All posts by gb-admin

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How to be less stressed with a crazy to-do list

OK, I admit it. I put up hundreds of motivational quotes on my blog, and you know what?

Sometimes, actually LOTS of times, I don’t always feel 100%.  I don’t always bounce out of bed. I don’t look forward to each and every day like Instagram wants us all to feel.

And that’s OK.

What tends to fill my mind, like most women I know, is one big, giant, never-ending to-do list. I write lists all the time, scrunch them up in little post-its (otherwise I forget!) and when it’s done, it’s like a giant sense of relief as we are one step to finishing said list. Anxiety much?

I digress.

Something, however, that’s never on the to-do list for everyone, is scheduled time-out. I have gym time, work time, friend time, family and boyfriend time. So I’ve decided to add in little slots during the week to do the things I love to do, to make sure my to-do list never falters too far from Number 1. (Me- AHEM!).

Now this is probably easier said than done, as I don’t have kids or a dog (I’m crying at the dog part btw…) but I’m hoping that some of my tips below will allow for a more positive mindset and a more relaxed you, REGARDLESS of how many cute kids or picture perfect puppies you have :)

The following are what I do to get some head-space, some me-time and less stress-time:

1. Any day it’s not lashing rain, I try to walk into and out of work. My commute walking is about 30 mins each way at the moment, so it adds to about 7,000 steps. It means I can listen to podcasts, music (usually terrible Spanish music to be fair!) and just forget about any stresses.

2. I try to go to the gym at least 3 times a week. This is non-negotiable, unless I’m away and really want a break from everything. If I’m not in the gym I’ll go for a half day hike somewhere pretty.

3. I’ve started yoga each Wednesday evening and completely switch off in that hour. I don’t get lost in ‘another world’, so much as I allow the practice to be only full of positive thoughts, calmness and relaxation. Negative thoughts can sit this one out on the bench.

4. I try not to use my phone after 10pm. They only time I use my phone in bed on a ‘school night’ is to set my alarm. Then it’s turned over and left on my bedside table.

5. I’ve turned off all notifications on my phone. Yes I have a blog and yes I’m already pretty crap with my phone in terms of replying to begin with. But, between working in Digital, having the blog and freelancing, my mind would go crazy with the amount of notifications so they are always switched to OFF. Sorry not sorry.

6. I have no TV. Well, I have no channels tuned in. I’ve been that way since I left college over 10 years ago. It’s amazing and you get so much more done in the evenings. No Love Island though, and no Ex On The Beach, which is fairly devastating though.

7. I try and get out of Dublin every few weekends. Fresh air, fresh lungs, fresh head. It feels like a mini-holiday, even if it’s just for a day to Wicklow.

8. I watch what I eat. What has this got to do with my to-do list you might ask? Well, I keep track of everything I eat in MyFitnessPal. Therefore I know why I might be cranky after certain foods, or feel down or too ‘up’ either. Nutrition has a MASSIVE  impact on our mood (READ: OUR HORMONES!) take note lads and lassies.

9. I book massages and facials in lieu of drinking and partying. So I don’t really drink, just on occasions. So I take that €€ and use it on Number 1. Selfish? Maybe. Deserved? HELL YES!!!

10. I don’t stress if people are late, arrive late, don’t reply to a text, reply late, don’t answer…I don’t absorb passive aggression from other girls (I ignore the HELL out of it actually) and I have learned to move far, far away from people who are constantly negative. It’s very, very damaging and there are some people that simply don’t want positive people around them and just want you to agree with the negatives and be gone. My mantra now is to stay the hell away. Be kind, be polite, but don’t get involved.

Hopefully this will resonate with some of you- maybe not all of the points will be possible but, even if you can take one or two on-board it will be a great start!

X

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GymBunny’s guide on where to go in Bali

Well, this is not very health and fitness related, but I have had SO many of you guys request info on my recent trip, that I decided to put together a little post :)

So, I decided to bite the bullet this summer.

After YEARS, yes- YEARS- of humming and hawing, I decided to go a little further afield and branch out to new horizons in Bali for my summer hols!

Bali is an island and is a province of Indonesia in Asia and is made up of the island of Bali and some little surrounding islands too. It’s hugely popular with Aussie surfers and yogis and so caters very well to Western tastes when it comes to grungy little surf shack cafes and perfectly poached eggs with ‘avo-toast’.

The majority of Bali’s natives practice Hinduism, with over 85% of the majority, followed by roughly 15% Muslim in faith. The people are so gentle and lovely,  incredibly friendly and I felt so safe the entire time- I would actually happily travel there on my own.

Bali Flower

Bali has been residing in my brain and messing with my my mind for years and somewhere I always wanted to go. I mentioned it to my bestie before Christmas last year and away we went and booked. Despite planning for so long on the actual destination, the actual initial getting it all done and finalised happened very quickly. We booked flights using Sky Scanner,  flying Dublin to Denpasar, and the return flights for the two of us cost us about €1150. Even looking at accommodation at that stage brought it to approx €1200 in total each, including some really nice hotels. We weren’t too fussy about our travel dates to be honest. We did, however, want the shortest journey duration possible, without breaking the bank! And so began our little adventure…

Girls at Single Fin Bali

We started booking flights etc, in January and the trip was the end of June to mid-July. This is a great time to visit Bali as you have sun but it’s not too hot and not too humid either- OR too rainy. My pal Tash lives in Bali and recommended this time of year, so I forgot the weather apps, begrudgingly (I’m a total weather nerd!) and went with the local advice :)

We started looking into where to stay in about February or March and kept an eye out- I’m a huge fan of booking.com and typically use this for all my hotels when going abroad, if I’m not using Air B n’B. We started with all the typical Bali hotspots and ended up doing a plan for our trip that looked something like this:

Seminyak- Day 1-5

Ubud- Day 5-8

Gili Trawangan Day 8-13

Uluwatu Day 13-15

Overall, we spent two and a half days tin transit. The flights are long-haul- I think we were almost 25-28 hours travelling over and back altogether. The flight I found really awful and I couldn’t sleep- probably the excitement mixed with airplane temperature drops. We flew with Malaysia airlines and I wasn’t really impressed by the level of comfort or the food – BUT, you pay for what you get. The same flights on the same day with other airlines were double the price!

