Exercise Tips Fitness Regime Motivation Weight Loss

Are the stories you tell yourself keeping you fat?

Most of you probably think at 12 Rounds were all about hard training and restrictive diets but here’s a few thoughts I’ve been sharing with my clients recently.

Since entering the fitness industry I’ve changed my views so much on what’s important and what gets results. Most of us who want to lose weight want to do so because we want to be happy right? We’ve been told from the experts to train more and eat less. Yet for some us us it doesn’t matter how hard we train or how much we restrict out diets those numbers on the scales don’t move. And instead if moving towards our goal of happiness we end up miserable in the process. Frustrated and sad that we can’t achieve what we set out to. We tell ourselves stories that it must be something about us, we’re lazy, not working hard enough, have no will power or are greedy….

But what if it was these stories that was keeping us fat?

I get you, because I’ve told myself those stories too. Even as a personal trainer I always struggled with my weight. I had a picture in my head of how I thought a trainer should look like. I thought if I looked like a fitness model, if I had a six pack and below 15% body fat then I’d be more confident, I’d have more clients and my business would be more successful, ultimately I’d be happier. That was my story. So I really pushed myself to train hard, I consulted nutritionists and tried different diet plans. I tried to follow the rules. At one point I ate virtually no carbs and almost passed out during one of my high intensity boxing sessions. But the measurements didn’t change, I fact some weeks I’d actually got bigger. Seeing those numbers not change was so demotivating. I felt like a complete failure. Why did it work for everyone else and not me?

I knew there had to be something else as this just wasn’t working for me or so many others.

Now I truly believe that the key lies not in how hard we train or how little we eat but in brain science and how much threat we are under.

Let me explain. The more we push ourselves to do things we don’t want to do the more we push our brain into threat. Our brain thinks we’re in some kind of danger and we revert to our reptile brain that’s only concern is survival. It’s often the stories we tell ourselves that place us under threat.

How much threat we are under has a direct effect on our stress levels.

Our stress levels then have a direct impact on our hormones.

Our hormones have a direct impact on our body’s ability to burn fat.

So how we feel is so much more important than what we eat or how much we train.

Makes a lot of sense right? If we are constantly making our selves miserable with behaviours that don’t serve us, then all we are doing is telling our brain we are under threat.

Think about how you feel every time you step on the scales and those numbers don’t move. Is this how you want to feel? So why put yourself in that position and makes yourself miserable everyday?

Instead of doing something that makes you miserable and focussing on your goal, reverse the cycle and start with how you want to feel. Learn to love the journey, not just the results.

Do something everyday that moves you towards happiness and the results will take care of themselves :)

Something to think about…..


Kat xx

Exercise Tips Fitness Regime Uncategorized

The Queen of Over-training….

Been a while since I last posted a blog, I’ve been so busy running sessions in the gym I’ve had no time to come up with any entertaining stories (or education posts :)

It’s been two months since we opened the gym now and we are happy to say that the 12 Rounds family is growing! We want to thank all our members for their continued support and welcome in all the new faces who have joined us lately. The 12 Rounds gym was a dream for us for a long time and it’s through you’re support that we’ve made it into a reality!

And we have been getting busy! Members, bear with us over Easter.  We will be updating the timetable soon and introducing more classes.  If there are times/classes you want to see on please let me know. We’ll be running a limited timetable over the bank holiday weekend which will include some out door classes. All other classes will run as normal.

Also due to the demand, we will be increasing our prices after Easter so if you or any friends are swithering about joining up, nows the time to do so to take advantage of our unlimited offer.

Now for a bit of education!

Members, it’s great that you love the classes so much but we’ve noticed that some of you are training without any structure or adequate rest.  This is actually counterproductive to getting results.  A lot of us (me included) have been conditioned to believe that if we are not literally beasted ourselves into the ground during the session then we haven’t trained hard enough.

Believe me I used to be known as ‘the queen of overtraining’.  The other trainers would laugh at me in the gym as I tried to get in as many training session as physically possible! I’d even be joining in with the burpees while teaching a class (even though I’d done my own training earlier that day)

Did I look amazing from all the extra training?

No! I looked exactly the same or possibly bigger.  (Its actually known as fat aerobics instructors syndrone in the industry) Trainers who do up to 30 classes a week but still can’t shed the body fat!


Because training MORE is not the way to generate results.

The key is to train SMARTER

Whether you want to lose fat, build muscle of even just improve your performance, the changes your looking for happen in the RECOVERY phrase NOT during training.  Exercise is simply a stimulus for the body to respond and adapt to.  It’s during the recovery phrase we burn fat and grow muscle tissue.  And if you’re looking to see improvements to your technique the brain needs recovery too in order to reboot itself and develop the correct neural pathways.

If you train consistently without adequate recovery all you are doing is keeping your cortisol levels high which will actually prevent you from burning fat.  All you will achieve is fatigue and most likely injury!

