Olga’s Story




Olga Nolan Measurements

I know what you’re thinking when you look at the before picture in this story, ‘sure she has nothing to lose!’ but a stint in Oz and the sudden loss of a family member took its toll on Olga’s health and fitness and left her feeling tired and not herself.  She’s not the type of woman to sit around and let something bother her so she was one of the first to sign up for my 12 week online course.

Tough Stuff

While it’s always hard to change your habits and lose body fat it gets even more complicated when you haven’t much to lose because you have to push yourself that little bit harder. You don’t see results as quickly or as obviously as you would when you have a lot to lose and it can get disheartening at times but Olga stuck with it and it paid off for her. There’s rarely a weekend that her crew of friends don’t have a night out planned but she stayed focused and chose the ones that were really worth it instead of trying to do it all at the expense of her goals.

Beach Body

Mid way through the course she also found out she was going to be taking a trip back to Oz in January so this motivated her even further. (If you’ve been down any Ozzie beach you’ll know the pressure!). She was famous for her ‘fakeaways’ during the course and definitely my best Snapchat communicator. No doubt she’ll be turning heads in Oz and who knows I could be preparing her for a big day in the not-so-distant future.


Pamela’s Success Story

Pamela BeforePamela After

Pamela Phelan Measurements

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that my advice is to stay active and eat a balanced, healthy diet during pregnancy to avoid putting on unwanted and unnecessary body fat. However that’s easier said than done for a lot of women and it’s also hard if you’ve already been battling with your body prior to becoming pregnant as had the lovely lady in this success story. Pamela had been attempting to get rid of unwanted body fat for most of her life. She had moderate success preparing for her wedding in 2012 and after the birth of her son, James, in May 2013 but after having her third child, Emma, in May 2015 she found herself piling it on again.

Back To Work

My 12 week online course came just in the nick of time for her in September 2015 as she had just three months of maternity leave left. Pamela really embodied what this course is all about and the type of woman it’s designed for. With two small babies on the go she couldn’t be accused of having much time to spare but every day she took whatever opportunities she could get to do her workout and prepare her food. Like me, her workouts often involved keeping her babies entertained and she found plenty of clever ways to do that. She kept me updated and was a regular contributor to our online support group too. In addition to following my course she took to the roads with her double buggy, rain or shine, and she has now started running too which is something she could never have imagined herself doing.

Real Life

Also like me Pamela likes her meals and nights out. This course suited her because it allows for real life. She always stuck to the plan during a week leading up to a night out, then she went off and enjoyed herself and was back to it again at the start of the new week. I could really see it all clicking into place for her on this course. She got why she had to prepare meals and eat healthily for the majority of the time and she’s been able to stay motivated because she could have her nights out too. She admitted that she lacked proper knowledge about what foods were good and bad for her. She had been guilty of not eating enough during the day and then binging on the bad stuff at night. The course helped her to regulate her eating and now she eats every three hours and has learned some great go-to snacks to keep her satisfied. She’s back to work but is continuing her healthy way of living and is joining me on the No Nonsense New Year course to continue her journey. She has told me how good she feels in herself since making all of these changes and as you can see she’s looking good too!


Choose Joy

Pink Christmas

It was really hard to get out of bed this morning wasn’t it?

It’s so cold and you’ve more than likely had a busy weekend whether it was partying, decorating the house, shopping for presents or all of those things. It only gets crazier from her on in so here are my three tips for getting through the Christmas madness without losing your joy.


Don’t mistake busy for active. Unless you are sprinting up the escalator ten times in a shopping centre you are not exercising my friend. Loook ahead each week and pencil in when you will get to exercise because the days just get away from us at this time of year and next thing you know it’s been a fortnight since you’ve done anything for your body. Sure you’re plans to exercise may not always work out but there’s a better chance that they will if you’ve at least considered them. Some days you might get a good 30 minutes+ in and others it might just be a brisk walk with the dog. Whatever it is it’s better than none at all.


Decide which parties are worth being bold for and which aren’t. A big catchup with the girls over a nice dinner might be worth it but would the pub grub at the cheapo office party really be? By all means accept the mince pies you’re offered when visiting family but there’s no need to keep a constant supply of Quality Street in your own house for the next four weeks. A little balance will serve you well.