We had to alter our accommodation  around even after all the confirmations as the weather took a little turn in the middle of our trip, but with booking.com it was so easy to change. This sounds like an #ad but it’s totally not it’s just SO easy to use and you don’t need to pay typically until you arrive which is always a bonus!

Here’s a little run-down on what each place was like and what we did in each place…

Note: if you know me at all, you will know that I LOVE sunbathing, I LOVE beaches and I LOVE walking. SO put me in a hot, sunny environment and I’m easy to please. I am not, on the other hand, so enamored with overcast, dull, grey skies and can get cranky/sick/tired. *See below.

Denpasar Airport

Ok, so arriving in the airport I imagined it would be total chaos. It was actually really easy. We had arranged a driver in advance, which I would recommend, as it makes getting off a long-haul flight so much less of a bother. Also to note, loads of hotels offer transfers too when you book, which is worth keeping in mind. Our driver met us with a little sign outside arrivals and was super friendly-  Siobhan (my pal) took over on the small talk (which I hate) and away we went to our first destination- Seminyak!

Seminyak

Driving into Seminyak, I had expected this sleepy little beach town. It’s not exactly the reality. It’s hectic in terms of traffic, scooters EVERYWHERE, broken footpaths and cafes and restaurants, cute little Aussie and Balinese boutiques everywhere and loads of Spas.

We checked in, got showered- in the OUTDOOR shower- and then headed to the beach to watch sunset. Then we felt fancy, got a local beer which is far from fancy but does the job (Bintang is the local beer, Radler is the shandy) and after watching the sunset, we went and treated ourselves to a VERY FANCY full-body massage at Spring Spa. I had the Spring massage, my pal the Balinese. Mine was achingly amazing. Like the best sports massage ever but also really relaxing at the same time. 1 hour of bliss for 20 quid max including tip. We spent the next few days floating about sampling the coffee everywhere we could and some of the amazing healthy restaurants peppering the streets of crazy little Seminyak. Our hotel was in Petitenget beside the W hotel, which was quite basic but had a fab gym. I used the ‘fab’ gym twice and did a HIIT circuit outside our little villa. There was the start and the end of my gym-time in Bali. Yikes!

Seminyak beach

Restaurant/cafe wise, I’d recommend Sisterfields (probably the best food I had in Seminyak- try the avocado toast or anything really!), Monsieur Spoon( coffee and cake), Cafe Organic (acai bowls, great coffee, very Insta-friendly but, alas, the staff not so much!), Ku De Ta (for a VERY fancy date night ( I wasn’t a huge fan as the food was just OK but the setting is divine. It’s about 4 or 5 times more expensive than anywhere else around though!). Very Sex and the City. Livingstone is another cafe/bakery that stands out too and for some local food try Warung Dedalu (very cheap and cheerful and a favourite for those looking for cheap-eats and quick service). In terms of night-life, everyone had recommended Potato Head, but I didn’t get a great vibe from it walking by during the day. We were also advised to check out the cafe Nalu bowls. Really wasn’t that impressed. Very touristy, very average and poor service.

We just went on a random night or two out in Seminyak and ended up in the craziest Mexican place called Mexicola. You have to try it at least once. Mental, loud, crazy, busy and banging tunes. You can also get tacos while you dance. Win win. After that we went to La Favela which was amazing- another kind-of club but everyone was smoking and it was actually really horrible being in there after a half hour, our lungs just gave up! Even though the music was AMAZING.

My favourite part of Seminyak was actually a day club called Mrs Sippy. So funky, so clean, modern, fresh and summery. Great food, superb service, GREAT DJ’s, a super mix of locals and tourists and a really great holiday vibe. You don’t have t pay for the small white beds but you cannot bring food or water inside. We literally spent three days there. BLISS.

Mrs Sippy Bali

We arranged for a driver (through our hotel) to drive us to Ubud. I didn’t have a great feeling as the weather was a little overcast and when we left Seminyak I didn’t feel 100% at all. Started to feel really fluey and a little sick too :(. I am the weatherman.

Ubud

We arrived to Ubud at night- it took us less than two hours to get there. We had booked a super fancy hotel there and it felt all very honeymoonish when we arrived. It was full of 14 century Balinese artifacts that were lost on us, to be fair, but we did make some ‘hilarious’ videos of us finding lizards and other creatures. Breakfast was meh but the views were incredible. We stayed in the jungle and had an infinity pool which was just fab. We got up the next morning and went straight in on our free shuttle and grabbed coffee and second brekkie in a very cool place called Seniman (hat tip to some of my followers for telling us where to go!). We walked up and down the streets and stopped to take loads of the little shrines everywhere.

