Tried and trusted tips to keep you fit and fab for 2015

IT’S THE season for detoxing, diets and doing right by your body. And given the time of year that’s in it, we’re being bombarded with information on what newfangled workouts we might be enjoying in 2015. 

Certainly, ‘piloxing’ (Pilates and boxing) and aerial fitness sound like good fun… but novelty factor aside, are the new fitness fads all they’re cracked up to be?

Turns out that several personal trainers prefer to stick by their tried-and-tested philosophies and methods. Many of them acknowledge that most people should be tackling their fitness regimes anew, with a fresh perspective… but while some fitness trends come and go, there are some hard and fast rules that stand the test of time. We asked some of them for their favourite fitness commandments for 2015.

1. Don’t burn yourself out

Good news everyone: celebrity trainer Paul Byrne, who has trained everyone from Keith Duffy to Rosanna Davison, says that one should ease themselves gently into a new regime. “Take the time and don’t rush into anything, he advises.

“Otherwise, if you train every day of the week, you’ll burn yourself out before the end of the month and you won’t go back.” Byrne also advises that novices beware of dazzling gym offers in January.

“Some of the big public gyms have more salespeople than actual trainers, which says a lot,” he notes.

“There’s a massive boom right now for using personal trainers and getting a more tailored plan and correct advice.”

2. Combine cardio and weights

Tried and trusted tips to keep you fit and fab for 2015

An oldie but a goodie… don’t stick to one thing just because you’re good at it. “A good fitness plan must include cardio and weight training,” explains Cork-based trainer Gillian O’Sullivan. “Cardio will help burn fat and increase heart and lung fitness.

Weight training will help tone and improve body shape. As you get older, the weight training is essential. It maintains muscle and reduces body fat. A successful program will include 4 days cardio and 3 days weight training.”

3. Do what you love

This is surely the most basic of rules: if you love it, you will have no problem finding them time to do it. “For me it’s essential to do something that I love,” notes Dublin-based trainer Maeve Logan, who trains at the Henry Wellness Centre (they also run camps in Clonakilty, Cork).

“There is nothing more de-motivating on these cold dark days then dragging yourself off a comfy couch for an exercises session you’re just not into. Be it Zumba, Strong Man training, salsa or that 5 a-side with the work crew, make sure it’s something to not only get you sweating but smiling too.”

4. Get clued in on your own body

Tried and trusted tips to keep you fit and fab for 2015

One person’s ideal workout is another person’s idea of hell, so forget what is fashionable and tune into your own strengths.

“Understand as much as possible how your body works, how exercise affects you and how your diet affects you,” advises Tony Martin, founder of the Slimways diet and training method, based on Watercourse Road, Cork.

“Managing the response allows you to fully recover and helps to keep your training progressive.”

5. Beware of evening eating

It’s the trap we all fall into: we start the day afresh and full of great intentions, only to have them fall by the wayside as the day takes its toll. “By the time the evening rolls around, people relax,” says Byrne.

“If their calories have been too low during the day, they overindulge, and then the next day they’re feeling guilty. If they skip breakfast they’ll crave something sugary later in the day. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating 2 hours before you go to bed.”

6. Remember to favour quality over quantity

Says Martin: “Don’t spend any more time than you have to working out than you have to. You only have so much time and it’s precious.”

So how much constitutes a workout well done? “Train to the point where your body fails,” he advises. “Register where you have arrived at and look to improve on that position the next time you train.”

7. Forget fad diets

Take the energy that you would expend on ‘outsmarting’ your body with trickery… and focus on your willpower instead.

“All of this 1200-calories-a-day, or detoxing, or carrots and juices for one day is pointless,’ says Byrne.

“The body needs carbs, fats and protein and ideally they should be in every meal. If you want to eliminate one thing, it’s sugar. Some people take in a massive 17 spoonfuls of sugar a day without even realising it… and studies have shown that for some people, sugar is more addictive than and has a similar effect on the brain as cocaine does.”

Aim to lose 1-2 pounds a week: “If you crash diet you’ll lose more than that, but it’s actually water weight, and you’ll put it back on.”

8. Get organised

Willpower is one thing: quite another is making a new regime fit your day. Staying on top of things is paramount, says O’Sullivan: “Plan exactly what days you are going and what times,” she says.

