About Us


Carrie A. Kukuda, Owner, Head Trainer/Coach

RKC, NBCPT, TRX, Sports Nutritionist and Life Coach

I (aka The Someday Coach) have dedicated my life to helping others. I have been in the fitness/nutrition/health field for over 25 years and life coaching for over 18 years. I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up and here I am today.

Before my career started, I was a high school swim coach for girl’s ages 11-17. Wow, that was interesting, but it taught me a lot. Many of them suffered from body dysmorphic disorder. It broke my heart. They were so young and beautiful and didn’t even know it! Plus, too young to have issues like that, and probably will struggle with it all their lives. This gave me another reason (other my own passion to help others) to help others and make a difference.

My own personal struggles were my eating. I love to exercise and I love to eat! Portion control, what is that? FYI – where did they teach us that! Anyway, when I was active and in school it didn’t affect me too much; but as I worked more and exercised a little less, it became a challenge. I got really down and I did the whole cycle of being down and eating more. You know the Self Sabotaging Cycle! I hope I’m not alone here. So, I decided to go to Weight Watchers to get on track. I am very driven by challenges and very sensitive about sharing with others my weight, so going each week to weigh in sounded like a great idea. Until I walked in there and everyone and I mean everyone looked at me funny! Hey, FYI we all have a place we want to be, Don’t judge. Well they judged. I felt so uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to get out of there. Yes, I never went back.

At this point, I started reading everything and taking this workshop and that workshop and certifications and etc. It turned into my mission! My biggest trick became my clothes. The whole scale thing, would mess with my mind. I would weigh in first thing in the morning, at lunch, at dinner (sound familiar) and I would be all over the place. I became so frustrated, I decided I was unable to do it anymore (challenging – but the best decision I ever made). I used my clothes as my measuring point. When they got tight I knew I needed to give myself a swift kick in the butt, especially sense the rule was I couldn’t buy bigger sizes. It was NOT an option. If I gained weight I still had to wear the clothes tight or not. I wasn’t really one to like to draw attention to myself, so it wasn’t fun! But, it WORK! There is hope for each and every one of you out there; you just have to be ready to change. You CAN find what can WORK for you just like I did.

I use many other tactics today to help me with my stress eating (yes, I identified myself as a stress eater – I can eat as much as my husband) and I can help you, too. You heard it: My passion and mission is to help as many of other people live the life they deserve, period! I hope my story gives you hope and maybe helps you get off the couch and do something about it. Nothing feels better than being comfortable in your own skin. Try to be kinder to yourself along the way. Give credit where credit is due and NEVER quit! If you live in Tampa or its surrounding areas give me a call and we’ll see how you can change your life!

It is TIME and I am so happy to have the BEST of the best on my Team!

As you know, the Get A Grip mission is to help people move from where they today to living the life they deserve! You do NOT have to live unhappy OR wait for, “I’ll be happy when…” We have the missing links to help direct you from A to B and with speed (the legal kind). We provide you with an environment of anything is possible, accountability, motivation, and friendships you are unable to find anywhere else.

You have to place yourself in an environment of like-minded people. You want to loss fat, hang out with people who are losing fat and or want to, too. Get A Grip has just that. The possibilities are endless inside our doors!

It is not just the Get A Grip Team, it’s the people who belong. Talk about amazing people, they are in our studio and gym. You can find them all over this site; they rock!

With the people and the growing team, we are going to have the best year yet in reaching our goals of changing people’s lives, what all of our passions are.

Thank you to all the current members for helping us grow and add such a great team.                      

Arik Bishop, CPT, TRX


Arik his own weight loss story…In 2003 he was at my highest weight of 375lbs. and felt like there was no way he could ever lose it.

Arik before 300x207 Meet the Get a Grip Team!

Arik Before – Amazing Transformation!

After trying many diets without having any long term success, his weight loss had hit a plateau of 295lbs. He decided to step back into the gym after a long absence and ask for some guidance. The trainer there taught him some workouts and told him to eat five times a day. This had some success but something was still not right. At this point he found out that he have an addiction to certain foods and had to make a decision to stop eating sugar and white flour. Once he was able to get the food in order his weight melted away. His amazing experience led him to be a personal trainer. He felt he would have something to share with people whether they needed to lose weight or just get into better shape. He had been in the worst shape possible and now feels like he is in the best shape of his life.

He has been with Get a Grip for over 8 years and has played a big part in the 1000’s of transformations we have had come through our doors. You will feel his passion in every session!

michele- beforeandafter

Michele Musto NESTA CPT, Sports Yoga

I came to Get a Grip Total Fitness in the Fall of 2012 as a client. By that time, I had conquered a weight issue and had lost 60lbs, but my health and fitness journey were just beginning. As an avid runner, I was looking for a place to add strength and conditioning to my fitness plan. When I found Get a Grip I knew it was a perfect fit. The studio offers convenient times and I really enjoy the boot camp style workout. The nutrition programs are outstanding. I never really considered a career as a Fitness Trainer, and yet I always aspired to INSPIRE and

ENCOURAGE others in class and running groups. I LOVE being a student of proper form and efficiency of movement. One thing lead to another and in 2015 I became certified as a Personal Trainer. Under the mentorship of Carrie Kukuda I am now on her Power Team coaching boot camp classes, Yoga, the Run Club program and the Triathlon Team Training program. I love MOTIVATING our clients in sessions and out on the course as they cross the finish line!

I wholeheartedly BELIEVE and LIVE the programs we teach for health, nutrition, and fitness at Get a Grip Total Fitness. I embrace our Mission to EMPOWER others to maximize their full potential and believe nothing is impossible. I have seen so many success stories…well, I am one of them, too! I am continuing to learn and grow as a trainer and person. What a great journey! Join us in your own journey.


Gazelle Stevens, NESTA CPT, Pilate Instructor

I started at Get a Grip Total Fitness in 2013 when I tried the 21-day belly blast program and I knew right away that this gym was different than any other place I’d worked out at before.  The atmosphere was inspiring and more like a family than a gym.

 I have been active my entire life, playing softball and running track in high school, then working out at gyms as I got older and when life got too crazy, I’d run on my treadmill or do fitness DVD’s at home.  A few years after being a member at GAG, I began working there as an admin and got to know a lot of the members more personally.  After listening to some of their weight loss journeys and fitness goals, I was inspired to get my certification in personal training so that I could join the amazing team of trainers, including Carrie Kukuda, Arik Bishop and Michele Musto.  I have been teaching at GAG for about a year now and am also a certified Pilates instructor.  I’m very appreciative of the opportunities that GAG has afforded me as a member and trainer, and I look forward to sharing my experience and expertise with our current members, as well as our future members.