Tuesday 20 February 2018

Get in shape in time for Christmas

Welcome to Week Four of our LBD Challenge, with dietitian Orla Walsh and personal trainer Siobhan Byrne

Siobhan Byrne
Siobhan Byrne
Orla Walsh, dietitian
Baked eggs
Fruit and vegetables
Side lunge chop 1
Side lunge chop 2
Side lunge chop 3
Sumo squat 1
Sumo squat 2
Mountain climber 1
Mountain climber 2
Mountain climber 3
Push-up 1
Push-up 2

It's just under four weeks until Christmas, and there is still plenty of time to drop a few pounds to look great for the festive party, and to give yourself a bit of wriggle room to indulge over the Christmas season.

The workouts, devised by Siobhan Byrne, are suitable for any fitness level, but if you are new to exercise or have any health issues, be sure to check with your doctor before starting.

If, for any reason, you are unable to perform the exercises, follow the food plan, as developed by Orla Walsh, and you will still gain some benefit. Remember, fat loss is 80pc food, 20pc exercise. Orla has included another simple and healthy recipe and some easy-to-follow food rules.

As always, if you have any questions or queries, please email us here at healthandliving@independent.ie. Best of luck with the challenge!

Week 4 of your nutrition guide

Orla Walsh, dietitian

When it comes to lowering excess body fat, the mantra of 'eat less, exercise more' is over-simplified but otherwise true.

It's important to ensure that your baseline levels of exercise are high.

If you typically exercise three times a week, but miss one session, your exercise levels that week decrease by 33pc.

To lose weight and keep it off, integrate movement into your daily life, which is easy with bodyweight workouts like Siobhan's LBD diet challenge workout on the facing page.

When it comes to energy in, the food and fluids you put into your body needed to be assessed.

Vegetables tend to be lower in calories than other foods, so focusing on having them at meals and snacks will help you achieve the deficit in calories you need in order for your body to lose its excess fat. Lower calorie veg tend to grow above ground.

Fat has nine kcal per gram while carbohydrate and protein have four kcal per gram.

However, your body has to work hardest when breaking down and using protein, compared to carbohydrate, while very little energy is required to use fat.

Do try and include a lean protein source, whether meat or vegetarian with every meal to make your body burn more calories due to your food choice.

- Orla Walsh

Recipe: Baked eggs

Baked eggs


1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes

2 handfuls of spinach

1 tbsp tomato puree

Black pepper to season

4 eggs

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground cumin

spray oil

½ small chilli, optional


Preheat your oven to 190°C.

Fry the onion and garlic in spray oil on a non-stick pan. When the onion is soft, add in the pepper. After a few more minutes, add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, spices, black pepper and spinach. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Transfer this mixture to an oven-proof dish. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and crack the eggs into the hollow. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the white of the egg is firm.

Food rules

Eat lots of vegetables and fruit (below) to help keep your body protected against illness;

Include a lean protein at each meal to support your metabolism and help you feel full; and,

Tailor your wholegrain carbohydrate intake to your activity levels. If you snack between meals, aim for protein snacks.

Fruit and vegetables

Week 4 of your  excercise plan

Siobhan Byrne

Hopefully you have stuck with us for the past three weeks of the Little Black Dress challenge and it has helped you to see some positive changes in your fitness, your shape and your healthy eating habits.

For many people staying on track for a few weeks isn't a problem, but it's at this time, as we get further into the programme, that we can loose focus and start letting treats kick in and begin missing workouts.

Over the last few weeks you have been developing good habits and you really need to focus on them now. Motivation is key at the minute to help keep you focused.

At this point we can look at increasing your fitness levels by adding in some extra cardio. Get friends or family involved to keep you motivated and make a set time, two or three times per week, for a fast-paced 20-30 minute walk. This can be done at any point in the day that suits you. Getting friends or family involved will help you keep on track, stay motivated and burn some extra calories in the process. But be aware: this does not give you the go ahead to enjoy extra calories as a reward. Instead, reward yourself after these extra calorie-burning sessions with nice baths, facials, manicures etc, but not food.

Tips to help you keep motivated over the next few weeks:

• Wake up an hour earlier to work out or to get extra walks in, there will be less likelihood of putting it on the long finger;

• Keep a log of your progress, with weight loss and fitness developments, on your fridge. It will make you think twice before opening the fridge door for treats;

• Leave your favourite clothing item, one that is a little too tight, outside your wardrobe and try it on every time you feel like slacking off;

• Buy yourself some nice fitted gym gear. Believe me, you will be more enticed to work out in nice gear, which will make you feel better and more confident.

- Siobhan Byrne

Little black dress challenge: The workout

Sumo  squat

1/ Start by standing upright with your arms bent and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Lower yourself towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees. Then push through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back straight and head up throughout the exercise.


1/ Start on your knees or toes, depending on ability, with hands under the chest and back flat in plank position.

2/ Lower yourself to the ground and then back to start position. Keep the back flat throughout.

Side lunge chop

1/ Start by standing in an upright position with your arms raised overhead and hands clasped.

2/ Take a step to one side, lowering your torso slightly forward and bringing your arms down to the side of the knee like a chop.

3/ Repeat on opposite side.

Mountain climber

1/ Start with your feet on floor and both hands on the ground. Make sure your back is flat with your core engaged.

2/ Slowly bring one knee up to the chest and then return back to start position.

3/ Repeat with the opposite leg - this is one rep.

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