My Holistic August

My Holistic August

August to me was all about holidays, anniversaries and celebrations. Here are just a few of my highlights:

CrossFit Games

It started off with a trip the CrossFit Games in Madison Wisconsin in America which is a holiday of a lifetime for any Crossfitter. Imagine the All Ireland Final multiplied by 4 days of events or been a the New York fashion week for my fashion followers out there and you can get the picture. This is the biggest CrossFit event in the world where 40 individuals( both males, and female) 40 teams and 100’s of communities come together to compete for the title of the “Fittest on earth”. With over 10, 000 spectators a day, a huge vendor village, a full day time table of both indoor and outdoor events, the numerous coffee and food stalls were badly needed in this busy busy venue.

But what can I say about The CrossFit Games that hasn’t been said before, from day one, the buzz and excitement from both the athletes and the crowd was infectious that even the thunder storms and rain clouds couldn’t dampen our spirits. Even though there wasn’t any “Irish” athletes competing I stood there waving my tri-colour every time one of the many European athletes would be near by.


The days all blended into one big event, with haybales, sledge hammers, rope climbs, bar bells, burpees, running, dumbells, cycling and many many more workouts. As the events got faster and harder, these amazing athletes really showed us why they are the fittest, they didn’t seem to tire at all and it looked like they just continued to get stronger and stronger. You cant help but admire them, when fans are screaming at you from all angles and asking for selfies and autographs from the minute you leave the floor to the sheer determination and mental strength to continue each and every workout when every bit of  your body and mind must screaming at you to stop. The smiles on their faces just got bigger and brighter as the days went on.

This is amazing to watch and I have to say I was on my feet for all athletes but by the end I was definately on  ” The Toomey Train” . I can never imagine what was going through her head during that last workout and then last lunge, all I can say is my heart was in my mouth and I will  never forget that feeling when Dave Castro announced her as the overall winner. After 2 years of finishing in second place,the persistence and determination to go back and do it all again has to be admired (this lady even competed in the Rio Olympics between CrossFit Games).

I’m proud to say I had tears rolling down my face when she found out and I’m very honoured to say I was there to experience it.

Over a month later it feels some what like a dream, for those 4 days we were in a CrossFit Games bubble the Alliant centre where we mixed and mingled with other CrossFitters from around the world. The community element was alive and strong and that only made me adore it even more. A big shout out to everyone we met including some famous “athletes” parents and families (too many to mention) and to Brooke Ence who is just the warmest “American girl next door” I have ever met! Brooke if you are reading this you are welcome to CrossFit Galway when ever you are in Ireland.


Living Well with Arthritis

August 2012 was when I got my hip replaced and I cant believe its a whole 5 years on. Every day I’m so grateful that I made that hard decision back then. Thankfully it was the right one and the surgery was a success and I continue to live by the words of my consultant who said when I asked if I could exercise after my recovery , ” of course Catherine, that’s why I gave it to you, I want you to use it, its not for sitting still” and so every month I hope I continue to live by those words. I have proved to myself that I can still live well with arthritis and not be restricted by a replaced hip. Long may it last.

Happy Birthday Blog

This month also marked the second anniversary of this blog and I wrote a little blog about it. (click here if you missed it) Ive learned a lot over these 2 years and it really humbles me when people take time out of their busy lifes to read it so thank you all again.

A- Z Blog Series

The next 2 letters in my blog series about how Massage or Reflexology (my treatments) can help with common aliments went live. Click on the links below for each in case you missed one.

Q is for Quadriceps Muscles

R is for Respiratory Issues


Featured on other sites:

I had so much fun when I took over the “Snap Chat” for French Vanoli for their CrossFit “Battle of the west” competition.  Sure who doesn’t like a camera been shown in their face once they finish a horrible workout?? lol

I also love when I spot my tweets been published in one my favourite magazine – Healthy Magazine. The next time you are in Holland and Barrett, be sure to pick up a copy. This magazine always has great articles, about healthy eating, exercise, healthy lifestyle and much more.

Mayo GAA championship.

Aww my beloved Mayo started August with a replay and ended August with a replay. The team with 9 lives for definite this summer. The never say die attitude in this team has to be admired as they enter into their 4th final in 6 years …and still await that elusive win in 66 years. Ive have many memories of Mayo football and one of my first is going to watch the ’89 defeated team fly into Knock Airport with all the other fans that were there just to catch a glimpse of their hero’s. This passion is still in Mayo and the hearts, hopes and dreams of a county (both at home and away) are with this team once again for this final so all I can do is hold my breath until the 3rd weekend in September and hopefully we will have a good result for my holistic September.

So that’s it, an extra long round up but such a great month I hope your summer was as good and busy as mine.

Till next time..stay holistic





My Holistic May 

My Holistic May 

Hi everyone…

I cant believe writing this, that we are in the 6th month of the year…where is the time going?? May was as promised a busy month for the blog and the business, see below some of  my holistic highlights from the month..


A-z Blog Series

I started a A-Z Blog series about how Massage or Reflexology  (my treatments) can help with common aliments. So far I have released 6 of these:

A is for Arthritis

B is for Backache

C is for Constipation

D is for Diabetes

E is for Endometriosis

F is for Fatigue.

Click on each of these for the full blog and do keep an eye out for another 6 in June.

