How Fitness & Nutrition Clickbait Headlines Are Confusing the Masses!

There is mass confusion out there right now and there does not need to be – fitness and nutrition can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.

To put this in context, we all ‘fall’ for the answers we want to hear or towards a way of doing things that suits our own bias or beliefs. For me I can decipher a bogus fitness or nutrition claim quiet quickly and mark it in the BS#1t category without too much thought, I will however be swept by great marketing when it comes to business information, I can be an absolute sucker for it, to the point that I will read many articles and blogs, be left confused, not know what direction to take and be left confused and stuck. When you build up so much information and then do not know how to implement it, it causes massive frustration.

The same is happening for many of you when it comes to fitness and nutrition information.

Personally I think we should at least try and keep things simple and can always add to it as you get more educated on fitness and nutrition.

As a business our ethics and core values are critical to us so it is with much frustration that we see so many newspaper articles & blog posts with misleading headlines designed to get people to click and read them.

Let’s just take a few I say this week:

The New York times had a headline saying “Calorie Counting is not the Key to weight loss, new study finds” however the headline was a bit misleading because it was quiet a good article and had some great information, information that would fit with our beliefs and values and essentially the outcome of the article was that people should try and consume as much natural whole foods as possible rich with lean proteins, fruit and veg, switching from processed & high calorie foods like fast foods, cakes, biscuits, confectionary etc etc  – so therefore what is the problem with the headline?

Well the headline would make you think that calories do not matter but in essence the people in the study had such great weight loss because this switch in their diet caused a large reduction in calories for example switching from a pound of doughnuts with ~2000Kcals to a pound of Green Veg with ~150Kcals is quiet a dramatic calorie difference and all of these changes lead them to a calorie surplus which helped them lose weight meaning the calories were probably the most important aspect.

Regarding Fitness headlines I saw one for Boogie Bounce – which is jumping on trampolines and looks like a decent laugh if done with a group of friends for a session or 2. However they made the claim in their headlines that “it was the most effective workout”. In the video promo they briefly shot to a clip of a girl about to deadlift and said “with less strains and pulls’, the Irony being the girl about to deadlift looked in excellent shape, lean and fit while the people bouncing on the trampolines much less lean and fit – so that got me thinking – perhaps that was their way of enticing people. To many girls the strong, lean, fit girl is intimidating, while those jumping around having a bit of craic on a trampoline may be more inviting – it does not mean it is going to live up to expectation of “most effective workout” but it does bring me back to my original point of falling for the answers we want to hear.

So what is the best diet then – it is the one you will enjoy and most likely stick to that gets you the results you want.

What is the best workout – it is the one you will enjoy and most likely stick to that gets you the results you want.

Hardly the answers you want to hear so let’s be a bit clearer – when it comes to those that live the longest, they consume diets rich in mostly natural foods full of fruits and veg and generally live in an energy balance (calories in equal calories out) while living active lives with minimal stress.

To finish there are many roads that lead to Rome and there are many ways of getting yourself to where you want to be in terms of fitness, nutrition, relationships, careers or business – if we were truly honest with ourselves and we had to answer the following:

A)    I have absolutely no clue how to Get Fit (or lose weight or make money or get promotion or whatever goal you want to fit in here)

B)    I know how to get there or how to get the help to get there but for some reason remain stuck and do not do it.

I think the answer would be an overwhelming – B

Trying to remain Super Motivated without setting yourself up for a Fall

Finding the balance between being super motivated for making great strides in the New Year while also keeping check on expectations so you do not fall foul to disappointment is a massive conundrum for many people.

You need to realise there are a number of things at play at this time of year:

1)     Everyone else are in this frame of mind of making change, ride the wave it helps.

2)     The wave can crash and result in frustration. Life can just get in the way. That does not mean you are destined to failure, just be mindful of it.

3)     Some of those riding the wave in week one will be the same person trying to knock you off it by week 2 or 3.

4)     If your results are solely going to be based on the gym, realise the gym, any gym, good or bad is going to be busier than it was the last time you set foot in it, for many of you that will have only been last week and therefore you may not get the appointments you want (in an appointment based gym), the equipment you want (in a large open gym)

5)     Walking, running, cycling or home workouts all add value to what you do or miss out on doing in the gym.

