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Personal Training & Nutrition

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By Sarah O'Neill, Apr 12 2019 01:05PM

I’ve been working as a Personal Trainer for 10 years and loved every minute of it. Getting diet and exercise on track is a life changer for people – and it’s such an honour to be part of that journey. So many clients report back that they didn’t have the knowledge or confidence about the best ways to get in shape, and by working with me and my team they’ve gained such valuable skills and feel incredible as a result! This is so exciting for me and I’m determined to help as many people as possible find the healthiest version of themselves.

With that in mind I recently decided to launch a series of online programmes so that I can help people across the country, and beyond. I decided to focus on the bridal market, and so am in the final throws of launching ‘My Wedding PT’ ( which offers 12 week programmes to get brides into the best shape of their lives for their big days

All my programmes contain bespoke fitness plans, tailored to individual needs, schedules and goals, that can be performed in the gym, home or outdoors. As a Nutritionist my programmes also include tailored nutrition to optimally support the training element, but whilst hitting weight loss goals (where relevant). These plans are simple, healthy and easy to follow and will teach skills for life, so that clients can combat their food demons once and for all! All my clients receive 24/7 access to me, every step of the way, as I guide them through their programmes, plus weekly accountability telephone calls. There’s also the Facebook page ( which links out to a closed group where brides can journey alongside each other, motivating and celebrating each other every step of the way. Plus the ever important mindset pieces, including relaxation and meditation guides – because so often the mind is the site of many of our battles!

However having decided to focus on brides I suddenly received an influx of enquiries from mums-to-be and new mums, and so based on my studies in ante and post natal training I will am also offering 12 week plans for this audience. This is really exciting for me as I am constantly seeing women fearful of exercising at this life stage due to an awareness that adaptations need to be made, but a lack of clarity of information regarding what exactly IS safe, unsafe or beneficial to perform. This groups of women can really benefit from the 1-2-1 support my programmes offer, and the ability to check-in with me whenever they need.

In reality, my programmes can support women from all walks of life, at all stages in their journeys. I have years of experience in weight loss, dietary control, marathon training, long and short distance training, as well as the niches I spoke about above. If you’ve been trying the same thing for a long time without any success, feel stuck in a rut and unsure how to progress your training and become the healthiest version of you, then please get in touch!

By Sarah O'Neill, Oct 21 2016 12:21PM

9 ways to make your hen do healthier

Published on 4th Oct 2016

On a pre-wedding fitness kick? Stay on track during your hen with these simple points from personal trainer, Sarah O'Neill

Sticking to a wedding fitness regime takes time, energy and sheer willpower: it’s the one element of wedding planning where you can’t cut corners. During this quest for glowing skin and wedding day body confidence, no personal trainer in their right mind would recommend a weekend of late nights, junk food and excessive drinking.

How then, should the health conscious bride navigate the rowdy rituals of the hen do? Personal trainer Sarah O’Neill, has helped many brides achieve their perfect bridal body through her bride training programmes. We asked for her survival tips and tactics for a hen do that won’t wreck your fitness regime.

1. Be alcohol-savvy

First, face the facts about alcohol which will be the prime diet saboteur on your hen do. It is hugely calorific, containing 7 kcals/g, almost double the amount found in proteins and carbohydrates. Adding to this, alcohol actively encourages fat storage around the mid-section, because as a toxin it is oxidised first and becomes your body’s prime source of energy, causing all other foods to be stored as fat. In other words the cake, chocolate and chunky fries are going straight on your waist.

Get smart by switching from wine, beer and cocktails to white spirits and low calorie mixers, such as vodka with soda and fresh lime, or gin and Slimline Tonic. A shot of either spirit comes in at 50 kcals and the mixers can be calorie free, so by switching you’ll be consuming around 1/3 of the calories found in wine (170 kcals), or 1/5 of that within a pint of lager (approx. 250 kcals) or a cocktail (upwards of 250 kcals).

