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Dublin: 1 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Chill, get active, learn: Your guide to slaying the Beast from the East

Personal trainer Dean Merton shares his thoughts in a different type of fitness column this week.

UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN living under a particularly well insulated rock for the past few days you’ll know all about #StormEmma and #TheBeastFromTheEast, otherwise known as the weather and social media event of 2018 so far.

Today (Thursday) my social media feed is going crazy with fellow personal trainers uploading their storm home HIIT workouts to get around the hassle of all those pesky gyms being forced to close their doors by the blizzard outside.

So, in an effort to jump on the bandwagon and cash in on all the downtime you guys have, and help you survive Storm Emma with your physique and your sanity intact here’s my 3 pronged approach to slaying the Beast from the East.


Yep, that’s right, step one is just relax maaaaaaaaaannnn. You cant change the weather, no matter how hard you try, you also cant change how the country is run… unless you vote Sinn Fein (HINT). So now is the perfect time to practice a bit of stoicism in the face of adversity.

Accepting what you cannot change and making yourself okay with it is the first step to being a bit less stressed this week. So you missed a day of work, so the kids are off school and your day is disrupted, so the gym is closed until the storm passes, so what? Spend time with family and friends, find some fun activities to do around the house, finish off that Best of Rik Mayall box set you picked up in HMV in 2010, find the last remaining loaf of bread in the greater Dublin area, the potential for activities are endless.

Take home point: Don’t sulk, get stressed, or lose sight of the fact that you probably got an unexpected holiday which gives you a chance to chill (pun very much intended).

Get Active

However, if you’re like me and you have ants in your pants , literally (“not literally, Jesus”) you’ll need to do some sort of physical activity to keep you sane.

You can do what most kids, both small and large, love about this weather and go play in the snow, a brisk jog in a snowy field is no small feat, a set of hill sprints up slight gradient will have you feeling like Rocky.

Source: zuidhoek1/YouTube

Bonus points if you soundtrack it with the same song as above.

You could do as I did during the great snow of 2010 and try to roll the biggest snowball possible over the course of an hour or two. This Sisyphean feat took me around 60 minutes and was about seven feet in diameter, and was akin to a pretty hefty tyre flip by the time it was completed.

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 17.54.28 Source: Dean Merton.

Of course if you’re someone who prefers to comfort of shelter while you train the Smarch (Simpsons reference) blues away you’ll probably just want some ideas for training sessions you can do at home. In that case refer back to this video I produced last year to get an awesome training effect in small spaces:

Source: LiveBetter/YouTube

You could also refer back to my article from last week and use the “Gotch Bible” finisher as a standalone workout.


Use the opportunity you’ve been given with all this down time to treat your brain to a little bit of exercise. While I’d love if you trawled back through my back catalogue of articles on The42 and gave me all the feedback in the world on what you thought it would be a shame to limit yourself to just learning about training. Snow days are made for getting lost down a Wikipedia maze by clicking from one article to the next learning about everything from bee keeping to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Why not make it a group activity by engaging in a little bit of friendly debate and discussion while reading each page.

To get you started here’s a two-for-one on your first Wikipedia page.

Lend A Hand

Don’t forget to lend a hand to those who may need it during this awful weather. Visit an elderly friend or relative, making sure they’re stocked up on all the essentials, even bring them out for a cup of tea if you can find somewhere open.

Remember our homeless during this awful time. Charities like Inner City Helping Homeless are always looking for donations and volunteers to lighten the burden that sleeping rough brings, if you feel like you can lend a hand please get in touch with them on 01 888 1804 or see their website.

While we’re talking about ICHH I’ve pledged that anyone who needs a gym to go to can train in either of the gyms I work in (Santry, Dublin 9 or Clonskeagh, D14) in exchange for a donation to ICHH. If you want to make gainz while helping the homeless just get in touch with me on 0851590902 or to arrange a time to pop down.
Donations can be made here.

Wrapping Up

Above all else wrap up warm, stay safe, and for gods sake make sure you’re well stocked up on bread. I’ll be back next week with the type of blog you’d usually expect from me; geeky to the hilt.

Dean Merton is a Dublin-based strength coach and personal trainer. For more information you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram, or you can send him a direct message here.

You can also see some of his previous articles here.

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