So forget about the QUANTITY of your training sessions and instead think about the QUALITY.  You will see much more progression from 3 good quality sessions a week where you are able to give 100% than 6 mediocre ones where you gave 50-60% because you were still so fatigued from your last session!

Training smarter means sticking to a structured training programme and ensuring your body gets the right rest and nutrition.

That’s why the girls on my new 21 day kick start programme are kicking ass and getting amazing results.  Instead of training more some of them are actually training LESS and still dropping inches.  They are following a structured programme combining boxing training AND weight training.  With rest days in between.  And they’ve cleaned up their diet, which is the most important thing.  (I’ll be running this again in May, if you’re interested in joining email me asap as only 6 places available)

Because if you’re spending all your time training, you have no time for food prep right? So not only are you unlikely to eating the correct mix of nutrients to fuel your body and convince it to burn fat!

For those of you who really want to see a difference to your physique we’ll be offering further programmes like this on the run up to summer.  Look out for our ‘make the weight’ programme (based on a boxers pre fight and nutrition) details coming soon.

These days you’re more likely to see me stretching in between sessions than doing burpees.  And I feel a whole lot better for it :)

Kat (learned the hard way) Bryson




Boxing tips Motivation

Black eyes and training tips from Mexico




We weren’t supposed to be boxing. In fact this was supposed to be our relaxation time. 10 days In an all inclusive resort in Cancun. The plan was to eat, sleep, sunbathe and repeat. It’s going to be a crazy few months once the 12 Rounds Studio opens. So this was time to rejuvenate and prepare our selves for what’s to come

But the powers above had other ideas. After 1 day of sunshine then weather turned to continuous rain.

What were we to do? Hit the bars and clubs? Go sightseeing? Nah instead we rocked up to the local boxing gym for a bit of sparring with the Mexicans.

The gym wasn’t easy to find. It certainly wasn’t on the tourist route! Luckily we met a local who showed us where to go. After taking two buses through downtown Cancun we arrive at the gym. There’s no sign post or even a name on the building. Wed never have found this on our own!

We meet the coach, good news he says we can train for the week. He doesn’t speak much English so luckily our new friend Tito stays to translate.

Our coach, Adrian is Cuban. He shows us pictures of champion after champion he’s trained.

We tell him we also trained in Cuba at the Rafael Trejo gym. He knows it well and our coach Mirando we trained with…

Training starts with mobilisation and skipping. (Quite amusing watching John trying to skip :)

We then go on to footwork and technique. Moving forwards, backwards, sideways and in and out of range as we throw our combinations.

I’m partnered up with a Mexican girl and we run through a series of combinations and defence. I feel like a complete beginner. The girl is so fast and sharp and I feel slow and clumsy..

Then it’s into sparring where the fun begins!

The Mexican have no mouth guards, I guess they don’t need them when they move as fast as they do! My usual style of walking forward with my hands up is not going to cut it here. I just walk into a combination of 5 of 6 punches, one catching me nicely on the eye. We continue for a few more rounds then it’s on to bag work + abs.

When we get back to the hotel John notices I have a black eye coming up. A souvenir war wound to take home.

So here’s to my point (I know it’s taken a long time to get there) what is it that makes the Mexicans and Cubans so good?

Constant repetition and practice.

As we return to the gym throughout the week, we see the same faces going through the same training drills day after day. Continually practising their footwork, defence and combinations until it becomes second nature. It takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert. Continuos practice until we stop consciously thinking about those moves and they become second nature.

The Mexicans know this. They have no fancy equipment or advanced training drills. It’s the same basic stuff, over and over again. Simple, learn the combinations and learn to move. We can learn a lot from their perseverance + commitment.

I know I certainly have still a long way to go before I get my 10,000 hours in. I’ve learned I need to move my feet so I’ll be working on my footwork from now on. John will be working on his skipping :)


We had threatened to return to the gym for all out war before leaving, but the sun came back out so it was back to the beach instead…..lucky for that Mexican girl who gave me the black eye!






30 things you didn’t know about me…..

A few months ago I promised my clients I’d email them everyday for 30 days with one fitness tip and in return I’d tell them one thing they didn’t know about me.

I failed miserably. Started off ok. But then it just became bland. I got scared of going too far and putting people off with my crazy life…

But I believe in total transparency. If I can’t be honest about who I am and my vulnerabilities how can I expect clients to be able to share their issues with me?

And besides if people don’t like the ‘real’ me then they wouldn’t want to work with me anyway. We wouldn’t be a good fit.

