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Maeve Kavanagh
How I Stay Strong and Fit Without Having to Suffer and Do Endless Cardio

Maeve Kavanaghs Stats When We Talked with Her 💪

29 years
176 cm
80 kg
(176 lbs)

Follow Maeve on Instagram

Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

Hey! I’m Maeve, I’m 29, I’m Irish but live in Perth, WA. I’m an online fitness & nutrition coach and own my own business Pretty Princess Fitness.

I’m currently studying online at MAC Nutrition Uni to expand on my knowledge in order to work with a wider clientele base including some clinical populations.

I’m a Nutrition Warehouse brand ambassador which is a really great opportunity I was offered last year.

I’m also a bikini competitor in the IFBB, currently in a prolonged off season, plan is probably to compete again in 2022 after I’ve built my physique into a shape I’m happy with. My training is obviously geared towards hypertrophy for that reason.

I was NOT a sporty kid, I found in Ireland especially, if you weren’t into team sports, there wasn’t many other options for you really. I did Irish dancing, and swam through college, but I actually didn’t get into training until after college.

I was working full time, started doing some classes and then got going in the weights room. I was fascinated by it all, especially nutrition, so I decided I would study part time and did my original course in Personal training, Fitness Instruction, and Sports Nutrition.

At the time it was really just used for my own interest, but as the years went on and my love and passion for body building developed, I decided I wanted to help other women on their fitness journeys.

I wanted to show people they didn’t have to suffer

I wanted to show people they didn’t have to suffer and just eat chicken and brocolli or do endless hours of cardio, I wanted to help them not make all the silly mistakes I did, I wanted to share my knowledge and passion with people.

I set up Pretty Princess Fitness in August 2018 before I left Ireland to go travelling, it’s been my full time job since August 2019 and I couldn’t be happier!

Describe a typical day of training

My training at the moment is all happening in my garage, I’m missing the gym big time, but having to be creative and adapt to a new normal has also been quite interesting.

Using different training techniques I wouldn’t have typically used before like some pre exhaust sets, more tempo work etc.

I usually train 6 days a week and rest on Fridays (my busiest check in day). I always train alone, and my sessions could last from 45mins (upper), to about 90mins (legs).

Currently I’m doing a full leg day, a glute isolation day, back & biceps day, chest/shoulders/tris day, and a chest, back, and conditioning day.

I always use a progressive overload technique and aim to increase either lifts/sets/reps every two weeks at least.

My program will change every six weeks or so. I’m currently working on my deadlift a lot. I keep track of every single session and every single lift.

I’m also currently building my calories and trying to grow while keeping lean-ishhhh. My next prep probably won’t start until the end of next year, and it will be with a different coach than my previous shows, so I’m not sure what he has up his sleeve just yet!!

Previous preps have involved pretty low calories and a lot of cardio, my body fights me tooth and nail when I try to get stage lean, let’s see if next time is different!

I don’t usually do a lot of timed cardio on off season, none actually, but I always monitor my activity levels and I currently aim for between 12,000-15,000 steps a day with one conditioning circuit a week.

Before my training sessions I usually take a pre workout, I like trying out different ones every month to be honest, but my favourite is probably Anabolix loaded, it’s pretty hectic!

I also usually have a whey protein shake post training, current obsession is mixing Genetix cappunchino flavour with 0% fat greek yoghurt and some cereal for carbs!

My current favourite whey to drink is Ryse protein, both flavours! Yum! I aim for pretty high protein each day (180g). I always take a flexible dieting approach to my nutrition, 80/20 is a nice split i think for good stuff & fun stuff!

My favourite body parts to train are probably shoulders and back. They’re always the best pumps!!

How do you keep going and push harder?

Half assed efforts get half assed results.

This is a really good question for right now. A lot of people, my clients and myself included, are finding it hard to motivate themselves to keep going with the home workouts.

I’ve always found it quite difficult to ‘just train’ if I don’t have a clear goal to work towards, so this is what I always encourage people to do.

Find your why, WHY do you want to be better? What do you want to achive? What are the steps you need to take to get there? Your actions need to be inline with your goals, they need to support them.

You sitting on your ass watching Netflix eating Dominos probably isn’t the answer to your problems, is it?

