Katalin Piros 
Personal Trainer & Life Coach  

The coach stressed out women turn to when they want to find balance in life & get stronger mentally & physically with the help of strength training & a no BS attitude! 

I watched my house burn to the ground - it made me stronger!

My house burning to the ground may have been one of the worst and best things that happened to me. Without a doubt it changed the trajectory of my life. It happened at the end of February in the late 90's, I was in grade five, around 10 years old, living in Ontario , Canada at the time with my mom, my three older siblings and her now ex-partner that I loathed. This was a couple of years after the divorce. When they were still married , he was a dentist and she was a dental technician, money was never an issue. However, following the divorce , while my mom tried her hardest, she was living pay-check to pay-check, just happy to have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

I lived a few hundred meters from my school at the time, and came home for lunch one day with my sister, 2 years older, and a friend of mine. It was just us home. We had made this Hungarian french toast where you soak bread in eggs then deep fry it. The dining room was just off of the kitchen, as we were sitting there eating I noticed smoke on the ceiling. When I turned the corner to check in the kitchen to see where it was coming from, it was already too later. The entire room was engulfed in flames. All four of the walls up to the ceiling and half the vinyl floor had already begun to melt. The dining room had the exit to the back door and off of that was my moms bedroom. I screamed at my sister and friend to leave the house and made sure the dog was out.

In a panic I called 911 from my moms room, although I should have also just left, besides the point. It was a quick call, when the operator answered and asked what the problem was I told them my house was on fire, and everyone was unharmed and had left the premises. They asked for the address and at the time I had a brain freeze, I knew the street but not the number, she pressed for the number again and I just said "look for the house that has flames coming out the fucking roof" and hung up. We all left with nothing but the clothes on our backs. My friend went back to school, my sister , understandably went pretty hysterical, but stayed with me. I then knocked on all my neighbors doors until I found someone that was home. Luckily a sweet lady with some small children was home and let us in. I called my other siblings at school and told them to stay at a friends house for the night because the house was on fire and there would be no home to come "home" to. This is pre-cell phone era, so I called my moms employer and told them to try to get in contact with her. While I was waiting this lovely lady gave us snacks and put on Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler to lighten the mood.

The fire department and ambulance arrived pretty quickly, and eventually I went back to the scene and watched as the fire demolished everything. There was no saving it. Flames were shooting through the roof on the second floor and all windows, the fire was out of control for several hours long into the evening before it was put out. The images of the kitchen when I first saw it, and the actual house in flames are, pardon the pun, burned into my mind forever. But to be fair, my memory of the period following is pretty muddy. I don't even remember where we stayed that night. I do however recall coming back the day after to go through to wreckage to see the extent of the damage. Nothing was salvageable, it was all destroyed. On the bottom floor was my brothers' room, my moms' room, the kitchen and bathroom. Upstairs is where my sisters and I lived but we were unable to access it. I didn't give a flying fuck about the possessions, I was devastated that all of our family pictures were gone and that it marked our family being ripped apart again, for good.

My oldest brother and sister (6 & 7 years older) where in their senior years of high school, so they moved abroad. My sister went to Hungary and not sure to be honest what my brother did. The house was a rental and we had no insurance. Apparently what happened was an electric spark had flown into the pan of oil igniting the fire. I succinctly remember a few months prior to the fire that I saw a spark fly a few cm from an electric socket on the upper floor, but that wasn't taken seriously by the landlord, anyway, besides the point. So my older siblings moved, we were left with nothing, no savings and my mom had to start from scratch. With nowhere to live, or means with first or last on a new rental she moved into a sketchy motel. Needless to say it wasn't an ideal situation my sister and I.

Without writing a novel , it's hard to go into all the details, but when my parents were still together we lived in Newfoundland, Canada. There I developed a close relationship with my neighbors, Alison & Don , whom I refer to as my godparents. They were a sweet older childless couple, he was an accountant and she was a teacher. They moved in next to us, when I was about two years old, the story goes that I saw the moving van and their dogs and wanted to go say hello. So I did, and came back and proclaimed to my mom that they needed a friend and I was going to be their new best friend. Throughout the years, I did just that, I would go over and pester them, join on dog walks (our joint backyard was basically a huge open field the size of several football fields, the ocean & forest to to either side). Every Sunday they made blueberry pancakes from blueberries that we had picked and froze in from the previous summer, so I'd often knock on their door bright and early eagerly awaiting blueberry pancakes. We played cards and did other activities and they shared words of wisdom. Many visits were spontaneous and for fun, but there were also plenty of times when my parents would fight or I'd get tired my siblings picking on me, so I'd pop over to their house. When things escalated with my father, it was Don that helped my mom leave and in the first few years after the divorce when we moved from there, I would go back in the summers and stay at their house or go camping with them in their RV for weeks on end travelling the Maritimes. They were pretty much like my adopted parents, but it was I that had adopted them.

