He does it in such a nonchalant manner that there is little time to digest what's about to follow as Ger Hartmann lifts up his T-shirt and points to the colostomy bag that changed his life forever.
"That's my poo bag. I peel that off every morning and every night. You just get on with it, simple as that," he states matter-of-factly before documenting the life-threatening illnesses which made him reprogramme his body.
Hartmann is renowned for treating the cream of world sport and mending broken bodies, as well as minds, but he was forced to face his own demons when diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011. Three years of heavy autoimmune suppression medications left him robbed of all vitality before having eight feet of his insides removed during three separate surgeries which pushed his body to the brink.
A meeting with former Manchester United star Darren Fletcher, who battled the same illness, encouraged him to have his colon removed as "you shouldn't be living with a disease that can be rectified by surgery".
That would come with the cost of "living with a bag" while an emergency procedure was required to unravel blockages in his small intestine after he collapsed one afternoon when treating a patient in his clinic.
Ger Hartmann treating a client at his studio in Annacotty. Photo: Gerry Mooney
He still wasn't out of the woods and with a high risk of cancer due to active colitis in the rectum - the final part of his large intestine - and his third time under the knife brought him pain and relief in equal measures.
There were seven weeks of "doing everything lying down" ahead as he "couldn't sit" but the Limerick native finally saw light on that mid-November day five years ago having been pushed to breaking point.
"I've had my a**ehole taken out, I've had my colon taken out and I've went through hard years where I cried myself to sleep in the worst of the illness where the inflammation went through my skeletal system," Hartmann says of his darkest days.
"I couldn't move my hands or my shoulders, I physically couldn't go up my own stairs. I woke up one night with so much pain after the colitis had gone into the shins that it was as if someone was hammering my right shin and it was so excruciating."
There's a picture of a "heavyweight" Hartmann beside Katie Taylor at the 2012 Olympics and it's symbolic of a time that felt like a "mirage" with little recollection of the early years when his youngest son Michael arrived.
"I was getting up between 12 and 14 times a night having to do 17 days in the Olympic village treating athletes, be it Katie or whoever and giving to those people knowing that I'm going to bed and I won't sleep," he recalls.
Ger Hartmann at The Clare Glens Waterfall. Photo: Gerry Mooney
"I'll be up every half an hour with blood coming out of my rectum. I tried my best to work through it and cut back my working hours but I don't remember much of my second boy being born. I don't remember much of his first three years. It was a mirage and I was in pain.
"There was about four years there where I had to be very selective and I had to tell Paula Radcliffe or Katie Taylor or whoever that I just couldn't treat them. I just hadn't the energy, I was on medication and I was f***ed.
"I was blown up in weight with all the meds and I was barely surviving, I needed to build myself back. I wouldn't have been able to talk for half an hour, I'd go white in the face and my energy would be gone.
"So when I got the all-clear to get surgeries to rectify it, I was saying, 'Bring it on baby, bring it on. I want out of this'. I've eight feet of my body taken out but I've never felt better."
That torturous physical and mental journey was one he felt he had to do alone as family and friends were kept at a wide berth and each hospital stay rekindled his days as a single-minded triathlete where he took to road or water with no one else for company.
The Hartmann you see today is scarcely recognisable from a decade ago with the toned and athletic 59-year-old bounding around with verve and enthusiasm as he squeezes every last drop out of life.
His old "work, work, work" mantra is replaced with balance and no matter where his day job takes him, exercise and the great outdoors are prioritised as his goal to be fitter by 60 than at any stage in the previous 20 years look set to be accomplished.
Ten Ice Mile swims (5°C or under) were completed this year before lockdown commenced and there's rarely a day when he isn't swimming, cycling, running or kayaking at some kind of idyllic location.
Engrossing himself in nature and the great outdoors is the only medicine he needs with the Wim Hof Method of withstanding freezing temperatures one of the many alternative therapies he employs.