Lower your expectations. The picture in your head of how it’s suppsed to be, how you’re supposed to look, what your mother-in-law is supposed to say, what your child is NOT suppsed to say. You have very little control over how it will all go so go with the flow instead and you’ll feel less stressed and anxious if it doesn’t fit the picture you normally have in your head.

And if all else fails you can always join me on my No Nonsense New Year 12 week online course to repair the damage! More details here.


Pregnancy Health & Fitness – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post I wrote about general guidelines for pregnancy fitness. In this post I want to look at little more in-depth at some of the specific things which women commonly question when they are considering what to do during pregnancy.

Before I continue I advise that you read Part 1 and also remind you that you MUST get permission from your doctor before taking part in any form of exercise during pregnancy.

In this post I’m covering concerns I had during my own fit pregnancy (which you can read about here) as well as those I have been asked about by other pregnant women. So let’s have a look:

Can I lift weights?


Women are often discouraged from lifting weights during pregnancy. The general weight limit bandied about is around 10kg. This limit didn’t sit well with me for a number of reasons including the fact that every woman has a different strength base coming into pregnancy. From the information I found I was correct in my assumption that this generalised limit wasn’t correct. So what could I safely lift then? The simple answer was whatever I could safely lift. That meant:

Making sure my technique was correct – this gets harder the further you get into your pregnancy when the weight of the bump causes a shift in your postrure and alignment. If you are in any way unsure as to whether your technique is correct then don’t do it. Poor technique makes it unsafe for your body. Baby will be fine but muscles need to be cared for too.

Avoiding holding my breath – prior to becoming pregnant I would have lifted very heavy weight that required me to do this so I halved my lifting weight straight away.

Reducing the weight as my pregnancy progressed and increasing my reps instead.

Giving myself adequate rest days to allow my muscles to recover – not something I was always super at but as my pregnancy progressed my body started to give me no choice.

Stopping anything that felt uncomfortable – this seems obvious but when you’re used to pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone it’s important to remember that shouldn’t be the case during pregnancy.

Why shouldn’t I lie on my back?

This is one you will hear about often during pregnancy but very rarely is it explained. The reason it is important is to avoid the possibility of Supine Hypotensive Syndrome occurring.

Supine Hypotensive Syndrome

Image source unknown

Supine Hypostensive Syndrome can occur when a pregnanct woman is lying supine and the weight of the uterus compresses the inferior vena cava (a large vein carrying blood to the heart) causing a partial or full blockage. This can restrict blood flow to and from the heart.  It is more common in the later stages of pregnancy when the uterus weighs more but can happen at any stage and is obviously very dangerous. Supine exercises, for example those performed in a Pilates class, should be adapted using a wedge or cushions under the upper body.

Will doing abdominal exercises hurt my baby?

Baby is well cocooned in there and you doing ab exercises should not harm him or her. However what it is important to be aware of when it comes to ab exercises is what they may do to your actual abdominal muscles. Excess pressure on them can cause diastasis recti which is a separation of the long rectus abdominus muscle that runs down the centre of your stomach.

Diastasis Recti

Image from http://www.diastasisrectirepair.com

This can sometimes happen for a number of other reasons but it’s important to be clever with your exercise choices for the best chance of avoidance. This is where I would encourage women to seek guidance from an instructor who has experience of working with pregnant clients. As mentioned above it’s important not to lie in the supine position and a pregnancy specific instructor will know how to modify specific exercises to make them suitable.

How much cardio is too much?

This was my biggest concern during pregnancy. I’m not a competitive athlete but I like to run 5-10km regularly as well as push myself in circuit and interval type training. I had heard that I shouldn’t allow my heart rate to exceed 140BPM but this didn’t seem like an awful lot and I wondered again how this generalisation could be applied to every woman regardless of her fitness levels coming into pregnancy. Again my suspicions were well founded as this guideline has been replaced with the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. This is more applicable to the individual because it’s based on how they feel. When exercising during pregnancy a rating of around 13-14 on the scale is sufficient.

