Why The Whole “New Year, New Me” Is B******t!

As we roll into a new year, it’s a great time to make plans and set goals for the year ahead. Keeping that in mind, get ready for your social media to be blasted with the whole “New Year, New me” saga and DON’T even get me started on those 8 week challenges!

Let’s take a step back here and look at the big picture, why the hell are we wanting to change who we are? Last time I checked I was pretty happy with little old me, warts and all-(I hope you are too!) Without even knowing, people are already putting pressure on themselves because “this is year that it’s going to happen-I’m going to lose a ton of weight in the new year and my life will be perfect!” When the seed is planted it usually starts with the person doing serious damage over the Christmas holidays and then restricting themselves 100% in the new year! “Hello misery!”

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I’m all for people making positive steps to achieve overall mental and physical health but these plans you’re being sold don’t actually help with any of that long term (unless you are working with a qualified professional of course-do your research!). Yes, you will lose weight but is it sustainable? And how happy will it actually make you!

It’s taken me a long time to really be happy in my own skin and I feel it’s my prerogative to help others because that place can be dark. I too used to be that person who said I’ll wait until the new year to lose a few pounds, I too started the new year cutting out all the food groups under the sun trying to achieve that and guess what? It sucked, not only did it suck, a few months later when I started eating all those forbidden fruits, I had failed (or so I thought!).

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I’m not a negative person so don’t see this as a negative post, every year is a new beginning, it’s exciting and fresh. Every new year is a year to better yourself from the previous but please be mindful with your goals. Set realistic goals, year long goals, lifetime goals, it’s not a sprint people! Achieving a healthy body and mind permanently takes times and if you are willing to invest in yourself then changes will happen.

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January can be a daunting time on social media as everyone seems to be shouting about some kind of diet or new training plan, don’t waste your energy trying to mimic someone else’s goals, again bring it back to you and push forward! Social media can be a great place too- those rough days when you need inspiration/motivation to get to the gym or for meeting like minded people who share the same passion, a support group if you will!

Enjoy each day and don’t stress thinking about the finish line. Enjoy the process, learn and grow!

I wasn’t planning on blogging until the new year, but just wanted to throw out a positive message as we close off this chapter! I wish you all magical, positive vibes for 2017 and thanks to everyone who supported me to date, you rock!! I’d love to hear about your goals and plans for the new year so don’t be strangers!

Namaste ❤

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To My 20 Year Old Self…

I turn 30 in 3 weeks and while it can be a pretty scary occasion, I’m actually excited! Yes, of course part of me is cursing under my breath, we’d all love the secret potion for eternal youth right? But, with age comes wisdom, confidence, security and excitement for the future. Let’s not forget if you want to eat ice-cream for breakfast, you can!!

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20 Year Old Me

Self Love

If I’m honest there’s parts of my past I try to forget about, things I’m not proud of!  The hardest part to heal was my “Self Love”. I always felt this angst inside, not a teenage “no-one understands me” angst but a real lack of love for myself, resulting in a lot of self-destructive behaviour! I definitely suffered badly with body dysmorphia, even getting dressed day to day was hard. I would change 700 times and even when I decided what to wear,  it would always be something oversized and baggy! If it was hidden away I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

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The problem with not loving yourself is you can lack confidence to speak up, confronting people is a definite NO-NO and in my case, I let lot’s of people away with things I really shouldn’t have! It’s not worth getting upset about because we can’t change the past but we can change our future and I set out for that without even realising!

Time For Change

In 2009 I decided to get get fit again it had been years since I trained, unless you count dancing at music festivals exercise (I did lots of that, 6 Glastonburys in a row anyone?) It was around 2010 when I got the fitness bug with the Ronin Crossfit lads, they set up operation sandbag and then in 2011 they opened the gym! I’ve talked about my fitness journey in the Journey To My First Competition blogpost.

 

“Your life begins to change the day you take responsibility for it.” - Steve Maraboli

There’s been up and downs, but in the last couple of years I have really found peace with who I am and what I’ve achieved! Growing up I felt I was the short ass with the chunky legs, but hey short people make good weightlifters/crossfitters and you can’t lift heavy without a strong base! For each of us it can be something different, we can be so hard on ourselves but let’s make 2016 the year of “Self Love”.

One thing we don’t talk about enough is ourselves! It’s OK to compliment yourself; tell people you kicked ass in work, smashed a WOD, or how great you feel in your new dress? It can be hard. I’ve talked about it before, but keeping a journal is great for this, write it down and when you’re ready… Scream it from the rooftops!

