Tuesday 12 December 2017

How do the ultra-fit spend Christmas? Vogue Williams, Dr Fionnuala McHale and more share their tips

DJ and broadcaster Vogue Williams. Photo: Svetlana Zabelina.
DJ and broadcaster Vogue Williams. Photo: Svetlana Zabelina.
Professional boxer Christina McMahon: I didn't eat any desserts or artificial sugar for the last two Christmases due to staying disciplined for my world fight...
Model and actress Irma Mali.
Fitness competitor Orla Hopkins: I would definitely overindulge on Christmas Day
Dr Fionnuala McHale: I will train as normal, if not harder and more often, over the holiday period
Dr Fionnuala McHale
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

Mulled wine, mince pies and all the trimmings - the party season can wreak havoc on our waistlines, so when it comes to their training regimes, we asked some of Ireland's fittest women if they plan on being naughty or nice this Christmas...

Christmas is a special time of year, not least for the super fit, many of whom use it as their annual healthy-living hiatus, even if only for 24 hours; so how exactly will Ireland's fittest be spending the holidays this year?

Vogue Williams

DJ, Model, TV Presenter and Radio Host

DJ and broadcaster Vogue Williams. Photo: Svetlana Zabelina.

"With Christmas, you are obviously going to have a few nights out, but to be honest, I don't have that many planned; I'll go out a few times, but I won't drink on Christmas Day or Stephen's Day, and I have a gig on December 27, so I won't drink then either.

I usually train six days a weeks, so I will try to keep my training up as much as I can over Christmas whenever the gym is open, because, to be honest, I enjoy doing it - it just makes me feel better and I really miss it when I don't go.

Generally, I do a lot of weights and high-intensity stuff for about 30 minutes and then 10 minutes of just abs work.

On the days the gym isn't open over Christmas, I have some weights at home and I'll work with them instead. I won't do anything on Christmas Day apart from take my dog for a walk, that's about it.

Food-wise, I will indulge in everything I want. It's the same when I go to a restaurant, I won't go and order something I don't really want because it's healthy; you have to treat yourself the odd time - that's how you stay on track with your diet. So, my thinking is that Christmas is Christmas, and I am going to eat and drink whatever, whenever."

Howth-native Vogue Williams (29) is a DJ, model, TV presenter, radio host and self-confessed fitness fanatic.

Irma Mali

Model and Actress

Model and actress Irma Mali.

"Our Christmases are a bit different. We celebrate on Christmas Eve and it is a very busy time for me. I don't have much time for training, so I would take it a bit easier. I think it's important to take break and relax.

I am probably going to pop in to the gym just for light training sessions a couple of times over Christmas, but not much. If it is not raining, I might do a couple of walks up the Wicklow Mountains - with the kids off school, it is a good opportunity to spend time with them and do something fun like that.

Christmas dinner will be roast turkey, and everyone, including me, can't wait for the poppy-seed buns I make every year; they are a very traditional Lithuanian dessert. I must confess, I will probably overeat chocolate. It's my biggest downfall.

I love this time of year, as I love family time and Christmas is all about that; spending time with family makes me feel warm and cosy."

Irma (31) is originally from Lithuanaia and came to live in Ireland in 2002. Her modelling career has seen her grace both Irish and international catwalks for some of the biggest names in fashion, including Chanel, Chloe, and Dolce & Gabbana. She has one daughter, Nikoleta (12).

Christina McMahon

Professional Boxer

Professional boxer Christina McMahon: I didn't eat any desserts or artificial sugar for the last two Christmases due to staying disciplined for my world fight...

"I enjoy Christmastime very much. I have my family around me, everyone is healthy and well, so I think it is a time to cherish friendship and happiness.

It can be such a sad and lonely time for some people and, therefore, I feel it would be a sin to not be grateful for what we have. Sadness hits everyone at some stage and we will need energy to deal with it then, so I appreciate it all.

My mam is a brilliant cook and I didn't take after her, so myself and my husband will spend it at home with my family for the traditional turkey dinner. I didn't eat any desserts or artificial sugar for the last two Christmases due to staying disciplined for my world fight, but this year, I may treat myself, as 2015 has been a mighty rollercoaster.

Mam's pavlova is hard to resist, so I was thinking of asking her to make one big one this year just for me! I will be training lightly throughout, just ticking over so the New Year won't be a shock to the system, and I am really looking forward to 2016 as many doors opened this year boxing and business wise; I'm excited about the unknown."

Christina (40) is from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan. Earlier this year, she defeated Catherine Phiri (22) on her home turf in Zambia to become the World Interim WBC Female Bantamweight Champion.

Dr Fionnula McHale

Functional Medicine Physician and Powerlifting Champion

Dr Fionnuala McHale: I will train as normal, if not harder and more often, over the holiday period

"This year, I will spend Christmas in Singapore and I'm really excited about it as I haven't been on a holiday in over five years. With running my own business, it has always been very difficult to take time off.

Last year, I worked Christmas Eve, then went home to my family in Galway that evening and was back in Dublin on the evening of Christmas Day to see a client on December 26, so it is going to be a very welcome switch-off this year.

In terms of my training and diet, nothing will change for me really; I am going to be with people who also value their health and so, I will train as normal, if not harder and more often, over the holiday period. I am actually very much looking forward to having the time to train at my leisure, rather than having to schedule it in and rush in and out to get to work or meetings.

I absolutely love training. I look forward to my sessions, it's my passion, so if anything, I'll probably get more sessions in when I'm away and it will be such a pleasure to go into my sessions fully rested, well-fuelled and without worrying or stressing over work or emails etc.

The other bonus of this, of course, is that I will be able to eat more! I'm a big meat eater, so Christmas is great for me - turkey, ham... heaven!

My family used to joke that I would just eat meat on its own for every meal of the day if I was allowed. In fact, I actually crave meat like other people would crave sugary foods or chocolate.

In terms of sweet treats, I'll do much the same as I do all through the year - save them for pre- and post-training for damage limitation, but having the added benefit of giving my muscle extra fuel to grow and get stronger. I do love cake and chocolate, so I'll definitely indulge, I'll just be sensible.

Again, it's great to be able to spend the festive period with other people, who are also conscious of health. It can be very difficult being around other people who try to coerce you into eating things that, quite frankly, I really don't want.

I don't usually drink alcohol, but I do enjoy a little mulled wine around Christmas and I'll have one when I'm in the mood!"

Dr Fionnula McHale (28), from Dublin, is a functional medicine physician and two-time WDFPF European Powerlifting Champion and 2015 International Fitness Champion.

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