Super Brain Blog – Season 3 Episode 11

Super Brain Blog – Season 3 Episode 11

Your body is an instrument not an ornament with Anna Geary

Listen and Subscribe:

Apple Podcasts,    ACAST,    Spotify   StitcherGoogle Podcasts

In this episode I chat to the effervescent Anna Geary about 

During this episode we discuss

  • Scrolling social media and self-sabotaging
  • Body Image
  • Tenacity and hard work
  • The importance of failing
  • Anna’s new documentary for RTE on why girls drop out of sport
  • Why the language we use matters
  • Dancing with the stars
  • Retiring at 27


BodyWhys have lots of valuable resources on body image 

Guest Bio

Anna Geary is an athlete. Not just any old athlete, but one of the most decorated players in the history of Camogie. Competing at the highest level she has four all Ireland wins to her name. Anna not only excelled at this tough sport, she was the Cork Rose and gracefully danced her way to the final of Dancing with the Stars. She has become a much loved household name with a broadcasting career as a sports pundit and as a coach on Ireland’s fittest family. To say that Anna is very glamorous to boot is an understatement. Anna is also a qualified performance coach who shares her wisdom and workouts on Instagram, as @AnnaGCork, you gotta check her out.

Over to You

If you would like me to take a deeper dive into any of the issues discussed in this episode please do let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoy the Super Brain podcast please take a moment to rate and share it.



Sabina Brennan 0:00
Hello and welcome to Super brain the podcast for everyone with a brain. My name is Sabina Brennan, and my guest this week is Wonder Woman. Well, at least the very closest thing to wonder woman that I know. Anna Geary is an athlete. Not just any old athletes, but one of the most decorated players in the history of Camogie. Competing at the highest level she has four all Ireland wins to her name. For those of you listening outside Ireland Camogie involves sticks, helmet and a hard ball that travels at about 100 miles an hour. It terrifies the bejesus out of me as a kid. But Anna not only excelled at this tough sport, she gracefully danced her way to the final of Dancing with the Stars. She has become a much loved household name with a broadcasting career that spans sports punditing, if that’s verb, to coaching on Ireland’s fittest family. To say that Anna is very glamorous to boot is an understatement. Anna is also a qualified performance coach who shares her wisdom and workouts on Instagram, as @AnnaGCork, you gotta check her out. She’s absolutely fab online. And actually, very welcome Anna. And thank you very much for joining me today for Super Brain you’re a perfect guest, because you’re like, you’ve always been like a superhero. Okay, so what I really want to kind of talk about actually is what you do on Instagram. Because whilst there are like, you just scroll through Instagram, and there’s tons of people doing fitness stuff, and wellness stuff. And what I love about you, is about what you’re doing with the fitness stuff is; You do the fitness stuff. You set little challenges for people. You work out yourself, but you very much underscore that this is about being healthy and being fit. And you also do a lot of posts around body image and body positivity. That’s something that you very consciously decided to do?

Anna Geary 2:04
Yeah, like Sabina I think with the world of social media. Now, for anyone that’s on it, the vast majority of people are affected by it in some way, either in a positive way, but equally in a negative way. And I think sometimes we go on to social media, and we’re scrolling. And I myself am guilty of this. What are we looking for? Like, you know, why are you scrolling? You know, and if we are in bad form or not feeling good about ourselves, we often find ourselves gravitating towards things that are going to end up self-sabotaging, and we’re going to actually end up feeling worse. Because if you’re not feeling great about where you are in your body shape, maybe your jeans are a little bit tight. Hands up there, I’ve been that person in the last 12 months. And you’re looking at someone that maybe is in the shape of their life, because maybe then we’re caught for time in the last 12 months, they’ve allowed themselves in lockedown to maybe set themselves up in a healthy regime. We’re comparing ourselves to people that aren’t in the same life or environment as we are.

Sabina Brennan 2:58
I just saw that the other day like I don’t know if you follow on on Instagram, and they have nice stuf fand interesting and you know, it’s light stuff and…, I’ve noticed lately, they’re showing and there was literally one before I came on here, Eva Longoria I think it was does this amazing trampoline routine while on a Yacht. You know, like, seriously, seriously, you know, like I’m struggling to do my work out

Anna Geary 3:24
Very like us – yeah, yeah

Sabina Brennan 3:25
… and I’m looking at a 46 year old and she’s not only trampolining a complex routine, but it’s on the yacht. But also, what’s really actually is starting to niggle me is, in lockdown actually it’s happened, because for a lot of celebrities, they have nothing to do you know, and so they’re doing these reveals so and so so and so 56 reveals her eight pack on Instagram, and you kinda go, okay, could you please just show me so and so so and so actually doesn’t have an eight pack? She’s fit, she’s healthy. She’s in the right weight. And do you know what? Fair Play to her.

Anna Geary 3:57
You’re right in saying that, like, a few months back, I started asking people around body image and I said when you think about the word fit, what picture do you conjure up in your head? And I asked him to be really honest. And you know, we did different polls and questions and I said, does fit for you mean skinny? Does fit for you mean strong? Does fit for you mean, you know, a healthy person was a little bit of exercise and what does it mean? And the vast majority have said that when they think of a fit person, they think of skinny they think of abs, they think of, you know being really no lean, no extra body fat and like that’s not realistic. It’s not a realistic portrayal of what anybody male or female is meant to look like. And unfortunately, we’re bombarded whether it’s in tabloids, whether it’s in social media online, we’re bombarded with this perfect body that probably less than 1% of people have and also what people don’t realize is like you might get yourself into the shape of your life, but it’s a very short term pain because it’s not sustainable. Like there’s no way you could maintain sculpted 12 months a year, because we’re not designed to be like that. I think for me, you made a valid point. What I wanted social media to be is a place of like normality. And a place where people can strive to make improvements. And I’m all about that, because I think sometimes, we’re nearly looking at people saying, “Look at her there, and she’s trying to lose a bit of weight or trying to get fitter or trying to get stronger. An we’re nearly repremanding people

Sabina Brennan 5:25
Yeah, I think that’s a very, I don’t know, whether it’s very Irish thing or,

Anna Geary 5:28
iI think it’s a general thing

Sabina Brennan 5:30
you know, go for it, go for whatever you want to go for. Like, I’m not against that. And I really do admire people who worke that hard. And I talk about like, in one of my books, I talk about Ernestine and, I can never remember her name.. But she took up bodybuilding at 56, she made the Guinness Book of Records at 82, as the oldest bodybuilder, she has an eight pack, she’s a personal trainer, she trains other people, she’s amazing, I admire that I do aspire to have nice muscle tone myself, not just for looks, it’s really, really important. It’s really important for your brain health, physical exercise is one of the best things that you can do for your brain out. So I’m always pushing it. From that perspective, aerobic exercise is critical, but so too, is building muscle mass. So it is important, I’m not anti that. And a lot of people think you lose muscle mass with age No, you don’t lose it with disuse. And there’s every reason for you to try and regain that muscle mass, it’s really good for you from a health perspective. And it also will help protect you from falling. And that’s really important in later life, because once you have one fall in later life, that makes it more likely you’ll have more falls, and that actually increases your risk of developing dementia. Yeah, it’s absolutely critical.

Anna Geary 6:45
I think that’s one thing as well from when as you get older, so when you move from your 20s, your 30s, to your 40s, you start to understand that fitness isn’t about how good you look in a swimsuit, or how good you look in the little black dress. It is about the functional movement, it is about your mood and your energy and your sleep, and all

Sabina Brennan 7:05
and your bone density as a woman, when you get older, you really need the strength

Anna Geary 7:09
of your brain, like you know, your memory, your concentration, all of these things,

Sabina Brennan 7:13

Anna Geary 7:14
Yeah and I suppose that’s what I’ve tried to put across and you know, in social media is that our health shouldn’t be just attached to what size jeans we are or what we weigh on the scales. To be honest our value can’t be attached to that, because our bodies are designed to fluctuate, whether it’s that time of the month for a woman, or whether it’s, you know whether or not you’re in

Sabina Brennan 7:34
winter time. Yeah.

