September 13, 2016

Burnzies Year

Burnzies Year

13th March 2015-13th March 2016

I sit here in my home gym where it all started.Its Sunday 13th March 2016, 8pm and I’ve decided to blog about client Ciarans journey.Normally most Sundays around this time my week begins. I’m either planning the week ahead programming or generally just working on a couple of things I have set up for the week.But I felt I had to log about this journey seeing how many people it has touched and inspired.

Today,Sunday March 13th 2016 has been a date Ciaran and I have been working towards since the exact same date of last year.Most of you now know at this stage as to why.

Most of you would have seen the famous story we did with The42 andTheJournal. That was really special for us to see our story that started in a shed reach out to almost 80 thousand people.I am forever grateful to journalistAlan Waldron making the trip into us and interviewing Ciaran. That story isHERE  for you in case you missed that

No doubt you would  have initially come across his journey on social media.He had a goal on March 13th 2015 that he wanted to change his whole life.It was a pretty big goal that involved him wanting to shed 10 stone, yes thats 63.5kg within 1 year.We both were ALL IN from day 1 working towards this date and I am happy to announce he hit his goal today.

I guess Tony Robbins was right after all when he says “people are rewarded in public for what they practice in private” 

This quote can resemble the amount of attention he has received.When we started to notice some changes in his weight-loss journey back in July 2015 I was hesitant to send out the snaps of him online but he agreed to it and we felt it may inspire others to make that change.

The training sessions kept going and slowly but surely the weight started to really drop.Back in November 2015 he hit the 44kg mark (almost 7 stone).This was a big milestone for him and I was chuffed to see him starting to hit his targets on the dates we had set.However, It wasn’t all about weight loss, and we very rarely took out the scales in the early stages,it just wasn’t that important to us at times.To me it was all about LIFE,sure when the weight comes off its great but its all the other stuff that comes with it,the confidence,lifestyle,smiles,positivity,heck the every day feeling waking up and feeling good about yourself.

Let me tell you more about the journey.

Ciaran or once known as “Big burnzie” walked into me on Friday the 13th of March of all days.They say Friday the 13th is a unlucky day too which looking back makes me laugh.Perhaps it was just meant to be.

He made a big decision then, that enough was enough and he needed to alter his ways,improve his health and better his lifestyle.I remember it well,sun splitting the skies and a v warm day on hand.I was just finishing up with 2 clients of mine and I heard his van pull up outside.

I hadn’t seen Ciaran in a long time and to be honest I was a small bit shook seeing what place he was in(hes a very open guy and wont mind me saying this).We had a nice long discussion and we got everything out in the open.He knew that this was going to be a long journey and we both knew there was plenty of hard work needed to be done.To be honest at the back of my mind I could see he would do it,hes such a strong mental person with a remarkable attitude.I could tell straight away that he was not afraid to work hard and get stuck in.Having a great bunch of friends and family around him too has helped no doubt.

Most of the time when we see success we rarely see the amount of sacrifice and dedication that goes on behind closed doors.

I guess this caption below sums it all up

FullSizeRender (10)

So here is what Ciaran did do.

We spent a hell of a lot of time on a 1-1 basis working on his mobility.We initially started off where he needed work and then made sure we worked on that a lot along with him doing it at home Nutrition was broken down early and I got to know his lifestyle,what he does day to day and how he eats,drinks,sleeps etc.This is all so important and needs to be done early.We both accepted that this was going to be a long journey.For me as a trainer this can be one of the biggest obstacles when dealing with clients who want to make a change. Mostly because unfortunately the fitness industry does not sell patience and everyone thinks they can get into shape fast.Personally I’ve never seen anyone make huge changes over short periods of time and holding onto their progress doing it the right way.Sure new habits can be created over short periods of time but for a transformation I’m afraid your in it for the long haul.A long haul that needs to be enjoyed.He showed all the D’s

Dedication-trained 3-4 times a week,never cancelled and showed up hail,rain or snow.Even when I took a week off myself I gave him my equipment and he trained from home.He even showed up at 8am on a saturday morning at my homegym before he was due to drive down to slane.He made that commitment to himself and stuck with it.Another time he came early before himself all his pals were going to the beach. Thats the difference he made zero excuses and just showed up all the time.There was obstacles and distractions around him sometimes but he worked around them.We all know hes a big football fan. Heres another example Ireland playing a big game that night yet he still shows up gets his work done while not missing his game of course watching it live on his ipad at the gym during a rowing interval.


Desire-He wanted it.Not for a holiday,a girl,to prove it to somebody or any other fake hope.He truly wanted it for himself .This is half the battle and from day 1 he was on a mission.When you really want to make that change and are willing to stick with that goal,over time nothing will stop you.Hes a big example of this.

