Friday 18 October 2019

How I stay fit: Nicky Byrne

Nicky Byrne.
Nicky Byrne.

Caroline Foran

For broadcaster - and former pop star - Nicky Byrne, fitness has always been a top priority. Long before international pop stardom beckoned, it was all about football.

In 1995, after rising up through the ranks in local clubs here in Ireland, he signed on as goalkeeper for Leeds United, from 1995 to 1997. The following year, however, Nicky would join ranks with boy band Westlife; ticking yet another item off the bucket list. With world tours on the horizon, the football boots were soon stored away, at which point, the boxing gloves emerged. "Most of my life, it was all about football but in the past 10 years, I've moved away from football and gotten really into weights and boxing." In fact, he's so into boxing, he soon became known in the group for his pre-concert boxing warm-ups.

These days, with a more stable routine - he hosts his own RTE2 radio show, The Nicky Byrne Show with Jenny Greene - he trains with "Padraig Murphy of Evolv Fitness in Blackrock and also in my own small gym at home. I try to stick to three sessions per week - sometimes it will be just two - but sometimes I will go through phases where it's five times per week, mixing weights and boxing". Always one to try something new, Nicky also enjoyed a considerable stint as a contestant on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2012. Fast-forward five years and he's signed on as Amanda Byram's co-host on the Irish Dancing with the Stars.

Did his own dancing shoes make a reappearance? "No, but I did have to dance for the show's finale which was great fun. Nothing could ever prepare me for how tough and gruelling the dance sessions could be when I was a contestant myself!"

Where some will look to exercise as a necessary evil, for Nicky, it's his secret weapon: "Exercise makes me feel good. I don't just work out to get fit, I plan my goals in the gym. It's a great place to think. While I'm in the gym, I'm thinking of fighting for the heavyweight boxing title, or singing in Madison Square Gardens, or presenting the biggest TV show in the world! I have the music up loud, sports on the TV, the top comes off and off I go! Basically, when I'm in my gym at home I feel invincible."

Nicky's top 3 tips

1 Commit to training at least three times per week and decide on the days.

2 Always include squats in one of your training sessions; it's the best thing you can do. 'Ass to grass' to avoid knee injury.

3 Include boxing if you can; it's great for cardio and for building confidence. Boxercise classes are a great option.

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