We all have off days, we all have days we hate every second of a session and want to pack it in, but remember, half assed efforts get half assed results.

So I always remind myself of the end goal, I always know I will never regret a sessions, I know physically I can push myself, a lot of the time it’s more a mental battle.

I just put on my head phones (I use Beats), blast my favourite music, and get shit done. At the end of the day, who’s gonna look better on stage? Someone who doesn’t put the work in or who does? That’s my motivation.

I talk to myself sometimes if I need to get myself through a session, haha!!

Making time isn’t an issue, ever, because I believe if you make your goal your priority, your life revolves around it, you don’t need to ‘make time’ it’s just part of your routine.

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

Today I’m taking each day as it comes, iso life is just so unpredictable! Nobody knows when gyms will be open again, so I’m focusing on what I have to work with now and just making it work!

I was meant to be travelling a lot this year, should have been in Thailand & Vietnam for April, and then Europe July – September, but none of that is happening, so now I can concentrate on a pretty structured building phase which will benefit me in the long run!

I guess part of the reason I’m taking such a long time off away from stage is that I’m hoping to actually change divisions, so my focus now for the future is grow grow grow!

Apart from fitness though, I love to travel, I actually used to work as cabin crew too, so even did it as a job! There will definitely be lots of trips planned again once our boarders open up.

I’m also continuously working on growing and bettering my business, always learning and educating myself as much as possible.

How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

You know, I’ve never had a serious injury, thank god! The odd twinge, but I just take an extra day or two rest if I’m sore.

I always make sure to warm up a lot before my lifts so avoid injury and strains!

I’m the worstttt person for taking my own advice and not training when I’m sick, so I’m glad my boyfriend Gary is here to tell me to go back to bed!

I aim for 8 hours sleep a night, I’m a pretty early riser and like to go to bed pretty early too. I go to bed around 8pm, watch some Netflix, and get up about 6:30am.

If I’m travelling, I try adjust straight away, so once I land I’ll go by the local time and follow my usual schedule.

How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

Bread is a staple and it will never ever leave, ever!

When I first started out, may years ago, I followed a really clean eating diet, because I thought i had to, I really believed I couldn’t eat sugary foods and be healthy or get lean.

See also  How a Binge Eating Disorder Got Me into Competitive Fitness and Modelling

Now though, my diet is always a flexible dieting macro counting approach, a kind of 80/20 deal based on IIFYM. Most of my food will be fresh, whole foods that aren’t overly processed, but I alllllways leave room for ‘treats’ or foods I really enjoy.

Bread is a staple and it will never ever leave, ever! I love oats, on and off prep, they always stay. I love greek yoghurt bowls with fruit and nut butter.

Today I had a freshly baked doughnut from one of my favourite cafes for breakfast with an almond cappuchino.

All about balance! I don’t really eat a huge amount of meat, I prefer eggs, fish, dairy, and veggie alternatives, but I will eat turkey and sometimes chicken. No red meat or pork.

During comp prep I’m a little less social, but I will still meet the girls for brunch and just order something I can track easily like poached eggs and toast rather than anything I know would be fried or have added fats like scrambled eggs and pancakes or waffles etc.

I love a good coffee, I’ll either have a strong black one, or an almond milk cappuccino – extra frothy!

If I’m eating out for dinner, I’ll always just look at the menu before hand and plan what I’m going to have, easy peasy! I’ve been tracking for so long it’s just second nature at this stage.

I don’t have cheat days, I just work treats into my diet. I’m on a mission currently to bring my maintenance calories to 3000.

When I’m dieting or cutting, my foods will pretty much stay the same, I’ll just have smaller serves, or make little switches like not having pasta or bagels, having potatoes and wholemeal bread instead. And maybe no doughnuts for breakfast, haha!

I aim to get in lots more volume while I’m dieting, so lots of salads, veggies, oats etc. I also don’t drink alcohol at all on prep, and I’m really not a big drinker on off season either, I just can’t handle hangovers, they get me really bad!

I track all my meals on My Fitness Pal, I love the app, so handy! I love cooking and creating recipes so that tool is very useful!

Supplement wise, as well as having a pre workout and whey shake before/after my workout, in the morning I will take a multi vitamin, vit C, fish oils, probiotic, apple cider vinegar, and creatine.