As this article goes to print he will be resting his head in a tent having used a standup paddle (SUP) board to make his way from Howth to Ireland's Eye and back before returning to Limerick when most normal folk will still be getting 40 winks.
There's "half genius and half madness" in most of what he does - "I've friends the same age who are only getting more crocked as they get older" - but he's never felt more alive.
"I had to decide at the end of all the operations how I was going to get out of it because I was f**ked. Mentally and physically I used nature. I got into the forest and realised that nature is our salvation," he says. "I wasn't going to get better with medication and nature got me healthy again. Had I not got sick I would have been the same way as the demands were so great that you can't really say no to anyone.
"Brian Cody rings up and he wants to send up such and such. Mickey Harte might ring and say the same. These guys ring up and you're not going to say no because they're decent guys. When a fella like Brian rings you and tells you that he has two players that he needs my help with, you'll find a way.
"Then you have someone else you know or a club guy and you're working every hour you have. Was the illness related to that? It probably was, too much, too much. All drive, drive, drive and no balance.
"We all try to take over the world at some stage, in the '90s and the 2000s I was trying to take over the world, I was everywhere. I was there for the GAA lads, there for the rugby lads,
"I was there for all types of sportspeople and I had my hands wrapped around the world. Illness taught me that you can't wrap your hands around the world and that you need to wrap your hands around yourself. Life is like a plant. If you don't give it photosynthesis and water, you start to see it going brown and it dries up and dies. You need to regenerate it like you should be regenerating your body to help it thrive.
"When you've no a**ehole, your ego is gone. It's a great leveller and health is really the only wealth that matters. I'd rather wear out than rust out."
* * * * *
With multiple All-Ireland SFC medals and All-Star awards, Dublin stars Jonny Cooper and Cian O'Sullivan would surely have been mobbed the week of an All-Ireland final replay had this unique scene been replicated in any another Irish county.
There they were having a dip at the famous Forty Foot in Sandycove along with Hartmann just days prior to their date with destiny as the final touches were being put to their preparations before the second meeting with Kerry at GAA HQ.
Ger Hartmann with Seamus Moynihan, Eoin Brosnan and Colm Cooper in the week leading up to the 2006 All-Ireland final victory over Mayo
Hartmann "couldn't believe that nobody was aware that they were Dublin footballers" as he put the pair through their paces having been enlisted by Jim Gavin as a secret weapon in the 'Drive for Five'.
There was no media circus around it but Hartmann played a crucial role in resurrecting the defensive duo last year with both finishing the replayed final as the Dubs went where no county had gone before.
A beaming Cooper sent Hartmann a picture of himself and O'Sullivan holding Sam Maguire from the Croke Park dressing-rooms after securing immortality, a sight in stark contrast to the battered 29-year-old which had hobbled into his arms weeks earlier.
Plantar fasciitis had destroyed the Na Fianna clubman's season and everything from shockwave therapy to injections had been sampled without success in an effort to alleviate his foot problems and have him running pain-free once again.
"His head was fizzled", as a summer on the sideline became reality before Hartmann was asked "to pull out a Houdini" and somehow build up the two-time All-Star to help play his part in completing the impossible.
"Jonny C came down and I've never seen a man so subdued in all of my life, you know by a guy's body language, so subdued, so down. He would have even came in the door thinking that there's no point,
"I did a session on him, palpated it and from my clinical judgment and 31 years of doing the work, I said, 'This is nearly healed, it's in the 90s (per cent) but you could see he was very sceptical," Hartmann says.
"I got him onside and got him to hand over the ownership of the injury to me. I asked him if he has boots and got him up against the rebounder and he was kicking off it and getting more and more confidence.
"I told him, 'I want you to do one thing, you're frustrated, you've been dealing with injections and white coat guys for the last 14 weeks, your season is gone as far as you know. I want you to take that ball and kick the absolute crap out of it. Get rid of all your anger and get rid of the injury in your mind because 90 per cent of the injury is gone. I've a couple of more sessions to do but you will be playing football in the next couple of weeks'."