Twice a day, the Balinese Hindus make an offering to their gods. These are beautiful little colourful baskets filled with treats, flowers, and some beautiful smelling incense. It’s really pretty and particularly eye-catching in Ubud. (although the photo above was taken in Seminyak- I’m such a sneak!).

hindu god

Ubud is very similar to Seminyak on first sight (but greener and minus the beaches!) but seems to be a real haven for Balinese furniture, relics and souvenirs. The film Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts was filmed here years ago, and so Ubud is now kind of a haven for twenty-something to middle-aged women looking to do yoga retreats and to take some time out to relax. We weren’t exactly on the same buzz, so I feel that we could probably have moved on after a day and a half in Ubud. But that’s just me, and as I said, I am minus a fan of grey, over-cast skies, so Ubud did not present itself in it’s finest hour, weather-wise! Cafe wise, we also popped into a little place called Freak (amazing raw chocolate and salted caramel treats!) and followed that with the Campuhan Ridge walk- a little tiny glimpse of the rice fields and a lovely escape from the busier streets.

Campuhan Ridge Walk

We also walked down to the Monkey forest but didn’t go in as the monkeys are bloody mental and scrape you and steal from you. They can even take off your earrings. No, no and just no. They are probably a lot startled by all the tourists too, to be fair.

We strolled into the Ubud Palace and the museum grounds which were both fab and followed that with a little massage and body scrub (NOTIONS!) in Fresh Spa which was also divine after a long day on our feet! I’d recommend doing the bike tour (Green bike Tour are supposed to be amazing!) but when I got up the next day I could hardly breathe (all chesty from allergies) never mind walk that far so we stayed near the hotel (weather was just so-so) and went in for food later on. Mount Batur is supposed to be an amazing sunset trip that I was super keen to do too, but with the icky weather and feeling icky it just wasn’t happening. We booked our driver to our next destination for early the next morning and away we went to the coast.

Gili Trawangan

SO, we got a lift with a driver to the coast with a few others in a mini-van. We were handed a sticker to put on, our bags were thrown onto the beach and off we went onto the  boat after a very hectic queuing system, a very confusing chat with people telling us to get into lines, then everyone made a mad scramble for another boat.

Gilt T Boat

The boat took two hours or so and was a little choppy but neither of us get travel sick so all good! They also hand out little sick bags and are well used to tourists so if you need a sick bag, don’t be shy! We got off the other side and arrived onto a crazy little island that stole our hearts…

So, replace the scooters with horses and carts ( at 70km an hour!) and throw in a few hundred bikes across a little island that you can circle in less than an hour. Mental. Anyways, the sea front or the circumference of the whole island is peppered with little hotels, villas, private villas, cafes, shops and bars. By day, we hung out at the beaches taking achingly cool insta shots- seriously it’s insta-heaven- and by night, after about 11pm, things get crazy. Each night there is a different party night that the whole island goes to. It is probably the only time I felt Bali maybe a little seedier  when we walked home after the parties, but I  never felt unsafe or threatened at all.

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The night-life consists of outdoor dancing, outdoor bars, street vendors selling bbq corn and crepes and lots of reggaeton and trance a little later on, mixed with a little mainstream chart music to boot. An incredible few days in this little paradise island. We stayed in Manta Dive and I would happily go back again tomorrow. Super breakfast included, very reasonably priced and really, really central. Honestly, just stay here. They also do diving courses and are right beside little tour operators where you can book snorkelling too.

Snorkelling Gili T

We did a snorkel tour and visited some of the smaller islands nearby. It was so exciting, the water was so clear and we managed to see turtles, loads of colourful fish and had a ball. It cost a tenner and the whole trip lasted half a day. A tenner well spent and you even get to stop off at a little beach shack for a beer before you get back on the boat after your third stop. So, so, so magical.

Cafe and restaurant wise, everything is so close but I can happily recommend La Boulangerie for croissants and coffee, dinner at Scallywags and we didn’t get to go but La Trattoria is supposed to be lovely too! Pretty much anywhere we ate was totally fine on Gili T! I’d recommend going in search of the nicer beaches to get the best views of sunset and the nicest sand too. Sunset Beach and Malibu beach and even just the walk to get to both are just fab. You’ll see everyone making their way to those beaches from about an hour or two before sunset. This is also where you get the famous ‘Bali swing’ photos!  We left Gili T with sad little faces, happy little hearts and sandy little toes.

Bali Swing

Uluwatu

The majority of the beaches you see when you google ‘Bali beaches’ are in Uluwatu. These are mostly surfer beaches, and the tide comes right in, so it’s worth noting that not all are suitable for swimmers or sunbathers (or kids!). That aside, the beaches are just divine, the surroundings fabulous and the people so friendly again. We went to Padang Padang, Dreamland Beach and Bingin Beach on day 1. Bingin beach was so pretty but the tide was crazy. Dreamland is very touristic but larger and more room for sunbathers or swimmers, but still very rough. On our second day we went to Nyang Nyang Beach which was gorgeous- white sand, big waves, but not as rough and only a handful of people to share it all with. We strolled over then to Pecatu temple on Balangan beach but the weather had turned so the views weren’t as spectacular as they usually are, which was such a pity as this was meant to be a lovely view for sunset!

Nyang Nyang Beach

Uluwatu is a haven for surfers and yogis from around the world- mostly Brazil, Australia and Europe. People here are staying here for surfing so this is not the place for partying really.

Bingin Beach

That saying, one of the best nights we had was when we got two drivers to take us on their scooters to Single Fin (a beach bar right on the cliff-top of a stunning beach!) and the vibe was very, VERY cool. Think denim cut-offs, tanned limbs and floaty tops. Makeup very optional. Slow to start but a fantastic sunset and well worth the mini-trek. Everyone was so friendly and a great place to eat (the pizza and nachos are to DIE for), dance, mingle and have a few fresh-fruit cocktails!