So here goes, my deepest, darkness secrets……

And a few other random facts
1. I was born Kathleen Teresa Hamilton
2. My parents then went on to call me ‘Tracey’ which I fucking hated! It created a lot of confusion growing up
3. I moved to London when I was 20 and renamed myself Katra, a far cooler name and kind of a merges Kathleen Teresa
4. I can’t ride a bike (fell off when I was little and never got back on)
5. I have a fiery temper and have had major bust ups with all the people I love at some pointI have degree in Marketing
6. And another one is Social Work
7. I had no idea what I wanted to with my life until I was 29
8. I spent most of my 20s drifting around the globe
9. I funded my travel working as a pole dancer
10. When I was 23 I spent about 9 months living in LA and took a lot of drugs
11. I’m terrified of heights
12. When I was 21 I wanted to be a TV presenter
13. I am TERRIBLE in front of the camera
14. Remember the TV show blind date? I once went on that (prob the most embarrassing moment of my life)
15. I also worked as a TV extra
16. I’ve always struggled with my weight
17. I was always interested in fitness but thought I was too fat to be a personal trainer
18. I can’t whistle
19. Or wink one eye
20. I’m incredibly shy and sensitive
21. I’ve had self confidence issues my whole life
22. I suffered crippling depression throughout my late 20s
23. My depression was actually what led me to a career in social work
24. I swear a lot and have no idea I’m doing it
25. I have a fiery temper and have had major bust ups with all the people I love at some point
26. When I was 27 I met John the love of my life
27. Who’s unconditional love and belief in me subsequently turned my life around
28. On our 2nd date John made me cry by making a joke about my age (I was about to turn 28 and thought I was old! He was only 23)
29. Marrying john was the best thing I ever did
30. I have NEVER been happier than I am right now :)



Fitness Regime Nutrition Tips

Cortisol soup anyone?

On Sat I spent the day learning about the parasympathetic nervous system. Another course delivered by the awesome Dax Moy. I spent the day learning about the brain and some amazing techniques that can dramatically improve range of movement + remove pain. More about that later!

We have two parts to our nervous system. The sympathetic branch which controls our stress responses. When we are exercising we are generally in the sympathetic nervous system, especially the type of training that we do which is go go go! But what a lot of you may not know, all the results we want to achieve like burning fat and getting stronger take place in the parasympathetic nervous system which is the rest and relaxation phrase.

Trouble is with all the stresses in today’s lifestyle some of us remain in a constant state of stress and completely sympathetic dominant

Meaning we never really calm down and enter the parasympathetic rest and relaxation stage

So matter how much ŵe train or diet we don’t get results :(

Eating is one of the times that requires us to be parasympathetic otherwise we cannot digest and receive the nutrients from our food. If we are stressed during meal times then no matter how nutritious our meal was we may as well not have eaten it.

How may of us wolf down our food on the go, check our emails and work as we eat?

I’ve been catching myself doing this all week

This is the equivalent to having a starter of cortisol soup before every meal!

You’ve all heard me talk about cortisol right? the stress hormone that makes us crave sugary foods and keeps us fat? Trust me not the effect you want before a meal!

So before your next meal. Take a few minutes before you eat and take 10 deep breathes. Deep belly breathes from your diaphragm. I know a lot of us struggle with this as we are so used to breathing from our chest. Put your hands on your belly and you should feel it expand when you breath in. As your eating just take some time out to just enjoy your food with no other distractions. No checking emails, working or watching TV! It’s just 10 mins out of your day.

This will improve your digestive function, and stimulate the correct hormones

Meaning your digestive function will improve, you will actually absorb the nutrients from your food, improve your immune system

I’m going to be adding more of these ‘parasympathetic’ techniques to our workouts at the end of class. I’ve already seen massive improvements to my strength, power and energy levels all week. Just from a few breathing exercises!

From now on we’re all going to learn how to breathe properly!

Kat (zen master) Bryson


Boxing keeps me sane…

I’ve been doing a lot of probing lately about why you enjoy training with us

But I need more! Particularly from the mums

Here’s why I box.

For me boxing and training are what keeps me sane.


It’s no secret that I suffer from low moods. A long time ago I went through a horrible period of depression. It sucked. I cried everyday. But that’s another story (my life was shit them so it’s no wonder I was depressed!)

These days life is good but I still sometimes get overwhelmed and life feels a bit out of control. I have lists the length of my arm of things I need to do for work not to mention meals to prepare and washing/housework to get through.

Mums I really don’t know how you do it!

When I feel like this boxing is the one thing that gets me through the week.

Some days it really is a coping mechanism to avoid a meltdown. (it’s either punch stuff or cry for me!)

It clears my mind and gives me back control. When I’ve got my training in I feel like I’ve achieved something. I feel strong again and I can move on with my day….

But I’m an addict.

What about you? I hear a lot of you saying you can’t through the week without your boxing fix.

Tell me what you get out it and why?

Fill out questionnaire at https://12rounds.wufoo.com/forms/why-now/

or just drop me an email kat@12roundsboxing.co.uk

Much appreciated!


