Kim Lyons is a human liposuction machine. As a trainer on NBC's hit reality series, "The Biggest Loser," Lyons routinely helped morbidly obese contestants rid themselves of hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, emerging from her training program thin and lithe as cougars. She's been featured in scores of national newspapers and magazines, including Shape, Us and Health, has an endorsement deal with Jennie-O Turkey, and has just released her first weight-loss book, "Kim Lyons' Your Body, Your Life."
Did your strategy for working with morbidly obese people change after you started on "The Biggest Loser"?
On "The Biggest Loser," I am as much a life coach as I am a trainer to my team. This has given me a closer look into the mental aspects that often lead to obesity and strengthened my belief that emotional support goes hand in hand with weight loss.
When it comes to the training and the nutrition, my "no excuses" strategy remains strong and consistent. Of course, I'm always updating and expanding my training library and creating healthy recipes to keep things exciting, but in the end, it comes down to good old-fashioned hard work and proper nutrition.
Can you tell us a little about your own personal workout strategy?
Many people think I am "genetically" blessed and don't have to work out. Trust me, I have to work very hard. Before I became a personal trainer I was 25 pounds heavier with 26% body fat. I worked with a trainer who changed my body and my life and inspired me to do the same for others. Through the years, my personal workouts and goals have changed a million times. I like to mix it up with different activities that are as much fun as they are work. My experience working with obese people has put many things in perspective for me. I tend to be a lot less critical of myself and never take my health for granted.
And can you tell us about your current diet? How many meals/calories a day?
My diet consists of three small meals and two snacks a day. I focus on having a balance of protein, carbs and fat every time I eat. For example, for breakfast I'll have a few egg whites with some turkey bacon in a whole-grain tortilla. It's a perfect on-the-go balanced breakfast that I can wrap up as I run out the door. For a snack, I'll grab an apple and a few almonds, or some low-fat string cheese.
Over the years I have learned to find healthy alternatives for some of my favorite foods. For example, I always use . . . ground turkey instead of beef in my burgers, tacos or spaghetti sauce. It's a simple way to cut down on fat and calories without feeling like I'm on a diet.
You recently married bodybuilder Gunter Schlierkamp. Are there things that you've added or deleted from your workout as a result of observing what he does? Are there things about diet and fitness that he's learned from you?
It is great to be married to someone that is also so into living a healthy lifestyle. Instead of watching TV on weekends, we'll go for a bike ride or out for a hike. We keep each other motivated when the other is having a tough time getting to the gym. We work out together a lot, and we always learn from one another and share ideas. Gunter will pick on me when I'm lifting "light" weights, and I'll critique his form, all in fun.
What one thing can get you to play hooky, and not work out?
My world stops for a good sunset. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the craziness of my day, and then I'll look out over the ocean and see the beautiful orange sky. It always reminds me to just stop and take a deep breath at the end of a long day.