Kayleigh Kennedy


In five years’ time, I will be:

Proud to have placed in the UKDFBA Bikini Short competition.

Career highlights:

  • Managing my heart condition and becoming a sponsored athlete of KYMIRA Sport.

What does your standard training week involve?

Four or five days a week I’ll do free weights training, focusing on key muscle groups, legs, glutes, back and chest, one day a week I’ll do 45 minutes of HiiT. If I’m cutting, I’ll add some cardio one day a week or shorter cardio sessions through the week after weight training.

Where is your favourite place to train?

I prefer Dedicated Fitness Gym in Huyton. It had a good vibe with a lot of like-minded, dedicated bodybuilders who are driven towards their goals.

What is your favourite event?

I’m quite a novice when it comes to bodybuilding, but to date I’ve been really impressed by the UKDFBA due to the wide range of categories of competition, and it being natural bodybuilding as opposed to enhanced.

What are your top 3 Kymira Sport garments?
When do you use them and why?

Training Leggings

My favourite KYMIRA garment is my Training Leggings. I mainly use these during a weights session to keep my leg muscles warm and regulate my body temperature. Their comfortable and flexible fit allows maximal range of movement for lifting and the infrared technology optimises my energy expenditure during a strenuous session. I also tend to put my leggings on immediately after a race or training piece, utilising their compression component to assist with recovery and removing exercise by-products from my legs post-race. 

Infrared Ankle Socks

I always race in my KYMIRA infrared ankle socks. Partly because they have become my latest “lucky socks”, but also because I love the fit of the higher ankle and supportive arch material, meaning they don’t slide down or cause friction when I’m rowing. 

PrO2 Cycle Jersey

Another garment I really like is the PrO2 Cycle Jersey. I love to go cycling as extra cross-training and this jersey has a comfortable fit and allows you to be easily seen. The breathable fabric, alongside the infrared technology, means it’s great for warm summer rides as well as over the top of the infrared long sleeve in the winter.  

What is your favourite training accessory?

My favourite training accessory is the 20kg barbell. My favourite exercise to use it for are squats which build my legs, glutes and lower back, but also strengthen my core and improves my balance. The 20kg barbell is also used for other key exercises for me such as chest press, and deadlifts.

I use a Fitbit to monitor my heart rate during workouts to ensure it stays below a suitable number of beats per minute, and innovative sportswear provided by KYMIRA Sport helps to keep blood circulating through my body and increases my oxygen levels, whilst regulating my body temperature, thus keeping me going for longer and reducing the risks someone with my condition may have whilst training. Being 5ft 2” and approx. 50kg (at present) and lifting more than your body weight results in DOMS and body fatigue, thankfully KYMIRA Sport clothing also aids and speeds up my recovery, which helps me keep going towards achieving my goals!

What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it?

I have a heart condition called Apical Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy which I didn’t become aware of until I was 24 and had my first unexpected cardiac arrest in 2012. Before then, I only really did HiiT which - without taking the proper precautions and having a full awareness - could be dangerous and put me at risk of another cardiac arrest due to my heart's difficulty in pacing my heart rate and pumping blood around my body. After my diagnosis I was fitted with an ICD and was told to do light exercise only (walking, swimming etc.) and I took that really hard. Being told I couldn’t do something at such a young age, I felt weak and useless. However, research carried out by the British Heart Foundation and the NHS has proven that most forms of exercise are beneficial with a conscious awareness of your limitations. I had to learn to put my stubbornness to one side and listen to my body, so to keep pushing myself but know my limitations, and rest if I needed to if my heart rate was too high, if I had heart palpitations, felt dizzy or if my body was fatigued.

What is the most common training mistake you see? Any suggestions on how to avoid it?

There is a perception that if you’re not lifting heavy, you’re not progressing, and unfortunately I see some people exercising with incorrect form in an attempt to lift heavier or because they haven’t asked or been shown the correct way to complete the exercise in order for their body to benefit the most from it. This puts their body at huge risk of injury and if injured could put their training regime back for weeks, or even do more permanent damage.

