Body Transformation: Kaila Smith Burnt Fat To The Ground!

Injury rehab taught Kaila to respect nutrition and exercise so she could ball on the court. See how she lost 35 pounds and turned fitness into an education!

Why I decided to transform

My transformation started in January 2011 when I tore my ACL playing college basketball. I was a power forward and was expected to be bigger than other girls, so I thought it was OK to eat whatever I wanted.

When I tore my ACL, everyone warned me I would get out of shape and gain weight. I wasn't allowed any physical activity except for physical therapy for about three months. I couldn't run for 6 months and couldn't play basketball for 9-12 months. I didn't want to be depressed like many people are after injury. I declined to listen to others and come back better, healthier, and stronger than ever to get my starting spot back. I was dedicated to physical therapy and watched what I ate to heal faster.

As I progressed, I was able to lift weights, ride the bike, and use the elliptical. I learned to stay hydrated, how to use supplements, and when to eat, rather than eating for fun. I became motivated and was always in the gym.

After six months, I could run and found joy in it for the first time. When it's taken away, you realize how much you took it for granted. I played contact basketball eight months after surgery. I felt stronger and healthier than ever and came into the season as a starter. I kept working out and eating healthy but didn't feel as dedicated.

Before /// 172 lbs
After /// 137 lbs
AGE 19 / HEIGHT 5'9" / BODY FAT 30%
AGE 22 / HEIGHT 5'9" / BODY FAT 18%
Post To Fitboard

In December 2011, I tore my meniscus. I played through the season and delayed surgery until April 2012. I became depressed. It was hard to sit out and go through the process again. It was a shorter recovery, but I felt like I let myself and my team down. I wasn't allowed to run for three months. When I was cleared to run again, I didn't find the joy in it. I felt depressed and didn't care about nutrition or exercise.

A month later, I kicked it into gear and got out of my funk. A week after surgery, I signed up for a half marathon and started to prepare. I worked out more, lifted weights, ran, and focused on nutrition. I ran my first half marathon in October 2012, in 2 hours and 30 minutes. After that, I committed to get back into the great shape. In June 2013, I ran my second half marathon in 1 hour and 51 minutes.

Cool Fact

Kaila is studying clinical psychology to work within the prison
system and help girls who struggle with eating disorders!

How I accomplished my goals

There were many times I wanted to quit. My fitness journey started after a knee surgery, so there were many letdowns and failures. I didn't want sympathy or people to make excuses for me. I wanted an opportunity to turn my life around and get the body and life I desired.

After my second knee surgery, I did quit, but I set myself up with motivation by signing up for the half marathon. Working out with people or at events like marathons and mud runs inspired me to push forward. Nutritionally, there were many times I wanted to quit, and many times I did. No matter how many times I failed, I started over.

If you slip up nutritionally, don't let it ruin your workout or the following week. Failure happens and I learned to overcome it. There were times when I wouldn't see results and thought I was eating too much, so I ate few calories, which was even worse. I had to remind myself that results take time and don't come from not eating. They come from proper nutrition and exercise. I eventually found a healthy balance.

What aspect challenged me the most

Dieting was the hardest part of my fitness journey. I lifted weights for years but always ate whatever I wanted. There was a point when I ate 12 pieces of candy instead of actual food for dinner. My family is big on large portions and ate as much as possible.

Going home from college was a struggle. My dad is the best cook, so I always wanted to eat. I still crave sweets before healthier options but I know it negatively affects my body.

"I hope to inspire my friends and family and help them start their fitness journeys."

My future fitness plans

I'd like to build more muscle. I hope to inspire my friends and family and help them start their fitness journeys. I want to use my psychology degree to counsel people with eating disorders and teach them how diet and exercise help the body.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

  • Don't give up.
  • Surround yourself with people who support your goals.
  • Be prepared to make sacrifices.
  • Don't look at your body every day and expect progression.

How helped me reach my goals taught me the purpose of supplementation. I enjoy looking at transformations in a slump to see other people who went through struggles. The Forum has many sections that provide answers to my questions.

Kaila's Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. "Sweet Disposition" by Temper Trap
  2. "Ambition" by Wale
  3. "Started From The Bottom" by Drake
  4. "Love Me" by Lil' Wayne
  5. "Till I Collapse" by Eminem


  • To Charissa Murakami and Charissa Photography for being part of my transformation.
  • To my trainer, Sarah Loogman, who played a massive role in my transformation.