So to my 20 year old self:

Lift your head and show yourself some love. You are a beautiful person who loves the world, so show yourself some love back! If you mess up that’s ok, your mistakes don’t and will not define you! You have nothing to worry about because the best is yet to come…. (oh and about that fringe, I’m not so sure about it #LegoHead)

 

Zesty Coconut Turkey Fillets

An old recipe of mine which I designed in 2013 for Boxrox.com, I’d like to think my photography skills have improved since then LOL!

Turkey is not just for Christmas you know!! A favourite of fitness fanatics for decades, there is a solid reason for this!

  • There is about 32g of protein in a 4-oz. serving of turkey, making it a very good source of these essential amino acids. Just one serving of turkey provides 65 percent of your recommended daily intake of protein.
  • Considered a good source of vitamins B3 and B6, rated because of the density of these vitamins in the meat. A serving of turkey meat has 36 percent of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your recommended intake.
  • Turkey is believed to have mood enhancing properties. It contains tryptothan, which produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood.
  • Light, skinless roasted turkey is low on saturated fat and total fat. It also contains less cholesterol than chicken, pork or beef.

Honey & Lime/Coconut Turkey Fillets

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Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 turkey steaks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 2-4 pieces streaky bacon (optional)
  • 1 packet long stem broccoli
  • 1 pok choi
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce/coconut aminos
  • olive oil
  • paprika/salt/pepper

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180

2. In a bowl mix the egg and lime juice until combined. On a chopping board spread out the coconut ingredients & season with paprika, salt & pepper.

3. Take the Turkey Steak and dip in the egg mix and then coat it in the coconut. Do this to both steaks until evenly coated. Place the Steaks in a glass baking dish and bake for about 15 mins (turn in between) and cook until golden.

4. While the Turkey is cooking, add some olive oil to a hot pan and quickly fry the pak choi & broccoli with garlic and soy sauce/coconut aminos (cook the bacon now if you include it)

5. When the turkey is ready you are ready to plate up, I added some avocado for extra health benefits.

Namaste!

 

Weight Loss Is Not A Destination

“I’ll be happy when I’m skinny”, “My life will be perfect when I lose this extra weight” How many times have you told yourself that? I know I have many times! I was always obsessed with my weight growing up. I was never big or overweight (I couldn’t see that!) and I was obsessed with being thin. I figured if I lost a bit here or got rid of some there, I would be happy and my life would be perfect. The reality was that trying to lose weight was awful. I wasn’t happy at all, it was stressful. When I lost weight, I was waiting for this magic wand to wave over me and my life would be perfect -guess what, it never happened!

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It’s taken me almost a decade to really love my body, I have weightlifting to thank for that. When you realise the amazing things your body can do, you can’t help but love it! All those years of hating my legs because they weren’t slim like all the other girls, well now they have a purpose. These strong legs can clean 80kg now and that really blows my mind. This can be the same for you, find something that makes you truly unique and show yourself some love!

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Please don’t waste time and energy trying to change who your are because you think you should look or act a certain way. I want you to do something for me – buy yourself a really nice journal and keep it beside your bed. Before you turn off the lights I want you write down something great you did that day (it can be anything at all) and one thing you love about yourself!

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Don’t get sucked into what society thinks of you, because I can tell you the next person is 100% worrying about themselves too. Don’t compare yourself to others, I’ve said it before – it’s ok to be inspired by people, but DON’T try become that person. We are all unique butterflies and that is an amazing thing, so embrace your individuality!

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If you ever want to talk about body image or you’re looking to find inner confidence, send me an email at primal piggy@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to talk to you. I’ve been there, I’ve suffered, but I overcame it and you can to!

 

Time To Inspire: Donna Larkin

My first interaction with Donna was through Facebook – we got talking about competitions and as they say, the rest is history! Donna is one of those people who when you talk to her you feel like you have known her for years, she is such a warm and loving person – you know you could tell her anything and she won’t judge you! Donna has an impressive athletic background ranging from kickboxing champion to CrossFit to races, and is also a CrossFit coach so she really is a massive inspiration to all! She’s there for me when I’m having a bad day or need that extra push in training, and I’ve never heard her say a bad word about anyone! I wanted to celebrate what Donna has achieved, so it was natural to include her in the “Time To Inspire” series!

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What has been your proudest “Fitness Moment” to date?

