Derval O'Rourke: Fitness and nutrition tips for toning up

When it comes to toning up or trimming down, the best results are obtained by combining right exercise with good food choices.
Derval O'Rourke: Fitness and nutrition tips for toning up
Derval O'Rourke: "I’ve always tried to focus on overall health and believe that results will follow." 

This week I’m sharing my top toning tips. These tips are related to both fitness and nutrition because you really need to focus on both of these in order to tone up. 

I’m sharing a delicious recipe for Beetroot and Walnut mush. This is a great snack or side. It’s one of the Lean Recipes from my most recent Tone at Home Challenge.

Whenever I speak to my friends or members about their health goals, they are often directly linked to weight. More specifically, people want to lose some weight. 

In recent weeks this has increased with lots of people feeling they’ve gained a little bit above their norm during lockdown. I’ve always tried to focus on overall health and believe that results will follow. 

I’m also very conscious about people feeling positive in their bodies and not linking a number on the scales with their self-worth. I do think, however, that it’s important to acknowledge what motivates a person and what will help them be healthy. 

If that is toning up or trimming down, as long as it is being achieved in a sensible, healthy manner then I’m all for it! Today I’m sharing how food portioning will help you be at your healthiest and also a simple 20-minute circuit from my site


 When it comes to dropping weight or toning up, the best results are obtained when you combine the right exercise with good food choices, and do this consistently over a period of time. Portioning is hugely important, and is something that can be overlooked by a lot of people, including myself sometimes.

Getting the portion size right will be a huge asset to you and a skill that you will have forever. So, how much of each food group should you be eating? 

First, let's start off with the plate you are using. As a way to help you visually understand it is recommended that your plate is the size of your hand, from the base of your palm to your fingertips. Use your hand to measure against your plates at home and pick the one that represents the closest fit to the recommendation.

Now that you know what size your plate should be, you need to consider how much of each food group you should be putting onto it.

To maintain or drop weight, your plate should be:

  • 50% vegetables
  • 25% protein
  • 25% carbohydrates
  • 1tbsp of healthy fats

This is a guideline. It might not be realistic to have your plate look like this for each meal, so try to think about your macronutrient consumption throughout the entire day instead. For instance, if you had a bowl of pasta for lunch, go lighter on the carbs at dinner time and add some extra veggies instead, or if you had a salad for lunch, you can go a little lighter on veggies for dinner. 

We should enjoy meal times, so don’t get yourself down if every meal isn’t portioned as per the above, but do keep plugging away and aim for the right portioning for you. Being mindful of your food portioning and choices will go a long way to achieving your health goals.

5 Quick Tips for Food:

• Use a plate that is the size of your hand

• Be aware of your hunger

• Look at your food for lots of colour on the plate

• Aim to hit all the food groups for a healthy balanced diet

• Don’t skip meals or snacks - aim to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day

Toning Workout

As I’ve mentioned above, combining food with exercise is really important in order to reach your goals. So why not give the Toning Workout below a go?

Warm Up:

Perform each movement for 20 seconds and do  two rounds:

• Cat stretch

• Mountain climbers

• Windmills

• Jump jacks

Main Workout:

Every minute on the minute (EMOM)  three  rounds for 12 minutes

• 12 snatches (6 each hand)

• 10/12 push ups

• 15 air squats

• 40 second plank

Cool Down:

Same as warm up.

The Toning Workouts that I have on show a beginner and advanced option for each move on screen, so you can follow all beginner, all advanced or a mixture. It’s up to you, and is a great way to see if you’re progressing over the course of a couple of weeks.

  • Fitness Tip: Gently touch your toes 10 times. You can do this standing up or sitting down. I always feel better after doing this, nice and slowly.

  • Wellness Tip: Write down compliments that people give you in a note on your phone. Read often.

Beetroot & Walnut Mush

This is a great alternative to hummus and is delicious served with some crudités, flatbreads or crackers.

The colour is vibrant and screams goodness, while the combination of the mint, sweet beets and earthy walnuts means the dip scores serious points on the taste scale.

Beetroot is wonderful for heart health thanks to its nitrate content and they are also a source of iron and other antioxidants. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 and other healthy fats. All in all, this mush is a winner.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins


• 200g walnuts

• 400g beetroot, cooked

• 2 tbs light tahini paste

• 2 cloves garlic

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

• Salt and pepper

• 1 tsp cumin powder

• 1 handful fresh chopped mint


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Place walnuts on a tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.

3. Mix all of the remaining ingredients together and blend until smooth.

4. Store in an airtight container.

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