Single Fin Beach Club

Food-wise, there are so many great places to eat here you will not go hungry. They are pretty spread out though, so you will either need to grin and bear the walk or you can rent bikes or drivers. Look for Bukit Cafe (amazing for brekkie, lunch or dinner- just A1 all round and one of my fave places we ate in Bali!). Think fluffy pancakes, mouth-watering grilled fish, fajitas, nasi goreng, poached eggs, quinoa salad- you name it…This is also one of the cutest and cleanest places we ate in  that was very mid-range in terms of prices.

We also ate in Mango Tree (Corn fritters were awesome- service was SO SLOW though), in Ohm burger (which was crazy delicious and they have big jars of thick smoothies that are just the most aesthetic-looking beverage in the LAND) and a few others that we just happened upon and loved- honestly you will be spolied for choice here!

On our last day, we went for a very long and lazy brekkie and then met my pal Tash who swept us off to a little slice of luxury for our last day. El Kabron is situated 50m above sea level perched on a cliff. The views are OUTSTANDING. This is basically a very upmarket beach bar and we spent about 60/70 quid on practically nothing but, hey, it was our last day and the views were oh-so-worth-it!

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We went back to our hotel, met our driver and off to the airport we went, with heavy little hearts, still not trying to think about work or endless to-do lists, and instead soaking up the last few random hours before we landed on Irish soil…

Would I recommend Bali as a holiday?

HELL yes. It’s great for singles, couples, families and is VERY kid-friendly. Kids are everywhere but always on best behaviour it seemed. They are allowed into most day-bars and day-clubs (which are hugely popular in Bali) but they typically have a pool curfew (say 3pm) when kids have to leave the pool area. I presume this is to keep the older crowd buying drinks etc.. and for health and safety.

Overall, it’s easy to get around, traffic aside, it’s super friendly and there is so much to see and do! Two and a half weeks oh-so-very-well-spent. (mozzie bites aside…)

X

PS. Two questions I keep getting from people since I came back:

1. Would I recommend Bali as a honeymoon spot?

Yes and no. Yes if you want to go to a resort and stay there and do nothing AND not really leave your hotel, then yes. Or if you love surfing and yoga and wanted to combine that then certain parts would be perfect for that.  I think outside your hotel, if on honeymoon, some people might find the noise and street pollution a little too much. On the other-hand if you want a little island to visit and just go to Nusa Dua then you’ll probably find the aforementioned suit you to a t! Ie: clean beaches, enclosed resorts, white sand etc…

I think Bali suits the more ‘adventurous’ who want a little rough with the smooth while travelling and I don’t think that most honeymooners are after any kind of rough when they travel! That saying, you can easily hire a nice car with a driver who speaks perfect English to only bring you to the ‘prettier’ and ‘cleaner’ spots. That in mind, there are plenty of resorts that cater to just that and lots of romantic villas too with private chefs etc…

But as an afterword, you have to keep in mind that Bali is  a developing country still and the powers that be have not invested in the required infrastructure for the amount of tourism the country attracts. This in turn affects travel, pollution and even the aesthetics and living conditions of some of the towns and villages. But, for me, at least, that’s all part of the charm…

2. Would I have done anything differently?

Yes, I’d spend less time in Ubud, I’d see more temples, I’d rent a scooter in Uluwatu and have ventured to Sanur and Amed -both are less frequented by tourists and look and sound so beautiful! I’d also have been more adventurous with the food. The dog meat scandal happened just before we went on our trip and I was very cautious- I also was really sick from the food when I travelled in South America previously,  so didn’t want to catch anything. (And I hadn’t  gotten my Hep A shot oops!). But I probably missed out on some amazing street food and local experiences that would have really opened my eyes! :(

Oh to travel the world and be paid to do it….

Girls in Bali

SIGH

X

 

healthy meal prep

Mid-year resolutions

So most people list off their to-do’s for the year on January 1st and, well, if you’re anything like me, they can be (FAR TOO QUICKLY!) long forgotten. Rather than look back on mine, I’ve decided to refresh from memory and tell you some plans for the near future:

More travel: I’m heading off to Bali this week coming for 17 days (incl travel obvs!) but am SO excited as I’ve wanted to go there for years. And it’s finally happening. EEEEEK! So far this year I’ve been to Marbella and Prague and I’m also going to head away for another few days to Sweden mid-October (to see Big bro) and MAYBE a few days somewhere sunny before then with my bearded other half.

More study: I’m moving between doing a PT course (not sure what the next step would be though?)  and  Nutrition course at the moment- not distance learning as I find I need to be in the room with people I am learning from and miss the colleague interaction from the current course I was doing online in Nutrition. I’m also looking at doing a short course in Neuroscience and Consumber Behaviour in September as they are both areas I find a little fascinating.

More work: I usually try and squash everything (blog or freelance related!) into Saturday afternoon after I train in the morning and have breakfast (of course) but have found the past few weeks I’m much more productive (could be the sunshine??) later at night- without compromising on my sleep or adding to stress. I only do the fun stuff.

More me-time: I’ve started to go for longer walks again and THIS IS LIFE for me. It’s where I clear my head and readjust the stress barometer. If it’s sunny I walk into and out of work and it’s bloody glorious. I’m also going to focus on getting regular massages/physio- I don’t really drink so I figure this can be my little guilty pleasure. (oh that AND facials!).

More family time: My little brother (who is basically my little child) is moving to Italy. My other brother (my older brother) lives in Sweden so it’s become even more important to take the time to visit and keep the relationships alive and kicking. My nieces and nephew are just everything and I need to focus more on them over the coming months, more calls, more photos, more trips. And instead of Christmas pressies this year we are all pitching in to bring the whole family home. BLISS. Pressies for the kids still obviously. Just none for the big kids. My Dad is now living in Kells so need to get my ass in gear and spend more time there too as he’s always the one visiting me.