Nutrition Tips Weight Loss

Losing inches

So 1 week into diet plan and heres how my weeks panned out

Training sessions 4

Lattes 0

Hot cho 0

Chocolate mon-Fri 0

Vodka + cranberry 1 courtesy of Martin Wasson at eh boxing show last Thursday

Lindor chocolates 7

Chips 1/2 a portion

Cheat day only involved a decaf coffee, some chocolate almonds and 1/2 a potion of chips. Not like my usual binges!

So I slipped up a bit on Sun and ate some Lindor chocolates too :(

but just done my measurements and I still got some results!

Overall inch loss 2 1/2 inches woo hoo. I told you this works!

Week 2 and it’s back on the food prep. Off to cook roast chicken, broccoli and sweet potato mash for tea.

New recipe for tomorrow prawn fried rice (yes rice!) training day tomorrow so a bit of carbs required.

This is really light yet filling dish.

Cook some rice then

Add some coconut oil to wok or frying pan, add 2 packets king prawns, 6 spring onions chopped, 1/2 bag rocket, 8-10 cherry tomatoes, chopped. Stir together and add juice of 1 lemon and lots of black pepper.

Then stir in rice and 1 egg.


Going to really tailor this plan for you guys next year. Can’t wait to see you all get results too!

Kat (2/12 inches smaller) Bryson

Fitness Regime Nutrition Tips Weight Loss

Eat some carbs…

Bet you never thought you’d here may say that!

When I talk about following a nutrition plan lots of people get put off as they think it means no carbs. You can still eat carbs. Just healthy low GI ones like sweet potato, brown rice and lots of veg! Vegetables are carbohydrates and also full of vital nutrients and minerals. So wouldn’t it be better to up your veg intake rather than reach for the pasta?

Last night I made the mistake of not eating any carbs all day then going training. (A combination of laziness and being unprepared) The result was I almost passed out during the session! I then had to come home and eat some muesli as I had no other carbs in the house.

Learn from my mistakes! Keep up your carb intake and especially on training days!

Kat (feeling faint) Bryson

Motivation Nutrition Tips Weight Loss

Going cold turkey

Its day two of my 28 day get back into my jeans plan.

I’ve gone cold turkey. No alcohol, no sugar, wheat or processed food.

I’m actually glad. I’m ready for it now. I’ve actually sickened myself of eating crap food and my body is craving the healthy stuff.

The hardest thing is going to be staying off those afternoon hot chocolates and lattes that have been sneaking in now it’s cold!

But the measurements have been done and all those afternoon treats have been adding up. Since the summer I’ve put on 1-2 inches on my waist, tummy and hips! In fact the only thing that hasn’t increased is my arms. Must be all that boxing!

So time to take those inches off. No more cheating and lying to myself.

Here’s my food plan for the week if anyone wants to join me


breakfast: smoked salmon and scrambled eggs

Lunch: chicken breast and Greek salad

Dinner: chicken breast and broccoli


Breakfast: Chicken broth

Lunch: spinach, onion and feta frittata

Dinner: homemade burgers sweet potato wedges and salad


Breakfast: spinach, onion and feta frittata

Lunch: left over burgers and wedges

Dinner: beef and veg chilli


Breakfast: Protein smoothie

Scrambled eggs and tomatoes

Lunch: left over chilli

Dinner: turkey curry


Breakfast: scrambled eggs and bacon

Lunch: leftover turkey curry

Dinner: salmon steak broccoli and spinach

Sat – my favourite day

cheat day!

Roll on Sat!

I will post Saturdays diary too, just to keep me honest!

Kat (no more cheating) Bryson

Fitness Regime Motivation

Bringing back the belt…

the champ

Back to London today with my husband, the new BBU Scottish heavyweight champion. Proud wife is an understatement!

On Sat 23rd November John fought Kaseem ‘The Mean’ Saleem for the Scottish Heavyweight Title

Johns result hasn’t come easy though. It’s come from almost a years worth of hard work, planning, sacrifice and patience.

Pushing himself to go and train every evening after work

Sacrificing a social life

Not quitting when the sparring gets tough.

Taking a defeat on the chin and instead of giving up coming back stronger

Staying focused on the goal

Success rarely comes easy. Yet most of us quit when we don’t get instant results.

It takes patience, perseverance and a lot of hard work

So if you’ve got a goal, start to make it more than just a dream. Be clear about what your goal is. John’s goal was specific – to bring back the belt.

Then take action, what do you need to do to achieve your goal? Write a plan and then put the work in.

Believe it and continually visualize that end result.

If you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? Get a picture of how you want to look in your head and think about NOTHING else.

If you want to compete, visualize the win. Do not let any other thoughts come into your head. There can be NO other option

What is your dream?

Want it, Visualise it, Believe it

Go out there and make it happen

Kat (I want a belt now too!) Bryson