So when the house burned down, and the situation was dire, I called my godparents and asked if my sister and I could move in with them until my mom could get back on her feet again. They accepted, became our legal guardians and from then on pretty much took over the roll of being my parents. Keep in mind the distance between Ontario and Newfoundland is about 2 500 km. My sister stayed there until she finished high school, I lived with them up until my senior year, so roughly sex years. Which brings me to how my house burning down made me stronger. Under their care, they were loving and caring and treated me as if we were their own child - but also had reasonable expectations from me. Academics, music, sport and community service was important. I ended becoming the typical All-American girl. I had straight A's, was a girl guide, was on the debate team, played classical guitar and first trumpet in the concert band, jazz band and the band for the school musical. I volunteered at the local animal shelter, helping out and taking the dogs for walks. They said I needed to pick at least one sport per term. If I didn't like it , I could change, I ended loving it and played on the basketball and volleyball teams at school and on the side played badminton, completed three triathlons, competed in swimming & got my lifeguard certification. I wasn't allowed to watch tv during weekdays, but it didn't matter to me, there was always something to do. We were the last generation of play outside until the sun came down. In the summers as a family we hiked, biked, camped and canoed. There were plenty of times I whined while out on our adventures that I was tired, but they assured me that one day sweet child, you will look back on these outings and they'll become some of your fondest childhood memories - they were right.

I ended up moving back in with my mom in my final year of high school but moved out on my own completely at 17. My late teens and early 20's wasn't nearly as prestigious as the years I had with my godparents, I did plenty of stupid shit, had self-destructive behavior, poor choice in relationships etc... but that's for another post. My point of this post it to talk about how my godparents set the foundation to my love of sports. Gave me unconditional love in a period of time I needed it the most and was super fragile. Since the divorce when I was about five I have always had abandonment issues deluxe. Every time I would say good bye to a family member or my godparents at the airport, I never knew when I would see them again, it is still the same to this day. After the fire it just got worse, it was and still is often years between visits.

The reason I am sharing all this is because as a personal trainer, I really want people to understand the importance of training for ones mental health. Had training not been an integral part of my life from an early age , I probably would have been and addict or at least in a much worse state than I am today. Training was my coping mechanism for trauma and dealing with my negative emotions. Training has saved my life. I have nothing against Booty Bands Betty that is a health coach, blessed with good genes, is financially stable, has friends and family support, it's easy for her to say training is good for your mental health. While that is true, for some , who have also been dealt shitty cards in life, it might just be encouraging and helpful to turn to someone who has also been through some difficult times, but come out a stronger better person on the other side.  



My Pregnancy Story

He who waits for something good , never waits too long

When planning a family you can always wish it will happen in a certain way or during a certain timeframe but it's not something that can be fully controlled. My baby K, now toddler K just turned one recently in October, so I am writing from a hindsight perspective. I had planned on documenting my pregnancy and post-partum journey as it happened, but ya, life happened and I never got around to it, so here it goes.

I was hoping for about a two year age gap between my children so they could grow up and play with each other and be bffs , but life had other plans. We had just moved into our house when our oldest was about one and a half. We were getting settled, there was loads of renovations to do, then in 2019 the whole c-virus nonsense started, my partner and I had a rough patch with being new parents, the stress of the move then a bloody pandemic in the mix, so needless to say the two year gap didn't happen.

Well, how did it go, well , you of course know how babies are made... so won't go into that, but we patched things up and realized that there never is going to be a "right" time, that something is always going to come up, and we just had to try and just roll with the punches. A couple of months prior to me conceiving , I had an accident. Which I feel is worth noting and I will explain why, as a trainer and in a world where fertility issues is becoming more common.  

In October 2021 I had fallen down a flight of stairs backwards. My oldest woke up in the middle of the night, I went to get her and she jumped in my arms at the top of the stairs, so as a reflex I grabbed her and held her tight, but the momentum threw us down the stairs. Thankfully she was fine since she landed on my chest, I however smashed my head against the wall at the bottom, was severely bruised along my legs and back and had whiplash like symptoms. Why is this relevant? Well, due to the fall, I was forced to halt my training for a couple of months, I went from training 3-4 times a week, to not all and went up a few kilos. It was in January that I found out I was pregnant, despite having tried and not had birth control for years.

