ON THE COVER: KATHRYN THOMAS

... says pre­sen­ter Kathryn Thomas, but for now – with her six-month-old daugh­ter El­lie to con­sider – she’s only tak­ing roles that are the right fit for her and her fam­ily

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - EDITOR'S LETTER - Pho­to­graph: NAOMI GAFFEY.

The TV pre­sen­ter on get­ting back to work and en­cour­ag­ing the na­tion to em­brace fit­ness.

Kathryn Thomas is a self­con­fessed fit­ness fa­natic who runs her own well­ness boot­camp busi­ness, while pre­sent­ing some of the big­gest for­mats to grace Ir­ish TV screens. Since bungee-jump­ing on to our screens in 1999 as co-host of youth show Rapid, she has be­come one of the busiest pre­sen­ters in Ire­land.

The award-win­ning broad­caster be­came the face of travel in Ire­land with No Fron­tiers, hosted TV tal­ent show The Voice, and pre­sented weight loss com­pe­ti­tion Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion and its celebrity ver­sion. She is also a reg­u­lar stand-in for Ray D’Arcy on RTE Ra­dio One. Tak­ing things in her stride is kind of her call­ing card so we shouldn’t re­ally be sur­prised that she loves be­ing a mum for the first time.

Orig­i­nally from Car­low, the 39-year-old now lives in Dublin with her fi­ancé, restau­ra­teur Padraig McLaugh­lin, and their six-month old daugh­ter El­lie. And she says that when it comes to her new baby, it’s a case of so far, so good.

‘Things are go­ing great,’ she says. ‘El­lie is a re­ally good baby, we’re just so lucky, she’s eat­ing and sleep­ing. I know how lucky we are be­cause I have a cou­ple of friends who’ve had re­ally tough times with ba­bies with colic or they don’t sleep. But so far she’s re­ally chilled out and do­ing ev­ery­thing she should be.

‘We put her down at 7pm last night and she slept un­til 7am this morn­ing and that’s sort of stan­dard, she’s been do­ing that since she was ten weeks old. I know that there are prob­a­bly moth­ers out there who won’t want to hear that, and I get that, but it’s the truth. I just know how lucky we are be­cause I know with­out sleep that things would change com­pletely, but so far so good. I sup­pose that was why I kind of went back to work a lot sooner than I thought I would. We are to­tally in love. It’s the kind of ex­pe­ri­ence that, un­til you go through it, you don’t know what it’s like. I know that’s a cliché but it’s so true.’

One of the things that of­ten be­wil­ders first-time par­ents is the time vor­tex that ac­com­pa­nies them. What­ever so­cial life or free time you may have taken for granted be­fore the new ar­rival, is gone the mo­ment the um­bil­i­cal cord is cut.

‘Oh no, I know ex­actly what I did with my time be­fore I had a baby,’ Kathryn says with a smile. ‘I went for lovely din­ners and I went out and had cheese and wine and went to the gym and went out with my friends. Padraig said to me the other day when we were on hol­i­days with the baby for the first time that it was “full on”. And I said that re­ally it is just won­der­ful be­cause I just spend all of my time look­ing at her and just be­ing in love with her. I couldn’t think of do­ing any­thing else.

‘Be­fore El­lie we went to the cin­ema and went for din­ner and the dogs were our ba­bies back then. Now, God love them, they have be­come sec­ond best and they hang out in the gar­den. Padraig al­ways jokes that he will be next into the gar­den!’

It was re­cently an­nounced that Kathryn would host the cur­rent series of Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily on RTÉ One hav­ing taken over the reins from Mairéad Far­rell. It is Kathryn’s first TV gig since hav­ing El­lie and she says she was ready to step back into the lime­light. Kathryn will be joined by coaches Anna Geary, Davy Fitzger­ald, Don­n­cha O’Callaghan and Der­val O’Rourke, who all com­pete against one an­other as they at­tempt to men­tor their cho­sen fam­i­lies to suc­cess.

An ad­ven­tur­ous new set – de­signed by the team be­hind stunt ex­pe­ri­ences for tele­vi­sion shows such as The Amaz­ing Race, Amer­i­can Ninja War­rior and The Big­gest Loser – will pro­vide plenty of chal­lenges for the com­pet­ing fam­i­lies.

‘The com­pany called me and said that Mairéad was hav­ing her baby and that they were putting to­gether a re­vamped ver­sion of the show. They were com­ing up with some new and big­ger chal­lenges and they wanted the show to look and feel big­ger so they have brought in an Amer­i­can com­pany to cre­ate big­ger stunts. So they talked me though the changes and I’ve al­ways been a fan of the show so for me it felt like the per­fect fit. To bring a new an­gle to it and my per­son­al­ity to it, I was ex­cited to take it on.’

Back in Jan­uary, Kathryn re­vealed that, prior to her preg­nancy with El­lie, she had ex­pe­ri­enced two mis­car­riages in the past three years. And she said it was her de­sire to start a fam­ily that saw her pare back her pre­sent­ing ros­ter on Ir­ish TV.