Anna Geary 7:36
So you know, your cortisol levels, if you’re really stressed are going to be a lot puffier, you’re probably going to weigh more. So if you attach yourself to a size or a weight, it really can be detrimental. So it is about feeling good to yourself. I’m all about that, like looking good is one thing, but feeling good is so much better. And like some of the messages that I’ve got from people around them saying, “I might have put on weight this year. But doing your classes made me realize that my body isn’t just about how it looks. And I feel great that I couldn’t do a press up before and now I half can. You know, and I love that because I just think there’s so many negative connotations attached to exercise because it is inadvertently connected to how we look. But if we remove that, like think about young people, when they’re rolling down the hill, or jumping around the place, they’re in a bouncy castle. It should be enjoyed and I think if you can enjoy the process nearly, then you’ll get all the benefits but you won’t have this, “oh, I’ve got to do it” attitude. Like I’m encouraging to have “I get to do it” That’s the attitude I should have.

Sabina Brennan 8:35
I’m kind of screwed up a bit in that way as well. Now, you know, I mean, my sense of self worth has always been linked to my size. I know it’s very hard not to grow up in this society. Without that. I am a real all or nothing person when it comes to everything that I do. I don’t see any point to doing something unless you’re going to do it like 100% I would just really go for it. But I also am very good at that. And I remember I played basketball in school. I’m only five foot one and a half but I was good at basketball..

Anna Geary 9:05
You had the tenacity. I’d say

Sabina Brennan 9:07
I had the tenacity. That’s what it was I was that fighter. You know, No, you are not taking this ball off me and I don’t care if you’re taller, I’m going to duck and get round and get the ball.

Anna Geary 9:16
I would have picked you on my team for sure.

Sabina Brennan 9:19
When it comes to pro sports on sometimes I’m looking at soccer we would be I’ve been a soccer family rather than a ga family. But I sometimes look and watch players playing at the highest level and they’re lazy and I’m going “You’re getting feckin’ half a million a week run for the feckin’ ball will ya. Run back and defend – will ya!

Anna Geary 9:41
I know

Sabina Brennan 9:41
You know. I just I just don’t get that you have all this amazing skill, but then you got to work hard as well. And that just really annoys me when they don’t do that. I just…

Anna Geary 9:51
Well one of the greatest things I think what a coach of mine when I was in second level school said to me “hard work can beat talent, if talent won’t work”, and it’s something that has stuck with me, like it started from sport, but it worked in my education and in my career afterwards that I was okay. I might not be the most talented person on the team or for if I’m going for a job, but I will be the person that works hard. Because I think, you know, if you think what you said there, but your 5ft 1in when you’re doing something you would you want someone in the trenches with you, you want someone, when you’re doing something, whether it’s on a team or on a group project, in college, or in you know, on a team and in work, you want someone that’s going to do the hard work, do the stuff you don’t want to do, but you know, you have to do. And that is one of the greatest things that I have learned from sport is that sometimes you just, in order to be successful, you have to put in the groundwork, you know, and it’s something that has never left me and long after sport and my performance careers ended. It’s kind of something now that as I move into the media world, and I’m, you know, going up against people that are far more experienced than I am, it’s bringing that work ethic, you know, and that energy, that high level energy, I think it’s so vital. Like when I graduated from college, and we’ll get to that in a while I worked in recruitment for a while. And one of the things that I learned from recruitment is that your energy will introduce you before you open your mouth, before you tell everybody how brilliant you are, or all of the degrees, you have, or all the experience. It’s your energy, and we control our energy 100%. Yeah, you get out of bed in the morning. No matter what’s going on your life you make the decision of what kind of energy you’re going to bring to yourself, to people to your work. And if that is backed by your work ethic, it’s amazing the impact that you can have on people.

Sabina Brennan 11:43
Yeah, no, absolutely. So I do this myself, and I say it to people, you do it a lot naturally. First thing you do when you open your eyes, this is non negotiable. First thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning is smile. Yeah. And it just set your before you’ve had a chance to think this is going to be a crappy day, before you’ve had the chance to think that you did something shitty yesterday or you failed in something else. Just smile because it actually releases feel good hormones. And it just kind of sets you off on that. I also think it gives you that real sense of control. Now I’m actually in control of this day.

Anna Geary 12:16
And it’s very hard to be in a bad mood and smile at the same time.

Sabina Brennan 12:19
Yeah, but you can smile when you’re in a bad mood. Like often people think smiling is reactive, but it’s not. Just fake it till you make it really works with smiling. Eh yeah, I’m so with you on so many of those things. You know, if you have talent and you work hard, you increase the likelihood that you will succeed, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will succeed. But your hard work, you can’t underestimate. I always say that they’ll put that on my gravestone, you know, either ‘At least she tried’ or ‘she gave it her best shot’. You know, that kind of way.

Anna Geary 12:51
Again, I suppose it’s even back to some of the things that I’ve learned from sports. And like the idea that even though working as a performance coach, and working in mindset, because I learned from sport that like you can be marking a player that’s just as skillful as you are maybe more skillful than you. But if you can out work her, and you can say – like that idea that, you know, it’s hard to beat somebody that never gives up. And you have that. And I suppose it’s even relinquishing the fear of failure. When you think about young kids, whatever, no matter what they’re doing, we tell them that no matter what, you know, just try your best. And even if they fail it doesn’t matter, go again, but somehow that that changes as we become adults. And we become so afraid of failure, and so afraid to try new things for fear. It’s seen as a weakness. Because if you go for a job and don’t get a promotion, or you go to get your place in a team or try a new workout, and if you don’t do it well, the first time Ah well you must be weak at it And I just think it’s so …

Sabina Brennan 13:46
yeah, no failure, I don’t know where or when it got this negative connotation. But it is essential to learning

Anna Geary 13:53

Sabina Brennan 13:54
cannot learn, we learn through trial and error. And it would be far better that we do that. And I mean, error in the sense that says, if we take the sports analogy, and you’re, you know, standing in front of a goal to try and teach someone or to try and learn how to score a goal, right, you learn how to do that through trial and error. And that’s the mark of a good coach. You know, they understand that. It’s shaping our behavior, and that’s how your brain learns. The way I see it is, there’s nothing wrong with failure. The only thing wrong with failure is if you see it as the end result, rather than part of the journey.

Anna Geary 14:26
We’re nearly a weakness driven society now. So if you look at like, you know, even the exam results, right? What do people naturally gravitate towards? What are the ones that you failed in? What are the ones that you only barely scraped, and we won’t look at the ones that we got the top rgrade in and it’s the same with sport, we’re constantly… If I said to you, ‘I want you to go away now and improve’. You would presume I mean, your weaknesses, but we forget that you can also improve your strength, you can take your strengths from good to great. So …. kind of reminded me of that, that with a team and like it’s the same in a work environment. Everybody brings different strengths to the table. So there’s no point comparing yourself to your corner forwards or your midfielder, because you don’t have the same skills as them. And if you all have the same skills, it would be no good. So it’s like reminding yourself at times that, you know what I might’nt be great at XYZ, but I bring something else. And we’re nearly afraid to acknowledge that,

Sabina Brennan 15:20
but it’s that thing of, you know, and I say to people in terms of say, if people are recovering from Long COVID, and they have brain fog, as consequences and physical fatigue and mental fatigue, and I’m saying to them, you know, it has to be baby steps, it has to be baby steps, your body’s been through this terrible virus, etc. You cannot compare your physical levels of activity, to before you were ill, you’ve got to compare to where you are today. And then tomorrow, you’ve made a tiny improvement. You can’t keep saying, oh, but I used to be able to run 10k. And now I can only walk to the hall. Okay, but let’s see, can you walk two feet further than the hall tomorrow? That’s progress. And if you keep focusing just on that 10k, and the ‘how far you have to go’, you’re never going to get there. It’s a recipe for failure. It’s focusing on yourself as the benchmark. You set that initial goal. You know where you’re going, and then you forget about it. And you focus on the little steps of that journey.

Anna Geary 16:21
Yeah, like we do that, like if I was with a sports team, and we’d set our end goal and maybe to win the title at the end of the year. What if you’re in the middle of January, and it’s wet, and it’s rainy, and you’ve muck up to your knees. That seems like a very far away possibility. So by setting those little milestones like that idea, what did they say? What’s the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time?

Sabina Brennan 16:40
Yeah, yeah exactly.