“Try to keep the same routine every week. Have the gear bag or gear out the night before. If you know you are more likely to get caught with work, then go in the morning. At the start of the week, make a plan in your diary and stick to it. This will help prevent you from leaving it to chance and not happening at all.”

9. Keep a food diary

Personal trainers are unanimous that a food diary, kept honestly and completely, leaves you nowhere to hide from your own bad habits.

“The right food can be accountable for anything from 50-80% of your results, so it is vital to get things down on paper,” says Logan.

“Make sure you are always seeking to reduce the sugar and alcohol content, up the nutritional value by balancing your healthy fats, animal and plant proteins and high quality carbohydrates. You may be surprised with what it shows.”

10. It’s not all about exercise

It’s all very well upkeeping a decent fitness regime… but you may have an abundance of free fitness equipment in your own home.

“Structured exercise is brilliant, however, you must keep active during the day as much as you can,” says O’Sullivan. 11. Invest in ‘people power’ Be inspired by those who have already achieved your fitness goals, according to Martin: “Look up and seek advice from people who have achieved nothing,” he says.

“Commit to a certain set of results and make sure you get measured by a trainer regularly so that you stay on track.”

12. Don’t be afraid to change things up

If variety is the spice of life, a new challenge could be the secret spice for your success. “Maybe this is your year to try something new,” says Logan.

“Have a think; what have you always wanted to try but never got around to? “By switching things up in a gym routine, trying a new class or going for a new sport you can shock the body into action and be on the way to great new results.”

13. Train earlier

“Numerous studied have shown that the best time to kickstart one’s metabolism and get the body burning fat as a fuel source is to train early, on an empty stomach,” advises Martin. “Just make sure you’re fully warmed up, and ready to train until you drop.”

14. Enlist a training buddy

There is certainly strength in numbers, according to Logan: “Pick someone a little fitter then you and someone you work well with, either someone that bosses you into action or someone that will hold your hand through it,” she says.

“It may be the case that you end up being the motivational force in the relationship. Teamwork is often best, especially because you are being held accountable. There is far less room for excuses and again it can make the whole experience a bit more fun.”

15. Try body weight training

If High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT). Was 2014’s big fitness story, using your own body weight as the ‘gym’ is this year’s workout to try.

“You can find plenty of YouTube videos that will get your working for five minutes a day,” reveals Byrne.

“This gets your heart rate up and your body into a higher metabolic state. It’s much more effective than an hour on the treadmill.”

The wacky fads that might be coming to a gym near you:

Karaoke Yoga: Already a huge hit in LA teacher Jennifer Pastiloff’s studio, yogis get to sing to their hearts’ content while mastering a downward dog. Probably trickier than it sounds. “It’s longer exhales, it’s sweating, dancing,” explains Pastiloff. “It’s not about alignment; it’s about connecting to your joy.”

Sauna Suits: Tracksuits are so 2014: a sauna suit leads to extreme sweating, which reportedly encourages weight loss. Experts note that this also leads to dehydration, and that water weight is the only thing really being lost. Next!

The Stiletto Workout: Fitness enthusiasts in New York head to this studio in their heels, and the workout supposedly improved cardiovascular strength, core fitness and muscle tone. Also handy for Saturday night walkabouts, we presume.

Surfset: If you’d like to benefit from the all-over benefits of surfing, but don’t live near Bondi Beach, keep an eye out for the RipSurferX machine. A piece of apparatus designed like a surfboard, this mimics a board on water. The resulting workout is an unholy marriage of yoga, strength and cardio routines.

The ‘Fifty Shades’ workout: New York fitness guru Kirsten James has taken some of the sexy moves from the bestselling novel and turned them into a workout. With names like the Sexy Scissor and the Dirty Diamond, it’s safe to assume those who take the classes probably get more than they bargained for.


WHO: Gillian O’Sullivan

WHERE: Based in the Hayfield Manor Hotel, Cork City for personal training and in Supernova, Ballincollig, Cork for fitness classes. See or call 086 107 2528.

WHO: Paul Byrne

WHERE: Bodybyrne, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2. See or call 01 677 9182.

WHO: Maeve Logan

WHERE: 14a Lower Pembroke Street, Dublin 2 and Clonakilty, Cork. See or call 01 661 6195.

WHO: Tony Martin

WHERE: Slimways Gym, Watercourse Road, Cork. See or call 087-4456633


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