Today's Episode


Hi. And you're so very welcome to today's episode where I'm going to be chatting to you about how to get fit, how to get fit.

It's coming up to the end of 2023 at the beginning of 2024.

So I know many of you are going to be focused on getting fit in the new Year.

And I want to share with you all the mistakes that I've made in all of the years that I've been trying to get fit so that you can avoid them.

And I want to give you a really simple actionable plan that you can follow so that, you know, you're doing all the right things to get fit as a woman over 40 really, really interesting.

Just before we get stuck in that Forbes Health, um, conducted a survey and improving the fitness has, is number one for 2024 at 48% of those surveys surveyed for the top 5, 2024 resolutions.

Um, is fitness.

Number two is finances.

Number three is mental health.

Number four is lose weight and number five is improved diet.

So out of everybody surveyed the respondents choice was fitness and back in 2023 it was actually mental health.

So 48% and this survey was done in America, 48% of people, their number one choice is to get fit.

So if you're listening to this and you would love 2024 to be the year that you got fit or got back into fitness and started to feel really good and capable and fit and strong in your body.

Then listen up first off to give you a little bit of context.

I want to give you a bit of a background about my fitness journey and what I've been doing and then I'm going to share with you exactly what I do.

That's working.

So, so, well, that has gotten me fit in 2023.

The most fit I've ever been, um, actually just, just properly fit.

So, my journey all started years ago when I, I know I've shared with many of you that I've always struggled to be healthy.

I've always been losing weight or gaining weight.

I've always been in that circle that hamster wheel of struggling to fit into my clothes or actively losing weight and staying at a certain weight for a very short space of time.

But then overeating not working out properly.

I've just always been going, been going around and around in circles.

So back my God, it must be about 20 years ago.

Now, I decided that I wanted to actually get fit and lose weight and get healthy.

And I started going to the gym.

I went to the gym in Galway when I moved to Galway.

And my memories of that going to the gym, my memories of that time was struggle.

That would be the word I would use to describe it.

Just a struggle.

I used to use the cross trainer, the treadmill, get up on the stationary bike and that like step thing that you do.

And then I would do some of the gym machines like the, the weights machines.

And when I look back now, the whole thing was just a struggle.

I didn't want to be there driving in the car was a pain in the butt changing into my clothes.

I just absolutely hated every part of it.

I used to go to the Kingfisher in Galway and I just hated it so much and I would stare at my watch just be dying for it to end.

And I remember so well being on the cross trainer and just, you know, when you push your arms towards you just going, this is hell, feeling overweight, feeling like I was chasing weight loss, like weight loss was the carrot dangled in front of me.

And I was just racing to get to that carrot and the carrot just kept moving.

That's how it felt like I was just literally a hamster on a wheel.

And then so then I got, I got fit and I learned how to, um, train as a fitness coach.

I, I got certified in personal training and fitness coach.

But I want to explain to you like I was never healthy.

I was, I learned how to get fit, but I was never healthy and my clothes were always still really tight and going to the gym was a complete struggle.

So I ended up then becoming a personal trainer and a fitness coach.

And I rented out the room in leisure land.

They were remarkable days.

Um, 60 people, 50 people, 40 people would come to those classes.

We did like these really cool €10 pay as you go and we just filled the leisure land hall and it was a wonderful time.

Um, and then I rented out a studio in Barna next to the 12 hotel and I had really good times there.

Um, I moved then to the Tune Road, a really massive facility.

And in that time then my habits changed, my workout habits changed from going to the gym and all that, that meant struggling to get to the gym being really inconsistent with my workouts.

Absolutely despising being there hating what I was doing and the whole thing just being so time consuming because all I did half the time was think about the fact that I had to go.

So then I, when I owned a gym, I started to do one hour like boot camp classes because that's what we were doing with our members.

And again, a huge struggle.

I had two young kids at the time.

I was very, very busy and I was exercising as much as I could.

I would do 31 hour workouts and I would then try to fit in like lots of walking around that.

And again, the whole thing felt like a struggle.