Anna Geary 16:42
Steps because they keep you on track. And then if you are wavering, or you’re struggling, knowing that you’re just that little bit away from the small milestone, it’s amazing the satisfaction

Sabina Brennan 16:52
the satisfaction. Yeah, yeah, ’cause having to wait for reward from that long term goal is too far. You have to have rewards along the way

So tell me, we’re always a sporty child. I’ve seen this lovely photo on your Instagram, you have posted a little while ago of you as a kid, but you can really see your face. And it’s that big smile. And I mean that in the nice, big smiley face. Or you can just see, happy child. Is that true? Were you really happy child,

Anna Geary 17:18
You know what, I was very energetic child, Sabina, and that, that hasn’t really changed. Like my mom said. I never wants to go to bed when I was younger, and I’m still the same. I still don’t want to go to bed, the fear of missing out. And I think that energy’s been great. I grew up on a farm. My dad was a farmer, my mother was a teacher. My dad is like sports mad, like, absolutely sports, mad, loves it. So I was always destined to be put into sport. But then again, they never knew my ability, they never knew what kind of a player I was going to become. And I wasn’t put into to win medals or Captain teams or win All Irelands, I was really put into it for the social inclusion, you know, to be confident, self-esteem. To kind of express myself properly, to work off that excess energy is more of it as well. And I think that was brilliant. Because from a young age, there was never that pressure there. Now as I got older, and as I got better, I suppose that pressure came from coaches

Sabina Brennan 18:10
so potential was there. How did you… and I would imagine, and I highly recommend, you know, if people have kids, we always said that with ours into sport, into sport. It’s essential for girls, and we have a huge problem that girls aren’t involved enough in sport, or they give it up too early. And that’s a big problem.

Anna Geary 18:29
I’m actually, I’m doing a TV documentary at the moment around that exact thing. Why did girls drop out of sport, and for me, it’s changed my perception of it as well. I’m a very competitive person. Like one of the most competitive people you could probably meet, like, if we are playing tiddlywinks, or you know, I want to win. But it made me reframe sport and success and what it is. It’s not about winning titles. It’s about it’s about getting the same number of girls back in the gates The following year, and keeping that enjoyment going. And, you know, it’s definitely something that I realized I’ve a real passion for because of what I’ve learned from sports and like, I have learned what I’ve learned from sport, regardless of the All Ireland medals and the titles I’ve won, I’ve learned the life skills because I’ve been in it. I’ve experienced the setbacks, I’ve learned how to cope with failure, I’ve learned how to cope with not being the best, you know, with losing, with winning, learning to work with people that might not necessarily be people I like, but have to respect them because we have a collective goal, even empathy. All of these things, you learn them from sports, but I think the reality is that again, go back to the negative connotations attached to sport that parents may have because of a negative experience that they had. It’s like the opportunities that are there in sports, regardless of ability, but what you learn at any level, to me, it’s a no brainer. Excuse the pun to get involved.

Sabina Brennan 19:51
It’s just positive life skills, transferable life skills, everything you’ve talked about there is about life, so I’d be really interested now to see that documentary to see kind of what comes out

Anna Geary 20:02
It was eye opening for me for sure,

Sabina Brennan 20:03
I would imagine a lot of it is around body image. And I think that’s why I sort of half jokingly introduced you as Wonder Woman. But I think you’re a very important role model. And that’s why I also put in actually in the intro, that you’re very glamorous, because I think they’re not mutually exclusive. You can be feminine, and glamorous and pretty and a real hard sports woman, if you want, Do you know they’re not and I think there can be some of that, because part of it is labeling. ‘Oh, she’s a sporty type. She’s a sporty girl, you know, oh, she’s a real pretty girl. She’s a girly girl. She’s a bit of a tomboy.’ And so they have much wider connotations. And I’m fascinated, anyone listening to the podcast knows, I’m fascinated with the concept of self and how the brain creates self and how we create self. And really, it’s just a made up story. And you can change that story however you want. But a lot of that story that you tell about yourself and who you are comes from what other people have said to you. And frequently, it can be something like that, that somebody said to you as a child, oh, you’re a real girly girl. And so you just do the ‘girly, girl’ stuff. And it can work positively. You know, somebody probably said to you somewhere along the line, or she’s a brilliant trier. She never gives up. I suspect somebody said that to me too. And I kind of went, yeah, I like that one. I’m taking that one on. And that’s who I am. I don’t mean that I consciously did. But it was a positive reinforcer. But unfortunately, for every positive reinforcer, there’s negative ones. And, yeah, that’s something that I’m sure you are as well, in terms of your performance coaching. And that side of things is to try and get people to question where they get their notions about themselves. And for the most part, those things are untrue. And you know, you could be 30 years of age, and you’re holding on to something that was said 25 years ago, and you’re letting it limit your life.

Anna Geary 22:01
Yeah, and it is, to me, I think language has a massive part to play in. You know, how we see ourselves, like you said, the stories we tell ourselves, and even that word sporty? Like, what is it like even the word sport, I think sometimes can have negative connotations attached to it now, because people think it’s elite. You know, it has to be a pressure environment, it has to be intense. You know, it has to mean commitment and discipline, things that not everybody wants to be a part of. So like that word, because people have attached ideals to the word sport, that that’s why people think, Oh, I’m not sporty, or that’s not for me, because that’s what they associate with it. It’s the same I suppose. I… when I was younger, I would never have considered myself to be either a ‘girly-girl’ or a tomboy. But I think as I grew up, I realized, I love high heels. I mean, I love fake tan, I love dressing up, I was always the girl in my friendship group where we could meet for something and they’d go “oh where are you off to?” And I say, ‘nowhere’, like, I have all these clothes, why wouldn’t I wear them even now, I’m like I’ll be damned I am going on, I want to wear some of my clothes that I haven’t worn them and so long. So I always would have dressed up because again, I love you know, fashion and shopping and something that my mom used do with me. So on a Friday evening, we’d go like to the shopping center, we’d go browsing, and it was like almost like a mindfulness experience with a switch-off for my mom. So again, like you know, that confirmation bias what you see others do you start to mimic so

Sabina Brennan 23:32
Yeah yeah

Anna Geary 23:32
So I started doing that switch off. And I realized, Oh, I love how fashion makes me feel. And if you want to be glam, and I started wearing clothes, and then I suppose it was again, going back to the whole idea that I could be both I could be a fierce athlete on the pitch and be really determined and make sure that nobody got that ball off me without a fight. But equally then afterwards in the changing room, I could change into a dress and pair high heels going out the door. And I think that is really important that girls need to know that you can be both you can be one or the other if you so wish. But you also can be both simultaneously. And it is really important that we see that but also even how we describe sports people. Tearing down the stereotypes, and valuing people not just as the player they are but the person they are as well. Sometimes people forget there’s a person behind the player. So it is kind of to make sure that what you’re saying about the player is fair, and it’s the truth because although you often see like Twitter and these these such talk, things being said, Your uh, you know that that player didn’t intentionally grow to have a bad game. They didn’t decide they’re gonna like mess up for an own goal. So why then we go to the extremes of slashing them and crucifying them because that’s someone’s child, someone’s sister, someone’s wife, or husband. I think we need to make sure that we remember that language is really powerful and also the language that we tell ourselves if we talk to ourselves more than we talk to anybody else.

Sabina Brennan 24:55
Yeah, we do yeah

Anna Geary 24:55
And you never talk to your friends the same way you talk to yourself because you wouldn’t have any friends because we can be cruel to ourselves – whether its how we look, how we perform at work. I’m a bad mom I’m a bad dad Dad, how was the house clean? I never remember to defrost the chicken. Like whatever it is we always just cutting ourselves down with the language that we use. And I think we can only switch that and do nothing else. I think we’d have a lot more positivity in the way that we see ourselves.

Sabina Brennan 25:21
Yeah, no,, that’s very true.

Anna Geary 25:22
Don’t get me wrong. I used to get in trouble with referees all the time, because I still have earrings in and they’d be like, I had a little bit of a scar on, part of my pre-game ritual was always to put tan on because I felt great. I mean, I’m from a small rural village in North Cork, I can assure you, you know, we don’t get more sun than anyone else. But like, the color of my skin would have said otherwise. It is all about, like, doing what makes you feel good. But then not being berated for it one way or another. Whether you wear fake tan, or glamorous or you’re not, you know, and I think it’s just we like to put people in boxes. You know, we all do, we like to like, that’s her, she’s the sporty one. She’s the intelligent one. She’s the reliable one. You know, he’s the dependable person, whatever it is. And I really welcome seeing people changing things up and doing things differently.

