Leading by Example

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My eldest daughter, Alice, was recently named the top scoring gymnast within her club. I was, and still am so proud of her. She works hard at her sport, she trains 6 times a week and, in 2017, Santa generously brought her a beam to practice on at home.
I have always encouraged my children to be physically active and to eat well. They know that when they get a treat, they are only allowed to eat it at certain times. We have normalised healthy eating, eating broccoli received the same reaction as eating bread and, now, some of their favourite foods include cottage cheese, avocado, peppers and cucumber.
In Ireland, and worldwide, obesity is becoming more and more of a problem, for children and adults. Every parent wants the best for their kids, and when it comes to health and wellness, it’s important that we lead by example. If they see us eating take-away every night, this will become their normal.
It can be hard getting back to fitness when you’ve just had a baby, I know, I’ve been there. I also hear, from so many people, that fitting in a fitness routine is hard when you are running your kids to and from various activities. Again, I understand this, but I believe that if you want something enough you will find time for it. And, the added benefit of you sticking to your fitness regime is that you will be creating a living legacy for your children who will see this as a normal part of life.
For new mothers, I run mother and baby classes that are designed to ease you back into shape. Having a baby takes a toll on your body, so it’s important to take the right approach to returning to fitness and I can guide you through this. For more information please get in touch. 
I also work one-to-one with parents, in their homes, showing them how to incorporate exercise into a daily routine.
Think about how you might make exercise part of your family lifestyle?
Bike to school – is it possible for you and your children to cycle to school together? If they are very young, this could be a good foundation for getting them to cycle long-term and release you from school drops in their teen years – you’ll both be grateful in the long run.
Down-time blast – so, you’ve dropped them to music, dance, hurling or football. Whatever it is, they are occupied for the best part of an hour. Rather than driving home to come back again, or waiting in the car park, can you fit in a run? Is there a gym nearby or a class? Even a walk around the block is a good use of your time.
Exercise together – get the kids on the bike while you run alongside. Go skating as a family, play a game of football, or imitate your toddler. Researchers found that toddlers, daily, expend the same amount of energy as a 249-minute stint in a boxing ring, a 30-mile run, or a cycle of 82 miles at 12-14mph!
At the end of a long day at work, followed by an evening picking up kids and various household chores, it can be so tempting to flop down on the couch for the night. As tempting as that may be, I would encourage you to think about using that time to fit in some exercises. You can plank and keep one eye on the television. If you usually curl up as a couple, why not push each other with a plank challenge, or back to back squats. You can use your partners legs to ground you during leg lifts and vice versa. You might feel silly at first, but keep the long-term objectives in mind and remember, you’re not just doing this for you, you are also doing it for your children. We make many adjustments in life to give them the best opportunities in life, this is a win-win situation for the whole family.


Get in touch – shapeuphannas@gmail.com 

Call me – 0862457355


Wedding Workouts

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Shaping up for Love

Love is all around me…or at least Valentines Day is. With love hearts and flowers and boxes of chocolates as far as the eye can see it got me thinking about one of the most common motivators for getting fit…wedding days.

Whether the the bride, groom, a member of the wedding party or a guest, we all want to look our best at a wedding. For the bride and groom, however, there can be serious pressure to shed pounds and shape up before the big day and that is completely understandable. All eyes will be on you and you don’t want to spend that time sucking in your belly. You want to be comfortable and confident.

I work with a lot of people coming up to their wedding days, mostly women it has to be said, but men do put in the work too. Personal Training Classes

Getting married can be stressful business, trying to keep both sides of the family happy, not offending anyone with your seating plan and all the other details that you want to get right. I think working out during this time is a great way to clear your mind, to switch off from colour charts and guest lists and to have time to focus on you. Working out releases endorphins, which help you feel good and you can learn to improve your breathing, which helps in times of stress – such as your parents unofficially inviting all the neighbours to your big day.

As well as that, you will be building a stronger and healthier body and that will make you feel better as you walk down the aisle.

For anyone looking to shape up ahead of their wedding, I always suggest they start six to twelve months ahead – depending on your fitness level and what you want to achieve. This means you can lose weight or tone up gradually and you won’t put your body under undue stress. It also gives you time to set realistic targets. And, when you reach your target you can concentrate on maintaining. Giving yourself adequate time to see changes in your body will boost your confidence and help keep you motivated.

Plus, if you’re the bride, it will allow you make some progress in your fitness goals before you begin shopping for your wedding dress and meals there won’t be dramatic changes when it comes to alterations. Then, when you have your dress, you can focus on specific areas.  