6)     There is no point in saying you are going to start eating healthy tomorrow or Monday without knowing or planning what you are going to eat tomorrow or Monday.

7)     You get what you pay for – (i) in many gyms that is simple rent of access to the equipment, (ii) €50 a week semi private for 2 to 4 sessions per week will get you help and guidance, (iii) €50 a session 1on1 is pretty standard for a decent trainer, (iv) €900 transformations should be revolutionising everything about your lifestyle or it is a marketing scam potentially – sometimes the fact you put so much money in makes you get the result no matter what it takes.

8)     Eating well does not happen overnight, it can improve no doubt but 1 step at a time. Massive overhauls rarely last and the people you spend the most time with can be a major help or huge hindrance. More than likely a hindrance.

9)     Training with like minded people with similar goals and being part of challenges really help.

10)   Keep in mind only 8% of people stick to their resolutions – if it is fitness based goals – think to yourself what type of gym or programme are they part of. Hint: Not too many in the large gyms

11)   When it comes to major transformation challenges I think the stats are that only 1 in 5 gets amazing results, 2 get good to pretty good and 2 get nowhere, which leads to the next point.

12)   Are you actually ready to do this or was it an emotional decision that you cannot physically or mentally sustain…..or are you fully ready you just never have had a plan or guidance or being part of a team of likeminded people before

13)   Lastly results can be fast or sustainable but not both. If you get really quick results, there will be diminishing returns on your progress or you can tip away slow and steady realising perhaps it was your expectations that lead you to give up too early in the past and that it is only January and that there are 12 months in a year.

Thanks and Best of Luck


PS: Whenever you are ready, if you are interested in getting fitter, healthier, leaner and stronger in 2018 please make contact with us below

Which fitness solution will you choose in January?

In Lucan alone we have many different solutions. I am a fairly honest bloke so this will be my honest critique, educating you the reader and showing the pros and cons.

To put a bit of context behind this before we start. People do not know what they do not know. You do not know what poor training is until you have had good training. While for others if you are somewhere good to start you may take it for granted and not realise how poor things may be elsewhere. The grass may not be greener.

However I would also hasten to add that if you love where you train, get great results and feel safe and cared for then you probably do not need to read on.

What you may want to know is the various price points.

The large cheap gym commercial gyms….I am talking about one in particular


It is a very well equipped gym. It is seriously cheap. It has great opening hours and run a variety of free classes.

The problem is a lot of people feel they do not fit in there. As a result of it being so cheap a lot of teenagers join and hang around in gangs and many people feel intimidated by this. Those who are serious trainers and know their stuff get frustrated with queuing for equipment and not getting to follow through on their own gym programmes as a result. Mainly though you get no attention and no help or advice from a trainer. I was a member there for a few years and I loved it but I was a qualified trainer and used to train at off peak times. However when it was busy it was so annoying as I could never get my sessions done and hated the way equipment got hogged.

The gym model is based on the hope that the majority of people will not make use of their membership and therefore not show up. It used to annoy me seeing people float around not knowing what they were doing and those that had an idea of what they were doing were doing things wrong. Cost is about €20 a month I think.



The quality of these like most things is very much dependent on the trainers and the level of attention they can give. There are poor quality bootcamps and less poor quality bootcamps. If you have read any of my blogs in the past you will know we used to feel like a bootcamp that was just less crap than others so I know what I am talking about on this.

So what makes a good bootcamp?

Well first the programming. By that I mean the sessions need to be programmed to such a basic level that there is nothing technical in it that requires much coaching or that there is a risk of injury from. We run 2 bootcamp style classes a week but we make them mostly cardio or conditioning based as they act as top ups or additional cardio to our normal sessions. We let up to 18 people into these sessions.

Can someone get results from a bootcamp. Yes 100% some people will get great results while others will be impacting their bodies in ways that will make them wright in pain when they are older. The main thing is when the body adapts to the training it is hard to see progress because you are training in a school hall or outdoors with minimum equipment with a large amount of people, therefore it is hard to progress the weight you lift etc.

Cost is about €80 to €100 a month for the better ones. If we look at the Tallaght market 40 people to 1 trainer bootcamps are €70 a month while 20 people is €109 a month and 12 people per group €169

One to One Personal Training

Obviously if you get a good trainer who cares you will get a lot of attention, you should get great results but you will pay for a privilege and pay a lot.

