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25th Jan 2019

“Three Weeks In To My Simple ‘Gym-Free’ Health Plan And I’m 5KG Down”


Three weeks in and 5 KG down.

Welcome to the 12 Week Gym-Free Challenge; My aim is to get back into shape but instead of going to a gym, I want to get out and experience all of the amazing places we have on our doorstep here in Ireland – combined with a healthier diet. I’ll run, walk, hike, cook and hopefully enjoy it all and lose some weight at the same time. Follow this blog for weekly workout and recipe inspo!

My goals are:

– Lose 2.5 stone

– Rediscover the grá for cooking in the kitchen

– Get out and about and discover some outdoor activities

– Reduce my overall alcohol intake

(Read about Week One Here!)

The great thing about talking about getting in shape in the near future is being able to eat four packets of Tayto in one sitting (I say sitting, I mean standing waiting for the kettle to boil) guilt free cos that big ‘ol belly gunna know real soon that I’m the captain of my own damn ship and I’ll sail this portly vessel wherever and whenever I please.

The bad thing about talking about getting in shape in the near future is that the future becomes the present faster than one would have hoped and now we’re all sad.

In this week’s video I’ve included some really nice (and healthy) recipes and a sample HIIT training session. I’m not a personal trainer – but it’s what I’ve been doing, if you’re interested.

If you too would like to end up in a sweating, wobbly heap on the kitchen floor thrun’ up against the gas cooker as the dog looks at you with forlorn eyes as if to ask ‘Master, is everything gonna be alright?, (the answer to which is ‘I’m not sure Clara but I’m trying my best’) – then why not throw down a yoga mat and join in. If you can collapse less times than me in the 15 minute session, you’ve got my respect at least.

6:45 AM. Nobody wanted to set that as their alarm.

But c’mere and I tell you. Two weeks ago I started this new routine and it’s absolutely brilliant. I genuinely hate getting up in the morning. I am not a morning person. I detest having to interact with any human being in the first hour of getting up let alone being forced to converse with one.

Above sentiments notwithstanding I decided to commit to it so I got out of bed and started running for an hour every morning before work.

Having an hour to myself without having to think about work or anything other than not tripping over a dog whilst in full stride is unreal. I absolutely recommend just giving it a try for a week to see if it’s for you.

If not I don’t blame you and wish you the happiest of dreams neath that duvet of safety. But if running around in circles and doing burpees in the rain is your box of tricks, hit the alarm and let’s do it.

For the past three weeks I’ve gone every weekday morning and I genuinely can’t believe how much it’s affecting my overall mood and happiness.

Here’s what I’ve been doing in week 1 + 2

  • Morning run for 60 minutes
  • Weekend cycle approx two hours
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) / weights every evening

The other huge changes I’ve made are to my eating habits. I’m still eating really nice food and not starving myself to reduce the weight. Instead I’m just being a bit more conscious of my intake. I was eating takeaway food at least twice a week and one of my favourite weekend orders was a portion of onion bhajis AND a portion of paneer pakoras (two separate starters), with a main course of butter paneer, mushroom fried rice and naan bread washed down with a couple of beers and a bottle of wine. I was also eating a large lunch out everyday (sometimes carvery style) followed by a full dinner in the evenings. I seldom chose the latter in the proverbial full duck or no dinner.

Instead of banning myself from takeaways, I’m just reducing them to one every two weeks (and with just the one starter cos ya know, just be normal!)

Chilli Con Carne Feat. espresso, peanut butter and dark chocolate.

This is a really good one to make on a Sunday so your evening meals are covered up until Wednesday.


Carrot + Coriander Soup with Cashew + Coriander Salsa (in video).

Really good for lunches / dinner and bulk it up with beans of your choice.

Next week I’ll share:

Protein Balls

Really quick and easy to make and a nice alternative to chocolate bars


Healthy snack and good for the lunch box.

Whilst I’ve lost 5 KG in the first three weeks, I don’t want to focus too much on the loss of weight and beating the scales mentality but instead on the overall impact that regular exercise has on the mind, body and soul.

(But also I want to lose weight. And beat the scales.)

In the next two weeks I’m going to raise the intensity of the HIT/weights and get out to some hiking trails so if anyone has any suggestions please send them in, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Perhaps this week I’ll be able to do these HIT sessions on the kitchen floor without collapsing in a trembling bundle under the sad and worried eyes of a confused and deeply inquisitive dog.

READ MORE: I’m Going To Try Lose 2.5 Stone In 12 Weeks Without Going To The Gym