Off the couch and off to the races

Kris Hopping goes from overweight to competing in triathlons

Kris Hopping was determined to lose weight and get fit - and she did so in convincing fashion.

At age 47, Kris Hopping completed her first triathlon — two years after she had lost 50 pounds.

The now 51-year-old Miracle Beach resident who trains in and around the Comox Valley has since completed an Ironman Triathlon and become a personal trainer.

Hopping says there’s no secret to weight loss. Determined to make a change, she hit the gym, cycled to work and started running. She also changed her eating habits.

It took four months to trim 50 pounds from her frame.

“I was always a bit of a cyclist,” she said. “I was a bike courier in 1986. When I started to lose weight I started to commute to work by bike. I also started going to the gym on my lunch hours.”

She then added swimming and running to the mix.

“I thought if I started running, I could probably do my first triathlon, which I did, and it was a horrible experience. I swore up and down I’d never do it again. I kind of liken it — even though I never had kids — to giving birth.”

She picked up some swimming tips via online videos, where she learned to do flip turns. Joining the Comox Valley Triathlon Club also improved her swimming.

Cycling is Hopping’s strongest event while running is her biggest challenge in triathlons.

“The swim was scary at first because of the mass start, getting run over and pushed under water,” Hopping said. “I kind of enjoy that now. I’ve got a bit of an aggressive personality.”

Her first triathlon in 2011 was in Squamish, which she does every year. The first time she was among the last finishers. The second year she made the podium.

In 2013, Hopping was the fastest in her age group at her first Half Ironman competition in Italy.

“It wasn’t because I was fast, it was because I was there. Didn’t have to beat a big field, but it was still really fun to be on top of the podium for my first Half Ironman.”

She also competed in the Half Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas in 2013. Last year, at age 50, she completed her first full Ironman, which consists of 3.9 kilometre swim, 180km cycle and 42km run.

This year’s agenda includes a pair of Half Ironman events in Victoria and Calgary.

Hopping is a personal trainer at Fitness on the Go — a mobile training service whereby she visits people at home.

“I’ll do anything from helping people with weight loss to take people from the couch to the finish line.”

One of her clients is a woman who wants to run her first marathon at 61.

“That’s her finding her passion,” said Hopping, who has clients on the far side of 80. “Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop playing. It’s never too late. The human body is an amazing thing.

“One of the things I love is try and find something people are passionate about so that it becomes a lifestyle for them, not just working out. If it’s going to be lasting they have to enjoy doing it.”

Contact Hopping at kris@fitnessonthego.ca

 

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