#MyFitnessJourney: STELLAR Meets Irish Celebrity Trainer Sophie Kavanagh
With model clients like Thalia Heffernan and Holly Carpenter swearing by her fitness programmes, Sophie Kavanagh of No.17 Personal Training knows exactly how to whip us into shape.
Occupation: Personal Trainer at No.17
Tell us a bit about how you got into fitness.
I’ve always been into fitness and training, I was a dancer up until I was about 18 and then I fell in love with strength and conditioning. Fitness has always been a part of my life, really. My dad owned gyms when I was growing up so I’ve kind of grown up around it.
How long has it taken to get into the shape you’re in now?
My body has always been a reflection of my chosen sport or focus, but with a little more attention to strength training it has been a bit of an evolution over the last five years!
What does your weekly gym routine look like?
On Mondays, I’ll focus on strength. This could include a variation of squats, presses, and olympic lifts.
On Tuesdays, I’ll do some high intensity interval training. I really like to keep this as varied as possible, utilising lifting, gymnastics, running, jumping, and rowing.
On Wednesday mornings I’ll have a 40 minute recovery session on the row machine or bike. And in the afternoon, I’ll work on strength again. This is usually weightlifting with gymnastics based strength movements.
Thursday is my day of rest!
On Fridays I do a bit of everything. I like to do more strength work and finish with some core exercises.
My Saturdays are constantly varied and I love to mix things up with my training partners. It could be anything from max effort weightlifting to a 5k run. It’s always something fun and challenging.
Sundays are my recreational days and I’ll do anything from climbing a mountain or rock climbing to swimming and sometimes yoga.
What’s your favourite type of exercise?
Can I have three please?! It’s definitely Olympic style weightlifting, handstand walking and squatting!
Do you use machines?
I rarely use machines to be honest because I enjoy training with barbells, kettle bells and dumbbells. If I had to choose two favourite machines, they’d be the rower and dual stack cable machine.
I think it’s absolutely possible to start seeing the benefits of quality training and food in a week, but I think we need to stop thinking about quick results and yoyo dieting and get into the mindset of longer and sustainable results. A healthier balance really guarantees long term success and you’ll actually stay in shape.
You have a lot of high profile clients, what do you think draws them to you?
I think it’s because I’m very results driven, my clients are guarenteed to see the changes that they’re looking for!
What’s the first thing you tell a client who wants to take on a fitness regime?
First off I ask them, “Why do you want to start?”. Once you have yourself a goal, the training regime has a stronger purpose and you’re much more likely to have a succesful result.
Coming up to Christmas, people are nervous about weight gain, any tips?
1. Try and move every day. Even if it’s getting up for a walk on Christmas Day with the family or committing to that 30 minute training session with your friend. It’s a great thing to do before the big Christmas party!
2. Be selective in your nights out. It’s hard but try and limit it to a few nights out and try not to go too crazy.
3. In the days between Christmas and New Year’s, try and stick to your normal healthy regime and routine. There’s no need to cut out the gym or exercising.
Christmas Day for me has always consisted of a selection box, so yes Christmas Day will be relaxed with the family! In the past though, I’ve had to deal with digestive issues which come about after I eat unhealthily so if I want to feel good I’ll have to stick to healthy options. Sweet potato is my favourite at Christmas.
What does your diet look like? Give us an example of a day on your plate.
I don’t really believe in the word ‘diet’ as it suggests that there is a beginning and an end! My food is my fuel and my nourishment so it’s now just a way of life for me. My rule of thumb is real, fresh, non-processed foods.
Breakfast: Egg white omelette with mushrooms and tomatoes. Plus a side of turkey.
Snack: Boiled egg and a cup of strawberries.
Lunch: Large chicken salad with a large variety of greens and vegetables. Plus sweet potato on training days.
Dinner: Steak, chicken or fish with stir-fried root and green vegetables.
Snack: Four to six squares of 85% organic dark chocolate.
What are your favourite treats?
Salted caramel chocolate and Ben and Jerry’s Caramel Choo Choo are my weaknesses.
Will drinking alcohol set us back?
I love enjoying a couple of drinks on special occasions but if you’re really serious about changing your body and lifestyle, alcohol can be a major set back. I’m not just talking calories, but your body’s ability to recover after drinking is dramatically decreased and it can play havoc with your mindfulness and nutritional choices.
What should we make sure to include in our diets and what should we cut out?
Healthy protein, there’s always lots of it around the holiday; Turkey, beef, chicken, nut roasts. Stay hydrated with two to three litres of water a day and avoid excessive sugary foods.
First of all you need to establish how much protein you need. A very general base would be 1.2 to 1.5 grams per pound of lean body mass. If you’re not able to get this through food, then supplementing with a protein shake may be a good idea. Optimal time for whey or vegan proteins would be immediately post-workout. I use Nutramino Lean Whey protein post-workout.
We have just three weeks until Christmas and we want to be looking good. What should we do?
Eat as clean and balanced as possible, train three to five days per week and aim for around seven and a half to eight hours of sleep per night.
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