Tired of the cross-trainer? Whether beleaguered by bingo wings or tormented by a spare tyre, if gym hasn’t fixed it — we’ve got some better suggestions for burning blubber in 2011.
From girl power kickboxing to tone your booty to sexy belly-dancing that’ll even blitz that dreaded double chin, there’s an option for everyone. Deirdre Reynolds talks to four real Irish women who sort the ab(s)-fab from the fads — and reveal the get-fit trends that actually work.
Kickboxing: 'There are more girls than guys in my class'
Kickboxing instructor Louise Quinn (33) from Dublin quit her day job for the dojo. And the black-belt babe says the confidence-boosting martial art has helped her to kick ass in more ways than one.
"Before I started kickboxing, I was 12st with no confidence -- I couldn't even look you in the eye. My brother had taken up lessons and encouraged me to go along.
"From the beginning, I was hooked. Ten years later, I'm a totally different person -- now I can go to the top of a room and look 50 students in the eye.
"People think kickboxing is a bloke's sport. When I started, I thought I'd be the only woman in the class. Now there are more girls than guys coming to classes.
"After I got my black belt in 2006, I decided to quit my job to teach kickboxing. My class is non-contact; it's all about fitness, not violence -- although I'm sure some of the girls have imagined their ex-boyfriend's face on the punching bag from time to time!
"We don't encourage students to use their kickboxing outside class, but it definitely makes women feel safer knowing they can defend themselves if they have to.
"Kickboxing is brilliant for your legs, arms and core -- I've lost 2st and kept it off. But it also teaches things like discipline and respect -- for instance, there's no cursing in the dojo.
"Whenever I meet a new guy, I tend not to tell him I'm a kickboxer straight away -- I just tell him I'm involved in the fitness industry. When they find out what I really do, most of the time they're impressed -- not scared!"
Hips don't lie -- foxy forty-something Breda Flanagan has a body the envy of women half her age thanks to belly dancing. But there's more to the Middle Eastern art than shaking your booty like Shakira, says the mum-of-one from Athboy, Co Meath.
Holiday heroics: From top left, Deirdre Reynolds goes mountain biking in Bolivia; surfing in Australia; trekking in Peru and abseiling in JerseyForget lazing by the pool and guzzling sangria -- from tough-love boot camp to 100km treks, this year's hottest holiday trend is for getaways that make you fitter -- not fatter.