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Katie Sampayo
How I Quit My 9-5 to Become a Thriving Fitness Nomad

Katie Sampayos Stats When We Talked with Her 💪

United States
28 years
163 cm
(5 ‘4)
49 kg
(109 lbs)

Follow Katie on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn

👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hi! I’m Katie Sampayo! I’m the 28 years YOUNG owner of Live to Thrive, LLC.

I’m a 200 hour Ashtanga-based yoga instructor, certified personal trainer, and #1 Amazon bestselling author of .

Besides that, I’m the former TV show host of Eat Right, Live Well on channel 47ABC, serial entrepreneur, world-traveller, adventure seeking, and lover of life originally from Baltimore, Maryland.

To top it off for the past 2.5 years I’ve been traveling non-stop around the world hosting my Fitness and Adventure retreats and living my BEST LIFE! Alot, I know. And now we’re going to get into how this all happened…

My journey becoming an entrepreneur and entering the health and wellness industry began in December 2015 when I left the corporate world to pursue my passion, which is to help others live a happy, healthy, and holistic THRIVING life.

Since then I’ve explored and studied dozens of different aspects of the wellness industry including Barre, yoga, functional movement, crossfit, kettlebell training, suspension training, nutrition, functional medicine, meditation, breathwork training, and so much more.

To say the least I became OBSESSED with becoming the best version of myself, and I’ve turned my personal obsession into helping others find this for themselves.

I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to enter the health and wellness industry. Being active was always an important part of my life.

As long as I’m moving my body and pushing myself to get better, I’m happy.

I competitively played tennis through college and I’ve always been OBSESSED with being active. From snowboarding, mountain biking, surfing, gymnastics, and more, as long as I’m moving my body and pushing myself to get better, I’m happy.

However I decided to make health and wellness my career instead of just my hobby after two years being unfulfilled at my “9am-5pm” desk job.

When I realized I was spending more time studying and teaching fitness and nutrition (I started our companies first health and wellness program for employees) than actually doing my job, I knew it was time to go.

So I studied my ass off to get my personal training certification, applied to my local gym, and once I got the job I quit my “9-5” the next week.

I worked as a personal trainer and Barre instructor at my local gym for a little over two years before I left to start my current company, Live to Thrive.

My dream has always been to be my own boss, and after two years again being unfulfilled working for someone else, I knew it was time to begin the next chapter of my life.

Starting my own business was, and still is, a constant ebb and flow of emotions. From massive fails to epic wins, owning my own company has been the hardest, and most rewarding experience of my life.

Some of my biggest wins to date include:

  • Launching my famous Bootcamp and Brunch program
  • Publishing my #1 Amazon bestselling cookbook Eat to Thrive: The Anti-Diet Cookbook
  • Becoming the host of Eat Right, Live Well on channel 47ABC for almost 2 years
  • Being interviewed on every local news station in Baltimore
  • Being featured in INC. Magazine and The Huffington Post
  • Having the freedom to travel the world hosting my fitness and adventure retreats

Some of my biggest failures include:

  • Multiple mental breakdowns
  • Spraining my ankle dicking around on a skateboard and not being able to walk for months
  • Engaging in bad business partnerships and deals due to a lack of knowledge
  • Unintentionally pissing people I love and care about off
  • A lot more I wont get into now

Needless to say It’s been a JOURNEY to get to where I am today, and I still have so much more to learn before I can sit back and say “Yup; I made it!”.

Even though I have difficult moments, I know I’m on the right path. My life revolves around doing what I love, so even when times are tough, I move forward because I trust I’m heading in the right direction.

I hope my story inspires you to keep chasing your dreams regardless of how crazy they may seem at times. We all have a purpose, and we all have the ability to get exactly where we want to be.

