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Start Again in 2010 - Expert - Health and Fitness coach John O'Connell

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

This week starts our "Start Again in 2010". We have chosen two groups of people to focus on. We have taken 3 Mum's who are hoping to shift some of their baby weight and we are taking 3 smokers who have tried everything to stop and really want to. We will follow them for 10 weeks and join them on their journey as they try to achieve the goals they have set for themselves. With the help of a panel of experts we hope to make this happen for them.

EXPERT - John O'Connell, Director of NewEnergy Health & Fitness:

John O' Connell is one of Ireland's leading health and fitness experts. Having extensive experience working as a personal trainer in a wide variety of gyms in Ireland and abroad, John has trained thousands of members and has also developed many advanced training programmes for the fitness staff.

Along with his numerous exercise and health qualifications John is also a qualified Neuromuscular Therapist. He is a licensed Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner and Life Coach. He is a level 2 internationally certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through PICP and is one of Ireland's few Bio Signature Modulation practitioners.

John has featured on television including RTE's The Afternoon Show and Off The Rails and has worked as a health and fitness consultant for SPAR, the world's largest retail chain and Lyons Tea. John has an impressive client list which boasts a number of celebrities and professional organizations including the Garda Siochana Training College in Templemore, Ireland and the NewZealand All Blacks.

As well as working with the NZRFU he has also been involved with many other professional sporting teams including the Leinster Senior Rugby Team, the Dublin Senior Football Team, Queensland Reds Rugby Team, Murphy and Gunn/Newlyn (a Continental Irish Cycling Team) and the Australian Cycling Team, FRF Couriers.

John's ability to motivate and inspire others is outstanding. He has helped transform the lives of others not just through training but through his unique style of mental training using his NLP coaching skills.

Using his vast experience working with the world's leading fat loss and fitness specialists. He continues to seek out the world's best and hire them as his trainer so he can consistently improve his skills and knowledge base.

John has also developed his own training systems. These unique training programmes rapidly elevate the metabolism to maximise fat loss, increase energy and improve health so that the client feels, looks and performs better in minimal time.

By combining physical, mental and nutritional training John can offer a truly unique service to his clients, one that is bettered by none. He constantly strives to learn more by attending seminars and internships with world experts so he can help more people achieve the fitness, health and body that they desire.

John has carried out an assessment on each Mum.

John why is it important to do an assessment?

It's important to do an assessment for a number of reasons.

1. I need to know what their goals are.

A thorough assessment of what they truly want and why is essential for me not only to design their programmes but also for them to realise their true motivation for making a change. I can categorically say that nobody wants to lose weight and tone up. They want something much more than that, something deeper.

2. If you are not assessing you are just guessing.

Without in depth knowledge of someone's body/lifestyle you cannot prescribe an effective programme for them. With the results from the initial assessment we can then reassess and measure their results as they progress.

3. Because we lose weight and burn fat at different rates from all over the body taking a number of measurements means that we can consistently check progress.

If the scales don't move but the body fat % goes down then we know we are getting results. Likewise if the waste circumference doesn't move but the thigh measurement does then we have progress.

4. Our modern day lifestyles puts us in postures our body wasn't designed for i.e. sitting at a computer all day, driving, slouching on a couch etc.

This switches off certain postural muscles. It is important to know which muscles are switched off so that we can turn them back on with corrective exercises. For example if the glutes/backside muscles are switched off you will never be able to tone and firm it up because it simply won't work when you exercise.

5. I need to know what is going on in their daily life as well, not just what they do in a training session.

Finding out sleep patterns, hydration levels, energy levels etc will help me design a programme they are physically and mentally capable of doing.

How did you assess the Mum's?

I assessed the ladies goals using NLP techniques so that we can develop them into more powerful and motivating outcomes.
They underwent a Neuromuscular Assessment (NMA) to see if they have any muscle imbalances, postural dysfunctions etc. I measured their body fat with callipers, took their scale weight and measured their arm, waste, hip and thigh circumferences.
I also did a lifestyle assessment to learn what their daily life is like.

How long did the assessment take?

The assessment took about 30-40 mins.

What thing's were you looking out for?

While assessing their goals I was looking for what motivates them. We are usually motivated to move away from pain and/or towards pleasure, I need to know what makes them tick.
In the NMA I was looking for faulty movement patterns, tight muscles and range of movement through a series of different movements.

In the lifestyle assessment I was looking for anything that could prevent them from achieving their goals. Things like sleep, hydration, stress levels etc all affect our health.

How do you decide what programme they are going to follow?

Based on the results of the assessment I then decide the best type of training for them and what exercises they need to be doing and which ones they are not capable of yet. For example if someone has poor knee stability I will not give them an exercise that requires a huge amount of knee stability. And if a client has week stomach muscles I need to correct that as soon as possible so doing so may take preference over other exercises.

Why it is important that people look after their health/fitness etc.

One way or another we are going to have to spend money and time on our health. We can do it now by hiring a trainer, massage therapist etc and spending time training and live a life full of energy and health. Or we can do it later in life when we are tired and sick paying cardiologists and plastic surgeons, buying medication and spending time going to the doctor.

For me health and fitness isn't about how far I can run or good I look. It's about how I feel. There is no greater feeling than having an abundance of energy, being able to think clearly and effectively and being in control of my life. Being fit and healthy isn't everything, but it makes everything else worthwhile!

To contact John O'Connell:

John O'Connell
Health & Fitness Coach

And you can follow the progress of the Mum's on John's blog at

Note: The training programmes and nutrition being outlined by John O'Connell for the 3 Mums in Start Again in 2010 is specifically tailored for the individuals taking part. In no way is this a generic programme and you should always consult with your GP before following any of the advice outlined on the show or via the website, facebook etc