Pitch us your brand
I am a health enthusiast. I am studying Nutrition but I am not a GP, nor a Dietician. I am interested in health, fitness and feeling good. I believe that nutrition and fitness go hand in hand in making you the best ‘you’ that you can be! And that’s what it’s all about for me- I promote healthy living and clean diets, free from all of the processed junk that fills our supermarket shelves. I am passing on get-fit quick tips, meal and diet plans, nutritional supplement recommendations, homemade beauty recipes, gym gear finds and much more.
I am not an expert - I love what I do, I am passionate about helping people reach their health and fitness goals and I love feeling great. I hope you like what I do as much as I do!
Who are you and what do you do?
Well my real name is Orla Mc Donagh. I live in Dublin but have lived everywhere from Barcelona to Galway over the past number of years. I am the founder and owner of gymbunny.ie and I also work full time as a Content Marketing Manager. It’s a tough balance but I love everything health and fitness related so it’s a no-brainer for me to keep up the blog!
What brought your blog/brand about? How and Why did it start?
Well first of all, I was never interested in team sports, which I kind of thought meant I didn’t like fitness and health at all. When I was a kid I tried loads of different sports – ballet, karate, water sports and football, but nothing really seemed to stick. I did love ballet, but I didn’t like the discipline involved where you had to be very quiet and for anyone who knows me, that’s not exactly the easiest thing for me to do!
When I was about 21, I found out I had a perforated ulcer due to stress, from doing too much and burning the candle at both ends. I was getting pains in my stomach every day and I never really thought it would get any worse, but it did and I had to do all kinds of tests and ended up taking medication to sort the problem. It made me feel older than my age and gave me the kick up the bum that I needed to make a change really.
Not long after, I decided I needed to do something and it was about that time too that i moved to Spain. I began training with a girl in the park two to three times a week, cleaned up my diet a bit – and my interest in health and fitness properly started to spark. All at once, I started to feel so much better, in how I felt, in my sleep patterns, my stress levels - it felt like I was starting to feel not just good again, but great. I kept tweaking my diet and finally found what works for me.
I continued on this path for a few years and in 2011 my Mum passed away after a year’s battle with Lung Cancer. This really affected me of course, and I became consumed in having a healthier eating pattern and lifestyle and kind of started writing around then for gym bunny but just articles on my computer. I set up the blog in 2013, and things grew from there really.
Describe your audience! Who is your target?
My audience tends to be predominantly female, Irish and between the ages of 21 and about 36. The typical reader is interested in long term health and fitness and wants to learn about healthy eating, exercise and weight training. I’ve had quite a few male followers more recently particularly as I’ve started to lift heavier weights!
What does your daily meal planner look like?
My morning nearly always starts with poached eggs or if I’m on a cutting program, then it’s one egg and a few egg whites. I try to have some spinach too and a green tea.
Then, on the way to work I always grab a large coffee. In the summer it’s an iced white Americano and in the winter it’s either a flat white or a white Americano. I also load up on my vitamins in the am, as I’m quite forgetful after a long day!
Snack wise, I always carry almonds and some whey protein in my handbag. The guys at work always laugh at me as I’m always munching away on something! I love Fulfill bars when I’m looking for a cheekier snack.
For lunch I love Borlottie in the IFSC and at the weekends I love Fuel in Clontarf - both offer great lean protein options that are genuinely tasty too! For dinner I cook at home with my boyfriend. Well he cleans, I cook. Dinner is typically chicken fillets with avocado and spinach or a mince bolognese with a side-salad and some baked eggs on top. At the weekends I love a burrito in a bowl and some fro-yo for a cheat meal or pizza - it’s my down fall!
Name three people you respect in the industry
As bloggers go, I have to say I really admire Rosemary McCabe as an all-rounder. She writes with a real intelligence, integrity and emotion. A really great balance. In terms of fitness bloggers, I think Siobhan O’Hagan has really nailed the scene in Ireland and internationally, I really love the brand Lorna Jane and Stylerunner. I’m a marketeer at heart and just love what they stand for and project brand-wise.
Proudest post? Finest moment to date?
It would be between three proudest moments actually. One would be being on the Today show on RTÉ. That was really cool, totally nerve-wracking, but I loved every minute. The second was seeing my Dad’s face when I received a towel with my website and blogger name embroidered on it. It was something so small but he was so, so proud. My Dad is an absolute hero and he has been so supportive with my blog over the past few years. Lastly, it would be when I produced my first E-Book [details below]. That was a really great feeling, particularly when people started to buy it!
What is your attitude to well-being, mentally and physically?
Health feels differently for everyone. But I feel that people in general need to be more realistic with themselves. Health requires hard work and discipline and it is these two elements that differentiate us from other mammals.
We are consciously aware of how food and drink affects us and we need to realise the impact our day to day life choices have on our mental and physical wellbeing. From choosing the right breakfast to start your day to taking a few minutes out to meditate. These little moments are what keep us happy.
How has your life changed since you started your blog/brand?
People recognise you more and at work (I work 9-5 in Marketing) people always comment on a recent post or blog. I think you feel a little responsible for what you say and how you act online, much more than before the blog. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with some really great brands, get invited to some cool events and appear on TV, radio and in magazines. It’s very humbling to work on certain projects, particularly those focused on mental health and wellbeing.
Whats your favourite and least favourite thing about fitness and fitness trends on social media?
My most favourite is learning recipes and new exercise from other people across the world.
Watching people transform their way of thinking and living because of something you may have advised them upon. That’s a really great feeling, particularly when that person wasn’t eating enough calories or over-exercising. Helping them come around is incredibly satisfying.
My least favourite is how everyone feels it’s ok to comment on everything you eat and drink and even how you look ie: too muscly, too thin etc…People can get really nasty when you have a blog and feel like they can say anything. They forget that there is a person behind this little brand and that person has the very same feelings as the next person!
I’m lucky in the sense that I am not a target for online bullying but some fellow bloggers have gotten a really tough time.
Tell us a secret - something we should know about you?
I’m really short- I’m 158cm (5ft 2 and a half) to be exact. People always get a shock. They expect me to be taller and broader in real life. I’m teeny tiny! I’m also a neat and clean freak and am probably the most organised person in the world, to my detriment. I’m an incredibly loyal and caring person but have a temper like a cranky toddler! Haha! I guess its all about balance!
What’s the one thing you want people to learn from your work?
Forget diets, forget fads and forget skinny. I’m looking to focus on long term health, happiness and a sustainable lifestyle as opposed to a crash diet. I don’t advocate skinny teas, starvation or diet pills nor will I ever. I’m about happy, healthy, strong and confident.
Where do we find you?