Sabina Brennan 26:13
Yeah, Feck the stereotypes, question the stereotypes, and just do what you enjoy. That’s what’s really important, I think when it comes to sport, but it’s hard, it’s going to be a challenge for girls. Because ultimately, it’s having a really negative effect on girls physical and mental health.

Anna Geary 26:28
Yeah, well it is because I suppose there’s long term benefits to staying in sports and even the team environment, your friends, if the social aspect of sports like when I think about the opportunities that are you have been privy to because of sports, and I’ve got to travel, I went to Luxembourg in 2008, during my degree on work placement, and I went to the GAA club to join in not too loud, we could play but I knew was going to be a support structure. For me, it was going to help me find a house. You know, I was in a foreign country where English was the third language, you know, and I only had even certificate proficiency in French. So I needed allies. And it was amazing. Having that network of people through sport, they didn’t know me from Adam, but because I played for it was the cheese one of our own lessons of after. And I think that, for me is a really important thing that sport brings is that you might not know anybody. But if you go into university, say, and you go down to a local sports club, immediately you’ve got connections, you’ve got people that are like minded that are going to help you and I think we overlook the importance of those things. Absolutely. The physical benefits are there, you know, the mental benefits, put the social benefits, I think of sport, to me are some of the most important things that you learn.

Sabina Brennan 27:39
Yeah, and I think that’s what a lot of people are missing. With the pandemic and lockdown. You know, we were talking about teenage girls, but I think, you know, sport for teenage boys is hugely critical, you know, they suddenly have this upsurge of testosterone in their system, and that can come with the tendency towards aggression. And what better, more positive way to channel that then through physical Sport and Exercise and, you know, in an appropriate way, like it’s really brilliant, I want to kind of move on to your time on Dancing with the Stars. And I’ve just been looking back at some clips, and I’m just looking, oh, my God, your back your arms, your muscles. You were really just, oh my god. Amazing.

Anna Geary 28:25
My life. Yeah,

Sabina Brennan 28:27
I mean, the shape of your life,

Anna Geary 28:28
I played top level sport for 12 years, and I was in better shape.

Sabina Brennan 28:33
That’s what I was gonna say to you. So that came from the dancing, where were you actually working in the gym, as well as the dancing so that you could dance better? One of the things I love about when I’m actually doing weights, you know, when I’m being in my good self, in terms of exercise, is I feel stronger, I feel sturdier in my body. You know, obviously, my clothes fit better. But I love that. It’s very hard to describe, you just suddenly flip into the hole. Yeah, I feel sturdy and strong. So you would have already been in pretty good shape. But what point of your career was that? Were you still playing,

Anna Geary 29:07
though I had retired from top level sport with the intercounty team, say in 2015. But I was still playing morgy at club level. And so this was January 2018, when I did it, so it was still a few years on from it. And obviously your muscle is there, you know, and I still had the good core strength and I still had built up a lot of muscle. Both one of the reasons why actually I said yes to dance with the stars. There was two reasons I said yes. One was because I missed the challenge. And that was one of the brilliant things were playing with cork was that every time you went out and played a game, you know what, there was always a risk that you weren’t going to come out the right side, but your opponent was going to beat you and I missed that challenge of every week having to stand there and produce the goods. And the second reason why I did it was to do with body image because I felt I would have loved role models that looked like me when I was growing up. And it was I’m five foot five It was a sprint. When I was younger, I played kimochi for years. So I’m very muscular and very athletic in my frame, I’m very curvy as well. So a very small waist and I caused my quads and my glutes from playing sport for years, I’d be much stronger. And it wasn’t like I wanted to show younger girls, but women in general that like, there’s no one size fits all when it comes to a body. And I’m not better or worse than anyone else. But I’ll be damned if I don’t be proud of the body I have, because I worked hard to get it. It isn’t your typical that you’ll see that motor muscle. And as you said, like my back muscle, and I remember my dance partner call. He’s actually one of the cast now instructing. And he turned around and he was just like, we had to do this pose where I was leaning forward, and he was catching my hands behind me. So my back was really on show. And he was like, Oh, my God, you have so much muscle. And my fear genuinely was that he wouldn’t be able to lift me because I was I was strong, you know. And I did, I weighed a lot because of the most. And it was a genuine concern to me. He was like, don’t worry about it. Like, that’s my job. You just worry about getting out there. And I’m, I’m worried about holding you up there. But it was brilliant. Because the messages that I got from people, the sense of worth, they had to go, I had a woman messaged me saying that her daughter had been rowing. And I’d given it off because she felt that her shoulders were getting too big. And she didn’t want to look, you know, this idea, again, the stereotype of masculine. So she gave up when she was very good. And she watched one of my dances and turned her mom’s like, Oh my god, she’s got back muscles like me, and the funnel in which he wanted to go back training. And I said, Oh, you know, nothing else in this. Like, if I’m fueling people’s ambition to look whatever way they can because their sport, it’s like the idea that you’re looking at what your body can do, rather than focusing on how it looks. You know what that is? Yeah, it’s an instrument, not an ornament. I think that’s the kind of message that I wish, you know, that I had more of when I was in my late teens, early 20s. I was like, you know, if I can help people, well, then maybe that’s gonna help me too, because I’m not gonna lie. Like, there was some weeks I was in wardrobe department freaking out at the costumes that they wanted me to wear. Because it was taking me out of my comfort zone. I was like, Oh, God, that I’m sure or that’s too low, or that’s your revealing. And it was just kind of, like letting go of the body insecurities. And because I was was was, I’ll be honest, I was comparing myself to my fellow contestants, the professional dancers, but oh, my God, I don’t look like them. But now you’re back. Right? And no joke. When I say, Christ Anna, you were in the shape of your life. And there was times you felt so insecure about your body. That made me realize this, it doesn’t matter what shape we’re all in, we’re still going to find something to be insecure about. And while I was busy looking at one of the girls, that was five foot 11, her legs have dry balls. She was looking at me going, Oh, I wish I had our core. I wish I had her arms. So we’re all looking what everyone else has. So it’s kind of they’re like, geez, you know, what we may as well just accept we have the body we have, I’m never gonna have long legs. I’ve worked for five, what I can work on other aspects of myself. And again, this goes back to that sense of improvement. You know, you can improve that there’s no embarrassment to feel you want to improve yourself. It’s just about you need to be realistic in what you can do. Because I think if we set our expectations too high, that’s where we’re then in danger of failing them and feeling crap, because we’ve expected ourselves to get to a body size or body shape that’s just realistically unattainable and exhausting. Like, yeah, dancing for 10 hours a day, Sabina, there was no way I’m going to look like that again, because I was dancing. I mean, let me tell you, if you hold your hands out by your sides, and do nothing, don’t lift weights, just hold them up by your sides for 60 minutes alone every single day, you’ll feel the tone. And so I suppose I had to be realistic with myself afterwards when it all ended. I mean, even when I found my body shape changing again, I was like, Oh, no, I want

Sabina Brennan 33:53
to hang on to that spelt

Anna Geary 33:54
and toned body. But I realized if it’s not attainable, no, it was still hard to do, because everything ended with a bang. But now I look back and be like this person calling you didn’t really appreciate the condition that you’ve got your body into at the time. And I think we’re all guilty of that at various stages in our lives. So now I start telling myself if I’m having days now, maybe I’m doing an Instagram Live. And I’m like, all, you know, I’m feeling a little bit bloated, or I’m feeling a little bit, you know, not at my leanest. Why would your 70 year old self say to you right now, she’d probably kick you up the app and say I would kill to have your body like get out there and be proud of it. So that’s kind of something that I do to get myself anxious of feeling the way I do. And sometimes there’s days when my seven year old self would say put on your gym gear, go for a walk, you know, again, go back to it’s not I’ve got to do something it’s I get to we get to exercise we get to move like when we’re 70 8090 we’re relying on our younger selves to have ourselves in the best condition possible when we’re that age. So it’s that’s how I start thinking about things to pull myself out of roles when I’m feeling a little bit net myself.

