Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh: 'I aim to walk the days I don’t do a workout'

Staying fit takes commitment, even if it means turning up to the gym before breakfast. RTÉ presenter and mum of four Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh opens up about her high-energy life
Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh: 'I aim to walk the days I don’t do a workout'

Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, presenter of RTÉ's 'Nationwide': "When it comes to healthy eating you have to entice all the family or else it becomes a chore." Picture: Kieran Harnett

What shape are you in?

Not bad, could be better — I am working out twice a week but my food intake needs to be less. I go to Underground Fitness in Dublin every Tuesday and Thursday at 6.50am and am back in time to get the youngest fella to school and ready for the day. I aim to walk the days I don’t do a workout.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I love porridge and am trying this oaty pancake banana recipe for breakfast and so far a few at home also like it. When it comes to healthy eating you have to entice all the family or else it becomes a chore.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

Bread, alcohol, chocolate — I really do look at desserts before main courses.

What would keep you awake at night?

I have recently had pangs of anxiety. Sometimes my heart will start racing when I am lying in bed, I am trying breathing methods to control it. Like most of us, you think children, career, husband, money and the foxes that are tormenting my poor dog.

How do you relax?

If I exercise it relaxes me, Also I miss my yoga classes. I have to try to motivate myself to do it.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would ask our Uachtarán Micheál D Ó hÚiginn and Sabina. They are everything that I love about Ireland, cultured, fluent in Irish and real. Damien Dempsey, because he speaks to so many young people through his music and he is so socially aware and cares. Eileen Flynn, because I met her a few years ago and we spent two hours talking and we need another chat. Author Eoin Colfer a calm man with such fun in his eyes and singer/actress Jessie Buckley because she recently described her success as being like a Connemara pony in the Grand National. Her performance in I’m Thinking of Ending Things is excellent but leaves you wondering what’s next?

What’s your favourite smell?

I love nutmeg and cinnamon. I have great childhood memories of the smell of the sea mixed with burning turf in Connemara.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I have a spare tyre that annoys me; ‘fat back’ appeared in my 40s which I don’t like but I try not to look at it. I sometimes can have a double chin. But I am the way I am and thank God for good skin, good hair, a real smile.

When is the last time you cried?

Last week when my son’s Leaving Cert results appeared on a Post-it as I ate my breakfast. I cried as I wanted to share the joy with my father, but he is no longer with us. My mother made me cry yesterday as she cried about her sister Bríd, 92, who died in London and the fact that she can’t attend her funeral. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

What traits do you least like in others?

Lack of loyalty. I have been so hurt when I thought I could rely on people. So now I have less close friends, but more reliability.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

I am too open, leaving myself too vulnerable. But it’s a trait I like in others.

Do you pray?

Yes, but simple prayers I learnt as a child. I find it comforting.

What quote inspires you the most and why?

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine, or we rely on each other.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I have been all around the country with RTÉ’s Nationwide and am so lucky that I can work everywhere and anywhere. But this year I fell in love with Donegal, specially Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore) it’s rugged, it’s beautiful, it’s Gaelach, it’s character is fun and more fun and the people love the craic. The drive from Letterkenny to Gweedore is like a backdrop to a cowboy movie. A visit to the Blaskets recently also blew me away, but I have Peig issues, so I need to deal with that.

What would cheer up your day?

Somebody to have an idea for dinner. I am blank.

  • Bláthnaid and Anne Cassin present a special edition of Nationwide tonight (September 18) on RTÉ One at 7pm, highlighting what Culture Night means across the country 

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