Kayt Wolfe is in the business of building confidence and better, healthier lives. But first she had to start with her own, launching a fitness journey that took her from an overweight smoker to a healthy, clean-living woman with a focus on fitness.

One of gay Atlanta's own, Wolfe is the founder of Pulse Health Coaching, where she created the 90-Day Health Transformation Program among other coaching offerings. Give her 90 days – and a commitment to ditch your unhealthy habits – and she delivers to you the power of whole food nutrition combined with cutting edge fitness routines. The next class starts in January. But don’t get intimidated. Living healthy is challenging but not complicated. Wolfe even helps tackle your everyday problems, like avoiding weight gain over the holidays (Spoiler: There’s no calorie counting) and the benefits of giving thanks all year.

It really starts with your head, Wolfe says.

“I absolutely love what I do,” she says. “When you help people understand the power of whole food nutrition, and teach them the latest cutting edge fitness protocols that can be done in 20 minutes or less each day, without the need to go to a gym, it's a real life changer. There's also a big emphasis on mindset, since that's the driver for everything else.”

Of course, Wolfe works out regularly. But she makes it fun. Enter Charlee, her small terrier mix nicknamed Rocket, and trail runs.

“She's quite the little dynamo and will happily cover 4-5 miles with me, which really translates to a lot more, given all the back and forth she does. She's got rocket fuel in those back legs of hers, hence the nickname, Rocket. That's probably where I feel most grounded and connected to myself and the world around me,” Wolfe says.

But don’t think for a minute that Wolfe is all fitness, all of the time. She heads outdoors, visit vineyards in the Georgia mountains and enjoys a good romp through a museum.

“The absolute best thing in the world though is my Sunday morning ritual of getting up and making coffee before crawling back in bed with a copy of Dwell magazine. I love design and architecture, so it's fun to work on my dream home while cuddling up my two fur babies, one on each side of me to avoid any squabbling,” she says.

So we chatted with Wolfe about fitness, focus and why working out isn’t as tough as it sounds.

What got you so focused on fitness?

I experienced my own health transformation years ago, and that created a desire to help others. I was 60 pounds overweight and a heavy smoker. I felt horrible and my energy was rock bottom. My first step was to quit smoking, but what really turned things around for me, and literally changed my life, was teaching myself how to prepare my own food. I had convinced myself that I couldn't cook, and so I lived off of fast food restaurants and packaged meals. It got to the point where I was falling asleep at the wheel of my car in the middle of the day. Once my nutrition was more balanced, I was able to start fitting in regular exercise. My life was forever changed.

The diet: Clean with a side of whatever I want

I eat "clean" most of the time, which means I avoid processed foods as a general rule. It really boils down to relying on whole food nutrition, rather than foods that come out of a box or bag. It's not as extreme as it sounds. I still allow myself to enjoy what I want, when I want, by following the 80/20 principle - eat clean 80% of the time, and eat whatever I want 20%. It sounds regimented, but it's really not. I don't have some sort of schedule around eating; it's more a natural and intuitive way of living. It helps you feel in control and avoids any sense of deprivation around food. I absolutely adore bread, and crisps (British version of chips), I just don't have them all the time.

Morning: I'll typically start my day with a whey protein drink with added super green powder and raw kale or spinach post-exercise.  

Lunch: It's usually a protein like chicken or fish and vegetables, or I'll often have eggs and vegetables.

Snack: I may have some mixed nuts and seeds, or nut butter and an apple later in the day, but not always. When you eat well, you find you don't need to feed yourself as often through the day.

Dinner: This is usually my biggest meal of the day. Yes, this flies in the face of what we're told to do, but I can assure, this approach keeps me lean and strong. Chicken, fish or beef plus rice or polenta, and veggies.

The workout: Creating cardio and strength gains

My normal workouts mix core work and free weights for strength, and intensity sessions for my cardio, which can be anything from hill sprints to plyometrics to bodyweight routines. Outside of my longer trail runs on a weekend, a typical workout lasts no longer than 20 minutes. This is now recognized as the optimal timeframe to boost your metabolism and create cardio and strength gains. Excessive training can actually have the reverse effect. I'll switch it up by including some boxing routines that hit every part of my body, or yoga for strength and flexibility.

Biggest challenge: Time to move my body

One of the biggest issues I've faced as my business has grown is fitting in time for my own workouts. I think many people in helping professions can put others needs above their own, but it's extremely important to maintain some level of self-care. Thankfully, moving my body is such an integral part of who I am that I don't let it slide too often.

Your motivation: Never going back

On a personal level, I'm very clear that I can’t, or won’t, ever go back to being that fat and unhealthy person that I was years ago. That's huge motivation! Professionally, it's important that I lead by example. How can I encourage others to make these changes in their lives if I'm not a living example of these principles.

Final thoughts: Healthy is challenging but doable

Getting and staying healthy isn't complicated, but it can be challenging sometimes, especially if you've tried and failed in the past to make positive changes to your habits and lifestyle. Trust me, I know what that's like. That's why I created the 90-Day Health Transformation Program, to guide people through the process of change by providing them with the tools, support and accountability to create permanent change in their lives. It can be done on an individual basis, or through a group coaching program.

We have it in us, all of us, to create the life we want and deserve. We simply need help in getting there sometimes. Know, and trust, that you can do anything!

Kayt Wolfe's next 90-Day Health Transformation Program launches in January. Find out more and register for early bird discounts.