Tuesday 20 February 2018

Madeline Mulqueen: 'I eat what I want, listen to my body and adjust as I go'

Lifestyle blogger Madeline Mulqueen refuses to be a slave to meal plans or diet crazes. She keeps fit through regular full-body home workouts that incorporate weights and yoga

Madeleine Mulqueen incorporates weights and yoga in her fitness routine
Madeleine Mulqueen incorporates weights and yoga in her fitness routine
Madeline Mulqueen keeps fit through regular full-body home workouts
Madeline Mulqueen and Jack Raynor
Chicken sandwich
Joanna Kiernan

Joanna Kiernan

Madeline Mulqueen (24) does not let her jet-setting lifestyle get in the way of her workout routine - she has created her own home-workout that she can do in a hotel bedroom, while wearing her pyjamas if needs be.

It is an interesting approach to keeping fit, so simple that there are literally no possible excuses. However, Madeline hasn't always been so dedicated to fitness; the Limerick model - who shot to fame following her role in the music video for comedy duo The Rubberbandits' song 'Horse Outside' - admits that she only really began to exercise when she moved to Dublin a few years ago.

Life has changed a lot for Madeline since then. Last year, she and her boyfriend of two years, American-born Irish actor Jack Reynor, who became a global star with his role in Transformers 4, got engaged. And this year, the blushing bride-to-be launched her own lifestyle blog, 'Live. Blog. Repeat.'

"I definitely wasn't always a sporty person," Madeline tells me. "I'm lucky in that I was always slim, but I noticed once I moved to Dublin and was obviously growing up and on the party scene, that I wasn't looking after myself very well. I was taking advantage of the fact that I was slim and I never really thought about exercise; I pretty much took it for granted."

Madeline fell into exercise unintentionally.

"I started boxing ahead of a charity boxing fight and once I started training, I started to notice my body changing in ways that I didn't know it could change," she explains. "I was toning up as opposed to losing weight."

"From there, I fell in love with fitness. I just got addicted to it. I carried on the boxing training and then after that, I started a course on personal training and fitness instruction and I did that mainly for myself," Madeline explains.

"I have that knowledge now, so I don't necessarily have to go to someone else, but of course, I like going to classes and I always love learning more. I still get the odd personal-training session here and there, just to keep it fresh in my mind and to see what's new in the fitness world."

Madeline is a home-workout fanatic and loves to create her own routines and fitness challenges by mixing a number of exercises throughout her week.

"My home workouts are a mixture of weights and yoga a lot of the time," Madeline explains. "I love working out at home. In a way, I think it's much easier to get motivated by just rolling out of the bed and doing it. So I do tend to stock up on a good bit of fitness gear myself, but it's nothing too crazy. If I need to use two litre-bottles of milk as weights, that will do the trick."

Madeline also attends Pilates classes in Pilates Plus Dublin, once, if not twice, a week, depending on her work schedule.

"I mainly work out myself at home, but I am also in love with Pilates and I go as much as I can," Madeline explains.

"I didn't know if it was going to be beneficial to me, but I tried it out a year and a half ago for the first time and my God, the day after that first class, there were muscles I felt that I hadn't even known existed, even after my personal training course!" Madeline laughs. "I have to go now. I find it amazing, it is a workout that lengthens your muscles and it builds your strength and your muscles without bulking you out and that is great for models."

"I think a lot of models are scared to do any sort of weight or resistance training that strengthens your muscles because they think they are going to get huge and that is not the case at all," she adds.

"You definitely get a full-body workout every class. It's shocking how much it strengthens you and a lot of people take that for granted, but it is your back and your core that keeps you stable. Once that is strengthened, then the rest of your body just grows even better."

Fitness for Madeline is more about feeling good than looking good.

"I was always content and wouldn't really have thought about exercise before, but it was really when I started working out that I thought 'oh wait a minute, I am getting definition in my tummy!' and once you see a difference it is very difficult to go back.

"I know if I stopped exercising now and went back to the slim not toned me I wouldn't be happy," she says.

