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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.



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…


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.
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.
You can follow Mike on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @ImMikeSheridan

GymBunny Goals for 2017

So things start to get altogether FAR too official when you write them down/type them down, don’t they?

Well as an avid and total nerdy list-writer to beat the band, I’ve decided to write down mine in detail. Some are cringey as they have been on my list for quite some time. Others probably wouldn’t even make other people’s list…


Why don’t you do the same? I promise- it’s totally theraputic…

1. Train 3-5 times each week, no matter what. Despite what you might think, I don’t always get time to train, or should I say I don’t always give myself the time to train. I put other things first. Training for me is therapy and health and both intertwined. Therefore this year it’s a personal goal to stick to it..

2. Be more dedicated to my blog. I get so many mails about where I am and why I’m not posting as often, why don’t I share more etc…There are a myriad of reasons but mostly because I am so busy with my full-time job. I am not a ‘full-time’ blogger (wouldn’t that be the dream!) and with this in mind I have to prioritize, but perhaps time to push the boat out a little more in 2017?

3. Relax more. Although my first two points above are to do more, I perhaps need to just learn to be a little better with my time in general. This includes making more of my down-time to make it actual PROPER down-time and not just scrolling my way through instagram in bed- yikes!

4. Stretch and work on mobility. So last year I wanted to do my first hand stand and I DID IT! But did I practise and evolve it? NOOOO! Shame on me! I was so excited to do it that once I reached my little goal, I stopped. After a little injury on my back this year, I’m ready now to rebuild and readjust the focus wheel and take time to do the not so fun stuff in the gym just as much as the fun stuff.

5. Travel more. On my list this year so far are; Bali, Marbella, Gothenburg & Stockholm and perhaps the US too- maybe San Fran or NYC! Or Thailand?! Gah!

6. Study more. I started an online nutrition course last year and never finished it. Perhaps me and online study just don’t go well together. I find that when I know the content I stop reading so perhaps I need a more advanced course or a more in-depth method of learning and a tutor I look up to! I also want to learn more about the psychology of buyer behaviour and why we do what we do online- I’m such a nerd I know :)

7. Finally get my driving test. I’m 33- yikes!- and STILL I don’t have my driving test agh!! I failed it last year and got really annoyed with myself as I made a stupid mistake of driving out before someone on the roundabout- who knew kids who knew…- so I need to allow myself the time to get back behind the wheel, without harming anyone in the process- eek!

8. Balance my work/study/training/friends/boyf/family time better. I probably need to plan things a little better to make sure I have time to see everyone without burning out or trying to do everything at once. I have friends living all across the country as have moved a lot since I was a kid so need to reach out to my favourites a little more and spend more quality time with family and boyf too!

9. Make more weekend plans for exploring. My boyfriend works most weekends so I tend to use Saturday and Sunday mornings as work days too which ends up being a very long, foggy week of kind of-kind of not working. This year I want to visit: Cork, Belfast and surroundings, Donegal, Mayo and Clare in a little more detail!

10. Walk more. After all my talking about moving more and stretching more and training more, I often end up driving or taking the bus or a taxi instead of getting out and about and walking like I used to. Bad habit and one that needs to change. Such a simple trick to look and feel so much better almost instantly.


What are YOUR #lifegoals for 2017 and beyond?



Ryan- Before and After transformation

Ryan reached out to me only yesterday to say how motivating he found my blog- Little did he know that I also found HIS story really motivating…and he is still on his path to reach his goals and smash 2017 as best he can. Read his own words here. A lesson for us all- take it slow and act consistently. THAT is the only way to ensure you do not fall down at the first hurdle…Well done Ryan- you should be so so very proud!

I was not an overweight child, although I absolutely loved snack food: I always had a craving for savoury snacks like crisps and sausage rolls etc. I was not active though, I used to play a bit of football but wasn’t that good so always got left out of the team meaning I eventually lost interest and just stopped playing.


I began to gain weight at college, drinking too much cider and not having a good diet; it wasn’t sudden but it was significant over a number of years. I suppose I was in complete denial. I would just buy bigger clothes until the only shop I could get clothes to fit was Debenhams as they carry the bigger sizes. The tipping point came when I was around 29 years old. Clothes shopping was a nightmare, nothing would fit! I would leave the shop empty handed close to tears. I couldn’t fit into a pair of 46 inch waist trousers and they did not sell anything bigger and the shirts had a 21 inch neck or were 3XL.