If you’re drinking wine or fizz avoid giant glass sizes - serving your drinks in smaller glasses should mean you're less likely to overindulge.

2. Pimp your drinks

We all know that we should be alternating alcoholic drinks with water, but few of us actually manage it. Make your soft drinks into more of a feature by filling large jugs with sparkling water, ice and some squeezed lime or fresh mint.

Another idea is to add a selection of fresh fruit – raspberries, strawberries and orange wedges – to water to create a refreshing pick-me-up. Serve in wine glasses so it feels more like a ‘treat drink’ rather than a sensible one.

3. Ditch the drinking games

Drinking games will not only give you a terrible hangover, but as with any binge drinking can have lasting consequences for your health. The good news is there are plenty of brilliant and hilarious hen party games; the old favourite Mr & Mrs never fails to disappoint. If you’re having your hen do away, download party apps, such as the ‘cards against humanity’ inspired Evil Apple or Heads Up, which is a digital version of the dinner party game ‘Who am I’.

Having these games to hand will reduce the chances of the onslaught of a major drinking session during travel waiting time, but still break the ice between hens.

4. Off-set alcohol before bed

After an evening of drinking, it's better to rehydrate before bed, so encourage all the hens to drink at least one pint of water each, as well as taking a glass to your bedside. To soak up a little of the alcohol, prepare a light snack for hens of some oat cakes topped with mashed avocado or light cream cheese and chives...and avoid the chippy at all costs!

5. Replenish nutrients in the morning

Alcohol inhibits the body from properly absorbing, digesting and utilising a range of nutrients, meaning your body may be depleted in several vitamins and minerals, namely all the B vitamins, folic acid, vitamins C and K, zinc, potassium and magnesium.

Boosting your intake of vitamins and minerals the next day is the kindest thing you can do for your body, so avoid shoving more junk in and opt instead make a Super Smoothie by blending together one orange, one banana, 150ml milk (whole milk/almond/soy according to preference), 150g natural yoghurt, 25g walnuts and 3 tsp honey.

Magnesium is found in the walnuts in this smoothie, as well as in the dairy. The orange and banana will also give you a welcome boost of vitamin C. Magnesium and vitamin C support the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme that helps to break down the alcohol and eliminate it from the body. Magnesium also helps relax muscles, which will ease that hangover headache.

Breakfast of champions: Sourdough toast with poached eggs and mashed avocado is not only delicious, but the avocado will give you a huge hit of both magnesium and potassium (double win). Plus the eggs contain cysteine to breakdown the acetaldehyde, a key culprit of a hangover. Top it all off with a mug of fresh ginger tea - the anti-emetic (nausea reducing) properties of the ginger will soothe any tummy discomfort.

It’s best to go drug-free and nourish naturally, but if the hangover is raging and you're hitting the medicine cabinet, avoid aspirin or ibuprofen which could irritate the stomach further, opt instead for paracetamol.

6. Dining dos and don’ts

Do go self-catered for a healthier hen do. Studies suggest we consume around 200 more calories when we choose to eat out instead of cooking in. Extra butter, creamy sauces and the little extras you can avoid when preparing at home are the culprits.

Why not whip up a yummy brunch of Swiss bircher muesli, fruit platters, yoghurt, homemade smoothies and eggs. A delicious dinner idea would be something like baked fish or a salmon parcel, served with steamed veggies and jasmine rice.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel like cooking. Hire a personal chef to cater at home, you’ll be able to explain your dietary requirements and request a healthy meal option.

If you do prefer to eat out, many restaurants now cater for health-conscious customers with transparent menus, sometimes including calorie counts or lighter choices. Do call ahead and ask the restaurant to prepare a leaner set menu or a 'lighter' version of your favourite meal. Sushi is also a great choice, whilst Italian, Indian, Chinese and 'picky' meals like tapas, will have a higher fat and calorie content.

