Our Blog ~ The Gym Ballina

ARE YOU SELF SABOTAGING? Is your excuse in the Top 5?

“ARE YOU SELF SABOTAGING?” Is your excuse in the Top 5?

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AVERAGE READING TIME: 4 minutes, 32 seconds.

 “Excuses are like ass-holes, we all have them and they all stink”

Why can’t I SEE RESULTS?

If you have read that quote and it has cited an emotional response from you, there is a good chance this particular blog is aimed at you. Ask yourself, with an open mind…Are you self-sabotaging?

Of course, there are some genuine reasons out there for why somebody would cancel their PT session, not show up to a class, skip the gym. Just remember, one session can lead to two, three, four etc. The compound effect!!If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do!! 

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AVERAGE READING TIME: 5 minutes, 16 seconds.

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“Don’t expect to achieve remarkable results, with a half-hearted effort”

Not producing RESULTS?

Do you find yourself unable to produce results in your training, business, relationships, life recently? Do you feel you have become stagnant and stuck, unable to hit the targets and goals you originally set out for yourself. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the lessons I have learned and been taught in my time as a Coach.

Over the course of the last 12 years I have been very fortunate to meet and train with some outstanding leaders in the Health & Fitness Industry. Having been gifted with these opportunities has helped mould and shape my own views and the way in which I approach my daily life. Some things I use constantly while others are time dependant. All of them have had a positive effect on my business, fitness, relationships and life.    

  1. Always put your best foot forward

I was very fortunate a number of years ago to get the opportunity to train with Martin Rooney the founder/creator of the TFW system, and world renowned S&C coach. Martin has trained UFC fighters, Olympians, NFL Quarterbacks and more. One of the key lessons I took away from his sessions were…Every session is a performance. Make it count. If somebody is reliant on you, if somebody is counting on you…Regardless of how you are feeling, you owe it to yourself to give them 100%. If you approach every day, every workout session, every workday with all your effort, you will see progress. Always put your best foot forward.

  • Use a scoring system

When working out, score yourself on a scale of 1 to 10. Realise that the effort you put in to any goal or situation is what will determine your results at the end. Don’t expect to achieve remarkable results with a half-hearted effort. It’s often very easy to blame others for our lack of results, or a bad situation, however, there are certain things we can control. As human beings, we have the gift of self-awareness. We are the only species of life that have been gifted this unique ability. Use it during exercise and other stressful situations and you will start responding differently to those situations. I’ll often ask clients to score themselves on their performance during their training so that rather than just go through the motions they are actively thinking about each and every movement they do. This is a very powerful tool.

  • Act Confidently

In life we encounter moments which often lead to mental doubt and physical breakdowns. When you focus on better posture, maintain eye contact, speak slowly and clearly you appear more confident to others. Eventually you start to FEEL more confident. This confidence will need to a more positive nature and in turn better mental clarity. When we encounter significant moments and obstacles in our lives this confidence will be a defining factor in our approach to the situation. “confidence breeds success, success breeds confidence”.

  • Take your opportunities

SBG Ballina was born 5 years ago under the watchful eye of Coach John Kavanagh. The initial decision to get started was not an easy one but when I spoke to John his re-assurance was the motivation I needed. His advice…”just go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?”.

As the saying goes…”In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”


  • Be open to Failure

 “F.E.A.R false evidence appearing real”. We tell ourselves stories on a daily basis. Stories which affect our attitude, our personality, our emotions, our lives. More often than not, the FEAR OF FAILURE is the driving force behind these stories. We look to justify these fears by creating stories. Take chances, approach the fear head on and start writing your own stories.

  • Perseverance

“Each day you become one step closer to becoming a black belt OR one step closer to quitting”.

If something is worth having generally it is not that easily gotten. Pursue your goals with unrelenting passion. See it through. When you’re faced with a brick wall, climb over it. The difficulty in achieving a goal is the obstacles attached to achieving that goal. How we respond to the difficult moments will strengthen or break our resolve. When you face your obstacles head on, you make unimaginable progress.

  • Separate OPINION From FACT

We all share opinions. It’s important however, that we can differentiate opinions from facts. Recognise the difference. We let ourselves be influenced by other people’s words and opinions regularly and this can often affect us in various aspects of our lives. To reach your full potential, we need to learn to decipher those opinions and place less emphasis on them.

