Operation Transformation is back, which means it's time to break out the leggings, set your goals for the year ahead and – most importantly – meet your new leaders!

The long-running show returns to screens on Wednesday 5th January at 9.35pm on RTÉ One. Viewers will once again follow five inspiring leaders from across the country as they take on a health and wellness plan with the aim of resetting and kick starting a new chapter in their lives.

As always, presenter Kathryn Thomas will be on hand to encourage the leaders every step of the way.

The first leader revealed for 2022 is Sarah O'Connor Ryan from Ballina, county Tipperary. Sarah is 38 and married to Padraig. They live in Ballina with their four children.

Running a busy house she strives to always do the right thing for her children and family. But putting everyone else first Sarah is struggling to find time to look after herself.

She says that she has lost her zest and can't get motivated to go out walking or running like she use to. She thinks she’s a terrible cook and needs the skills and the knowledge to bring wellness into her life.

Before the pandemic, the professional singer could be found gigging regularly. However, as lockdowns continued she found her confidence and love of performing started to disappear, and began to feel conscious of her appearance.

The Tipperary woman feels she has tried everything to bring better health and wellbeing into her life. She wants the experts to guide her back to being confident and full energy.

Operation Transformation 2022
Over the course of eight weeks the audience will see what transformation means to each leader. All of them are looking to the experts for guidance and information that can help them to begin and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Devising the health and wellness plan and guiding the new leaders are fitness coach Karl Henry, principal clinical psychologist Dr. Eddie Murphy, dietitian Aoife Hearne, and general practitioner Dr. Sumi Dunne.

The five leaders began their transformation back in November when they were fully assessed by the experts. They also underwent the minimum fitness test with Prof Niall Moyna of DCU and his team. All the information from this stage will assist the experts in charting the safest way for each leader to become healthier.

Operation Transformation is delighted to announce that this year it will be based in Mullagh in Co Cavan. Each week the leaders will meet the experts here as they chart their weekly progress. In partnership with Cavan County Council, the county will host the weekly ad break challenges where Karl Henry gets a group of Cavan people moving as well as the audience at home.

During the series Dr. Eddie Murphy will also highlight some useful tips to help with mental wellness. As we all navigate our way through these difficult times Eddie will offer simple, practical advice that we can all use in our everyday lives.

Also back for 2022, is Ireland Lights Up. This popular initiative by the GAA encourages clubs from the 32 counties to open their grounds and allow people to safely walk under their lights with public health advice adhered to at all times.

After a tough couple of years, the GAA and Get Ireland Walking are delighted to invite communities back into the safe outdoor spaces where everyone can get moving at their own pace.

Operation Transformation 2022 kicks off on Wednesday 5th January at 9.35pm on RTÉ One