Personal training was never meant to be cheap and nor should it be if your trainer is good enough and qualified enough. However there are a lot of cheap, poor quality trainers out there too.

One thing I would say about 1 to 1 is it can get monotonous and it can involve a lot of small talk over time and in time you do not really want one person breathing down your neck, counting every rep for you. However if you are severely obese or badly injured you may need one on one to start with.

We do some one on one which we do not market because we only do it at 8am, 9am or 3pm. Our one on one costs €75 per session paid up front at the start of the month. There are others who charge between €25 to €75 per session.

Semi Private or Small Group Personal Training

The first thing you need to determine is, is this gym or programme actually Small Group Personal Training. If it is 10 or 12 people per trainer well then it is not Semi Private or Small Group. Yes it is smaller than a 20 to 40 person bootcamp class but is also nowhere near Personal Training and the gym does not have a true system for working with as different number of people will turn up to different sessions.

In the interest of honesty – we are a Small Group or Semi Private Personal Training so therefore we are biased on this but we have ran open gym, large group (up to 20 people) and one on one and the Semi Private system works for the largest amount of people from Elite Athletes to complete beginners.

This model is based on working with 4 or 5 people to a trainer, meaning you will be shown your exercises like one on one, get lots of attention, have your technique corrected and programme adapted to suit you.

There is the benefit of the group chat and atmosphere without the forced small talk. This leads to friendships and competitiveness over time.

We have 49 sessions per week that can be booked a week in advance allowing both flexibility and accountability.

The price for Small Group or Semi Private Personal Training ranges from €129 to €300 a month however we are the only ones doing it on a 1 Trainer to 4 people basis in Lucan (if there is someone I do not know of, I apologise). Our most popular rate works out at €50 a week for 3 sessions per week plus access to our group sessions. We have an Unlimited option of €75 a week too. We also have a couples rate or group of 4 rate of €149 each per month or €38 a week. Again this is not cheap and as I said before personal training was never meant to be cheap, however it is affordable as many people will spend this money on beer, wine, coffee and takeaways each month. Our members simply put some of that money towards their training.

The best way to find out if this gym and our Athletic Body Coaching system is for you is to do our trial month to test drive the service we offer, see if you like it, see if you like us, see if you get results and if it fits your lifestyle, schedule and to see if you think it is worth paying for over time. This is on sale now at €129

You will be trained by great trainers, in a friendly atmosphere with a high performance culture.

You do not have to be great to start but you do have to start to be great

In Summary

Large commercial gyms are cheap but you get no attention

Bootcamps are cheap you pay for the workout but you get little attention

Personal Training is expensive but you get a lot of attention

Semi Private Small Group Personal Training gives the attention of personal training, the craic and atmosphere of training with others, it is not cheap but it is affordable to those willing to invest a little extra in their training

What Can You Expect from a 30 Day Trial

So what would the realistic outcomes of our 30 Day Trial be?

Ok we need to look at this with a rational and sensible thought process as many people purchase fitness services and products for different reasons.

If you were to ask 10 of our members what results they have got from ABC Gym you would get 10 different answers, while if you were to ask 10 different people around Lucan what their perception of ABC Gym was you would get 10 different answers from never hearing about us, to it’s a male gym, it’s an elite athlete gym to, it’s a crap gym, it’s too dear, to it’s a gym for ‘average joes’, to your man Noel Flynn is a d1ck, to Andy Grehan is up his own ar$e etc, to I saw them trainers in Courtneys Pub having pints, sure that is no carry on for guys who are meant to be telling us how to get fit, right up to we changed their life in so many unimaginable ways.

That is human nature and we are fine we that, everyone has an opinion.

So we will try and answer this with a mix of measureable, tangible benefits to the more non measureable, feelings people will experience, some of this will appear like facts and fiction but this is different depending on the individual and their experience.


Crossing a line – The main benefit you may achieve is that you made the step to change from maybe being a non-gym goer to a gym goer. Maybe you overcame a massive fear in getting back into things. Perhaps you went from doing things on your own to now doing it in a supervised performance based environment.

