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Duchess Kate's Fitness and Diet

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Well, my friends, it is February. This means two very important things. One, 'tis Valentine's Day season, which is almost a national holiday for me, but is swim-season prep time. Yes, summer is "just around the river bend" and if one wants to be ready, one must get cracking now.

This is going to be a two-part chat. In this post, we will just have an overview of what we know about Kate's routine and food preferences, and in the second, I will break it down more practically.

Like most of us, Kate has gone through more than one stage. In university, she was a little fuller, perhaps attributable to her time in Italy during her gap year, surrounded by all that delicious Italian comfort food or her penchant for pub food with William on cold Scottish nights. She now favors a more boyish figure. I have loved all her looks, but at all times she kept the focus on activity. (Below, Kate enjoys a lasagna night with friends while at St Andrews)

Kate has always been very sporty, and I think right off the bat that factors into her workout and fitness level. Kate is naturally athletic and likes to be be active, which is a real boost. She walked and biked in her time at university. She is an avid tennis fan and played regularly, as well as her calorie-scorching ski holidays.

While William and Kate were at university, they were insulated from the press. The British media had agreed to give Prince William a certain amount of space during this time, and they were pretty respectful of that privacy. Obviously, we were all interested in Kate and whether they were an item, but they weren't under the same microscope as when they graduated and started their "real lives" in London.  Once Kate graduated and was chucked into the public domain, she followed the natural path of a woman who is photographed simply putting her trash in the dustbin--her physical appearance was a bigger issue and Kate began to lose her baby fat--or freshman 15--or whatever you choose to denominate it.

Kate Middleton Putting out the Trash

Already living an active lifestyle and already fit and slim, this was not something too hard for her to accomplish, and it was frankly probably almost subconscious as she made more careful and calorie conscious meal choices. When William and Kate would sneak away to a quiet pub for evening meals, he would often order a calorie loaded entrée, while Kate reportedly stuck to light fish dishes baked rather than breaded with a glass of white wine. Kate was particularly fond of white wine spritzers, bubbly and refreshing, but calorie reducing. At Mahiki, she began ordering a reduced calories cocktails, too.

December 7, 2006

In 2007, when William broke up with Kate she not only threw herself into nightlife, she was persuaded by a friend to join the group "The Sisterhood" in racing a dragon boat across the English Channel. Crack of dawn practice on the Thames and accompanying workouts five days of the week really changed her body. (I wrote a little more on this and its influence in her clothes on a fellow blogger's space, here) All you need to do is Google around and you will learn that rowing, even just a rowing machine at your gym or in your basement, is a fat blaster. It provides an overall workout and increased cardiovascular health. Pilates was a supplemental element of her fitness regimen, and the Pilates promise is,  "in 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body." That is certainly how it worked for Kate.

William and Kate reconciled, but her fitness routine only intensified. It was reported that Kate worked out at least an hour every day, and in early 2008, William had a gym installed in Clarence House for Kate's use. The equipment was customized for her, top of the line, and of course, it was entirely private. She could sweat it out without fellow gym-goers watching her or press packs snapping her photo through the window--much to my disappointment. :)

Diana Leaving The Harbour Club with William and Harry

That being said, Kate also joined the Harbour Club, the same gym of which Diana was a member and frequent visitor . An article not long before the wedding said:
Miss Middleton has recently been seen working out and dining at the club in Chelsea Harbour, west London, which boasts three swimming pools, indoor tennis courts, a beauty spa and a hair salon.

A member of the club, said: "Kate was in the gym last week exercising with a friend for more than an hour. She looked in great shape – incredibly fit and slim. After her workout, she stayed on and had dinner in the club's restaurant."
Obviously, at this exclusive club, there would be no worries of paparazzi shots or star-struck clients. At the same time, it is important to remember that Kate was not denying herself in any unhealthy way. On a lunch date with Camilla before the wedding, her selections were reported as, foie gras terrine, sea bass and pistachio soufflé and ice cream.

