The Open is Closed 2018

The Open is Closed 2018

The CrossFit Open season is closed for another year and my own personal goal going into it was to do at least 2 of the workouts RX (as recommended).

Below is my experience of it.

Open 18.1 – RX

20 minutes AMRAP

-8 toes to bar

-10 dumbbells hang power clean and jerk

-12 calorie row

I was determined to complete this RX as one of my main goals in 2017 was toes to bar and I was delighted when I achieved this last August.

My goal for this was to stay focused, try not to get caught up in all the hype and buzz from the heat I was in and just keep moving! The toes to bar were actually fine as I did them all in single reps. It was the 15kg dumbbell that tested me the most and highlighted that my left arm is not as strong as my right side at all. (I got a nice bruise on my shoulder is proof of that). But I’m thrilled that I got into my 6th round of this workout. (That’s 48 toes to bar for anyone else counting)

Open 18.2 – RX

1, 2, 3, – 10 reps for time

Dumbbell Squat

Bar Facing Burpees

18.2 A

1 Rep max Clean

What is it with Dave Castro (the CF Games Director) and the dumbbell?? After 18.2 I hope I never see another dumb bell again. I completed the 110 reps with 70 seconds to go and managed 3 cleans building up to my max clean in that time at 50.5kg.

Replaced hip…what replaced hip?!?

Open 18.3 -Scaled

This was the separator that we have been expecting for the past 3 work outs and boy was I winded after all that skipping.

I managed:

✔️100 skips ✔️20 overhead squats ✔️100 skips ✔️12 pull-ups ✔️100 skips ✔️20 dumbbells snatch’s ✔️100 skips ✔️12 pull ups ✔️100 skips ✔️20 overheads squats ✔️95 skips (Yes that’s 595 single skips, my poor calves !!!) and all in 14 minutes.

I completed 679 reps in total and even though this was the scaled version of 18.3 I was so happy as today I did 24 single pull ups . Last year I did 5 in the ‘pull up workout so that there is progression.

Open 18.4 -Scaled

21 deadlifts at 43kg then 21 Hand release push ups

15 deadlifts at 43kg then 15 Hand release push ups

9 deadlifts at 43kg then 9 Hand release push ups

21 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50 feet

15 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50 feet

9 deadlifts at 61kg then bear crawl 50feet

Time cap -9 mins

I could sit here and blame the fact that I had a head cold or use the excuse that the only time I could do this workout was at a very early 6am on the Friday morning as I was flying out to New York for the weekend or I could just admit that deadlifts and hand release push-ups are two of my least favorite movements and I suck at them.  But I did it and got 65 reps and at least I know what I’m going to work on for the rest of the year.

Open 18.5- RX

Complete as many reps as possible in 7 minutes of:

3 Thrusters  – 3 Chest to Bar pull ups

6 Thrusters  – 6 Chest to Bar pull ups

9 Thrusters  – 9 Chest to Bar pull ups etc..

Only 15 reps but I have to say I’m very proud of those reps because before that workout I had never done a ‘chest to bar’ pull up. By this I mean never even attempted one because for the past year I’ve been practicing my ‘strict pull ups’, ‘kipping’ pull ups and ‘toes to bar. So I never even thought of the chest to bar pull ups and in this workout I got 6 chest to bar pull ups (amongst a lot of no reps I tell ya) but I did it and I’m thrilled.  A nice way to end another Open season with a new movement for me.


My own aim was to do 2 RX and I managed 3 of them so I’m very happy with that. I surprised myself with my little victories and I have already got a training plan in place and some little goals set for me for the next few months training.

Most of all though I had fun over the last 5 weeks during this Open. Fun with my own workouts, fun watching the announcements and after shows, and fun cheering and encouraging our own community in CrossFit Galway.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, CrossFit for me is about 3 things for me:

-Doing the best I can and being the best version of myself in the workouts.

-Setting myself little personal goals and slowly moving towards ticking off those goals

-Having fun in the community with the encouragement I give and get in our gym and the friendships I’ve made because of it.

So honestly it doesn’t matter where I finish on the leader board, as long as I know that I can continue to have these 3 things I will continue to turn up to my CrossFit class.

Stay holistic


The Open is Closed.. 

The Open is Closed.. 

Described on the CrossFit Games website as

“Where grassroots meets greatness – Compete with hundreds of thousands of athletes in five workouts over five weeks. Do it for fun, your affiliate family, fitness or to reach regionals and fight for a chance to make it to the CrossFit Games.”

This years “Open” has come and gone and here is a round up of my 5 workouts.

17.1 :

This was a long and grinding work out but I was delighted to complete it in 19 minutes 17 seconds. My goal here was to just keep moving. Burpees are not my favorite movement at all and so when I finished and admitted that the Burpees were the easy bit you know it was a tough first workout.

*This is me in full snatch flight!