When I meet with clients ahead of their wedding day, I talk with them about their objectives and their troublesome spots. I will discuss a food plan and an exercise regime that takes in the whole body – a full health perspective – and pinpointing exercises that will tackle the key areas of concern.

Whether it’s just one half of a couple, or a pair, trying to get fit ahead of a wedding, I would encourage both people to get on board. This can be done in a variety of ways, whether it’s following the same meal plan, or scheduling time to exercise together, even if it’s a walk once a week, the support and sense of teamwork will bring you closer together and could be a great opportunity to build stronger bonds.

In the weeks and days just before a wedding, there is a lot to be done. All the final pieces start to fall into place, and life can get hectic. There will be family dinners, catch up with friends who have returned for the occasion, there will be drinks and celebrations and the calories can mount up. If you have been working out regularly in the run up to your wedding, it should now feel like a habit. Just like brushing your teeth and you should think of working out that way. If you know you will be out for dinner, try to get your workout in in the morning or before you go out. If you’re tight on time, make it 20-30 minutes of intensive work rather than a moderate 40-60. At this stage you will have put in the hard graft, the changes will be there to see but you want to maintain your progress right till the end.

I recently heard of a bride who had barely eaten in the week before her wedding and was so hangry during the ceremony and drinks reception she couldn’t enjoy it. She was only focused on the bread rolls that she would be able to eat at dinner. Sure, she looked incredible, but she was miserable, and I can only imagine how she must have been in the run up to the whole event. In the effort to be skinny for her wedding she was missing out on the joy of the whole day. That’s why I don’t believe in going to extremes, I believe in gradual progress and happy and healthy brides and grooms.

Get in touch – info@shapeupfitness.ie

Call me 086 245 7355

How New Year’s Resolutions become resolutions for the year

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New year, new me… is that you? I think it’s all of us if we are honest. Who doesn’t wake up on January 2nd (nobody thinks these things on the 1st) and think, okay, it’s a new year, a fresh slate I can be a better person, whether it’s being a kinder person, fitter, slimmer or healthier. According to research, 73% of Irish people said they made an effort to eat more healthily in the past 12 months and 67% said they exercise more.

Over the years, I have found that when people say they want to be fitter, slimmer and healthier these are very vague ideas. They are aspirations, certainly, but without any solid grounding. You want to be fitter, great! I wholeheartedly encourage this, and I am here to support you, but what a couch potato and a gym bunny consider fit are two very different things, so which one are you aiming for? Some people want to be slimmer. If you are overweight then, maybe, this should be on your list, but there are very many slim and unhealthy people, and is that what you want? Or, is it to be healthier? Again, what exactly does that mean? How, when 2020 rolls around, will you know be able to say – yes, I’m healthier.

You need to be able to measure your success. Everyone’s goals will be different. For someone who only eats junk food it could be as simple as eating one piece of fruit a day. If you have a healthy diet, it might be about exercising twice a week. Whatever it is, your goals should be SMART. This a business acronym, which I usually hate, but it’s very relevant to setting goals around health and wellness, so please don’t dismiss it as jargon.

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SMART objectives are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific. 

Specific – what’s the end objective: I want to lose 10 kilos.

Measurable – how will you know you’ve lost the weight: bathroom scales. Note there are differences in scales and you weigh more at night than the morning so make sure to compare like with like.

Achievable – do you have 10 kilos to lose?

Realistic – are you putting the right resources in place to achieve this? Can you find the time to exercise and eat well? Will you go out every weekend and finish the night with a kebab or a spice bag in hand? Be honest with yourself.

Time-specific – set an end date: by my holidays in June.

The other important thing to bear in mind that you don’t have to do everything in January. New year’s resolutions are year-long resolutions. So, if you’re goal is to lose 10 kilos it doesn’t have to happen in the space of four weeks. That’s unrealistic, unwise and unhealthy. You should set smaller targets on the way to your end goal and you can tick off as you go. Aim for 1/2 kilo a week, unless of course there is a deadline. In which case, you can ramp it up. But aim low to start. If you hit your first target it will spur you on to hit your next, instead of aiming too high, missing the target and feeling like it’s not worth trying at all. Little by little you your small achievements will build into big ones. And, every time you meet your smaller targets you will get a massive confidence boost that will keep you motivated to move on to the next stage.

You can also build rewards into your targets. When you hit the 1o kilo mark, buy yourself a new top, something you wouldn’t normally buy yourself. But not food, try not to think of food as a reward because it can get complicated and too many food rewards could undo the good work.

