Barry’s Blog – Recovery Checklist

Barry Vaughan BSc NMTNTC Neuromuscular & Physical TherapistBSc Sport & Exercise ScienceNSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning SpecialistIAWLA Olympic Weightlifting CoachFFI Matwork Pilates Instructor


Recovery is something that every client (and trainer) needs to work on. I constantly encounter people that exercise really hard 4-5 days a week yet fail to get any positive change in their health, performance, or weight on the scales. When you probe a little deeper, you might find out that they have zero planning in place to help them recover. They might have poor sleep, they can be dehydrated, or, more often then not, they are a little bit too stressed out.

“All work, no play makes homer go crazy”

If you’re taking your training, or life a little too seriously, in that state of heightened stress, you will find it very hard to loose body fat, build strength, or have healthy joints and a strong immune system. You will feel like you are spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

In a state of heightened stress, you will find it very hard to lose body fat, build strength, or have healthy joints and a strong immune system

If you feel like your trying your best, but your getting nowhere, or you just feel tired all the time, use this recovery checklist to get your training, and your health, back on track. You can call this better organisation, recovery advice, life coaching or whatever you want!

Try this for 1 month every day and make a real record of this in your training journal, and see what happens next!

Try the RECOVERY CHECKLIST for 1 month every day and make a real record of it in your training journal, and see what happens next!





2 Snacks

2+ Litres per day of water


No Electronics 30 minutes before bedtime

8 hours + sleep per night

Stretching entire body out for 5 minutes in the morning


Being thankful for what you have

Taking care of your own individual needs first

Thanking other people for what they did

Removing yourself from negativity, gossip or a stressful situation


15 minutes + with your own thoughts (no phone/internet or driving)


Having a laugh with someone (Don’t take life so seriously)

Spending time with your kids (If you have any) and doing something fun which is their choice

If you would like any more information, please call in and speak with any of the team about your training and recovery.

Read More of Our Blogs Below

Dee’s Diet – Breakfast Bliss

Hi Ladies,

Welcome to the new blog by me, Dee! In case you do not know me already, I am a nutritionist in Womens Fitness and I work with women day in and day out giving them the tools and knowledge they need to have a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their home. I have consulted with thousands of women over the years, so believe me when I say there is no situation or diet that I have not come across and helped.

Over the years of nutrition, a plan of health and fitness was born into the now famous Kickstart Plan. Over 5000 women have completed it and fallen in love with their health and nutrition.

Today’s blog is all about Breakfast! With a weeks worth of gorgeous recipes that everyone will love.

So keep reading below to find out why breakfast is so important, recipes and also your shopping list to fill and fuel everyones bellies the right way, every day!

I don’t have time!!!

Being a working mother and a woman on the go myself, I know only too well how morning times can be hectic! We have all heard the saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and it’s very true. Why? Because it is the start of refuelling your body after a long fast (sleeping). According to the latest evidence, in an article by ScienceDirect we should all be aiming to consume around 15–25%  of our daily energy intake at breakfast, around 300–500 calories for women.

If you are finding it tough in the mornings to have everything ready, there is a simple fix. Make sure that you are organised the night before and get up half an hour earlier. A good nights sleep works wonders, so if you are finding nodding off difficult, make sure to read our article by our Neuromuscular & Physical Therapist, Barry Vaughan on how to Get a Good Nights Sleep

Preparation and organisation are key to success! Accompany that with having a good healthy, hearty breakfast full of whole grains, fibre and protein while low in added sugar that will boost yours and your loved ones attention span, concentration, and memory — which is very much needed in school and the workplace and you are on to a winner of a day.

So let’s go ladies and get the right fuel and start to your day!

The recipes below compliment the Womens Fitness Kickstart Plan.


Shopping List

  • Wheatabix
  • Low Fat Milk
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Whole -Wheat Pitta Breads
  • Peanut Butter
  • Fruit  – choice of Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Grapefruit, Pear, Kiwi, Apple, Plum, Orange, Mandarin, Peach, Nectarine
  • Vegetables – choice of Spinach, Tomatoes,Peppers, Mushrooms, Lettuce,  Cucumber, Scallions, Avocado, Beetroot, Broccoli,  Cauliflower, Green Beans,  Asparagus, Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Pak Choi, Celery, Aubergine, Bean Sprouts, Kale, Carrot, Butternut Squash
  • Whole Oats Porridge
  • Eggs
  • Spices – choice of, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or cloves
  • Whole Grain Bagels
  • Hummus
  • Low Fat Yoghurt
  • Green Tea


Weekly Breakfast Menu

Monday – Wheatabix with low-fat milk topped with choice of fruit accompanied by green tea

Tuesday – Whole-grain bagel topped with peanut butter or ricotta cheese and fruit accompanied by green tea

Wednesday – Whole-wheat pita stuffed with sliced hard-cooked eggs, hummus and tomato accompanied by green tea

Thursday – Porridge topped with nuts or fruit sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or cloves accompanied by green tea

Friday – Half a whole-grain bagel topped with peanut butter and apple wedges, accompanied by green tea

Saturday – Breakfast smoothie (low-fat milk or yogurt, fruit, and teaspoon of bran, whirled in a blender)

Sunday – Vegetable omelet with whole-wheat toast accompanied by green tea


If you would like to come and speak with myself about your individual and household diet, just send an email to or call 0214966904 and make an appointment.