This was the only workout I attempted twice. The first one on the normal Friday class where I managed to get 2 pull ups. While normally I would be delighted with this, I have been focusing on my pull ups of late and felt that I had a few more in me so I rested up and was super thrilled with my 5 pulls up on the following Monday. (83 Reps in total). Grip was a big issue here with the 2 * 10kg dumbbell lunges, the knee raises and the dumbbell cleans. But Ill take those pull ups as my first little victory of the Open.  Its also given me confidence that when you put that extra bit of out of hours training in, it will pay off.

*There was a lot of hands in the air and staring at the bar in this one!



When Dave Castro (CrossFit Director) announced (Barbell)Snatches in this workout, I knew this would not be a pretty workout. My replaced hip doesn’t really like squatting deep. While its improved a lot since I started CrossFit, the flexibility and mechanics just isn’t there and add in repetitive squats for time, this wasn’t my ideal workout. But I got to the 69 reps in total and I was delighted that my hips didn’t  hurt afterwards, the “DOMS” were all in my traps and arms.

*just slowly up and slowly down for this one.


This was the same as last years 16.4 that I completed when I was in CrossFit Union Square, New York so I had a target in mind and that was to beat my own score. (Last year I just finished the row).

Roll on this year and I was off a plane about 7 hours and fairly jet lagged (not recommended). But I got passed the row and even managed 6 hand release push ups (second victory for me of the Open, PB’ing yourself). Once again how ever the depth on the wall balls were a little issue and it cost me a few no reps .

*You can see from here, how delighted I was when the 13 minutes were over and giving praise on my knees to the Gods ! haha



This workout got me all excited (Sad i know) but for the fist time EVER I did a Open workout as recommended. The 35 Double Unders weren’t going to be a problem for me but the 30kg Thursters were always going to burn so the plan was to break them up early from the first round. Up until this day, my max rep for Thursters was 34kg!! With a time cap of 40 minutes it was always going to be mind over matter and after a long and tough 31 minutes 33 seconds I finished my first RX workout! (3rd little win for me of this Open).


*Here’s me flying high with the skipping, pulling faces during the Thursters and having a well deserved lie down when it was all over.

So that’s it, the Open is now closed…plenty of blood, sweat and tears left on the CrossFit Galway floor gym but over all I’m happy with my performance and my 3 victory’s.

I know I’m never going to get to the CrossFit Regionals or Games or win any top 10 performances but I’m definitely fitter and more importantly my hip is stronger than when I started CrossFit and that my friends is one of the reasons why I keep moving. Its all about the small steps and so I’m already setting myself a goal for next years and to do more workouts as recommended (RX).

Please do let me know in the comments how it was for you?

Stay holistic x



P.S. If you enjoyed this blog please have a look at my other CrossFit related blogs here.

*Where the Magic happens!


Open Ready!

Open Ready!

Last week saw the start of the 5 week CrossFit Open and while I’m by no means an elite athlete I like to give it my all and so in this blog I’m sharing with you 1  little change I’m making in my diet to help my body recover that little bit better from these intense workouts.

What is this you might ask!?

Its simply adding  “Arrabawn Skim Plus Milk” into my morning smoothies and post work out protein shakes.

“Skim Plus milk is a fat free milk enriched with Iron, Folic Acid and vitamins C, D, E, B2 (Riboflavin) and B12. The skim milk product offers many of the healthy nutrients required for a healthy lifestyle.” (According to  Arrabawns website).

After saying that I’m not a huge fan of drinking milk on its own so I tend to add it to things to drink it.

This week, I added it to my morning smoothies:


-200 ml Arrabawn Skim Plus Milk

-One measurement of “Diamond Slim Lite” Protein,

-A handful of Spinach

-200 g  of Tesco Frozen Mixed Berries

-One Banana.


-25 secs Zap in the Nutri Bullet and its ready to drink. 🙂

Easy as that and with only 318 calories it keeps me full for the morning.

I also used the Milk in my post workout protein shake with some more “Diamond Slim Lite”. Its 168 calories and took away that need to eat some thing afterwards and keeps me at bay until dinner time.

Now I’m not here to explain to you the benefits of milk to our bones, muscles, joints but as a person who also has Arthritis and a replaced hip I’m even more aware of what my body needs and the  importance of having at least 3 daily servings of milk/milk products , Iron and these vitamins and so anything that can help with this daily requirement is always going to be given a thumbs up from me.

Ill definitely be keeping this new routine of mine up for the rest of the Open. Keep an eye on my social media – Facebook, Instagram for my process.

Stay holistic 🙂

P.s. Here are photos of me doing the 1st and 2nd ‘Open’ workouts and while I’m not saying that it was because of  the milk but I’m delighted that I’m managed to complete the 1st workout within the recommended time cap and completed more pull ups in the 2nd workout than ever before! 😜
Catherine  x

If you enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy my other blogs on Health Eating (click here) or CrossFit (click here).





An Interview with…CrossFit Coach Of The Year.

An Interview with…CrossFit Coach Of The Year.