Remember, this is your journey and by allowing other peoples words to influence your actions and decisions you cannot truly approach each goal with complete effort. By listening to the words of others, you are allowing them to impose limitations on you. This will not serve you in achieving your goals. The only true opinion that matters on your journey is your own. You will be questioned, you will question yourself but once you keep moving forward you are getting closer to your goal.

  • Don’t be afraid to change things up

“Do what you have always done, and get what you have always gotten”. If you truly want better results, if you are committed to producing better results…change things up. Try a different approach. Einstein famously explained the definition of insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting a different result.

  • Educate Yourself

Use your free time to better effect. Start Listening to podcasts rather than music. Read books rather than watch TV. Double down on the things that interest you. Start doing things that will run in alignment with your goals and increase your chances of success. You will still have your down time but You will also be increasing your knowledge in the areas that matter to you. This increase in productivity will also feed into other areas of your life.


A Bird in the hand is not worth two in the bush!!

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“Are you a successful FAILURE?”

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AVERAGE READING TIME: 3 minutes, 26 seconds. Contains 687 words.

“If you are really ready to achieve your goal, be ready to fail.”

What is your GOAL?

I ask my client’s this question on a regular basis. It ensures they have a definitive idea of the outcome at the end. Of what it is that they really want to achieve. When we know this information, we can reverse engineer it and figure out their pathway to success. There is both a literal and metaphorical meaning to the question. In this blog post I will deal with both.

My Route to “SUCCESS”

“If you can’t walk off the mountain, you will need to be evacuated by helicopter”. The severity of my situation really kicked in at that point. My issue had progressively worsened over the previous three days, culminating in an inability to walk and a reduced level of consciousness. The decisions you make at this altitude can be life-altering and I was still very much aware of this fact.

Everest Base Camp was everything you could imagine, but my experience had just come to an abrupt ending. I was escorted outside to a cold, sandy flat on the side of a nearby slope and awaited the rescue team.

Everest Base Camp

8 weeks ago I led a team to Everest Basecamp. For the final 3 days of the ascent I developed HAPE  (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). As the leader of our expedition, this was not supposed to happen. However, sometimes we have to adapt and overcome.

My initial reaction if I’m honest was “oh fuck”. Thankfully I was still able to think with logic and I realised there was nothing I could do regarding the situation other than embrace it and move forward. Failure is an essential part of living and learning and we need to learn to love it. Why? Because the more we fail, the more we win.

A Learning experience

In any situation where we are met with resistance or things don’t go to plan, it is essential we take some positive away from the situation. There are things I will do differently on my next expedition. The pathway to success, just like the pathway to Everest Base Camp is strewn with unpredictability. This was not a failure, this was a learning opportunity.

What does FAILURE mean to you?

The definition of Failure “is the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.” 

When presented with adversity we have only two options. Dwell on our misfortune or learn from it and move forward. If you are ready to achieve your goals you need to brace yourself for the reality that you will FAIL some point.

Two things are certain when we step outside our comfort zone and try new things:

  1. We will fail more often
  2. We will achieve more than we would have staying comfortable

To achieve more you need to fail more. Our failures will give us valuable insight into what we need to do differently in order to achieve our goals. If you are really ready to achieve your goal, be ready to fail.

Failure is not a conclusion but rather the beginning of your success. Embrace it, own it, learn from it

How do we embrace failure?

Start to reframe how you view your situation. You’re current situation is not your final destination. Set a goal and make a promise to yourself to start challenging yourself more. You will inevitably fail at least once if you are truly challenging yourself. The more you fail the easier it is. Don’t let the failures control the outcome.

Remember…Your thoughts manifest into reality. So own your thoughts. Everything you will do and have done, started off as just a thought. Control your thoughts, control your reality.

Two recommended sources on this subject are:

  1. The Big Leap
  2. The Obstacle Is The Way

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.


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AVERAGE READING TIME: 4 minutes, 6 seconds.

“Start to look beyond the physical aspects of your training and enjoy the process”

Having been involved in the fitness industry for the last 12 years, I obviously get asked a lot of questions about health and fitness. One of the more of the more common questions received is that about weight-loss. How do I lose weight? How do I “tone” up quickly? I’m training and eating well but not hitting my goals, what’s wrong? Here’s the thing, once you understand thermodynamics you realise it’s not that difficult to lose or gain weight. IN THEORY. In reality though, If it was easy to do, we would all look like supermodels and bodybuilders.

