With her heart set on taking part in a triathlon next summer, Róisín Burke signs up for a training course with guru Laura Dorgan.
A former fitness bunny turned super slob, I have become the type of person who eats 10 chicken nuggets for breakfast followed by a few chocolate bars for a sugar rush because that stuff just hits the spot.
However, Cork’s top fitness guru Laura Dorgan has taken on the task of the decade in hoping to transform this unhealthy journalist, into a beacon of health in just a few short weeks. I’d like to say it started well, but that would be a lie.
I arrived at Laura’s base, Fitnessworx, hungover and hungry, on a Thursday morning, despite having munched my way through an entire Terry’s Chocolate Orange before heading out the door.
I met the bundle of energy and enthusiasm that is Laura Dorgan and immediately questioned everything I was doing with my life, including rocking up to the gym in a pair of dungarees.
Laura is the type of person who fills you with hope and optimism, and it’s all down to her aura of health and positivity. But when you are recovering from a few vodkas too many, with a belly full of chocolate and chicken, that positivity can be overwhelming and a little bit scary.
For starters, she filled me in on her new app, Laura Dorgan Fitness, a virtual trainer you carry around in your pocket.
Laura, with the help of her husband Michael Dorgan, launched the app in September. Since setting up online, Laura has had people all over the world logging on to avail of her advice and fitness tips, including England, New York, Australia, Germany and even the Irish Naval Service.
The idea is to train with Laura for a few weeks and then switch over to the app when you have a good idea of the exercises and are motivated enough to train by yourself with direction and support via the app.
The online aid was born out of necessity.
“I was too busy and couldn’t fit in people one to one. There are only so many slots available between 6am-8am and 5pm-9pm, when I was jammed again,” says Laura.
“I have people on endless waiting lists so I said if I train people for six to eight weeks and then switch them over to the app, I can get through more people and they will save a fortune.
“It is more than half the price, I’m still with them, I am still accessible, contactable and they are still all my clients.”
Of course, there is also the option to just train online and, with prices starting from just €65 for four weeks online training, you can easily see why it is becoming a popular option.
Then it was time for my fitness assessment. Laura asked me a series of questions to assess what I wanted to achieve.
I told her I had my heart set on a sprinter triathlon for next summer and I needed to make some lifestyle changes in order to achieve my new-found goal.
After meeting Laura, sitting down with her and going through my diet and lifestyle I realised that I can’t keep eating rubbish and expect to have good health. I figured I had a bit of an uphill challenge ahead of me in order to regain a sense of comfort with a fitness regime. Also, it had been awhile since I effortlessly jogged 10km for the fun.
Things started as I thought they would. Horrifically. I merely looked at the treadmill and pain ensued.
It occurred to me that getting fit and maintaining a level of fitness are two very different beasts to master.
One thing I registered was that when you are maintaining a level of fitness, you are told again and again to listen to your body and don’t overdo things, but when you are getting fit, you are told to flat out, to ignore your body, ignore the panicked sirens going off in your head telling you to stop and just keep going.
Though I found this information confusing at first, I persevered with my new programme.
I went for a run and had a healthy breakfast and I made a general effort to live a more conservative healthy existence.
Laura’s app was extremely helpful in terms of motivation and guidance. It gave me an idea of what I should be working on and, while I did not follow it religiously, I found it beneficial.
The app consisted of exercises explained through easy-to-follow videos and each day was carefully divided into various routines that I was expected to carry out in order to advance my training.
My programme consisted of 15 routines, each made up of a range of exercises to strengthen my body and advance my training and I could pick and choose between them as long as I didn’t do two strength session on two consecutive
It was like having a positive person in my pocket who shouted support and encouragement at me every time I took the time to listen.
From the start of 2018, the app will also help with my nutrition, offering me healthy choices for my meals.
“From January, I will be offering nutrition packages on my app and in person, that will show people how to make healthy eating choices,” Laura says.
With the help of the app and Laura Dorgan, I will be giving it socks over the next few weeks and who knows, I might be fit and raring to go by the time that sprinter triathlon swings around next summer.
Laura’s top tips for staying fit over Christmas without going to the gym
¦ 1. Keep moving
Sitting around at gatherings with families and friends for an hour here and there you might often find yourself slumped on the sofa. If you’re courageous enough, venture outside to that cold but fresh air to knock out your cardio, even a 20-30 minute walk will do you the world of good.
¦ 2. Try healthier recipes
With so many different healthy recipes available, there’s no reason you can’t find one that will make your taste buds and diet plan happy. Avoid meals with sauces and dressings, too many hidden calories.
¦ 3. Drink up before you go
It’s important to make sure you drink enough water before the festivities. Water is necessary for the body to function at its optimal level, and it can help calm a false sense of hunger.
¦ 4. Don’t overindulge
Avoid buying those many ‘treats’ as they will be lying around the house looking very tempting. Simply buy only what’s needed.
¦ 5. Line up your 2108 plan
If you are going to set a new year’s resolution, make sure you lay it out properly beforehand. Writing down and planning your goals may make you more likely to achieve them, so that’s the first place to start.
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