We are now into the second week of the new year and most people (hopefully) still have their resolutions firmly in mind but it’s from this point on that many fall by the wayside, and begin to slip. For some, this is enough to give up completely. But, if you have fallen off the wagon already, that’s fine. Get back on. Reassess your goals and begin anew. If you fall off the wagon in June, do the same thing. That’s the problem with new year’s resolutions, we think we can only make them in January, that’s why we need to make resolutions for a new year, and you can make these any time you like. Just keep your SMART objectives in mind and you can begin to make your new year’s resolution a new habit for the year.


Contact me if you would like some help with any of the above: info@shapeupfitness.ie

Group Class Review – Horizons Montessori School

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From Horizons Montesorri School

After Christmas in Horizons all of the staff were feeling a little sluggish and finding it tricky to maintain the energy levels required to run around with our gorgeous little pupils, so we decided to call in help in the form of Hanna, our fitness guru!

Hanna soon had us laughing and moving and put that pep back in our step. We all loved the classes, not only did every muscle ache at the end of each session so you knew you had worked hard, but it was the variety in every class. No two classes were ever the same, Hanna always had something new, from boxing to resistance bands, from squats to lunges, we never knew what would happen next. This is the reason why we all lookedforward to each week, and we could all see and feel the difference, very quickly.

Thanks Hanna for leading us all back to a healthier lifestyle and encouraging us all the way with your good humour and constant encouragement, and we forgive you your ‘Swedish seconds’ !!! We look forward to working with you again, and we would highly recommend this programme to any other small business as a way of team building and keeping fit!

Get in touch with Hanna – info@shapeupfitness.ie

ShapeUp Cracking Christmas

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Cracking Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly…with Halloween over and Christmas in our sights, our social calendars are already filling up with awards nights, Christmas parties galore, dinners and drinks with friends and all the usual family events. It’s a time of indulgence but also a time when our routines can go out the window. The dark mornings and nights do nothing to encourage us outdoors either, but with so much rich food and drink being consumed it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on your fitness so you can enjoy your downtime and avoid heading into the new year with a few extra pounds. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:


Stick to the schedule

If you prefer working out in the evening, the silly season is likely to impact you most of all. The many Christmas dinners and drinks can get in the way of post-work workout. If this sounds like you, now is the time to put your workouts in the diary. Mondays and Tuesdays are often the quietest, so why not schedule a workout for one of these evenings. Put it the diary so you don’t forget when making plans.

If you can’t fit in your usual routine during the week, is there potential to fit in a workout during the day? Perhaps you could go for a run, swim or the gym during lunch. Can you cycle or walk to and from work to replace a lost workout?

Another option is to move your workouts to the morning. This might sound like the worst thing if you’re not a morning person, but much like the physical training you are doing, getting up early is all about training. Once you get into a routine it will become second nature. Start by leaving your phone/alarm on the other side of the room so you need to get out to turn it off and disable the snooze button!


Drink water!

We need to drink water every day, it’s central to our health and overall wellbeing. But, during the Christmas season when we tend to drink more alcohol than usual, it’s even more important! Set yourself a goal of drinking a glass of water between your drinks. If you’re in a round and you don’t want to miss out or mess with the system get a drink AND a water. It costs nothing extra and it will help with the recovery afterwards.

Alcohol is also an easy way to tot up the calories over the course of an evening. Below is a breakdown of some calorie counts per drink according to safefood.eu

Glass of red wine (250mls) 170
Glass of white wine (250mls) 166-236
Glass of rose (250mls) 178
Spirit & soft drink 124
Spirit & diet soft drink 80
Spirit & juice 126
Pint of larger 164
Pint of stout 210



Treat time

Don’t think of me as the Grinch, I think everyone should enjoy some of the delights the season has to offer, but it’s about managing these. A danger for many is the workplace treats – boxes of biscuits and chocolates – that are on hand all day long. If you know you won’t be able to resist, then try to at least manage your consumption. Pick out four of your favourites early in the day and have them on your desk. That’s your allowance and you can eat them when you like but that’s it! This will make you more conscious of what you’re eating and help avoid absentmindedly eating a box of miniature sweets while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil.


Make exercise a new Christmas tradition

There are lots of events around the city that will have you feeling festive and fit. Why not make these a new tradition with friends or family? Some of these are also fundraisers, so you can feel twice as good for getting off the couch.

Santa Dash, Clontarf, Dublin

Dec 2 at 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm

5k and 10k. For kids and adults.


12ks of Christmas, Kildare

Dec 8 at 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


Goal Mile, nationwide

Dec 25,


Fat Turkey Run, Sutton, Dublin

Dec 29, Dec 27 at 11:00 am – 5:00pm



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