Workout Tips from Top Irish Businesswomen

Their work schedules and social commitments are already demanding, but that doesn’t stop HIGH-ACHIEVING WOMEN in the workplace becoming hell-bent on training as hard as athletes. We share these WORKOUT TIPS from top Irish businesswomen

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High-functioning type A personalities,  impossible standards, demanding jobs – it’s not surprising that businesswomen are predisposed to aiming high. And now their working week is stretching to include intense sessions with personal trainers and serious prep for marathons and triathlons too.

The trend towards “professionalisation” of fitness appeals to these women: they like its intensity, the fact it’s so efficient in terms of time and is results-oriented – all concepts they are familiar with. But, what’s to like about tough training schedules, pre-dawn runs and performance-related payback in terms of injury and loss of free time? Is the endorphin rush, the calming effect, the cognitive sharpening and body toning worth it?

ANNE O’LEARY, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, trains intensively almost daily for triathlon. But she is adamant it’s worth it, for enjoyment, a sense of achievement, and the positive impact on her business life. “When I exercise, I feel more energised, I sleep better, I make better decisions.”

“When I exercise, I feel more energised, I sleep better, I make better decisions.”

RUTH CURRAN, Managing Partner at MERC Partners, is all about finding the perfect activity: “I’ve always been a regular swimmer but recently I’ve taken up TRX suspension training, which I enjoy immensely. It is definitely time well spent for an all-over workout.”

For JENNIFER VICTORY, Group Compliance Manager at Smurfit Kappa, lunchtime is a time to raise endorphin levels before tackling her afternoon schedule. “If I’m in the office, I put on my flats and go for a 20-minute walk to clear my head.”

CHRISTINE HEFFERNAN, Director of Corporate Affairs at Tesco Ireland, completed the 188k Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle last July. “I find exercise, along with eating well, keeps me sharp and constructive, and better able to make decisions,” she says.

For NIAMH BOYLE, MD of The Reputations Agency, exercising is a way to relax before heading to the office: “I love sunrises and, as I wake early anyway, morning exercise just makes sense for me. I get up at 6.30am, get the dog up, and walk or run along Sandymount Strand. I also do Reformer Pilates a few times a week.”

When BARBARA NESTOR, Head of External Communications at EY, began to suffer regular headaches, she realised she needed to get back on track – literally. The solution was local: a ten-week fitness revolution programme with trainer Sean O’Connor. “I can honestly say it revolutionised my life. I set goals for myself. I arranged my working day to leave the office at 5pm.”

Until she was 32, MARIE JOYCE, Chief Financial Officer of NTR PLC, claims she had never donned a pair of runners. Nowadays, before 6am, her legs swing out of the bed, into her gym gear and shortly afterwards she’s en route to meet her personal trainer. “I get a buzz from achieving my goals at work and it’s no different when it comes to training.”

“I get a buzz from achieving my goals at work and it’s no different when it comes to training.”

When CAROLAN LENNON, Managing Director of Wholesale at Eircom, started running a few years ago and felt twinges in her back, the prospect of suffering debilitating back pain triggered a sense that she needed to build up her core. “Having a trainer is key for me,” says Lennon. “If I don’t train, I feel my energy levels flag. Maintaining a good level of fitness makes me sharper at work and gives me stamina for long days in the office.”

Carolan Lennon eircom Great Limerick Run

Inevitably, with challenging goals, there’s a risk of overdoing it. Physiotherapist HELEN COONEY sees the effects.

“These women are naturally driven. The downside is when people set excessive targets and no limits. And, if injury occurs, they may not deal with it very well.”

Physio2u is a fully mobile operation, treating people in their own homes or even in the workplace. www.physio2u.ie; 086 393 7175

This article is from our July/August issue of THE GLOSS Magazine, our fashion issue is out Saturday September 5.

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