"FIT FEATURE: KATIE KATES" - By Denver Fitness Photographer MikeCon Photography

Here's my second fitness feature.  It's the Musclemania Fitness Pro Katie Kates.  Read her incredible story and see how this "Fit Mom" does it all.  At first she was hesitant about doing a photo shoot, however she took the leap and I loved working with her.  She and her husband Nick are hilarious!  I love to laugh and joke on photo shoots, and these two kept me in stitches with the banter between them!  Once you read her interview, you'll see exactly what I mean...I'm loving all of her responses!!!


Fit Mom:


Katie Kates


Age: 28


Ht. 5'5


Wt: 130 lbs.   


Sign: Aries


Q: Describe your life before you started training.

A:  My diet consisted of xing teas, pepsi, and any and all junk food.  I’ve always been really active and would still go hiking, dirt biking, wake boarding, or rollerblading but I did those things for fun and only actually worked out 1-2 times per week.  Those workout sessions consisted of WAY too much cardio and light lifting with a lot of reps.  I had very low self-esteem and was always focusing on being smaller. 

Q:  How different do you feel now compared to then?

A:  I wouldn’t change who I am now.  I love lifting and it’s truly a passionate hobby of mine now.  While it makes me look good, I primarily train for the mental factor.  It is my form of stress release and is always the cure for my bad moods.  I’m not only confident now, I’m comfortable in my skin which is so much more important to me.  My hope is that exuding confidence will make a positive impact on how my daughter will eventually see herself and perhaps not struggle as I did at a younger age.

Q: Was there is pivotal moment that motivated you to start training? If so, what was it?

A:  I started working out after my daughter was born. I was 20 years old.  Originally, it began with just trying to get back to pre-baby body (which wasn’t anything great to begin with).  This means, I did countless hours of cardio.  I would go for 3 mile runs daily and sometimes more if I could push myself. I’ve never been a great runner so I struggled with anything over 3 miles.  I did eventually work my way up to a half marathon but I’ll NEVER do that again.  My legs hurt for a week afterwards.  I also started to develop issues with my shins that made running more difficult.  It was at that time that I started to get more serious into lifting.  With running being more difficult I started lifting 3 days a week.  Once I started I was hooked. 

Q:  Do you remember your first training session? How different is your training today?

A:  I’ve been lifting for quite some time although never seriously until my 20’s.  I would go lift at the gym with my mom as early as 15 years old, and also took weight training in high school.  I’ve always loved being strong “for a girl” but never really focused on making myself any stronger.  Again, my goals physically were to always be as small as possible.  That said, my weight training consisted primarily of low weight with a lot of reps and cardio.  Now, I focus on strength and muscle growth and the only cardio I do is either while I’m prepping for a show or things that I happen to do for fun such as, rollerblading or hiking.  My training sessions are vastly different.  I love to focus on strength sets which is lifting 90% of my max weight for 5 sets of 5 reps.  That said, your body always needs change so I will also rotate in more hypertrophy weeks where I’ll lift 80% of my max weight for 4 sets of 10-12 reps. 

Q:  What has been the most rewarding aspect of training for you?  Why?

A:  The most rewarding aspect of training is the psycho-social impact it had on me.  I’m more confident and all around happier.  I also have a better relationship with food than I ever have.  I know see food as fuel and not as the enemy which I felt for so many years. 

Q: What has continued to motivate you throughout your training?  Why?  

A:  Stress relief is my primary motivator for why I continue to train.  Looking good and feeling good are just an added bonus.  Additionally, in 2014 I began competing in bodybuilding competitions.  

Q:  What have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?  Did that change you in any way?  If so, describe how.

A:  I wouldn’t say that I’ve encountered barriers that kept me from succeeding.  I’m an Aries and as such have the tendency to be very goal oriented and driven.  When I set my mind to something I make it happen. The only opposition I face rather consistently is the lack of support from my parents who don’t approve of my lifting routines and or bodybuilding competitions.  But I do those things for myself and at this point in my life, my happiness became more important than their approval. I routinely get comments regarding, “you’re going to injure yourself, why do you want to get bigger, and couldn’t you be spending your time doing other things?”  I have my opinions and they are more than welcome to theirs but it will not deter my decision. 

Q:  What is the number one lesson you have learned about health and fitness through your training?

A:  Food is fuel!!!! Like so many women I was convinced that you had to starve yourself to get the body you wanted.  That food was the #1 enemy and I needed to follow up my meals with intense sessions of cardio. Now, I use food to fuel my workouts and build muscle.  I actually struggle to consume the sheer amount of food that I need in order to accomplish those things. I’m bulking now and am consuming upwards of 2400 calories per day with meals scheduled as frequently as every 3 hours. 