Winning an Irish title in Kickboxing back in 2009. I started kickboxing when I was 17 and after having several successful fights, I was in contention for an Irish title. Unfortunately, it took many years to actually win that title, as I was unsuccessful in my first few attempts. When it finally came, the win itself was far from easy. The fight was an all out war, the result was a split decision and it really could have gone either way. Thankfully for me I edged the win! It was definitely a very proud moment for me, as I had worked so hard for it and battled through a few losses along the way.

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How has fitness changed your life?

I feel I have changed massively since I started out on the fitness path. I would have always been pretty socially awkward, I struggled with confidence, and would be uncomfortable speaking in front of groups of people. So to see myself now, as a coach, it’s kind of bizarre to see how far I’ve come! My love of fitness has grown so much that it has changed my career path. Going from office worker to a full time coach after 14 years! I’m still a little bit awkward socially but It’s definitely made easier by the amount of amazing friends you make through fitness. You share the same interests and they support you in everything you do. I especially found this in the CrossFit community. I look forward to going to various events and competitions, catching up with them and cheering them on.

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Now that’s what I call Motivation Monday!!

Vote for Piggy!!!

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As you all know I have been shortlisted for The Irish Blog Awards in October! I now need your help, you can vote for my blog by clicking the link below. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am about this and it’s all thanks to you guys!! When I started my blog  it was just a place I could share recipes with family and friends, I never imagined I have the followers I do today (it blows my mind!!) Over the last year I have worked endlessly on the blog and all the late nights don’t seem so bad when I get rewarded like this! I hope I can continue to share good content and if there is anything you would like to see in the future please comment below!!!

VOTE FOR PRIMALPIGGY HERE

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You can vote for me here:

Interview with Crossfit/Olympic Weightlifting Athlete: Saoirse Houlihan

Anyone who was at the Waterford Throwdown in June will know who Saoirse Houlihan is, or maybe you have heard her nickname “The up-circle” queen after she showed us all how gymnastics should be done in WOD 2.  (I actually stopped trying to attempt it and stood looking at her in awe!) Saoirse has been named the fittest female teenager in Ireland, and really I am not surprised. Coming from a background in gymnastics, the 17 year old athlete has now moved into CrossFit and weightlifting and is now making her name known in this field. She is definitely one to watch and I believe she is going to have great success as an athlete. I’ve spoken to Saoirse at a few competitions now and she is such a lovely down to earth girl. I’m delighted to interview Saoirse for Primal Piggy and I can’t wait to see what’s next for this young athlete.

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Primalpiggy: Hi Saoirse, Great to have you on board! Tell me about your fitness background?

Saoirse Houlihan: Thank you! So, I’ve always been a very active child and I have tried out endless amounts of sports such as gymnastics, soccer, swimming, irish dancing, GAA and athletics but the one sports that I stuck to from the start was gymnastics. I started gymnastics in primary school when it was our PE class and from there I joined the Kilbarry Gymnastic Club and trained and competed with them up until I was 16. I’m very thankful to have done gymnastics because it has benefited me so much in Crossfit and weightlifting. It’s a lot easier to lift when you have zero mobility issues and I also had basic strength from the years of training which gave me a head start.

PP: What drew you away from gymnastics and into CF & Weightlifting?

SH: Both my Mum and Dad were in CrossFit and after I had finished gymnastics on a Saturday morning I would always walk over and watch them in the gym until they had finished. I loved going to CrossFit and just watching everyone do the wods and lift weights, I found it fascinating and I really wanted to join in. During that summer Tom Dunphy held free CrossFit classes in the park on a Sunday morning and that’s how Sibeal and I first got into Crossfit and Weighlifting. 

PP: Did you enjoy taking part in the CrossFit open? What was the biggest lesson you learned?

SH: I really enjoyed the Open, it was a great learning experience for me. It highlighted what I needed to work on but it also showed me my strengths. The biggest lesson I learned was probably just not to take it so seriously and just enjoy competing and comparing scores. I also learned that I really need to work on my muscle ups! I was disappointed when I couldn’t RX that workout but I knew myself I didn’t have the strength to do one yet. It was also my first time trying handstand pushups from no mat and I managed to get onto the 4th round of them. 

PP: Amazing!! How did it feel to be named Ireland’s fittest (female) teenager?

SH: It was a pretty great feeling as I finally earned a name that proved the hard work I put into my training. I was surprised with how I placed in Europe as I didn’t expect to do that well because I only joined Crossfit last Summer and I was still fairly new to some of the movements.

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PP: It was incredible to see! What’s your proudest fitness moment to date?

