Training for fat loss

Tomorrow is a big day for me – two exciting things are happening. The first one is that I’m having my first day at the private personal training studio I’ve recently accepted a job at (albeit to learn the admin side of the business… no clients just yet). The biggest thing happening tomorrow though, is that it marks the start of my new training plan.

I’ve been coasting along for a while. Since I got busy in the gym my own training has fallen by the wayside a little. To be honest, that is part of why I have decided to move on. Between the 10 free hours I work at the gym in return for not paying rent, plus training all my clients, the only time I’ve been finding to train is after 10pm. When I train that late, I find I can’t sleep, so I’ve been letting that become an excuse and I’ve only been training when and if I’ve been able to find a spare hour elsewhere in the day. I do walk about 5km daily, but that doesn’t really cut it when you’ve got a big fat loss goal like I do.

Starting at the new studio tomorrow marks the beginning of more time for me to fit in my own training. Granted, this month is going to be tough – I’m going to be training clients at both PureGym and the studio, plus fulfilling my free hours as I’m contracted to give four weeks notice to finish those up. However, I’ve set myself some pretty big fitness goals for this year (like trekking either the Inca Trail in the Peruvian Andes or The Great Wall of China to raise funds for either PKU or Alzheimers – I haven’t decided which yet). That means that I’ve got to get as tough with myself as I am with my clients. I’ve given myself a huge kick up the butt and I’m putting a lid on the excuses and just getting on with it.

Over the next four weeks I’m going to be working through a periodised programme I’ve DSC03604_061215_put together that focusses on fat loss through a combination of high intensity interval cardio training and resistance training specifically for muscle hypertrophy (growth).

But wait! Don’t women get bulky from lifting weights? Let me tell you now, this is a huge myth, and it’s FALSE!

Our body needs muscle, and building muscle is actually really important when it comes to fat loss. When you build muscle, you increase your metabolism, leading to higher fat burning, even while you’re fast asleep. And that can only be good, right? 🙂 My goal is to build curves in the right places and strip the fat off the top.

I’m going to be doing:

  • Three full body hypertrophy resistance workouts
  • Two high intensity interval cardio sessions (lasting roughly 15-20 minutes)
  • and one LSD (long slow distance, not the illegal drug 😉 ) cardio session

On top of that I’m also going to be teaching spin, pilates, a strength and conditioning class loosely based on Body Pump and a rig based circuit class each week, plus getting in some of my own pilates practice when Miss 2 allows (she loves to climb up and sit on me while I do Pilates, which makes it impossible sometimes!).

I’m also going to combine this with a healthy, balanced diet comprising mostly fresh, minimally processed foods, perhaps with the odd low protein product in there, and of course I’ll be taking my Lophlex LQ 20 four times per day (one with each meal plus one post workout).

Now if you’re new to fitness, I wouldn’t suggest you try this to start off with. Even though I haven’t done a lot of my own training, I still do a lot and I’ve got a good level of fitness already. You can still do three resistance workouts and two HIIT cardio days, but keep the weight and reps in the endurance range (I’ll post a table of this below). Try that for a couple of weeks to get your body used to lifting, then start to move up into the hypertrophy range.

If you’re more experienced, start in the hypertrophy range, and every now and then have a week in the strength range so you can then lift more when you return to the hypertrophy range. Rest weeks are important too. This doesn’t mean total rest. Rather, scale your training back, focus on long slow cardio (min 30 mins at a steady state – you should be puffed but able to talk) and keep your lifting in the endurance range.

The table below refers to 1 rep max. This is the most that you can lift for one single rep. There are plenty of free apps out there that will help you to work this out.

Guidelines for Weight Training Goals




Hypertrophy (muscle size)






Low Moderate High

Weight: % of 1 rep max


Less than 67% 67 – 85% More than 85%



12 – 20 6 – 12 1 – 5



2 – 3 3 – 6 2 – 6

Rest between sets


30-60 seconds 1 – 2 minutes 3 – 5 minutes

Frequency per muscle group


2 – 3 x per week 1 – 2 x per week 1- 2 x per week

Many people benefit from structure in their training programme. If you’d like some help you can sign up for an online training programme by creating a profile at


Sweet potato and apple breakky hash

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – this is a phrase I definitely agree whole heartedly with, and this belief has been backed up by my fitness and nutrition training. Breakfast is the first meal of the day where you are breaking the overnight fast – hence breakfast. For this reason, having a balanced meal to kickstart your body for the day is super important, and I’m always going on insisting my kids get a good breakky into them to get them set up for the day.

I love weekends because I’m not trying to rush two children out the door to get my eldest to school. I can spend a little more time in the kitchen and come up with new ideas for breakfasts that are healthy, filling and that are going to fuel my body for the first part of my day.

