Some of the most popular articles on LiveGaelic over the last year or so have been Dave Hare’s “Train to Win” articles on strength & conditioning for GAA players.
As a club player at a decent level myself over the years I’ve always found I could relate to the advice in these articles a lot, and judging by the feedback we’ve received it seems our general readership really agreed. I can definitely relate to the sort of fitness issues that a lot face when they hit their early 30s. Having played GAA with my club St Patrick’s in Louth for many years, a mixture of travelling, injuries and work commitments have meant I can’t focus on my game and train flat out with the team, which is what so many senior teams now demand.
A mixture of travel, work commitments and injuries meant i couldn’t train flat out.
So in a nutshell I’m probably in the category of “crocked club player”, and if you gave me long enough I could probably tell you every reason why I’m no longer playing or as active any more. But with this challenge I’m hoping with the help of Functional Training Ireland and the entire team in there to take control of my fitness again, solve the underlying problems that are causing ongoing injuries and to regain some semblance of fitness by replacing the excuses and injury with routine and sound professional advice.
So we’ve all seen the 8 and 10 week challenges which are all over most health pages, but the challenge we have come up with will let us compare your more “normal” person (that would be me!), to someone with a history as an intercounty player. To that end, we roped in Sean Brady, former Cavan footballer (and a good friend) who will be taking part in the challenge along with me.
Our injury history somewhat matches, with both of us having damaged left ankles, for which the technical medical terminology is probably something along the lines of “mangled”! Sean has been getting the full range of treatment done, with a cortisone injection his most recent attempt at solving the problem. My own ankle was injured last June and I’ve been going the slow arduous route of rehab in terms of standard exercises and strengthening routines. Having pitched the idea to Dave we are going to undertake a 10 week challenge with the help from the team at FTI which will hopefully help us chart and document the steps involved in getting both a normal athlete and a more elite athlete up to full fitness.
On our first visit to FTI headquarters we were taken aback by the professionalism of the entire set up. A great city centre location, we were immediately met by and assessed by Physio and Dublin hurler Joey Boland. Joey put us through our paces defining the specific injuries we have as well as what rehab would work specifically for us.
Strapped up to FTI’s “MyZone” technology which monitors heart rate and ensures we are working to the max, there really is no hiding from the coach! The “MyZone” technology gives a measure of how hard you are trying at all times, it also shows calories burned. We are to wear it with every physical exertion which will allow our progress to be logged weekly to show our levels of improvement as we move forward.
With our third visit tomorrow (Wednesday) with both the physio, strength & conditioning coach and finally the nutritionist we will finally have our targets set, our routine in order and specific targets to aim towards.
My own personal goals for this challenge are:
• Weight loss (I weighed in 6 weeks ago at a career high of 99kg)
• Body Fat decrease
• Recover from injury to the level of 5k runs/5-aside with friends etc. so then I can see about surgery if needs be
• Understand the correct diet for myself and reason why the right foods are the right foods. Get a diet which works for me in the long term.
• General fitness improvement
With these targets in mind I will post a short summary weekly of how training has been going. We will also have two pieces from Sean on how he is finding the process. Dave Hare will be adding in his opinion in a piece every two weeks.
In what we hope will be a very informative and interesting piece for all who read it, where we exchange the excuses for results and regain control of our fitness. Hopefully this will show that with the correct approach, and professional advice that no injury is too far gone to recover from.