Madeline eats whatever she likes. She is aware of what she needs to for a healthy lifestyle, but is not a slave to any particular meal plan or diet craze. There is nothing she avoids food wise.

"I try to eat as much as I can because I do love my fitness and to workout. I don't believe in diets. I listen to my body and I adjust as I go," Madeline explains. "There are weeks if I am not busy that I won't eat as much as when I am running around doing lots of things because I know I have to keep a balance and I am good at balancing myself. I love breakfast and I think it is definitely the most important meal of the day, so I eat as much as I can in the morning."

"Breakfast is the best way to keep yourself energised throughout the day without snacking on ridiculous things," Madeline adds. "That said, I am quite a snacker, but I will eat a lot of nuts and prawns and stuff like that."

Madeline's naturally slim frame means that she is more conscious about keeping weight on than working it off; a common conundrum amongst many naturally slender women.

"I love to splurge on whatever I want and because I am into my routine of working out, I know if I have a bad meal, I am going to work out the next day anyway; so I am not that big of a worrier when to comes to food," Madeline says. "Because I am slim and I am not working out to lose weight, I don't really think about what I am eating too much."

"I have to make sure that I don't lose weight," Madeline adds. "I have to keep on top of my carbs and protein because I do enjoy working out so much that I can't afford to be dieting. So I am the opposite to most people who would be trying to lose weight, but each is as difficult as the other in their own ways."

Madeline's home-workout routine is so convenient that she can do it almost anywhere, even while travelling and working abroad.

"You don't have to have a gym. If you have one, great, but if not, there is no need to worry - it can still be done and be just as effective," Madeline tells me. "I am very much used to using my own bodyweight to work out now and I do a lot of my workouts in hotel rooms, rolling out of bed and just doing it. I like working out in my pyjamas, it's brilliant!" she laughs.

So what exactly does this home routine consist of?

"It's mostly basic exercises," she explains. "People seem to think that these routines have to be mad crazy poses, but they don't. Going back to basics is the best job. I do a load of lunges, squats, push-ups. I even set myself little home-workout challenges and do a certain amount one day and the next day, I will up those reps and work along like that."

"Nearly every day I would do about 10 minutes of abs exercises," she adds. "And if you are ever stuck for what to do, there are so many great fitness videos online to follow.

"It is that simple and once you make a habit of it, it's a lot more difficult to get out of it than it is just to do it and then get on with your day."

"Once you see results, then the addiction starts," Madeline smiles. "You feel great and wonder why you didn't start earlier."

Follow Madeline's lifestyle blog, 'Live. Blog. Repeat.' at www.liveblogrepeat.com

Breakfast :

I always have porridge and soda bread. If I'm working from home, I'll have eggs and bacon about an hour after, or if I'm out and about, I'd bring snacks with me like protein bars, nuts, popcorn.

Lunch: I usually make a pretty whopper sandwich with a mixture of meats and salad.

Dinner: I've been having BBQ a lot lately with the nice weather. It's the easiest way to cook. Beer-can chicken is my favourite and it tastes like Nandos. YUM!

Snacks: I'm a sucker for charcuterie. I always have crackers with cheese and meat in the evening. Doesn't help my crazy dreams, but I'm okay with that!

Favourite cheat: If you're going to cheat then cheat good... You can't beat a good chipper!

Madeline's home workout

Madeline's full body home workout, which she  recommends doing once or twice a week:

Warm up:

• Stretch (2 minutes)

• Skipping + Jumping Jacks (5 minutes)

Full body workout:

• 10-15 reps, 30-60 seconds rest between exercises, 2-3 sets

• Lunge jump

• Split squat

• Sumo squat

• Squat pulses

• Glute drop

• Pelvic lift

• Step-ups with glute lift

• Dips off chair/reverse plank dips

• Chest press with dumbbells or two litre-bottles

• Half or full body push ups

• Shoulder press with dumbbells or two litre-bottles

• Bent over row with dumbbells or two litre-bottles

• Lateral raises with dumbbells or two litre-bottles

Abs 30-60 seconds for each exercise:

• Plank

• Side plank (each side)

• Heel taps

• Leg raises

• Bicycle crunches (try get to 100)

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