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April Managers Corner

Hi All,

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback towards our new class timetable which will launch on Tuesday 7th May. Your input is invaluable to us as we plan the Summer schedule to keep you on track for your health and fitness goals.

We use your feedback along with attendance statistics to plan classes so it is vital that you correctly use our Iconic health clubs app to book, attend or cancel classes where necessary. We understand that on occasion plans change however We would ask that you only book classes that you are 100% committed to attending as anything other than this is withholding the space from another member who would like to attend.

We have a planned pool closure tomorrow and Saturday to allow for underwater tile repairs, all of the remaining spa facilities are open for your enjoyment. We have also planned a renovation of our Jacuzzi , steam room and some new additions to poolside for the coming month, we hope you enjoy all of these improvements. We are always looking for ways to enhance our beautiful facility so any feedback or suggestions you have can be logged via our email survey or our club App.

We recently held an Aerial Yoga training in the club to further up skill some of our already amazing trainers. Juliette and Mairead will further practice their technique over the coming weeks however you will be able to enjoy their unique aerial yoga class over the summer months.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter.

Kindest regards,


Eggs. The smart post-workout snack

The Easter egg is a huge temptation and whilst we know some of you are going to treat yourselves this Easter, don’t forget to include the natural egg in your diet all year round

Eggs pack a nutritional punch and are great for muscle recovery after a workout. They are affordable and best of all tasty!

Bord Bia say eggs are a great source of natural protein and are packed with nutrients such as: B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, selenium, zinc and iodine. Also, they provide vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin which most Irish are lacking.

Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, including the amino acid leucine which is effective for stimulating muscle building.

Eggs – health insurance for vegetarians

The presence of all the amino acids means eggs are a complete protein and could be important in your diet if you don’t eat meat as while though it is of course possible to get all your amino acids from a plant based diet you need to be careful to eat different foods offering complementary proteins. Lentils and rice eaten together will do this but on their own don’t contain complete amino acids, though some plant foods like quinoa and soya beans do.


Cholesterol – eggs are not the villains

So why on earth did eggs get such a bad press in the past? Well, the yolk is high in cholesterol and too much of this in the bloodstream can accumulate on artery walls raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is why in the past we were advised to limit eggs to a few a week.

However, scientific consensus now is the cholesterol in eggs has little effect on us and rather it’s the higher consumption of trans and saturated fats in the wider diet from foods such as fatty meat and fried foods, confectionary, processed refined foods that affects the heart.

Last year a team of University of Sydney nutrition scientists reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition  that a 12 eggs a week diet or a low-egg diet (less than two a week) made no difference to cardiovascular risk.

Super post-workout snack

Not that long ago athletes used to eat only the white and leave the yolks because they had concerns about the fat in the yolk. However, now it is known that egg yolks contain healthy fats and other nutrients that boost muscle recovery.

Recent research at the University of Illinois researchers showed how the post-workout muscle-building response in people who ate whole eggs after a weight-training session was 40 per cent greater than in those who ate the same amount of protein from the whites alone. The study also found there is protein in the yolk that seem to enhance the muscles’ ability to use that protein for growth and recovery.

The consultant dietitian Paula Mee, whose excellent new book ‘Mediterranean Mood Food’ is out in April, says that although eggs do contain some saturated fat, approximately two thirds of the fat found in an egg is either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.

“If you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, eggs are  not the problem; it’s the umpteen other sources of trans fat and saturated fat that are. Take the Japanese for example: they are among the biggest egg consumers in the world, yet have the lowest rates of Coronary Heart Disease. Their overall diet is lower in saturated fat and higher in polyunsaturated”, she said.

Paula says eggs are good complete proteins, with one egg having 7g of protein and that high protein foods are good choices for athletes and for older adults especially, as aging tends to reduce lean body mass.

“Good news for slimmers, as the average egg contains just 87 calories so for most of us involved in recreational exercise eggs are a good food to include any meal of the day”, she said.

Paula?s new book Mediterranean Mood Food contains is available now in all good bookshops and has some great ideas how to cook your eggs. Here is a taster below.

