Ah the holidays. Lights. Giftgiving. Family. Food. Food. Food. Sluggishness. Weight gain. Self-loathing. Despair.
Most of us are familiar with the vicious cycle that accompanies holidays, having fallen into that black hole one too many times.
Whether a fitness newbie or a bodybuilding OG, we’ve all had to navigate the landmines of the holidays. To help us this year, I sat down with our very own superstar trainer Kate Hyman. She’ll tell us how to get to the other side both mentally sound and physically comfortable.
Elena: Hey Kate! What’s the hardest part of the holiday season?
Kate: The hardest part is definitely eating in moderation. When I eat a consistently healthy diet, and then there is a giant plate of cheese in front of me and just treats on treats on treats, it’s hard not to over do it. Hard meaning, I don’t usually succeed.
E: Totally. The more we restrict ourselves, the more likely we are to overindulge when presented with an opportunity. Ok, so what is the easiest part of dealing with the holidays?
K: The easiest part for me is keeping up with training. All that extra grub gives me more energy to workout!
E: Yea, that’s one way everyone can feel better over the holiday season. Make sure you get your workout in: come to WTF for a kickass class, go down to the hotel gym for a quick weightlifting session or hit the pavement for a jog.
Ok, so next question. I know we both love our jobs; as personal trainers we get to help people grow into more healthy and happy individuals. However, it has it’s drawbacks. How does working in the fitness industry affect your body image? What stereotypes have you been faced with? How did you overcome them?
K: Good question. Working in fitness can make a person extremely self conscious. I’ve received negative comments when I wasn’t at my thinnest or wasn’t shredded AF. At first I ignored the comments, tried not give them any power. Finally, it happened too many damn times and I found that not taking that shit was the best approach. Now, I pull the individual aside and explain how inappropriate and disrespectful their comment was.
E: So, what can we do?
K: The best way to dispel stereotypes is to educate people. Things happen in fitness life: you get injured, you get sick, or you just plain don’t feel like watching every single morsel you put into your mouth for a little while. Thus, you may not always be sporting your very fittest or slimmest body (**note, being slim does NOT make or break fitness). Honestly, that’s not what it’s about. As a coach and trainer it’s about supporting my community and clients, showing them how fitness can exist in their lives, and being human.
No one should be commenting negatively on your body. Ever.
E: Take away from that: we are all human. Trainers, clients, those with six-packs and those without. Fitness is about being YOUR best self, not someone else’s.
Ok, so now that you’ve told us about your experience working in fitness, I want to hear about the pre-fitness Kate. Think back to a time before #fitspo. How has your body image changed, for better or worse?
K: Before fitness! Oh man. I tried to eat healthy but I didn’t over-examine everything I ate. I had crappy posture and wasn’t as confident either.
Now I understand how to fuel my body correctly, how to train my body, and how to stand up straight. The byproduct of that is more confidence!
On the other hand, now that I’ve experienced limitations, moderation is harder. As in, I can’t just eat one piece of cheese because I’m afraid I will never see cheese again so I need to eat it ALL.
E: Exactly why the holidays can be especially difficult for those who are more aware of their diets. You don’t want to feel completely deprived of your favorite holiday treats, so striving for enjoyment in moderation is key.
So, being a role model for health and fitness, if you could change one thing about our culture’s perceptions on beauty what would it be?
K: I hate that there is only one “fit” body type. Scientifically- um no, there are 3 body types: endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph. Some people naturally gain muscle easier than others. Some gain fat easier, and some don’t gain anything. You can definitely work to maximize your body’s potential. However, your body is YOUR body and comparing it to society’s ideal version of “fit” is a disservice to yourself.
E: We can’t compare apples to oranges. Finding the beauty and power in your individuality is the only way we can be content with where we are in our fitness journeys. So, Guru Kate, what’s one thing you wish everyone new about being fit?
K: Being fit isn’t about two workouts a day or excess anything. It’s finding the workouts and foods that are right for you- that make you feel empowered, nourished, and happy.
E: Amen. Final question: extra pie or extra stuffing?
K: Both. But mostly stuffing. With gravy, so much gravy.