More meal-prep: Believe it or not I’ve gotten super lazy in the kitchen- eek! Going to print out my e-books again and get cooking I guess :) Simples.

More cardio: YES I KNOW! Who am I? I’ve found it clears my head. AND I’m seeing some greater improvement in my legs more recently even from walking. WTactualF?!

More friend-time: Something I’m not always good at because I do tend to work a lot and I do like my own space too.  I find the best way for me to spend time with the girls is to plan a day out (I’m not a big drinker) like a hike somewhere. Time to find some new interesting places to go! If I plan time outside Dublin with the girls I find I really feel like I’ve had a break and a proper weekend :)

More skills/hobbies (non-work related!): Finally, this one is a little weird but is definitely an area I need more growth in. I’m toying with the idea of getting back to school to improve my Spanish again as I feel it’s slipping away slowly- I used to live in Barcelona and found that each year it’s slipping away. :( Time to grab the bull y the horns I guess! Another area with more than a little room for improvement is my driving. I just don’t need a car or to drive really, apart from the odd time with work. So, I tend to make excuses all the time not to do lessons. Anyways I’m ahead of myself and have two booked for after Bali- who AM I? Also thinking of doing guitar lessons but figure I’ll get my driving sorted first :)

Less stress: So I’ve taken up yoga at The Edge: Clontarf where I train and find it amazing for stress-relief. Once I get better I suppose I’ll start to practice more on my own too. Wuhu!

How about you guys? Any mid-year resolutions?

X

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy- how to know when it’s time to go

SO, if like me, you’ve increased your intensity of sessions, increased volume etc..or simply don’t spend enough time on stretching, mobility and warming up properly, chances are you could do with a quick visit to see your Physiotherapist.

Paddy, from Z10 Physiotherapy on Bath Avenue reached out to me a few weeks ago to see if I needed a treatment. Of course I said yes- My back was tight for weeks, felt bruised all around my mid-back; I constantly had to crack it for relief. In fact, it t got so bad I couldn’t sleep unless it was at a certain angle. And yes, idiot here thought ‘sure I’ll just foam roll a little more often and press the tennis ball into wherever hurts’. To no avail. What I needed was professional advise from a medical professional.

I tottered down after work one evening and met Paddy at his brand new office space on Bath Avenue. Paddy is very welcoming- simple, straight-forward and enough chat to keep you feeling comfortable, relaxed and very much at-ease. I began the session talking about what issues I had, any soreness, tightness, any issues with movement etc…He asked me to do a few simple exercises and then got to work. He started with my neck and then onto my back and hips- it turns out I had a series of muscle spasms and so he recommended I got a dry needling treatment done which he did there and then. It’s a little weird and not so comfortable but, in a few short seconds the sense of relief is overwhelming and therefore worth the marginal discomfort (note- not pain!).

Throughout the whole treatment, Paddy was talking to me about he was doing and why (which I’m interested in!) so for any of you who might be a little bit nervous about what to expect it’s all very relaxed. Ok, so it’s not like a massage in a beauticians where you feel all sleepy, it’s a functional session to fix or treat an ailment but it definitely makes you feel so much better afterwards. I wore shorts and a sports bra and a light vest as this allows for the Physio to work with ease and perhaps even see any obvious issues or strains.

I asked Paddy to answer a few questions too; perfect for anyone wondering whether or not Physio should be part of their regular health routine- just as important as a dental check-up, a health check up your GP or a smear test. I have to admit, I left my issue far too long and will definitely be back much sooner to keep my body in tip top condition. I work at a desk too so I’m sure the combination of leaning over a desk coupled with heavy lifting doesn’t lend itself too well to my poor back!

Q&A with Paddy

z10 Physiotherapy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How important is Physiotherapy to your overall health?

Physiotherapy is extremely important to overall health as pain and muscle tightness can inhibit normal muscle function and normal muscle growth. Dysfunction can put an abnormal stress on a joint causing early onset joint degeneration and arthritis. For example, weak gluteal muscles lead to destabilization of the pelvis. This causes over recruitment of the outside thigh muscle (Vastus Lateralis) which will pull the knee cap laterally (away from the mid-line) causing it to rub off the tendon and knee cartilage.

 
How do you know if you need treatment and should you go for a regular check-up?

You should consult with a chartered physiotherapist after any injury or pain that lasts longer than 4 days. The body is very good at getting out of pain but dysfunction may still exist after an injury. A common mistake people make is not getting an ankle sprain treated. A typical ankle sprain can cause instability of the ankle making it susceptible to a more serious injury including an ankle fracture. Also, an ankle sprain usually deceases dorsiflexion (the ability to pull the toes and foot up towards the body). Full dorisflexion is very important for normal walking and running and lack of it can cause the calf and hamstring muscles to tighten leading to all sorts of problems including calf tears, Achilles tendonopathy, knee pain and lower back pain.

Another problem we see in clinic is people taking medication to relieve lower back pain. Pain may go away but the stiffness and dysfunction may remain in the spine causing the body to move abnormally and leading to further back problems in the future.

Prevention is the best cure for any musculoskeletal problem and it is recommended that you see your chartered physiotherapist every 6-8 months to detect any problems and for exercises to combat the demands placed on the body by work, sport or hobbies.

 

Physiotherapy

What kind of symptoms/issues would benefit from a treatment with a physiotherapist?

