GGS Spotlight: Katie DePoalo


Name: Katie DePoalo
Age: 27
Location: Carlsbad, California

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Being a Girl Gone Strong means more to me than simply a title. I almost feel as if my life experiences “earned” me the privilege to call myself a Girl Gone Strong. My year-long battle with anorexia and exercise abuse completely destroyed my life. At 24 years old I never expected to find myself extremely sick (both mentally and physically) and spending my days sitting in a treatment center. It wasn’t until my health was at risk that I realized how truly precious life is. I knew I needed to be strong, overcome this disorder, and use the experience to find my purpose in the world. And that’s exactly what I did! To me, a Girl Gone Strong is a woman who has been through a struggle and comes out the other side empowered and confident.

How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
I have been seriously strength training for about five years, but it seems like forever. I remember being intimidated by free weights because I was unsure of proper form and technique. I would watch others working out in the weight room and be envious of the look of satisfaction on their faces.

They were testing their strength and celebrating their goals while I was reluctantly forcing myself to push through the last minute on the treadmill.

katiedepoalo-back-350x350I decided to try a few of the machines, but it wasn’t until I picked up my first set of dumbbells that I felt the confidence strength training brings.

What does a sample workout look like for you?
I have recently begun following a new workout routine that has brought me amazing results. It’s called the “listen-to-your-body” routine. You should try it sometime! My personal workouts vary from high-intensity interval training to strength training to heated yoga/Pilates classes to boot camps to casual strolls through the neighborhood. I listen to my body and do whatever feels right on that particular day and you know what? It works! I also allow myself two full rest days a week for recovery and injury prevention. I think people, especially women, underestimate how crucial rest days are. Your muscles grow during recovery, not in the gym!


Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I prefer to do my own workouts and training alone, but I love to teach within a group setting. I find the group atmosphere to be motivating, upbeat, and exciting which in turn makes my job as the instructor that much more gratifying.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:

The biggest compliment I’ve received lately was in regards to my training style. I have a background in Elementary Education so teaching comes naturally to me, but it means a lot when my clients point out how much they appreciate my specific teaching demeanor during classes. I strive to instruct in a way that is challenging and demanding, yet light-hearted and enjoyable.

Favorite meal:
I’m a sucker for all Italian food- pizza, pasta, and bread!

What inspires and motivates you?
To be honest, my current physique motivates me more than any magazine photo, Instagram fitness model, or even person ever could. I look in the mirror and am truly satisfied with what I see because I know the mental and physical struggle I had to go through to get where I am today. My “new” body was built on years of blood, sweat, and tears, but more so hard work, dedication, and motivation. I am in awe when I look at before-and-after photos of myself and see how far I’ve come. It is my hope that all women are able to be comfortable in their own skin.

What do you do?
First and foremost, I am a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist through The American Council on Exercise. I am a small-group trainer and class instructor in North County, San Diego. I teach a variety of classes including heated barefoot boot camp, total-body metabolic conditioning, kettlebooty, circuit training, lower body strength & toning, and a mobility/foam rolling class. I love teaching classes because it allows me to connect with and instruct a wide range of clientele.

What are you most grateful for?
This one’s easy—my health! I never realized how much I took my health for granted until it was damaged. I had no choice but to face my issues head on and pull myself out of this mess. My battle with anorexia and exercise abuse caused me to drop an extreme amount of weight. I was malnourished, losing my hair, constantly in physical pain, and overall mentally and physically miserable. I realized this was no way to live. Recovery was my only choice. I gave my body a break from all forms of exercise and began consuming a substantial amount of calories. With much patience and therapy, I was able to get myself to a healthy weight as well as a healthy mindset. I now strive to maintain the healthful lifestyle I so desperately worked towards.

What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the way I was able to overcome my eating disorder and come out stronger, more knowledgeable, and more empowered than I could have ever imagined. It took an extreme amount of courage and willpower to get myself where I am today but I do believe it led me to a place where I can now tell my story. I truly believe I am living proof that one can drastically change their body from weak and malnourished to strong and healthy.

Three words that best describe you:
Inspiring, relatable, and grateful.

What’s a risk you’ve taken recently, and how did it turn out?
The biggest risk I’ve taken was to leave my home, friends, and career in New Jersey to start a new life here in San Diego. I moved in August of 2015 when I was deep into my eating disorder. My body and mindset were in no way ready to handle such a big move, but I took a leap of faith and went for it. I still, to this day, say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. My move undoubtedly brought me the mental clarity to build the strongest, healthiest body I’ve ever had.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
The first thing I would say is “I’ve been there! I get it. I was nervous too!” It’s intimidating and scary to think of how your body will react to any new routine. It is also scary to realize how much food your body actually needs to fuel itself through your workouts. However, I can assure you, as I assure all the women I work with, lifting weights will not make you look bulky! It will change your life in more ways than one.

Get in the best shape of your life—for good.

With Girls Gone Strong Coaching, you’ll get the support, accountability, and expert coaching to eat and exercise in a sustainable way — without restrictive diets or spending your life in the gym.

Whether your health and fitness goals are to…

  • Get stronger
  • Gain muscle
  • Lose body fat
  • Improve your pull-ups
  • Have a safe and healthy pregnancy
  • Return to exercise safely postpartum
  • Heal your relationship with food
  • Increase your confidence

... or anything else, we’ll help you achieve them. You can experience life-changing results while eating and exercising in a way that actually fits into your life — instead of controlling it.

Throughout our 12-month program, you’ll get a simple, step-by-step plan for developing nutrition, fitness, and mindset habits that will lead the way in reaching your goal.

Your coach is available 5 days a week to answer questions and help you navigate situations — like eating while you’re on vacation, exercise substitutions so you don’t aggravate your knee pain, or planning a workout with limited equipment options — so you always have support when you need it. And together, you'll find the best path toward long-term results in a way that works for you.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Improve your nutrition without giving up the foods you love
  • Exercise safely and effectively so you’re getting maximum results from your workouts without burning yourself out
  • Increase your confidence, love the way your body looks, feels, and performs — and enjoy your life more than you ever thought possible

And you’ll become the happiest, fittest, strongest version of yourself, one step at a time.

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GGS is an organization dedicated to empowering women. We do this by creating world-leading resources, and educational materials that help women, and health & fitness professionals who work with women, take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

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