Comfort Zone



My first memory of getting up and talking in front of people was a debate organised in Gortnor Abbey by Frank Mc Donnell. Or Moses as he was affectionately known. I can’t really remember what the debate was about but there was two teams of four. I was unprepared but a cocky 14 year old. I was supposed to wrap up and win the debate. My teammates Dave Muldowney and John Mc Donnell were quoting Shakspehere, Muldowney even brought reference to cows, methane gas and the ozone layer. This was high end debating.

It was my turn. I froze. I was unprepared (Mc Donnell more than likely got help from his older sister because that ass never read a book in his life!) I had no such older siblings. Either way. I fucked up. I knew it, the class knew it, the teacher knew it. I started quoting my team mates quotes. I was dying hoping to be swallowed up by the ground but there was no mistake. It was one of those situations that everyone in the room is mortified and just wants it all to end.

I have gotten coaching over the years with this. I went to Sinead Graham a business coach about 7 years ago where she introduced me to Neuro linguistic programming. Here I learned a tool called anchoring, this is where you set a physical positive anchor such as holding the fleshy part in between your thump and finger. By also opening up peripheral vision it slows my heart rate down and calms me. It was very effective when doing interviews back when I was a drug rep where I would become overcome my nerves and make an absolute hames of interviews. Id say close to 50.

When Emer Loftus asked me to be part of the Flaunt Girls Day out my immediate answer was yes. What an opportunity. However straight away I knew what my physical and mental state would be like on that stage!!

Considering the amount of coaching I have received to deal with anxiety and nerves. The fact that I am a fully blown Yoga instructor and can be in a state of zen, with help from The Navigation coach and others. I was about 14 thousand miles outside of my comfort zone yesterday. Sitting on stage looking down at 400 female eyes, the only fella. It was pretty daunting.

Here I am using all the tools at my disposal to remain calm. The amazing Charlene who helped my throughout was giving the mike to people to talk. I knew that if i took that mike the shake in my hand would have thrown it into the car park. The closer it got to my turn the higher my heart rate went and the more my knees rattled.

My turn. I talked about ”comfort zones” and how uncomfortable I was. But also the importance of getting out of ones comfort zone. As the saying goes it is where the magic happens. You will not grow as a person by remaining in the same place or skin without doing anything about the zone where you inhibit. Was I talking absolute shite at points. Probably, but the message was If you down there in that audience yesterday are afraid about taking the first step in your fitness journey or getting back on the fitness path. You must take that leap out of your comfort zone for this to happen.

It’s where the magic happens.

I was blessed with help on stage by the amazing Charlene from Charlene Flanagan make up. Unbeknownst to many so has the ability to help you along. Give you time to think and relax. She has skills that can not be taught or learned. You have them or you don’t!

If I had my way I would make Emer Loftus Lord Mayor of Ballina. To deliver such an event yesterday to the point and on point in every sense is no mean feat. I think she is one of the most amazing and savvy business women in the town and should be lauded for what she has done and can do. Given the budget I believe that Emer, would turn Ballina back into the county town that it was.

Thanks to everyone that came up to chat to me yesterday, if you did not get a chance I am always available online or on the line.

And please get out of your comfort zone at least once before the end of the year!!




Ok so maybe the title sounds risque but its the best way to describe what seems to happen fairly regularly to a fitness instructor with a group ranging from 8 to 12 persons. In a room, who all seem to be feeling a bit down. I think a lot of it has to do with this seasons never ending winter. The latitude of grey. It affects many. Some worse, lots do not make it to our door but those that do can become part of a Groupfeel. A subconscious connect between people that do not know each other well. But know of each other.

Due to the nature of Inferno Hot Pilates, simply lying down on mats for a few moments creates time to think. Maybe its the first time some folks have actually thought all day. Some are thinking ”I really don’t want to be here right now” ! But there is no escape now. You have committed. Upon entering the room I can feel the vibes. Quiet.

Straight away I will address the vibes. Its the same reaction. Laughs, but inward. ”Oh shut up you Dick” thoughts! Irrespective. I have a job. It is not only my job to work you out. It is my job to lift you up. Here with people at their least energetic all day is when I will apply the most pressure. Always leading with harder sets initially. Layer by layer people start to un peel their own personal grey cloak. After 15 minutes I get called an Asshole for the first time, 20 minutes negotiating starts, with sweat dripping smiles start to come out. Maybe even a laugh coupled with abuse towards the instructor.

