Q&A from the world’s best personal trainer

My trainer, Michelle, is a miracle worker. I know this because she got me to not only lose significant amounts of weight (47 pounds in 12 weeks), but also because she helped me to believe in myself. I would never have signed up for that first 5K without her telling me that I could do it–and not only that I COULD do it, but that I better run the whole thing with no walk breaks. 🙂 She also helped me break my nasty habit of swearing while working out. Extra time got added to workouts for swears. Know what that meant? Not one single curse word crossed my lips in 12 weeks!

Anyway, Michelle was kind enough to answer some questions from me and the other contest girls (the contest name, by the way, is Lose to Win: Healthy for the Holidays).  Without further ado, here they are (with some notes from me added in italics):

Q: If you only have 20-30 minutes a day, what is the most effective workout you can do?

A: Circuit training! It provides a full-body workout in a short amount of time.  Do it first thing in the morning, before work, so you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

Q: If you are new to working out, do you recommend easing in or jumping in?

A: For starters, I would suggest a bodyweight workout to ease into weight training: squats, pushups, situps, lunges, planks, walkouts, and jumping jacks.

K: In the contest setting, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to ease in. What was so cool to see is that your body can accomplish so much more than your mind believes. Be careful not to overdo it, but at the same time, don’t hold yourself back!

Q: What are three to five MUST-HAVE foods in the house for healthy eating?

A: Eggs, lean meat, fruits and veggies

K: I’ll add natural peanut butter and no-sodium seasonings to the list. Without the PB treat and the much-needed flavor of the spices and seasonings, I’d never have made it! Whole Foods has great very-low-sodium chili and taco seasonings, among many others.

Q: Can you tell which clients are going to stick with it and accomplish their goals vs. which ones are going to quit? If so, how?

A: Yes, you know right away usually which ones are taking it seriously. Usually the successful client is very detailed even when they cheat. They ask a million questions and they want to know what to do outside of the gym. They read things about health everyday to stay motivated and they plan everything in advance! The ones that aren’t serious usually don’t ask any questions and they will do the bare minimum.

Q: What do you like best about being a personal trainer?

A: I love going to work and not feeling like it’s work! I love seeing a new person every hour and hearing the different stories my clients like to tell. Best of all, I love seeing my clients change physically and mentally.


One thing Michelle taught me is how important the food aspect is when it comes to weight loss. Working out is 20%-30% of the weight loss picture, and eating well is about 70-80%.

Here is what I ate during the contest and what I plan to eat six days of the week in this one:

Breakfast: One protein, one fat, one starch (e.g., a whole-grain English muffin with natural peanut butter and two eggs or egg whites)

Snack 1: One protein, one fat, one fruit (e.g., a protein shake with no added sugar, a banana and some raw nuts or PB)

Lunch: One protein, one fat, one starch, two vegetables (e.g., a big salad with grilled chicken and low-sodium olive oil and vinegar dressing, and brown rice)

Snack 2: One protein, one fat, one fruit (see snack 1)

Dinner: Two protein, one fat, two vegetables (e.g., tilapia, asparagus and green beans, or turkey burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun and a big salad)

My favorite treat to keep me going is a mini piece of dark chocolate. Yum!

The diet above equates to about 1,600 calories a day. Fruits and veggies are interchangeable and starches can be replaced with fruits or veggies if you prefer. It’s tough–but more effective than I could have even imagined. My cholesterol levels dropped in half, my BP went down, my triglycerides are about 200% lower…in just three months. My stomach problems went completely away, and I was more awake than ever, despite getting less sleep than ever because I was waking up at 4:30 a.m. for workouts.

So why did I let that go and start eating junk again? I’d rather not dwell on that. Instead, I’m focusing on the fact that I’m making the decision to go back and do the right thing. And I’m proud of myseslf.


About Kristen K

My life has always been pretty darn fantastic--except for one thing: my weight. Not too long ago, I tipped the scale at 283 pounds. I'd gain some, lose some and gain some right back, and I was so frustrated. When I saw a notice for a Biggest Loser-style contest in my local paper, I applied on the spot and I felt like I won the lottery when I found out I was one of the five contestants chosen. We worked out four times a week with trainers and followed a clean eating diet, and my life completely transformed. I've lost more than 60 pounds and I'm feeling confidence for the first time in my life. I'm 29 years old with a great husband, a rewarding job, two adorable dogs and fantastic friends. Weight loss continues to be a struggle now that the contest has ended, but this time I know that I can do it and I'm fully committed. This blog has seved as an accountability tool as I journey from a happy, but fat, person to a happy and confident person. And for the first time in my life, I'm no longer putting it off until tomorrow. This time, I'm starting this minute.
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2 Responses to Q&A from the world’s best personal trainer

  1. Nota says:

    “So why did I let that go and start eating junk again? I’d rather not dwell on that.”

    I don’t think you need to dwell on that, but I do think you need to know the answer to that. And then find a counter-argument for whatever that thought is that comes up.

    For me – my “why” answer: Because it was easier. Eating like crap is easier. Sitting on the couch is easier than exercising. I’ll think to myself I don’t feel like making dinner – ordering out/going out is easier. Easy is my enemy. (In fact, now that I think of it, I may draw a picture of “Easy” and put a cross-hairs on him. Give him some personality, ya know.)

    My counter-argument: But being fat isn’t easier. Feeling bad in my skin isn’t easier. And it’s definitely not happier. Happy and Easy aren’t synonyms. So do I want life to be happy or do I want life to be easy?

    My boxing trainer likes to say: “If it were free, a lot more people would be here. If it were easy, everyone would be here. It’s not free and it’s not easy, so only someone willing to pay the price and do the work should be walking in my door. You’re here. Get to work.” It reminds me that I’m not there for an attendance award, or to go through the motions. I’m there to literally sweat my ass off.

  2. Kristen K says:

    Can you please be my therapist? Seriously, it’s like you know exactly what it is in my brain that I haven’t been able to dig up and process. “Easy” is definitely my biggest enemy. I love the idea of replacing that thought with “But cooking a healthy meal is easier than being fat.” Cooking a healthy meal is also CHEAPER than being fat (healthcare costs, plus-size clothes costs, costs for Weight Watchers or other similar plans…). This is a very helpful shift in perception–thank you!

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