Mixing College and Work (Joey O’Riordan, Coach)

Hi Joey here, some of you may already know me, as I have recently started coaching at Gravity Fitness. I have been working as a personal training for a couple of years and was keen to start working for a gym that had a training philosophy in keeping with my own, that relates to my college course. With that said, Gravity Fitness has been a perfect fit for me. I have loved my time so far and really enjoyed getting to know the clients and enhancing my learning from the team at Gravity. Gareth asked me if I would write an article about how I’m finding working at Gravity while going to college full time as well.

In 2015 I started studying Sports Management and Coaching at Blanchardstown IT. I had recently completed my personal training certification at the Portobello Institute and I was keen to further my knowledge in this area. My interest in personal training and Strength and Conditioning started at an early age when I learned that increasing strength would help to increase my speed on the football pitch. Sadly, I’m still no Usain Bolt but would like to think I have learned a thing or two about Strength and Conditioning along the way. Over time, my interests have spread to a variety of other related areas such as general health and fitness particularly nutrition, periodization and mobility. I was drawn to the course when I learned about the great variety of modules that are delivered on the course over the four years. I realised that it was a unique course that involved a lot of practical learning that would enable me to develop a skill set that would set me up for a career in the Health and Fitness Industry and thankfully I have not been disappointed.

Approximately half of the course is business related and entails modules in areas such as finance, accounting, sport club operations, e commerce etc. The other 50% of the course is dedicated to sport and fitness modules which involve a lot of practical learning such as long-term athlete development, personal training, strength and conditioning, adapted physical activity, periodization, olympic lifting and much more. The two modules I have found to be particularly interesting would be the Functional Movement screening modules and Periodization modules. At Gravity Fitness this is one of our most important elements of the programming. The correctives are used throughout the warm-ups and/or cool down to address issues that clients may have. It’s great to see this being put into practice and has also helped greatly to increase my knowledge further in the area.

The second area that has really impressed me at Gravity Fitness and tied in well with what I have learned in college is the use of periodization in the programming, again something rare to find in gyms in Ireland.  I have spent several years learning about periodization and its application fitness and sport. In sport it is typically used as an approach to prepare the body for peak levels of performance at specific stages of the year such as a competition for example. However, periodisation has a huge role to play in for the rest of us every day gym goers as well. There are several benefits to gain from a periodized training plan such as reducing injuries, preventing burn-out, improving recovery and maximising results in fat loss and muscle building. Every month at Gravity Fitness the cycle changes to help achieve some of the benefits listed above. As the clients know only too well, the last month has been dedicated to high repetition work. Despite what some of the clients might claim this was not intended as some form of torture (!) but serves a much greater purpose in the greater picture including:

  • Helping to increase slow twitch fibre ratios which means increased hypertrophy
  • Increasing muscular endurance, which means the ability of your muscle to resist fatigue will be improved when you go back to lower rep training.
  • Avoiding overtraining and burn-out: your body will have time to repair from the lower rep and heavier workouts.

With all of this considered, from corrective exercise to periodized training I can be confident that I am working in a gym that works to provide the best training possible to help clients reach their goals in a safe and effective manner. I can also be confident that I am in a great environment to continue improving my own learning and become a better coach.