Graft pays off to create successful fitness regime
Published 31/07/2015 | 02:30
Fermanagh is a footballing county of close calls, great wins and upsetting the odds, and no man knows more about that than Shane Lyons. He was corner-back in the great Fermanagh teams of the late 2000s who came within a hair's breadth of an elusive Ulster title.
Now retired from inter-county football since the end of the 2013, Shane is pushing himself as hard in business as he did in football, and he's reaping the rewards.
GNS Fitness, based in Leixlip in Kildare and at Plunketts GAA club in Dublin, is going from strength to strength with a new website launched and new locations on the horizon. "At the moment we're in talks to open a third location at the start of 2016 and possibly a fourth, so the future is bright. We're also hoping to go into the online in a big way for GNS Fitness, so we have loads of avenues to explore."
It wasn't always plain sailing for Shane after he made the decision to leave his job over five years ago in the pursuit of his own business venture. And while there were uncertain nights which he admits brought him to tears, self-belief and support from his girlfriend and family saw him push through to where he is today.
'When I set up originally I actually moved in with my girlfriend (now wife) Laura and her parents and that was instrumental in allowing me to make the business work. I don't think I would have been able to make a go of it had it not been for their help."
At the same time Shane was still an important part of the Fermanagh squad and it meant that he was regularly making the gruelling seven-hour round trip home for training.
"I was based in Dublin so it meant training in Fermanagh three times a week was taking a toll on me. You'd be coming in the door at 1.0 or 1.30 at night and then getting up at 5.0am to start a day's work. It was very hard to sustain that type of commitment."
A common theme for players starting up their own businesses is starting small, and Shane was no exception. "I started off on my own just doing personal training and some classes and then I moved into Plunketts and that was just over four years ago now."
The benefits of being your own boss are something that Shane appreciates about having GNS Fitness. "Working for someone else means you're always tied to their structures and I felt that I could not only make it on my own but make it bigger and better too," he says.
"When you're working for yourself, how successful you're going to be is dictated by how hard you work and I love that about having my own business."
This weekend, the men of Fermanagh go up against the might of Dublin, and Lyons sees a lot of similarities between the current team and his Fermanagh teams of the past.
"They have an honest work rate, sheer intensity and sheer belief, all along with a brilliant camaraderie within the team."
Fermanagh were never a county to back down from a challenge, even one as large as the threat of the Dubs, and Shane believes that the underdog tag is something that serves them well.
"We have one of the smallest pick of players in the country, smallest pick of clubs, we are always up against it, but that always spurred us on too."
As much as Shane would love to be going toe-to-toe with his Plunketts clubmate Bernard Brogan this Sunday, his focus is firmly on the bigger picture, and that's growing GNS Fitness.
What I listen to: Foo Fighters, Oasis, Guns N' Roses. I love old school and rock music!
The last book I read: Dan Browne's The Lost Symbol.
Favourite sport other than GAA: Rugby, I played a bit in college over in England (along with volleyball!).
What I love about football: Team camaraderie and the experiences you get playing in front of thousands in Croke Park if you're lucky enough. No one can take that away from you.
What I hate about football: The fickle nature of the media and fans. Sometimes I don't think they appreciate the effort and sacrifice that goes in to being a county player.
If I could change one thing about football: I would like to see players show more respect for referees so I think putting a mic on the ref would help this. Rugby have a good model for this.
My advice for young players: It goes phenomenally quickly. Enjoy it while it lasts, your career goes so fast.
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