Model, presenter and personal trainer Cat Trentham explains why gymsport training has got her into the best shape of her life.

X-training involves training in the gym using a mix of resistance and CV machines and kit in order to develop all round fitness. Gymsport is the name given to specific challenges/competitions that specifically test X-training ability. I tend to find if you are training to your maximum and eating well then the aesthetics side of things will take care of itself.

How have you developed in the years that you have been gym X-training?

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Originally I started off in the intermediate category and my first ever competition was the Fenton Grueller in 2010 (see last issue for a revue of the ‘Grueller’). I found it very difficult when I moved up to the advanced category, but even though it was a struggle initially, ultimately it has made me the strongest and fittest I have ever been. I owe a lot of my recent success to my training partners Steve Mead and Claire Rowe. I have improved dramatically since I started training with them in December. I was over 12 minutes faster at this year’s Grueller than when I took part last year!

What’s been your greatest improvement?

I always think I’m quite slow on the bench press, but I have actually improved on it quite a lot when I look back. I was always very good on it as an intermediate but an increase of just a few kilos over so many reps in the advanced category makes a massive difference! I had to take about 10 rests in the 30 x 30kg component of the Hampshire advanced course in 2010! However, my bench has improved a great deal since then though and I’m hoping to be a bench press queen like Trudi Hawksworth one day! My bench jumps have also improved a lot too. I struggled to string 15 together when I first started, so felt very proud when I managed all 120 in one go at last month’s Grueller.

How do you think gym X-training compliments your figure?

It definitely keeps me looking fit and strong! Whilst it’s nice to look good and keep in shape (and necessary for my job as a model) it’s not something I really ever train specifically for. All I’m really interested in is reaching my performance goals. I tend to find if you are training to your maximum and eating well then the aesthetics side of things will take care of itself.

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Would you say you live in fear of bulking up because you constantly train?

No, I definitely don’t fear it, but at the same time I’m not naïve enough to believe that it won’t happen. I’ve added a lot of muscle over the last few months. I often read articles saying that women don’t have the right genetics to bulk up without taking drugs and whilst it is true that they cannot bulk to the extent that men can, if you’re subjecting your body to something as challenging as X-training then your body has no choice but to adapt and grow, especially if you are eating and resting well.

I think my traps virtually doubled in size during my Maxifit training earlier this year! (Note some women will possess the genetics to build bigger muscles others won’t. Cat’s training also produces a large amount of hormones that will build lean muscle and also help keep her looking younger as well! Ed).

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What is your nutrition like?
It’s generally very good. My diet is based around a lot of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, oats, sweet potatoes and rice. A pre-race breakfast for me would generally consist of a 6 egg omelette and 100g oats and then maybe a protein shake mid morning. I have a very large appetite!

Tell us a bit more about your TV career

I’ve mostly presented for wrestling companies, the main one being UK Wrestling Mayhem, but I’ve also done presenting work for boxing shows, events and celebrity parties through Nitelife TV. I’ve also done TV adverts, fitness videos and music videos. It all started when I got spotted on a youtube clip I did whilst on a photoshoot for Zoo magazine. It got something crazy like 150,000 views within the first week. It’s funny how these things come about!

Ultimately where would you like your career to focus on PT, modelling or anything else in the pipeline?

That’s a good question! At the moment I just don’t know. My direction in life has changed so much over the past few years that it is just impossible to plan too far ahead. At the moment I am concentrating on all aspects. I am still modelling and presenting alongside personal training. I am also in the planning stages of writing a book.

What would your advice be to women who may be thinking about gym X-training and having a go at gymsport?
Do it!! There is no greater fitness activity/sport in the world!

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What specific advice have you got for anyone taking part in gymsport?

The best piece of advice I could give would be to persevere, improvements can take time. Try and work on increasing your mental strength – eventually your body will have no choice but to catch up! I like to time everything too – keeping things measurable makes it easier to see how you are improving and if you are competitive like me, it means you will always have a time to beat. That’s one of the great things about this sport, it’s not always about where you place – for some the goal is simply a new PB.

What’s it like being a woman doing these very taxing events?

It’s not something I really think about that much, although some of the men at my gym do joke about feeling a little intimidated watching me train! It’s such a massive part of my life, that I can’t really imagine ever not doing it now. One of my training partners is female and I’m friends with a lot of the other female competitors, so it’s not really something that strikes me as unusual. I find a lot of the women there extremely inspirational – especially those at the top of their game. It shows me the kind of level that is possible and the kind of level that I would like to get to. We are certainly a different breed of gym go-ers though!

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