Bjorg Scale Londonrunning.pt.com

Image from http://www.londonrunningpt.com

Two things I would be aware of when it comes to cardio exercise like running is Pelvic Girdle Pain and Weak Pelvic Floor. Exercising safely shouldn’t cause either but if you find that it aggrevates them then you might want to look at more stationary alternatives like an exercise bike or other low impact types of exercise. If it feels good I encourage women to keep going for as long as they can. Personally I started to wind up my running at about 32 weeks and took brisk walks instead but I did continue these walks right up until the morning I went into labour. Towards the end you have regular medical appointments and should check at each one if the Dr. is happy for you to continue. I’ve said it in posts before and I’ll say it again now, it gets A LOT HARDER to get your fitness fix when you have a new baby so doing as much as you are able to do while you are able to do it is my advice to you.

Exercising through your pregnancy

I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about pregnancy exercise. Awful picture but a great read if you’re a pregnancy fitness nerd like me. You can find it to purchase here.

Hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions please let me know here.


Say I Do, For Syria

Do you know what I love? Spending money. And do you know what makes spending money even more fun? When you’re spending it on lovely things for your wedding. And do you know what makes it even more fun again? When the spending of the money helps other people. Because the majority of the time when I’m spending money I’m hurting people. Myself and my bank manager mainly. We both get over it eventually but still it’s rare that anyone gets helped by my spending. Which is why the event that I’m writing about today is so fabulous because it allows brides-to-be to spend their little hearts out for a brilliant cause which will help a ridiculous amount of people.

So what is it?

I Do, For Syria and is predominently a sale/auction of pre-loved wedding attire where you can pick up amazing dresses, accessories etc for ridiculously good prices. There are sample dresses from the likes of Myrtle Ivory, Folkster, Smart Brides and Jeutonic as well as dresses from as recent as this year which have been donated by past brides. All of the money raised is going straight to the Irish Red Cross working on the frontline with Syrian refugees. It is the brainchild of Róisín Kelly of the blog How to be an Adult.

I Do For Syria


Can I have a look at the dresses beforehand?

You can indeed. I’ve included a sneak peak at a couple of them below but if you head over to the Facebook page I Do, For Syria you can check out all of the dresses, their details and guide prices.

AoifeBridesmaids dresses


What if I already have my dress or I’m already married? Can I still go?

Eh ye ya can! Firstly the spot prizes are just incredible. There’s so many I could go on forever but included are prizes like:

– a voucher for Hippenings (decor delights for party people)

– a €500 voucher from The Wedding Picture Co.

– a brand new surface tablet from Microsoft!! (I HAVE to win this!)

Some of them are bridal related but some would be great regardless of if you’re getting married or not. On the night, which will be MC’d by Xposé’s Aisling O’Loughlin, there’s going to be a fashion show, makeup artists, hair stylists, bubbly, music, and loads more so it’s going to be a really glam, girlie night out too.

When is it on?

Wednesday 28th of October at 7pm

Where is it on?

House Dublin on Leeson Street


€21.65 and can be purchased here.

You never need an excuse to get your bridal party together for a bit of fun but if you did then this would be the perfect one. Hope to see you there!





Fit Bride Marian’s Big Day


When Marian Lewis walked up the aisle earlier this year she was one happy woman. The most obvious reason was that Pádraig, the man she loved and wanted to spend the rest of her life with, was waiting at the top. But there was also another reason she felt like bursting with happiness and that was that she looked and felt a million dollars. A few months earlier when Marian joined up to my online course I convinced her that it was worth all of her efforts to achieve that feeling and be the absolute stunner of a bride that she wanted to be. She did so well that the poor lady doing her alterations had to tell her off as she explained she couldn’t make the dress any smaller! You can read about her online story here.

Marian & Mother of Praguw Marian & Dad

Marian & Mam

As an only child she spent the morning getting pampered at home in Roscrea with her parents, two bridesmaids and flowergirl before heading off to meet her man. Marian and Pádraig’s wedding took place on a beautiful day in St. Cronan’s church in Roscrea in May and they partied the night away afterwards in The Sheraton Hotel in Athlone. Check out her fabulous day below captured so well by Denis Vahey Photography in Cashel as well as details of all of her wedding vendors. If you’d like more information about my online fitness courses head over here and leave your details.