Body Composition Testing  – this is done using an InBody 270 device which is a quick non-evasive (this is not pinching you with calliper’s or putting a measuring tape around your waist)  way of finding out your weight in terms of muscle, water and fat and breaks down the body to see where the muscle and fat is stored in order to help us programme a solution for you. This takes out the guess work and shows us where you are, holding you accountable and keeping you motivated.

Accountability – based on the above test and our Strength and Fitness tests that we programme ever 6 to 8 weeks that has become known as ‘Test Week’. Like the above test, this is where people see evidence of their progress. Have you improved in a chin up or press up. Can you cover more distance on the bike or the rower. Have you got stronger on a squat or bench press. Again this week is all about measurable facts, in order to show progress or to set a baseline to improve on or to programme around.

Culture & Atmosphere – our gym culture is based around high standards of how we do things but having fun and being light hearted while doing so. So while we emphasise doing things really well we are not so anal we will annoy you, we are more likely to crack a joke with you. However we do expect people to work as hard as they are able on a given day. Hard work in its nature is recognised and acknowledged by others. We have a serious sense of respect among our members. We have asked people to leave who did not fit our ethos on this, which leads me to the next topic.

People – You will train with other people. While you are treated as an individual in terms of the outcomes and programming, the people in the gym are what make the place tick. Training with others helps with motivation, with competitiveness, with drive and energy, with fun and atmosphere. You will be made welcome, you will chat to others and you must be prepared to do that. We have had people who just do not like other people and this gym was not for them and that was fair enough too.

Results – we are a results based gym in that we will try to get you the result you are looking for. But what is that? We have people looking to train around injuries. Personally I have overcome back pain and a cruciate knee injury so working around injuries will always be important to us once we are in a situation to work with the person. Some cases we will have no experience of and will refer out to Tommy Brennan at the Pain and Performance Clinic or to the best solution for the problem. Others will want to lose weight, others will want to build muscle, while others just want to feel better, have more energy and help themselves live longer. While we have some people who are already in outrageous shape and want he accountability and guidance to make sure they are doing things right and at the level they would not do on their own. If body fat or muscle gain is your goal we have the tools to measure those and keep things tangible for you, while you will see strength and fitness increases in both the way we programme, measure it and test it.

Psychological & Social – We genuinely have members who could not care less about how they look or the results they achieve, they are simply here to give themselves the release from life’s problems and stresses, meet others, socialise, chat and feel part of a team environment.

Increased Energy

Increased Happiness

Expertise – between us we have trained county teams from Dublin GAA, Kildare GAA, Tipperary GAA, Laois GAA, Mayo GAA, Leinster Hockey, Lucan Harriers Athletics, Lucan Sarsfields, Confey, Maynooth, Ballyboden. Noel works as a lecturer for Setanta College, the institute of Strength & Conditioning. However we all of these things are meaningless unless you can work with different individuals with different needs. We take great pride in being able to progress and regress our Athletic Body System to suit a lot of different populations of people.

Science & Programming – we use many different tools from our InBody to MyZone Heart Rate monitors to body weight training, dumbbells, kettlebells, trx, barbells, med balls, rowers, bikes and ski ergs but the important part is the planning and rationale behind what we do. Everything we do has a plan to it but yet can be modified to coach the person in front of us on a given day depending how you are feeling or the work you have done in previous days.

So to finish and summarise – do not expect a magic wand. We have so many members that based on their results you would think we used a magic wand but in reality it comes down to following a proven plan, taking guidance, being coachable, being consistent in terms of training regularly and listening to us if you require some nutrition advice.

Have we changed people’s lives? Yes many but we did not do it on 7 days, 21 days or even 30 Days.

Come and try the 30 Day Trial, expect to gradually pick up your training levels, work harder, improve over time. You may lose lots of weight, you may get stronger, you may get fitter but then you may not, people are different and different habits and consistency takes time but remember this is a trial to see is this the lifestyle choice for you not a chance to just expect a quick result and stop again in 30 days – that is the difference between those who are successful here and those that are not.

You do not have to be great to start but you need to start to be great.

Why training to Lose Weight is a Bad Idea

Why Training to Lose weight is a bad idea

Most of us think like this – I need to exercise to lose weight with sole goal being losing the weight.

The problem with weight loss is that it is not linear in terms of constant drop in weight. It is more like a zig zag as in you could lose 2lb a week for a number of weeks in a row and then weigh yourself and be gone up 2 lbs.