Sabina Brennan 35:00
Yeah, as you just said, They’re dancing with the stars ended suddenly. And so you had how many months with this fabulous community and on TV and and prior to that, four months? Yeah. Four months of challenging yourself achieving, being in the spotlight looking beautiful having people to

Anna Geary 35:22
know, but you know what I mean, running around in sequence.

Sabina Brennan 35:28
And then it’s suddenly gone.

Anna Geary 35:31
And ripped out from underneath me, like a lot of people will say, oh, did you find it hurts when you you got all the way to the final. And as a driven person that you lost, losing didn’t actually matter, and I can’t

Sabina Brennan 35:46
get you lost. You’re a finalist, like you, you won so many things, only one person can win the title. But everybody who takes part can win, where it’s very much for me, it

Anna Geary 35:57
was a big challenge,

Sabina Brennan 35:59
you’re gonna win it,

Anna Geary 36:00
what you don’t want. It’s funny. I never thought about the final. Because I was like, there’s so much that’s out of my control, because obviously, you can dance your heart out. But if you don’t get voted through, well, then it doesn’t matter. But I genuinely just kept going back to those milestones was week after week. Every Sunday was my milestone, if I got to that Sunday, it was like I rewarded myself. And you know, congratulations on my seven, I got you through another week. Because for me, the reward was getting to stay in that environment for another week and getting to dance as my job. You know, I was just 10 hours a day. And it was fun, like exhausting, but absolutely gray crap, I made some brilliant friends that I’m really close with now and that I feel like no one on my life. So we had a really good gang as well, that year, we socialize together afterwards. And we’d be in no to each other’s dress rehearsal giving each other sneak peeks. And it was really good supportive environment. Even though we were all really competitive, we want to stay in, it wasn’t at anyone else’s expense, you wanted to win, but in a weird way, you didn’t want to see anyone else go home. So you know, it was a really good environment to be in. But when it ended, I wasn’t prepared for that. And I’ll take people back a little bit just to give a quick backstory. So back in 2015, I would have made a lot of decisions. So I would have decided to retire from playing top level sport. I was 27 at the time and Captain so we just want the already to 2014 it was quite unusual.

Sabina Brennan 37:22
Can I just ask you that? Why did you decide to retire at 27? though? It’s

Anna Geary 37:27
a great question. And I think for me, I am much like you I’m an all or nothing mentality. And if I like if I’m in something, I give absolutely everything of myself. And around that time I’d gone back to qualify as a performance and mindset coach, and I suppose we had to delve into kind of our values and what we stood for and what we wanted out of life really big questions. And I started to realize that that idea of surviving or thriving, like was I surviving or thriving, and I felt while I was thriving in sport, I was only surviving in my job and not like not that what I was doing wasn’t great. It just wasn’t a great career for me. So I started to realize if I don’t change this, I’m going to drift. And I don’t want to drift to a point where I look back 10 years into going I really should have made changes a few years ago. So I knew I wanted to change career, I went back study again. And what I realized is I can’t do both. I can’t give everything off myself a top level sport, and then give everything off myself to forge a new career. Because we all know we’re starting a new career, you’re at the bottom rung of the ladder you’re doing doing sociable hours, you’re doing the things that no one else wants to do. And I didn’t want to be the player that was missing training in the lead up to big games because I had to fulfill commitments to work on it. Okay, if I can’t do both, well, then the guilt wouldn’t have allowed me to have half our stuff. So that okay, no, I had stepped back. So I made that decision when I stepped back that it was someone else’s turn to give everything off themselves to the jersey, and then I threw myself into work. So even though I retired from cork at that time, I had the promise and the prospect of a new career to kind of keep me interested, keep me excited, keep me distracted. Because when you make a big transition in your life and you leave something, it’s really important to fill that gap with something else because that’s where then you go down the wrong road and maybe you use other crutches like alcohol or gambling as your as to fill the gap. So I had this idea of working hard towards a new career to distract me. But then we don’t think with the stairs, I didn’t have anything else to fill the gap. So like that we adjust our lives adjuster put us in, in a pandemic, we build new habits, we you know, kind of our brain gets used to certain routines. And I was used to the routine six, seven days a week of getting up every morning and from morning to night dancing and suddenly finished the road was pulled out from underneath me and it was over and everyone else went back to normal life. You know, with their jobs, the protesters flew back and flew back to all their various different homes all over the world. And people had told me that you’ll be exhausted now accidentally You should take some time off. And I listened to them. And you know what, if ever, there was a time that I should have listened to my gosh, because I know me more better than anyone else does, I should have filled that gap with something else. But I didn’t. And I took time off. Or I remember my boyfriend at the time, my no husband and I went on a holiday after downstairs, worst holiday ever the poor devil, I was just in the depths of despondency, like I was like, Oh, you shouldn’t be done right now. And instead, I should have filled it with something else and new work project or something to just distracted me in that transition period out of it. So if anybody’s listening and you’re, you have something coming up a big change, like it’s then you need to throw yourself into something else. Because otherwise you’re alone with your thoughts. And we all know being alone, our thoughts when we’re not feeling our best, isn’t isn’t a good thing, or it’s not advisable. And like I had a brilliant time. And ultimately, that’s what it was about, I come off this wonderful experience. And I was looking and searching for something else to fill us. And it’s only now I realize I should have done something to distract myself in the in the immediate aftermath of us. So I will never be back again. And I think just to say, it made me realize as well that like, when you’re listening, we often will if we would be decision to make, or if we’re looking, we looked at everybody else for their advice and their opinion. And we forget to ask ourselves, because ultimately, it’s your life. If you’re involved. Nobody knows you better than you. And I learned that the hard way that time when I never made that mistake again. So it’s Yeah, it’s just sometimes the breaks need to be better timed, rather than in the immediate aftermath of something.

Sabina Brennan 41:36
Yeah, no, I totally agree. When you’re an actor, you learn that, you know, you get a gig you get, you know, and you join this whole new family. And it’s all about that, and it’s all consuming, and you’re the character and all that. And then it’s like that it’s happened, it’s just gone. And then you don’t know whether you’re ever going to get work again, that could be your last gig ever.

Anna Geary 41:54
How do you How did you cope with that?

Sabina Brennan 41:57
That’s very well. Not very well, to be perfectly honest. And it is a form of grief, I think when you finish, I know it sounds awful. But I’m quite happy to say that, like, you know, when you’re doing something that is all consuming for you that you love, when that stops, that’s a grief, it’s a loss, and your body has to have and your brain has to have time to adjust. And just stopping and thinking and thinking about loss doesn’t help you move forward and keeps you kind of stuck behind. And I do think you know, it really is critical. And I know you’ll hear people talk about, you know, in the mindfulness space about, oh, there’s an awful lot of buisiness do you know, and there is sometimes we do that. But in some moments, the being busy is really, really useful to, to carry you through to a space where you can start to deal with. And I also think it helps, I think one of the reasons it works is it helps put what you’ve just done or finished in perspective, that it is something and now you can have something else. And so I do that I actually tend on your bit the same, like we’re not friends, we don’t know each other. But I can just see by all the pies you have fingers in, you have things on rolling, there’s always sort of something going and I’m the same, you know, I have several kind of projects on the go. And sometimes it can feel like you’re spinning too many plates. Yeah. But I would much rather than have nothing to do. I can’t cope with the nothing to do. I just can’t and it sends me navel gazing. And is this what it’s all about. So that works for me. And I think for different people, different strokes for different folks. And you know, if it doesn’t work for you, well, then that’s absolutely fine. Some people who probably gave you the advice about being exhausted, they may just have needed to sleep for two weeks. And that works fine for them. It is about getting to know your body and your needs and your emotions and kind of how you cope with things.

