Kate Parr (she/her) is an expert trainer at boutique fitness studios Boxx London and BLOK London, teaching boxing, strength and cardio, and dance. Kate is also an actor, scoring lead roles in UK musicals and more. Kate's passion is helping others feel inner strength through fitness, and instilling the empowerment that comes from feeling strong both physically and mentally. We sat down with Kate to learn more about what inspires her, her hopes for gender equality in the fitness industry, and the positive change she wants to see in the world.
Tell the readers a little bit more about yourself and your background?
So I'm Kate, a personal trainer specialising in strength, movement and boxing. I’m also an actor trained in Musical Theatre.
Who or what inspires you?
I find my inspiration in many people. I’m constantly learning! Everyday I’ll see something in a friend, client or even someone I follow on social media that I want to emulate.
How do you define female empowerment?
Female empowerment to me is an awareness of the struggles women face, an acceptance of who we are, and always striving to be the best version of yourself. All of the above but as a collective force. It’s the drive to do something and the confidence to go for it.
Do you think fitness has a role to play in female empowerment?
Absolutely. I truly believe the power that comes from whatever sport or type of fitness you enjoy is huge. Whether that comes from the community, from the strength you gain, or discovering the potential of what your body and mind can achieve.
What inspired you to take up boxing?
So I’ve always loved movement. I’ve danced literally from when I learnt to walk and then trained professionally from the age of 11-21. However, throughout this whole time, I was never good at sports- couldn’t kick a ball to save my life! I discovered the benefits that came from strength training which is still a big part of my routine. However there was always something missing. For me, that was boxing. I took a class at BLOK London not having a clue what I was in for and straight away I was hooked. The agility, power, coordination, endurance and focus that it teaches you is huge and I haven’t looked back since.
How do you think boxing could become a more inclusive sport to both genders?
Take away the perceived violence of fighting and underneath that there’s a huge amount of agility and power. In terms of inclusivity, I think there's a huge shift already. The more women to just start and go for it just like me the better. It’s a humbling sport and there is always more to learn. So, whether you're a novice or someone who has boxed for years, know that whatever level you really will be accepted.
Do you see more women taking up the sport?
I definitely do! I teach classes Boxx London and BLOK London and its definitely got a lot more female heavy over the last three years. There’s something special in that. It gives me goosebumps when I see a full class of women absolutely smashing a bag!
Why is fitness so important to you as a woman?
What ‘fitness’ means to me has changed drastically over the years. I’ve gone through many different stages. I've used it as a weight loss tool, as a way to build my strength both in and out, and as a form of meditation and escapism. Through all that, I’ve found passions. Things that aren’t a way of changing my body, but goals that are strength focussed, agility and skill focused etc. For me now fitness is me time, playtime. Something fun that I enjoy and as a by-product it's a way to improve and better my health and mental wellbeing. That is a huge shift and one as a PT I want to help all of my clients find. And still there’s so many more areas that I want to explore.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
This is a hard one! I think, "cancel, reset and continue". If something hasn’t gone as well as you would have wished, or you haven’t smashed your goals...park it, take a breath, reset the goal... then keep going.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I have a couple. My latest one would be leading the International Women’s Day Strength class for @bloklondon. There were just under 400 people working out at once and even though it was on Zoom, the energy that came from each and every one of those people was massive.
My other one would be when I got my first lead role in a UK tour of a musical. After a whole life of working towards being a professional actor, to be a lead was an amazing feeling. I’m focused on getting another role like that.
What change do you hope to see in the future?
To see gender neutral phrasing and language across society. For society to be truly inclusive.
What are 3 ways that you think women should lift each other up?
1. Celebrate the wins. No matter how small just acknowledge that accomplishment.
2. Support female businesses. Change that narrative.
3. Just be there. Share the experience, the joy and the pain. We’re in this together.
Who’s an inspiring female role model in your life and what have you learnt from them?
My mum. She works in motorsport, which is a very male dominated world. I think the most amazing thing about her is that she can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to. Whatever challenges come her way, she still manages to be kind and always always looks for the good. She manages to take a breath and calmly respond to anything, and get the job done.
As a woman, what’s the one thing you’d like men to do more of and to do less of?
Less watching me and my clients when we're in an outdoor PT session. Accept we’re there you don’t need to look, comment or catcall please! And more acceptance of our strengths and abilities without gender stereotyping.
To learn more about Kate, follow her on Instagram.