I just didn’t want to live an average life. I always felt there was more to life than working nine to five (or 6!) for the next 40 years. I knew the saying ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ but I had a degree in Financial and Actuarial Mathematics, experience working in financial services and a nightclub?! I knew I loved fitness and was always active but I was never in great shape because I also loved food and socialising (drinking!).
I was at the end of my tether in Sep/Oct 2014. I was always sad and never really knew why. I kept booking flights to go see family and friends in Portugal and that would give me a little break but I would always dread going back to ‘reality’. I also used to look at the lifestyles of the people I knew over there and realised there is more to life than big wage packets and climbing the corporate ladder.
I was very much of the idea that you can achieve anything with a positive mental attitude. I knew I loved the gym and toyed with the idea of doing a PT course. But I quickly realised that with the hours I was working that I wouldn’t have time. But I took baby steps to my goal. If anything I took one step back in the hope of two steps forward. I left my permanent job to take a 6-month contract with a company I used to work for. That was in December 2014.
This is when I realised that if I wanted to have any chance of making a career out of it, I would have to be my own advertisement. I paid a personal trainer to kick my ass and I finally got the nutrition right. I was so determined that I didn’t find the discipline hard. I spent many Friday nights in December sitting in with Greek yoghurt while everyone was out partying but I had a serious goal. I was enjoying my training so much and I started to see results fast. I set up an Instagram account to share all my food pictures and workouts. I loved the #IrishFitFam tag for finding like-minded people.
When I started my PT course in January 2015, I was up every morning at 5. I would be in the gym for 5.30, home for 7.30 and on the bus to be in work in the city centre for 9. I had all my meals with me for the day and had to endure all the funny looks when eating salmon and asparagus at 11am. My colleagues were supportive and didn’t judge me when I photographed all my food. I tried to explain I had some followers who were into that type of thing!
After work I would walk to a Starbucks for coffee and a study space to go over notes from the week before. I would then go to college for 7pm and be finished at 9.30pm. I would be home about 10pm to pack my food and bags for gym/work/college and do it all again. I was so consistent. I never missed a day. I always trained, no matter how tired I was and the results were paying off. I enjoyed feeling fit and strong although I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the long days forever. Even though I was tired, I was so happy. I felt like I was being the best version of myself every day. I was working towards my own dreams.
My Instagram following started to grow. I had 5,000 followers by March and decided to set up a Facebook page. It got over 1,000 likes in 24 hours. This kind of thing blew my mind. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special except documenting my day to day struggles and wins.
I qualified in June 2015 and luckily I had people lined up wanting me to train them. I had no savings. I remember my last day in the office, I left at 5pm on the Friday. It was a sunny evening in June and I was going to see Kodaline with my friends. I was walking on air. I was unemployed but I was the happiest I had ever been.
I started training clients in July in Evolution Fitness in Kinsealy. I am my own boss and I rent off them which is the best scenario. I decide my own working hours. I also do a lot of online coaching. This is going very well for me because it means I can be very flexible with my time. With over 30,000 followers on Instagram, 16,000 on Facebook and over 7,000 on Snapchat, there is potential to focus more on blogging too but I need to allocate some time for this.
I am still working out specific goals for 2016 but at the root of all my goals is to be happy. For me that means to be able to do what I want, when I want. To be able to spend time with friends and family and to have a lie-in when I need it. To be able to help others feel as good about themselves. I love what I do and I love my life. If you had told me in September 2014 when I was crying into my pillow that it was possible to feel this good, I wouldn’t believe you.
I have no idea what is in store for me next but I will continue to aim to be the best version of me.