This morning I came up with a real winner, and I’m pleased to say that my non-PKU family thinks it’s a hit, too! You can easily take this meal from low protein to high protein, but to the best part about it is that it’s actually pretty quick and simple. From start to finish, it only took me about 15 minutes.


1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1 apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
1/4 of a brown onion, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp coconut oil
A sprinkling of rosemary

You could use Mevalia burger mix in this too – simply make up 1 portion as per the instructions on the box, chop it up and add it in at the end.

If you want to make a high protein version, you will also need a couple of eggs and a rasher of lean bacon if desired.

How to make it…

Once you’ve prepped your veggies, heat a medium sized frying pan over a medium heat and pop in the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and rosemary, fry until it’s becoming translucent, then add the sweet potato. Stir it around a bit to make sure it’s all coated in the oil, then if you’ve got a lid for your pan pop it on to help speed up the cooking process. After 5 minutes or so, add the apples, mix it all up and pop the lid back on. Once the sweet potato is cooked through and the apple has softened, it’s done!

For the high protein version, poach or fry the eggs (I fried them because I’m terrible at poaching eggs lol), grill the bacon until nice and crispy. Crumble the bacon into the high protein portion and top with the eggs.

If you want to have the low protein version but want to add a little phe, try adding some avocado!

I hope you enjoy the recipe, and as always, if you give it a go I’d love to hear what you think.

Thai vegetable and lychee curry

I’ve been on a weight loss journey for quite a while, and while most of the time I do my best to eat fresh, whole foods sometimes I really miss one of my old favourites – a really good veggie Thai curry!

As the temperature has dropped here in the UK, I’ve found myself craving something warming and filling more and more. I’ve tweaked a couple of recipes and put this together as my own. There is nothing specifically low protein about it – it’s suitable for the whole family. You can add protein in the form of tofu, nuts (hazelnuts and almonds). Please note that I have not yet worked out the protein/phe.


Thai Red Vegetable Curry with Lychees

You will need:
1-2tbsp coconut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
1 small red chilli, de-seeded and chopped OR a pinch of chilli flakes
1-2tbsp Thai red curry paste (to taste – I used 1tbsp because I’m a wimp with curry!)
1 tsp ground ginger OR 2in root ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
2-3 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
150g button mushrooms, sliced
6-8 lychees, fresh or tinned, de-seeded, chopped and rinsed
A handful of cherry tomatoes
5 or 6 new baby potatoes, washed and evenly chopped into chunks
400ml vegetable stock
400ml coconut milk
Freshly ground pink Himalayan salt and ground pepper
* Note: You can use any veggies you like – experiment with different flavours and textures!
** Tip: Make this lower in protein by substituting a low protein milk (like ProZero or SnoPro), almond milk or cartoned coconut milk such as Koko.

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan or casserole dish. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, salt and ground pepper. Fry for a couple of minutes, then add the carrots, potatoes and any other hard veg you choose. Fry on a medium heat for around 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the red curry paste, broccoli, mushrooms, pepper and lychees and make sure everything in the pot is well coated in the curry paste.
  3. Stir in the vegetable stock and coconut milk. Once simmering, cook over a slightly reduced heat until all vegetables are tender (around 15 minutes)
  4. I served this with 2 exchanges of coconut rice, however you could also serve it with low protein rice or bread. Enjoy!

Makes 4 large portions

If you try this I’d love to know what you think! Please share the recipe if you enjoy it and pop a comment on the blog to let me know what you thought.

Don’t just be PKU… be PKUfit

Hello! I’m so glad you’ve found my blog.

I’m Kate – PKU adult, writer (ex newspaper editor and broadcast journalist), wife, mother,

This is me mid-workout (well, posed workout!) at the gym I work at as a personal trainer. I used to be 140kg. I’m still on my journey, but now I’m helping other people reach their goals, too.

Aussie living in the UK and personal trainer.

I’ve been thinking about re-starting a PKU blog for a while, but I have never found the right time. Well, today I’ve jumped right in. I used to have a blog about five years ago, and it was very popular, but being a new mum took over my life and the blog fell by the wayside and I eventually deleted it.

Last year I changed my life. I walked away from a very high paying job in public relations and re-trained as a personal trainer. This was a huge leap of faith for me. Since the birth of my eldest daughter (now 5), I have been battling obesity, and yes, the weight has (oh so slowly) been coming off. However, the journey of weight loss, fitness and eventually becoming a personal trainer has and continues to change my life, and I wanted to share that with others. Balancing my phe levels with the amount of physical activity I do, as well as my fat loss goals, has been tough. I spend a lot of time experimenting on myself with nutrition and training systems, so my results aren’t always consistent (physical results or phe levels). I felt I needed to do more to share this with others.

You can have PKU and still lead a fit and healthy life. Join me in taking that healthy path 🙂