Q:  What do you wish you had known when you were 16?

A:  That I’d get a bigger bang for my buck lifting heavy than doing cardio! LOL!  I wasted so much time!  

Q:  Do you have a quote that you live by? If so, why this one?  

A:  Go big or go home along with anything worth doing is worth doing right.  These two kind of go hand in hand I think.  If you’re going to put effort into something, put forth all of your effort, never do things half assed!!


Q:  What was your reason for taking health and fitness to the level you have? Why is it so important to you?

A:  Sanity. I have a rather stressful full time job and balancing that with being a mom, a student (I’m currently in school to get my bachelors), wife, friend, competitor and coach can be hectic.  I can’t complain because I did it to myself but there is a level of stress that comes with all of that and training is my avenue for relieving stress. 

Q:  What advice would you give to women wanting to get into the best shape of their life?

A:  Lift heavy and stop doing so much cardio.  Every body is different and I do think that cardio has its merits for cardiovascular health and can be an important tool for people that carry extra body fat.  That said, lifting heavy will burn fat more efficiently and you’ll see results more quickly which in turn will give you motivation to keep going which can be really difficult when you first begin training. 

Q:  What is the most important thing women need to remember when training?  Why?  

A:  Same as above, along with using food to fuel your workouts.  You HAVE to eat to lose fat, and to build muscle.  Don’t starve yourself! It is actually more detrimental to starve yourself in multiple ways. 

Q:  We all have days where motivation is low – how do you overcome these? Have you always been able to do this?

A:  Sometimes it’s a matter of telling myself, “get it done and you’ll feel better when you get done.” Other times, I simply take a rest day.  Your body needs to take rest days in order to recover and build muscle. If you’re constantly tearing it down and not allowing it time to rebuild, all of your lifting could mean nothing.  That said, I have 1-2 rest days built into my routine but I take them when my body needs them and it varies from week to week.  If I don’t have the motivation one day, I’ll simply have a rest day and come back the next day ready to go. You have to find that level of balance in your life or you can risk burning yourself out. 

Q:  Do you enjoy training alone or with a partner?  Why?

A:  I train better alone. I’m an introvert which means I get my energy from being alone.  I’m the furthest thing from a social butterfly.  I like to put on my headphones, blast rock music and get to down to business.  Partners can be a great motivator but I push myself harder when I’m alone without any distractions.  

Q:  What would you like to see change in the health and fitness industry?

A:  Fit people advertising supplements or workout regimens that they don’t use or don’t know work.  Example, Fit Tea….I don’t think I need to expound on that one.  Also, as I’ve mentioned several times, stop telling women they need to do hours upon hours of cardio!!

Q:  What would a perfect Sunday involve for you?

A:  Spending the day at the lake with my family or out dirt biking.  Anything and everything BUT “adulting.”  My characteristically scheduled and controlling self would like to negotiate this be the perfect Saturday though….or Sunday knowing Monday I’ll be off of work... LOL, Because I NEED one day to get ready for the work week or my life is a mess.  I have to have order and structure in my life! LOL!

Q:  Contest history - do you have a highlight? Why?

A:  I started competing in 2014.  My first show was in NPC and I was NOT ready but everyone has to start somewhere right?  I came in 7th place in figure…Yikes! BUT, I did get on that stage and that was my first step.  I then spent the next 3 years putting on more muscle. I then competed again in 2017 at the Colorado Musclemania Rocky Mountain where I placed first and overall in figure.  That started the fire that kept me going.  I went on to compete in the October Colorado Musclemania Championships where I came in 1st and overall in figure and obtained my Pro status.  The highlight will be this November where I will be competing in 2 shows.  The first will be the local Colorado Musclemania Championships where I’ll be competing for the first time in the women’s physique category.  The second, will be 2 weeks following in Vegas at World’s where I will make my Pro debut in Figure.  AHHHHH SO EXCITED!!

Q:  Tell everyone about your diet:

A:  Because I work Monday-Friday, I meal prep on Sunday’s which mean majority of my meals are boring and redundant.  I get my variation for dinners and also on the weekends.  It’s a blessing in disguise to have to eat this way.  I always aim to drink at least 1 gallon of water a day.   Below is an example of what my current diet looks like while bulking.
7 AM - I love the Jimmy Dean Light breakfast bowls.  Their fast, convenient, and taste great.
10 AM -  4 oz. of chicken, ½ cup of rice or pasta, 1 cup of veggies
1 PM -  4 oz. of chicken, ½ cup of rice or pasta, 1 cup of veggies
530- Protein shake with a carb of some sort or a protein bar
7- Dinner (whatever I feel like making that day) consisting of some form of protein, carb, and vegetable with a glass of red wine or on really hectic days scotch on the rocks.  