The only thing I can relate to it back then is again that carrot, it just felt like there was a carrot in front of me that I was never getting to.

And I was doing my boot camp classes in the class thinking this is going to help me lose weight.

This is going to help me reduce my stomach fat.

This is going to help me feel good about myself.

And although I got a huge buzz out of those boot camp classes and I felt absolutely mighty afterwards.

It was still a huge struggle.

It was still really time consuming.

I still had to drive to get to those workouts.

I still had to get changed.

I still had to endure the one hour long.

And again, I never really felt fit and healthy.

I always felt like I was somebody trying to get fit.

Can you relate to that?

Even after doing it for a couple of years, I was never feeling fit.

It was always a struggle.

I was always puffing and panting.

I was always tight in my clothes.

I was always trying to lose weight, big red face, struggling, struggling.

Carrot dangling in front of me someday.

I'll crack this.

So we owned a gym right up until COVID and then COVID hit and we moved online and that was when I started, I, I brought my whole business online and what I did then is I did 5 30 minute workouts online with my clients Monday to Friday.

I showed up live five days a week and because COVID hit and I moved online and all my staff left because I mean, they had to go because the gym was closed and all the stress and overhead worry of the gym was gone because it was such a huge undertaking.

I mean, owning a gym was so, so stressful.

Um, it, it always felt like a big struggle, even though it was a very successful gym.

It always felt like a struggle.

Actually, it always felt like I did in the gym, um, that I was always chasing and running and doing everything I could to keep the whole thing going.

So I ended up having a lot of time to think and I ended up having a lot more time to just reflect on myself.

And I ended up in COVID really seeing my habits.

And one thing that I noticed was that I was doing these 5 30 minute workouts a week and I was exercising so much and I still really had that huge struggle feeling.

And then one day I was chatting to somebody and I realized, oh my God, all these years of exercising, I have been overcompensating for the food that I have been eating.

I've been over exercising.

I've been struggling so much because of all my other unhealthy habits and it was such a huge eureka moment for me.

I also realized that for all the years since I started exercising, I'd been exercising to lose weight.

Every part of me was to lose weight.

My motivation to get to the gym was to lose weight to stay on the cross trainer was to lose weight.

The whole thing was to lose weight.

And I was pretty shocked, stunned and on that to cut a long story short, it was that in that moment, in that time that I started my journey of finding the freedom to love myself again, of learning how to love myself again.

It was in that moment that I realized I've been struggling to get fit because I have been thinking of my health as fitness and dieting that that's what health has meant to me up to this point that I haven't had much connection in my life that I have had very few friends.

Not much laughter, not much connection at all.

That in a sense, I had been isolating myself for years that I was really stressed out that I was really anxious.

I had no hobbies.

I didn't know how to, I didn't know what boundaries were.

I didn't have boundaries.

I used to hear this thing about boundaries on social media and I used to just meant telling people that you weren't free at a certain time.

And I went on this huge journey of learning how to love myself again, of creating boundaries, of discovering who I was of, of working on all the different aspects of my health.

I, I spent a lot of time learning how to make connections over the past couple of years.

Oh, no, no, no.

Over the past year, I learned how to reduce my stress.

I learned how to reduce my anxiety.

I learned all about boundaries and how to create them and why they're important and, and when to put them up and how to use them.

And I really went on this huge journey of self love and the biggest thing, one of the biggest things because I've had very many revelations this year.

It's crazy.

But one of the revelations I had is that exercise doesn't have to be this huge, big deal in my life and it doesn't have to be this huge big deal in your life.

I mean, I've always associated exercise with being really puffy in my face, red in my face, being really out of breath.

It been very time consuming, having to do a lot of it, having to, to chase something that just always seemed very far out of reach and I always thought fitness meant it was difficult.

But the most remarkable thing is is that when I went on my journey of learning how to love myself again and I healed my relationship with food and I actually quit alcohol.

I realized I didn't.

The exercise part was one part of it.

And that's what I want to chat to you about today.

I want to share with you how to get fit because I've been like your guinea pig.

I have done it all in between.