This can happen even when you are training well and eating well.

It could be any number of reasons from water retention to toilet regularity to sleep cycle and for women, the time of the month has massive effects. This can really annoy and frustrate you, but it is all you think about and can lead people to give up.

In ABC Gym here in Lucan Sarsfields GAA we see over 100 people per week and we rarely mention weight loss to them.

Many will join for weight loss but we train with a performance culture in mind.

You train to get fitter, stronger and more mobile.

The benefits of our approach are numerous from toning up, getting slimmer, having more energy but again we rarely discuss these things.

It does not matter if you are an athlete or a fat loss client, you will be trained fairly similar here in ABC Gym.

Some people would argue with me but every human Body needs to be able to Squat, Lunge, Hinge at the Hips, and vertically and horizontally push and pull for the upper body so that every muscle in the body is hit from every angle, while helping the posture and muscular balance of the body.

We adjust the sets and reps to the individual, we adjust the exercise to the individual but getting strong is the foundation to fat loss and athletic performance.

Our Performance Culture approach is working so well we see people from Lucan, Leixlip, Clondalkin, Citywest, Newcastle, Maynooth as far as Newbridge, Clane, Roberstown and Clonee travelling to the gym on a weekly basis.

So train with an athletes mindset of constant improvement, constant measurement of progression, this can be as simple of going from doing a TRX Row to a Chin Up over time or to completing your first proper press ups or improving your times on the bike etc.

Guess what happens to those who are doing this? They are seeing their arms and legs tone, their health and fitness improve and their energy increase. If these things are not happening it is generally lifestyle choices that are holding you back but we are here to help you with those too.

The biggest achievement for us though is the benefits that cannot be measured like confidence, happiness, sense of achievement etc

10 Obstacles that Prevent you from Achieving your Ideal Body

What in an ideal world, if you could have exactly what you want, would be your fitness goal, body type goal, appearance goal, health status etc etc?

Give yourself some time to think about this….

Perhaps you will not even try and vision your absolute goal, you will probably just settle for a little bit better.

BUT before you settle, try the following:

This is hard but get a pen and paper and write down 10 obstacles that get in the way, these are 10 things that prevent you from already having that ideal results you are looking for.

I will give you some examples in a second but this is where you then decide if your goals are something you are actually willing to commit to, something you are willing to make sacrifices for or are they unrealistic and unachievable based on your lifestyle, actions and decisions.

Eg Anyone who is a long time follower of the page or knows me personally knows the shape I am capable of getting myself in and as a result used to be a cocky so and so about it over the years. At 34 I like the thoughts of being ‘ripped’ ‘shredded’ and having the 6 pack I have buried underneath there somewhere to be visible again but I am going to be honest, its damn hard work being like that, it takes a lot of discipline and serious consistency with training and nutrition and I love sweets and I love a few pints.

Hardly inspirational gym owner speak but you can take it or leave it. For those who do not know me do not worry I am still in good shape just not Instagram ready and at this moment in time I am fine with that. I have said it before, I will happily get in great shape a couple of times a year but not to a sustainable level for me to do 12 months a year.

Anyway again anyone who knows me knows I like to go off on tangents too, so back to the 10 obstacles 😀

Your obstacles may be any of the following:

My Social Life

The way I binge eat at the weekend

My spouse puts me under pressure to eat crap food

My workmates bring sweets and cakes to work and I end up eating them.

You do not exercise enough

You do not train hard enough

You are inconsistent

You give up too easily

You create stories in my head that you cannot commit to the gym because it is everyone else’s fault like my spouse or my kids

You work shift work and I eat at different times of day or night

You do not prepare or think about my food

You eat out too much

You have no support system

You have no clue what you are doing

You emotionally eat

You smoke

You hang around with the wrong people

You get distracted by every article that comes up on every social media and newspaper outlet

You are doing the wrong form of exercise

You blame your trainer because you eat like a fool when in your own home and then lie and tell everyone you eat well

Portion sizes are too big

You order takeaway every week

You eat crackers every day

You still think bread is bad for you and do not know why you are not getting results when you give it up and then end up going and eating more than ever

I could go on here but now that you have some ideas you can go and create your own version of the list.

