Kat Ciecierska

DSC_0011Kat Ciecierska’s energy is infectious. I’ve known her for a long time, and although we’ve both gone through various transformations over the years (as you do) I clearly recall her always having a positive outlook on life. This, I imagine, comes in handy when your job is helping others achieve their personal fitness goals.

Kat is a personal trainer who has been in the fitness industry for over 8 years. Surprisingly, she wasn’t athletic growing up. Kat was not sporty in high school, and would even forge notes to get out of PE class.   “I can’t throw or kick a ball to save my life.” Kat recalls, “But ask me how to deadlift, and I’ll show you how it’s done!” So what changed? After a stint of travelling in her late teens, she noticed her naturally thin-framed body had gained weight in awkward proportions. “I got home from my travels, stepped on the scale, and thought I need to do something about this before it gets out of hand.” she says.

So Kat signed up for fitness classes at her local community centre. She was hooked instantly. It was a completely different experience than high school PE class. Kat became a certified instructor and started teaching classes 5 nights a week. After doing this for some time, she noticed that there was only so much one-on-one time she could provide to participants, and found herself getting frustrated when she couldn’t assist everyone personally.  The next logical step was for Kat to become a personal trainer. After completing her Kinesiology diploma at Langara College, she went on to finish her degree at UBC and immediately started her own business.

Kat offers Vancouverites wanting to up their fitness game a number of services. Personal training, doubles training with friends, on-location sessions, online training programs and even wedding packages to help brides and their partners walk down the aisle in their best shape ever. Her blog offers visitors helpful tips and healthy recipes to aid them on their journey.

Running your own company presents many challenges, especially with time management. With varying client schedules, Kat is up early every morning and sometimes doesn’t finish until evening workouts are complete around 8pm. It’s important to take time for yourself, and that’s why Sundays are so precious to Kat – “It’s my only day off and I cherish it. I don’t check emails, I don’t schedule any clients. It’s my time to devote to family and friends.”

As if Kat’s schedule wasn’t busy enough, she recently launched a new project called Kat’s Training Tales with talented photographer and videographer Kelly Balch. I love passion projects like this and was interested to hear from Kat about how the idea was developed:

“Kat’s Training Tales started because I’ve always loved travelling. And I love fitness!

Years ago, I thought to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be so cool to travel around and see how people stay fit in different cities and different countries?’

Unfortunately, I had to put the idea to rest for a few years as I was finishing my degree. Then as luck would have it, I met my now very close friend, Kelly Balch at a wedding in LA last summer and when I told her about my idea to do this, the first thing she said was, ‘I want to help you with this. I want to film it!’ And just like that we booked our tickets to New York to film our first episode!

If it wasn’t for Kelly, this project would still be a dream in my head!”

The results are pretty great. Check out the video for yourself, here. Kat’s long term goal is to take the project far beyond North America to investigate and experience fitness trends in places like Japan, Russia, Peru. The ideal would be to receive funding for the project and produce a full length documentary or series.

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For now, Kat and Kelly are both enjoying producing the short YouTube videos and looking forward to releasing the next one.

In her own words – Q & A with Kat Ciecierska

Q: What do you love most about helping people achieve their fitness goals?

The look of pride on the client’s face when we compare their fitness assessment stats from when they first started training to, say, 3 months later. Knowing that I’m helping these individuals build healthy habits and improving their quality of life.

Q: There’s so much pressure put on women to be model-thin, whether on TV or in magazines and advertisements. What’s your perspective on this and how do we shift the focus to health and wellness?

I could go on and on and on about this topic. I think no matter how hard we try to shift the perspective, it’s going to be extremely difficult. I don’t mean to sound like an utter pessimist, but the media preys on those who are most impressionable, I’m talking about young girls, teenagers, pre-teens. That’s when it all starts!As adult women, it is our responsibility to be role models in the lives of these girls. Educating them on what’s real, and what’s photoshopped, is a great start.