Initially I joined Slimming World, on my first weigh in I was 22 stone and 13 pounds! I managed to lose a couple of stone over the period of 6 months, not linearly, but it was coming off. I was still inactive so I heard of these spinning classes starting in our local town. I signed up and found that although it was extremely difficult I quite enjoyed it and my weight started to drop more rapidly. I did not have much of a clue about nutrition so thought if I don’t really eat I won’t gain weight. While this was true I dropped to 16 stone and looked awful. I felt pretty awful too, I had skinny arms and legs, no strength and still had a significant belly which would not move.


I began to put weight back on and actually went back up to just over 19 stone. I tried to educate myself on nutrition and exercise and learned that I had to gain some muscle, lift some weights and do less cardio than I was doing (7 spin classes a week!). The weight began to come off again, but this time it was proportional. My arms grew in size as did my shoulders. The fat began to come off my back and my abdomen and my legs were strong with good muscle development.


I am currently at my lightest weight on the scales, just over 15 stone. I wear a size 34 trousers and a size 16 inch neck shirt or just an L and on occasion a Medium! I started feeding myself properly and preparing my meals for every couple of days. I set up an Instagram account to track my progress, to view what other people were doing and to motivate myself to do a better job. I post mainly food photos and occasionally gym shots. I am never hungry apart from post workout where I can be starving. I eat 5 times a day and take a lean whey protein shake once a day. I buy some protein rich snacks just to replace the biscuit or chocolate I would have with a cup of tea, and I drink a lot more water than I used to.


I am not the finished article. I am still carrying too much body fat but I know what i have to do and 2017 will be an important year for me; it is the first time I have got the nutrition part of my lifestyle right. Some weeks I gain and some weeks I lose, I feel it in my clothes. I am comfortable in the knowledge that I am going in the right direction. Hopefully, I can re-visit this a year from now and give another significant update. I don’t recognise the guy in the photos before!
You can follow Ryan’s journey on Instagram: rpm_fitness.goals


Starting a New Year and a New YOU

So how do we all get motivated for the new year. At the end of the day, it is literally, just another day. It’s mindset mixed with hallmark holiday that typically lead us to believe that we ‘need’ to change for the new year.

For me, changing habits and staying motivated and maintaining a certain size or healthy shape depends on smaller milestones- as opposed to faraway goals. You see, we are all so so different and I find that personally, if I only focus on the few weeks ahead of me, rather than a year away, I’m much better at being consistent. I also find checking in with my trainer every few weeks really keeps me more disciplined too.


It’s funny, you know, the amount of people who think that fitness and health is just a craze or a phase. My body has changed so much over the past few years. I’m 33 in December and feel like I’m in better shape than ever and with better energy, but I cannot eat the same foods or the same amounts I used to. Forget it. I see the marks of my boldness the next day, when years ago I’d be fine or the same even after a few days’ debaucherie. Oh ageing.


But that aside, I have put together a few tips that, really, I’d recommend you to start keeping in mind right now, if not just before Christmas and the New Year, so like me, you can treat New Year as just any other day :) No pressure, in your own time and when you feel ready...

1. Drink water- at least 2l of the stuff each day and more if you drink lots of tea and coffee as they can leave you dehydrated.

2. Eat smaller meals and often AND track everything that you eat and drink. This is crucial to ensure you are eating enough for you to perform at your very best.

3. Track your vitamins and minerals and supplement regardless. We live stressful, busy lives and we eat so many processed foods every day. Yes our own bodies naturally detox themselves, but none of us get the required amount of vitamins and minerals each day. It’s near impossible.

4. Cut out or cut back on alcohol. You will look, feel and smell better. Your skin will look better, your hormonal balance will begin to normalise and you won’t have as many issues with cravings or blood sugar issues.

5. Eat enough protein. Think 1.2 – 1.5 grams per pound of body weight (2.6 – 3.3 g/kg BW) per day.

6. Eat your greens- and keep them varied- kale, spinach, brocolli, courgette, etc…Try supplementing with a good quality powdered greens too.