⏱ Describe a typical day of training

Over the years my training methods have changed dramatically. When I started traveling full-time, accessing a gym was usually far and in-between, so I had to adjust. However in a perfect world this is what my ideal training plan would be:

  • 9am wake up (I’m not a morning person) and meditate for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of breath-work
  • 9:30am-10:30am – Yoga practice paired with handstand drills and split training
  • 10:30am-11am – Weight training with kettlebells and fitness bands, followed by foam rolling
  • 1pm – Breakfast loaded with protein. 6oz of Kombucha, 2 eggs with veggies, smoked salmon or bacon, spoonful of nut butter, and a small serving of full-fat cottage cheese with blueberries and cinnamon (I intermittent fast)
  • 6pm -1 hour walk outside while practicing Spanish lesson
  • 8pm – Dinner with no grains or bread (I aim for a high protein, mid-fat eating plan because that makes me feel best!)
  • 12am-1am – Yoga Nidra meditation to fall asleep

Now as I said this is my IDEAL schedule in a perfect world. However the world is certainly not perfect and when I’m traveling 24/7 I’m lucky to get ONE of those things done on a consistent basis.

So when I’m on the road I use resistance bands to workout in a HITT (high intensity interval training) format. I also practice more yoga since that does not involve needing any equipment.

When I can I drop-into gyms to lift weights and I go hard focusing on lifting HEAVY. I’m talking about barbell deadlifts, squats, cleans, etc.

I also drop-into fitness classes with highly-recommended teachers as much as I can and try out new workouts that I may have never heard of before. For example the last time I went to NYC I dropped into a fitness dance class at 305 Fitness and LOVED IT!!

If I didn’t travel I would never have been able to try so many new styles of training and have had the opportunity to train under so many amazing instructors from all over the world. So even though I haven’t been in a consistent fitness routine the past few years, I’ve been improving my overall skill set.

Taking it back to basics, my goal with training over the past two years has simply been to be active each day.

For example, if I arrive in a new city I immediately sign-up for a free walking tour and count that as my exercise for the day. Or I rent a bike and explore the city. If I’m near the ocean I go for a swim or enjoy a surf.

I get creative and make it a point to simply MOVE my body each day.

👊 How do you keep going and push harder?

To track my progress, I always take pictures and videos.

Setting clear goals with a plan has helped me the most when sticking with any specific fitness routine. If I don’t know what I’m trying to achieve and why, then it’s not going to happen.

When I really want to achieve something specific, I hire a coach. For example, I’m currently in a 30-day handstand program. I have a goal to be able to do handstands with complete control, so I hired a coach to help me reach my goal.

Technically I can try to figure this out on my own, however I’ve learned from the past that I need guidance, consistency, and accountability, so I now invest in help when it’s important to me.

To track my progress, I always take pictures and videos. This is the BEST way to really be able to look back and see the progress that you’ve made.

Going back to accomplishing goals, constantly setting new goals once I reach my goal is what keeps me motivated. I need to have something to work on and to look forward to. Otherwise I lack motivation and start to slack on my consistency.

🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today since I’m not traveling, nor do I plan on traveling anytime in the near future due to COVID-19, I’m in a VERY consistent workout routine, and probably in the best shape of my life.

My goals right now are to improve my handstand practice and my flexibility, both which involve consistent discipled practice, and most importantly take TIME!

I’ve sought out help for improving my handstand practice by purchasing a 30 day program and by taking 10-30 minutes each day to practice drills. I also am taking advanced yoga classes twice a week online as well.

Since I do not have access to a gym with heavy weights, I am focusing on improving my strength using kettlebells, bands (I use 4Kors bands), and my TRX at home about 2-3 days a week. My workouts are around 40 minutes long and are completed in circuits.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak I had started to get back into crossfit and was really loving learning olympic lifts and improving my strict pull up’s from 4 to 10.

When we are allowed to start working out again at a gym I will continue to improve those skills and will enter a mini-triathlon or an obstacle course race to have some fun goals to work towards.

🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

The biggest way I avoid injury is by listening to my body. I’ve learned over the years being injured by simply pushing my body too hard that I’m not invincible and that sometimes I need to slow down.

This involves taking A LOT of time to stretch each day. I end up spending at least 30 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes each day stretching by practicing yoga and foam rolling.

