Sometimes we are so enthusiastic to get started with a new diet or a new exercise program that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. When we tie our new change to a bigger purpose, we are so much more committed. For example, if you want to start walking around the neighborhood so that you have more energy to keep up with your grandkids — that’s awesome! Now, every time you need to go out for your walk, you can say confidently to yourself, “I’m walking for those grandkids of mine.” And, who can say no to cute little grandkids?? 🙂
I had the pleasure to interview Katrina TaTaé. Katrina is the go-to for healthy eating ideas to help you get started making a healthy lifestyle change. She began her business, Katrina TaTaé Fitness, after sharing workouts and healthy recipes with her friends for years. Katrina is a certified personal trainer + nutrition coach, professional fitness competitor, fitness model and has overcome her own gut and skin issues with the power of proper nutrition.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
In high school, the weightlifting coach approached me about joining the school’s powerlifting team. I was shocked…you see, I was always one of the smallest girls in the school (I’m only 5’0 at 35 years old today lol). How was this going to work?
I trusted Coach U and decided to brave the intimidating room filled with upperclassmen guys with biceps bigger than my head. And, my life was never the same.
Coach took me under his wing and showed me the proper form, how to use all the machines and how to follow a workout plan.
The everyday commitment to building something, working towards a goal, it was intoxicating. I loved lifting something really heavy, knowing that I could barely even bench press the bar when I first started!
By my senior year, I won my weight class and became one of the strongest females in the state pound for pound.
It’s pretty surprising looking back — considering I had no clue about nutrition at the time. That lesson would come a little later…
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I tell people that I’m a professional fitness competitor, they’re always curious to know more.
From 2012 to 2017, I competed in fitness competitions all over the country, and even internationally.
I discovered this very interesting new world where else but Instagram! It combined my two loves — fitness and performing. You see, I grew up a dancer and in college worked as a dance instructor for the United Spirit Association (former instructors include Paula Abdul and Teri Hatcher).
Fitness competitions are where I really honed my skills as a certified personal trainer. It was like taking a deep dive in how our bodies work.
It took a tremendous amount of commitment to pursue. But, I am definitely better for it.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
oh yeah 🙈🤣
Back in college, my friends would ask to go to the gym with me since I knew my way around a squat rack. I loved exposing everyone I could to the magical place that is a gym and happily obliged.
One afternoon, I was demonstrating how to use the cable machine and I forgot to place my hand on top of the weights to prevent the bar attachment from crashing down.
Gravity took over. Yep, bar attachment came crashing down. Everyone in the gym turned to see what made such a terrible crashing noise. I was mortified. I was supposed to be the expert here…
I nervously laughed it off, but it taught me something important.
We all start somewhere.
If you’re new to the gym and feel super intimidated. Don’t worry! We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve certainly made plenty.
But that’s how we learn!
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Why should people listen to me, you mean? Well, more so than my personal training certification and post graduate work in Sports Nutrition, my authority comes from results. Plain and simple. Do my plans work? Do my clients see the results that they are looking for?
If I can show that my unique methods consistently work, then I’ve earned my clients trust and respect in the fitness industry.
I’m also a walking, living, breathing example of my teachings.
Despite enjoying a very active youth, I struggled with my gut health. Popping TUMS like those gummy bear multi-vitamins, suffering excruciating migraines in class, and finally breaking down with terrible skin issues after college, something wasn’t right…
But, once I connected my health issues to my diet, it was like a breakthrough. Discovering I had Celiac Disease was the catalyst to my nutrition journey.
It really taught me the power of food.
All these experiences collided to help me provide the best healthy eating ideas for my clients. There’s nothing else like it out there.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I wouldn’t be here without Coach U. As I shared at the beginning of this interview, Richard Unterseher, or Coach U, was instrumental in my success.
I am forever grateful that he took the time to share his passion with me. I feel so blessed to be one of his students. He taught me not only about weightlifting, but about goal setting, self-confidence, and commitment.
Okay, thank you for all that. Now, let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep, etc. But, while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In you opinion, what are the three main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
Sounds like what we’re really talking about here is behavior change.
Your mind, your surroundings, and your priorities are the the three main hurdles people need to get over in order to make healthy changes in their life.
Mindset isn’t some woo woo fairy dust.
How you talk to yourself matters.
It matters a lot.
When you say things like:
– “Ugh, I’ll cook that healthy meal as soon as I’m done watching this show,” or,
– “I don’t feel like going out in this weather to go to the gym today.”
It becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy. You might as well build a five-story brick wall in front of your healthy goals…
…because that’s essentially what you are doing by constantly darting negative thoughts at your brain like that.
Instead, start framing your thoughts from a more empowered point of view:
– “The house is going to smell so good when I put this stew on for tonight’s dinner!”
– “Man, I can’t wait to see my girls in Yoga class tonight!”
Your mind works the same way any muscle in your body does. It needs consistent repetitions to improve. And, over time it will get stronger.
In other words, it takes practice.
It didn’t come easy for me either, trust. It took a solid year for me to really shift my mindset.
Here’s how I did it:
1) Start by simply identifying those negative thoughts. Acknowledge them. There were some negative thoughts I was so used to telling myself that they had become autopilot. Not cool. Pretty soon you’ll start to notice negative thoughts quicker and easier. You may even want to write them down if that helps.
2) Once you’ve spent some time identifying your negative thoughts, ask yourself this. What is the lie I am believing about myself in this moment?
3) Replace the negative thought with a neutral or positive clapback. Go ahead, throw your mind for a little loop! Is the thought even true? Can you rephrase or reword your thought?
After many years of practice, I still have to go through steps 1, 2 and 3. But, I’ve become a lot more adept at it!
If our minds are like sponges, than the people we spend time with, the podcasts we listen to, the youtube videos we watch…they’re all the water that gets soaked up by the sponge.
What kind of water are you absorbing?
This can be a HUGE block in your quest to make healthy changes in your life. Be vigilant about the things to which you give your time and attention.
Whenever I catch myself saying something like, “I don’t have time for that.” What I really should be saying is:
“I don’t choose to make that a priority.”
This statement forces me to evaluate whether my time is an accurate reflection of my priorities.
In the book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey illustrates a way of managing our time using the ‘Eisenhower Matrix.’
Without getting too deep into it, Covey explains that our time is split between the urgent + non-urgent and the important + unimportant.
This is a good exercise to do if you find yourself short on time — all.the.time.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
#1 Lifestyle Tweak: What Is Your Why?
Sometimes we are so enthusiastic to get started with a new diet or a new exercise program that we forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
When we tie our new change to a bigger purpose, we are so much more committed.
For example, if you want to start walking around the neighborhood so that you have more energy to keep up with your grandkids — that’s awesome! Now, every time you need to go out for your walk, you can say confidently to yourself, “I’m walking for those grandkids of mine.”
And, who can say no to cute little grandkids?? 🙂
#2 Lifestyle Tweak: Laugh More
Laughter is good medicine.
Not only does laughter decrease stress hormones, but it increases your endorphin levels (you know, those feel-good chemicals naturally occurring in the body).
When is the last time you really laughed out loud?
If it’s been awhile, this may be the funnest exercise you do!
So, how can you make laughing a regular habit?
Well, this is where you can be creative! Invite friends over for game night, or spend date night at a local comedy show. Life is so much more fun when you’re laughing!
#3 Lifestyle Tweak: Improve Your Posture
Like a small snowball rolling down the hill, small tweaks to your posture can have cascading effects on your whole body — negative or positive.
For example, when you sit at a desk for a majority of the day, certain muscles become weak, while others get overstretched. Over time, this can lead to imbalances, stiffness and pain.
There are tons of videos out there on how to improve your posture. Making small tweaks to the way you repeatedly move, sit and stand can have a dramatic impact on your overall wellbeing.
#4 Lifestyle Tweak: Tackle Your Triggers
Many of my clients struggle with cravings.
Start journaling. Keep a food log where you write down what you eat and what time. Then, write down how you feel throughout the day.
Anytime a craving comes on, write that down too.
Soon, you’ll start to see patterns.
For example, many of my clients start craving certain foods whenever they are stressed. It could be a big interview coming up, a newborn keeping you up at all hours of the night, etc. But, once I have them write down all these things, the puzzle pieces start falling into place. And, they can make the appropriate adjustments to stop the cravings.
#5 Lifestyle Tweak: Every Exercise is an “Ab” Exercise!
You may be surprised, but I’m not a fan of ‘ab workouts.’
Instead, what I emphasize to my clients is that anything can become an opportunity to work those ab muscles.
Watching your kid’s soccer game — ab exercise.
Chasing the dog around the house after you caught him red-handed getting into the potted plants again?? Yep, you got it — ab exercise!
You see, you’ll get more out of holding your abs up and in throughout the day than any crunch or plank. PLUS, you’re teaching your body to remember that feeling of holding your abs in tight.
