Greetings fitness followers, I was hoping to say welcome to the start of the summer but the weather in Ireland is still miserable.

Exam season has started and the weather is still awful, if that isn’t proof of climate change then I don’t know what is!

I’ve been treating myself to a well-deserved break but am proud to say I haven’t had a break from trying to get fit. Holidays can often put a strain on your efforts to be good.

A big part of it is when you get out of good habits and let yourself go. I’m not just talking about a week or two in Santa Ponza where chips suddenly become a viable breakfast cereal, but also the summer time in general.

Nine or 10 months of the year it’s not socially acceptable to have six cans of cider and a burger as a healthy meal, but the sun comes out and some people go mad — they don’t even try to disguise it as a brunch.

The way I try to look at it is staying good feels good.

I’m not saying never give into temptation, sure if we never gave in to temptation Nathan Carter would never sell a ticket. But keeping my goals in sight really does feel like an accomplishment.

I’m writing this from a cruiseship; some of you might say any ship with me on it is a cruise ship, even the Holyhead ferry, but genuinely I’m on a cruise ship off the coast of Greece.

The country invented many things close to my heart, homosexuality, philosophy, and being bad with money. I’m here with 20 panto friends, and I’m avoiding the health trap of giving in to peer pressure and not just because if anyone is used to me acting like a dame it’s the panto people.

Peer pressure, or as I’m on a boat, pier pressure, can often be one of the harder aspects of a trying to stay healthy. The thing to remember is that these people are often reflecting their own insecurity. What seems to work for me is if you bring them into your goals.

Don’t say ‘I’m on a diet’ or ‘I’m trying to lose weight’ or ‘I don’t like chocolate cake’ (lies like that are so easy to spot).

Say ‘I’m training for a run’, say ‘I’m trying to get fit’, say ‘I’m saving the treats for my cheat meal’.

The peer pressurers will always have some excuse but when you look at them they don’t make sense; ah, you’re allowed have a piss-up for breakfast, you’re on holidays, ah you’re allowed eat cake for every meal for three days straight it’s your birthday, ah you’re allowed drive on enough prescription painkillers to put a giraffe to sleep if you’re not drinking. OK, the last one might just be Tiger Woods, allegedly, but you get my point.

If a healthier lifestyle makes you feel good then stick to it.

I’ve been going to the gym on board the ship every day and I have to say it’s amazing. Once or twice I’ve even used the equipment.

A gym full of freshly tanned men, if that doesn’t motivate you then I don’t know what will.

If straight men complain it’s not the same for them, get over it, you have the internet. I am actually being semi-serious, for the ladies out there any motivation is good motivation, so why not reward yourself at your local gym by checking out some hunks?The couch to 5k training is paying off for me.

I feel fresher, I have more energy, a renewed sense of accomplishment.

I’m even eating fruit and veg, well you try things on oliday don’t you?

Normally I’d only eat fruit if I asked my ma was there any food and then decided if I was bothered going to the shops.

I sent her a picture of my salad one afternoon and she texted back asking if I had run out  of money. If that wasn’t a sign I needed to change, then I don’t know what is.

AL’S EXERCISE OF THE WEEK

ih al press up 1.jpg 

STEP 1

Start with your hands on the floor, wider than shoulder width and toes on the floor.

Keep your back flat.

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STEP 2:

Bend the elbows, lower your chest to the floor and then straighten your arms to start position

Karl Henry training plan

Here you are at the halfway point! This can often be the easiest and the hardest part of any training plan. You can see just how much progress you have made in a short space of time — the benefits of all your hard work.

Look back at the training plan from the first week and how easy it would be now if I asked you to do it. Reflection can be a great tool to ensure you stay motivated and focused. But now is also the time that the project seems real. The excitement of the initial weeks of training can begin to taper off and it can seem like your goal is such a long way away.

This often results in a lull in eagerness to train but you have this column each week to keep you on track. You have the progress of Alto make you realise that, yes, it is tough but you can get through it.

My advice this week is to take some time to sit down and look at how far you have come. You are now a runner, doing either your first 5k or 10k or improving on a time from a previous race.

If, like me, you like to reward yourself for hard work, why not go out and buy a new training top or a new pair of socks? It’s never the size of the treat but the actual method of receiving the treat that is so powerful. Treat yourself and keep your eyes on the prize, as race day will be here before you know it!

COUCH TO5K

You have three ‘runs’ to do this week, and a one-hour fast walk.

Try to have a rest day between theruns if possible.

You also have an optional resistance exercise (above) to improve your strength.

You can do your resistance exercises after your runs, or on your rest days.

Complete two sets of 20 each time.

COUCH TO 10K

You have three runs this week.

Try to have a rest day between the runs if possible.

You also have an optional resistance exercise to improve your strength.

You can do your resistance exercises (above) after your runs, or on your rest days.

Complete three sets of 20 each time.

Register Now: SPAR Fitlive 5k/10k Run – Phoenix Park on July 15

This article appeared on Independent.ie