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Since I’m so active, I need to put just as much energy into the recovery process as my workouts to be able to continue to operate at a high-level without getting hurt.

Besides stretching, meditation and breath-work are part of my recovery process as well. These practices allow me to slow down and relax my mind and body so I can recover better.

I also make sure to get ALOT of sleep. I aim for 8-9 hours each day, and I really don’t like how I operate on less.

Since I’m so active each day, I know I need this much sleep in order to fully recover so I can do it all again the next day. Otherwise I’m jeopardizing an injury because my muscles have not had time to properly recover and my brain function will be slower making it easier to hurt myself by not completing exercises with proper focus and form.

When I can afford it, I also schedule a massage at least once a month. Luckily I travel to South America and Asia frequently where massages are dirt-cheap, so I usually get about 4 a month when I’m there which drastically improves my level of recovery.

As far as supplements, I’m a HUGE supporter of having a clean protein powder. Most people, especially women, struggle to get ample amounts of protein each day and are left feeling sluggish and drained.

Adding protein powder to your daily diet can be a game-changer for most people who are struggling to reach their fitness and energy goals.

I’m a big fan of Orgain’s powders because they are clean and sweetened naturally with monk-fruit instead of chemicals that can irritate our digestive systems.

🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

My rule of thumb is to limit anything that isn’t fresh

I don’t believe in dieting and I’ve never been on a “diet” in my life. I believe in finding a way of eating that works for you based on your goals, body, and lifestyle, and that is 100% different for everyone.

This is what I explain and help you discover in my #1 bestselling cookbook Eat to Thrive: The Anti-Cookbook. If you really want to know how I eat, check out my book because those are the exact recipes that I’ve been eating for years.

However in a nutshell, I’ve found that intermittent fasting works great for me. I used to eat about 6 meals a day and found that I was constantly hungry. I was burning off those calories, but my life became about constantly planning my meals.

When I started traveling full-time, eating 6 times a day was extremely hard, which is when I started to introduce intermittent fasting to see if it was a good fit for me.

When I intermittently fast I aim to stop eating by 9pm and to “break my fast” around 1pm each day. I’m not strict about it, however I aim to stick with this schedule because I know it makes me feel the best.

After my first meal of the day around 1pm I usually have a tea or “dairy-free” drink around 4pm with a little snack, and then I eat my last meal around 8pm.

Since my meals are loaded with protein and nutrients I am honestly not hungry after dinner or before I eat in the morning. When you feed your body what it needs, it responds.

In general I aim for a high-protein, low-grain, mid-fat, gluten-free, dairy-free eating plan, with the exception of high-quality cottage cheese and a little cheese.

Ideally I’m only drinking alcohol 1-2 days a week maximum and I’m limiting the amount of sugar I eat each day.

When I do eat sweets, I make them healthier by only using natural sweeteners such as honey and stevia and eating pure dark chocolate.

Eating food that is pure and REAL is extremely important to me. I’ve studied a lot about how chemicals and processed food can not only affect the way we look, but affect that way our bodies function, so I spend extra money on high-quality meats and organic eggs and produce.

My rule of thumb is to limit anything that isn’t fresh, which is why I spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen.

However my goal is to not make eating fresh healthy foods boring or complicated, so I try to keep each recipe I create to 30 minutes or less, which is what I’ve outlined in my cookbook.

Grains and breads don’t serve me. I feel bloated, sluggish, and want to actually eat more when I eat them. So I stick with protein and veggies as much as I can.

I also try to incorporate a healthy fat into each of my meals such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts and seeds to help slow digestion and to help the nutrients from the food I’m eating absorb better into my body.

Now I want to fully explain that when I’m traveling all of these rules can get thrown out the window and I eat whatever I want because a huge reason why I travel is to discover local cultures through food.

However I aim to do that 25 percent of the time, and the other 75 percent I try to stick with what I’ve outlined above since I know after years or trial and error, that’s what makes me feel best.