Take advice from a Tree:

Anyone who follows my Instagram stories has seen almost daily snaps of my Bonsai tree. The new addition to my work desk in May. The Bonsai symbolises harmony, peace, order of thoughts, balance and all that is good in nature. All of these one needs in a busy sales environment.

Darkness into Light Walk:

I was delighted to have completed this with my sister in Banada (Sligo) for Pieta House at the beginning of the month. Such a great cause and a beautiful experience.   I especially loved the candle lit country roads and the illuminated signs of Hope, Strength and Courage along the route. Remember its good to talk and there is always someone out there that can help.


Featured on other sites:

It was a busy month for The Holistic Toolkit been featured on other sites. At the beginning of the month I was choosen for “Scale it Simple’s” Friday feature for my “Why Massage is good for your Skin” blog.
Read it here.

Then at the end of the month, I was also featured on the Irish Health Hour website for with my “Top tips for getting the most out of your holistic treatment”.

Read it here.

Also in the middle of the month, I was asked to takeover the Snapchat for CrossFit Galway’s, “Rise of the West” CrossFit competition day.  Such a great fun!


Mayo championship:

The round up of the month couldn’t be done without mentioning my beloved Mayo. First championship match and win in the bag and many more to come I hope. This day was extra special for me as I got to share it with my nieces and nephews and watch it through their excited (Sligo) eyes!

So thats it, just some of the holistic moments from May, a busy but enjoyable month!

See ya in June x

Stay holistic



My Holistic April

My Holistic April

Cliffs of Moher walk

April kicked off with a “Road trip with Rua ” .

Rua is my friends adorable dog who came with us on a CrossFit Galway’s day out to the Cliffs of Moher. We walked the beautiful walk from Doolin to the cliffs . Such a fabulous walk. It has everything you need,  blue skies, green fields, stone walls, high cliffs, views that go on for miles and of course that day we had great company so alot of belly laughs!

Good for the mind, body and soul! I definitely recommend that walk…

Black Swan:

If you live in Galway and don’t know about this beautiful black swan that arrived (from Australia!!) to the Claddagh a few weeks back, where have you been?? My day job is only around the corner from here so I had to pop down one of the days at lunchtime to steal a photo. Shes ( I think its a she) seems quiet at home there and its nice to see the other “white” ones dont seem to mind that she is the star of the show at the moment.


Easter came and went in April and myself and himself had a little road trip out Connemara way and ended up in Kylemore Abbey. A very peaceful part of the world with his mountains, lakes, woodlands and beautiful walled gardens.

Deep a bit further though and you will find wishing trees, fairy doors and trees for climbing . I even found this hand monument that I couldn’t resist taking a photo of.

There was actually a Alice in Wonderland themed party there and that brings out the child in all of us.

Get up and go!
I was very fortunate to attend the third annual “Get up and Go” event in Sligo in April. Read all about my blog here.  I’m still talking about it to who ever will listen and am currently half way through the book that was launched on the Friday night by the organisers.

It has given me that extra push that I need to keep going with my blogs and my business  plan and reach for those goals that I’ve set out for myself.

Bank Holiday

Another busy month for The Holistic Toolkit and so I was delighted to end the month with a extra long weekend and put the feet up and spend some time just Netflix and chilling. Sometimes that’s what the mind and body needs and that my friend is ok.

So many blogs and treatments booked in for May already, I’m so excited that this may be my best one yet. Stay tuned!

Stay holistic 🙂


Catherine x



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!


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

Monkeying Around..

Monkeying Around..

It all started one day last year while out playing with my nieces and nephew in the local playground. There was a standard 8 or 10 monkey bars frame and my sister called me over, laughing and said “I bet I can do more monkey bars that you “. Me been the sister who was the most regular gym goer (of the two of us) was very confident in my response, nope sure I go to CrossFit I’ll win! 🙂

She smashed it, up she jumped and off she went like a natural monkey. Me on the other hand slipped on the second bar. (blaming the equipment of course!).


Roll on this summer, my 10-year-old niece was very excited when I was minding her at the park and she said that she has been practising and was able to do the 8 monkeys rings. I STILL couldn’t string 3 together…What exactly are you doing in that gym of yours Auntie Catherine?!? 😉

So when my sister sent me a Challenge video with kids and all in it…doing 10 monkey bars unbroken I knew I had to get some practice in…this was no laughing matter!!

I had no excuse really, there are about 50 bars on the rig in the gym I go to every second day. (CrossFit Galway)

My first attempt I did 11!! Yes, that more than your 10 Sister!!! 😀



But now I had the bug I wanted to do all of them unbroken.

So at the end of August I set myself a goal to have this done by Halloween.

It’s not easy on the shoulders so you can’t do it every day but I “tested” myself once a week to see how I was doing.

Week 1 I did – 20

Week 2 I did – 23

Week 3 I did – 25

I was finding the start was fine and I could do the first 10-15 very fast but then my arms and shoulders would get fatigued and the grip would start to slip.

But I was determined to keep up the practice.  I would go in and practice before my normal class and just set the phone to record and go for it. If I waited till after class my shoulders and arms would already be too tired.

Then on the 19th of September – only 20 days into my challenge I did it!




I couldn’t believe it! I was delighted, I just kept going and was really hoping that the video was still recording 😀😂.


It’s amazing what a bit of friendly sibling rivalry can do for your fitness levels! Thanks Maureen x


Watch this space for my next Fitness Challenge!


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








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