What I was chatting to you about about going to the gym and working out online.

I've also gotten into running for a while.

Um, I've also done classes.

I mean, I've done it all.

Um, I've done it all and I've also trained as a fitness coach.

So what I'm sharing with you, it works, it works amazing with my clients.

It's getting them so fit.

It works with me.

It's not time consuming and you can do it all in your own home.

So I want to just say to you now, if you like me have associated up to this point and you want to get fit in 2024 and you're, you're almost like taking a deep breath in at the idea of the effort that you're going to have to put in.

I'm here to tell you that the really good news is that once you realize fitness is only one part of your health, one cog in the wheel, is that the correct analogy that you'll, you'll realize that.

Ok, well, this is all I have to do to get fit.

And if you're not feeling fit, then there's other areas of your life that you also need to work on.

Like if I say to you.


Well, this is what you need to do to get fit and you're still overeating and drinking too much.

For example, let's just use those two things because they're some of the things that I struggled with.

Then this is what I meant to say.

To you actually, then it takes the distraction away.

So for me, for years, I was trying to get really fit, but it was distracting me from the other issues that I needed to sort out.

Like the fact that I was eating too much.

I was just eating too much.

I was seeking such huge comfort from food.

But I, instead of addressing that problem, I would think to myself, I need to do more workouts.

I need to do more workouts.

I need to do an hour long workout and, and I was distracting myself and I was hiding from the other areas of my health I needed to address.

So every time you feel yourself thinking, I need to do another workout, I need to do another run.

Ask yourself, is that really what you need to do or maybe you need to address head on in a straight way?

Actually, I'm eating too much.

I don't need to do another run.

I'm eating too much.

I remember in COVID just to tell you this quick story.

Um in COVID, when I, when my eating and drinking like really came to a head, I was just drinking far too much at the weekends, Friday would come and five o'clock would come and it would just, I would just be beating the Prosecco, then the rose into me and I would just drink, drink, drink, drink, drink and the same with food.

Like I don't recognize myself when I look back at myself in photographs.

I see somebody just so stressed out and anxious, but I was just eating too much food and all these years.

I've never really said to myself, Jessica, you're eating too much.

It's always been about what I needed to do.

Like I need to diet.

I need, I need to do this.

I need to do that.

It's never like you're just eating too much food, eat less.

Like you're just drinking too much, drink less.

It was always about trying to find the drink that suited me.

Like I think I was on Aperol Spritz or however you pronounce that.

That was like my last thing that I tried.

I kept trying to find the perfect drink for me.

Well, I'll, I'll, I'll drink water in between my drinks.

I'll switch to beer.

No, that makes me fat.

I'll switch to gin and tonics.

Now I feel so hung, so hung over the next day.

Red wine, white wine.

It was all such bullshit for me.

I just, I wasn't addressing the problem that I had, which was, which was drinking too much.

Same with the food.

I would have loved to have said myself to myself ages ago.

I'm just eating too much.

No, I was always looking to diet.

So fitness was a huge distraction for me.

It kept me from the real problem.

And I remember in COVID, this is what I meant to say.

I was doing the five workouts a week, 30 minutes.

I would never do that again.

I, I just didn't know I had no care for myself.

I never thought to myself, Jessica, that's too much.

Turning up and showing up and getting in front of camera five days a week is too much.

You're not taking care of yourself.

And I used to go and do a couple of extra, like little jogs.

I used to when I was struggling with, with my eating and my drinking, I would do those five workouts and then I'd be like, ok, well, what else can I do?

Because I still feel like I look like crap.

I still feel like my clothes are tight.

I still feel like I'm really puffy when I look in the mirror.

So what can I do more and more and more?

And actually if I had taken myself aside, which I did eventually and say you don't need to exercise more, you need to reduce your stress, reduce your anxiety and take really good care of yourself and figure out why it is that you're turning to food.

Figure out why it is that you are overeating.

Why is it that you need alcohol so much in your life?

Why if the phone rings and it doesn't suit you to answer it?

Do you answer it?

