Hello! How are you? I’ve been wanting to sit down and explain where Get Real with Kimberley has all come from. What drives and influences me in my sport, how I got here and why I have such an interest in health and fitness.
So here goes… Let’s go back to the start.
When I was a kid I was very active. But as a fussy eater had a very beige diet; you know, waffles, fishfingers, nuggets etc. I always loved P.E and I guess this was my first introduction sport. Being 27 years old now when I was a kid no one made a conscious decision to be active for health reasons; with no iPads, iPhones and fewer consoles we just played outside because it was fun! So unlike many kids today being active was not a challenge for me.
At middle school (an Isle of Wight thing!!) I realised I that as well as enjoying sport I was talented at it; particularly running. So I began to train on top of P.E, as well as playing with my friends most days after school. I experienced success through my school years at local, county, regional and then national level competing in athletics. I was driven yes, by success in my events but also by the enjoyment of training and working towards something bigger. I always wanted to go to training and to competitions and many of my best friends were (and still are) from athletics. But I still ate a beige diet and gave little thought to my nutrition (didn’t even know it was a word) or my body/figure.
As I got older I probably played less; favouring ‘hanging’ out with friends inside or going shopping. This probably coincided with high school (age 14). But I kept participating in P.E., after school sport and athletics training; I was the most active of all my girlfriends who at this age were beginning to dislike P.E. I had something they didn’t, being an athlete was part of my identity and I thrived off it. I still ate what I wanted and had no concept of how to use food as fuel to benefit my athletic performance. I remember on one occasion feeling insecure about my body; I was about 17 and felt like I had thunder thighs!!! I soon got over it (I had nothing of the sort of course) because my body was my equipment to keep achieving my goals which were to shape my future. I remember being frustrated by the girls’ lack of interest in sport; I would do P.E. with the boys or be the only girl working out in the gym as everyone else gossiped.
I never, ever contemplated sitting out of P.E. to chat with my friends, or thought about giving up athletics. I’d decided to go to University to study Sport Science (what else!!) and chose the University of Bath for its sporting reputation and long jump coach! Pursuing my academic studies was closely linked to pursuing my athletic abilities; rather simplistically I wanted to compete in an Olympics and then go work with elite athletes and support them on their journey (oh how nothing has changed!!).
I left for uni being an appalling cook and with very little experience of looking after myself even though I was really very independent from travelling for athletics. My first few years I lived off BirdsEye battered chicken and oven chips, toast or pesto pasta. I was still lacking an understanding of how to best feed my body for optimal performance. I was on the other hand, training hard. The fitness/nutrition boom we are currently experiencing was non-existent. Twitter and Instagram were non-existent in my first few years and the information wasn’t easily accessible like it is now.
My performances were good throughout uni. I excelled at the University Championships year in, year out and earned my first international vest. I left Bath in 2011, for Loughborough …. The enemy. It was here that I met my best friend, Harriet who was the first person to teach me anything about cooking! Training in such a high performance environment I became aware of the impact food could have on your performance and body; so I took a greater interest in it. My degree shared classes with the Performance Nutrition guys so I was learning on several platforms.
Fully immersed in a performance environment I was in such a bubble I didn’t really notice non athletes who were struggling for motivation with exercise or confused how best to eat thanks to unhelpful media headlines. I dabbled with protein shakes myself, tried to eat rice cakes and Ryvita too. But it wasn’t for me and it didn’t help my performance. I found that homemade, nourishing, balanced meals worked best for me. I didn’t buy into the whole health food boom; simply because I was too fussy an eater for it. After I graduated I started working with performance athletes as a physiologist (athletics put on the back burner). I was now an educator on nutrition and advising on best practise for athletes. Quite a turnaround!
By this time, I had Twitter, Instagram etc. and the sensationalist headlines about obesity were starting to hit home with people. Hello the fitness boom. Hello a ton of accessible, confusing and inaccurate information. Aside from the psychology of exercise adherence, keeping healthy is really rather simple. I’ve been healthy my whole life and I’ve already explained that I enjoyed a diet of beige for most of my childhood years. Healthy isn’t kale and protein shakes, it is the absence of disease. And there are steps you can take to ensure you remain absent of disease; exercise, eat a balanced diet, keep you mind healthy, have a social life, do things you enjoy. This is all I have ever done.
Now I am an elite athlete and remaining healthy is of utmost importance. I take more care than ever with my nutrition because my training load the highest it has ever been and there is a lot at stake (an Olympic spot). But it is still simple. Sleep well, eat well and exercise sensibly.
When I spend time around people that aren’t athletes they are always telling me about this or that that is supposed to help them lose fat/weight. Most often inspired by a Z-list celebrity’s latest fitness DVD or a fad diet marketed well on Instagram. It drives me mad. Most people would kill for Jess Ennis’ figure; she’s a total MILF. Check out what she eats in this UK Women’s Health article. Do you see any kale, ‘fit’ teas or major restrictions? No. And the average person may not be able to eat that and look like Jess because a different amount of energy will be being expended from training. But it does highlight that to get an incredible figure (if that is the goal) you can eat pasta, and have a Sunday roast.
And that is my motivation behind KimFit (my company) and Get Real with Kimberley. Use my experience as an elite athlete and a sport scientist to try to change the attitude around health and fitness. To energise, educate and empower people to start, and adhere to a lifestyle change that incorporates the ingredients to live a healthy, happy life. I’ll never lie to people; there is no quick fix. But with patience you can create a permanent change that goes further than a beach body towards your smile.
To subscribe to ‘Get Real with Kimberley’; my FREE 8-week lifestyle plan please click here. You can also ‘like’ my page, ‘follow’ me on Twitter and Instagram and let me share with you the KimFit way. And for best results get in touch with me for individualised training plans and support. Visit my website for more information!