Allow me to introduce Izzy Pope-Moore! She's been training with me for about 4 months, and I've been very impressed with her dedication to her fitness routine. She maintains a regular yoga practice on her own, and goes to the gym at mind-bogglingly early morning hours three days a week. She has three different volunteer gigs and a full-time job, so if Izzy can find time for fitness and healthy eating, so can you!
[EDIT Dec. 27, 2016: 2 years later, Izzy is still training with me! She's since undergone major abdominal surgery that required 9 incisions, and battled tendinitis in her wrist. Here's a quick update on Instagram.]
Read on for my interview with Izzy.
Why did you start working with Karina? What was happening in your life that made you take this step?
It was due to a combination of things. I had suffered from pneumonia in my late teens and this took a huge toll on my body. Even though I am quite thin, I never really felt toned. I used to look at other women and wish I had nice arms and legs. Someone made a comment to me that my lack of muscle tone could be due to my vegan diet. They didn’t believe veganism was healthy or that you could build muscle on a vegan diet. I like to prove people wrong! At the beginning of each year, I try and set an intention for the year ahead. I decided that for 2015, I would make fitness a priority in my life. I had heard of Karina at Veg Fest 2014 and decided that if I was going to get a personal trainer, I wanted a vegan one!
What were some of the hurdles you dealt with as you got started? What was difficult for you?
Trying to fit gym sessions into my already hectic schedule! I now get up at 5.30 am so I can hit the gym for just after 6 am. I am a total morning person and know that I won’t have the patience or the energy to work out after work, so I do it before.
I also found it difficult to feel confident in the gym. I had never had a personal trainer, and had no idea how to operate most of the equipment when I started. I also felt very self-conscious in a gym dominated by guys! These days I feel fine, however it did take a while to get to this stage.
What was easy for you as you started?
Sticking with it, despite the crazy early starts. I’m a pretty dedicated and passionate person. Once I get behind something I run full steam ahead!
Are your reasons for increasing your health and fitness different now than they were when you started working with Karina? If yes, how?
Yes, although there is still an element of trying to prove a point to the anti-vegan bandwagon, I am now more focused upon making myself feel more confident and stronger.
What are some of the day-to-day changes/adjustments you had to make (and continue to make) to maintain and improve your fitness?
Before beginning to train with Karina, I was practising yoga 5 times a week. I cut this down to twice a week with gym sessions three times a week.
I am now super conscious of what I eat, especially with regards to fats and proteins. I no longer feel like I am “starving” myself just to be thin. I eat like a horse and I still look awesome. I definitely make better food choices and try and plan my food for the day/week around the level of activity I am undertaking on a specific day.
What does health mean to you?
Being physically able to do all the things that I want to do. I spent a significant part of my late teens and twenties not being able to do everything I wanted to do due to suffering from a variety of stomach problems caused by pneumonia. Now I’ve recovered from that, there’s been no stopping me since and I want to carry on for as long as I can!
Why is good health important to you?
I am always on the go, managing multiple things at once. Most people I know have a variety of health problems. I want to try and prevent as many health issues for myself as I can so that I can continue to run around like a crazy person when I am old and grey. I want to be one of those crazy ninety year olds who still acts like she is in her twenties!
What’s your secret (or not-so-secret) health/fitness superpower?
Veganism! I love the fact that I am building some serious muscle without consuming animal products. Recently, a new colleague at work was shocked when she found out that I am vegan. Her response was “You’re vegan? But you look so healthy!” I replied, “I sure am! Hands up anyone else in the office who was at the gym at 6 am deadlifting 100 pounds?”
Anything else you’d like to add?
Karina is awesome. She knows how to make my workouts challenging but fun. In the 4 months that I have been training with her I am amazed at how much stronger I have become. I can feel the benefits of having stronger muscles in my yoga practice. Although it’s still early days, I am amazed at the definition I am beginning to get in my arms and legs. I know I still have a lot of work to do, but I also know I am up for the challenge. I’m excited to see what the future holds!
These photos are only 15 weeks apart. Check out the hard-earned muscle Izzy's gained! She's gone from finding 12-pound dumbbells challenging to bench press, to benching 20's with no problem whatsoever. I love working with Izzy and am excited to see what's in store for her moving forward!
Please share this article with your friends - or anyone who could use a motivation boost to keep killin' it in the gym.
Have questions? Wanna chat health and fitness? Just wanna say hi? Get in touch with me any time.
Download Karina's 350-item vegan grocery list!
Need inspiration for healthy plant-based eating? Need to spice up your daily meal routine? Download your free vegan grocery list! With more than 350 healthy items (some of which might be new to you), you'll be a vegan nutrition superhero in no time.