Michelle Gormley-McLaughlin: I took a laser cutting course so I could make my own kitchen – so far I’ve made a cutting board and a key ring…


1 Up and at it – what’s your morning routine?

Most of the time, I wake up around 5:20 a.m. I do a PT session followed by a walk. Usually I’m back in the gym at 7am and at work around 9am.

2 What might you eat on a typical working day during…

Breakfast – Eggs and a handful of prawns with spinach.

Lunch – Tortilla wrap with salad and vegetables – sometimes chicken in it, sometimes veggie sausage.

Evening meal – Fish with thick fries and broccoli.

3 Is nutrition important to you – do you take any supplements?

Yes, nutrition is definitely important, but sometimes my willpower fails. I take supplements such as iron, magnesium and a multivitamin.

4 Have you ever been on a diet? If yes, how did it happen?

I have been on a diet for about 20 years through Slimming World and WeightWatchers. I also tried the Atkins diet, which was difficult, being a vegetarian, and tried most others at one time or another. I am now trying to follow intermittent fasting, so I eat between 11am and 8pm.

5 Weekend treat?

Crisps and sometimes takeaway meals. And a little gin and tonic.

6 How do you stay physically and mentally fit?

I work out regularly at the gym, walk and play rugby. However, I work in the sports and outdoor industry, so canoeing, rock climbing and walking are also my hobbies.

7 Best tip for everyday fitness?

Get up early and do it. I’m a big advocate for going out and being outside. It is excellent for mental health and well-being. It was great to be part of the Sperrins walking program. I helped plan the variety of walks, for all abilities, through such a beautiful part of Northern Ireland and it has been amazing.

8 Were you a fan of school sports/EPS or do you have a memory of that time that you would rather forget?

I loved school sports and was lucky to have the best physical education teacher. It was my first introduction to the wonderful game of camogie.

9 Teetotal or drink?

It must be a glass. It’s either a cold pint of Peroni or an elderflower gin.

10 Staircase or elevator?

Stairs all the way. Every little bit counts and it’s important to keep moving.

11 What book are you currently reading?

I just finished reading Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed. I watched the film with Reece Wetherspoon beforehand and it encouraged me to read the book which was a very good read.

12 best Netflix?

The minute I caught up with the Vikings. I also just finished watching The Last Kingdom. I really like historical and gritty saga dramas. The landscapes are also impressive to look at.

13 The most surprising thing you learned about yourself during the pandemic?

During the pandemic, like most people, I was communicating with my friends, family, and work online. I had to learn quickly, because being online is not a place where I would naturally end up. Having to teach online, I realized that I’m useless with technology and adapt to all new methods like “teams”. However, I adapted and I’m not too bad now.

14 New skills or hobbies?

I bought a van before the pandemic and I intend to convert it into a motorhome. I took a CNC laser cutting course with the intention of making my own kitchen – so far I’ve made a cutting board and a key ring.

15 How do you relax?

I have two dogs so there are lots of walks and games with them. They really are the bosses. I also try to get out as much as possible – even when I’m not working. We have so many beautiful places across the Sperrin Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty filled with history and a great variety of walks. You really think you know everything about a place, but I find that I discover something new every week. I have my work to thank for that.

16 What are your objectives for 2022/23?

As usual – to be fit… I also hope to do a triathlon next year.

17 What time do you go to bed and do you think you get enough sleep?

Usually, I go to bed before 10 p.m. In winter it’s probably earlier.

18 Biggest gripe?

Not doing all my academic and practical qualifications when I was younger. Getting the time and the motivation is hard now.

19 Have your priorities in life or outlook changed?

I have two children, so my life revolves around them. I guess it’s just about having an adventure and making memories. I’m not so busy with succeeding or moving up the ladder with work anymore. Life is made to be lived.

20 Has the coronavirus changed your attitude towards your own mortality?

It definitely changed my attitude, especially when my father was hospitalized with the virus. I am more aware of those with underlying conditions and their vulnerability. It is incumbent on all of us to stay as fit and healthy as possible so that we can fight these types of illnesses. Get yourself outside – there really is no better medicine.

:: Michelle Gormley McLaughlin helped deliver Far and Wild’s Sperrins walking program in September, which will start again in March 2023. Details at farandwild.org


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