Supplements that I take daily are Garden of Life’s woman’s natural probiotic (my microbiome/gut has been messed up from traveling), vitamin e, zinc, and a high-grade fish oil.

I buy supplements that do not have fillers or additives and I do pay more because of that.

However I think in the long-run avoiding putting unnatural things into our bodies, even in trace amounts, are going to pay off in how well our bodies and brains function, and also with lowering our risks of developing certain diseases and cancers.

I also use a high-quality protein powder (I like Orgain) as needed.

👍 What has inspired and motivated you?

I love listening to podcasts and reading books by Tony Robbins, Brendan Burchard and Tim Ferris. I also regularly listen to The Doctor’s Farmacy podcast for nutrition information that’s backed by science.

I love Lori and Chris Harders podcasts as well for great business and wellness advice, and motivation.

Other books that I love are The Alchemist, Life’s Golden Ticket, The 4-Hour Workweek, High Performance Habits, You Are The One, The 4 Agreements, and The Miracle Morning.

Each of these books have inspired and helped me to become a better person and to never give up on my dreams.

People that inspire me on social media include:

  • Lori Harder, female badass entrepreneur and wellness guru
  • Mathieu Boldron, my yoga teacher trainer in Bali
  • Lily Dwyer Begg Yoga, Baltimore-Based Yoga teacher with a PLETHORA of knowledge about the mind-body connection
  • Samantha Ciaccia for functional movement training advice
  • Kait LeDonne, my former boss when I worked in Corporate who is the most powerful badass woman that I know
  • Kale Junkie for great healthy sweet-treat recipes

✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

If you struggle with consistency or accountability, hire a coach!

If you want to improve your performance or have been struggling to get the results you want, I highly recommend getting a plan. Plans with specific goals, checkpoints, or whatever you want to call them are VITAL to making real progress and staying on track.

If you struggle with consistency or accountability, hire a coach! If you have been doing the same things for months with little to no improvement, hire a coach!

I’ve learned that asking for help when we need it is a game changer that makes the growth process much easier and enjoyable.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Every high level athlete and successful entrepreneur didn’t get where they are today without guidance from a mentor and/or coach.

You don’t know what you don’t know, so seek out help from others who are where you want to be.

🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?

Currently I’m offering a variety of online programs to help you THRIVE in every aspect of your life during this Pandemic.

My online programs provide a safe place to improve your mind, body, and spirit while genuinely connecting with other like-minded motivated people in my #thrivesquad.

Some of these online programs include my Retreat Yo’Self Virtual Retreat which I’m running about once a month, monthly new and full moon intention setting ceremonies, my 30-Day Transformation Challenge, and online travel-themed cooking classes to give us a taste of the world from the comfort of our homes. You can access my weekly schedule of events here.

Most of the recipes used in my cooking classes are from my #1 bestselling gluten-free cookbook, Eat to Thrive: The Anti-Diet Cookbook.

If you’ve ever tried a diet, and absolutely hated it, this book is for you. In this book I explain in “no bullsh*t” terms how to live a healthy and thriving life without ever following another diet fad again. No fluff. No big words you can’t pronounce.

This book gets straight to the point and explains everything you need to know about developing healthy eating habits that fit you and your lifestyle.

Once we’re able to travel I will resume my Fitness and Adventure in-person retreats as well!

These retreats focus on having the experience of a lifetime by connecting with other motivated badass people who have a passion for health, wellness, and adventure. Our daily activities include a mixture of fitness, adventure, culture, food, and of course much-needed downtime.

My next retreat is scheduled for Bali on March 6, 2021 with only 2 spots left, and then we will head to the Greek Island of Crete in June 2021! More details about my retreats can be found here.

📝 Where can we learn more about you?

The best way to stay in touch with me is through my Instagram account or via my email list from my website.

I send out a weekly email with my events for the week and occasional emails featuring new quick and healthy recipes, workouts, travel tips, and more. When you sign-up for my email list you will get my Quick and Easy Snack-Guide for the Non-Cook for Free! You can sign up here.

Other links to my social profiles include: Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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