Anna Geary 43:47
And even having a support structure as well though, is really important that those one or two people that you can call upon to be truly yourself. You know what I mean? Like that isn’t that you don’t have to put up the front. And you don’t have to pretend you’re fine. Because like you just said, I suppose in the grander scheme of things, like dancing with the stars, in many people’s eyes was just a to, like, Get over yourself. But like you just said it became my life for four months, everything revolved right. And I think my friends and family were sick of me talking about it, because, you know, I was dreaming in steps. I was dreaming Charleston and jive. And I had one or two friends that I could really confide in to say, I don’t know why I’m feeling like this, but I’m feeling in this lull. And I miss it. You know, being able to even acknowledge that to somebody and not feel judged and not feel that you have to pretend to be a certain way. That is really important. And if you only have one person that you can go to. And what I would say to people is be that person for someone else to you know, yeah. Have you ever actually said to your friends, you know what, I know you’ve got the job and the kids and the care and the house and your life looks perfect. But you know what if your life isn’t perfect, you can always pick up the phone to me and tell me that You’re looking at the four walls of your bedroom and you’re really hated and you want to kill you know your dog because it keeps backing during zoom meetings, but I will be that person for you. I think that’s a really valuable part of friendship. We don’t tell our friends that enough. And sometimes then people don’t know where to turn to when they are having a crap day because they allow you to have a crap day. Well, we all have crap days, and

Sabina Brennan 45:20
it’s all relative, you know, yes, people will always be dying. But like if your cat dies, that’s your cat dying? Do you know, it’s important to do you know, and I think what you’ve said, is really valuable. And it’s part of what you know, because people could look at you and go, Oh, my god, she’s good at everything she does, and blah, blah, blah, but you’re a human being underneath it all that has all those same sort of feelings as everybody else. And I did read in an interview where you said, Kevin, he was your boyfriend

Anna Geary 45:46
at the time.

Sabina Brennan 45:47
Yeah. But he saw the loneliness in you. And he knew how much it meant to you. And it is a loss. It’s definitely a grief. And one thing that kind of jumped out of me, I kind of remember when I was an actor like that, you know, anytime I acted or had, you know, had a storyline, it was like that Dancing with the Stars every time. Wow. And I remember having a conversation with a friend one time as well. And I remember saying, Well, what I do is so bloody frivolous, you know, it’s not meaningful, like, like to be doing something that sort of helps people or has meaning. But what that person said to me, again, a bit like you, it really struck a chord with me, and she said, what you do something very important, and I send it out, I’m an actor, I’m in the soap or whatever. And you said, Yeah, and that matters to people’s lives at home, you give them something that they can watch, and enjoy and switch off from their stress. So you are doing something that’s meaningful, and that matters. And so it is sort of the same, I think, you know, we’re dancing with the stars with all of those things. I think people who have never worked in television, and I think what social media feeds into it, you know, are dreadfully critical. They forget that it’s a human being there and say awful things about the size of people or you know, that I mean, it’s incredibly hurtful. But there is this sense that somehow I don’t know, when a person there are not a real person there

Anna Geary 47:11
on Well, I found I did find that even during Dancing with the Stars, I made a very conscious decision in that I was okay, this is my experience, it’s a once in a lifetime chance. I don’t want that to be like Mars by negativity, you know, and I have no problem with nobody being constructive, critical. Like I’ve grown up in the world of sports, it’s parent, yes, it’s great. But if somebody wants to be nasty, just because you know, they’re in a bad headspace, and they want to comment on how you’re looking in an old fish or, you know, whatever it is, I don’t need that. I don’t want that in my face, you know, you can back off. So one of my friends used to take charge of my phone and the live show day. So he would be just if there was any negative comments, delete them block people that were unnecessary. And again, I have no problem with somebody. And I said that it was like, if somebody has a critique, leave it there, I want to see that. Because maybe I can tweak it or improve myself. But I think what if somebody is just being nasty, for the sake fish, absolutely, go ahead and delete it. And it was the best thing ever that I did, because I wasn’t exposed to it, then

Sabina Brennan 48:14
that is a super super decision. Because as you touched on earlier, as human beings, we’re primed to the negative. And there’s good reason for that. But we have to remind ourselves that we will always notice the negative before the positive. So we have to make a very conscious effort to work on looking for the positive. And I always try and say, Look, if you say something negative about yourself to yourself in your head, don’t allow yourself say something negative till you said five positives to yourself, because you really need even that amount to counteract the negativity that you will

Anna Geary 48:45
have. But 100 positive messages come in, and you’ll see the one negative

Sabina Brennan 48:51
still see the negative that

Anna Geary 48:52
will be the one you’re looking at and go oh God, do I sound like that? Do I Do I look like that?

Sabina Brennan 48:58
So you know, I think you were so right, just not to view it. Because exactly that, and also it would have just stuck in your head. And instead of performing being in the moment of your dancing, you would have been thinking of that nasty thing. And so that would actually impact on your performance. And I think you did a super wise thing to just get rid of us. And actually, there’s another thing you’ve just reminded I listened to a little bit of a live you did the other night and you were talking briefly about meditation. You were saying you like the little one minute one zero.


I’m the same I can’t really do that kind of meditation meditation. But the thing is, and that’s what I frequently try to explain to people probably they’re sick of me saying it but I think you’re a prime example of it is dancing on that show was meditation or anything where you are fully in the moment doing what you’re doing is meditation.

Anna Geary 49:51
That’s why I love exercise because it is mindful for me because if you’re lifting a weight, or doing a burpee, or do you have to be focusing on what you’re doing You will fall over you will hate yourself of something or you hurt you. So you have to switch off from your toe. I can’t be thinking about putting the benzos if I’m they’re trying to do away,

Sabina Brennan 50:08
you have to be spent. Am I pushing them out? And that that’s super I can’t do burpees though. Oh, awful, awful, awful thing.

Anna Geary 50:17
That’s full body overall body.

Sabina Brennan 50:19
Day. Oh, God. Yeah, no, I have to get back at my all or nothing thing now is, yeah, like I knew my book was coming out and I knew I’d be doing TV and having photographs taken and all the rest. And so I like everybody else, my weight has just gone up and down over this pandemic, you know, and I got in shape I was walking every day. But then here’s what happens me then. So I’m all in I’m in good shape. And I’m feeling really good. And you know, the clothes are fitting, and it’s really nice. And the thing then that I’ve been preparing for, which was to say this book launch means that I am pulled in all directions, like every minute of every day for about four or five weeks, and I can’t fit in the workout. And then suddenly, I’m going on No, I have to start all over.

Anna Geary 51:03
But you know what that is about revising expectations. And I when I work with clients as well around mindset, it’s kind of around building a habit that’s sustainable. So doing five minutes every day is better than doing 20 minutes one day and then not doing it for another week. So I have a strive for five. So I’m like if you could pick five minutes with a lapse in between work meetings, first thing in the morning on your lunch, break, five minutes of exercise, pick five exercises, 60 seconds for each exercise, it’s done. And if you were to do that three times a day, four times a day, that’s 20 minutes of exercise, right? It doesn’t always have to be sweaty, I think, again, sometimes people say, well, in order for me to be working hard, I need to be sweating. You could be doing like I break things down for people in such a way. So if you have three cups of coffee during the day, and you’re buying kettle three times, and every time you do that,

Sabina Brennan 51:52
I’ve seen that one, she has a lovely little video.

Anna Geary 51:54
Yeah. And if you do that, that save you do 30 squats, right 30 squats a day. So every time you boil the kettle, that’s 10 squats, 30 squats a day in a week, that’s over 200 squats in a month, that’s over 800 squats, if I told you to do 800 squats in a month off the battery, but I never do that. But if I told you with just 10 squats, every 10 Press ups or 10 runs up and down the stairs, every single time you’re boiling the kettle, it’s far more achievable. So that’s a big thing with us when it comes to exercise is reevaluating our expectations. So if you were to say, right, on the days, I’m really busy, I’m going to do five minutes. And if I can get in, you know that various stage in the day, great. But if I only do five, well, you’re still gonna be feeling better about yourself, you’re still going to get physical effects, the mental effects, and you’re keeping the habit going, because that’s the problem, it’s when we break that habit. It’s the habit acting on over again, thinking about it is always worse than doing it. So doing as I say people doing five minutes is better than doing no matter.

