out she was pregnant.

“Katie started competing in 2015 (and) her last show was in 2018,” Shawn Karai said. “We found after that show she was actually 12 weeks pregnant on stage.”

Last month, Katie returned to the world of competitive bodybuilding for the first time since giving birth to the couple’s son, King, who is now 19 months old.

Competing in the Women’s Bikini Class G at the 2020 International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League/National Physique Committee (NPC) Sacramento Championships on October 17, Katie Karai was triumphant in her return, finishing in second place.

“Being a mom makes everything that much harder, especially getting my physique back,” Katie Karai said. “Getting back into contest shape and competing again feels amazing … I hope others are inspired by my example.”

By placing in the top five in Sacramento, Katie qualified to compete at the national level, putting her on a path to try and achieve her goal of earning a pro card within the next 5 years. She will get her first shot at reaching the pro ranks, when she competes at the NPC National Bodybuilding Championships in Miami in November 2021. A first-place finish at nationals will earn her a pro card.

The NPC is the premier amateur physique organization in the world. Since 1982, the top athletes in bodybuilding, fitness, figure, bikini and physique have started their careers in the NPC. Many of those athletes graduated to successful careers in the IFBB Professional League, a list that includes 24 Olympia and 38 Arnold Classic winners.