Why can’t I lose weight?

More often than not the weight gain has been a by-product of a sedentary lifestyle, along with a surplus of high calorie foods. In a lot of cases it’s not the first time the potential client has attempted to change their lifestyle and lose the excess weight. So, why have our attempts been unsuccessful?

The excess weight being carried is usually not the issue. We tend to look at the symptoms i.e. the weight gain, rather than the root cause of the problem. A series of bad choices or decisions caused this weight gain. So, what caused us to make these decisions? If it’s obvious our lifestyle is not in alignment with our goals, why can’t we introduce more positive practices that help us stay on course toward our goals? Before we focus on changing our bodies, we must first learn to take control and strengthen our mindset.

How can we fix the problem?

To change the way you look, feel and act, it takes some work. It requires you to stretch the limits of your comfort zone and put yourself under some physical stress/pain. In order to grow and progress though, it’s important we learn how to manage and push through this stress. It’s important you realise, that the more often you push to the point of exhaustion and then beyond, the better you become at doing so. When we lean towards the uncomfortable in our training, it has a direct correlation in to other areas of our lives. We become better adept at dealing with stressful situations at home, in the work place, our daily lives.  The psychological benefits of embracing a fitter lifestyle, should be first and foremost the reason we choose to train.

Positive Mental Health

The effort we put in directly determines the results at the end of the process, and this effort starts to increase as we succumb to the realisation that our bodies are able to do remarkable things. However, we only begin to understand this, when we start to push beyond the comfort zone and welcome the discomfort created. As we start to become more tolerant of this stress and discomfort we start to grow in confidence. We understand that we are capable of more. We start to negate the negative thoughts with more positive, healthy thoughts. We become more self-aware, we make better decisions, we have better control over our emotions.

Tips to help you achieve your goals

  1. Understand it takes time. The point you are at right now is down to a number of choices or decisions made over a long period of time. The habits you have created have taken time to build and will therefore take time to break or replace with more positive practices.
  2. Stay CONSISTENT. It’s easy to train and eat healthier when we are ‘motivated’ to do so, anybody can do that, but it’s when times get hard and we lose that motivation that you need to be strong. You build this strength by pushing yourself each and every session and going ALL-IN every time.
  3. Enjoy the Process. Be present in the here and now and realise the great strides and progress you have made.
  4. Be PROUD of yourself. Don’t look at what you didn’t do, but rather start to pat yourself on the back for the things you did do. The habits you’ve created, the goals you’ve hit, the weight you’ve already lost.
  5. Assess your progress regularly. Assess, Re-assess and then assess some more. Use the results as feedback as to what you can do differently moving forward.
  6. Enjoy your training sessions. The boost in confidence they give you, the increased energy you have, and the way you feel after the workout.

If you would like to learn more about how you can strengthen your mindset and introduce habits or increase your motivation, check out “The Mindset Manual: Take control of your thoughts” OR “Motivate Me: How to create positive habits and achieve your goals”.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

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“Strong Mind, Strong Body” – How can you strengthen your mindset?

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AVERAGE READING TIME: 4 minutes, 42 seconds.

“You have power over your mind, not outside events, realise this and you will find strength” – Marcus Aurelius

Recently, I’ve been asked on multiple occasions what it is I do in order to try and develop my mindset and stay positive and motivated throughout the “tough times”. This normally refers to my training regime but quite often the question may be referencing long working hours in the gym, dealing with multiple tasks at once or getting up early in the morning to conduct classes. Regardless of the reason, the answer is always the same. “Motivation will get you started but discipline will keep you going”.

Over the course of the past 2-3 years I’ve tried to put thoughts into action and develop habits which enable me to perform the tasks/problems I encounter daily. I explain that “motivation is just the catalyst to get you started” but it’s only by building habits through self-discipline that you will start to see results.

How do you achieve the discipline required in order to create the habits ?

