We’re big advocates of a healthy, fit lifestyle here at The Fruit People, so we’ve caught up with a couple of our favourite Irish female #FitFam figures from social media and had a chat about fitness, diet, inspiration, recipes and exercise – first up, it’s girls that lift: Aisling Gough, Niamh Gardiner and Georgia Hickey.
Georgia Hickey, Georgia’s Fit Life
For Georgia Hickey, the woman behind Georgia’s Fit Life, taking the gym seriously is a relatively new adventure in the past year. A self-described former “cardio bunny”, she’s now embracing weights like there’s no tomorrow. Her favourite body part to train is legs simply because the results quickly speak for themselves, though squats, chin-ups and shoulder press are her favourite exercises; she says “squats are a great full body exercise as it involves keeping your core tight, back tight and works the legs and [for shoulder press] I can really see the difference it makes, having nice rounded shoulders can really make your waist appear smaller”.
Georgia’s advice for any newbies is to start small to make sustainable changes. “It’s pointless to say I’m going to go to the gym five days a week and only eat clean foods from now on when you haven’t been going to the gym and eat takeaways every night of the week. Start small and set achievable goals: go to the gym three times a week; get out for a walk on your lunch break; cut right down on the processed foods; you’ll be amazed at what small changes can do.”
For recipes, she keeps it simple, but smoothies are a frequent recipe in her repertoire, which she makes with spinach, banana, whey protein, greek yogurt, milk and peanut butter.
Aisling Gough, Healthy Little Lifter
Aisling Gough – AKA Healthy Little Lifter – has a background in sports and dance, so fitness and nutrition has always been a part of her life. From competitive rowing in university she became a fixture in the weight training section of her gym and soon set out to compete in fitness modelling and bikini competitions. She’s a firm believer in the fact that fitness should be about health and happiness, first and foremost. She says: “do something you enjoy and it won’t be a chore to stick at it. Enjoy the process – be patient and consistent, too”.
Aisling makes sure fruit is prevalent in her diet, usually bulking out porridge in the morning or refuelling with some fresh fruit after a workout. A keen cook, some of Aisling’s favourite healthy recipes include courgetti/zoodles with Bolognese, banana bread and – proving you can have your cake and eat it too – her latest obsession is ‘mug cakes’ – “the most basic version is a scoop of whey protein, splash of water or milk, 1/4 tsp baking powder, mix in a mug and microwave for max 60 seconds. Once the mixture starts to rise above the rim of the mug, it’s done!”
Aisling’s favourite body part to train is also legs, saying “I was blessed with chicken legs, so I’ve my work cut out for me” but feeling the burn makes tough work all the more rewarding. You’ll find her taking on the lads in the weight training section and performing deadlifts and chin-ups with absolute ease, saying she loves how these particular exercises make her feel really strong. She also adds that hip thrusts give glute activation like no other exercise.
For Niamh, emigration made her change her tune on fitness. Recently back in Ireland after a two-year stint in New Zealand, she found that her move transformed how she looked and felt about herself. “Having been away from my parents, moving out for the first time (let alone across the world!) and doing things for myself, I enjoyed a very social lifestyle and soon found myself over a stone heavier within a few months.”
Last year in NZ she cleaned up her diet, cut out alcohol, began serious weight training in the gym and by the end of the year had placed first in her debut bodybuilding competition and enrolled in a personal training course to fulfill a life-long dream. Her favourite body part to train is her back, saying “no matter how tired I am, I always seem to have a good back day, it’s easy to mix up the workout and not get bored”. Her three favourite exercises? Curtsy lunge (“for rounded glutes, which every girl wants”), squats (“a staple, but a love/hate affair”) and mid row (“an important exercise for everyone to build strength in the back and improve posture”).
A bit of a Nigella in hiding, Niamh’s a dab hand in the kitchen but with a busy schedule and full-time job, it’s hard to commit to cooking every day. Dinners are usually quick-cook prawns with lots of spices on a bed of spinach or brown rice and the slow cooker is her essential product, saying “I throw in chicken breasts, any type of vegetables, a carton of passata and whatever seasoning I grab from the press (usually garlic powder, cayenne pepper and curry powder), leave it all in the slow cooker for about 4 hours and get on with my day”. Delicious!
Niamh advises against comparing yourself to other gym goers, which can quickly make you disheartened and frustrated if your results seem slower to come to the fore. “For me, I was always active growing up and I’m naturally skinny in build, but never had muscle or definition”, so she explains that whilst some people might see her skinny build and be envious, she’s trying to add bulk and muscle in a way other women might have naturally – everyone is on a different road when it comes to fitness. “We’re all only human, so don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re allowed have bad days, but the key to fitness is consistency and tracking your progress. Look back on the progress you’ve made, don’t focus on the progress you wish you had”.
Follow Niamh’s progress into body building and personal training on Instagram (@NiamhGardiner) and Snapchat (NiamhG89).
All three agree that fruit is one of the most important aspects of their healthy diets, filled with vitamins and minerals necessary for bodies to function. Each one uses fruit like berries and bananas to keep sugar cravings at bay and also fill salads with fresh fruit too. In a modern age where entire food groups are being eliminated for little reason, the three echo the need to not eliminate food groups unless advised by a doctor. For healthy snacks or mid-morning cravings? You’ll find this trio munching on their kryptonite: rice cakes layered up with peanut butter and sliced banana… or there’s always our office fruit deliveries too for the perfect healthy snack during the working day 😇