Representing French Vanoli , which is home to CrossFit Galway for the past 3 years, Padraic Colhoun (Head coach) was awarded Coach of the Year at the Caffiene Awards at the beginning of the month.

(Photo: CrossFit Galway Staff with Rory McKernan – CrossFit Games Host)

Last week I sat down with Padraic and we discussed his sporting and coaching background, his introduction to CrossFit, his own training and what the future holds for him.

Can you tell me a bit about your own sporting history/background?

I have played a number of different sports down through the year but the main ones would be Boxing, Soccer and Rugby before I started CrossFit. I  started Boxing in what was Ardagh Boxing Club (now Ardagh/Cross in Crossmolina) with my brother and did this from about 10 years old to 16 years old. My parents are actually still involved with the club.

 (Photo: courtesy of Ardagh/Cross Facebook page)

I also played Soccer from about age 6 to my  late 20’s with different clubs, Moyvilla, Killala and Galway Celtic Night owls league and Rugby in my teens in Ballina Rugby club and Sligo I.T. It was in 2008 that I discovered CrossFit.


When did you start coaching?

I’ve been coaching in one form or another for as long as I can remember, back in my teens in the Boxing club and I also spent a season in America coaching  youngsters Soccer. But it wasn’t until I came to Galway that I got my first gym instructor job and worked in numerous gyms throughout the city.  Like anything it’s from on the job experiences that I learned the most and working in the university college gym – ‘Crunch Fitness’  that I learned a lot from the coaches there. These coaches were into the science of training and it was there that I helped coach many local high level athletics and coached a wide range of sports from Running to Rowing to Cycling.

When and how did you get into CrossFit?

I first heard about a new work out called CrossFit in the Spring of 2008 (CrossFit was in its infancy in America at this stage and held its first CrossFit Games in 2007)  and from there I started using its methods and work outs on the beach and parks in Salthill with a friend of mine.

(Photo: Salthill 2010).

In my 20’s I also completed numerous coaching and training courses including ITEC in Gym Instruction, NSCA Personal Training, Kettlebell qualifications and Stength and Conditioning seminars and Certs.

With these techniques and on the job training I started adapting and using more CrossFit methods in my every day PT sessions and my own training. The results started to speak for themselves.

Over the years and before CrossFit came to Galway, I  helped other gyms owners and personal trainers around Galway with their clients and continually implemented various CrossFit methods and techniques.

When did you join CrossFit Galway?

Up until 2008, there were only two CrossFit gyms in Ireland and only 400 in the world. “CrossFit Galway” opened its doors in March 2013 within the walls of “French Vanoli School of Fitness” in Oranmore and I was approached to join their team in April 2013. At first on a part time basis but as members joined the gym and the gym expanded I was promoted to Head Coach within 2 years.

The members in French Vanoli/ CrossFit Galway are hugely talented and vary in age and ability, from novice who want to get fitter and stronger to World Powerlifting Champions’, GAA All Stars, Ultra Marathon runners, local Running Clubs and CrossFit Kids and Teens.

(Photo: CrossFit Galway classes)

Whats a “normal” day in the life of a CrossFit coach like?

No day is ever the same in CrossFit Galway. Our classes start at 6.15am and run right up to 9pm 5 days a week with 2 classes on a Saturday.

Classes vary from Strength and Core, to CrossFit Kids,Teens and Adult classes. I work with 2 other coaches and between us we help program and coach each of the classes. We also maintain the gym and its equipment as well as do some one on one personal training sessions.

(Photo: Claudia Vanoli, owner and staff of CrossFit Galway)
As CrossFit athletes ourselves we also arrange early or stay late to get our own training completed. The great thing about CrossFit is the community, we as coaches love seeing the members improve and hit their personal best in the gym but its the fun, the banter and the competitive element that we get while training with them (and sometimes against them) that makes CrossFit that extra special. We are not only coaches in there, we all are CrossFit athletes too.

Do you do your own programming for your training?

I get asked this a lot as members in the gym will see me doing my own training in the gym and while from time to time I will join a CrossFit class and do the work out of the day. More recently I got back into my own training on a more serious level  and now work under the training eye of Dominic Munnelly who I praise as one of the best PTs in the country. (Dominic is based out of CrossFit Green in Dublin and has a high level of both coaching and competing in the CrossFit Europeans Regionals himself).

Who do you admire in the training CrossFit industry?

Like any industry there are good and not so good coaches out there and as a coach I believe part of my job is be update to date and always open to new ways of coaching and training and I believe CrossFit in itself is always changing and constantly varied. Thanks for the rise in social media and more and more CrossFit boxes been opened I can admire and follow many national and international coaches from the comfort of the gym.

*Colm O Reilly from CrossFit Ireland who was one of the first to bring CrossFit to Ireland and gets a special mention from Padraic as does Chuck Carswell and Adrian Bosnian (CrossFit Level 1 flow masters).

