Kate Beirness shares tips to #BoostYourFitness
The TSN SportsCentre anchor and Under Armour ambassador talks food, fitness and sticking with it.
Kate Beirness created history as part of SportCentre’s first all-female anchor team and she inspires thousands of fans and followers with her dedication to fitness and healthy living. We sat down with Kate at the Hudson’s Bay #BoostYourHealth event this past weekend to talk about her story and how simple changes to her routine changed her life.
Did your passion for sports start when you were young?
My first memories as a kid were of playing team sports. I think my parents signed me up for soccer for the first time when I was three years old. They saw there was a competitive edge to me and, let’s be honest, I think they thought I had way too much energy and I needed to burn it off in some way. I can remember from the youngest age falling in love with every sport I played. It wasn’t just the competitive aspect. I loved that you could get better at it and I always loved being part of a team. I thought there was something really cool about having teammates and going to practice together and accomplishing something with others.
From the youngest age I can remember until now, sports have been my whole life. I didn’t make it as a pro athlete but I certainly think I have the second best job.
I love even just watching. Because I’ve done sports for so long and I know how much dedication and hard work it takes, I’m always in awe of these guys. A lot of them have gifts but they also work harder than anyone could ever imagine and that’s what blows my mind.
Anyone who looks at your Instagram can see that fitness is a big part of your life. Can you tell us a bit about your regime?
My dedication to fitness and a healthy lifestyle didn’t start until three and a half years ago. I was a basketball player, not that great, but I got cut at the university level and I had knee surgery on my right knee after an injury. As soon as I realized that basketball was not going to be a career for me I didn’t know what to do so I’d go for a run every day. I’d eat the same way I had always eaten through high school and university, but I was no longer burning the same number of calories as in high school or university. I looked at myself one day and thought, “This isn’t me.” I knew I was heavier than I needed to be, I didn’t have as much energy as I knew I once had, so I went to my trainer who is now the trainer for the Anaheim Ducks. I told him, “I run every day. I don’t know what’s wrong.” He said, “You’re going to stop running. We’re going to train you completely differently, and I need you to write down everything you eat.” I thought, “Wow, you don’t think eating is that big of a deal.” He trained me like he trains his pro hockey players and that changed my life.
I started lifting weights. I don’t do half as much cardio as I used to. I do sprints and intervals. It’s funny, I can run a 10K now and it’s nothing to me. A lot of females are fearful of lifting weights because they think it’s going to make you bulk up but it actually leaned me out. And he changed my whole diet. I eat more than I used to eat (again, mindblowing). I eat as much organic as I can and I eat as clean as I possibly can. We all have days where we get off the wagon but by making those changes it’s been remarkable: I’m sixteen pounds lighter and I think my body fat has changed by ten percent in three and a half years.
You noticed this change in yourself when you started a full-time job. Was that because you were more sedentary and not as active?
When you’re a kid in high school you have physical education or you walk home from school: the simplest things. You don’t even think about how much that is making a difference to your health. It’s the same at university: I had to walk to all my lectures so I was doing a ton of walking on campus. Then I got into my job and it’s amazing but I do sit at a computer like everyone else, doing my research and writing, and then I sit on camera. By the time I’d get home I would go to the gym for maybe an hour, but I was eating the same way as I was when I was doing all that other movement and exercise. You think you’re still doing the right thing but you’re not.
So how do you fit better habits into a busy adult lifestyle?
It’s different for every individual but 25% is what I do in the gym and 75% is what I put into my body.
Can you recommend a simple and incremental change that anyone could start right now?
Don’t eat anything processed. That would be the easiest way for anyone to start getting on the right track. I remember the first day I went through my cupboards and fridge and I got rid of everything. Then I went to the grocery store and I read the label of everything I bought and I didn’t touch anything that had processed ingredients. Or if I read something and didn’t know what it was I didn’t buy it. I bought so much food and it tasted amazing. I think that’s one of the biggest things.
I cut processed sugar as well, which is huge, because people don’t realize how much sugar they’re putting into their bodies. Once I did that I would say within the first couple months I dropped ten pounds. And it’s not about the weight. I hate talking about weight. It’s just a measurable example of what was happening in my world. My nutritionist works with some of the biggest names in the NHL and she said to me the other day, “You know, I haven’t been on a scale in years,” and she looks incredible. It’s so easy to cheat by rolling through a drive-through, or if you’re out with friends or at a party. I’m not saying, “Do this every minute of your life.” But Monday to Friday, I eat clean. That’s what I’ve dedicated myself to and I’ve never been healthier.
Can you tell me about your recent Twitter exchange with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson?
I’ve been an Under Armour brand ambassador for over two years now. They love my story and what I’m trying to do from a health and fitness point of view. Last year Under Armour signed The Rock and he developed a clothing line called Project Rock. He has this one T-shirt I love more than anything that says “Hardest Worker in the Gym.” So I posted a photo to social media and I thought I’d take a stab in the dark and reach out to The Rock. Let me say one thing: Athletes and celebrities do not do it for me at all, but when he responded on Twitter, I just appreciate his story so much and where he’s come from, I thought, “that’s cool,” that he still takes time to respond personally. I strive to do that in my life and career.
Any advice for finding the right trainer?
I like getting a recommendation from someone. If you know someone who is clearly working out a lot or you see it on social media, just ask them. They’ll probably get back to you. I messaged The Rock and he got back to me!
What would you say to the person who’s a little afraid they might not stick with their fitness resolutions?
I hate the word diet and I also avoid fitness fads. My trainer told me, “This isn’t a diet or a quick fix. This is your new life.” And I thought, “Got it.” When you have that feeling and you look at what you’ve accomplished, bigger things come out of it. Now I work with Under Armour. I feel better, my clothing fits better, I have more energy than I could have imagined. That is worth every minute of the work and I’ll never go back.
Do you wear Under Armour outside the gym?
I wear two things in life: My work outfits, which means totally dressed up, or I’m in gym clothes. There is no in-between.
What are your favourite Under Armour pieces?
All my Project Rock gear! But other than that, this new tank I’m wearing today that says “Need More Kettle Bell.” How creative is that? The technology of their stuff is amazing. They’ve come out with this new sleepwear line that is supposed to aid in your recovery. The best part of UA is that they are constantly innovating. I’ve been down to their Baltimore headquarters twice now and the research and development at that place would blow your mind. They do an incredible job staying ahead.
Find Kate on Instagram @katebeirness and follow along with #HBBoost to share your plans to boost your health this January.
Photography by Kyriakos Alexopoulos.