Muscles are sore but motivation is at an all time high

It didn’t take long for the team at the Mayo Advertiser to respond with great enthusiasm when management at the gym of the McWilliam Park Hotel offered to put us through our paces for an eight-week fitness challenge in the run-up to Christmas.

After a relatively mild autumn, winter had really arrived with a bang and we in the office were all complaining about the same thing - our steady decline into sloth.

Finding the will power to get up and active is so much harder when it’s dark, dreary, possibly wet too, and you’re tired after a long day at work to boot.

The temptation to go straight home and hole up in the house for the evening in front of the fire is often just too hard to resist.

Well not this winter!

The McWilliam Park, which has a fully equipped gym, team of professional fitness instructors, swimming pool and leisure facilities, put an eight-week challenge to us.It was pretty simple. Commit to going to the gym three days a week (at a minimum ) between now and Christmas and see if you feel the benefits by the time the festive season gets into full swing.

Sales execs Sean Walsh and Michael Marigliano joined me in promptly signing-up.

We started last week and...so far so good.

We arrived to the McWilliam Park gym for our initial fitness assessment on a Friday evening and Ronan Kennedy asked us all about our specific fitness and health goals. They all varied.

For Sean, who is a keen footballer in his spare time, he wanted to make sure he didn’t lose the fitness levels he had built up throughout his summer and autumn training when the football season ended.

Meanwhile, Michael was recently married and in the busy build-up over the months ahead of the big day, his fitness regime took second place. Now, he is keen to get active again and feels a little extra motivation, such as a McWilliam Park gym trainor, certainly wouldn’t go astray.

As for me, I had been keeping quite fit a year or so ago but after falling out of the habit of regular exercise (with no real excuse really! ), the months of inactivity were starting to add up and I was finding it difficult to really motivate myself to establish a new routine and stick to it.

Having a trained fitness expert go through your goals - whether it is weight loss, fitness, well-being or a combination of all three - and then come up with a concrete plan on how you are going to reach those goals in the not too distant future is very motivating.

I left the gym on my first night with a new pep to my step, determined to stick to the plan Ronan had put in place for me. The plan includes cardio, resistance training and core (abs - oh to have abs ).

The first week was hard. There’s no point in dressing it up. When you start working muscles you haven’t used in a long time, or maybe ever, it hurts!

There was a packet of Nurofen floating around the office for a few days and it wasn’t just for me.

But Ronan and gym manager Fallon McDonnell have assured us this will pass and we’ll be feeling much stronger and fitter very soon.

Despite the ‘adjustment period’, we are all keen to keep going and enjoy the challenge so far.

More again next week on the Mayo Advertiser’s eight-week fitness challenge with the McWilliam Park Hotel.

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