Any muscle or joint that’s in pain for over 4 days or any areas that feel tight or restricted. Physiotherapists can relieve the majority of musculoskeletal conditions quickly and efficiently without causing too much discomfort. The earlier the condition is treated the quicker the patient will return to full fitness. As well as the typical injuries, physios can treat vertigo, tension headaches, wrist pain, hip and groin pain.
If you train 3-4 times per week or more, do you need to go more often or are there exercises you recommend?

If you train regularly in a sport or in the gym then you should see your physiotherapist every 4-5 months. Heavy training can lead to a release of Acetylcholine causing muscles to tighten and contain active trigger points. Treatments such as Dry Needling and massage can keep the muscle free of trigger points decreasing the risk of injury and improving muscle function and recovery time.
What happens at a session and what can people expect after one treatment typically? If a person is in pain the injury will be assessed and treated. The physio will treat the site of pain and also where he/she feels the pain is coming from which may be from a different body part. During assessment the physio will check how the body moves, the siting and standing posture, the range of movement of the joints, the soft tissue quality and muscle strength.

Treatment may include joint mobilization to improve mobility, Dry Needling to release muscle spasm, soft tissue massage to decrease pain, exercise prescription, stretches, advice on how to avoid pain on injury, strapping or taping ideas to offload a painful area or orthotic fitting.

 

 

How much is a treatment?

Each treatment costs €60 and €50 for students or medical card holders. Improvements are always expected after just 1 session with most injuries requiring 3 treatments or less.

 

How can people book an appointment or get in touch?

You can book an appointment online at Z10 Physiotherapy or call 085 7715481

 

 

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20 things about Me: Gym Bunny

So I’ve had quite a few new followers and tend to get lots of the same questions about what I am, what I love/hate, about my background and what I do!

Here goes- here are 20 things about me for any newbies to my social feed:

1. I am from Sligo originally but have lived in Mayo, Donegal, Galway, Barcelona and Dublin now. I’ve lived in so many houses due to my Dad’s job that I actually cannot keep count!

2. My degree was in Video & Film Production. I hated it. Except for a module in Production & Set Design. I now work predominantly in Content Production and love what I’m doing and video production plays a huge part in this! Funny how life turns out :)

3. I love, love health and fitness. I got into training a lot more after my Mum died of cancer in 2011. Her name was Lorna and she was the strongest person I ever met. She died from lung cancer and has taught me to only focus my time and energy into things I genuinely love. Nothing else matters.

4. I am a total perfectionist. I have had to learn that in working life you have to do things 80/20 as otherwise you’ll drive yourself to an early grave. My advice? Get done and fix it afterwards. No one can get angry if you try.

5. I adore my family and have the best relationship with them. We are open and honest about everything and I’d be lost without them.

6. I am obsessed with fat, wrinkley dogs. Their smell, their little smashed up faces. Everything. Sigh to living in an apartment, sigh.

7. I love the smell of bleach. Like LOVE it. I would bleach you all if I could to be fair.

8. I love long walks, beaches, sunshine and travelling. Combine all and I am the happiest little pig in the land. No better feeling that lying in the sun with good music, snacks and ending the day with sandy toes. BLISS.

9. I would spend every penny I have on healthy eating and travelling if I could. There is nothing better than investing in yourself (and loved ones too!).

10. I hate receiving gifts. I get socially awkward and almost angry. Especially if they are of significant value. I’m really stubborn so kind of feel like if I wanted an expensive gift I’d buy it myself- my poor boyfriend- I’m a bag of crazy!

11. I can be very negative and tend towards self-doubt. Despite being an outwardly very positive person, I can be quite negative when it comes to my own value and worth. I can doubt myself far too easily.

12. I am over the moon when good things happen to good people. I am literally the happiest person when things go right for my friends. My heart feels like it will explode and I cry with happiness when they are genuinely happy.

13. I don’t have TV channels. Yep, giant weirdo. It’s just such a waste of time. I only watch TV in my pal Siobhan’s house or at Christmas in my Dad’s.

14. I LOVE my food. I am ALWAYS HUNGRY. I get really bad moods when not fed regularly.

15. I would love to live in another country again for a year or two. It’s the most exciting feeling in the world to start from scratch.

16. I am 33, 158 cm, size XS and have 36.5 feet with long brown hair with balayage at the end (usually a total mess) and my eyes are bluey greeney grey I guess.

17. I love everything digital, social media and photography. I confess to using my phone far too much but I draw the line at meal-times and when out with friends. Put your phone away you rudie!

18. I am looking to buy a house but am struggling to find something suitable. I also don’t want to grow up so it’s a delicate process.

19. I don’t yet have my driving license. I know. I did my test once and failed, got grumpy and kind of gave up. Ekk. Time to get back on the saddle I guess.

20. I want to go back and study properly. I’d love to do a tonne of courses- Nutrition and Life Coaching, Consumer Behaviour in the digital landscape, Spanish ( I speak it but it’s gotten worse since I moved home to Ireland), Make-up artistry- I know!- and maybe a few others- I just love learning!

That’s me in a nutshell :)

Orla X

debloating yoga sequence

Simple tips to feel leaner in just a day

Losing body fat takes time and dedication, but these simple tricks can help you feel a little bit ‘lighter’ in just one day. Ideal for that time of the month when you feel bloated and puffy and very meh…

1. Start your day with a cup of warm but not boiling water with lemon- add a green tea bag for extra brownie points!

2. Avoid bread or dairy in the morning- For most people this leaves tough decisions as to what to have for breakfast- instead think high protein, high fat. Avocado and eggs is an ideal start to your day, for example. Have your first coffee about an hour after your first meal. Experts say your ‘ideal time’ to have a coffee is about 9:30 am.