So, whether you’re standing in line at the store or sweeping the cheerios off the floor, practice holding those abs up and in.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are three benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
For me, I know exercise is a very powerful stress reliever. So, that would be one benefit for sure. It’s like the sweat from a workout has these magical unicorn powers or something.
Working out is my meditation — it’s a time when I can clear my mind and focus completely on the present.
All that heart pumping is moving endorphins throughout the body. And, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to enjoy the benefits.
Sleep Like a Baby
To help you sleep better, exercise does two things:
1) Exercise raises your core body temperature.
2) Exercise floods your body with endorphins (there’s that word again!)
These two biological reactions to exercise help promote deep sleep.
We’ve been studying the correlations between exercise and the brain for many years. Mice that run on those hamster wheels produce more new neurons than sedentary mice. We’ve also studied the effects of exercise on middle-aged and older adults, showing how exercise can help slow the brain decline older individuals experience with age.
Now, a recent study in Germany published in the Scientific Journal found that physically fit young people have more recorded white brain matter than young people who are out of shape.
Exercise really is so much more than the physical.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?#1 — Compound movements
Compound movement exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time.
Think squats and push ups.
There is a lot going on with a compound exercise — balancing, stabilizing, eccentric and concentric contractions, etc. — which makes them a gold-mine of an exercise!#2 — Stretching
As a former dancer, I can not stand on this soap box without lauding the awesomeness that is stretching.
I recommend my clients stretch after their workouts, not before. I want their muscles warmed up and highly pliable when it comes time to stretch. Stretching for 15 minutes, hitting all the major muscle groups is best.
Personally, I credit regular stretching to low incidents of injury and greater range of motion.#3 — Aerobic exercises
Basically, anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat.
For all of the reasons we’ve been talking about in this interview, sweating is good.
The beauty of this exercise is that you can sweat anywhere! You certainly don’t need a gym to do that.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercises to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term and long term injury?
Being sore suuuuucks!
Like, can I just sit on the toilet without feeling like an old grannie?!
For someone who is active and wants to shorten the recovery time (i.e. be less sore), here’s what I suggest:
– drink plenty of water
– stay active
– get to know your new best friend, the foam roller
Water will help your body stay hydrated. And, your body needs that hydration because of the increased inflammation that is caused by soreness.
I know it’s uncomfortable, but what I’ve personally found works best to get past the soreness is to move! Even a light walk will help keep the lactic acid from setting up shop in your muscles. (Note: There is a difference between soreness and pain. If any movement is painful, STOP immediately and see your doctor.)
Foam rolling works wonders on muscle soreness. It’s all about moving the lactic acid, which is what causes soreness in the first place. Most gyms have them. Use slow, incremental movements when using the foam roller. Think of rolling out your muscles like your squeezing out a tube of toothpaste.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
You can’t outwork a bad diet.
And, proper nutrition is a key component to making a healthy lifestyle change.
But, I don’t recommend ‘diets.’
As a nutrition coach, what I’m most interested in is creating positive changes that will last a lifetime. No quick fixes and trendy diets here.
My unique methods focus on learning how to make healthy choices and how to make those healthy eating habits stick. I do this through a combination of science-backed nutrition principles and behavior change psychology.
I don’t follow one particular diet. Because, frankly, they all work. It’s more about knowing how to use food to meet your needs — which change many times even over the course of one month. Once you understand that, it’s a complete unlock to reaching your goals.
Learn more about the ktf. method from Katrina TaTaé Fitness.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Yes! In fact, this book helped clue me into my gut health issues…
The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck turned me onto the term ‘gluten’ and ‘celiac.’ The cover caught my eye at my local Border’s on their best-sellers wall.
Now, this was back in 2009, mind you, before every restaurant had a gluten free menu and gluten free products were on every shelf in America.
Going gluten free completely opened my eyes to the connection between food and our wellbeing.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger 🙂
Awww, thank you!
I would love to keep encouraging consumers to demand truly healthy products from the food industry.
Over the past ten years, it has been amazing to watch companies offer more gluten free and dairy free options for example.
We have much more power as consumers than we think.
Can you give us your favorite “Life Lessons Quote?” Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Quotes are awesome! I love words and quotes always give me immense motivation. My favorite place to find the best inspiring quotes is Pinterest!
To pick a fav would be like choosing a favorite child, I just couldn’t.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports and Entertrainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
My dream client would be Khloé Kardashian! Forget the whole breakfast or lunch thing, let’s workout together! I love working with people who are driven and work hard. Khloé is definitely all of those things. I think it is so beautiful what she has done to inspire others to be their best selves through fitness.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?