Sabina Brennan 52:54
And I do have that I keep one set of small weights in my bedroom over by my dresser because I have a little six minute arm workout. And I often do that just passing by and kind of go there they are right do that. Yeah. And I always feel much better for it. I just wanted to say, obviously you absolutely adored Dancing with the Stars, what would be your ideal job now? Like it’s very clear that you love what you are doing and all the things you’re doing. But if it was all just to come together and work for it, what would it be? Would it be in television presenting? Would it be in? Oh, that’s

Anna Geary 53:28
it’s a really good question. Because there’s loads of different aspects to it. Like I suppose what I love about my job is that it’s central around people. And I really feed off people’s energy. And I know that and I love the even though I’m someone that loves being organized and loves routine, and love certainty to a point which you know, the world of media does not give you at all, as well as the benefits of working with people at way that certainty. You know, and I love the dynamic relationships that you have loads of different people on set. And I love TV broadcasting but I think radio broadcasting is something so intimate about it. And and as you’re removing that extra pressure of what you’re wearing, how you’re looking, and I love that medium, I’ve grown up with the radio always being on in our house and things can really connect with people on radio. So I love that and I love my role as a speaker as well. I love being able to feel that I can come into a group of people or into a workplace and talk to them about something and have a lasting impact and and not like them the feeling reenergized for like four hours. That’s it, then the next day they forget about it. But being able to kind of equip them with tips like to better their health and their mindset and practical ways they can improve their lives. So I would love to be someone that can combine both that I could speak nationally and internationally about ways to feel better. And then like that Radio TV broadcasting because like when I think back, it was back in 2015. Not that long ago, I was working in an office environment, you know, nine to half five and I’m not telling people to just, you know objects and leave their jobs. But what I’m saying is beyond the bone Three of what people would think if I leave a pensionable job and a stable career was this life now where I don’t have any Sunday dread, I don’t drag on back to my job after holidays, because I’m doing something that I see. And not just that I love, but that I feel, I can actually contribute to, you know, that I’m using my strengths. Now, in the role that I was in, I just didn’t feel that I was getting the best out of myself. And we all want to feel that we’re getting the best out of ourselves. So like, I love talking clearly. The fact that I get paid for it many different levels. I’m like teaching and I’m just like, you know, the teachers when I was growing up that you reprimand me for talking in class, and I’m like, now who’s laughing? You know, and it’s wonderful to feel that I can do that every single person that’s listening here has something that they’re good at, that you Yes. And it’s just about finding a way to bring that into your career in some way, shape, or form. And if you do, you’ll feel all the better for us, you know, and you would feel all the better from being around you as well. Because Yeah, I would always say people are two types of people, you’re either an energy drain, or you’re an energy train. And depending on your life circumstances, we can kind of you know, flip between both. But if you can, more often than not be that train, be that person that encourages people that drives people on that lifts people up and that you do for yourself as well, you’ll live a little bit better, like your your house won’t change your job career might change, you know, the actual physical things might change. But if you can make yourself feel a little bit better, it means your life is going to be that little bit better, because you’re going to go through it, looking at things in a more positive way. Rather than feeling Oh, is it only Tuesday roll on the weekend? That’s not a Well, yeah,

Sabina Brennan 56:42
I mean, that’s just That’s no way to live. And I did that I did that for 15 years, I worked in a job. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, and a lot of people are doing that. And we can’t all kind of give up. But a lot of people love the jobs that you and I didn’t like me, and for a lot of people, what we do would be their idea of how, like, people say that to me. Oh my god, what are you terrified going on the telly? No, we can’t wait for that. I’m like,

Anna Geary 57:11
don’t tell them but I do it for free.

Sabina Brennan 57:14
Don’t tell you to do it for free? What are we just thinking back to what you said? Like he only get one bite of that cherry? So you know, we spend so much of our time working? really do look at it and see, is there any way you can make it better? Or is there other aspects of your life where you can get that balls that we happen to get out of our jobs, because not everybody is going to get it at their job, but you might make your enjoyable by getting it out of a hobby or sport or you know, something else?

Anna Geary 57:43
And everyone listening should do that, like you should, okay, because it’s very hard. And I often do this exercise with groups of adults and you just see them squirm and cower in a corner of like, Okay, if, you know, if I went to read through and said, you know, name a weakness for me, you know, the bathroom? They go, I give you five, you know, yeah. Then you ask them, what’s your strength? Yeah. And everyone’s like, I don’t want to be the person. And that’s one of two reasons. Number one, some people might never really acknowledged what they’re good at before. And that’s the mindset of language. But also, it’s the fact that you’re terrified of judgment, like who is he or she to say that about themselves, they know like that, like, even that one loves herself is seen as a negative, it’s seen as an insult, you know, this notions concept.

Sabina Brennan 58:26
And then it’s self help. You’re saying, you got to learn to love yourself. And the same person saying that it’s gonna look at your own look at ourselves, looking in the mirror, think she’s great.

Anna Geary 58:37
She loves herself. So it is and I would say if you if you wrote down everything that you were good at the top of my list, when I did that exercise, it was talking, talking to people, they were the two things that are really similar to what can I do to find myself moving towards a job or a coffee or whatever, where I was talking and with people and I find myself where I am no, no, things change, people change. But ultimately, I think it is about doing that and forgetting the judgment of people. That’s why your support structure is so important. And know we can cut people out of our lives that are negative sometimes because they might be your boss or a family member.

Sabina Brennan 59:11
But it’s about number one, and you can ultimately if it gets too bad. Yeah. What’s the point of self preservation? Yeah. Surround yourself with positive people. And that doesn’t mean surround yourself with as often you know, people will talk about celebrities. Oh, they’ve Yes, man all around them, you know, tell them how brilliant they are touch. That’s not what that is. You know, people that you can trust are people who will keep an eye on you and who will say, you know, that’s not good for you, or that’s not really you, Anna, or you’re a little bit rude to them. You know, that’s people who loves you. They’ve got your back. They’re saying it because they know Yeah,

Anna Geary 59:47
I’ve a great story, actually very quick one about my dad. So about your support structure, like your support structure isn’t always people that encourage you and tell you, you’re great until you’re marvelous. Sometimes you do need your support structure to give you the perspective or pull you back and say hang on there and I was second, you need to come back down to earth. So back in 2010, we were out of the big finals, so I had a chance to do some radio commentary on radio one. And for any of your UK listeners, Niala. Murthy is one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time. And I had an opportunity to do a call commentary with him and Radio One, he’s actually that probably was the impetus for me wanting to get into TV and radio broadcasts. I loved the balls that came from live energy. To me, it was the same as working out with the pitch and all that and finally day, and I remember being up there and I was just like, he was one of my heroes. I was just so nervous, but so excited. And he was so engaging and welcoming. And I remember I met my dad the next day after the match. And because I’d come down late the night before and the train and I said what you think, you know, desperate for that? validation? Joy, Dad, what did you think? And my dad was reading the newspaper. And he was like, yeah, you know, it did well, but I, you know, I wanted more. And I was like, probing and I said, Well, yeah, what was your favorite parts? But what did you did you think I made a really good comment. And he paused and I remember him looking at me dead certain dog. He said, Did you hear about me all my heart like, no, no wash. He was like, Johann Murthy just announced his retirement. And I was like, wow. And my immediate reaction was to feed it with smoke. And while I was one of the last people to do a live broadcast with the new halmer, high tech, and instead my Dad, I’m security, knowing this was going on in my head said, Imagine that man has given decades to broadcasting and an hour with you when he decides to call it a day.

Absolutely disgusted

that my dad would say that. I don’t remember being quite annoying. Just nothing to do me. No, I was quite young at the time. But now I look back and realize he was just bringing him back down to earth. You know, he’s like, no, wait on the job well done. But it was only one gig like, Don’t get too carried away with yourself. And I laugh now. And he still tells me to the day that he didn’t do that. But I remember he did. It was a great lesson. You know, you can’t be the Irish as well to be pulling you back down.

Sabina Brennan 1:02:03
Yeah, sometimes they trample all over you and they don’t like people get you know, that’s

Anna Geary 1:02:07
not always a good thing. But not always a good one.

Sabina Brennan 1:02:10
But I think it’s something that I kind of learned a while ago. And I kind of pass it on as well that if you were going to believe all the good things that are said about you, you have to believe all the bad things that are said about it in the press, if that’s it as well. So actually, really, what you do is you work to reach the standards where you feel you’ve attained what and actually really, then what others think, doesn’t matter. That’s very hard. But you do you know, you have to find that balance. And it’s a dangerous route, if you do go too far down that of taking the praise, because then it’s a very hard argument with yourself then about the negativity. I’m all for it. Like I mean, you know, I’m all for criticisms. That’s how we learn. It’s important. But I just think social media has done this thing that allows people to just be plain nasty, which is really nice. And that’s something that you’ve achieved, you know, is that you’ve always come across as this really, really good natured. You’re competitive?