3. Start your day (before you leave the house) with some stretches or a simple beginners yoga routine. Even the most basic stretch routine can aid digestion. There are some SUPERB yoga sequences here for even the most novice yogi.

debloat yoga

4. Swap your regular tea and coffee for a lighter herbal tea- peppermint, raspberry and dandelion are all great to ease any bloat!

5. Get up and move. Try and take a little walk every hour or two or if stuck at your desk, try and stretch your feet under the desk and your spine too. I do this ALL the time as my mid-back is very tight. Instant relief! :)

So there you have a few simple tips to get started. Other obvious ones of course include drinking more water, eating less processed foods and limiting your sodium intake if in excess. But we all have to start off small…

X

meal prep example

How To Stay on Track At Work

Offices and workplaces can be so difficult when it comes to staying on track with your new healthy plan! Every day (or at least in my office!) someone brings in a different cake, box of biscuits or bag of sweets. t can be tough to stay away from the sugar fix come 11am or 3pm when the slump hits, but here are my top tips to avoid the sweet temptations at work or play!

healthy meal prep

Have a Sneaky Food Drawer or Stash

Always, always, ALWAYS, Have healthy snacks on hand. I always have snacks in my day bag/handbag such as almonds, dried fruit, fresh fruit and possibly some greek yoghurt. In the drawer I might have green tea, rice cakes, nuts/seeds and protein bars. vWe are also lucky in my office in that we get fruit trays delivered each day or so, so there is always a fresh option if you get stuck. Otherwise keep an eye out in Lidl or Aldi and stock up! It ’s so much easier to turn down pizza/cake/sweets when you know you have a healthy alternative close by; except when Heather brings in her amazing short bread- Not one human alive can or should resist that. It’s just too good :)

 
Stay Calm

Work colleagues are always going to be inquisitive about your eating patterns; it’s just another conversation starter, I guess. Try not to get too defensive when questioned- this can be hard. In previous roles, people have been quite aggressive with their teasing about eating patterns (not just my own experience but also other colleagues) and it comes across that perhaps they are guilty about their own choice so they feel that have to shoot you down for trying. Just explain what you’re trying to do and why. What I’ve found is that often they start to mimic your healthier choices, which is always a good thing!

healthy treats in the office
Listen to the little voices!

So you might not even like cake that much (thankfully I’m not a fan at all really!) but still you feel the need to have some when it;s offered. Listen to yourself. Make a treat worthwhile, not something you just needlessly plough through because it’s at arms’s length. Try to keep your sweeter or saltier choices for your cheat meal and make it EXACTLY what you want, rather than just having a treat for the sake of it.

 
Don’t give up, don’t give in

If your work colleagues or friends tease you for your choices, just take a moment to BREATHE. You have to remember that this lifestyle is not for everyone. Some people are not interested in their long term health and just want to treat themselves all the time, regardless of the state of the mental or physical health. This is none of your business. I find this very hard with family as I always want to push my opinions and knowledge on my poor Dad, but have to understand that, at the end of the day, each to their own. Thankfully he is learning a few tips and tricks along the way though :) With friends it can be awkward too; how much information does someone ACTUALLY want when they ask for a program/plan or tips for same? I get asked for lots of advice on cleaner nutrition plans- is it always followed through? No, not always and that’s ok too! I do try and explain the difference, however, quite strongly, about low kcal diets and how dangerous they can be and likewise the long term health effects of following a plan like Slimming World which annotates olive oil as a ‘syn’. Shocking stuff altogether.

 
Balance, moderation and GIMME THAT CHOCOLATE NOW!!!

If you really really want a sneaky reat then go for it; just maybe not EVERY day! Ultimately, life is for living and food is to be enjoyed. Little indulgences here and there are fine for most people (note not ALL people) and you can still make progress. Following a plan that has a balanced outlook with plenty of whole foods, fresh meat, fish, veggies, fruit, seeds, nuts, pulses, milk, yoghurt, lots of water, green tea and the odd few squares of chocolate- well a healthy lifestyle that’s easy to maintain will last you long into the future…

Enjoy X

 

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5 at-home HIIT programs for rainy days

Pretty tough to motivated when the weather takes a nasty turn to be honest, so I’ve compiled some of my favourite little at-home HIIT programs so you don’t even need to leave the house. WIN WIN! I’ve also been bullied by my little brother to post more exercise programs in general as he follows them all -awwww!

So, stay in your jammies (but perhaps put on a sports bra and some trainers!) and get your sweat on in just a few minutes and better still, why not get your kids/flat mates involved too :)

3 Minute Lazy Workout

BW Squats x 15

Pushups x 5

Jumping jacks x 20

Crunches x 20

Pushups x 5

Stretch x 2 minutes

 

6 Minute Workout

Jumping Jacks x 30 secs

Wall-sit x 30 secs

Push-ups x 30 secs

Crunches x 30 secs

Chair Step-ups x 30 secs

BW Squats x 30 secs

Tricep dips x 30 secs

Plank x 30 secs

High Knees x 30 secs

Lunges x 30 secs

Plank get-up x 30 secs

Side Plank x 30 secs

 

girl exercising at home gymbunny.ie

10 Minute Workout

High Knees x 30 secs

BW Squats x 20

Mountain Climbers x 30 secs

Lunges x 30

Jumping Jacks x 30 secs

Fast Feet x 30 secs

Rest x 30 secs

BW Sumo Squats x 10

BW Squat Jumps x 10

Step-ups x 30 secs

Burpees x 15

Repeat x 2

 