Baked egg with spinach and tomato

Serves 4


  • 100g bag spinach
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Lots of black pepper to season


  • Heat oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • Put the spinach into a colander and pour over a kettle of boiling water to wilt the leaves. Squeeze out excess water and divide between 4 small ovenproof dishes. (You can take a short cut and just let the oven do the wilting).
  • Mix the tomatoes, garlic, with the chilli flakes and some seasoning, then add to the dishes with the spinach. Make a small well in the centre of each and crack in an egg. Bake for 15 mins or more depending on how you like your eggs. Serve with crusty whole grain seeded bread and salad, if you like.

Serving suggestions: cube of melted goat’s cheese, drizzle of chilli oil, sprinkle of black olives or handful of capers.

Energy (kcals) Total Fat (g) Sat fat (g) MUFA (g) Poly (g) Protein (g) Iron (mg) Vitamin D (ug) Salt


Per Portion 116 7.3 1.9 2.7 1.2 9.6 2.61 1.08 0.4

But first, Coffee!

But first, Coffee!

At Iconic we love when we hear something we enjoy is good for us as it takes away all guilt (we don’t do guilt!). It’s the little things in life that make us happy and nothing perks us up better than a decent cup of coffee.

If you regularly partake you know how it can inject a bit of life into you almost instantly, but did you know coffee has antioxidants and can help you workout for longer at a more intense level.

The stimulant caffeine is quickly absorbed within 15 to 30 minutes and will give peak productivity 45 minutes after drinking when it has been fully immersed into the bloodstream. This dovetails nicely with that exhaustion we can feel halfway through a workout or spin class when we want to crawl towards that door.

Caffeine makes us more alert because it alters the way receptors in the brain detect the body chemical adenosine, which usually makes us sleepy. Lots of energy drinks contain caffeine but many are highly processed. Coffee is natural, has zero calories if you drink it black, and has none of the added sugar that many of these drinks contain.

Research shows it could also help with your mood with a US study from the Harvard School of Public Health finding the risk of depression was 15 percent lower among women who drank a minimum two cups of coffee daily compared to those who drank little or none.

We asked the nutrition therapist and writer Ian marber if he thought the Iconic Health Club members should be drinking coffee and he said there is no problem as it offers some health benefits and will help you train for longer if you have a quick one before hitting the gym, though like everything it is best in moderation.

“Coffee before training offers caffeine which may help the intensity and duration of the work out. Caffeine is more effective when we don’t have too much or have it too often”, he said.

And music to our ears was the fact that it’s basically healthy as long as you don’t overdo it.

“Coffee is a source of chlorogenic and caffeic acids, both plant chemicals with noted antioxidant abilities, from the same family as those found in red wine and cocoa”, he said.

“It’s good stuff, often maligned!” he added.

Easy now, don’t go crazy

So how many coffees should we be drinking? The Mayo clinic in the US recommends keeping caffeine intake to 400 mg a day. How much is that exactly? Well one shot of coffee is 92 mg of caffeine so if we are making it at home in a plunger be aware of that and use a coffee spoon to measure.

Looking at the Costa Brand, which was recently installed in the Dartry Health Club, if I order a primo Americano that is 185 mg of caffeine, if I opt for a large one that will be 277 mg and a Massimo will be 370 mg.

So if you are partial to ordering giant coffees you might use up all your allowance in one go. Also one study found that consuming caffeine six hours before you go to bed could reduce your sleep, so keep it to the earlier part of the day and then switch to decaf.

The take-home message is enjoy your couple of cups a day and the next morning you find yourself toying with the idea of heading to the gym, but feeling a little half hearted, get yourself a coffee first and see if that gets you going.


Costa Coffee          Primo           Medio            Massimo

Americano              185 mg          277 mg             370 mg

Caffe Latte              92 mg            185 mg             277 mg

Ian Marber has been a nutritional therapist for 20 years and his next book is out in April – “ManFood – the no-nonsense guide to improving your health and energy in your 40’s and beyond”.

Mary McCarthy is a freelance journalist and a member of the Dartry Health Club. @MaryKnowsBees

March Managers Corner

Well what can we say? What an exciting month for 1escape health Club winning National Gym / Health Club of the Year at the Nutramino National Health and Fitness Awards.  I am so proud of of the team and delighted to see 1escape get the recognition it deserves at National level.  You can read all about the night here.

It’s business as usual after all the excitement and over the past month we have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure 1escape is always a safe environment for all our staff and members. We held fire warden training, manual handling for our team and have First Aid, Chemical Awareness and Legionella training in the coming weeks.