Discipline-By now you notice a trend.Well his discipline was on another planet too.I’m sure some of you know Ciaran like a pint-heck we all do,its Ireland, every social gathering circles around alcohol,however he made a commitment to stay off it for a few weeks and work hard on his food,training and sleep.I will never forget the time that I was training him down at our current set up in De la salle one evening and on the way home I bumped into him in Tesco at the till.I was chuffed when I had seen what he had in his shopping basket.He could have sneaked an odd treat or 2 and I would have never noticed but sure who cares if he does or not the odd time but when I seen all the ingredients mentioned in the basket I was truly impressed.Going home that night it was yet another sign that he would do this

His training plan is probably what everyone wants to know.

To be honest it has changed a good bit over the 12 months. From monthsMarch-October 2015 we just worked on a 1-1 basis with mobility and aerobic capacity bring the priority.

What the hell is aerobic capacity?

Well its basically his fitness,putting his heart and lungs under some form of stress and moving him for 20-40 minutes.Sure I could have brought him in to the semi private sessions with 3/4 the other guys and done lots of things and thrown him into short interval pieces but there was literally no point when after 90 seconds his heart rate would have gotten far too high and that would be the end of it.I guess that’s my issue with group training.Believe it or not most of the people that do group based training that have a particular goal will never get to that goal.Want to know why?Then go check THIS ARTICLE I did out

So for the first few weeks we literally turned on that clock and dialed in some movements for those 30 minutes while we had foo fighters,U2 going in the corner on the sound system.Basic movements like squatting,pressing,pulling,carrying and some rowing were all programmed in.When I felt he was ready I slowly brought in other variations of interval training,strength training and more power based moves like kettlebell swings and ball slams and then slowly over time I got him involved with the other small group sessions.It was fair on both him and my current clients that he stayed 1-1 basis for the time being.Here he is below with Thomas,David and Diarmaid in our small group training .At this stage he was ready to train with others.

FullSizeRender (12).jpg

This was a clip from the early days at our home gym working on a strength piece.

I’m not going to lie when I tell you the final few months of the journey were tough.There were times we looked at the 10 stone mark and thought god we are a bit off here now  or that Its not as possible as we first imagined.

December was a great month for him.When most people are running around partying,shopping,stressing,Ciaran still kept the training up when he could with me.We wrapped up on the 12th December for 7 days or so but he was back in Christmas week for a couple of sessions but then we left it at that on the 23rd and I told him to switch off and enjoy the Christmas. That’s what he did,no strict eating plans or exercise regimes just 1-2 weeks of chilling out,odd bit of exercise from home and lots of time enjoying himself.We rarely stayed in contact either but when we did I was happy to hear that plenty of people over the Christmas break were giving him plenty of compliments.

Months Jan-March was the rollercoaster. There was good times but also a lot of hard times.The weight was budging but very fractional.At this stage we started tracking the weight and taking his food/hydration/sleep/lifestyle a bit more serious and started to study it more I guess.We both were happy with the 8 stone he had shed but the goal was 10 stone.Little after we hit that 8 stone mark we both were thinking the next few months were going to be really hard but when we got the call from The42 that gave us plenty more inspiration and excitement to keep head down and work hard.This was a great buzz for both of us to have a journalist show interest in his journey.


The final few steps of the journey stress creeped in.When stress comes into play,sleep is effected which in turn is going to effect his food,training and that 10 stone mark.I blamed myself for this.I felt I allowed the 10 stone mark take over and that’s all we worried about when really we both should have just been happy with the 9 and a half stone.So we changed it around.


End of Feb-Start of March seen Ciaran go up and down.We had a week of double sessions daily for 3 days.One week he came in at 5.30am did a conditioning session then later that evening he did a lifting/strength session.I was hesitant to go ahead with this but we tried it out.However it wasn’t long after that he crashed and got totally drained eventually leading to him picking up a bug/flu.He wasn’t enjoying the sessions as much and we needed to change something.So we both agreed to bin the 10 stone mark,accept the amazing goal he already had achieved and for him to come away from the gym and to do things that he hadn’t been doing. That’s exactly what he did.He was out at the darts,socializing,couple of drinks at the weekend and even went over to Liverpool with his brother and wasn’t taking his training as serious.He needed that break.Overall that goes to show you need a balance when your going after a goal.You need to switch off every now and then,perhaps have a 80/20 approach to food or even just be grateful for the current things you already achieved in life.

We got his break out of the system and gave it one last bash.He came back into the gym a new man,fresh and ready to go again.Bringing his training sessions to 3 quality sessions a week with me and not focusing too much on quantity of workouts any more.A more smart approach I guess.From March 3rd-March 12th he kept the head down and monitored the scales.On Saturday the 12th a day before the deadline we got the scales out and I am proud to say the numbers we were looking for showed up.It was a special moment for both of us and I’m glad we got a snap to remember it below.



I would like to end this article by thanking everybody for all the support you have given Ciaran and myself throughout the year.It has been great and something he will truly remember.Hope this story has given you or someone close plenty of inspiration to really get after anything you want in life.

Thanks for reading and sharing our journey.