(Photo :Padraic with Chuck Carswell at the CrossFit Regionals 2015.)

So how did it feel to be awarded Coach of the year?

Been awarded Coach Of The Year is a proud moment for me but my learning and coaching doesn’t stop because of it and I am always open to other coaches and people techniques and methods so that I can continue to help my clients become the best that they can do and be.

Whats your plan for the next 5 years?

Over the next 5 years I would like to still be Head Coach in CrossFit Galway as I see such high potential for the business and the members in it. I also want to build on my Level 1 CrossFit qualification and go up to Level 3 CrossFit Coaching Cert which will open doors for the Level 1 coaching staff.

(Photo: Padraic with Dave Castro – Director of CrossFit games).

If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like some of my other blogs on CrossFit .Click here.

Stay holistic 🙂

Catherine x

Battle of the West…

Battle of the West…

‘Even the greastest was once a beginner, don’t be afraid to take the first step’Mohammad Ali

So on Saturday last, I completed in my first CrossFit Competition in my gym, CrossFit Galway‘s ‘Battle of the West’. I signed up 2 months ago, thanks to one of the girls in the gym and have written 2 blogs about it already .(see them here)

I’m absolutely delighted that I came 9th out of the 33 beginners on the day and still can’t really believe it 🙂 . Here’s how the day panned out.
After an 8am registration, the workouts started at 9.15am, 6 heats for the men and then 6 heats for the women. I was going to be in the 11th heat so I had plenty of time to watch the technique of the other athletes and got some extra tips from the girls before me.

Workout 1 was above.My nerves were kicking in here at the start so I just had to focus on not tripping on the rope and just keep moving. I knew I could do these movements and this was always going to be my ‘best’ of the 3 workouts of the day so it was a case of focus solely on the judges voice and go as fast (but as smooth) as I could. The lunges were the toughest part and I have a fine bruise on my left knee to prove it but I came 2rd in my heat and overall 7th out of the all the ladies. Delighted with myself!

Workout 2 was is below and to say that I don’t like Burpees is an understatement.

Honestly I don’t know anyone who does like them but add in my limited hip mobility due to my replaced hip, this was always going to be an extra challenge.


This was a case of mind over matter and just keep swimming (or moving in my case!). In practice for this I have been know to lie on the floor during the Burpees saying that I can’t do anymore!!!

It’s what they call a “gassy” workout because you don’t remember to breathe during the Burpees.

The butterflies were awake again in my stomach when I could hear people in the crowd cheering my name. I had a little chat with myself, ‘Go as fast as I can and pull like a dog’. Sure it worked for the Irish Rowers during the week, why not here!? 🙂

Honestly in the end, I don’t even remember the deadlifts, just listened to the judge counting the reps and kept moving. I came 10th overall and couldn’t believe it. That pushed me to overall 9th!! Wow!

Workout 3 was never going to my favourite event.

Running is something that I completely avoid ( consultants orders) and throw in 80 metres of bear crawls and that is my idea of torture.

But I kept telling myself that I’m doing better than I had ever thought I would and that it’s ok to stop during the bear crawls and shake out the legs and arms if I need to.( even though no one else was).

During my practice of this, I could do 20metres non stop but the quads were not liking it at all.
 We had to crawl up and down the gym in this one also and the crowd was really getting around everyone here, cheering the athletes on. Normally I don’t like this and have been know to shout back at coaches (it’s normally my boyfriend!) but I can say something changed during this competition because I could head my name all the time and it really helped me and pushed me on further.

The bear crawls were not pretty in the end but I only stopped once, I actually talked to myself the while time. “I have this, I have this” Positive affirmation at its best!

Result 13th in the event…Making it overall 9th on the day.. Absolutely delighted with that!


Honestly I couldn’t have done it without the judges, staff and amazing community that is CrossFit Galway. There was 6 competing from our gym and it was lovely to see us all supporting and cheering each other on. I couldn’t have been any more happy for the winner Niamh if I had won myself. The work and determination was there and it really paid off on the day. Well done Champ! 

When I look back to August 2012 ,just before I got my hip replaced, my biggest goal was to walk again without a limp (or a crutch) . Never would I have believed that I’d be competing in my first CrossFit competition and enjoying it!

We make a good Team , me and my “new hip”..whats next on that bucket list?!?

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x


Count down to my first CrossFit ‘Battle’…

Count down to my first CrossFit ‘Battle’…

As some of you know I’m preparing for my first Crossfit ‘The Battle of the West’ competition (in 2 weeks time) and while yes I’m increasing my training in the gym by working on improving my weaknesses, my preparation for the competition isn’t all happening inside the gym.

If you ask any sports person in training for any competition or big match or race they will tell you that success or failure on the day will have a lot to do with a combination of factors.

