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'Covid lockdown turned me into an overweight trainer'


Sharon Doherty in her gym in Ashbourne, Co Meath

Sharon Doherty in her gym in Ashbourne, Co Meath

Sharon Doherty in her gym in Ashbourne, Co Meath

A fitness coach who piled on the pounds during lockdown has told of her battle to regain control of her weight as the stress of the pandemic 'destroyed' her.

Sharon Doherty revealed she saw herself with the added pounds in a video teaching a private group and felt embarrassed.

The popular gym owner from Ashbourne, Co Meath, has battled depression and anxiety in the past and had previously lost five stone in weight.

As the country continues to deal with an extended period of lockdown, the 43-year-old advises anyone who is feeling down to get help.

She said that as a trainer, coach, nutritionist and gym owner, she felt that she was expected by others to have everything under control.

But she admits that with businesses shutting down and repeated lockdowns, "Covid destroyed me".

"It affected everyone in so many ways and I was in a very bad place for a few months.

"I got into a deep, deep hole. I introduced some old habits and got myself in a bit of a rut with stress and binge eating.

"I saw a video in my private group of myself and it broke me. I felt so embarrassed, ashamed, disgusted that I had let myself get to these extremes. That feeling crippled me and knocked me for 10.

"My body was surviving on stress and it was bloated, swollen, a mixture of excess body fat and water retention and there are actually no words to describe how I felt.

"I had the knowledge under my belt to avoid this and battle it but I didn't have the strength."

She said she finally began to reclaim her life in September when she asked a coach and colleague Paul Morgan to help her to start making small changes.

"I felt so vulnerable. It's not what people expect from a trainer. I was afraid of being judged because who wants a personal trainer who is overweight? Paul worked with me while I worked on me.


"I was accountable every week with weigh-ins and although normally I don't advise using scales, just seeing the numbers go down gave me hope. I wasn't a blob anymore.

"I had totally lost myself but now I was back.

"The reopening of the gym for a short while motivated me.

"When I'm teaching 20 women going through the same as me, I get inspired by them."

However with gyms closed again, Sharon says that people can still feel positive benefits by aiming to take control of their fitness and diet themselves.

"A little bit of accountability means a lot.

"No matter where you are at the minute with your fitness or nutrition or with your mindset, remind yourself there are many more people in the same boat."