Why when you get messages and work messages that you answer them at any time of the day and you've no regard or respect for your time.

Why is it that you are such a huge people pleaser?

And you are very hard on yourself and you've got an extremely horrible, nasty inner critic.

Why is all of that?

So that's what I did.

I worked on all of that and I found the absolute ideal fitness plan that has gotten me super, super fit.

And the good news is that it's way less than what I used to do.

And I'm for the first time in my life, fit and healthy.

So grab a pen and paper.

This is what you, this is what works.

So, so well, if you're a woman over 40 I'm going to imagine that you want to be fit.

You also want to be strong, strong in the sense that you want to be able to throw your shopping in the boot, easily, lift things up, easily, push things, pull things, do gardening.

Um You want to be able to like move your furniture around the house.

If you want to, you want to be able to carry things, lift things over the head, lift your Children, lift your grandchildren, you want to be able to be strong.

That's what I mean by strong.

You also want to feel good in your clothes.

You also want to make sure I'm just going to add in the extra health part if you're a woman over 40 because this is what your doctor will say to you.

You also want to make sure that you have good, strong, lean muscle and that is very important because that's, that decreases as we age.

Um And you also want to have good bone density.

Now that is something that decreases.

So those two things are the kind of boring bits, the science bits that you want to increase your lean muscle mass and you want to increase your bone density, your lean muscle mass decreases as you get older.

Um like muscle degeneration and your bone density also decreases as you get older.

And that's why you, you, you probably know a lot of women or maybe the doctor said it to you that a lot of people have osteoporosis and osteopenia.

It's very, very common mostly in women because of all the hormonal changes we go through um with estrogen and progesterone.

And um yeah, so those two things are decreased.

So as a woman over 40 you want to get fit, you want to be strong, you want to feel good on your clothes and just while you're at it, you want to increase your lean muscle mass and increase your bone density.

And you also want to be able to run up and down the stairs.

You also want to feel terrific in your clothes.

You want to feel capable in your body.

You want to feel healthy and have that lovely healthy glow about you.

So this is how to do it.

The good news is it takes far less time than what I have been doing up until the beginning of last year.

So to get strong and fit and healthy and increase your, your bone density and increase your lean muscle mass, you need to be doing resistance training.

And the good thing about resistance training is that you only need to do it for three times a week, for 30 minutes.

Now, you also want to get a lovely little bit of cardio in there too and cardio is just your, your heart and lungs.

You know, the cardio is tested when you're running up and down the stairs or when you have to walk quickly.

That's your, that's your cardio being tested and that's different, that's different to the strength of you.

Your strength.

The good news is the type of workouts I do.

Uh I'm just the, just an example, I'm not selling you on my workouts, but the type of workouts that I do are a mixture of strength training.

So you're getting all the lovely strength exercises in there and you will also get cardio gains, which means your heart and lungs will be getting a good workout at the same time as you doing resistance training.

So you see the great thing about that is that you have, it's just time effective.

So you don't need to go out and do your cardio and you don't need to go out and do your resistance training.

You can, you can bundle it all in into the one workout, which is absolutely amazing.

And it's terrific.

You do a little bit of a low impact interval training with lots of full body resistance training exercises.

So that's things like using your resistance bands, using your light weights, like three kg weights.

And if you were to do that three times a week for 30 minutes, 20 to 30 minutes, you're going to tick all the boxes and your doctor is going to be very, very happy with you.

So if you combine then fresh air with that, that's going to do something else for you.

Number one, it's going to stretch out your muscles and keep you injury free from doing the 3 30 minutes a week.

You're going to go for little walks and that's going to stretch out the muscles elongate the muscles.

It's going to really help with your mobility as well.

Functional training, mobility are also in your 3 30 minute workouts.

But you're also going to get lovely mobility walk.

Walking is so great for you and it's so wonderful to be out in the fresh air.

The wonderful thing about doing your 3 30 minutes a week is you don't have to do time based walks because you're properly working out.

You don't need to say, well, I have to go for my 41 hour walks.