Although we always hope that as few accidents as possible occur while our members or staff are using the facilities we are proud to say that 85% of our team are qualified first aiders meaning that should anything happen we are always close-by. I would also ask our members to make themselves aware of the closest fire exits in each activity area. Your trainers will from now on be letting you know these locations in your classes. If you have any queries in relation to these, please do not hesitate to ask one of the team.

We have once again had Paul our ‘scuba diver tiler’  working hard repairing the tiles in the pool. Paul has been helping us maintain the pool for over 7 years and does a fantastic job limiting disruption as much as possible.

We also completed a  face-lift on our sauna with our steam room scheduled for the coming month. We do have a Jacuzzi closure for two days however this is for essential maintenance and could not be avoided. We hope that you are enjoying the new cushions on poolside and have a couple of new additions ordered and on the way in the coming weeks which we hope will make your poolside experience even more enjoyable.

As always, we ask that you respect the code of conduct for classes and the use of the app. We have increased the cancellation period from 30 minutes to 2 hours. This should mean that people on the waiting lists will not be added to the class 30 minutes before it commences and will give them enough time to attend the class or call reception to cancel if the cutoff time has passed.

The rules regarding bookings and classes are in place to ensure that all members can attend the classes of their choice. Current statistics show that class attendance is on average at 75% which means there is plenty of space for everybody but if the rules are not respected then members may lose out. Anybody found to be abusing the online bookings will have their app privileges revoked indefinitely. If you have any queries then please contact the team at reception.

If you have any feedback or questions regarding the club or your membership, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Club Manager

Protein – how much is enough?

It’s easy to get confused on protein. So many foods, from Snickers to Weetabix, have some added in. But how much do we need, and from what sources, and if we are exercising a lot do we need more?

Protein is essential to body tissues, we need it for growth and for the healthy maintenance of muscles and bones. Current guidelines suggest we need around 0.75g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily with about 10 percent of our calories coming from protein.

So if I weigh 72 kilos then I will need 54g of protein which is equal to two eggs (12g), a chicken fillet (25g) a big handful of nuts (7g) and a chunk of cheese (10g).

If I weigh 60kg I will need 45g of protein which looks like a greek yoghurt (10g), a chicken fillet (25g) and some quinoa (10g). That’s not even adding in the snacks you may eat during the day which will bump up your intake. So you can see it is really easy to get adequate protein from normal sources.

If you lift weights you may need more protein

Some studies have shown that protein can help the body to deal with the demands of intensive workouts. Strenuous physical activity causes tiny tears in muscles that protein will repair and at the same time create more muscle mass.

Last year researchers from McMaster University in Canada showed that eating higher amounts of protein during periods of weight training produced slightly bigger and stronger muscles in adults. The study also said that eating a lot more protein produced no additional muscle gain. If you are doing a lot of training in the gym you will need more to support your body mass. This is around 1.2 g per kilogram daily if you are quite an avid gym-goer. The research calculated that for people who lift a lot of weights there is a limit to the amount of protein that is beneficial, which is around 1.6g per kilogram of bodyweight per day. After that the protein is not going to do anything for you.

No more steak, steak , steak

Back in the old days when most of us didn’t even know a vegan there was a perception you could not get complete protein, one containing all of your essential amino acids, from plant sources. Today everyone is eating chickpeas or at least can point them out in a shopping basket. Soy and quinoa are both complete proteins and if you combine certain foods – like rice with lentils – then you will get all the amino acids then.

Current health guidelines suggest you vary your protein sources and Dr Conor Kerley is a dietitian who recommends this to maximise different minerals and vitamins and also to limit saturated fat which is in animal products and not in plant protein such as beans, lentils, legumes.

“Try to add some plant protein – beans, lentils, quinoa – these are filling and nutritious adding fiber and minerals as well as protein”, he said.

Dr Kerley, who is a lecturer in Technological University For Dublin, advised against protein bars saying that they are not necessary and often represent a heavily processed food.

Whole Grain carbs are fine

Although everyone on Instagram seems to be on the low carbs bandwagon some research is suggesting that diets too high in protein can have a negative effect on our gut flora and there have been some links to high protein intake and colon cancer as well as type 2 diabetes. Also if we only eat protein and no carbs, which are our main source of energy, then when will we have enough power to workout at the gym or go to that spin class after work?