Measuring your WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE is very important for your health along with building up confidence. At present according to over 50% of women in Ireland are overweight or obese.
This is a dangerous figure and not because of social stigma but the health risks involved with being overweight. Too often women are more concerned with the outside, when in fact the real issue is what’s going on inside.
The human body is fantastic though and will often indicate when action needs to be taken.
One of those indicators is the size of your waist.

Why should you measure your waist?

This measurement is important to know as it indicates your level of  abdominal fat which is significant to your health especially your heart’s health.
A woman’s health is at risk if her waist circumference is 32 inches or more.
A measurement of 35 or more puts you at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.
People with a high level of abdominal fat have a much higher chance of developing  cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

How to do it?

(We also recommend having someone else to help you as it will make the process easier)
You will need a measuring tape and a notepad.
  1. Remove or raise clothing.  You will need to do this as to get a correct measurement the tape needs to be resting against your skin. If your pants are in the way, undo them and pull them down around your hips.
  2. Find your bellybutton. Use your fingers to find your bellybutton, which is located in the centre of your stomach.
  3. Wrap the measuring tape around your waist. Breathe normally and stand up straight. Hold the end of the tape measure at your navel and circle it around your back to the front of your waist. The measuring tape should be parallel to the floor and fit snugly around your torso without digging into your skin.
    • Make sure that the measuring tape is straight all the way around and is not twisted anywhere, especially in the back.
  4. Read the tape. Check the measurement on the tape. Your waist measurement will be at the place on the tape where the zero end meets the slack end of the tape measure. The number indicates your waist measurement in inches and/or centimeters, depending on the type of measuring tape you used.
  5. Double-check your measurement. Repeat the measurement once more to ensure the accuracy of your original measurement. If it is different from the first time, measure for a third time and take the average of the three numbers.

A very good indicator of if you are at unhealthy risk is to divide your height in half.

An example of this would be a 5ft 4in (64 inch) woman should keep her waist under 32 inches for a good, healthy reading.


Want a more in depth analysis of your waist and entire body?

In Womens Fitness, our qualified nutritionists will meet you in a private consultation, take your weight, measurements and height. They will then go through the findings with you and develop a correct eating plan along with practical hints and tips will be given to you.
A good way to start is our Kickstart Plan, which involves 6 personal training sessions, a tailored gym program, 2 fitness classes per week, 1 nutrition consultation, tailored food plan, 6 weekly weigh ins, unlimited gym, member’s app and Free parking and all for the unbelievable value of €199.

Would you like more information – Just go to our Kickstart Page. 

Barry’s Blog – The importance of sleep


Felling drained and not yourself? Lack of sleep could be the cause. With over 20 years experience, read Barry’s tips on how to get a good nights sleep.

Barry Vaughan BSc NMT

NTC Neuromuscular & Physical Therapist
BSc Sport & Exercise Science
NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
IAWLA Olympic Weightlifting Coach
FFI Matwork Pilates Instructor

Hi All,

First blog post here so, for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Barry Vaughan. I’m a personal trainer and neuromuscular therapist within Womens Fitness Cork.

I’ve been involved in personal training, working in gyms, and training sports teams for about 16 years right from the beginning of my sport & exercise science degree at the University of Limerick in 2003, pretty much before social media existed…Bebo, anyone??

My career has included training about 30 intermediate football teams, two All-Ireland winning intercounty teams, working with three GAA county boards, Irish champion rowers, international champion powerlifters, weight loss clients, and medical/injury rehab referrals from physiotherapists and G.P.s and surgeons.

If you’re going to try and help such a wide range of people, it helps to learn about things they all have in common.

One of the things I have found that every human can struggle with, regardless of who they are, is recovery, and specifically, sleep quality! Working solely with women every day, I understand and have seen the effects that lack of sleep can have, with every day tasks and not just your health and fitness. According to “most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to feel refreshed, although women who are pregnant may need more and older adults may average less’.

Not getting this? Don’t worry, I understand and we have all been there.

You’re wrecked, you’ve had a really long, hard, tough day, and your longing for the blissful quiet void of deep, restful sleep. And then your tossing and turning, you can’t switch off, and you end up just getting more and more annoyed until your alarm goes off and it’s up out of bed to start the whole cycle again!

Why is sleep so important?

It doesn’t matter if your an inter-county footballer, a busy mom/dad, you suffer from back pain, or you just want to be fit strong and healthy, if you’re not sleeping right, you’re going down!