Church Marian & Hubby Pew Ends

Rings Sheraton Slippers

Marian and Hubby Veil Cake Topper


Dress: Smart Brides, Portlaoise

Veil & Tiara: Smart Brides, Portlaoise

Alterations: Midland Bridal, Kilcormac

Hair: Bridal Hair by Marie, Clonmel

Makeup / General Beauty: Emily’s Beauty Rooms, Rathdowney

Bridal Car: James Dalton

Rings: Voltaire Diamonds, Dublin


Fitness Clothing – My Top 3 Pieces

I have a lot of fitness clothing. A lot. It’s as a result of the fact that I can’t control myself in the presence of pink or any bright colours that I think will make me look good while exercising. I want to say my fitness clothing wardrobe looks great and is colour co-ordinated but I’ll be honest instead and say that I have a big huge drawer absolutely jammers with stuff. The only problem is I don’t wear half of it. Why? Because most of the clothing and footwear I’ve bought is clearly designed for the looking good part but not so much the exercise part. So here are three of my favourite pieces that are actually functional too and a little about why I love them so.


Nike Free BlackNike Free Red Nike Free Blue

I get asked at least once a week what are the best runners for exercising and the answer is unfortunately I don’t know. I don’t know because what works for me might not work for you. That’s really annoying because it often means spending a fortune on a pair only to discover a week later that they are cutting the heels off of you or causing your feet to cramp etc but with a bit of luck it won’t take you as long as it took me to find THE ONE.

I have a flat foot. I have no arch whatsoever. I’ve been told by one sports shop that I need support and by another that I don’t so I was always confused when buying runners and often made the wrong choice. Thankfully however I picked up a pair of Nike Frees about 3 years ago and it was like a true Cinderalla moment as they fit and functioned perfectly. Some people find they need one type of runner for running and another for exercise classes but my Nike Frees work for everything. I have about 6 pairs now and am coveting my next purchase. I get mine in either Lifestyle Sports or Nike in Kildare Village.

Running Leggings (tights, pants whatever you want to call them!)

Nike Dry Fit Pants

There is nothing as annoying as when you’re out for a run and next thing you look down and your running leggings are around your ankles! Ok bit of an exaggeration but seriously some of them are made so badly that you spend most of your run trying to yoink them back up. A drawstring is your only man here. That’s why I love Nike Dri Fit. They come up nice and high, have the drawstring and also a little zippy pocket in the back where you can keep your phone (but not an iPhone 6 as you’ll se in my next piece), money or keys. They’re also full length but have a zip along each side at the bottom so if you get too warm up can open them, hoosh them up to the knees and make them capris. I have about 5 pairs of these and the oldest are probably as many years old. I wore them throughout my pregnancy and they never lost shape. Again Lifestyle Sports or Nike in Kildare Village are my go-to shops for these.

On a side note I’m kind of excited about the new Nike Sculpt Tights that have a lovely high waist and promise to suck in all the body bits women hate but at €90 I’m going to have to have a good look at these bad boys before I purchase. If I do I’ll report back and let you know what I think.

Phone Carrier Thingy

Nike Waistband

Officially known as an Expandable Running Waistpack this has been a lifesaver for me since a phone-left-on-car-roof-incident forced me to change my phone. I was really quite devastated when I realised the 6 didn’t fit into the back pocket of my Dri Fits anymore. I have to have music or a podcast on when I run and cannot bear carrying my phone in one of those arm straps. This little gem buckles around your waist and the material expands to allow you to fit your phone in. Lifestyle Sports again.

As I said I have loads of fitness clothing but these three are my favourites. When it comes to tops I have to give a shout out to H&M. They make lovely, affordable tops that wash really well and are just a lovely fit. I find the sports brand tops can often be either too tight or too loose. Life is hard enough at 5km or doing a Burpee without either losing blood supply to a limb or exposing yourself to all and sundry.


Jesus I’m dying to go shopping now.



Home Fitness – Top 3 Pieces of Equipment

It’s been a busy few weeks for me as I’ve been setting up my new online fitness course. It kicked off this week and I have a lovely dedicated crew on board. As well as a balanced diet plan, each week I send them exercise sessions that they can do both in the gym and at home, depending on their preference. While all of the workouts can be done without equipment I have advised them to purchase a few small pieces to help them achieve better results. I decided to share on the blog some of these pieces so that people can see how it’s possible to get fit without spending lots of money or wasting time travelling. As the winter months approach getting outdoors can get harder also. You can spend as little or as much as you want when it comes to home equipment but the suggestions below aren’t very expensive and generally stocked in most big towns as well as online. See the video below for examples of exercises you can do with each piece.

