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Ciara Malone: Athlete of the month

By Team No.17 | In Athlete of the month, Gym | on November 17, 2014

Ciara Malone is a busy primary school teacher who began training in No.17 Personal Training just under two years ago. An avid exerciser before that time, she had tried every single diet and exercise routine out there and just couldn’t crack the secret to her body. And that’s when she met John and Sophie…

Ciara, tell me about the reason you went and sought help from the guys at No.17?
Well I had been training for a few years and I just felt that I had reached a total dead end. It felt like I was constantly training but never getting the results I wanted. I had literally tried ever diet- good and bad- in the book, and I had been to every single type of gym going, and yet I still I felt like I was at a total standstill.
So then, through word of mouth, I heard how good John was at No.17 and I decided to give it one last shot.. and two years later I’m still here!

That all must have been very frustrating; what was different about No.17?
Oh my God, everything! For the first time I felt like someone was actually LISTENING to me. I met John and he sat back and let me talk. Then one of his first questions was “are you stressed?”. I said no I’m grand. When I told him I was a teacher, he told me I had stress written all over my face and that he wasn’t surprised. Looking back I was totally worn down! But this was honestly the first personal trainer I’d been to who addressed my specific issues- it felt so personalised and individual.

And then over the course of my training I realised that he is just so perceptive! He knows what is going on in peoples’ heads, and he can literally notice the difference of a single kilogram in your bodyweight.

And you train with Sophie now is that right?
Yeah so from the very beginning then, I was paired up with Sophie. She introduced me to Olympic lifting and Crossfit. She is very encouraging. She has gotten me to do things I never thought I’d be able to achieve and she
is constantly pushing me and encouraging me to sign up for team events and competitions.
Her belief in me that I could potentially go on to compete is just mind-blowing. It really motivates me to work harder in the gym and makes me feel like I’m training for something tangible.

And you said you were worn out when you started – can you elaborate?
Well I was massively over-training for a start! For example I was getting up at 5am to get out and do sprints, then going to the gym later again that day. There was one point right before I met John that I had trained 14 days in
a row, sometimes twice a day. I had the attitude that “more was better” and that if I wasn’t dropping bodyfat then I obviously wasn’t pushing myself hard enough. In hindsight, it’s so easy to see that I was running my body into the ground. I’d say my cortisol levels were through the roof. When I started at No.17 they had to convince me to calm
down on the training and do it in a more structured and time-effective manner. At the beginning it was all about bringing down the stress levels. In the first week I did a cleanse with them and I lost about 4kg! I had been
taking a lot of whey protein which is essentially a dairy product, and although that can be fine for some people, it seemed I was intolerant to it the whole time! Then on the training parameter, they made me totally take a step back. I started by training 3 times a week in 30 minute sessions. That’s the great thing about training with Sophie as well, actually all of them, they’re great at putting in the intensity when you need it but not all the time.

So it’s safe to say you’re enjoying training at No.17?
I would say it’s the highlight of my day- I actually look forward to it all day at work! I was a party girl when I was in my 20s- the polar opposite of where I am now.

What would you say to someone who is in the position you were in 2 years ago?
Well years ago, a trainer I met, said something that really struck me. He didn’t have the answer to what was going on with my body, but nonetheless, he said “don’t stop until you find what works”. And that’s always stayed in my head. So I’d implore someone in a similar boat to keep going until you find someone who knows what they’re doing.
Keep on fighting. Because we’re all different.

When I think of all the money and time and effort I’ve spent on other gyms and on fad diets… Even for people who haven’t exercised before but want to get in shape- go to someone who knows what they’re about, spend the money because you won’t regret it.

It’s heart-breaking to see people trying but not quite getting there because they’re not getting the right advice. FINALLY, I’ve chosen the right gym for me.

Anything else you want to add?

Just that when I first met John, I had lost all motivation, was beginning to lose faith in the fitness industry, my self-esteem was on the ground and I doubted myself hugely. I thought I had no more fight left. The reason I signed up and was able to give myself one more push was because both Sophie and John made me feel like they genuinely cared about me, they gave me my hope back and I found some more fight!! And I haven’t looked back since.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ciara, and congratulations on being chosen as
No.17’s October Athlete of the Month.

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