Little black dress challenge: Get in shape in time for Christmas –

Welcome to Week Two of our LBD Challenge, with dietitian Orla Walsh and personal trainer Siobhan Byrne.

It’s just under six weeks until Christmas, and there is plenty of time to drop a few pounds to look great for the festive party, and to give yourself a bit of wriggle room to indulge over the Christmas season.


The workouts, devised by Siobhan Byrne, are suitable for any fitness level, but if you are new to exercise or have any health issues, be sure to check with your doctor before starting.

If, for any reason, you are unable to perform the exercises, follow the food plan, as developed by Orla Walsh, and you will still gain some benefit. Remember, fat loss is 80pc food, 20pc exercise. Orla has put together meal plans plus a shopping list and some easy-to-follow food rules.

As always, if you have any questions or queries, please email us here at Best of luck with the challenge!


Week 2 of your nutrition guide


The key to achieving or maintaining body fat levels is to eat balanced meals that are tailored to your needs.

The typical Irish dinner is balanced as it contains two vegetables, some spuds and a bit of meat. In other words it contains vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrate and protein.

Now take a look at your breakfast – is it balanced? If you’re having porridge made with oats and water, the ingredients are healthy, but the meal isn’t balanced as it’s just carbohydrate. It’s similar to only having a bowl of potato for breakfast! Instead, make your porridge with milk (source of protein), add some nuts or seeds (more fibre, protein and healthy fats) and top it with berries… Now that’s a balanced brekkie! Aim to have three balanced meals each day.

Remember the simple rules:

•Eat lots of vegetables and fruit to help keep your body protected against illness.

•Include a lean protein at each meal to support your metabolism and help you feel full, and,

•Tailor your wholegrain carbohydrate intake to your activity levels, similar to adding petrol to your car. Increase your carbohydrate portion depending on how far or fast you go, and how frequently you move your body.

Feeling peckish between meals? Grab one handful of protein or fibre, such as a yoghurt, piece of fruit, a handful of nuts or even a milky coffee.

– Orla Walsh

Tasty dinner option:


Chicken Prawn Stir-Fry




1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 inches of fresh ginger, diced

4 spring onions, roughly chopped

1 fresh red chilli, finely diced

1 lime

3 different coloured veg, e.g., mangetout, babycorn, red peppers

2 chicken breasts or 1 packet of prawns

1 tbsp sesame oil

freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

Brown rice – 50g uncooked per person.



Heat the frying pan, add the sesame oil. Fry the chicken/prawns for a few minutes, then add the garlic, chilli, ginger, and roughly chopped coriander stalks.

After a few minutes add the rest of your veg and cook until it begins to soften.

Add the sauces and seasoning, and serve with rice.


Breakfasts to try

Greek yoghurt, chopped apple, blackberries and unsweetened muesli

Porridge made from oats, milk, strawberries and vanilla extract

Eggs, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes




Chop 2 sticks of celery and 1 apple into 1 cm pieces. Add in 1 shredded turkey breast, 1 handful walnuts, 3 large tbsp of natural yoghurt, a pinch of dried cranberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and season with black pepper. Mix together, store in the fridge and eat cold.

Salad with tuna, new potatoes, green beans, olives, cos lettuce (above) and a pesto dressing



Brown rice with turkey stir fry

Beef stew made with lots of winter seasonal vegetables

Salmon, sweet potato wedges with baked cauliflower and broccoli


Week 2 of your exercise plan

Welcome to Week 2 of your Little Black Dress Challenge. Hopefully you didn’t find last week’s workout too difficult, and this week we are going to build on your fitness levels and abilities by adding new exercises and more repetitions.

I want to stress the importance of consistency with training and food plans – this is the only way they will work.

This programme aims to help you develop key muscle groups, allowing you to become stronger each week, get used to training and build fitness levels.

One of the main reasons I’ve developed this particular plan for the Little Black Dress Challenge is that many people are impatient for results. Results, however, take time – it’s relatively easy to get rid of pounds in weight, but not necessarily bodyfat. This is the common trap that people can fall into, weighing themselves daily.

Yet taking part in any new exercise plan and clean eating programme is not going to rid six months of weight gain in two weeks, so be patient.

What this programme will do if you are consistent with it is show you how you are progressing, by making each week tougher with extra reps so you can see and feel yourself getting fitter and stronger.

Last week we completed 10 reps and, by week six, you should be all the way up to 25 reps of each exercise, more than doubling your ability by week six. This will help keep you focused and challenged, while helping you to achieve true results. Here’s my top five tips to help you train consistently:

• Set time for your training programme that you can stick to, and aim for 3-5 times per week.

• Don’t leave your training until last thing in the evening – chances are you wont do it.

• Allow yourself a few weeks for your new routine become the norm.

• Remember, consistency with training makes it easier.

• This week we will increase to 12 reps of each exercise, then complete the block of exercises five times.

– Siobhan Byrne

The workout: Week 2


1/ Start by standing in an upright position with your arms straight.

2/ Then take a step forward into a lunge, dropping your back knee towards the floor. Push off the front foot to return to start position and then alternate the legs, completing 12 for each leg.


1/ Start in the top position of a push-up with your arms straight.

2/ Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor while at the same time bending one knee and bringing it to your elbow with your foot off the floor.

3/ Push back up to the top position and repeat with opposite leg.

• For a more advanced exercise, try the crawling version of this. Start with your right knee at your elbow, immediately extend your right hand out to crawl, then bring your left knee towards the left elbow, repeating the move.

Close grip push-up

1/ Start on your toes and hands with your hands touching each other in the middle at the fingers directly under your chest with your elbows bent.

2/ Push up to straight arm position, then lower straight back down to start position keeping your back straight and hips down throughout.

In out squat jump

1/ Start in semi squat position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Jump into the air changing your foot direction to split squat before landing.

3/ Then dip towards the floor.

4/ Jump back to a squat position and complete a squat, repeating as you go.

Health & Living