This year my New Year’s resolution is..

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Claire is off on holiday so this week colleague Erin Hutcheon is Skirting the Issue...

I’ve started my New Year’s resolution early this year.

And I’ve got muscles to prove it.

Instead of stuffing myself over the festive period and wrestling to get into my jeans in the first week of January - I’ve decided to do the hard work now and enjoy my turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

And the pudding, the tins of Quality Street, After Eight mints.., not to mention the scary amount of Christmas vino that’ll have to be drunk.

Around eight weeks ago I joined an exercise class, and to the shock of most people who know me, I’m still going.

I’ll admit I’m not much of an exerciser.

Before this my only exercise was the odd walk around the block and the odd bit of housework.

I’ve been known to watch a lot of sport on television but that’s normally while I was nursing a beer and tucking into a meat feast pizza.

And while I have learned to move my lardy body around the gymnasium a little easier, it’s fair to say that Jessica Ennis won’t have anything to fear at Rio 2016; I doubt I’ll be any threat to her gold medal.

But I have to say that I’m quite enjoying the whole notion of getting fit.

Not that it has all been easy.

I’ve had to suffer the humiliation of being weighed by someone I went to school with (I’m sure the mirrors in the class are funny mirrors, surely I’m not really that fat?), I’ve ached in places I didn’t even know I had muscles - and did I mention my classes take place at 6.30 in the morning?

At Galaxy Health and Fitness one of my instructors is a firefighter so you can imagine she’s not one for taking excuses.

I remember her from school, she was the one training for cross country by running round the hockey pitch at lunchtime, while I no doubt was sitting on the grass verge at Thornhill casting my eyes through the latest issue of ‘More’ magazine.

But I’ve learned that it’s true that you get out of it what you put into it.

I’ve been putting in three early mornings a week.

And to be fair doing 100 squats and double that number of lunges while watching the sun rise hasn’t all been bad.

After having two children, my stomach muscles aren’t quite what they used to be, but I have made progress. I’ve gone from being unable to do one sit-up on day one to actually mastering the technique of a number of different exercises.

I even tried a bit of weightlifting (hence my new sporty biceps).

If I’m honest there have been times during the classes when I could have lay down and died, but there’s nothing quite like that buzz you get when you’re driving home knowing you have your exercise over and done for the day.

Like most working mothers, time is a precious commodity in my house so at least early morning exercise allows me to get rid of my Mammy guilt.

I can be up and out early in the morning and back home and showered before the kids have stirred.

I doubt after a hard day’s work at the ‘Journal’ office I’d have the motivation to leave here on a dark evening and head off to the gym.

I’ve even invested in proper exercise gear and am now the proud owner of Sketcher trainers (instead of my usual Dunnes best), a Nike vest top (with the proper logo and everything) and a pair of wrist bands.

And best of all, it’s all been down to me.

No New Year resolution to try and follow, no yearly subscription to try and justify, just good craic and fun.

Already I have dropped two sizes in my top half and I have biceps Katie Taylor would be proud of.

I’m sleeping better, my stress levels are down and I feel great that I’ve done something about my non existent fitness regime.

So this year on January 1, I will smugly reply to anyone who asks that New Year’s resolutions are for losers and happily head on to my thrice weekly exercise class.

And who knows if I keep it up, maybe Jessica Ennis will have something to worry about after all!