Ger Hartmann with Kenyan legend Moses Kiptanui at the 1996 Olympics
Hartmann has seen many elite athletes like Cooper where dedication to their craft means that "if there's anything slightly out of balance, it's magnified by 20 or 30 and small things become big things".
It didn't work out for Cooper the first day against Kerry as he "overreached like a guy who was just let out of jail after 16 weeks in hell" and was given his marching orders before half-time while O'Sullivan played no part, but both were crucial in seeing them over the line 13 days later.
Unusually, the weekend between games was not spent in the company of their team-mates working through systems and game-plans; instead they remained in Hartmann's care as they stayed overnight in Limerick.
They were put through all types of activities in the privacy of Hartmann's back garden while the River Shannon was utilised for recovery and Cooper's injury was also "baptised" under the cascading flow of the nearby Clare Glens Waterfall. "My biggest job with Jonny C that he didn't know about was to get into his brain and calm him down. 'Jonny you're going to play and Jim Gavin has the utmost trust in you, Jim says you're clinically the most astute player on his team'," Hartmann says.
"'You were like a giddy goat because as far as you were concerned there was no season happening and suddenly, you're sorted. You were already sorted, it was just that your brain was so far behind where the injury was'. All of a sudden, he got it.
"With Cian, I wasn't fixing an injury, I was just expediting time. Cian wouldn't have been back for the replay because he was told he was out, he had a scan done and there was a tear that would take about six weeks.
"The manager punted that he would be different, got him down and he played. Jim said it was vital to have him, and vital for himself to be involved."
Ger Hartmann with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte during a training seminar in UL
Working in harmony with Dublin's extensive medical team, Hartmann was stationed in the Gibson Hotel on the docks the week of the replay where "everything was laid out" and he could "polish" Cooper and O'Sullivan with treatments where necessary.
Gavin's meticulous nature was again seen to good effect after Sam Maguire was kept in Dublin's grasp with Hartmann invited to the banquet, while the former Dublin boss penned him a letter last Christmas to thank him for the use of his services.
"When Jim invites me to the All-Ireland, I'm sitting beside the Taoiseach at the banquet. I know I'm important when Jim goes to the hassle of putting me up in the hotel. You realise that you're respected and we kept it quiet, that's the way it should be."
Pride of place in the corner of his clinic now stands a picture of Hartmann beside renowned Dublin physio Alan Kelly with Sam Maguire shared between them, the caption reads 'The legendary GH & AK - Hands all over Sam 2019'.
* * * * *
One could get lost for days in the treasure trove of sporting memorabilia on display in his Annacotty clinic with the world's finest athletes paying tribute to the famed sports injury therapist in their own unique manner.
A hurl and jersey signed by the legendary Seán Óg Ó hAilpín after leading Cork to All-Ireland glory, the bridle of equine superstar George Washington presented to him by Aidan O'Brien as well as emotional testimonials from Olympic gold medallists like Kelly Holmes and Cathy Freeman are everywhere you turn.
Athletes tend to enter his door as a patient and leave as friends for life, such is the bond which is cultivated at Sonas (the name for his house which translates to happiness as Gaeilge) but there's one item not on display that's head and shoulders above the rest.
Kenyan distance runner Douglas Wakiihuri was coached by Hartmann during the 1990s and one of his many notable achievements throughout his lengthy career was finishing runner-up in the men's marathon at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Wakiihuri's lifelong regret was that he hadn't landed the ultimate prize, however, and it gnawed away at him, so much so that Hartmann was left with a gift like no other when he departed from Nairobi in 2008.
Hartmann takes up the remarkable tale: "He told me that, 'This medal has a shiny side and a dark side, I want you to take it and show the shiny side to inspire people because in my mind it only represents darkness'."
This is one of countless Hartmann stories and it's hardly surprising given that he once appeared on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' having healed Radcliffe and helped her break the women's marathon world record.