‘When the Voice of Ire­land fin­ished up I was do­ing that and Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion at the same time,’ she re­calls. ‘From a work­load per­spec­tive it was a lot – and I was run­ning my own busi­ness with the boot­camps. Back then, my­self and Padraig had dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties in that we wanted to start our own fam­ily, which ob­vi­ously I didn’t speak about at the time. For my­self I knew I ➤

“EL­LIE IS A RE­ALLY GOOD BABY, WE’RE JUST SO LUCKY, SHE’S SO CHILLED”

needed to put my pri­or­i­ties in or­der and fig­ure out what was best for us.

‘The boot­camp alone was a full-time job, let alone with Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion and an­other show. For me the show has to be the right fit and Fittest Fam­ily is the right fit for me so I’m de­lighted to take it on. They were a very wel­com­ing bunch and Davy, Anna, Der­val and Don­n­cha take the win­ning and los­ing so se­ri­ously. I was de­lighted to wit­ness that when I got there. It re­ally means a lot to the fam­i­lies but the coaches are equally as com­pet­i­tive and I like that. A lot of the time you can think much of the ri­valry is put on for tele­vi­sion but when you see Davy go­ing up against Anna in a race, they are pas­sion­ate about it and that makes the show.’

So what does Kathryn think of the va­cant pre­sent­ing job on RTÉ’s other hit series, Danc­ing With The Stars?

‘I took my­self out of that mix when it was hap­pen­ing two years ago,’ she says. ‘I didn’t au­di­tion for it be­cause for me it wasn’t the right time or the right mix. I’m happy with where I am at the mo­ment. It is a great gig and is a huge gig for some­one to get. You have to have some­one who can stand on stage and de­liver that.

‘Do I miss the big, shiny-floor Satur­day night show? Yes, but I will get back there. I love the buzz of live TV and the adrenaline that comes with it and I’ve taken a break from it so the time in the near fu­ture could be right for me. Op­er­a­tion Trans­for­ma­tion is in pre-pro­duc­tion for next year and Fittest Fam­i­lies is re­ally ex­cit­ing.’

Kathryn launched her own keep-fit busi­ness, Pure Re­sults Boot­camp, in 2015. The pop­u­lar pro­gramme of­fers var­i­ous well­ness and fit­ness re­treats and the busi­ness has proved ex­tremely suc­cess­ful for the pre­sen­ter. She has just launched a one­day fes­ti­val of food and fit­ness which will take place at Leop­ard­stown Race­course at the end of the month. And de­spite her al­ready bulging sched­ule, Kathryn says she is look­ing for­ward to meet­ing new people and hope­fully help­ing a few people fall in love with ex­er­cise.

‘We are host­ing a big one-day event on September 30,’ she says. ‘It’s called the KT Fit Fix and is spon­sored by Fla­ha­van’s. It’s all about food and fit­ness but also good craic. ➤

We start the day with an early morn­ing disco and then a break­fast and we’ll have loads of dif­fer­ent classes with ev­ery­thing from boxing to ket­tle­bells and yoga.

‘It’s ex­cit­ing and we have some good ex­hibitors on board and tick­ets are fly­ing out the door for that. We have boot­camps un­til the end of Oc­to­ber as well, which is great. People care about their health more now I think but you still need to go out and have your night out. I was al­ways an ad­vo­cate of that and still am. But for me, it’s about find­ing bal­ance and tak­ing the in­tim­i­da­tion out of ex­er­cise and mak­ing it fun. So at the event we will hope­fully in­tro­duce people to classes they may not have tried be­fore and just show people that you don’t have to be fit at all to take part and maybe get in­spired.’

Kathryn is on her way out to Kil­rud­dery House, where they are film­ing the lat­est episode of Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily, and she ad­mits that the days are long. She could only take on the job thanks to her hus­band Padraig and, of course, a child­min­der worth her weight in gold.

‘I wouldn’t say I have loads of help be­cause my sis­ter lives in the States and my brother lives in the Isle of Man,’ she ad­mits. ‘Then my mam is in Car­low so I’m not some­one who has fam­ily around me at my beck and call. But I have a fan­tas­tic child­min­der and she has been ab­so­lutely bril­liant. El­lie has also been on set with me too in voice-overs and a whole host of stuff.

‘You have to find a bal­ance that works for you and ev­ery­one is dif­fer­ent. I was on ra­dio for a cou­ple of weeks and I was only able to do that be­cause I found a good child­min­der and El­lie has a ball with her. But I wouldn’t be able to do what I do with­out her and, of course, Padraig is very hands-on as well. It’s very much a team ef­fort.’ TICK­ETS for the KT Fit Fix cost €99 and are avail­able on pur­ere­sults­boot­camp.com

“PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THEIR HEALTH MORE BUT YOU STILL NEED YOUR NIGHT OUT”

Kathryn and her restau­ra­teur fi­ancé Padraig McLaugh­lin. Be­low, their daugh­ter El­lie

Kathryn with team lead­ers Don­n­cha O’Callaghan, Der­val O’Rourke, Anna Geary and Davy Fitzger­ald on the set of Ire­land’s Fittest Fam­ily

Cred­its Pic­tures: NAOMI GAFFEY Styling: GRACE CAHILL Make-up: DEARBHLA KEENAN @ Brown Sugar Hair: NORMA JEAN O’REILLY @ Brown Sugar, see brown­sugar.ie Shot on lo­ca­tion @ Grey Area Stu­dio, Chapeli­zod, Dublin. Spe­cial thanks to the team.

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