See, a lot of crucial things happen during normal, healthy, restful sleep:

  • •        Healthy production of hormones
  • •        Tissue repair after hard training
  • •        Crucial for mental health

For those of you that are still having trouble sleeping, I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. 90% of you will find that you drift off more easily, have a deeper restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed, alert, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

There are a few main things that can disrupt a healthy sleep pattern. If we disregard long term insomnia, sleep apnea, and medical sleep disorders (you would need to visit your G.P. with these). 

Sleep Disrupters

Cognitive Anxiety:

Your thoughts are racing, maybe with lists, figures, schedule problems, fears and anxieties about what might happen tomorrow/next month/next year. I’ll give you some easy tips to reduce this, and if you still struggle you can look into better measures like Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power Of Now, or great. apps like Headspace, Calm, or Wysa. Some tips to deal with this are:

  • •        Reading a paper-based book, or finishing one large print Sudoku
  • •        A “brain dump” of 3-5 life or death bullet points about ideas/schedules
  • •        Jacobsons’ Progressive Muscular Relaxation Technique (see below)
  • •        Avoid blue light from phone/laptop late in the evening
  • •        Get a good session of exercise like a class early in the day or afternoon


Somatic Anxiety

Your body feels tense, especially upper back, forearms, tension headache, and maybe even joint pain in lower back, knees or shoulders. You just can’t switch off physically. Here’s what you can try for this:

  • •        Relaxation methods like 4/6/8 breathing and PMR work so well



Sympathetic/Parasympathetic Nervous System imbalance

This can be a tricky one so let me explain. There are two branches to the nervous system. One is the sympathetic, of Fight Or Flight mechanism. This, a function of our most basic “reptilian brain” is designed to save your life (e.g. from lions, tigers, volcanoes, bank managers). Nowadays, we haven’t got much practical use for it as our lives are pretty safe most of the time. But if you have lots of perceived threats, or if you handle stress badly, this system can become activated, bringing with it upset stomach, headaches, tense muscles, high blood pressure, joint pain, and poor sleep.

The other is the parasympathetic nervous system, known as “rest & digest, feed & breed). All of the things you might do only if there were no big immediate threats to your safety. We switch this on using massage (mechanotherapy), meditation, breathing techniques like 4/6/8, Epsom salt baths. You’ll notice this switch on when the patients’ stomach starts gurgling 30 mins into a massage treatment, as their digestion begins to come back online.  

Only one of these systems can be switched on at once, and most people are out of balance most of the time, but to switch off SNS, we switch on PNS!


Psychological Methods To Boost Sleep

The psychology that leads to deep restful sleep could be an area you need to work on. You may need to work at developing healthier habits that let your body and mind get into a normal healthy rhythm.


Regular Routine

Firstly, try to set a certain time that you go to sleep each night, e.g. 10.30pm. Honestly, is that extra episode of crap telly really worth sacrificing your health and happiness by depriving yourself of the healthy sleep your body needs? Most of us have Netflix or sky + nowadays, so you’re not going to miss anything.


Sleep Hygiene

Try to get the room as dark as possible. Try to turn off all electrical equipment and artificial light sources (iPod dock, phone charger etc.) Avoid using laptop/kindle/messing with iPhone etc while in bed or getting ready for bed.


Progressive Muscular Relaxation

PMR, or The Jacobson Technique, is a technique for reducing anxiety by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. It was developed by an American physician named Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s. It is widely practiced by those that suffer from anxiety and also by sports people looking to control their psychological arousal, e.g. pre-competition nerves or before their mental imagery training. It worked a treat for me in college during exam times when I had spent 12 hours studying physics or biomechanics and my brain was swirling with numbers and equations and worried about exams. The basic premise of PMR is that a person cannot achieve mental relaxation while muscular tension exists in the body. The technique teaches you to notice the difference between muscular tension and relaxation. I would normally use a guided practice myself and with my clients by performing this with an audio file on an iPod and headphones while lying on a bed or sofa. This is a very effective method with initial practice sessions taking around 30 minutes. As your skill progresses you can learn to do this in shorter and shorter sessions, with or without the audio file, lying or sitting. Learning to relax is a life skill that everyone should learn. A pity they don’t teach this well-researched, highly effective stuff in schools.

This was covered in detail in my Sport & Exercise Science degree, so I’ve used it a lot over that last 15 years, myself and with clients. Here’s a free sample of a quick 5-minute one that I’ve made myself  


Physical Methods To Boost Sleep

  •     Epsom salt bath or foot bath. Magnesium is a powerful relaxant and helps to rid the body of excess tension and prepare for sleep.




•        A Pilates or Stretch & Core class would be perfect for easing muscle tension and getting the body back into balance.




• Mechanotherapy, a common technique in one of our Neuromuscular Therapy sessions, is one of the most powerful ways to bring this system back into balance.  


I hope this has helped and you start getting a well deserved, good nights sleep and if you are still deprived, I am available for consultation!



If you have any questions or would like to come and speak with me about any issues you have, you can book a consultation on our Memberships/Offers Page