Getting off the couch can be life-changing
A new TV series follows six people as they take on extreme challenges in a bid to get fit, healthy and happy
The group hiking in the Glenmalure valley in Co Wicklow.
The group at the top of Carrauntoohil with mountaineer Eamonn Falvey (right).
‘The message for me has always been that you don’t need to have a huge amount of money to get active,” says Teena Gates. “You just start by walking out the front door and taking a deep breath.”
Teena Gates, news editor at Dublin radio station 98FM, author and presenter of new television series Get Off The Couch!, knows all about taking that step. Chronically ill and weighing 23 stone four years ago, Gates began working towards leading a more active, healthy lifestyle.
She has since trekked to Everest base camp for charity, completed a tri-adventure challenge in Uganda for Concern and written about her story in her book One Foot in Front of the Other.
It makes Gates the ideal person to present Get Off The Couch!, a new six-part TV series on Setanta Ireland starting this Thursday, which sees six people take on some pretty extreme challenges such as lake swimming, mountain climbing, abseiling and a triathlon under the guidance of some of Ireland’s top adventure experts.
‘Voyage into unknown’
The three men and three women featured in the series range in age from 22 to 51. Not only did the participants engage in strenuous physical activities such as completing the TriAthy triathlon, scaling Carrauntouhill and kayaking on the Liffey but some of them overcame phobias such as fear of heights and water. “It was a voyage into the unknown and we weren’t sure what everyone would be able to do but everybody had a shot at everything in the end which was great,” says Gates.
Gates says the focus of Get Off The Couch! was never about weight-loss but about six people pushing themselves to become fitter and healthier individuals.
“If you’re waiting to lose weight before you go to the gym or before you get in the pool, it’s never going to happen,” she says. “Just put on a pair of runners or a swim suit and get out there and enjoy the fact of being active and the rest follows – learning new things, meeting new people and if you see a reduction in your waistline that’s a bonus.”
Having come from a place of inactivity herself, Gates says the volunteers could relate to the fact that she knew how they were feeling. “That you’re not sure you’ll make one length of the pool, or you’re getting into lycra and you’re afraid you don’t look good. Nobody else cares – they’re all too busy worrying what they look like in their own lycra to care what you look like in yours,” she laughs.
She says the participants really clicked and became part of a team: “The one thing that was apparent was that they bonded and that carried them through six months of injury, pain, disappointment, heartache, setbacks, good moments, joys, tears and sorrows. It created a big heart – an engine – that pushed them through to the end.”