Dr Kerley points out that not all carbs are the same and we should include some of the good ones.

“Carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta, oats, barley are much more filling and provide more nutrients than refined varieties and there is usually no need to avoid these foods”, he said.

So in summary it’s probably best to ditch the processed foods with protein added and try to vary your sources leaning more towards beans, pulses, nuts and seeds, with some dairy or either calcium fortified alternatives, lean meat and fish.

So you see it is easy to get all your protein requirements, even if you need a bit extra to support for your training.

Get with the strength training programme

If you were promised a magic potion would let you burn calories while decked on the couch, make you feel stronger mentally and physically and improve your long term health would you be interested?

You have probably already heard about strength training – it’s everywhere!. But have you actually listened? By the way it’s not just for older people (and hey we are all getting older), everyone needs to be doing some form of this exercise.

It’s basically any exercise you do working your muscles against a weight or a force – such as free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, your own body weight – in order to increase your muscle strength.

It’s sooner than you think

Lean muscle mass diminishes with age and your body fat will go up if you don’t do anything to replace this.

You really need to be doing this kind of exercise in your twenties and even younger.

Even the Irish Rugby Union’s website says this kind of resistance training enhances fitness and reduces the risk of injury with young players.

Strength training is anabolic meaning it can stimulate muscle growth and is the only type of exercise that can address age associated decline in muscle mass and strength.

Research has shown that strength training can help develop strong bones, reduce the symptoms of many chronic conditions such as arthritis, back pain, obesity heart disease, depression and diabetes. It can also sharpen your thinking and learning skills.

From age 30 muscle mass function goes down

According to physiotherapist Dominic Hoban not only will strength training help with muscle mass decline it will also enhance your quality of life and improve your ability to do everyday activities.

“Muscle mass, and associated strength and function declines after the age of 30, especially so after the age of 50.

Resistance training is a proven, and recommended, way to minimise this and will improved people’s function whether it be for sport or day to day life”, he said.

He warned that you need to start slow and built it up.

“Like any exercise program, injury can occur with overload. It is important to get advice on technique and start with lighter weights 2-3 times a week and aim for gradual progression”.

Burn baby burn

Jess Demicoli, a fitness instructor at Iconic Health Clubs says “lifting weights will increase lean muscle mass and reduce body fat  which means you will burn calories more efficiently for days after a class such as Body Pump”.

“ Lifting weights speeds up your metabolism. In a class like Body Pump you get the rep effect – repeating exercises with weights that build strength and get the heart rate up. You burn more calories doing this type of training”, she said.

Other classes we provide in the club such as Kettlebells and TRX are great for strength training. Ask at reception if you need advice.

Running on Empty

It’s really not enough to just do cardio anymore, whatever age you are. When you run you just use leg muscles and buttocks. With resistance training you will recruit a lot of other muscles.

Running coach Adam Jones says it is crucial runners do strength training.

“It is essential that all runners do strength and conditioning training in order to avoid injury”, he said.

Jones, who is an athletics coach, advises that the content of any strength training plan be put together by a qualified trainer.

How to get started

The good news is that you don’t have to slog all morning as research shows that a single set of 12 repetitions with the proper weight can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise.

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group.

According to the Mayo Clinic you need to choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. When you can easily do more repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance.

You could do a class that incorporates strength training a couple of times a week. Or you could exercise in the gym yourself with machines and free weights.

It could be useful to get a personal trainer to show you how to do this. You could work with them on a regular basis or just get one session to be shown the ropes.

Technique is so important to avoid injury and get maximum benefit so before you add weight in a class make sure you can perfect the move.

Anna Barry worked out with a personal trainer for two years at Iconic Health Clubs and loved every minute of it.

“For about two years I exercised 3 times a week with a personal trainer at Iconic Health Clubs doing weights and resistance training which I felt strengthened my body for cardio exercise like running which then left me less prone to injury”, she said.

“I think it’s very important as we get older to do this kind of exercise to stave off osteoporosis. If I hadn’t been going to a personal trainer I would never have gone!”, she added.

So get a plan to incorporate some strength training into your exercise regime today. Putting a little effort in will mean you get a lot more out of life. We are here to help you every step of the way.