At 35 minutes everyone has forgotten all that has happened that day, what happened in work, what the kids did or did not do. That thing that was supposed to happen tomorrow. At 40 minutes the begging starts, please no. Please. Anything but that. I laugh MOOOOOOOOOOOO ha ha ha ha. For I am in control and only for watching how far along the levels of exertion have progressed do I decide on the final course of finisher action.

At 45 minutes its over, cool down. Chill out. I make reference to all the chemicals now travelling around the brain synapses and body. Snap snap snap snap all that good stuff is released. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, ”I feel good now” The GroupFeel has now changed for the better, people are talking- communicating. Happy. That little kick start has done its job. I sit back and observe. I have done my job.

I’m a better drunk….


Not feeling this one at all today. With work crazy season and an eye infection that spawned its own galaxy I was feeling totally out of the loop. This coupled with winds greater than frigging storm Ophelia I think it is safe to say that most were like. ”erm dunno what I am doing here”

The 10 milers were sent out to the Gaa pitch to start ahead of the 10km and 5km races. Personally I think we put on a good show coming back into Easky because straight off the wind was so bad I was already contemplating life. Being led out by Canty, Donnelly and Flynn essentially toying with you. Letting you feel part of the brass for a kilometer or two. ”Shure” we’re altogether lads, through the town buzzing with 250 plus runners. As we all know its when, not if these road runners press the gas. Which happened at the college. Already calving at 4:10 pace, off the lads went on their merry way. Then BOOOOOM wind from the side. Even the surfers had sense to stay at home.

There was no where to hide behind, no wall to slack beside it was just cross wind, heavy off shores until Munnelly’s hill turn. Then BOOOOOOOOM lets change it up, with head on wind and an added unrelenting hill bonus. My former Crossmolina team mate took the reigns. I had no problem with this and allowed Colm to do all the work up Munnelly’s hill then BOOOOOOOOM Cross wind. It was cat. Colm just left me for dead. I could not cope with the wind, I had a stitch, legs were like jelly, was losing pace and considering joining Jonny Rowland in cycle racing. It was all up for grabs today.

Little by little the gap between myself and Colm shortened. Having taken the brunt of the hill and wind from me, I went past and found some sort of pace and opened it up for the final 5 miles. The road is  rolling and ends with long undulating hills. Even with a strong wind behind I found it tough to keep any pace due to the earlier hammering.

At this stage I thought I was flying, but even down hill if your legs are shot they are shot. I found it hard to hold sub 4:00 minute pace. Flynn in third was gone. It was have and hold time. Back into Easky, with fantastic community support from all quarters, I caught up with one of my clients doing the 10k. And for some unknown, unneeded reason i felt I had to pass him at mach 3 and keep going. Taking the corner sharp I knew I fucked up.

oh no. no. its gonna happen. Just after whoever was announcing here comes Barry Loftus from Strand Fitness. The puking started.

bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerblaaaaaaaaaa blaaaaaaaaaaa blllllllleeeeeeeeeeeer.

Chunks of sweet potato start exiting my mouth to the left hand side. Two (I am so sorry girls) female 10k runners either were or nearly were showered in Sweet potato, tuna, sweet corn and yogurt. It did not end. Some 10 metres later.

Bleeeewwwww aaaaaaaaaallllllllllll blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

At this stage, it does not matter. One has lost all sense of bodily function. Sometimes when I run I realize I am actually a better drunk. At least then I do not empty the contents of my stomach in front of a wide mix of communities. Was it over. Hell No.

Just before the line.

Bloooooooooowoowowowowoowowowoowow BLaaaaaaaaa bllallalallalalalallla.

Crossing in 1:07:35 in wait for it. 4th place. I threw my arms around the stone wall beside the gantry. Worse than any night out. Worse than any college night, milestone night, wedding, party, puking like yer man off that team America film.

For some reason nobody came near me to offer help or like WATER. I was like ”Donnelly” ”DONNELLLY” ”Water!!!!!”

Thankfully the silver medalist came to me with some water allowing me to wash off some of the bile and Sunday lunch off me.

I love these local races, I love the camaraderie, the Grandad farmer handing out water after, the cup of scald and sandwiches I have to stealthily eat as being a fitness instructor we do not eat hang, egg mayo and tomato sandwiches on WHITE BREAD. I could have very easily gone on a bender after in Easky. Such is the community and such is the race.

This is a great race, be sure to come along next season irrespective of what the weather is doing.

The image is from Denise Kavanagh, She is an amazing photographer that I have been following the last number of years. Please check out and like her social media @denisekimage on Facebook and denisekimages on Instagram.