Exercise Mat

Pink Mat

A good, thick exercise mat will never go to waste (not like a big awkward stability ball – anyone else have one of those in the corner of their room doing NOTHING?!). While you can usually pick up a thin mat for next to nothing you’ll pay for it in discomfort. The mat I’m using in the video above is from Physioneeds and costs approximately €50 but you’d nearly sleep on it it’s that comfortable. Similar can be found in Argos but Physioneeds are very fast with delivery. As you can see from the video clip you can pretty much use your mat for anything whether you’re looking to do cardio or resistance exercises.


Pink Dynaband

Untied this is a great piece for arms, shoulders and upper back for both strengthening and stretching. To help work your legs you can tie it up and use in various ways including as shown in the video. I get my dynabands from McSport but locally you can usually get them in the likes of Elverys, TKMaxx or Argos for less than €10. This is also a great little piece of equipment to pack if you’re going be travelling.



This is a very small but versatile piece of equipment which you can see from my video. I have a variety of weights but would use the 8 and 12kg’s most often. I use mine for both cardio and resistance exercise. I get my kettlebells from D8 Fitness in Dublin. Most sports shops supply them now too. Generally the fitness equipment suppliers will be a little cheaper than the sports stores. The average price of an 8kg kettlebell is €30.

You can spend lots of money on machines like a treadmill, stationary bike or crosstrainer but they aren’t necessary as you will see from my videos and I would only advise buying one if you are certain that you will use it and not have it become a clothes horse as often happens. If you’d like to get more information on my next online fitness course please go here and leave your details.

Hope you found this helpful!


Post Pregnancy Fitness For All – Part 1

First and foremost you really need to get your medical clearance before starting to exercise again post pregnancy. General guidelines state:

Normal Birth – 6 weeks post birth provided there have been no complications and the woman herself feels good. The 6 week check-up is a great time to get the go ahead from your GP.

Caesarean – 12 weeks post section provided there have been no complications. I will allow women who are less than the 12 weeks to take part in my classes if they have medical clearance but will start them off very slowly and progress from there.

Every birth is different and everybody will recover in its own way. Like exercising during pregnancy it’s important to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard too fast. You can read about my own post pregnancy story here.

First Stroll

My first steps out into the real world post pregnancy

Stage 1

Start slowly with walking. You will more than likely be looking forward to getting out of the house anyway and it’s great for you and your baby to get some fresh air (or to get a break from the constant stream of visitors). If you’re nervous at first ask someone else to join you and don’t go too far.

While you're making bottles

Core control on the go

Regaining control and strength of your core muscles which include your pelvic floor muscles is essential before moving on to other forms of exercise that may exert pressure. Practise your core control exercises as often as you possibly can. The maternity nurse will most likely have given you a leaflet with pelvic floor or kegel exercises to do and these are really important to do as early as possible. There will be days when you can’t seem to find time to eat let alone do exercise so I recommend trying to do your core control work at random times like when you’re making bottles. Tell yourself at the start of the day that every time you make bottles or boil the kettle you’ll do the exercises shown in the video below and soon enough you’ll get into a little routine.

Post Preg Ex 3DSC_8059edit

Stage 2

Increasing your walking pace and going for longer walks may be possible at this stage. Continue to practise your core control exercises and if comfortable add in some additional bodyweight resistance exercise e.g. modified press-ups, squats, short planks etc.

This is a great time to think about joining a post pregnancy or baby friendly class like Buggy Bootcamp (shameless plug I run such a thing – check out the details here) or Mother and Baby Yoga. Just make sure that you inform your instructor if you have had any pregnancy complications.

Be very careful before putting your body under too much pressure. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t run or do exercise of a higher intensity but remember the pressure your pelvic floor muscles have been under and how week they may now be. Your body will tell you in the most embarrassing way if you are ready or not anyway. Think of your pelvic floor exercise like scrubbing your body before putting on fake tan. If you skip that part you run the risk of looking like a big streaky mess. Put in the ground work and you’ll reap the rewards afterwards.