I’m a huge fan of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. I think it’s a great eye-opener to show how beautiful and unique we all are with our own personal imperfections (though in my mind, they are not imperfections, they are just part of us!) Raw Beauty Talks is another fantastic movement! Check it out at www.rawbeautytalks.com.

Shifting the focus starts within each of one us. Learning to love ourselves for WHO we are, and not just focusing on HOW we look compared to society’s norm. Waking up every morning and falling in love with yourself. That’s what it’s all about. Loving your messy hair, loving your face even if it has pillow wrinkles still left over, loving and being grateful for the strong healthy body you have. If EVERY single woman could radiate that kind of confidence and that kind of self love, I truly believe that only then would the media shift their focus. Until then, we need to team up and support one another. Tell your lady friends how beautiful and unique they are!

DSC_0193Q: What brings you the most joy?

Hiking! I’m obsessed! The feeling of absolute joy and gratitude I get when I summit a mountain is unexplainable. No matter how hard the course, I know all the work will pay off once I get to the peak.

Q: If there was just one thing clients and viewers took away from their time with you, what would it be? 

That I’m really just a regular chick trying to live life to the fullest, and that you should be too! I heard this great quote one time, it went something like this: “The time will pass anyway, you can either spend it creating the life you want, or spend it living the life you don’t want. The choice is yours.”

I’m choosing to bring my adventures to life: My small business, my travel videos, heck even being featured on blogs such as this one! Always choose happiness. Do what makes your heart sing. It might be hard at first, but I promise you, it’ll be worth it 

Our top fitness questions

Q: There’s plenty of debate over whether working out in the morning is more effective that working out at night. In your opinion, is one better than the other, and why?

I honestly don’t believe there is a better time of day to workout. The best time of day to workout is the time that works for YOU. If you are not a morning person, why would you workout in the morning? It’s a recipe for failure. My personal opinion is that the best time of day to workout is whenever you have the most energy. For me that falls between 10am and 1pm, but for others it might be 6pm! As long as you’re doing your workout and not hating every minute of it, then you’re doing it at the right time of the day.

 Q: They say that abs are made at the gym but revealed in the kitchen. What is meant by that, and do you agree?

All that means is that you build your abdominal muscles in the gym through training but it takes a clean diet to actually have definition in your midsection.

I definitely agree with that, but remember that every body is different. Some people are genetically luckier and their abs will “pop” sooner than others. Every set of abs looks different too! Some people are symmetrical, others are not. Some are flatter, some are more 3-dimentional! A six-pack might not be realistic for someone, but at their peak they might have killer definition around their obliques.

Embrace your own shape and work with it instead of trying to fight it.

Kat’s Go-to Fitness Websites

Girls Gone Strong 

I LOVE the fact that this is a site devoted to educating women on building strength. All of the contributing authors are female authorities on fitness as well! Talk about major-girl-power-inspiration.


T-Nation really speaks to my inner gym-junky-meat-head. Ok, all jokes aside, even though the layout of this site is kind of intimidating, the articles are written by some of the most highly educated individuals in the industry (PhD’s and Masters Degrees in exercise science).

Oh She Glows

I am obsessed with this website. Whenever I don’t know what I should cook for dinner, I turn to Angela to inspire me! I eat primarily plant-based (with the occasional egg and fish dish here or there) and this website never ceases to impress.

Thug Kitchen 

Again, amazing plant-based recipes and the author’s crass-pottie-mouth-no-bull-shit approach to getting his point across is really hilarious. Parental discretion is advised when visiting this site!

Best Fitness Apps

Strava – I love road biking and this is a great app for tracking kms, speed, elevation, and how you stack up against other Strava users!

My Fitness Pal – Although I HATE tracking calories, I sometimes like to make sure I’m getting enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats in my diet. This app is great for that!

Thanks for chatting with us Kat! Can’t wait to see where Training Tales takes you next.

Follow Kat and her web series online:

Kat Ciecierska
Personal Trainer
Kat’s Training Tales

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