7. Keep an eye on your snacking habits. These can sneak back in very sneakily altogether. Try keeping almonds, yoghurt, a protein shake or a piece of fruit in your bag at all times. It does work.

8. Cut back on the lattes and cappuccinos. They are unnecessary calories which are much better ‘spent’ on real food. you’ll be less likely to want sugar too. Try a white americano as a good alternative- and about 150 calories less than your latte!

9. So although your calorie intake isn’t the most important aspect of health by any means, it does become an issue as you get older. Regardless of your age, try and eat good, clean food, and avoid any unnecessary processed foods. Speak to a dietician or nutritionist about what your caloric intake and macro intake should be.

10. Get your bloods and any other tests done as often as required. Eye-tests, smear tests, STI tests, heart monitors, blood sugar counts, mole checks, breast checks, general check-ups; you name it, just get it checked.

You see, why not start these before the new year kicks on, giving yourself time to normalise these into your every day routine. You’ll look back on 2017 as your best year yet.

Go on. I dare you.



Gift Ideas for the Gym Bunny in your life

So we all get a little stuck for ideas for friends, partners, siblings, relatives and colleagues so I’ve compiled a wish list of gift ideas for the gym bunny in your life this Christmas.

And yes I want it ALL.


Let’s start with nutrition. Every single girl would get use out of this if they are at all into cooking, baking, coffees or smoothies on the go, soups, sauces, you name it…oh and you can buy it on sale here.



From tracking your vitals, to telling you how much sleep you managed to get to the exact minute, these little bad boys are now available in rose gold- behold…you can snap yours up here online but they are available in shops all across Ireland too :)

simple-b-cssdisabled-png-h14a08e77c08f143633f616e3084bd3c3-packGym Tote

Is it a sports bag; is it an office bag; who knows and who cares. This is legit gymbunny yessable. You can snap up the Eva here- but it’s also ice cool in the tan and black without the croc print. I’ll take one of each puh-lease.



So who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle? I’ll have mine in the shape of a holdall please by Puma from my pals at OPSH. You can snap this up here. Thank you very much.



I do not know why I love these so, but I do. I want them in pink and rose gold and actually any colour that I can get my greedy little mitts on. How pretty would the pink be with our Fitbit in rose gold and the nice Puma bag for some added gym swag?! JD’s have some options here. 


Stocking Fillers

If, like me, you plan to stay away from (most) of the goodies being passed around Christmas day aside of course, you might want to include these on the wish list.


So there you have it- some nice little ideas for the gym bunny in your life. Now to write my Santa letter :)



24hr Concern Fast Ambassador for 2016

I was truly honoured and humbled to be asked to join some of Ireland’s top fitness and health bloggers to be one of this year’s Concern Fast Ambassadors to generate registrations and awareness of the fast in the run up to today!

I’m currently three quarters the way through my own fast and have decided to set up a donation page for anyone who may not want to actually do the fast but who may want to donate even a few euro!

If you think your tiny donation isn’t worthwhile, please think again.

-€24.00 will allow us to feed a child for one full month
-€72.00 will help us to provide food for three children for one month
-€240.00 will allow us to provide food for up to 10 children for a month
Let that sink in….
We spend money so carelessly every day, on over-priced coffees (guilty as charged!), lunch out (again!), drinks at the weekend (not me!) and clothes, makeup and products that we just don’t need (again guilty here!).
Please, please, please, just for today, why not donate the price of your fancy coffee or your scone and tea at elevenses as every little donation makes a difference.
Donate here:
Thanks guys

What is BPA and why is it bad for you?

BPA stands for bisphenol A and is  is a chemical which has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s.

BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics which are often used in containers to store food and drinks, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods.

They are also used in epoxy resins which are used to coat the inside of metal products, like food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites can contain BPA.

Why is BPA bad for you?

Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or drinks from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure causes concern due to possible health effects  on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

How can I avoid BPA?

Simple. When you are buying food storage containers, always check that they are ‘BPA FREE’. It’s as easy as that. SO anything from a reusable coffee cup to your lunch box for kids or that you bring your lunch in, remember to ensure that it is BPA FREE.


Where can I buy a BPA-free water bottle?