Lunch with Camilla

Kate and her family have been patrons of the Old Boot Inn in Berkshire for years, and the innkeeper reported Kate's favorite dishes:
"Her favorite [dishes] are the pate on toasted brioche or the roast figs on parma ham with spicy apple chutney, followed by the tiger prawn and wild mushroom linguine," he adds. "And for the [dessert], her favorite is sticky toffee pudding. It's moist and spongy."
In September of 2011 the newlyweds were pictured leaving a gym in London together. Kate had been using the elliptical to get a cardio workout. We haven't seen that since, which either means the couple have found a way to get in and out of their gym discreetly, or I suspect more likely, they seek out fitness measures closer to home.

It was reported that she took Pilates while pregnant to stay fit. I suspect that habit also helped her get back into shape quickly. Pilates is easy to do at home either with a home reformer machine, or simply practicing mat.

In summary, Kate is a normal and sensible woman, and has a history of loving her comfort food. From her time in Italy during gap year when she feasted on pastas and pastries, to the pub grub she likes to indulge in at home, to the American burger joint that the royal couple enjoy frequenting, Kate has always shown that she likes a hearty meal. Nevertheless, she has also shown she has significant discipline in limiting items that are too high in calories, like sugary alcoholic drinks, and making careful choices day to day. She works out religiously, probably a mixture of Pilates and some form of cardio, in addition to her naturally active lifestyle. Think of how often we saw Kate striding through Kensington Palace gardens with Lupo, and pushing the pram with George as she takes an afternoon walk?

Next post, we will chat a little bit more about how Kate incorporates fitness into the natural rhythm of her lifestyle, and then we will get down to brass tacks and discuss the practical measures we can take to apply this fitness routine to our own lives and our own schedules. 


  1. I love that she goes for fit and strong rather than skinny! I do think she is sometimes too skinny, but it seems to be more from stress than from trying to lose weight. She does look better when her face and curves are a little bit fuller than when she's at her "skinny" weight.

    I do think - for the sake of people trying to emulate her body - we should point out that there *is* a genetic component to it. Especially when it comes to how quickly she snapped back into shape after George's birth! She looks fabulous, but she also got some fabulous genes.

    1. Oh, absolutely! She hit the jackpot of the gene pool. :) I thinks she effortlessly moves among her various physical comfort zones, which is not the case for the majority of the population. Lucky, lucky.

    2. @Am, ha! And I'm of the opposite view - her face is was so much prettier after she lost her chubby cheeks and baby fat. She was cute before but became stunning after. In the pictures from the time of their engagement, especially when she wore that bright red suit she looks gorgeous.

  2. Hello Jane,
    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much! I'm the reader who asked you to write about Kate's diet and workout some time ago, if you remember. It was really worth waiting! It is great! There are some pictures I haven' t seen at all. I can't wait to see next post!
    Big hug and thanks, once again!
    Greetings from Spain.

    1. Oh, yay! Thanks for letting me know! I have been feeling guilty since I said I would do this so long ago. I actually wrote this piece right after you contacted me, but I never polished it up for posting, because so many other Kate things were happening. Then another reader asked a week or so ago, and I had both of you on my mind spurring me to get it done and up. I am very pleased you like the finished product. Hope you enjoy the second half, which will come next week!
      xoxo, Jane

    2. No problem, Jane! Sure I'll enjoy the second half. You're doing a great job on this blog.
      Greetings from (cold and windy) Spain

  3. Loved the spin and where you are taking this article. Looking forward to the next installments.


    1. Thank, Nic! Stoked you enjoyed it. (Oh, and Happy Waitangi Day!)

  4. hahaha, I have a beach vacation in less than a month, so I don't have quite that much time to prepare. So this is good motivation for the meantime to remain motivated!

    I do agree that a lot of it has to do with genetics...look at Mike and Carole for their age. And a lifestyle of sports, exercising and active lifestyle options like walking/biking. Jane, I'm not sure where that photo of Kate biking is from, but I do know that there are photos of her biking in Berkshire post-university.

    I also think it is a good reminder for us all that William fell in love with a curvier Kate. Still slender and by no means overweight, but you could definitely see it in her cheeks, like you can in George's ;-)

    I think so much fuss has been made over their home renovations like two kitchens, the color of their roofing, etc. However, I suspect the Norfolk home must have a home gym.

