My Fitness Life: Personal Trainer Katriona Fox On How She Shed Four Stone
PT Katriona Fox may look like a natural athlete, but she didn't start out ripped – we've got the deets on her road to #fitspo.
Name: Katriona Fox
Why did you decide to go on your fitness journey?
Like most people who take on a lifestyle change, I was unhappy in myself and the way I looked. I didn’t want to be overweight anymore.
So where did you start?
I started using the gym membership my mum had bought for me three years earlier, attending numerous gym classes, cycling to college and then spending a bit of time texting while on the cross trainer. It wasn’t the most intense regime, but it got me started. Coupled with a change of food this got me into a shape that I suppose could be described as skinny fat. I enlisted the help of a trainer who then sent me down to Body Rock Performance (the gym I now work in). It was there that I entered into an eight-week challenge and began weight training properly.
What did it entail?
I would do three or four weight training sessions during the week and, on the weekends, I would attend modified strongman sessions or do sprint intervals. Modified strongman is an excellent way to get lean and it’s lots of fun. I loved pushing prowlers, dragging sleds, flipping tyres and log presses.
Diet-wise, what changes did you make?
At first I was using my own initiative. I followed what was considered a low GI/low-calorie diet, switching all white foods to brown, only eating low fat, lots of fruit and never touching red meat. I never broke away from my diet and my only binges might have been somewhere close to six packets of Manhattan popcorn! I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone and I’m quite surprised I was able to stick to it for so long.
Low-calorie diets are designed to fail – they’re unsustainable and in no way healthy.
When I went to Body Rock, I learned the importance of real food and how low-calorie diets are designed to fail as they are unsustainable and in no way healthy. I dropped bread (and all gluten containing foods), soy, dairy (except butter and cream) and sugar from my diet. I began to only eat real full fat products, red meat and tonnes of veg. I had no cravings for bad food and I felt my energy, sleep and overall wellbeing improve massively.
How long before you noticed a difference?
When I first started losing weight, I noticed it immediately. I had eaten so much junk before that the weight really fell of quite quickly but I was then stuck in that “skinny fat” phase for about 18 months. Within about four weeks of joining Body Rock, I had gone from “skinny fat” to relatively lean.
How much weight did you lose altogether?
Over a three-year period I went from 80kg to 55kg, so I lost 25kg, the equivalent of just under four stone.
I have little time for cardio – it’s not as effective for fat loss as weights.
How often do you work out now?
I aim to get three or four weights sessions and one or two interval sessions a week. My training is all in the weights room. I have little time for cardio machines – they’re not as effective for fat loss as weights are. I also find traditional cardio extremely boring and would never have stuck to exercise if it was to be spent on a spin bike or treadmill.
Is the training tough?
Yes, my own training is tough. That’s the way I like to train. I really enjoy pushing myself to my limits and seeing what I’m capable of.
I need my diet to allow me to lead a normal life.
Do you follow a strict diet?
I try to take a flexible approach to the Paleo diet. I keep all of my foods to one ingredient and tend to avoid anything processed. I need my diet to allow me to lead a normal life and not be stressing about food the whole time. The one thing I’m strict about is breakfast! It must be protein and fats and I try keep carbs to post-training and/or at night time. I also do my best to stop eating before 7pm so I get the most out of my sleep, using it as a time to recover as opposed to digesting food.
What would a typical day of eating include for you?
Every meal will have a protein, fat and vegetable source.
Breakfast: Steak, pecans, asparagus, Kerrygold butter, Himalayan sea salt
Meal 2: Mince, broccoli, Kerrygold butter, spices, Himalayan sea salt
Meal 3: Sea bass, spinach, tomatoes, red onion, roasted pine nuts, pancetta, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar
Meal 4: Turkey burgers, mix of sweet potatoes and courgette (roasted in coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt, and paprika)
Do you drink alcohol?
There are times when I will avoid alcohol altogether but it’s not something I avoid. If I choose to drink, I like to stick to spirits, usually having vodka with soda water and fresh lime.
I’d rather ‘cheat’ with a few drinks than a tub of ice cream.
Ever fall off the wagon or have cheat days?
Honestly, I have no craving for bad foods and don’t enjoy the lethargic, bloated feelings I usually get if I eat bad stuff. I would rather ‘cheat’ with a few drinks than a tub of ice-cream, and if I ever wake up with a hangover now the only thing I ever really want is a steak.
Would you say you’re at your prime fitness?
I’m definitely fitter and stronger than I have ever been. That’s the undeniable benefit of being consistent with your training. I am pretty confident in my body but there are areas I would like to improve on.
Four tips to for getting fit
- Find something you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy it you’ll struggle. Zumba is never going to be the best exercise for fat loss but if it is the only exercise you can stick to then maybe for you, it is.
- Don’t give up just because it is hard. It will get easier. And you might even look forward to it one day. It took me a long time to get to where I am now and it was not easy but it was definitely worth it.
- Be consistent. If you’re serious about getting fitter, you need to choose a plan that works for you and stick to it. Don’t start off going to the gym seven days a week, as that will ultimately end in failure. Start off with two or three sessions a week and make sure you go to all of them.
- Find a trainer. Do some research and find someone with a good reputation who has helped people with similar goals to your own. In commercial gyms, you can see that very few people actually know how to train and it can be extremely frustrating when you feel you’re putting in a lot of work and not getting results. Having a good trainer will take away any guess work and is an excellent way to keep you motivated. I still have my own trainer. It keeps me accountable for my goals and pushes me harder.
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