Below is a list of some of my suggestions for successful preparation for a big sporting event.
1. Research: 

Know your sport. Talk to your coach, ask about extra work outs you can do, before or after your regular class. Look up other similar competitions and see what their work outs are and try them out. Identity with your coach your weaknesses and work out a training plan that you can follow over the next few weeks to improve these.
2. Practice, practice, practice:

CrossFit is about high intensity, constantly varied, functional movements and so for me over the last month I’ve looked at 4 different workouts each week to help me get into that frame of mind. I record my scores, my weights and times so that when I redo them I can grade myself against them. The organisers of The Battle of the West released the first workout yesterday and so I will practice this a few times and even record myself doing them to watch it back ( embarrassing I know!!) and see exactly where I can improve.

3. Food:

I’m a firm believer in that you can’t out train a bad diet and so you can do all the training you want but if you don’t have a clean balanced diet, it’s all a waste. Over the last year I’ve lost a stone by using  the MyFitnessPal app   and understanding what I eat (see blog here). It’s important to have a good relationship with food and during a competition it’s even more so, this is the fuel that you are putting into your engine to make it run better on the day.

For me I’ve upped my protein(eggs, nut butters etc.) my greens (extra veg, spinach), I’ve introduced chlorella and spirulina into my smoothies and from now until the competition I’m eliminating all breads.

I also start the day with a Platinum & Diamond protein shake which I mix into my daily berry smoothie in my NutriBullet and after class I have it again with water in a shaker as soon as I can. The benefits of this are that it aids recovery and helps replenish the system after an intense training session.

Don’t forget to also drink at least 8 glasses of water a day as this will help keep your body hydrated throughout the day.

4. Sleep: 

Personally I’m a zombie without a good nights sleep but thankfully I’ve no problem getting to sleep.

Aim for 7-9 every night and try and have a regular routine in the weeks coming up to your competition as your body will need the extra time to recover with all that extra training. Try also to eliminate technology in the bedroom so that this will encourage your mind to slow down also.

5. Rest days:

Also known as recovery days. These help rebuild and repair any damaged muscle tissue, help reduce the risk of injury, help strengthen the joints and ligaments and replenish the bodies energy reserves.

It’s very important to listen to your body and understand when it’s talking to you and needs to stop. For me, my replaced hip will let me know very clearly when I’m reaching that point and I will always stop and rest before it gets too bad. Everyone has a body part that speaks to them so identify what that is and work with it.

Rest for me is Netflix or a good book and feet up and time with family and friends.

6. Massage:

Now we are talking 🙂 There is nothing nicer than a nice long massage and particularly when your muscles are sore from training. A good massage can help reduce muscle tension, increase range of motion, relieve stress, increase and encourage blood flow in the area and help you sleep better.

The week before the competition I will be booking myself in for a massage for all of this and also to help calm my nerves. 🙂 If you can’t get a massage, make sure you use a foam roller or hand roller . Your body will thank you for it the next day, I promise.
So there you have it, some of my suggestions for preparing for a competition. For me it’s CrossFit but I hope this can be tailored to any big race, match, competition you might be preparing for.
Please do let me know if there is anything else that you do in preparation for a big event that you find works! I’d love to hear about it.

Lastly, remember on the day, it’s all about having a good experience and it’s not about anyone else. Best of luck!

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x

p.s Read about my other CrossFit related blogs here.

Sure it’s another tick on the Bucket List if nothing else.. Right?!? 

Sure it’s another tick on the Bucket List if nothing else.. Right?!? 

Ok I’ve gone and done it….I just entered into my first EVER competitive CrossFit Competition!!

I’ve been doing CrossFit since August 2013 but realistically I’ve only been doing it more seriously for about a year or so because that’s when I started setting myself little goals and targets to hit. (see my blog about how I got my first pull up here).

There are 2 types of CrossFit athletes out there, the first are the general Joe and Jane Doe’s who join and train to get fit, to lose weight, to increase their overall general health and well being. They want to do something more than the generic programs from the hotel and leisure centre gyms and CrossFit’s  HIIT (high intensive interval training) workouts are always good for that. These athletes generally go 2-3 times a week and while they see improvements in their movements and flexibility, stamina etc, they don’t have the time or desire to “compete” in competitions. There is nothing wrong with this and most of the people in the CrossFit boxes fall in to this category.

Secondly are the competitors, these are the athletes who train for competitive competitions, they do the Class workouts and then some. They will be the ones who train before and/or after class. They generally train more than 4 times a week and the more serious of them have their own personal programs. Their goals are to compete in as many competitions as possible, while some of them aim for the CrossFit Regionals and eventually CrossFit Games. (at the moment this is less than 2% of the overall CrossFit population.

So me, where do I stand? Obviously the first group, my goal is written on the CrossFit Galway wall!

I train atleast 3 (try for 4 )times a week. I have “good days” and “bad days” in there like everyone else. Some days I break my own personal best on the workouts and other days the bar on its own feels heavy.

However with my “new” hip (nearly 4 years and counting) there are movements that I cant do or have to eliminate to avoid any further pain and long term soreness e.g. running, deep squatting, bear crawls, burpees!

