“If you’re not one for reading, then in brief – contact Matt Cooney to be your personal trainer. He’s excellent. You won’t regret it. If you want to know why you should do this then please keep reading.

I’ve always been a ‘gym-goer’, going back to when I was 15 and convinced my parents to lie about my age so I could get a gym membership – it was easier for them to as I can be quite determined if not a little stubborn. I’ve also been a professional dancer since I was 17 years old and so exercise has been a part of my daily life since I was a child. With this in mind, it might be misconstrued that I’ve always been in good shape. Maybe even that I’ve always been healthy. Unfortunately that’s not the case. Yes as a dancer I was slim, it’s an objectified profession and in a line-up of dancers, body shape is part of the uniform. To achieve this, I’ve tried every fad training program and diet! I even went as far as obtaining my own certificate as a personal trainer with the arrogance to think I’d know best. Again…unfortunately, that was not the case.

In January 2017, disillusioned and frustrated at my lack of progress I made the classic New Year’s resolution…”this year I’m going to get in shape”. So I contacted Matt Cooney after he was recommended to me as a good online personal trainer and set a date for a photo-shoot to give myself a personal goal. Figured I’d tried everything else so why not, and online PT would suit my lifestyle as my schedule can be quite hectic so face-to-face sessions don’t suit me. And oh my god! I’ve never been more grateful to someone for advice (thanks Eoin Murphy). Sometimes biting the bullet, swallowing your pride and realising you can’t achieve everything (if anything) alone is the best thing you’ll ever do…next to contacting Matt Cooney to be your personal trainer!

As a coach he asked what my goals were, the time scale I was allowing to achieve this, how many times a week I could train and devised a plan that was tailored specifically for me. When I checked in with him everything was taken into account; my water intake, stress levels, upcoming events, my sleeping pattern and even how my motivation was. But more importantly for me, he asked how I was enjoying it and if the nutrition plan had me feeling hungry! Never, and I mean NEVER has any trainer or choreographer enquired about these things. I had just assumed I should feel hungry if on a ‘diet’. I assumed I should be slightly miserable when I train. No pain, no gain and all that malarkey. It’s absolute nonsense!

In fact, I loved the program he devised for me. It varied from week to week getting progressively harder and then taking a de-load week! Seemed liked madness to me as I’m used to a more regimented routine from the dance world and so resting isn’t really something we do. And interestingly the diet plan was flexible. No restriction to chicken and broccoli thankfully. There was a focus on calories consumed which was broken down into macros – the amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats to be consumed daily. To tell the truth I had to eat more food than I’m used to – and I was losing weight – happy days! But I didn’t feel skinny and shapeless; instead I felt slender, strong and toned and I’ve never had that before. For the first time in years people were remarking on how well I looked and not how skinny I was and to have a cheeseburger!

But the most important aspect of having Matt as a trainer was having someone to be accountable to. Someone who checks in to see how you’re progressing and not disparage me when I fall – because let’s be honest everyone has bad days. Instead he came at it with a positive spin and got me back on track. And now I’m healthier than I’ve ever been by eating food I enjoy, training for fun (madness) as well as having someone ensuring I sleep – oh well ok then! I’ve really enjoyed having Matt as my online personal trainer and I’ve already set my next goal with him and for the first time ever I’m excited to be on a diet and train! Try it – whatever your background, whatever your current situation, whatever your goal, he’ll work with you to get you where you want to be.”

– Bernadette McCabe

Matt’s thoughts;

“Bernadette came to me with the goal of adding some muscle. After doing a couple of modelling shoots before, we set a goal of doing her first fitness focused shoot. We spend a good 4-5 months building up her strength and adding calories to support muscle growth. This can be a weird thing for a girl to experience, weight going upwards and continually eating more food but Bernadette trusted me and went with the process. This made the cut down for the shoot a lot easier and you can see by the pic’s, Bernadette was in incredible shape! She’s ridiculously hard working and dedicated in all aspects of life, she has a crazy busy schedule between work, study, travelling and everything else in between but she never complained, trains at stupid o’clock to get her workouts in and has made a real effort to improve herself by focusing on her own health, trying to control stress levels, improve her sleep and improve the quality of her nutrition to keep her energy levels up and avoid getting run down. Big thanks to her boyfriend Eoin from Eoin Murphy Fitness for sending her my way for coaching!”

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