Stage 3

Once you are starting to feel your body regaining its strength you should be able to increase the intensity of your exercise routine but again listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Note that I said listen to your body not your brain which is so exhausted from the lack of sleep that all it can do is scream ‘COUCH!!!!’ Regular exercise will help to increase your energy levels and hormonal balance too so your brain will thank you eventually too. Take advantage of all the lovely people offering to mind your baby. They really really do want to do it and no you’re not putting them out.

Try to incorporate your baby in your workouts from as early as possible. I did this with Frankie and now he loves taking part or even just watching me from the buggy. If you don’t do it from early on they can sometimes get a little frightened but let’s face it a grown adult might be scared at the sight of us exercising some days too!)

If it’s not possible for you to get out of the house to exercise due to your schedule or the weather then you might like to consider an online fitness course to help you along the way. Shameless plug No.2 – check out details of my September 2015 course here.

Here are a couple of videos I put together to help you. The first includes some very basic core control exercises and the second to show you some of the things you can do with your baby as you increase your intensity (although I can’t promise the sunny day – it was the only one we had this summer in Ireland).



Online Fitness Course Starting September 2015

Róisín’s Story

  Click here to read success stories 

I have been working hard on the online plan for the past few weeks and am delighted to share the details.

Please read the following carefully before deciding whether this plan is suitable for you. Places will be limited and will be given on a first come first serve basis. Your place can only be confirmed once payment has been received.

Start Date: Mon 21st Sept 2015.

The information that you need to prepare for the start date will be emailed to you in the week prior to the start date so that you can do your first food shop.

Duration: 12 weeks

Cost: €100

What is included?

– A weekly exercise plan will be provided. There will be two different workout routines each week and a video demonstration of all exercises including teaching and safety points will be included. Each participant will be sent an email weekly with a Dropbox link to the video. Each routine is 20-30 minutes in duration and I will be advising that you exercise 4-6 times per week. There will be layered levels of exercise intensity demonstrated for different fitness levels.

– A food plan which includes real food choices for the real world. This is not a diet but rather a healthy eating plan. A template will be provided for planning your weekly meals and your shopping list. A clear explanation of your food options will be provided to help educate you on making better food choices.

– A Facebook support group that will allow course members to interact, share tips, and encourage each other. Support and accountability are very important when undertaking a plan like this and your group, as well as myself, will help to provide these things.

– Daily contact with me through the support group. I will be logging on every day to answer any questions you might have as well as giving motivational advice throughout the course.

What do I need?

– New mothers will need to have had their post-pregnancy check-up and have received medical clearance to exercise. If you have any specific post-pregnancy concerns you can contact me to discuss before committing.

– All participants will need to read the relevant terms, conditions, statements, and screening procedures. In order to proceed with the online course all participants will have to confirm via email that they have read the relevant paperwork and have medical clearance (further details will be provided should you choose to partake).

– All routines can be completed without equipment however a mat, dynaband and a weight of approximately 5-12kg are recommended to help you achieve the best results. The routines can be performed in your own home, indoors or outdoors, but if you are already a gym member you can do them there either.

– I recommend that you take your body measurements and a video demonstration of how to do so will be provided. For accountability all measurements can be posted to the support page or privately by email to myself and photographs included if you are comfortable to do so.

In addition I encourage all participants to chose an item of clothing that is currently too tight but which they would like to be able to fit comfortably into by Christmas and share this with the group if they wish. Weighing yourself on a scales is not recommended but is a personal choice.

Who is this plan not suitable for?

– Anyone with a disability, impairment or ailment which prevents them from engaging in active or passive exercise that is detrimental to heart, safety or comfort.

– Unfortunately at this time the plan does not take into account specific dietary requirements eg. If you are vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, diabetic

– Pregnant women (however please note that should you fall pregnant during the 12 weeks an alternative routine can be provided once medical permission to exercise has been received.)

The response to this course has been unbelievable. I’m very excited about helping you all to achieve your goals. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Please make sure that you have notified me of your intention to join this course before making payment.

You can make your payment here


Please choose a category and click the Buy Now button below. The cost is €100.

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