Gaelic Athlete Stories
Just a few words from some of the people I've worked with...
Body Recomposition/Performance Athlete - County Gaelic Footballer
Coming off the back of an injury is never easy. You can't train. You know you won't have to train for a while, so keeping in shape seems pointless in the short-term.
Soon, however, you realise this thinking doesn't do anything for your physical or mental health, and its time to get back on track.
But where your training used partially cover up your lack of good nutrition, now that you can't train, nutrition becomes an even bigger factor in your overall health, body composition and performance.
So as you begin to get back into the gym and work your way back into the sporting arena, nutrition needs to be optimised.
Here we have a fine example of that.
This KYN athlete chose to remain anonymous, as many do, but I felt it important to highlight his story.
Here's what he had to say about his experience with the KYN Nutrition Coaching Program: "I was pushing 90kg, almost 4 months post micro-fracture surgery after a summer of drinking and eating shit. Without a doubt, the worst shape of my life by a long shot. Wasn’t in a fantastic place mentally as well as physically.
Compared with the second photo. Almost 4 months later, hovering between 87kg and 88kg. Diet and lifestyle a million times better and on the road to recovery. Back close to where I always used to be, but feel I can pass out that too with the much more rigid plan I’m following now.
Thanks a million Conor"
Performance/Fat-loss Athlete - Sean
Sean got on the program, with the aim of losing body fat, whilst still fuelling his sporting performance (he's actually a soccer player, but was assured that the program would still be beneficial for him). Once he began hitting the macronutrient targets specific to his starting point and goals, he began to see progress in how he felt, how he looked, how he performed and crucially, how he viewed nutrition.
The education element of the program allowed him to know WHY he was adapting how much he was eating, what he was eating, when he was eating, as well as other aspects of his nutrition.
And the progress he made, is clear to see.
Here's what Sean had to say... "I have been hitting my daily macro targets for the past 12 weeks, and I have gone from 79kg to 74kg and have noticed a difference in my physique. My body fat is now below 10%. I have kept to the plan for the best part of the 12 weeks, you could count on one hand how many days I have gone off track due to special occasions etc.
Thanks Conor... you have really opened my eyes to the importance of nutrition in sport, I only wish I had known all this in my twenties!"
Performance/Fat-loss Athlete - Ruairi
"At the beginning of the year, I had a dream that I wanted to be back to full health and playing at a high standard of football.
At first, I was fearful of applying to the program. However, with some very supportive and motivating advice, I soon turned my dream into a goal.
I am back to full health and playing football at a high standard with my club, having coming back from a severe illness.
The program has not only helped my physical appearance. It also transformed my mindset and lifestyle. I am very happy with the transformation I have made to date with KYN!"
Performance/Fat-loss Athlete - Alan
"I'm absolutely chuffed with the results and cant wait to keep improving thanks to your help and I know I can improve even more now on my own with the knowledge I've gained.
The biggest benefits were learning more about nutrition as well as the weekly check-ins and feedback process.
I would absolutely recommend the program to others!"
Alan made a lot of progress physically, as can be seen from the pictures, and this was a goal of his, but how this translated into the pitch and other parts of his life was also evident.
As he moved through the GAA Lean Athlete Online Coaching Program, getting his nutrition and training on point, he began to feel fitter, stronger and more confident, on and off the pitch.
His resultant improvements lead to him moving up the ranks and getting called back up to the senior team, where he's finding his feet, and currently battling it out for that consistent spot in the first 15!
Fat-loss Athlete - Jack
Jack came to me having gotten himself to the point where his usual approach of going the gym, doing some running, and cutting out carbs, was no longer giving him the results he wanted, even though it had previously.
He isn’t a GAA player, but he was happy to go get onto the GAA Lean Athlete Online Coaching program and we were able to make the necessary adjustments to the program to suit his goals.
We started out with a bit of education around energy balance and how he could include carbohydrates in your diet, and still lose weight, as long as he managed overall energy intake, and that carbohydrates would actually likely help with performance in the gym.
We got him to start tracking his food and aiming for a calorie target, followed by protein, fat and carbohydrate targets, and added in recommendations around supplements and step count targets as the weeks went on, along with managing potential problems like birthdays and other social events, as they came up.
He lost over a stone (about 6.5kg) on the program, and continues to make progress.
You see, isn’t a 12-week transformation program in the typical sense, but the education along the way allows for continued progress, where a final ‘after’ photo doesn’t really exist, as there is no final product where the human body or performance is concerned.
