My name is Conor O'Neill and I am the creator and owner of Know Yourself Nutrition. I help GAA athletes to get in shape and fuel their performances.
My journey into the nutrition and fitness world started about the age of 7, when I started playing Gaelic Football, not that I was in the gym squatting or eating avocados at that age (that came later).
I really started taking nutrition and training seriously about the age of 18 when I made it onto my senior Gaelic Football team, Crossmaglen Rangers, then All-Ireland champions.
At that stage, I was what I'd refer to as skinny-fat, basically meaning that I looked skinny with clothes on, but I still had quite a high percentage of body fat, and no real visible muscle. With that said, I was still pretty fit. I had been training about 7-8 times a week with different teams, including my club minors, county minors and my school team. The time that wasn't spent training or doing school work, was mostly spent sleeping. I was like most young lads that age.
A few weeks into being on the team, one of the more experienced players on the team pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to start going to the gym with him. I didn't want to refuse him, so I said yes, and to dismay, he replied, "Ok, meet me in the gym tomorrow at 6am". I managed to make it to the gym on time, to his surprise, and so began an obsession with getting the most out of my body. He put me through some of his old programs and I started to see results. The previously skinny-fat body, was still skinny, but now there was some muscle on it. The great side-effect then was that I didn't feel I was as easily thrown about by the older boys on the team.
As time went on, I realised that exercise was only one part of the puzzle towards body composition and performance. I then needed nutrition advice, but my quest to find decent nutrition recommendations for GAA players came up short, so I started to delve into nutrition from other sports like rugby, soccer, american football, bodybuilding, strongman and powerlifting, watching videos by guys who I found inspirational, listening to podcasts, and reading nutrition articles and books. I began to see my health and fitness progress and I really became fascinated with nutrition, and how it relates to performance and body composition.
But more than that, I realised that if I could take this side of my life seriously and see results, then maybe I could do the same in other areas, and being healthy, fit and strong would also help with any other goals I wanted to achieve.
Fast forward to my final year of University, studying mechanical engineering, and I realised that this engineering thing really wasn't for me. I wasn't speaking the same language about engines and aeroplanes that my class-mates were. As they discussed the mechanisms of the latest jet engine technology and thermodynamics, I sat in class reading up about carbohydrate-manipulating protocols and muscle protein synthesis, among many other areas of nutrition and exercise. I knew something different was on the horizon for me.
I considered dropping out of university, as I knew I wouldn't go on to be an engineer, regardless of the fact that I had a graduate job lined up in the company where I'd done my placement year. However, I decided I might as well complete the final year, now that I'd come that far. It hadn't crossed my mind at that stage that I could create a career for myself in nutrition!
I graduated and got a job in a coffee shop while I 'decided what to do with my life'. Half a year in, after months of constantly asking myself what I really wanted to do, I realised that what I was really passionate about was health and fitness. After all, that's what I spent most of my time thinking about. That is, along with my obsessions around philosophy, psychology and self-improvement.
So with that in my mind, I began writing a blog about nutrition and training, and well as these other topics that I was interested in, publishing it on social media, and I realised that this is something that people really responded well to.
I think, in a world where most of the fitness content you see online is based around looking a certain way, prepping bland chicken and rice meals every day and it generally taking over someone’s life, it’s important to realise how getting your health and fitness on point can lead to an improvement in other areas of your life, and act as a catalyst for becoming the best version of yourself.
So I set about building Know Yourself Nutrition so I could help as many people as possible, and that has led me to this point, having helped hundreds of people through my programs and online coaching.
I've also with with organisations including Queen's University Elite Athlete Academy, Offaly GAA, Crossmaglen Rangers GAC, Derrygonnelly Harps GAC, Belfast Running Club and others.
Now, I want to help you.
Take a look around the site, read some of the articles, check out the programs and the online coaching page.
Any questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org