With the madness of Christmas about the descend, it's easy for discipline to fly out the window and for overindulgence to settle in for a month-long stay — so it's probably the most important time of year to keep your fitness goals firmly in mind.
Local fashion influencer and online content creator Ciara O'Doherty has never been one for a strict fitness regime, but she decided recently to really push herself with six weeks of intense training at the flagship of the Club Vitae group: Club Vitae Cardiff Lane in Dublin’s Docklands. Club Vitae has 13 health and fitness clubs located throughout the country and all have fully equipped gym, fitness classes, sauna and swimming — in this case, a 22-metre pool.
Ciara broadcasted on Lovin Dublin's Instagram Stories throughout her fitness journey so our audience could follow her progress. In less than two months, Ciara saw a huge improvement in herself.
Do you want to up your fitness level fast? Find out what Ciara had to say about her experience for a little inspiration...
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LD: What was your exercise routine like before you took on this challenge?
COD: I didn't have much of an exercise routine before this challenge. I love going for walks and the odd run or spin class, but I had no real fitness routine to speak of, which is not great!
LD: What would you say your main goal was?
COD: My main goal in this challenge was to gain more strength in my arms through weights, and to learn some new exercises that I can keep up on my own.
LD: Did you have any qualms about allowing thousands of people online witness your fitness routine?
COD: Not really, I think it's important for people to see fitness and gym beginners like me, and not just the professionals that are doing everything perfectly all the time. I hope that it made people feel a bit less intimidated about taking up a new routine or trying something different themselves — if I can do it, anyone can!
LD: Favourite exercise?
COD: Anything cardio-related is my favourite, I love sprints and anything fast-paced!
LD: Least favourite exercise?
COD: Pull-ups, for sure! I was so bad at them and could barely manage one in the beginning, but it was great to see my strength grow over the course of the challenge.
LD: What was the hardest part of the last six weeks?
COD: The hardest part was always the soreness that I would experience the day or two after each session. I was working muscles that I had never trained before, so I definitely felt it the next day! But I took it as a sign that I was working hard in the sessions, so it wasn't all bad.
LD: Do you think you've learned anything?
COD: Absolutely! I've learned that I'm a lot stronger than I think, but that I need to keep training to really develop. I've also learned some easy new exercises that I can do in the gym by myself.
LD: Think you'll be keeping it up?
COD: Yes! I'm aiming for a few sessions a week of either cardio or weight training, and maybe some classes. Let's see how well I can keep it up during the busy Christmas period!
LD: Any advice for anyone thinking of giving this six-week challenge a try?
COD: I would urge anyone who is interested in this challenge to just give it a try. It's amazing how setting yourself to a specific programme or goal can really motivate you, and the team in Club Vitae have been so incredibly helpful and supportive, they were there to help every step of the way, so it was never an intimidating experience. Just go for it!