Anna Geary 1:03:09
Well, the way I see competitiveness as well is and I remember I was actually asked this during dance with the stairs. They said, Oh, she’s, she’s the competitive one. And I was like, I started going through the list of the people that were all doing nothing for stairs. And I was like, she’s, you know, a very good businesswoman, you know, top class, comedian, and Olympian, I was like, hang on, say, What am I the competitive one, just cuz I’m a woman playing sport. So I think it’s like, we again go back to language. And I challenged the radio presenter at the time, and I just said to him do have kids. And he was like, Yeah, I have two young girls. And I said, Oh, interesting. I was like that, would you not want them to grow up to be driven and ambitious, and to go after their goals. And to give it the best that they have is, of course, they wouldn’t say, well, that, to me is being competitive. I think I’m not ruthless. I think some of my best friends are opponents on varying teams that I’ve played against over the years that were great pals. But once we crossed that white line, I’m going to do everything I can to be as driven as I can to move towards my goals. And I think you’re right, like, being competitive, shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It’s just once you’re not ruthless, and like the difference between being assertive as a man and maybe being a bitch, as a woman, again, we just need to, we need to be very careful with the language that we use, because it does have an impact. It does have a lasting effect. And I would be quite conscious of that you even if you meet somebody, and they’ve lost a lot of weight, how you speak to them, is really important. Do you say to them, you look great, you look really healthy? Or do you say, Oh my god, you look so skinny, you know, and then I’m sitting there going, Oh, looking good means looking skinny, and that’s what they hear. Or that could be a trigger for them. You don’t know what anybody else is going through. So we do need to be a little bit more mindful of how we speak to people and it’s easy to go out. That’s just so PC it’s not because the way it was long gone isn’t always the best way either. Like I’m not about being overly PC at all, but we just we need to be mindful of the language that Use because it can have an effect and it can have a lasting effect on people.

Sabina Brennan 1:05:05
And I think it’s a fine balance. You know, I said at the start there, you know, you’re very much about body positive body image, but it’s about body fish. So I do think that’s a fine balance, you know, I

Anna Geary 1:05:16
mean, it is not good for any organ in your body for you to be overweight and unfit. So I think there’s often a confusion, that being positive about body image is sort of permissive to accepting a body that actually really is very, very unhealthy. There are two different things, and I think it can get confused. And one final point, actually, and that Sabina as well as when it comes to body positivity, and we see this movement on social media now. And I’m kind of unsure about it if I’m honest, because I’m all about people saying, I love my body, and you have to love your body, and love every part of your body because it’s yours. I slightly disagree with that. I think it’s about body acceptance, rather than body positivity, because you’re not going to love every part of your body. And that’s okay, expecting everybody to love all of their body, it’s a very tall order, whereas expecting them or ask them to accept it. And then knowing what parts they can improve. And then knowing what parts that you know, that is just what it is. That’s really important, too. Because sometimes we’re seeing no everyone’s sitting in a way that makes them look like they have roles. And you know what, I don’t care and I’m a real woman, and I’ve stretched maximize cellulite. Let’s be honest, if you didn’t think they were a big deal, why you highlighting them in a social media post? Like that, almost what you’re saying isn’t exactly what you’re showing?

Sabina Brennan 1:06:32
Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. And actually, what you’ve just sort of touched on as a form of therapy for change. So acceptance and Commitment Therapy. And so it’s about accepting where you are now and then committing to change. Nice, you know, my weight goes up and down. But uh, but I am really aware that it’s something that really impacts on your health and even your risk for developing dementia, midlife obesity in you makes you more likely to develop dementia in later life. So

Anna Geary 1:06:57
and I suppose is trying to undo some of the damage as well that social media and online and magazines that have been happening for decades, it’s not like that just social media came along. And suddenly, people became conscious of their bodies like this has been happening. When we opened magazines, and down to the years, there’s always been this pressure to look a certain way and obviously down through the centuries, that look. Yeah, but and culturally, it changed. Yeah, exactly. So it does depend. But I think I do welcome the type of movement where people are taking the glass off the filters of social media. You know, this is me, and I have a little bit of eggs, man, I have a little bit of dry skin or say loader strict wreck and normalizing the things that are normal. But I just think we need to not take it to the other extreme then and that nearly there I say instead of fat shaming, your fit, shaming, you know, and we don’t want to do that either. And like he said, ultimately, for me, somebody that has a real respect for my body in terms of functionally how it helps me. And also I want to live till I’m 70 at, you know, 90,

Sabina Brennan 1:08:02
yeah, I don’t want to just live till then I want to live well to them, and you need your body to support you to them. And thank you so much, Anna, it’s been absolutely fabulous talking with you. Before you go, I just want to ask you, you’ve given loads of tips and advice on it throughout. And I really do say urge anybody who’s on Instagram go follow energy cork, I’m going to start doing those little five a day ones as well, it’s a great

Anna Geary 1:08:29
way to do I put them off Actually, I have reels for people. So I do a 345 reel, the five exercises. And again, you just do 60 seconds for each one. And again, it’s all about mixing things up, try new exercises, because then your body and your mind and Doctor complacent. And again, it’s about being present. Because if you’re doing any new movement, you have to really focus on what you’re doing. And that means then you’re stepping away from whatever stress you had in work or in family. So you’re getting a triple whammy with exercise and I’m such an advocate for it. But when you do the kind of exercise you’re talking about, you’re getting the benefit of the exercise itself. The fitness from if you’re your body, your cardiovascular health and your brain. But your brain is also being challenged because it’s having to learn a new and that’s so learning is key to keeping your brain healthy because it promotes neuroplasticity exercise on its own actually

Sabina Brennan 1:09:13
releases chemicals that actually make it easier for neuroplasticity to occur. So there’s a chemical called brain derived neurotrophic factor BDNF. It’s like Miracle Gro for the brain. So it actually makes your brain more fertile for growing new connections. So stimulating your brain and learning new things stimulate neuroplasticity, the physical exercise is making the garden fertile the brain garden and you can grow and you want more connections and denser connections in your brain to stay healthy. But also when you exercise, you get a release of serotonin and you get that release of feel good hormones. And then on top of that, it’s a great stress buster. It also helps you to sleep better, which is really, really critical for your brain. It’s just an absolute all rounder certainly for me from a brain perspective. So

Anna Geary 1:09:59
It is not just about your body is an instrument, not an ornament, instruments, not an ornament. Yeah, and it’s about what you do with this. And just remember for everybody that there’s an exercise that you’re that you enjoy, you don’t have to do something that you don’t enjoy. There’s so much out there now. And there’s so much online as well, that you just find the even if right, I challenge anybody, if you don’t like exercise, put your favorite song on. Yeah, and dance for five minutes non stop without taking a break, you will be sweating by the end of that five minutes, because you will have moved your body. And movement is movement. And if you do something you enjoy, you’re far more likely to go back to it again and again.

Sabina Brennan 1:10:37
So if you were to pick one, one tip for people, what would it be? Okay,

Anna Geary 1:10:41
I suppose it would follow on from what we were talking about no breaking down goals. Everybody has got goals. And sometimes I would say to people, like are you a goal setter, or you will go getter. So if you want to be a goal getter, it is about looking at your day and breaking it down and saying how can I build working towards that goal into my day. So your day, 1440 minutes, if you were to make 1% improvements towards your goal 1% of your day is just in the rain, 15 minutes. So if you were only to dedicate 15 minutes every day, 1% of your day, you can have the 99% to do whatever you want. 1% of your day goes towards whatever goal you have, in a year, that’s over 90 hours, 90 hours to work towards the goal is worth learning a new language learning to bake getting Fisher, I think sometimes we overwhelm ourselves, we feel we need the hour, we need, you know, 15 minutes, just 1% your day. And I find when I’m struggling to work towards the goal that I have telling myself it’s only 1% of my day me it makes it more realistic. And if you can be consistent and dedicating that 1% putting 90 hours towards anything is going to make it a hell of a lot easier to achieve that goal. So that’s what I would say is break it up into realistic milestones. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do. And just take it day by day. And it’s like climbing a mountain you might not have got to the top straightaway. But if you look back down, you’ll realize just how far you’ve come and that can give you a boost to like that progress can be motivating. It’s not just about hitting the end goal. It’s about focusing on the progress well to give you the boost.