Something similar happened with my oldest, I cut back severely on training when my dad was sick with cancer and it was following that pause that I became pregnant with my oldest. Although my periods had always been regular, just so happens that the two periods of time in my adult life that I had a longer break from training... then I was fertile. I am no fertility expert, but there are experts that say overtraining can lead to fertility issues and suggest to cut back when trying to concieve. Which makes perfect sense when you consider that women who clearly over train with zero percent body fat loose their menstruations completely. So keep in mind that when you see bikini fitness competitors , or women with rock hard abs, that although it may be societies current skewed standard of "health" , but it is not healthy to loose your period - PERIOD.

So we had been trying for months, and when I actually found out, I was elated with joy! I had been taking early detection tests for months on end and was disappointed every time I saw the negative. So when it finally showed positive I couldn't believe my eyes! I wanted to make 100% sure, so I took them on 3 consecutive days and on the third plus I was ready to tell my partner. He put our oldest to bed, I had cleaned the entire bottom floor, then placed a single bun in the oven and made a cup of tea and just strategically hung out in the kitchen. When he came downstairs , I offered tea and was like , I think there is something is weird with the oven, it's not working right , can you check it out. So he opened it up, and said" there is a bun in the oven", to which I replied, "yes, there is a bun in the oven" , he looked at me and blurted out "is there is a bun in your oven" so I gushed out "YES", we hugged and cried and it was beautiful.

Trimester 1:

Even though we were both ecstatic about the little bean in my belly and it was a relatively smooth pregnancy health wise, mentally I was a mess. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant in January I got the c-virus, plus with general first trimester blah, it was being sick on times a million. Then in February the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out and I binged watched the news non stop, so I was sick, tired, and depressed. How could I bring a baby into such a cruel world. Preggo hormones don't fuck about, my mental state was all over the place. It was around week eight, that I started to feel a bit better so I slowly eased back into training about twice a week. Which was basically the first time since my fall. So in others words had about four month break from training. With my oldest, my dad passed away two days after I found out I was pregnant with her, then I got a puppy a few weeks after, so that pregnancy I was pretty much just recovering from being burnt out and mourning so to be honest , aside from dog walks I barely trained at all during that one. So this time around, being a specialist in pregnancy and post partum training, I wanted to train as long as my body would allow. Walk the walk so to speak.

Trimester 2:

By trimester two, it was spring and I had crawled out of the initial first trimester funk. I was training 2-3 times a week with little modification, just cut out hip thrusts, everything else was fine. I held group training with focus on base exercises, squats, deadlift, row, shoulder press etc. So I just trained with my groups. Halfway through the c-virus lockdown I had stopped working with the online company I had freelanced with, Trainimal (previously Mammafitness). I had been with them for five years so was just one year into getting back on my feet with physical clients.

Considering everywhere had restrictions on how many people could be in a location at once, people were paranoid as fuck, and the gym I was working at switched management it wasn't the ideal time or conditions to build up a clientele base again. Not to mention, my partner had quit his position as a teacher before we know I was pregnant, so needless to say I panicked. I had work, but maternity leave is based upon your income the previous year so halfway through my pregnancy in my worried state, I wanted to boost my yearly salary to in turn increase my maternity leave. So for the first time in my career as a personal trainer since 2013 I took on an extra job at a cafe... I of course failed to mention in the interview I was pregnant. By mid pregnancy I was working 30-40 hours a week as a barista , on my feet the whole time and training a few hours a week on the side with groups.

Trimester 3:

Since I had shot up about eight kilos after my injury and during the first trimester , with my activity level, my weight gain was pretty slow and steady by this point. It is only necessary to go up about 12-15 kg for a pregnancy , although the average is often much higher. At any rate, I constantly got comments on my size, like people couldn't tell that I was (hid under baggy clothes for the most party), or didn't think I was that far along , or even back-handed 'compliments' like "Well, I am not even pregnant and I am bigger than you", umm... awkward, what the fuck am I supposed to say to that?! In the end it started to get to me despite my midwife saying everything was fine during our regular checkups. Around week 32 I got sent in for a 3rd ultrasound for a growth check.