After being thrust into the world spotlight, he subsequently found himself as a special guest in John Travolta's private jet en route to Florida to treat the star of 'Saturday Night Fever' for crippling back pain.
Sporting phenomenons like Usain Bolt, Moses Kiptanui and Haile Gebrselassie were regularly in his care while he is a working visitor to Larry Mullen Jr's Howth abode where he keeps the U2 drummer in tune.
Johnny Sexton makes an annual trip to get some TLC for his troublesome hamstrings, while Sarah Lavin is a pet project and as he rebuilds the Irish hurdler after a serious ankle injury.
Another under his wing is Conor O'Dea, an All-Ireland JFC winner with Galway in 1985, with the former ironman continuing to make a miraculous recovery having been signed off as a quadriplegic after a being hit by a car.
Fever pitch: 'He found himself in John Travolta’s private jet en route to Florida to treat the star’s crippling back pain.' Photo: Reuters
Hartmann has helped to restore his quality of life through rigorous physical work on a voluntary basis and O'Dea incredibly completed a half marathon over the course of five days amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
His services are in more demand than ever but sport is only part of his jet-setting lifestyle since teaming up with Jim Ratcliffe, owner and CEO of Ineos and one of Britain's wealthiest men, four years ago with his brief "to be physio to Jim and his close-knit".
Time is split between Limerick - where his wife Diane and children Patrick and Michael are based - and his new clinic in London (which overlooks Harrods in Knightsbridge) as well as frequent trips to Geneva and Monaco.
Much of his work is with corporate folk and "it's often more wellness than physio" as he tries to help businesspeople of a similar age to himself "to regain their health and invest in themselves" having ignored this basic principle of life while striving for wealth.
It was while Ratcliffe was being manoeuvred on the physio's table at his London headquarters that the plan for Eliud Kipchoge to achieve a sub two-hour marathon was hatched with Ineos funding the unique challenge.
Ratcliffe led him to Ben Ainslie - the most successful Olympic sailor of all time who is heading Ineos Team UK's bid for a first America's Cup next year - and it also brought him to cyclist Chris Froome after the petrochemicals manufacturer bought out Team Sky.
Hartmann, who has worked at seven Olympic Games, spent much of last summer in the south-eastern French resort of Saint-Raphael putting the British rider through aqua therapy sessions in his bid to overcome career-threatening injuries suffered in a "horrific" biking accident.
He admits that the four-time Tour de France winner could "probably have been paralysed or dead" had the circumstances of his descent been different and it was his role as "an adjunct physio" to help rehabilitate multiple bones and muscles post-surgery without stepping on anyone else's toes.
"He hit a wall and it was only three-and-a-half feet high, had that been a five-foot wall it would have been a head injury and he'd probably be paralysed or dead. He had horrific injuries but he had a really good team around him."
This year's rescheduled Tour de France commences on August 29 but whether Froome will take to the start is unknown as it was announced that he would part ways with Ineos at the end of 2020 to join Israel Start-Up Nation.
With 2018 winner Geraint Thomas and last year's victor Egan Bernal also among the Ineos ranks, his chance of victory look slim but Hartmann provides unique insight into his psyche.
"Chris genuinely believes that he will win a fifth Tour de France. Chris is fully rehabbed and he's doing very well, all his power outputs are fantastic. Chris is unbelievably fastidious on his diet and his application, no stone is left unturned," he outlines. "Will he win again? It depends on how good Bernal is and how good the competition is. He has the ability to win again, age is catching up but it doesn't mean a person can't win. The stats go against him but no human is limited."
There's rarely a better living example of that motto than Hartmann, who plans to have kayaked Ireland's four largest lakes before the end of the year as his thirst for life knows no bounds.
"The runway is getting shorter as you get older and we have to invest our time more wisely now than ever before. I know a lot of my friends are over 60 and they're retired and they're finding it hard to get up in the morning because they've no drive, they've lost their drive. I want to be working until I'm 75 or 80 if I can," he proclaims.