Wellness Week Arnotts Floraesque

As mentioned in this post, I attended the beauty panel talks in Arnotts as part of their wellness week, I also attended their health & fitness panel as well. It was presented by the amazingly enthusiastic Kathryn Thomas who you may know from the likes of No Frontiers or more recently in Operation Transformation. Oh and can I firstly mention I have serious bicep envy – she has the most amazing arm definition but in a feminine way – jealous! 🙂

The panel consisted of the following:
Dave Kenny and Niall O’Callaghan from Pure Results Bootcamp
• Philly McMahon, Dublin footballer and founder of Fit Food Ireland
• Alison Canavan from Be Complete.ie
• Laura Birmingham, the beauty expert from TV3

The talks started with Kathryn going through the importance of small changes and the larger impact that these can have on your life. I love this idea as it is certainly more doable in my life anyway to take smaller steps rather than over hauling my entire life – it’s more achievable and if you fail on one small step you still have 5 others that you are rocking with. This is also something that I try and achieve with my Bucket Lists, it’s much easier to do things step by step than all at once.

The Health & Wellness Panel at Wellness Week Arnotts Floralesque

Dave Kenny and Niall O’Callaghan from Pure Results boot camp

Kathyrn actually has her own boot camp – ‘Pure Results’ and in her boot camp they do most of the training outdoors – regardless of the weather. She says that the one thing that people always say at the end is that they have not been outside so much since they were kids – running in the rain, having fun and caring a little less that the weather may not be ‘ideal’.

Niall started the actual talks and he was really endearing and dare I say it ‘normal’. Sometimes I find that when you listen to some talk about their fitness journey it seems so out of what you could achieve and therefore sometimes you do feel down about it. But not with Niall – he started his fitness lifestyle in his early thirties when introduced to running and he hasn’t looked back since. Exercise according to Niall can have so many benefits and some you may not even think of – things like better sleep and better concentration.

There are 3 types of exercise that we should be trying to do; 1. Passive exercise like stretching (Yoga, Pilates etc.). 2. Cardio-Vascular – this will get your heart rate up (running etc.) and finally 3. Resistance training (weights, body weight exercises etc.). One that some women tend to leave is the third one – however if you have no resistance exercise in your life then you may end up with a lower bone density – I can certainly see more squats in my future!

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a one step”, Confucius

Now interesting the one of the first questions asked by the floor was such a relevant one – how can you find time to exercise in such a busy day? And they had a simple answer for this – there is a Japanese form of exercise called The 4-Minute Fat-Burning Miracle Tabata. It is high intensity, only takes 4 minutes and it is as follows;

1. 20 seconds of Jumping Jacks
2. 10 seconds rest
3. 20 seconds of squat and jump
4. 10 seconds of rest
5. 20 seconds of mountain climbers
6. 10 seconds rest
7. 20 seconds of jogging on the spot
8. 10 seconds rest
9. Repeat for 4 minutes in total
10. DONE!

The Health & Wellness Panel at Wellness Week Arnotts Floralesque

Philly McMahon, Dublin footballer and founder of Fit Food Ireland

Next up was Philly from Fit Food Ireland. He is an Irish footballers, the brains behind Fit Food Ireland and owns 4 gyms. Quite the success story in that line alone! However, he had one simple point – your food is the fuel for your body’s performance. It is as simple as that. How can your body run efficiently if it does not have the right fuel? Nutrition is vital and you should nourish your body and not calorie count.

And here are the ingredients to his protein pancakes (which he likes to cook on a crepe maker – no oil!); 4 eggs, coconut flour, protein powder and some maple syrup. Simple ingredients for a delicious meal.

The Health & Wellness Panel at Wellness Week Arnotts Floralesque

Alison Canavan from Be Complete.ie

Alison was up next and was by far my favourite speaker of the whole day. I have seen her before and I love both her honesty and her views on nutrition and wellness. She started by talking about the importance of sleep. Our brain cells (and all cells) do restorative functions at night and need this time to renew themselves. We need to know how to strike a balance so that we get the correct amount of sleep for our own bodies – not your partner’s body – YOUR body.

If you don’t sleep enough – the effects can be quite obvious; the day to day things can be difficult, your memory suffers and recall can be more difficult and also your metabolism can slow down. So it is vital for your body to function that you get enough sleep. She has read a lot on this topic and you can see that she really practices what she preaches. She looks rested and not that she gets a full 8 hours each and every night but that she has slept well – sleep deprivation is not something that makeup can cover so you can see in her eyes that she is alert and rested.

One of her top tips – take your phone out of your bedroom. We have all been there – just one more check on Facebook and then sleep… then an hour later you are still scrolling and clicking into random articles. Even if you cannot put the phone out of the room then at least put it on airplane mode – notifications will disturb your sleep pattern.

Another point that she raised was about breaking negative patterns. We are all so hard on ourselves a lot of the time – her theory is that if you would not say it to a friend or loved one that you should not say it to yourself! She uses the practice of ‘Stop, catch and change’. The first step is realising when you are being negative and you may need to train yourself to do this. This was really interesting for me as sometimes I am quite negative so I am going to try and just be more aware. As part of this Alison also practices gratefulness. Each morning she says 3 things that she is grateful for as she stretches – I love this idea and she believes that it can change how you see the world. Oh and sidenote – she highly recommends adult colouring books as a method of stress release!

The Health & Wellness Panel at Wellness Week Arnotts Floralesque Blog
Laura discussing the in’s and out’s of wearing SPF

Laura Birmingham, the beauty expert from TV3

Laura Birmingham then spoke about being confident in what you have and making the best of it; Confidence in being able to believe in the beauty that you have. She believes that wellness in skincare is also going to be a major trend in 2016 and similar to what she mentioned here, she believes the importance of protecting yourself from your environment will be raised as an important skincare issue. Prevention is always better (and easier) than trying to cure damaged skin! She would recommend an SPF of 30 for day to day in Ireland – I use and SPF of 50 on my face so that may be slightly high. You may have heard the argument against wearing SPF each day as it blocks Vitamin D etc., however she believes that you can get your vitamins from other sources and it is worth protecting even just your face with a high SPF – we need to try and prevent sun damage.

Mental Health

Finally I feel that I need to mention the very moving conversation that we had on mental health and depression. A member of the audience raised the question to Alison about how to help a friend who is battling depression. For those who are not aware Alison has been vocal about her own experience with post natal depression and her answer was honest and helpful. She herself got to the point where she was not allowed to be alone with her baby – that must have been quite scary and while she was backed into a corner to get help. She did get help. Alison says that it is important for the person suffering to get help and you may have to get that help for them. Perhaps they ring a helpline – sometimes face to face can feel judgmental – a voice on the end of the phone may be easier. A journal was also her lifeline. But the important thing is to get help. To talk. To get the feelings out. To get better. I would highly recommend checking out her website as she has some very interesting articles and as someone who knows people who suffer with mental illness it was a very insightful talk.


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