See can you come up with 10 things that effect your chances of achieving your ideal results.

Then see what the 3 most impactful things are and see are you willing to change them.

Some people instantly decide they are not willing to make any changes and that is perfectly fine, it may be your chance to realise that you are happy and you need to stop chasing something that does not exist or it may be your chance to see that your goals are either unachievable or now armed with some self-awareness it may be your chance to radically change your life but realise that it is going to mean changing a couple of things that have being getting in your way until now.

I would love to see some of your lists guys, I really would and this is the homework I give people once they come in for their Body Composition testing with us because far too many fitness people are quick to hand out the meal plans or the advice on what to eat, you can google what to eat, stick to it and get results but it is no good unless you look at a much bigger picture.

Best of luck with your lists and figuring out your top 2 or 3 biggest hurdles

Be the BEST you can be at your current AGE and current Circumstances!!

The end of the summer is coming.

Like every summer for the last few years all you were concerned about was looking good for your holidays.

You let how you look dictate how you feel but maybe it is twofold. Perhaps how you feel is reflected in how you look?

As always you focussed on the goal instead of the process but the goal looked big and scary.

The goal looked like too much hard work.

Believe me I get it, I am 33 now, I do not have the great metabolism I had in my 20’s. The snacks and treats start to add up now, hangovers are no longer a pain in the head the morning after, they are now days of sluggishness, the bags under the eyes do not go away as quickly and there is a realisation now that exercise and training need to be focussed on living a long healthy life rather than looking the part in a tight top.

Who do you want to become for your spouse, your family, your friends?

Do you want to give off vibrancy and energy or lethargy and desperation?

Why I am writing this? I got married earlier this year. I literally got in as good of shape as I have ever being in. Ok it was a landmark event but the thinking from a training and nutrition point of view was based on a one-off…..and as a lot of you will know what happens when you achieve a short term goal?

There seems to be nowhere to go next. I put on over a stone on the honeymoon and 4 months later I am still hanging on to half that stone.

I was working with Setanta College in Thurles this weekend and I am literally wrecked.

Reading back on the words I have written so far it sounds like I am in a bad place?

Absolutely NOT. Just a realisation that you need to get yourself in the best place you can be at your current age, in your current circumstances and not always be chasing the body you had in your youth. The reason I am so tired is not from being in a bad place, it is from training hard and working hard all week and my mind and body is displaying what is natural.

We are invincible in our youth, we are capable of greatness our whole lives. We can still be energiser bunnies but now that requires great discipline, a lot of consistency and a sound mind.

Every now and again I think it is important to reflect on yourself and your thoughts and beliefs and call your own BS from time to time. The BS I have had in my life is always my attraction to food and my refusal to track it. My belief that I could train hard, train regularly, eat well and throw treats in on top of it in the mindset that this was a balanced life is starting to come up short now. The Bodycoach is wrong. Calories do matter. It does not matter if the food is good for you, if you eat enough of it the calories still add up. If the calories add up to more than you burn you will put on a pouch in time.

In the past I have dismissed tracking calories, well at least in the long term. Yet I have always advocated Awareness in your life. Awareness of how you think, what goes on in your mind, what you portray to others and an awareness of what is important in your life. Yet I was making the mistake of not being aware of my food intake? I will forgive it as youthful invincibility mistake but to live in greatness long term it is something I will need more awareness of.

True beauty is portrayed in energy, positivity, vibrancy and a smile on your face. Focus on the process, the process is living well, training consistently even if that is not as often as you want, think long term and eat well but being aware that you can have fun with your food if you keep an eye on how much is going in versus what is going out.

The summer is coming to a close, it won’t be long ‘til the little black dress ads are out and will you fall into the same trap of bouncing in and out of that? There is no rush, life is there to be lived, live a long one, live a happy one.

Run to Get Fit OR Get Fit to Run!!!

I am on the fence when it comes to long distance running!

Currently I am unable to fully make my mind up on long slow distance running.

Both anecdotally and scientifically show pros and cons.

So I am going to look at my experiences first.

When I was a teenager I loved running and would almost daily be seen running around Lucan.

Fitness wise I was unbelievably fit

Headspace wise it was great for shutting off from school and studies etc and just enjoying testing myself, enjoying my own company and just the fresh air and health benefits getting away from it all can bring.