I follow a step-by-step training plan provided by Nathan Kennedy Personal Training (NKPT) which tracks my sets, reps, weight and progress, and Nathan demonstrates and coaches me and his clients on how to correctly perform each exercise safely and effectively. I have to accept when I lose weight, I may not be able to lift as heavy as I have done previously, but if I maintain the correct form, I’m still progressing.

What motivates you to train harder?

As I’ve mentioned, I am a bodybuilding novice and have only been training with NKPT since January 2018, but he plays a huge part in keeping me motivated.

The service he provides to his clients is exceptional and a clear cut above other personal trainers.

NKPT offers one-to-one and online coaching, personal consultations, video calls and check-ins, and delivers this through his personal training and nutritional mobile applications so that everything is monitored and tailored to each individual client to meet their unique goals. NKPT really is passionate about your progress, and that is contagious as a personal training client! NKPT encourages you to focus on yourself, and your own progress, not to compare yourself to others. It’s important to be your own biggest competition, and work towards a better version of yourself, whether that’s health or fitness related, aesthetically, or a combination of them!

Describe your diet/meal plan leading up to a big event:

I haven’t done a meal prep in the run up to a bodybuilding competition yet, but I do need to stay within a calorie allowance set by NKPT. Until nearer the competition, I won’t be tracking macros and like variety in the foods I eat so I stay pretty flexible most of the time and do have the odd treat in moderation! Most mornings I’ll do the very British thing and start my day with a cup of tea (with skimmed milk). Breakfast during the week is 40g cereal with 80ml almond milk, weekends I may have oats or eggs.

I’ll have a mid-morning coffee with a banana. Lunch is a salad or stir-fry with fish, poultry or meat and snack-a-jacks/pea snacks/skinny popcorn.

Afternoon snacks consist of a coffee, protein yoghurt, low calorie jelly and an apple. Dinner will either be whole grain rice or pasta, vegetable chips (fries), broccoli or cauliflower rice, with fish, poultry or meat, or a homemade dish such as bolognese, chilli, curry etc.

Evening snacks consist of a light hot chocolate, and a protein bar, low calorie ice cream, Greek yoghurt, or other sweet concoction desserts I make up using a combination low calorie snacks! I usually post most of what I eat on my Instagram page.

How do you balance your training with life outside the sport?

I have a full-time job, often working between 50-60 hours a week. The key is to have a routine and prepare as much as possible to work around that routine. I try to batch cook on Sundays and portion meals to put in the freezer that I can take out in the morning and have for my evening meal when I get home from work and the gym by heating in the microwave. I also prepare my lunches for the week three days in advance and put them in the fridge. I make sure I get changed for the gym at work when I’ve finished my working day, so by the time I leave the office and get in my car, I’m not tempted to just drive home because I’m already dressed for the gym!

What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful?

I use BioSynergy Blue Raspberry BCAA’s and Creatine daily to give my workouts a little boost, and particularly when I’m cutting to ensure I don’t lose muscle and they’re retaining the protein they need to be sustained.

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

As well as the positives to mental attitude, there can be negatives.

With the fashion and fitness industries being so big, it’s difficult not to compare yourself to others, and people have opinions on everything which can sometimes be damaging to someone’s confidence and self-esteem.

For bodybuilders, the bulking and cutting phase can be tough both physically and mentally because you’re pushing your body to extremes for competition, which aren’t sustainable, but when you’ve experienced being so lean after cutting to then enter the bulking phase and gain fat, it’s a challenge to remember it’s all part of the process to progress further.

The main thing to remember is be kind to yourself, and supportive of others!

What is the best thing about being an athlete?

The best thing about training is seeing the progress you are making physically, and mentally. Whilst you may see a difference in how you look, the way you feel is so much better, progression is a sense of achievement which leaves you wanting to continuously improve.