But most days I’m fine in there and I can honestly say I sometimes even forget that I have mobility issues.That’s how great the coaches and training is in my Crossfit Box.

As you can see from my social media a lot of my weekends and holidays do involve going to competitions to cheer other people from the gym on.(there are now beginners, intermediates and advanced competitions in a lot of the CrossFit boxes around the country)

Himself is a coach and competitive athlete and thankfully I don’t mind the early Saturday starts and road trips to Dublin, Waterford, Ennis etc. Last year we even went to Copenhagen to watch the best of Europe and Africa compete in the Meridian Regional. This was an amazing experience and would encourage anyone to join CrossFit. (This is a photo of me with some of the top athletes and them on the podium!)


Up until now I have been happy to go and watch, cheer them on and have been happy with my own training. I’ve always said that with my own work and blogging and treatments that I couldn’t give any more time to train for a competition and also that I was scared for my hip and how I might injure it.

But then CrossFit Galway announced that they were doing their first competitive competition in August. 
Some of the girls that I train with there have entered and asked me to enter too. At first I used my go-to line..”That’s great, best of luck, Ill take a photos and cheer you on :)” But then the seed was planted. Why didn’t I enter? What was really stopping me??

I’ll be scared, I’ll be nervous, I might lose.. So what!!  This is a local beginners competition in my gym, I’m in the best shape I have been in the last 5 years (if not ever!). What have I got to lose?  I might even enjoy it!!

Decisions, decisions.. Which way should I go?

I have no realistic reason to not do this. If nothing else its another tick on that Bucket list.

So on Sunday last I signed up..(no going back now!!). Wish me luck and keep an eye on my regular updates on my Facebook and Instagram!

Stay holistic 😀

Catherine x








Hot Yoga!! 

Hot Yoga!! 

As spring is a busy season for me working, volunteering and blogging. I can find it hard to get my gym work in as much as I would like so when I was asked to try out the Hot Yoga at French Vanoli I only jumped at the chance.

I do Crossfit there during the week and have enjoyed their Yogalates classes over the last few months so I was very intrigued by what happens in the the room that glows!! 🙂

So what is Hot Yoga? This is basically any yoga exercise performed under hotter or humid conditions than normal yoga.

French Vanoli don’t offer Bikram Yoga. But rather advertise it as ‘a comfortable space to practice Hot Yoga. It’s not so hot that you are drained and dehydrated but warm enough that your muscles get nice and warm and lengthen with ease’ (French Vanoli Facebook)

I was a little hesitant at first (like I am with all new exercise and classes) due to my replaced hip and on the first night I made sure I was there early to talk to the instructor and explain about my arthritis and my flexibility issues (or lack of). I need not of worried, she was lovely and explained that I can do what I can do and that each time you come to the yoga mat, you should have no expectations of what you body can do as each practice is different and that I might even surprise myself. I really liked that idea and knew I would enjoy it.

They hold 2 classes a week (Monday at 8.30pm and Thursday at 7.15pm) both last for 75 minutes and they make sure that they aren’t over booked so there is plenty of room for everyone. I choose the Monday classes for the 4 weeks.

I’ve never practiced yoga before so at the start I’m sure some of my poses were interesting to say the least 🙂

I imagined that I looked more like Bridget Jones than Kathryn Budig (google her) with all the bends and steps and poses but once I focused and listened to my body I really got into the rhythm of it. 

The biggest thing for me was the yoga breathing. In all other classes I’ve done, I breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Yoga breathing is different, it’s out through the nose and in through the nose and with the heat as well it encourages you to breathe deeper.

My tip here is to concentrate on your breathing and let it guide you. This did wonders for my mind as I really couldn’t concentrate on anything else when I was in there but my breathing. Whatever woes, issues, problems I was having those days completely disappeared during these classes and I felt so relaxed and lighter leaving there. Thankfully it was also time for bed when class was finished and I had the most wonderful deep sleeps those nights I was ready for my busy world again.

French Vanoli say that their Yoga can ‘help improve a persons performance in so many ways, increase flexibility, develop agility and strength, and sharpen mental focus’.

I say go for the heat, go for the stillness and peace, go for the stretching or go for all 3.  Which ever is your reason I highly recommend this class for all. It really is good for your mind, body and soul.
Stay holistic 😀

Catherine.  X


“I worked on this blogger collaboration via my association with Into The West Blogger Network – Ireland’s leading network for bloggers. Find them at or on social media at ITWBN”

For more information on the French Vanoli classes visit

5 Crossfit boxes and 1 workout!! 

5 Crossfit boxes and 1 workout!! 

Just like thousands of other Crossfit athletes, I signed up for the Crossfit Open 2016 on the 26th of February.
During the “CrossFit Open”, a new workout is released each week for 5 weeks. Athletes have several days to complete the workout and submit their scores online, with either a video or validation by a CrossFit affiliate.