However I ended up with extreme back pain, neck pain and hamstring strains.

This cannot be taken in isolation and blame running alone.

We as a society spend too long sitting and in poor posture while I also started lifting weights and I know I was doing these wrong too.

My pain and injuries lead me down the academic route of studying the root of my problems.

I loved sport, loved exercise but it brought me great pain and pain brought anger.

Most Academics cite the correlation between running and injury while a few talk about how the human race was designed to run…….but how modern lifestyles have changed this.

Other academics talk about the huge benefit psychologically that long distance running brings when people enjoy it and get to switch off from the other stresses their day to day lives bring.

The key word here being stress!

Many forget that exercise is a form of stress and that you need to manage the stress load brought on from exercise when added to the stress of day to day lives, work, business and relationships.

So while High Intensity Running can be more efficient at getting you fitter in a shorter period of time, can your body tolerate doing that a few times per week?

It is the same with gym training, should you or can you tolerate high stress loads in the gym a few times per week?

At ABC we are constantly studying, always wanting to be better and we understand that you probably feel the same when it comes to exercise and training. Always wanting to feel like you trained ‘balls to the wall’ ‘emptying the tank’ ‘no pain no gain’ and so on.

It is human nature to always want to see progress and see it fast.

This why in our training programmes we place a lot of significance on how we train the Central Nervous System (CNS).

We aim to have high CNS days, Medium CNS and Low CNS days. To you and our clients these all look and feel like hard work, they all can make you sweat and raise temperature and heart rate BUT placing different priorities on your central nervous system reduces the risk of injury but also gets you the benefits of High Intensity Training and some Aerobic Training.

Both our Strength work and our Conditioning (fitness work) reflect this and we feel this is the best approach to your running too.

Runners should be doing gym work, it should not be intimidating, it should not be considered for meat heads and bodybuilders but as something that improves your performance, reduces your risk of injury and aids how you look and feel in terms of muscle tone and body composition. Just like gym junkies should not be slating those who pound the streets running daily.

So rather than condemn running, I believe things can be done better and that gym and running, walking, cycling or whatever your activity can be done in conjunction with one another. The gym will help you get stronger, move better, look better, burn fat more efficiently but cardio is good for head space and reducing stress levels (depending on how it is programmed).

Strength and Conditioning is a must for everyone and for that there is no argument. (well again depending on the quality and expertise of your coaches). While you must get fit to run not run to get fit, most people learn this the hard way!!

Does Your Fat Loss Goals Dictate You and Define You?

Fat Loss IS Important! We have our Highest ever rate of Overweight and Obesity in this Country and Yet there is more Fat Loss products and more Fat Loss gyms and services than ever before!

This is something I passionately believe in – I am well and truly sick of how fat loss consumes people BUT it is not your fault – it is everywhere.

In ABC we want you to think differently!

We want you to think about improving your Performance, meaning your thoughts revolve around getting fitter and getting stronger.

In order to improve your performance you start to eat to fuel that performance!

When you train in a Performance Based Training Gym like ours, you soon realise it’s $h1t or get off the Pot!

Personally there is no worse feeling than that feeling of being out of shape!

You feel like crap, literally! So what do you immediately do?

Well when your Fitness levels are measured, when your strength levels are measured and your goals are based on improving the performance of these key targets and you want to get rid of that feeling of feeling like crap, you soon realise if you are not improving thatyou need to work on a couple of key things like your Nutrition and your Recovery!

You soon replace the apple tart with an apple, you replace the bottle of coke with a green tea, you get to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier because you want to recover and you will need and want the sleep if you are training hard.

So what happens as a result of all this?

Take Sarah one of our members, her score on the rower over 4 minutes has improved by over 200 metres, she had got much fitter, stronger, more energetic

And she has lost over a kilo a month every month since January, she has got slimmer and looks seriously fit and athletic!

Not once did we set weight loss targets with her, WHY, because we have banned weight loss targets from the gym.

On our goal setting board you must write a performance or a habit based target.

Some write down “Make minimum 13 sessions this month” which is very specific and measurable, others write “Achieve My First Chin Up” again very specific and measureable.

Improving day to day habits and lifestyle become what you think about, that feeling of crap becomes a distant memory as you are becoming fitter, stronger, healthier and happier.