Outside of our own thoughts and actions we really don’t have much control. Often relinquishing responsibility and shifting the blame for not achieving our goals can quite often be the easiest option to take. Short term this may make us feel a little better, however it will not move us any closer to our target goal. It’s important to assess the situation, figure out why it didn’t go to plan and make the necessary changes to ensure the next undertaking is more successful. When we flip the switch, change our mentality and take responsibility for our own actions we start to create momentum. Being honest with yourself is the first step. If you’re currently playing the blame game, make a commitment to yourself right now to change your way of thinking.

How do you level up?

You’ve no doubt heard the story of David and Goliath. David takes on the much larger opponent of Goliath and against all odds becomes the victor. His refusal to quit and instead change his tactics paid off. There is an old adage that it’s not always the dog in the fight but rather the fight in the dog that determines the outcome of a contest. To be the victor in any situation, to excel, to achieve the results you crave in all areas you need to develop a mindset that will nourish your goals.

I tell my clients all the time that it’s when they are on the verge of giving up or calling it a day that this is when the magic happens. This is when you start to increase your tolerance for dealing with shit. This is when you start to elevate. This is when you level up. It’s not easy at first but this tolerance for discomfort starts to grow and eventually we find we are able to deal with negative situations and problems we may encounter on a daily basis with much more ease. There is direct correlation between the levels of comfort you can withstand within your training versus the level of stress you can handle in your everyday life. It’s no coincidence that most top CEO’s train regularly.

Failure OR Learning Experience?

Motivation will give you the initial push needed to get started but will diminish very quickly when things start to get tough. But it’s during these tough moments that the discipline needs to kick in and your mind needs to be strong enough that you keep moving forward towards your goals. It’s what you do in these moments that will define the result.  Occasionally we will have set backs…C’est La Vie…however, refusing to look at these as failures but rather learning experiences will encourage confidence and keep you on the right track to achieving your goals.

But how do we strengthen our mindset?

My number one tip on building a stronger mindset is to start filtering out the negativity which we come across daily and instead start to lean towards positive sources of information such as podcasts, self-development books, and seminars.  These will sit in alignment with your goals and start to feed you with positivity and confidence and help you develop that mindset. Two of my recommended favourites are:

1. The Compound Effect

2. How to win friends and influence people

The second tip…Start to self-assess.

In the gym, assess the level of effort you are applying when training. Mark it between 1 and 10. If you are falling short, acknowledge this and put in a bigger effort next time. Start to lean toward the uncomfortable. As the saying goes “take the road less travelled”. The same applies to business, relationships, nutrition etc. Assess and then make the necessary changes.

Third Tip…

When I feel like giving in to something, I remember why I started. I remind myself of the commitment I made when I started.

Fourth Tip…

Probably the most important. When we are under pressure we tend to respond irrationally. Our responses are based on emotion rather than logic. Rather than respond with re-active thoughts I’ve started to imagine myself stepping away from the situation and make the decision based on what I would tell someone if it was somebody in my position. E.g. I’ve injured my foot. Rather than respond negatively and say ‘I now can’t train’, I respond how I would to a client, friend or family member. “Let’s see how we can adapt your training around your injury.” I’ve tried to hone this over time and it has been a game-changer for me.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

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Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

You or your friends may have been considering starting BJJ for a while. There is a lot of publicity around the sport, even without it’s UFC connections. The size of events, the star athletes and the overall lifestyle are making it increasingly popular. If you are looking for even more justification I have come up with what I think are the 4 best reasons for starting BJJ. Read More

Two Locals Guys Put Ballina On The Map

Two local guys David Neary and Ivan Smyth training out of ‘The Gym Ballina’ recently travelled to the World Powerlifting Games in Dusseldorf, Germany to represent Ireland in their chosen sport. As both guys are relatively new to the sport qualifying for the world games was a fantastic achievement in itself. It must be added that the guys did so in outstanding fashion, claiming National Titles and National and European Records in the same day at the qualifiers in Abs Gym, Dublin. Read More

Strongman Show Hits Ballina For First Time

Local Gym ‘The Gym Ballina’ recently organised the ‘Novice Ireland Strongman Competition’ in Market Square Ballina on the 27th July. The event was significant as this was the first time a strongman event of this stature was held in not only Ballina, but the West of Ireland. Read More

Running and Strength Training

To say that running is about endurance and aerobic fitness is correct, but these days strength training is playing a pivotal part.
Strength training can help you run easier with less pain, keep injuries at bay and help you run faster.
Read More