At the ultrasound they thought things were looking good but to be safe wanted to do another at week 34 because I expressed my concern about everyone's comments. I was already eating like a horse, but like I said, the commentary was getting under my skin so I forced myself to eat more. With the acid reflux from baby K pushing my stomach in my ribs, at night I had problem keeping my food down and besides the discomfort of pregnancy had trouble sleeping because I was up vomiting every night (not free willingly of course). Then during the 34 ultrasound she mentioned maybe baby K did look a bit small. Which didn't make me feel any better. So the eating more, vomiting , paranoia that I was puking up my calories continued. They schedule another growth check up for week 36 , on that one, they said everything looked fine and I should have a healthy normal baby of 3.4 - 3.6 kg. That was the first night in a month that I didn't puke from anxiety and stopped eating so much, nor did I during the remainder of the pregnancy.

Moral of the story, don't comment on a woman's body when she is pregnant. Saying she is small is not a compliment either, on the other end saying "is it twins" is also not an option. Just shut your pie hole regarding her size and body, full stop. I'd say the only appropriate thing to say is "how are you?" and "can I help in anyway" let her tell you how she feels, but I guarantee you she doesn't need your two cents on her appearance, she is already sensitive enough as it is with hormones all over the map, her body changing and emotions like a roller coaster.  

Thankfully, I was able to train up until about week 39 when I decided to take a week off anyway since I knew I wouldn't be getting much rest once the baby arrived. In the next post I'll share how the birth went, stay tuned!


Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never

Better late than never I suppose. I've been meaning to start a blog ever since my youngest was born. Partially as a memoir and to document my time post partum. After all, as a personal trainer specialized in pre and post natal training, I felt I needed to walk the walk so to speak and showcase what I did in the post partum period. However, I put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself and naïvely expected that life would magically be the same, except with a baby in the house. I was wrong. I ate plenty of humble pie in the transition of going from a family of three to four. In the beginning I had high hopes of what I could accomplish, but realized rather quickly that I needed to lower the bar and reprioritize where I directed my energy. Ï had enough to do as it was besides keeping two humans alive , I started mamma & baby group training when she was four months old (feb through to june), was the trainer for a weeks training trip in Spain in march, did group training in april, stopped that and took on five online clients to work from home, then had eight weeks alone with the girls during the summer. I kept waiting for life to calm down before I started. In other words, I never got around to it.

My oldest just turned six and the baby will be one in October, so I know how fast the years fly by, especially the first one *insert tears*.  So it is becoming more apparent that life won't ever be "calm" and that I just need to start.   There is no point to beat myself up for not having done it thus far or compare myself to countless mothers on social media that have seemed to graciously rock mom-ing and being an entrepreneur at the same time. With that being said, I'm happy for them. After all comparison is the thief of all joy. When you replace jealously towards another person with admiration and proof that it can be done then life becomes more harmonious. We women need to lift each other up!

Needless to say, I don't always have my shit together on all fronts and probably ever won't , so I'm placing my paralyzing perfectionism on ice and putting myself out there. Since I encourage those who have never strength trained before or my clients that have given up after a long pause, that it's never too late to start. Then I need to live up to my own advice and just do this thing I've been putting off, there won't be time until I make time. 

What direction am I taking? Well, I plan to use this blog as a platform to share all sides of my imperfect life of juggling my coaching business, two small children, training, nutrition, my landshark dog, chickens, and family drama. With of course splashes of hopefully helpful, humorous and insightful tips about living a healthy lifestyle. My dream client is moms and working women trying to balance life's puzzle pieces though all seasons, through the highs and the lows... which is me in a nutshell. Through the years I've coached thousands of women online who are vulnerable and honest enough to open up to me, so it's only fair I do the same. So I hope in sharing how I deal with it all that some of my stories and insights may resonate with many of you.  In the next few posts I will write about my pregnancy, birth story and post partum period bringing us to now... then we'll see how it evolves from there. Like I said, a mix of , diary of a PT and informational posts regarding training, nutrition and general wellbeing.

The blog is going to be in English since that is my mother tongue and I think and process life in English, even though 99% of my daily spoken and written interactions are in Swedish. I have a tendency to overanalyze everything I think and say which ends up with me impeding my own potential. My parents are Hungarian, I grew up in rural Newfoundland (strong Irish like accent), moved within Canda more times than I can count and I've lived my entire adult life in southern Sweden. Every step along the way someone somewhere has had an opinion about my accent and how I talk which, with time, has dampened my voice and diminished my desire to speak publicly. Even though my childhood friends and close friends would probably say I have a big mouth.  In person, when I'm one on one or with small groups I'm fine, despite having been a personal trainer for over ten years with profiles on facebook and instagram I still find sharing on social media daunting. Probably just as some people feel that public gyms or training are intimidating. However, now that I've got two little girls that I need to be a role model for, then there is no other choice but to find my voice again and use it to empower other women. After all, it's better late than never.