7. Get creative with snacks

Avoid massive bags of crisps, nuts or chocolate, and opt for some yummy snacks that will also add a touch of class to the hen do. Try smoked salmon blinis, but instead of using the traditional blini base make these even healthier by serving a twist of smoked salmon on a slice of cucumber with a dollop of crème fraiche and a pinch of dill.

Fill up on colourful crudités, such as red and yellow pepper slices, carrots, cucumber, celery and baby tomatoes. If you lay them out in rows on trays they will also look more attractive than a bowl of crisps. Make your own healthy dips such as homemade guacamole and tzatziki.

8. Get active!

Hen party activities have moved on from the days of laser quest and pole dancing. Hen companies, such as Maximise hen weekends, offer everything from hip hop dancing to wet and wild weekends spent rafting or canyoning. To burn calories and have a good giggle at the same time, go for something wacky like the Mega Mix Triple Combo, where you will have a hilarious time trying the madcap activities of Disco Dodgeball, Bubble Football and various nostalgic old school sports day games.

Checking into a spa for the day is another healthy option that will leave you and the girls feeling gorgeous inside and out. Cowshed have developed the wonderful Pretty Parties – a day of pampering massages, nail and foot treatments, at their luxuriously rustic spas across London. Dinner is included and healthy requests catered for.

If craft or culture is more your thing, why not embark on a creative workshop or tick off a city on your travel bucket list. Anytime spent engrossed in sightseeing or an activity is better for you (and more memorable) than sitting in a bar drinking.

9. Blitz fit

If the energetic hen activities are not going to work for your group, avoid letting your fitness slip on the weekend with a couple of short video workouts. With just 10 minutes of exercise you can burn a ton of calories, boost the metabolism, lift your mood and start the day with a bang!

Find out more about Sarah O'Neill and her personal training services here.

By Sarah O'Neill, Dec 3 2013 02:21PM

If you’re a recent bride-to-be, we know how for some, getting in shape for you big day can seem like a daunting challenge. With so many different Wedding Dresses out there, trying to choose the one that’s right for you and your body shape can be hard. So we spoke to some top personal trainers who told us their key exercises to get the most out of your pre-wedding workouts by tailoring them to your wedding dress style.

London-based personal trainer Sarah O’Neill is no stranger to helping brides get ready for their big day, offering specialised bridal packages and bridal bootcamps on Clapham Common. Sarah regularly contributes to a diverse range of publications from Runner’s World to Professional Photographer (where she is a regular columnist) and the Sunday Telegraph.

With short wedding dresses growing in popularity, Sarah gave us her tips on how brides who are planning to wear a shorter length wedding dress can get ready…

A meringue-style dress may hide a multitude of lower body sins, but with shorter dresses becoming increasingly popular it’s time to tone those pins!

1. Sumo Squat: Begin with your legs just wider than shoulders. Squat down so that your weight is in your heels and your bum is around knee-height (make sure you get low enough to hit that butt!) then as you rise extend one leg out to the side, straight and with toe turned down slightly. Keep your tummy tight and chest high. Then return to your squat and repeat on the other side. 40 reps. Rest and repeat.

The squat is perfect for toning bum and thighs and beginning in a wider stance brings the exercise more fully into the inside thigh too (a typical problem area). The ‘lateral lift’ adds tone to the outside thigh as well as the side of the hips – farewell to saddle bags!

2. Reverse Lunge to Kick: Start with feet hip width then take a big step back with one leg. Lower your knee to the floor for a deep lunge, with the weight distributed between ball of back foot and heel of front foot. From this lunge position extend your back leg forward and ‘kick’ through the ball of the foot, then return to lunge and repeat for around 20 kicks. Perform 20 lunge kicks on the other side. Repeat.

This exercise is great for toning both front (lunge) and backs (kick) of thighs whilst including balance in the exercise means you’ll give your abs and core a workout as well!

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