I got to sample a Contigo water bottle and coffee cup and found them excellent. They don’t easily hang on to certain smells like vitamin drinks or coffee and they are really easy to clean! This is not an AD but you can buy them here.


Where can I buy BPA-free lunch boxes or food containers?

I find Sistema super- great colours, great variety of sizes and they are very appealing to kids too. I found an article here that lists some really great options actually for Mum’s and Dad’s!


So now you know to stay away from BPA by investing just a little extra in your water or food containers. Most reputable brands come with a warranty so you know you are on to a winner!


How to bullet-proof your health

So what’s the deal with the ‘bullet-proof’ craze?

Here’s what our pals Wiki have to say:

Bulletproof Coffee is a branded coffee drink consisting of “upgraded” black coffee blended with grass-fed butter and “Brain Octane oil”, an 8-carbon fraction of medium-chain triglyceride oil.[1] The recipe was created by Dave Asprey and first posted to his blog in 2009.[2] Asprey claims that the drink boosts cognitive performance and weight loss, and it has been consumed by sportspeople[3] and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.[2][4]

What are the benefits of Bulletproof coffee?

Now here is what I’ve found:

1. My brain feels sharper.

2. My energy levels are higher- Not like taking a pre-workout but better and sharper than coffee.

3. My concentration at work is improved.

4. It’s a super pre-workout for a tough session.

5. It’s a great way to sneak good fats into my diet!

How do you make Bulletproof coffee?

I *may have sneakily stolen this from google images from the bulletproof coffee site- guilty as charged your honour- see the recipe below, from the horse’s mouth!


How often do you drink Bulletproof coffee?

I have it most mornings now- in place of my usual shop-bough coffee which is close to 4 euro now- so making my own is healthier, cleaner and I know the quality of the product I am using.

Where do I buy Bulletproof coffee?

I buy the coffee, the oil and the collagen protein (I add the tasteless protein to my own whey mix post-workout!) from this site and they now deliver to Ireland- YAY!

All in all it’s a big fat YES from me :)



How to stay healthy on holidays

I often get asked how to stay fit and healthy while on holiday. Yes it’s not everyone’s ideal way to plan for a holiday and it is definitely a time to relax, but I have compiled some tips to help keep you on track and still let your hair down!


1. Stay Active
SO most of you probably don’t want to go to the gym every day when you’re on holiday. Some friends of mine have been known to do a little HIIT on their balcony on a sun holiday and others just opt for a more active holiday in general, such as skiing or cycling so the entire focus of the holiday is around activities and being out and about! By incorporating exercise more organically into your trip, you won’t even feel like you need a ‘rest day’ as it’s all part of the fun. I actually enjoy going to the gym while on holiday as I find I’m less bloated, more inclined to eat healthier and I sleep better!

2. Eat fresh food
Most sunny countries in Europe offer up a super array of fresh and healthy options, especially if you wander a little further away from the ‘strip’ in more touristic areas. Think fish, salads, chicken and lots of nuts, seeds and pulses. Salads don’t seem as ‘boring’ in the sun as they usually taste even better abroad!

3. Plan your food around your activities
As you will be eating out and about most of the time you are away, the temptation is there to have treats all the time, but you will be ten steps back following your holiday and it’s even harder to get motivated with post-holiday blues! Do have treats on holiday but not with every meal. You will feel better for eat and if you are having cocktails, try and ensure you drink lots of water and bring some electrolytes with you too! Also, if you are on a more active holiday, fuel yourself accordingly! I bring amigos and protein powder with me on every holiday to ensure I hit my macros!

4. Do let go!
I know I’ve mentioned to exercise a little caution, but genuinely there is a lot to be said for letting yourself go for a week or so and just enjoying the finer things in life, but if your are suffering from any chronic illnesses or have been advised by your doctor to avoid certain foods or drinks for health reason, do be careful not to let that slip!

5. Take time to yourself and unwind
I love nothing better than a good book and some sunshine but I also LOVE switching off- the phone, the noise, the stress and every day life. I sincerely recommend you do the same to come back refreshed, relaxed and ready for round 2!


Other than that guys, I’m off for a few days to the sunshine next week to beat the winter blues- haven’t been on holiday in what feels like AGES so dying for a few days, cheap and cheerful, and some vitamin d!