    Great post!

    Amanda, Canada

  5. While Kate inherited her build from her parents of course (and that build is medium-boned, not willowy thin), snapping back to a quick pre-pregnancy weight is by no means genetics -- it has completely to do with what Kate eats and how active Kate is and how much time Kate has had to devote to that active life style. She could very well have gained 50 non-baby pounds with George and sat around eating cookies all day, and she would not have "snapped" back -- Kate sets a huge store by her physical appearance (as I'm sure most in her position would), and she has taken huge pains to maintain it after one baby and during this second pregnancy. There are pictures of Pippa and Carole as well floating around from Kate's early years at St. Andrews where both are carrying probably 20 extra pounds than they are now. Clearly both of them, in addition to Kate, snapped into action and now have quite enviable figures -- but it's a discredit to the 3 of them to state that it's down to genetics, and it creates excuses for those who think they can't have that type of figure due to a "lack" of "good" genetics. Anyone could have similar figures with the same amount of time and dedication and will power. It's HARD, but clearly worth it to them.

    1. Well, it is certainly a touchy subject, and I agree with both sides, in some way. I do think that Kate works very hard to keep in shape and at the weight she wants to clock in at. I have argued that often when discussing her "work ethic" etc. It takes discipline and it takes sweat, and she obviously has committed to both, which is impressive. At the same time, the fact stands that she is naturally slender. Her hard work, translated to someone else would not produce the same results. Does that mean she doesn't work hard? No. She does, but we all work with what we are given, and Kate is very lucky in the "raw material" department. I don't know if that makes sense in writing, but...

  6. Another insightful and sensitively written post. Love the subject!!

  7. "It was reported that Kate worked out at least an hour every day, and in early 2008, William had a gym installed in Clarence House for Kate's use." - I've never heard that before. Where was it reported? I was always under the impression that they spent most of their together time at her Chelsea apartment before moving to Anglesey. Were they living together at Clarence House before 2011?

  8. Great post, Jane! You've managed to write a pretty good summary without having any info really about her diet (if she does follow one) or fitness regime.

    I think Kate always looked thin because she is tall and has narrow hips. It seems that when she gains weight it just goes into her face while her body just looks athletic as opposed to fragile when she gets really thin.

  9. Also wanted to add that Pippa has the best body of them all - she's like a real athlete!

  10. Great post! So many pictures I hadn't seen before and lots of inspiration for keeping up my fitness regime - you can see yow hard Kate works at it!

  11. Loved the post and can't wait for the next. You even inspired me to give the rowing machine at my gym a try.

  12. I loved this post. You do a great job capturing the inspirational parts of Kate.

  13. Gosh---wish I had ever managed to look that good when putting the rubbish in the bin

  14. I'm the other reader that had requested this info - and I love it! Thank you so much, Jane! You do excellent research and the tone of your writing is so pleasing to read.

    I've been considering starting crew (rowing), but I had a minor setback when I got in touch with the crew team at my university and learned that crew practices are two hours long, every morning at 5 am. (Did you know there's a 5 in the morning, too? What will they think of next?) Baby steps...

    Anyway, thanks again. I love the more long-view informative articles that you write. :-)


    1. Approval from both of you, very good! :) Super glad you liked it, too. I think I had a similar response when I looked up crew in high school. That 5am start time killed the love for me. Kate is a disciplined woman. I get up around that time now, but I stay warm inside with coffee and the news. It really is still nighttime. :)

      Appreciate your kind words, and I hope you enjoy the follow-up post!

  15. I think that Catherine often seems to be two different people. Not in personality or character, but in physical appearance. Depending on the fullness of her face, and the way she is smiling, she sometimes looks much like she did when she was in university. She was a cute girl. Other times, she looks very much like the sophisticated and beautiful young lady she has become. When you look at her fully from the front vs. a side profile seems to be the difference. From any angle, however, she is lovely.

  16. I suspect that she is deliberately paying homage. Which seems a bit sad, really. you can try this out


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