Workout week
Monday – rest or abs
Tuesday – Lower hypertrophy day-quad focus
Wednesday – Pull hypertrophy day
Thursday- Lower hypertrophy day-glute focus
Friday –Push hypertrophy day
Saturday- Heavy lower day
Sunday – Heavy upper day


Describe yourself in three words:  Driven, Organized, Sarcastic
What is your favorite food to indulge on?  How often do you treat yourself? Alcohol is my weakness.  Eating healthy isn’t the hard part for me, its alcohol consumption.  During bulk or off season I will have 1 alcoholic drink a day. 
What is your favorite non-cheat food?  I think the word cheat depends on the diet structure for the person.  In my world of flexible dieting, pasta is a non-cheat food so I would have to go with that. 
What is your favorite home-cooked meal? Who cooks it?  Tamales!  My mom and I will get together and make a big batch of tamales almost every year. 
What are the staples in your fridge?  Eggs, prepped chicken, prepped veggies, prepped rice/pasta.
What is your favorite body part to train?  Why? Hands down, Legs!
What is your least favorite body part to train?  Why? Biceps or abs.  They're just not my strong suit, but it has to happen.
Do you prefer to train outdoors or indoors?  Why?  Indoors- too hot for me to focus outside which effects my endurance and ability to push harder. 
Describe the atmosphere in your favorite place to train – what can you see/feel/hear etc.?  I’m attached to my gym.  It’s a locally owned AnyTime Fitness in Castle Rock and it feels like home.  It’s usually not too hectic and I can always get the equipment that I need for my workouts.  Its low key and I can put my headphones in and just lift.  People are primarily there to work out so I don’t have a lot of people interrupt me to chat which I prefer.  
Do you prefer cardio or weights?  Why?  LOL!!!  WEIGHTS!  What is this cardio you speak of? ;) 
Do you have a favorite book? Why this one?  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson…It’s hilarious!
What is your favorite feature?  Why?  Eyes or legs.  I have big eyes.  My boss once told me, “Your eyes are so big and with short hair like you have, your facial expressions are very noticeable.”  Mind you, she was saying this while telling me I needed to work on controlling my facial expressions in meetings!!  LOL!!  I can’t help what my face does when people talk!  Got to work what you got though   My legs are strong and I’m proud of the muscle in them. 
Name five (5) things you can't live without:  Attention!!  HAHA My husband and my daughter understand this.  I’m the weirdest introvert.  I want to be left alone by most people but I want my family to pay attention to me all the time!  LOL.  Okay, actual things:
My airpod headphones
Does sarcasm count? haha!!
Name three (3) things most people don’t know about you:
I love to dirt bike
I’m legally deaf in my right ear
I’m have a very real and inexplicable fear of moths…go ahead, laugh, my 8 year old daughter does.  I’m not crying, you’re crying!! 
Also, I’m still afraid of the dark LOL!  I very obviously shouldn’t be a mother but here I am! haha
What is on your bedside table? A salt lamp, chapstick and my glasses.  I’m quite the piece of work.  Not only am I afraid of the dark, I’m blind without my glass and when I turn on the light to find them, it attracts moths and I nearly die.  
What is your best beauty secret?  People are afraid of people without eyebrows…my secret is too always have my eyebrows on.  LOL!  My eyebrows seriously don’t grow so I have to legitimately paint them on in the morning.  God my husband is a lucky man! HAHAHA
Aside from that, I never sleep with makeup on my face…I guess that’s a secret?  Sorry Mike, I’m really bad at these.  <It's okay Katie...you're doing fine!>


Who inspires you?  Why?  People who are unapologetically themselves.  People who don’t care what others think of them, who say what they feel, stand up for what they believe and kick ass along the way. Those are my kind of people!  
Who is your fitness and body role model? Why?  I have so many!  I follow a lot of very inspiring and bad ass women on Instagram.  They make me want to try harder and be better. I’ve also am a huge fan of our local Norma Jean Watkins.  She’s a mini bad ass and I love her. Hey girl, heeeey!!!!  
What do you have in store for the future? What do you want to improve on?  I was asking myself this question earlier this week and quite frankly, I don’t know.  I have my goals set for this year but who knows what next year will hold and what will shape those goals.  As for this year, I’ve got a clear plan in place and nothing’s going to stop me.  
I'm currently preparing for: Musclemania Colorado Championships on November 4th AND Fitness America Weekend in Las Vegas on November 17th-18th. Pro Debut here I come!!
Do you have a website? Nope, not that cool…yet, however here's my fan page on Facebook.

Thank you Katie for making the time to shoot with me and do this interview.  Thank you all for reading.

Semper Fi!

Mike - Instagram @MikeConPhoto

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