15 Minute Workout

Burpees x 30 secs

Plank x 60 secs

High Knees x 30 secs

Lunges x 60 secs

Rest 30 secs

Mountain Climbers x 30 secs

Leg Raises x 60 secs

Squat Jumps x 30 secs

Wall-sit x 60 secs

Rest 30 secs

Jumping jacks x 30 secs

Tricep Dips x 60 secs

Rest 30 secs

Repeat x 2

 

20 Minute Workout

Jumping Jacks x 60 secs

Side Lunges x 30

BW Squauts x 30

Jog on Spot x 60 secs

Rest 30 secs

Burpees x 30

Lunges x 30

Skipping x 60 secs

Mountain Climbers x 30

Rest 30 secs

Jumping jacks x 60 secs

Side Lunges x 30

Pushups x 30

BW Squats x 30

Rest 30 secs

Plank x 60 secs

Sit-ups x 30

Burpees x 30

Rest 30 secs

Repeat x 2

 

Enjoy guys :)

 

* Please note- I am not a qualified Personal Trainer and do advise that you speak to your doctor or trainer before trying any new exercise program. A little discomfort is normal when starting a new program- pain is not. Be careful and listen to your body!

before and after vivienne

Vivienne- before and after transformation

My fitness journey really began about three years ago, midway through my second year in college, studying nursing. It began really when I saw a photo of myself with a group of friends on a night out. To be honest I was shocked, the person I was looking at in the photo was not me. I knew I had put on a few pounds since moving away to college, but I didn’t realise how much I had let myself go. A year later of drinking and eating rubbish had got the better of me.I had never felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I continuously wore baggy, dark clothes but when it came to the occasion where I had to wear an outfit for a dress up for one of our rugby socials, that’s when I realised how much weight I had put on.

That Christmas, I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I felt so insecure and horrible. Every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to cry because I was so disgusted with how I looked. Everyone had recognised it. The last straw for me was when I was working over Christmas. I was working in the care home, where I had worked before I left to go to Bristol for my nursing. One of the staff members said ‘you have put on so much weight’. I wanted to cry there and then, as harsh as that was, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I knew in my head straight after Christmas, this weight has got to go. Leaving Ireland to go back to Bristol, I was weighing in at just over 14 stone.

I remembering buying Vicky Pattinson’s 7 minute workout because I felt too intimated to go gym, so blasted out some workouts in my apartment everyday. Growing up, I had never been a gym goer, I just played a lot of sports and found whenever I went to the gym, I didn’t have a breeze what I was doing and like every other person, didn’t want to look stupid.

Eventually I plucked up the courage to go into the gym. I remember just seeing the treadmill and thinking OK well grand at least I can manage that contraption. One of the trainers in the gym came up to me and introduced herself. Later did I know this woman would be responsible for the majority of my weight loss, my ankle rehabilitation and my motivation. She offered me personal training, and looking back now, it was one of my best investments. Not only because she pushed me but it so important to get professional advice especially when you’re a beginner.

A few months went by and the more weight I lost, the more it strived me to keep going. I felt great, and had so much energy. Don’t get me wrong I had my bad days but overall I was consistent. Until about August 2015, when I was diagnosed with anxiety/ depression and the gym took a back burner. Attending cognitive behavioural therapy regularly for a couple of months, taught me a lot about myself. Highlighting, not only the importance of what’s on the outside but how you feel on the inside too.

before and after vivienne

As hard as it was I forced myself to go to the gym. Luckily, I had the support of so many people and have an amazing family. That old feeling of routine started to set in and I was no longer forcing myself to go gym and do normal day to day things. I started taking my training serious and counted macronutrients, I know this may not be for everyone but I saw it as a less restrictive diet, which allowed me to see results and living a balanced life.
Looking back to when I started ‘trying to be healthy’, my mindset has changed so much. At the start it was all about losing weight, just to feel nice in clothes. Now Ive learned the positive impact exercise and looking after your health can have, not only on you physically but mentally.

 

beforeafter1

Mike- Before and After transformation

So Mike popped up in my news feed on Instagram a few months ago as a suggested image/video- I can’t actually remember and it was a before and after photo.

Again as he points out, for some people his transformation might not look the most ‘extreme’ but he reckons it will give the ‘average’ Joe a good kick into 2017 to get on track and stay motivated- by finding what works for YOU. Take a read…

isibefore

I don’t think I was ever severely out of shape, but I put on weight pretty easy in noticeable areas – my face and thighs mostly. From my late teens, some of my best mates were professional athletes, so I was always a little conscious of how I looked. Instead of eating properly and doing the kind of workouts I do now, I would literally hit the treadmill for over an hour at a time. That led to marathons, long distance triathlon and then ultramarathons, but I’d get fierce sloppy looking between races. You’re so used to carb loading for events, when you cut back on the miles, but not the calories, the pounds soon follow.
When I took up MMA I probably looked my worst. I was about 85kg with huge legs from the running, but no real definition in my upper body. I signed up for a fight and the weight flew off me, ultimately getting my body fat down to 6% for the weigh-in. But even then I wasn’t carrying a huge amount of muscle; I was lean, but far from shredded.
Since then, I’ve hit the weights pretty hard and mixed it up by continuing to train in MMA. I’ve never done any classes in the gym and would generally get my cardio from the 3 mile run there, but there’s no truer indication of my fitness level than when I spar or grapple with the guys in SBG Charlestown. No one gives a sh!t how they look with their tops off, they are there to get rounds in and it always pushes me that bit harder than any gym class ever could.
fitmag
Right now I hover around 81/82kg and train probably 6 days a week. Some days are obviously more intense than others, but, at 34 my body tells me when I need the break – I’ve just had to learn to listen.
beforeafter1
You can follow Mike on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @ImMikeSheridan