Morally I disagree with pushing weight loss! Particularly when I see it among people who are already relatively slim. Ok you may not be 100% happy when you look in the mirror in the privacy of your own home but if weight loss is all you talk about, all you think about and when you are happy you have achieved your target, where do you go from here. You are going to a weight loss gym and your trainer keeps pushing weight loss targets, you can’t lose weight forever and it sickens me how much I see this pushed because of the idealism of being skinny!

If wanting to constantly have your legs, arms and waist measured is what you are after we are probably not for you! (It is something we do for people who want it every now and then but it is not a driving factor). What happens if your measurements are not changing? What then? Does that make you unhappy? Does that make you dismiss the fact that you are fitter and stronger, that you are more energetic and have more energy!

Base your outcomes on Performance, you will feel proud of yourself, and look better in your jeans.


PS: We now offer habit based Nutrition Coaching as an option included in the price of your training or for those who cannot make the gym, Nutrition Coaching can be done for only €50 per month or €500 for the year (both are a 12 Month Course)

TRAIN LIKE AN ATHLETE – But Modify to The Individual

When it comes to gym based exercise, we firmly believe in training like an athlete as much as possible, the caveat being that not everyone is ready to train like an athlete.

So what should training like an Athlete look like?

Well we firmly believe that there are 2 types of athlete:

Your sporting athlete


Your life athlete

By sporting we mean Athletics, GAA, Soccer, Rugby, Boxing etc etc

And the requirements of your gym training is to make you robust, durable and fit to perform your sport at the highest level without breaking down with injury and yet feeling like you can go toe to toe with anyone because you know you have done the work.

By life athlete we mean you may not be actively participating in sport but perhaps you once did, you may dabble in a bit of running, maybe you are a gym goer who wants more, wants to train hard but safe in the knowledge that you are doing things right but you like the finer things in life.

By that I mean you like to have the energy to play with your kids, to join in a 5 a side game if needed, maybe you play a bit of golf at the weekend.


You Look At The Bigger Picture

And want to remain as fit, strong, happy and healthy life long.

In order to do this what should your gym work consist of?

Let’s break it down into movements:

Lower Body:

Squat patterns – the ability to bend at your knees using your quads, glutes and hamstrings

Lunge patterns – the ability to bend at your knees but one leg at a time, testing your balance In the process

Hinge – this is the ability to bend at your hips to pick something up without using your back too much instead focusing on the backs of the legs like the glutes and hamstrings. Use exercises like Deadlift and kettlebell swing variations BUT we careful we see most people doing more harm than good with no supervision or poorly qualified trainers (these should not be hurting the back in any way)

Upper Body

Horizontal Push – the ability to push something away from your chest eg Press Up or Bench Press using your chest, shoulders and your arms

Horizontal Pull – This is very important as we tend not to use the muscles involved enough. Dumbbell, Barbell or TRX rowing movements are great for using the upper back and shoulders along with your lats working underused muscles to balance your posture.

Vertical Push – the ability to lift something over your head – most people do not have the ability to do this safely because of modern lifestyles we round at the shoulders, flair at your ribs and potentially use your back when you should not – therefore this needs to be trained well using suitable exercises based on the individual

Vertical Pull – the major and most popularised exercise for this is the chin up or pull up and these are great bang for your buck exercises that people should strive to be able to do.

However the majority of people are either too weak or too heavy to do them and will need to do modified versions of them.


We see so much about core this and core that in the media these days but before you do any direct core work you need to test your ability to be actually able to carry something in both hands (2 heavy bags of shopping) or one hand ( a heavy suitcase). You should be able to carry half your own bodyweight for at least 30 seconds. A popular exercise for working on this is Farmers Carries or waiter carries.

As you can see from the above categories you are working on movements that transfer directly to real life situations whether that be pick up a child into your arms or pick a box from the floor and put into a high press, lift the couch up to clean under it.

We train our athletes and our general population (life athletes) clients using the same movement patterns but adjust the exercise, the sets, reps, intensities and times to suit the person based on their ability to do the movement safely but just like the sporting athlete you must train hard enough to be robust and durable to withstand the rigours of life, helping to feel fit and strong and feel happy and healthy. 

Remember discomfort brings Growth in the mind and the body.