IMG_1531.jpgThank you for wanting to learn a bit more about myself! I’d love to tell you all you want to know about my own fitness journey in a personal conversation, so please feel free to get in touch and ask away.

My name is Larissa Kennel and I was born in Germany, which is where I lived until my family and I relocated to Norway when I was 15 years old. I started studying in Dundee, Scotland when I turned 19, and lived and worked here since I graduated. This ‘wee’ city and its wonderful people managed to steal my heart, and I have no plans what-so-ever to leave any time soon!

If you are interest in my professional journey, please have a read of my section about ‘Anatomy’. I will outline my personal fitness journey and ‘quest’ for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle here – every experience led me to develop an aspect of my coaching I am particularly passionate about, and would consider one of my strengths.

 

INJURY PREVENTION AND REHABILITATION
IMG_2923.jpgI have been incredibly active throughout my entire childhood and adolescence, played sports passionately up to international level, and grew up with the dream of becoming a professional athlete. When young and ambitious, many athletes ignore their bodies’ natural fatigue signals, train through injuries and pain, and adapt a ‘mind over matter’ approach. So did I – and ended up with a long list of lasting sports injuries. If you have ever nursed an injury you know exactly how  frustrating it can be to take two steps forward and one step back, at best! I have certainly learnt my lessons, and put injury rehabilitation and prevention ON TOP of the list for myself, and my clients. You are stuck with your body for a lifetime – don’t train through injuries or think you can rush rehabilitation; learn to take a step back, evaluate the magnitude of your injury, make a smart recovery plan, and be patient with yourself. Six months of smart recovery are nothing compared to living with a chronic injury. I will spare you the details of my personal injury list, but it has sparked my passion to learn more about functional anatomy, human biomechanics, rehabilitation and smart training to the point where it became the driving force behind my undergraduate and postgraduate university studies.

If you are sat thinking about your shoulder that kind of niggles every time you lift, or that knee pain you’ve ignored on your last five runs, or the dull pain in your back when you’re sat in front of your computer at work all day – you’ve come to the right place. Please stop ignoring it – your body is sending you pain signals for a reason – shoot me a message and let’s talk it through!

 

NUTRITION AND MINDSET
You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. You can certainly try, but it will not get you very far. How do I know that? I’ve tried for a very long time, and I can indeed confirm: It will not get you very far! It’s sort of like trying to speed down the motorway with a flat tyre –  bumpy ride, and at some point you better stop and just change that tyre already, if you know what I mean… From my experience there are several reasons why people are unable to fuel their bodies according to their needs.

Personally, I spent most of my life eating my feelings instead of acknowledging them. Stressed? Tired? Bored? Sad? Angry? The list of my triggers is long, and the habit that always followed was the urge to eat food to achieve an instant, but short-lived, gratification. Other people respond in an opposite way and habitually deprive themselves of food, and/or exercise excessively. No matter what your unhealthy habits are – there are ways to identify them, associate them with their triggers, and establish new, mindful coping methods. This is work that can’t be done in the gym and requires a whole new level of commitment and honesty with yourself, but the importance of working on your mindset is invaluable for the results you are able to achieve in the gym. No matter how heavy the weights you lift are, or how many miles you run each week, your mindset makes or breaks your long-term progress. Working with me as your coach means being open to identifying and changing unhealthy habits with the same determination you would apply to tackle your training and nutrition. Training, nutrition and mindset go hand in hand, and I will never get tired of making a big deal out of it!

Part of working with me requires you to take weekly progress photos of your physique, as the one below this paragraph. Yes, that is me, and as I ask my clients to take progress photos, I go first and show you my progress over what is certainly a few years. Yes, I was doing great at sports, but my nutrition and mindset received no attention at all. Long story short, change doesn’t happen over night, lifestyle changes are not achieved in a month, and I’m afraid I can’t promise you instant results. Trust me, I wish I could. But give yourself time, be honest, be consistent, put in the hard and uncomfortable work, and you will be blown away with the transformation you will see and, most importantly, FEEL. I’m convinced that if I can do it, so can everyone else!

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MUSCLE TONE AND DEVELOPMENT
IMG_9522.jpgAdmittedly, my favourite. I love lifting heavy weights, I love manipulating my physique, I love pushing my limits in the gym. BUT, I also appreciate that nutrition, mindset and injury prevention are my most valuable tools to achieve my goals. With my background in human anatomy and biomechanics, I have A LOT to say about compound exercises such as the deadlift, squat and bench press. You are likely to find these lifts, or some of their variations, in your rotations, and I’ll be happy to explain why. Additionally, I have A LOT to say about correct technique, safe lifting, appropriate use of free weights and resistance machines, and you will quickly see that I am completely in my element when we work together in the gym. We do nothing by chance, all teaching points for each exercise are tailored to your personal biomechanics, and if you ask me why, I’ll be happy to explain. One side-effect of working with me is that you will not only learn how to use equipment effectively and safely, but you might also become an apprentice anatomist if the technical side tickles your fancy!

People often ask me if I currently have plans to compete. The answer is, not in bodybuilding, but potentially in powerlifting, in case my chronic back and knee injuries stay stable and I am able to keep lifting consistently and increase my lifting numbers over the next few months. However, I genuinely enjoy cheering on my friends who do compete. Be that in bodybuilding, ultra running, olympic lifting, or the mathematics olympics. There is nothing more inspiring than cheering for someone who is chasing their dreams. Otherwise, I put my energy and efforts into being a personal trainer and coach, and I take pride in my clients’ achievements and progress. I value a balanced lifestyle for myself that allows me to train hard, but also has wiggle room for a social life.