The workout (or WOD as we call it) is announced every Thursday night (American time) by Dave Castro (Crossfit Games Director) and then performed all over the world by the different people. All sizes, shapes and abilities participate. They announce 2 WODs-a Rx (as prescribed) or a scaled version. Everyone has until Monday night to perform the work out and enter their scores online and there you can then compare your score to everyone around the world.(

On a higher scale this is really the qualifiers for the Crossfit Regionals which is where the top 40 athletes (and teams) in each region qualify for their regions competition in May and the winners of that (top 5) get to compete in the Crossfit Games in Carson(California) in America in July.

But for most of us it’s a bit of fun and we get to pretend that we are in that top 5% of the world (at least for that prescribed time anyway).

In my gym (or box as they are called) Crossfit Galway dedicate their Friday classes to this work out and everyone makes an effort to go in and perform it, help judge or atleast shout and encourage anyone that is doing it. It’s one of the things that I love about been part of Crossfit – the community element. The friendships and the fun that we have. These work outs are not easy and you do need to dig deep to get it finished or to try for your personal best or try a movement that you haven’t managed to achieve yet. E.g. bar muscle ups, hand stand push ups anyone!!?
I don’t know why it is but we all seem to respond better when people are watching and shouting encouragement at us.

I completed the first 3 weeks in Crossfit Galway but I knew that I was going to be away for the 4 th work out- it’s called 16.4 (after the year and the number of workouts in the open).

I was going to be in New York with my work crew and knew that if I wanted to do the WOD that I needed to find a box (Crossfit gym) that would allow me to do it.

Another great thing about the Crossfit community is the open gym element. Once you have completed your fundamentals movements in one gym, you can pay to work out in another box (anywhere around the world) and so travelling abroad is never an excuse to ‘skip the gym’.
However any other time I’ve visited another box, himself has done the organising and I just turned up (the joys of been a Crossfit coaches girlfriend)!! How ever this time he wasn’t with me and I needed to find one myself.
America been the home of Crossfit wasn’t going to be a problem to find one, it was just trying to find one that fitted into my already jammed packed schedule.
I emailed a few and either the open gym hours didn’t suit or they were too far away from my hotel. So I decided to wait until I got there and might be able to free up some more time.
I decided that I wanted to also visit as many Crossfits as possible as again each tend to have their own cool tee shirts and they are great souvenirs.

So off I went on the Friday when I was in the Financial district to Crossfit Wall Street. I met a great guy there who was super excited when I said that I was from Crossfit Galway in Ireland and was interested in doing 16.4 in New York. Unfortunately they normally do open gym on Sunday’s but not during the open and sadly their open times on Saturday didn’t suit me. So I took my photos and brought my tee shirts and off I went. (To my helicopter ride, quite literally!)

That evening, I also visited Crossfit Solace which was the nearest to my hotel but unfortunately didn’t have times that suited me either. They didn’t have any Crossfit tee shirts either there so no proof!! I got this sneaky picture outside though!!  
On the Saturday while shopping in Union Square, I came across Crossfit Union Square and was welcomed by a lovely lady (sorry I’ve forgotten her name) who told me their open gym was Sunday and $35 and I could come in any time after 9.30am to do it. Delighted with myself. I agreed to see her the next day.
On Sunday morning the box was fairly empty (as you can imagine) and Jacob signed me in and showed me where everything was.

The Wod itself was

I was doing the scaled one by the way!!

After doing all the other open works out with people around me, it’s hard to motivate myself and do my best alone so once I warmed up I started to organise the weights for the deadlift and wanted to just get stuck in. This is when I realised that all the weights were in pounds and not kilo’s as I’m used to 😧😥!!

I didn’t even know how much the bar was in pounds and had to ask one of the others there. Thankfully the official forms are in pounds so that was my saving grace. (No need for calculators!)

Here’s me with my rower and bar ready to go!!

Here’s me 13 minutes and 165 reps later!!
Boy was that tough.. The worst part was wall balls, i just couldn’t get into the rhythm with them at all. Ending up breaking them down to 5’s. But I just finished the row within the time allocated! Delighted with myself. 😀

I quickly changed, got my tee shirts and off I went again. My work crew had organised a cycle around Central Park so I was nice and warmed up for it.

On Monday while shopping on 5th avenue, I literally came across another Crossfit , I noticed the huge Reebok store first and thought about going in for more Crossfit gear when I thought wait a second, I’m on 5th avenue, the same named Crossfit box must be here and there it was… Beside the shop!


They are sisters boxes to the Union square one so again they very nice and welcoming (especially when I said I had completed 16.4 yesterday) I got my tee shirt and she gave me a tour of it. Very impressed, a nice big one with people warming up for the next class!
I also had a few hours to spare Monday afternoon before the flight and I knew there was one more Crossfit box in Manhattan so I put it in my goggle maps and realised it was only a 10 minute walk away from Times Square where I was,so off I went in search.

