A new born baby and a broken toe won’t stop dancer Kimberly Wyatt competing in her first ever triathlon…
Kimberly Wyatt shot to fame with the girl band Pussycat Dolls. Since leaving the group, the 33-year old dancer has since presented the TV show So You Think You Can Dance and participated in ITV’s winter sports show, The Jump. Now she’s ready for her biggest challenge yet, competing in the Tri It distance at the Vitality World Triathlon London. When Kimberly takes to the water at the end of May, her daughter Willow will be just shy of six months old. Here she tells Triathlon Plus how she’s fitting in her training with breastfeeding and why this is just the beginning…
Q. How did you find pregnancy?
My pregnancy was quite fascinating with so many new things happening to my body. It’s such a miracle women can produce babies. I really tried to enjoy my pregnancy and that enjoyment came down to continuing with my fitness.
Q. How did you adapt your exercise routine?
Since it was all new to me I worked with Jane Wake, a pregnancy fitness coach. She introduced me to a lot of different exercises. I did a lot of Pilates style exercises using resistance bands, there were a lot of twists and martial arts along with yoga, all intertwined with circuit training. I trained like that right up before the day I had Willow [on 2nd December 2014].
Q. How was the birth?
To prepare for labour I was doing a lot of squats. I was looking at labour as a fitness exercise. It’s something your body is going to do and I wanted to be prepared for that. As Willow was breech I wasn’t allowed to have her naturally so I had to have a C-section. That set me back because obviously they have to sever your tummy muscles and then I had to recuperate. I had to start from zero and build back up again.
Q. Was it hard to motivate yourself back into training with all those sleepless nights?
I breastfed and there were a lot of sleepless nights and days where I thought ‘I really don’t feel like it’ but instead of giving in to those moments I would at least do something. I’d use an egg timer and give myself an hour. I’d just focus on getting fit and using that hour to stretch and try to get back into it. It was a little bit of a struggle because your body is so different. Luckily I have a supportive husband [model Max Rogers] who’s a really hands on dad and he would watch Willow for an hour a day so I could focus on giving back to my body. I’d given all my nutrients to my baby so I had to give myself something.
Q. So why did you decide to do a triathlon?
I decided to do a triathlon about seven weeks after I had given birth. It had always been something I wanted to do, but never had the chance. It was the perfect thing to do to get my fitness back. So much of celebrity is about losing weight, but for me it’s about feeling good and feeling fit. I like having a competition such as the triathlon to put my focus into and get fit.
Q. Why did you choose the Tri It distance – a super sprint of 400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run?
I didn’t want to throw myself in the deep end and for it to be too overwhelming. It’s a lot to get used to. I am super-competitive but I’ve just had a baby and I’ve never done this before. I’m used to swimming in rivers in Missouri in the States where I grew up, but I’ve never swum in the Serpentine so this is all new to me. I’ve never been on a triathlon bike before either. All the kit is a lot to get used to as well, so instead of going for the big one I wanted to ease into it. That was what is so great about this distance. It’s a great way to get women involved in the sport.
Q. What’s your training regime like?
I’m still a career women and a mum so I fit in my training when I can. I go to the gym and swim in the pool. I went to a triathlon open water event and learned a few tips about swimming, things like how you enter your hands into the water, how you lift and bring your arms around. It was really useful. I’ve been doing a lot of HIIT [High-Intensity Interval Training] at the Equinox gym as well as doing a lot on the treadmill and weights. I had a bit of a set back because I broke my middle toe on my right foot in five places, but I didn’t let it stop me!
Q. Which of the three disciplines do you like best?
I’ve always run and it doesn’t scare me. I feel quite confident about that. I love going for a jog – it’s the best stress reliever and fat burner. I’m a great swimmer as I’ve been doing it all my life but I wanted to work on the technique of it, get my breathing patterns right to feel comfortable and confident. That was the first thing I got stuck into. I do cycle for stamina, but cycling to compete is a different thing. I’ve got a Wahoo Fitness KICKR Bike Trainer and put it up in my living room. If I can’t get my training in because I’ve been working and I want to spend time with my little girl, I’ll wait until she’s asleep and get my cycling in then.
Q. Have you been practising your transitions as well?
Being a dancer and a performer, quick changes are what we do. So I know how to lay things. The tip I would give is it’s all in the way you lay out your clothes and your shoes. Laces undone and open so you can glide your foot in or get elastics so you don’t even have to worry about that. Rolling up legs or arms so you’re not trying to find the holes so they’re ready for you.
Q. What’s been the most helpful advice you’ve been given?
A tip I got was at the end of your swim really start kicking your legs so you can get more blood to them. That way when you go to start cycling you don’t feel like you’ve got noodle legs.
Q. Have you been focusing on your diet?
I’ve really been getting more into learning different ways to make new foods using nuts and cauliflower – I’m cooking a lot more. I’m eating lots of fruit and juicing so I know I’m getting my iron and nutrients, which is so important when you’re breastfeeding. I’m trying to eat the right things and if I’m in a rush I’ll grab a Maxi nutrition protein shake or bar after a workout, especially when I need my muscles to recover.
Q. How are you getting on with all your new kit?
I’ve been learning how to swim in a triathlon wetsuit. I quite like the restriction of it but the buoyancy is what I’ve got to get used to. I’ve got to do a few open water swims before the race just to get used to the open water because I know it’s going to be a change from being in a pool. I have a Samsung watch that I train with and I love my Monster wireless in-ear headphones – they don’t have a cord that needs to be plugged in so it’s much easier for running and cycling.
Q. Will you do another triathlon?
I certainly like to think so as I’m quite a sporty girl. I love fitness and sport. I look at these sorts of things that give me the drive and competition that I love. I do train like I want to win.
WORDS Debbi Marco
Kimberly completed the Vitality World Triathlon on May 31st and although she found the swim tough, she blasted the bike and run with an overall time of 1:2:34! If you’d like to take part in next year’s race, head to london.triathlon.org for more information.
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