Wednesday 22 March 2017

Work hard and it pays off

Yvonne Hogan

I will never forget how sore I was the morning after my first workout. The pain in my thighs was excruciating every time I sat down or got up. I went to the cinema that night and I had to be helped out of my seat because I was so stiff and sore.

But 24 hours later, I felt amazing. I felt as if my body had awoken from a deep sleep and I was finally moving properly again.

I was less sore after the next workout, and less so again the one after that, but even now I still get aching muscles after I start a new workout programme — I get new programmes from Damien every four to six weeks — and I love it.

I love it because it means that my hard work is paying off and that my body is changing, getting stronger and fitter all the time.

However, hard and all as they were and still are, the workouts are kind of the easy part.

Once you commit to exercising a few times a week and stick to it, it quickly becomes second nature. Your body starts to crave exercise and you start to look forward to going to the gym.

Trust me — work hard and force yourself to do the workouts on schedule for these three weeks and your attitude to how you use your body will change and you will want to exercise.

The food is the hard part. Whereas the exercise is a half an hour or so a day, the food is there all day and night. And this is where you really need to work at developing discipline. The only way to do this is to keep a food diary and to plan ahead.

Initially, I found the amount of food and the regularity at which I had to eat it daunting, and the only way I knew I could manage it was to be organised.

I shopped twice a week and made sure there was always cottage cheese and plenty of eggs in the fridge for breakfast.

I would cook a load of chicken breasts and salmon fillets on a Sunday and on a Wednesday so that I could bring a packed lunch to work every day. I also brought my dinner and ate it at 6pm before I left work and always had plenty of nuts with me for snacks. I even kept a stash of tinned mackerel and tuna in my desk, just in case. I

set it up so that I couldn’t fail. And, as the weeks went on, it became second nature. I didn’t even have to think about it.

Another bonus was that I found my bank balance improved. Even though I initially thought that all the food would be expensive, I ended up saving a fortune by not having to go to the deli or eat out.

Next week, we will have more tips and information on how you can get into the best shape you can be.

In the meantime, please drop us a line and let us know how you are getting on. We’d love to hear from you.

Email us at weekendmag@independent.ie.

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