Monday 19 March 2018

Get in shape in time for Christmas

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

Siobhan Byrne
Siobhan Byrne
Orla Walsh
Chcolate avocado mousse
Roasted chickpeas
Curtsey side crunch 1
Curtsey side crunch 2
Curtsey side crunch 3
Side plank
Lying superman 1
Lying superman 2
Scissor kicks 1
Scissor kicks 2

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

By now you should start to notice the results from the workouts and food plan.

The exercises, 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 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.

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

Week 5 of your  nutrition guide

Fats are part of a healthy diet. To lose fat you don't have to go on a low-fat diet.

Nonetheless, as fats contain twice as many calories as proteins and carbohydrates, you do need to be mindful of how much you eat or use in your cooking.

For example, one sachet of butter has the same amount of calories as one slice of bread. While 1 tbsp of peanut butter has more calories in it than the apple you may be spreading it on.

Many fats are great for your body's health and similar to other food groups, the healthiest sources are wholefood versions. They include the likes of avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, such as peanut butter and tahini.

Some fats are considered essential fats as they're necessary for optimum health. Your body can't make these essential fats, so if you don't include them in your diet, you're not fully nourished. For example, omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish (dark coloured fish) cannot be made by our bodies and must be gained through food. If you don't eat this type of fish, you may need to consider a supplement of omega-3 fish oils or, if vegan, omega-3 from algae.

- Orla Walsh





17 cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ red chilli, finely diced

Coriander, a handful, chopped

juice of 1/2 lime

1 avocado, mashed with a fork

¼ red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed


Mix it altogether


Chcolate avocado mousse


1 ripe avocado

2½ tbsp cacao powder

1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup

1 or two drops of vanilla extract

1 large handful of dates (soak in water first for about 10 minutes)

Start with 3 tablespoon of milk


Simply put all the ingredients into a blender and blend.

Add more milk if needed, 1 tbsp at a time, as the consistency of this will depend on your dates.

If you like chocolate, add more cocoa


Roasted chickpeas


Tin of chickpeas

Smoked paprika

Spray oil


Roasted chickpeas are the perfect snack. Simply get a tin of chickpeas, rinse, roll out on a baking tray, spray with oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Roast for about 30 min at gas mark 5/190°.

Week 5 of your  exercise plan

We have reached Week Five of the Little Black Dress Challenge. If you have got this far - well done! At this time, it's really important to plan for after the challenge ends in order to keep achieving results.

What you want to avoid is a yo-yo dieting and training scenario that prevents you from obtaining the results you really want. Remember, real goals are achieved by long-term consistency.

There is a saying - 'the only training session you will ever regret is the one that you don't do' - and this is very true. I have never regretted doing a training session.

We often let life get in the way of things and our training or healthy eating plans tend to be compromised and suffer as a result.

By this stage you should be in a good training routine, and now that you have done the hard work of developing it, let's keep you on track. Look at ways you can maintain this level of fitness right into the summer by adding to the training when you find it getting easier or before you head off for a holiday in the sun. Everything you've done so far can be developed on as your level of fitness and strength improves.

To help keep you focused this month, now is a good time to plan what days you will take off from training.

Here are some tips to help you keep in shape as the Christmas party season approaches:

• If you are not already, start keeping a fitness and food diary, this will help keep you on track;

• Stay focused on training and train when you are supposed to. You will be less likely to overeat if you are training, as you know how hard it is to burn the calories;

• Remember, you can't out-train a bad diet, so don't start thinking it's okay to hit the mince pies just because you are training;

• Pick your cheat nights and non-training days wisely and plan them out. Choose your night - the Christmas party, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve - and stick to that;

• Get out for a brisk walk to help energise you.

- Siobhan Byrne

The workout

Curtsy Side Crunch

1/ Start by standing upright with your arms by the side of your head. If you have bad balance hold onto something stable for support with one hand.

2/ Step one foot behind the other into a curtsy.

3/ Then bring the back foot up and to your side, bending your knee and bringing your elbow towards your knee. Return to start position and repeat on same leg.

Scissor Kicks

This is a great exercise for working your core and abs. Make sure that your lower back does not arch throughout the exercise thus putting pressure on the lower back.

1/ Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides. Then raise your legs off the floor approx 10 inches.

2/ Cross the legs over each other at the ankles and then open out to the side wide. Repeat the scissors-like movement.

Side plank

Support your body by lying on your side on your elbow and on the side of your foot, with the opposite foot sitting on top. Keep your body straight and hold that position. Try to hold the position for at least 15-20 seconds while keeping your form perfect. Repeat on opposite side.

Lying superman

1/ Lie face down on the floor, with your legs straight and your arms stretched out overhead.

2/ Then raise your upper body and legs together, about 15 inches off the floor, hold briefly and then return to start position by lowering yourself back to the floor.

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