What are the things that you do to make sure you look and feel your best on the run up Christmas?

Lisa HayesChristmas is the most challenging time of year for me to stay on track, long days out shopping and frequent visits to West Cork to spend time with my family make it really really tempting to eat 3 tonnes of food I would never normally eat and drink more than regular.

In the run up to Christmas I make sure to have a plan in place for food and exercise, and I never ever miss a workout and I give myself an allowance for some treats, but I stay within my daily requirements of calories, carbohydrates, protein and fats, therefore managing to avoid massive weight gain. Even if I am wrecked and have come up with 17 different excuses to not workout, I will kick myself out the door and go to the gym, better to do a half arsed workout than none at all.

If I have a day where I do over indulged, I simply get straight back on track the next day and let the previous day go. After a day of over indulging (which happens often enough over Christmas) I always plan a big workout for the following day to make use of all the extra energy my body will have gained from the extra food.

Do you follow any particular diet plan?

As I suffer with a number of food intolerances (lactose, wheat and yeast mainly), and also get bad acid reflux , I stick to a Low FODMAP diet. This diet includes food with low PH levels. I was medically advised to start this diet nearly 2 years ago and it was worked wonders for me, I rarely suffer stomach cramps anymore and finally enjoy food knowing that it wont cripple or bloat me.

Lisa Hayes stretch

The diet is a little strange, and very restrictive, I would not recommend it to anyone unless they really needed to go on it, I cannot eat foods like brocolli, cauliflour, spinach, cashew nuts, kale for example, all kinds of foods that are hugely nutritious and have massive health benefits, but simply do not agree with my body. My diet is therefore high in protein such as lean meats, eggs and fish, simple carbohydrates such as sweet potato and rice and healthy fats like almonds and small portions of avocado.

I also compete in fitness modelling competitions, and in preparation for these competitions I follow strict calorie controlled diets that are high in protein and vegetables (and alot of eggs!). I also drink a massive amount of water 4-6 litres per day depending on whether or not I am doing cardio.

How do you stay motivated?

I always make sure I have a long and short term goal, if I don’t have any goals I don’t have any reason to convince myself to stay on track. Currently my short term goal is for my sisters wedding in November, and my long term goal is a Bodybuilding competition in the new year. I also take a front facing, side and rear facing photo every Sunday morning, so that I can see any changes in my body and keep myself on track, in this way I use myself as motivation.

What advice do you have for someone struggling to get started on a health kick?

Lisa Hayes runningMake small changes. I struggled for a very long time trying to lose weight and get fit for various sports because I always went hell for leather. I would restrict myself massive and go crazy with training. Small changes are more sustainable and enjoyable, and trust me you will see benefits from even the smallest of changes, once those small changes are built into your everyday, you can add new changes to you routine every few weeks.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I like to get up early and make the most of the day. If I am not teaching, I will get up early and head to the gym (I go to the gym 6 days per week), after this I go straight home for a big breakfast. Usually this is followed by grocery shopping and a few hours of meal prepping for the coming days (I eat very frequently so I have to meal prep a number of times per week) and if I have the time, I like to test out one new recipe per week.

In the evening I will either go to a Pilates class or if I am in preparation for a competition, I will head back to the gym for another cardio session.

Any free time I get I spend with my boyfriend, we eat out every few weeks but he is also a fitness instructor which makes it easy for us to stay on track when eating out or going away.


Lisa Hayes is a Reformer Pilates instructor with Platinum Pilates.

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