I gave up alcohol and my fitness went through the roof!

Meet lawyer Katie Richards, who consistently conquers a brutal fitness regime after giving up alcohol – and lost 10 kg in the process. Here, the Queensland woman tells Lifestyle News her story.

Q: After giving up alcohol, your fitness skyrocketed. Did that surprise you?

A: I found that I was a lot clearer when I limited my alcohol intake, and had several friends who had quit alcohol and they said their fitness skyrocketed, so I expected there would be benefits on the other side if I made the effort.

Q: What was the main reason for giving up alcohol?

A: I have always been fairly health-focused and I really push myself and my body. I’ve done five marathons around the world, many triathlons since 2009 and now Hyrox – drinking just doesn’t go well as it makes your body sluggish.

So if I had alcohol, I would try to run it off doing a 5km run then 1km for each drink I had the night before.

But then realised maybe I’m better off without it. And after not having it for a while then having one glass of wine or beer, it made me feel sick, gave me reflux and I really paid for just that one drink.

Q: Is it hard to go to parties if you are not drinking alcohol?

A: Not at all – I’m a fairly emotionally independent person though and it was weird for people at first but now they just know my health and fitness is important to me and I can have a great time without alcohol anyway.

I’ll just have a non-alcoholic beer or something to join in but not actually have alcohol.

Some people who have stopped drinking but aren’t fitness-junkies have said it is sometimes an awkward conversation telling people they don’t drink, and the drinkers assuming it’s because they were an alcoholic when it was just a lifestyle choice.

For me though, people see my Hyrox racing on Instagram so they know I race in an incredibly difficult sport and am very disciplined to get the things I want in life. So they don’t question it. Plus they know I am a designated driver lol

Q: You do Hyrox fitness racing, tell me a little about that.

Hyrox is incredible – it is fitness racing to the extreme. It’s an 8km race and in between each 1km you have to do an exercise – it’s a set pattern for every race so you can practice easily. This is how it goes: 1km run 1km ski erg 1km run 50m sled push with 102kg on it for women, heavier for men 1km run 50 m sled pull with 78kg for women 1km run 80m burpee broad jumps 1km run 1km rower 1km run 200m farmers carry with 16kg kettlebell in each hand arms complete extended by your side 1km run 80m sandbag lunges with 10kg bag for women, 20kg for men 1km run 75 wall balls with 4kg ball at 9 foot height I cut out my alcohol in February and was 63kg relatively fit, then started getting stuck into my hyrox type training with BFT and dropped nearly 10kgs in about 3.5 months and my fitness went through the roof.

Hyrox is an intense sport and we burn around 1,500-2,000 calories in one race. My PB is 1 hour 34 mins 16 seconds in Munich, Germany – I did 1:36:48 in Milan the week before and my first solo race was in Sydney and it was a hideous 1:48.

But it gave me a lot of learnings and focus on personal goals and mental endurance. I couldn’t do this and still be drinking.

You know you’re at a hyrox event as the atmosphere is absolutely pumping and everyone is absolutely ripped.

My coach is James Kelly who is currently #8 in the world and comes from Brisbane. A lot of his training is around setting goals and making lifestyle choices every day that support your growth, not just physically but also mentally.

And we talk about if someone has alcohol – that’s ok, but run it out so it doesn’t impact training.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?

A: I have had people I really care about make a right mess of their lives thanks to alcohol addition.

Some people in my legal profession are big drinkers, mostly to manage stress, which I totally understand.

But there are much healthier options to get rid of stress that make you feel better in the long term, look better, think clearly (and not be foggy from a hangover) and be a better human to be around!