Derval O'Rourke's tips for exercising and staying motivated 

Derval O'Rourke's tips for exercising and staying motivated 
Derval regularly resets her goals to stay motivated

This week I’m going to talk about what I do when I get a little bit de-motivated with my fitness routine and I’m sharing a recipe which has been hugely popular with my friends - Cauliflower Blue Cheese Salad.

When I find myself a little all over the place with my fitness I look at my goals and I reset them, like improving my circuit training, running a longer distance or trying something new. These goals are a lot more motivating for me than a number on the scales.

The way I reset my goals is really simple. I use the SMART system which is something lots of you may have heard of. It’s a helpful tool for you whether it is for fitness or for any project. In relation to my fitness goals, Here is what I do:

1) Specific:

I change my goals regularly to keep it interesting. Sometimes it’s more strength and other times it's more cardio based. I make it as specific as I can to make sure I know what I am aiming towards. My goal now is to complete my 28 Day Tone at Home challenge on my site. For each challenge, I fill in a goal chart, I try to have different goals for each challenge to ensure I’m getting something new from each.

2) Measurable:

You must be able to measure your progress. Set yourself little tests and see if you are on the right track towards your goal. Goals might have to be readjusted slightly depending on how everything is working out. At the moment I am judging it based on how many sets I can get in during our Tone at Home workouts - I prefer to work to a certain time and challenge myself to get as many sets and reps in during this time as possible.

3) Achievable:

I used to set massive sports goals; this was when I was a professional athlete and those goals were very achievable if somewhat ambitious! Now my fitness goals are far more modest but they are important nonetheless.

Rather than trying to be one of the best athletes in the world my goals now are far more normal and thus far more achievable for where I am in life. It’s so important to realise that it’s amazing if you have made time in your busy day for 20 minutes of movement and to be proud; it’s also important to remember that if life gets in the way and your schedule doesn’t always go to plan - that’s ok too, and not something to derail you.

4) Realistic:

I like to set realistic goals. There is no point putting yourself under crazy pressure just to achieve a goal you set. Evaluate your situation and make sure that everything is balanced between work, exercise and family life.

In my experience, if you put huge pressure on the enjoyment actually gets taken out of it, so go easy on yourself and remember that some days you mightn’t feel like doing anything, and that’s ok.

5) Time Measured:

When, when, when! Put an expiry date on your goals to help you stay on track. This is not to pressure you, it is simply to make you more likely to succeed. If the goal isn’t reached by that date, then pick a new date - but it’s better to have the date in place to keep you focused.

Fitness Tip: Be sure to choose a style of training you enjoy. Be it HIIT, weight training, running or walking, you will achieve far more doing 30 minutes of something you love and are more likely to stick with it long term too. Mixing up your training is a great idea.

Wellness Tip: Choose one press/cupboard to declutter today; it will give you a sense of satisfaction and will help to declutter your mind too.

Recipe: Cauliflower Blue Cheese Salad

Cauliflower Blue Cheese Salad
Cauliflower Blue Cheese Salad

This salad is a beautiful combination of flavours with the crunchy cauliflower, sweet apple and salty blue cheese. It’s delicious served as a side to chicken, fish or steak

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30minutes

Cooktime: 15minutes


  • Head of Cauliflower, cut into small florets

  • Block of blue cheese, cut into small cubes

  • 2 red eating apples, cored and diced

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

  • Juice of ½ a lemon

  • 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped

  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

  • Small bunch of herbs, roughly chopped (I like parsley)


1.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

2.Put cauliflower florets on a tray and toss in the oil salt & pepper then roast in oven for 15 minutes.

3.Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

4.Once cooled, toss together with the apple, chopped walnuts lemon juice and drizzle over the olive oil

5.Crumble over the blue cheese and herbs to serve

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