Sunday 19 August 2018

Irish man who cycled the length of Ireland reveals his biggest tips for fitness

David Power, who cycled from Mizen Head to Malin Head this summer in aid of the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Association.
David Power, who cycled from Mizen Head to Malin Head this summer in aid of the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Association.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A Dublin software developer lost two stone this summer in order to complete a Mizen Head to Malin Head cycling challenge in aid of the Irish Wheelchair Rugby Association.

David Power (25), lost 13 kilograms before the 640 kilometres challenge, which was organised to help fund a trip to Australia for the Wheelchair Rugby World Championships 2018, which took place over the last week.

"I decided I needed to get fit. For me personally, it's the same story that you hear everywhere. I'd been going to the gym for five years three times a week since I was in college, but I wasn't seeing any major imporovements."

"As soon as I got the personal trainer, having someone who makes you accountable, that was key."

"If you're able to get someone who can keep you honest and accountable. The trainer knows so much and can set up a training regime to suit you. They really push you harder."

Next up on David's list in the "Rock n Roll" half marathon this weekend, and he says he'll continue to set new goals to keep him motivated.

"From a motivational standpoint, I had noticed some weight gain since starting my job out of college, and felt that I needed something to work towards in order to motivate me. At the same time a colleague at work introduced us to the Mizen to Malin cycle challenge and invited us to take part. Four people from my work ended up doing it."

"My grandmother was in a wheelchair for a large part of her life, for my entire life, and she only recently passed away last September, so I felt that it was a good idea all around to do this specific challenge. And it was a very proud moment for my grandfather when he found out what it was for, and when he saw people in wheelchairs at the finish line."

Here are David's tips for weight loss:

No Snacks:

Well, definitely a lot less snacking.

The major thing I first noticed when starting this journey was how often I would eat in between main meals, and how it was generally not good food and high in calories. Although this was difficult to reduce at the start, eventually the urge to snack dissipated.

I found that replacing non-healthy snack items with healthier snack alternatives also helped. Personally, I went for some grapefruit every time I was feeling like a snack.

Meal Prep:

Knowing what you are eating is very important for any type of weight loss.

Preparing your meals for the week on a Sunday can also be a fun event, it gives you more time during your lunch break and lets you be more in control of your daily caloric and nutritional intake than if you are at the mercy of whatever shops/restaurants are near work.

Set a Goal:

Having a concrete, real life goal can seriously help with the motivation towards the training.

Something that is challenging yet achievable in the timeframe you set for it. For me, this was a goal of being able to cycle the length of Ireland.

Having a goal that you will be able to measure your performance and training at will seriously help the motivation to train harder in order to meet the goal.

Exercise Routinely to Change State of Mind:

Basically changing the amount of days that you exercise. Before I used to work out three days a week, now I workout at least 5 days a week.

When it was three days a week, preparing my gym bag for a day was an irregular thing and extra work which would put me in the frame of mind of feeling like I had all this extra stuff to do, and it was more possible to forget the bag.

Once I switched to having to prepare the bag almost every day it became the norm and stopped being this extra thing which stopped putting me in the mental state of feeling like I was doing extra stuff.

Now it feels weird on the days when I don’t have my gym bag on me.

Basically by doing the exercise more regularly, it reduces how odd it feels and reduces the likelihood that you will skip a session.

Personal Trainer:

Probably the most important and obvious point on this list.

With a personal trainer you have someone who holds you accountable and pushes you every session, who knows a lot more about exercise and is able to get the best out of you.

Before working with my personal trainer Andrew Moore ('Fitness Goose'), I had a similar story to loads of people: going to the gym multiple times a week for a few years without seeing any improvements. As soon as I got a personal trainer I was seeing weight loss and feeling better within the first few weeks and it hasn’t stopped.

Fitness apps:

Accountability when being on a caloric restricted diet is important, and I found that MyFitnessPal enables you to see how many calories are in the foods you eat and can help you consistently hit your daily calorie goal.

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