What I do with myself is I say to myself, I'm going to walk most days of the week but not in a, in a, in a stressy way.

Like I have two dogs, Buster and Ozzie, they're miniature schnauzers and I love them so much, but I don't put any time based pressure on the walks.

Sometimes I literally take them out for five minutes.

I just walk around the block.

It's the winter time now and it's really dark outside a lot of the time.

I'm not able to go into the forest and the park where I live in the evening time.

So I just walk up the road and back up the road.

So that's what I mean by walking.

You don't have to look at your calendar and think where am I going to put in these 3 30 minute workouts?

And where am I going to put in these 4 30 minute walks?

It's not about that at all.

You have your 3 30 minute workouts that are going to get you fit and strong and healthy.

And then you add in some walks throughout the week for your mental health, for fresh air to stretch out the legs, for your mobility to keep you ticking over nicely, to keep you ticking over nicely.

All those lovely fluid movements that you do when you walk, you know that kind of fluidity to your walk.

That's what you want to factor into your fitness plan for the week.

Now, following this has got me fit and I don't think I've ever been fit properly, fit.

And I've never certainly never been healthy up until this year if you do that and you follow that, I promise you you're going to be fit.

And if you struggle with your weight or you find yourself like really breathless in your workouts and really finding it really, really hard.

I really encourage you not to add on more, but to find out why that is for me, most of the time that I was out of breath was because I was heavy.

I was eating too much.

I was overweight or I was hungover and I was, it made me breathless.

I was unhealthy.

That's why the workouts were tough.

I was unhealthy.

So be careful and I promise you, you don't need to add on anything more any time you get tempted, just, just, just write it out.

What am I doing and just do little ticks.

I'm doing my strength training.

I'm getting good cardio in there.

I'm getting good flexibility.

I'm getting mobility.

I work out three times a week for 30 minutes.

A combination of low impact interval training with, with strength training, resistance training.

I'm lifting weights.

I'm doing that three times a week for 30 minutes and I'm also getting lots of lovely fresh air and I promise you that's it.

You're done, you're done and then you move on to your other habits that you want to address.

Be nice and kind to yourself.

And if I can just, I just want to say one more thing to you that allow yourself to have unhealthy habits while you are getting fit.

So, what I see a lot of people do is they try to get fit but they realize they're drinking too much so they stop trying to get fit.

And for some people they just think like, oh, what's the point?

And it's back to that kind of all or nothing thing that well, this isn't working well.

No, it is working.

It is working.

You are getting fit.

It's just an extra struggle because you're drinking too much alcohol.

So I really do encourage you to separate out your healthy habits and your unhealthy habits.

Like you can work out and still not have healed your relationship with food yet.

That's ok.

I did that for years.

I was working out for years and still eating way too much.

If you don't lump it in, into the, into all into the one thing you'll, you'll, you'll, you'll, you'll have success over time because you'll start to become consistent with your fitness.

And that's one box ticked.

And then you might say, ok, well, look, I'm eating too much so I'm going to get to the root cause of that problem.

I'm not going to diet because that's ridiculous.

That doesn't, that doesn't solve the problem of why I'm overeating.

I'm going to figure out why I'm overeating.

Am I lonely?

Am I stressed out?

Am I anxious have things in my past led me to where I am now that I need to heal and go back and, and sort them out or talk to a therapist or, or, or heal.

Why am I overeating and solve that problem?

Get to the root cause of the problem.

Why am I drinking too much?

Why is it that I can't seem to have a couple of glasses of wine.

Why is it that I always end up getting drunk?

Solve that problem?

I promise you, I promise you take it nice and easy on yourself and you'll absolutely get there.

The problem is when we all just lump it all into all or nothing and we do nothing and we don't think that we can be fit without solving all the other problems and that's simply not true.

Well, I really hope you enjoyed today's episode and if you could just do me a huge favor and share it with people that you think might get something out of this episode and might enjoy it.

And, uh, if you could rate the show, whatever rating you want to give it would be deadly.

It just gets in front of more people.

Thank you so, so much for listening and take good care of yourself and I'll see you soon.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

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