At this stage, my work colleagues just laughed at me when I said where I was going. They are not crossfitters and can’t understand the attraction so they just let me off.
Crossfit Hells Kitchen is a cute little box just in the middle of the fashion district and while there was no members actually there. It looked pretty cool with all the rowers laid out for 16.4. It however is on a mental street and they were doing road works out side the gym so I didn’t stay too long chatting with the coach I met as the noise was way too much 😦 He seemed lovely though and sold me my tee shirts.
So that’s it, himself was so proud of me, off on holidays without him and still managed to visit 5 Crossfits in 5 days.
I’m just happy to be back in my own box for the last and final work out 16.5.. Bring it on!!

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x

My First Pull up!! 

My First Pull up!! 

Ok so back on the 3rd of January I published my blog ‘Get a grip Catherine’ and explained how I wanted to get my first pull up in my gym (Crossfit Galway)
I had the serious chat with the coach (himself) and we came up with a plan. He assured me that if I brought the determination and put in the extra work it, it would happen. We are talking about doing 10 minutes extra after class 3 times a week (that cant be that bad surely, can it?!) and I was to follow this plan.


So on that first week, I mentioned it to one of the girls in the gym,who also wanted to get that elusive first (monkey bar) pull up and she said she would do it with me.

While I was doing this for myself, it is always great to train with someone else (who has the same goals) because not only does that help motivate you but on those days when you will find every excuse in the book to avoid the bar. They are there, encouraging you to train. For example, there was times during January after a tough class when one of us was lying on the ground, looking at the ceiling and contemplating life (me!!) when the other one would just say ‘com’on lets hang (on the monkey bars) for a while’. (Her!) 🙂 and so we would.

I generally would do my pull up training practice after my Crossfit class (after the 8pm class) and yes even though my hands might be sore from what ever we did in class that day. I found my shoulders were well warmed up at that point and it actually made it alittle easier to do. Especially when it came to the ring rows and assisted pull ups. (And boy were there loads of those?! 😦 ) urgh!!
Yes, my hands got calluses but I always made sure I used hand cream every day and those exfoliating gloves atleast twice a week. I even busted my poor gloves a few weeks ago 😦

We also hung out on those bars a lot. Just dead hanging. And accumulated time on the bar that way and this really helped with the grip. Some nights this wasn’t the easily thing to do. But this is where a partner helps because if the 2 of you are hanging there for “time”,that competitive person in you doesn’t want to do the first one to drop.(it was generally me first!!)


My times improved as the weeks went on as you can see from below:


I went from

Week 1 – 40,30, 20 seconds

Week 2 – 40,40, 35 seconds

Week 3 – 50, 40, 51 seconds

Week 4 – 68, 59 and 50 seconds at home

Week 5 – 53, 43, 38.(I decided at this point to see if the gloves were helping or not and I took them off )

Week 6, 72, 62 and 56 seconds (no gloves)


But the thing that helped me the most was the movement that I probably disliked the most and that was ‘the segment and eccentric section ‘ basically the negative pull up.

4/5 sets of 3/5 reps where you take 3-5 seconds to descend to a dead hang. This was no ‘fun’ at all. And fighting against the temptation to just drop like a stone is very very hard at the end of any day. But I kept getting back on that monkey bar and doing another one and another one . Just hoping that the coach was right, if I put in the work that pull up would come.


About 3 weeks into January during one of my many mixed grip negative pull ups, I decided that I test my chin up progressive as I would have always found that an easier “pull movement”. This was better but I was still well below the bar and getting stuck on that last third of the pull.
When I wasn’t in the gym, I made use of the chinup bar that himself has at home and at the weekends, I would do afew dead hangs and work on the chin up. Getting himself to record me in the phone and then really work on keeping the core tight, the elbow straight and the chin down.


Then roll on 5 weeks and I was doing this chin ups practice at home and I came so so close to my first one. That made me even more determined. I wanted to get s chin up by the end of the week.

So in last nights (Thursday) pull up practice, my partner in crime wasn’t there and I needed someone to time my dead hangs and so I asked himself to hold the clock and he persuaded me to try a chin up on the monkey bar.

And low and behold (to my own disbelief) I did it…

It really felt like I was been lifted up as it felt (dare I say) easy.

I was so happy I was jumping for joy!!

Then he suggested I try a pull up and I was all ..’no, not ready yet, its not there’. I was happy with my chin up but he wouldn’t let me go home without atleast an attempt.

So I got up and again I just floated up….ok it was a little slower than the chin up but I did it and I couldn’t believe it..Thankfully it was been recorded and watched by another person ( who you can hear in the background) or I wouldn’t of believed it. I swear to God I watched it 100 times since!

I’ve done it, I did my first Pull Up.

After class this evening, I was nearly afraid to go near the bar again just in case it was a once off but no I did it again. (Twice)
This just shows that anyone can do whatever they put their mind too. Once you have a goal, the right support and a good plan!!

Stay holistic 🙂
Catherine x