SH: Probably just competing in weightlifting competitions as I never thought I’d be able to stand in front of a crowd. I’m proud that I have gained enough confidence to do that and so much more.

PP: Tell me about your training programme, and how you get yourself competition ready?

SH: I usually try to lift and do CrossFit 3-4 times a week. I stick to the wod that’s on the board and I follow a separate lifting programme. Before a competition I would try to focus mainly on Crossfit two weeks prior to the date to get my cardio up a little bit more. Then the week of the competition I would train normally but leave two days rest beforehand. During those rest days I would just work on stretching and mobility so I’m not stiff or sore on the day.

PP: What inspires you to go to the gym every day, and do you ever have an off-day?

SH: The thought of getting stronger and bettering myself is one thing that inspires me to go to the gym. I quite often have off-days, sometimes I’m too tired or just not in the mood and I end up having a bad lifting session.  It’s frustrating but after a rest day I normally come back into the gym determined to have a better training day than my last one.

PP: What advice would you give to other teenagers thinking about joining a CrossFit box or competing for the first time?

SH: For a teenager who is competing or just joining I would say not to worry about how much weight they are lifting or how fast they can do a wod compared to everyone else! When I first joined CrossFit and I’m sure everyone else was in the same situation when they first started, I was using a plastic PVC pipe to learn how to lift a bar. I was nervous seeing all the other women lifting really heavy and thought I’d never get to that stage. As I became more familiar with the movements and lifts I gradually made my way to a 15kg bar and then I increased the weight of the lifts until I met the RX’d prescribed weight.

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PP: I love it, great advice!! Have you ever experienced an injury? How do you stay injury free?                                                    

 SH: I have only ever experienced small injuries such as a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist. I try to stay injury free by stretching before and after training and by maintaining good mobility. If I ever feel pain while training I stop immediately as it’s not a smart decision to continue and worsen the problem.  Most importantly I make sure to take enough rest days so my body has time to recover from a hard training session.

PP: How often do you hear the argument that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights? Do you think this is starting to change?

SH: I don’t hear it as often as I used to! I think people are becoming more accepting of women lifting over the past year, it’s not as unusual as it once was. It’s definitely starting to change, women are moving on from skinny to healthy and fit. There are still some people who think women shouldn’t lift heavy but I believe they’re just afraid of strong women, I know some men or boys might feel emasculated but we can’t let them stop us doing something we’re passionate about.

PP: YES!! Love that answer!!! I know your Mam is a paleo chef at The Paleo Crunch Co. (delicious btw!!) Do you eat paleo or follow a specific diet?

SH: I tried to follow the Paleo diet but it didn’t really suit me with my eating habits! Since I’m a very picky eater and I don’t like a lot of food so I decided not to follow it anymore. I try to maintain a healthy balanced diet which, really is the idea of paleo with enough protein and carbs so I have energy to workout and lift in the gym from natural non processed foods. I normally eat paleo treats such as mixed nut bars or sweet potato brownies as I think they are just as nice, if not better than non paleo treats!

PP: Can you share your favourite recipe/meals?

SH: My favourite recipe is the paleo banana pancake. It consists of just 2 eggs and 1 banana mixed together. This is so simple and easy to make I eat it almost every morning before school with mixed berries on the side. Another favourite snack I love to eat are paleo energy balls, these are made out of dates, mixed nuts, desiccated coconut, protein powder(optional) and seeds. Once they’re all blended together the mix can be rolled into small balls then rolled again in more desiccated coconut as a topping. 

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PP: Ok, now I’m hungry! What’s your favourite and least favourite WOD and why?

SH: My favourite wod would have to be Karen (150 wall balls for time). Since I’m quite tall I find wall balls easier than most people do and with only a 6kg ball it flies up to the target. I think I have a quick enough time but there’s always room to improve! My goal is sub 6 minutes. 

My least favourite wod is Murph as I don’t like running.  The two 1 mile runs really aren’t nice, they’re manageable but I still don’t like them!

PP: Have to agree with you there, Murph is torture lol!! Who are your biggest athletic or general inspirations?

SH: Lauren Fisher has been my biggest inspiration since I started CrossFit.  I love what Lauren stands for and what she teaches girls about being strong and healthy and that we can achieve any goals that we put our minds to.

PP: Great choice, Love Lauren Fisher myself! Finally Saoirse, What’s next for you?

SH: Next I hope to focus on my Olympic Lifting and getting stronger. Since I will be doing my Leaving Cert in school I plan on cutting back on CrossFit  and just lift for the time being.  Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 13.04.49