Fat-loss/Performance Athlete - Dan
"Last summer, I was playing no football, for no team, and and had zero goals. But I made a choice to ask yourself for help, and I'm currently starting games consistently for my senior team, being chose ahead of lads who were playing regularly. I have been playing the best football of my life to date."
The above are the words of a KYN athlete who recently came through the GAA Lean Athlete Online Coaching Program.
He wanted to remain anonymous, as most folks on the program do. I like that. It shows that for him, it was never about getting a clap on the back with a few likes on Instagram for his transformation.
It was about being able to run faster, jump higher, play better. It was about being on the first 15 instead of sitting on the bench. It was about taking control of something that was previously out of control. It was about proving to himself that he could do something that he previously thought he couldn't do.
Physical changes mean a lot, of course, especially when it comes to performance and health, but the photos don't show the full picture.
What happens mentally when someone goes through a change like this is more important.
You begin to look in the mirror and not feel annoyed at yourself.
You begin to become more confident.
You prove to yourself that you can dedicate yourself to a goal, change yourself and overcome something you've struggled with for years.
And that's what it's really about
Derrygonelly Harps GAC - Fermanagh Senior Football Champions 2015, 2016, 2017.
"Our players benefited from advice on what food to eat to prepare for and recover from training, also pre, during and post-match nourishment. Conor educated us all on the different food groups and how to incorporate these into healthy balanced meals. The importance of proper hydration and adequate sleep were also reinforced. Our Youth Secretary commented, “It was great to have a different voice speaking to the children/ parents about something which has a relevance to all areas of life.”
Conor’s passion for nutrition and for Gaelic football were evident throughout his presentation and he inspired his audience so much so that my six year old son chose to have a bottle of water and an apple over a fizzy drink and crisps afterwards!"
Jacqueline Magee, Secretary of the Derrygonnelly Harps GFC Health and wellbeing Committee
Queen's University Belfast Elite Athlete Academy
I spoke to the Elite Athletes on the Queen's Elite Athlete Scheme, in the lead up to Christmas, when they went their respective ways a split up for the Christmas break.
This would be a time where nutrition would be important, especially with the amount and types of food that around commonly associated with Christmas, couple with the break from training for most of them.
Fat-loss/GAA Performance Client - Christy
"Although I believed I had a sound nutritional knowledge-base, it soon became clear when I started working with Conor that the balance of my nutrition and training was not at the required level in order to get maximum results from my performance, both in the gym and on the field.
Working with Conor has been an invaluable experience educating me on all areas related to nutrition and performance. Aside from developing my nutritional knowledge, I have also notice visible changes in my body composition.
All of the advice and guidance Conor supplied was specifically geared towards my goals. I have weekly check-ins where any tweaks or changes can be amended without fuss in order to achieve the best results.
Conor is always at the end of an email for any queries I have. If you want to remove the guess-work from your nutrition and receive professional guidance to improve all aspects of your performance, I recommend you drop Conor an email!"
GAA Performance-focussed Client - Anonymous
"My performances would not have been where they were without your coaching. Getting to the final and being made captain are a reflection of that."
Fat-loss Athlete - Conleth McAlinden (Owner of Kaizen Strength Gym)
As a gym owner and lover of all things fitness, Conleth knows his stuff. He decided that he wanted to push himself to get into great shape for a photoshoot in 10 weeks. It was clear that Conleth had a lot of muscle mass, and simply wanted to lose as much fat as he could in order to show the muscle he had built up.
The main aim with Conleth was to get him to lose as much fat as possible without him sacrificing his training, busy lifestyle and Friday night Chinese food.
Conleth dropped 5.5kg (about 12 lb) over the 10 weeks of working together, and you can probably see that he maintained his muscle mass throughout the process.
Muscle Gain/GAA Performance Athlete - Ryan
"The Nutrition Coaching Program was delivered brilliantly, in a way that allowed me to gradually get my nutrition to a level where it needed to be.
The best thing about the program was the accountability. The weekly check-ins were the extra motivation to meet the weekly targets set by Conor"
Performance Athlete - Orla Smyth - Transplant games Athlete and World Record Holder
Orla came to me for nutrition advice whilst she was training for an upcoming transplant games world championships. Her aim was make sure she was doing everything she could in order to increase her chances of performing her best. I worked with Orla in order to optimise her macronutrient intake so suit her goals, and particularly looking at matching her carbohydrate intake to her performance requirements.