What has inspired and motivated you?

I really try to only follow people who give out good quality content and who’s physiques I admire, or who have great businesses and work ethic.

I love to watch people who have passion about what they do. When it comes to competing, I had so many misconceptions about it years ago, and it was only through following local girls who showed preps they did healthily that I actually saw it was possible and something I could do.

On instagram, I love people like Holly Baxter, Layne Norton, Hattie Boydle, Martin MacDonald etc, evidenced based folk. Podcasts I enjoy vary between business and fitness, Phil Graham is great for fitness business owners and coaches, Danny Lennon/Sigma nutrition is great, stronger by science, reveive stronger, Brian Keane for mindset stuff…

To motivate myself in the gym, I have different playlists for different moods or body parts. If I’m doing deadlifts I need something really heavy like Sandro Silva or Armin Van Buuren.

One bit of great advice I got, or maybe it’s just a quote I heard, was ‘when you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room? something like that?

Basically, surround yourself with smart/great people, always look to learn, don’t be cocky. I also love the saying ‘you’re the average of the 5 people around you’ so I always try to surround myself with awesome people!

Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

I like hard work, I think it’s rewarded.

Hmm, when it comes to body building/starting your journey I would say invest in a good coach! They will be invaluable and show you how to do things correctly.

Let them take the guess work out of things and guide you so you’re off to a great start and on track to getting great results! Use their knowledge instead of surfing the internet and getting confused by the conflicting info out there.

Don’t buy into fads, don’t buy into stupid shake diets that promise you the world, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

I see and hear some bizarre things from people! Don’t just copy something someone else is doing, different strokes for different folks.

Ask questions, always aim to learn and expand your knowledge. Any good coach will answer questions and be happy to explain things to you, not just send you a generic plan and leave the rest up to you.

I think everybody, including more advanced people could benefit from taking the time to master the basics. Complicated techniques and protocols are pointless if you don’t have the foundations right first.

You know I saw this guy in the gym before trying to do a single leg RDL while balancing on a bosu ball, my jaw nearly hit the floor, that’s just plain stupid and dangerous.

I think so many people want to go from 0 – 100 straight away, everyone wants to be the best, but don’t want to put the time and effort in.

I like hard work, I think it’s rewarded. I don’t ever encourage quick fixes or short cuts. That doesn’t just apply to bodybuilding, you could say that about most things in life!

Are you taking on clients right now?

I’l explain a little bit about whjat I do first. I’m a female only online fitness & nutrition coach. I place a lot of emphasis on learning, providing as many resources as possible to teach my girls about what they’re doing and why.

I give a lot of supports and guides to everyone on my team, because I want to see them winning and achieving their goals, whatever they may be.

There are things like a private Facebook group, Whats app, recipe guides, shopping guides, macro guides, sample meal templates etc.

I specialise in female fat loss / transformations, and by default, I’ve come to kind of end up doing a lot of reverse diets with people as that’s what they’ve needed when they come to me.

I really love doing this though, I love showing ladies that calories and carbs aren’t the enemy, and that they can eat way more than they thought! It’s such an over looked phase of dieting!

I also love teaching people about flexible dieting, showing them dieting doesn’t have to mean suffering and feeling overly restricted, especially gen-pop, there’s really no need once you have a handle on energy balance and things like that.

I do have a minimum sign up subscription of at least 12 weeks and I do limit the amount of ladies I work with at any one time to ensure service is top notch and so I can get to know everyone properly.

So, to answer your question, yes and no. I’m always happy to have a chat with anyone who enquires and figure out if we’re a good fit for each other.

I value people who value results and who will commit to a plan. I really feel like coaching is a two way street, of course the coach is there to create the best possible plan and always have your health as top priority, guide you, make recommendations etc, but it’s up to the client at the end of the day to implement this advice and follow the plan each day.

If someone just wants to ‘be good’ during the week and then go drinking every weekend, we’re probably not going to be a good fit.

I’m here to cheer for people who want to work and be cheered for. Even if I can’t take someone on as a client, I put tonnes of free content out, including workouts and nutritional info that people can benefit from!

Where can we learn more about you?

My most active platform is Instagram, and I’m @prettyprincess_fitness you can also email me at [email protected]

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