THIRTY YEARS ago, only Hollywood actors, top athletes, rock stars and crime bosses had personal trainers and these not always necessarily for the improvement of their mental or physical quality of life.
Nowadays, they abound. Every gym has at least three and there are many more who operate privately. With the growing proliferation of these trainers there has been a parallel growth in the publication of diet and fitness books that come in all shapes and sizes, all promising to have the ultimate formula that will make those pounds magically slip away or that 50 mile sprint over mountains seem like a walk in the park.
Whereas modern personal trainers are highly qualified and extremely skilful at what they do, this is not as apparent when they put pen to paper and translate their ability into book form. In fact, sometimes readers get the feeling there is an element of jumping on the band wagon in the sudden growth of these books.
So when one of them suddenly appears above the parapet with a solid and growing reputation, it certainly is worth looking at - all the more so when the author hails from Galway.
At first glance, Barna man Pat Divilly’s 21 Day Jump Start: The Fitness Guide, published by Blackwater Press, is yet another of a thousand similar titles. The advice and recipes seem not to present the seasoned, but failed dieter, with anything that has not been seen before. The writing is not going to win any prizes and the editing is just about acceptable.
It also soon becomes evident however, that the book has a Je ne sais quoi element about it which makes it almost compulsive reading. It exudes enthusiasm and a natural energy that is infectious. The book can be read in a sitting quite easily, and with pleasure, which, given its technical shortcomings, is a major achievement and suggests it has something real to offer.
The best way to find out what this something is was to take on the ‘21 Day Diet’. This thought was further encouraged by Divilly’s approach.
While there are plenty of the normal finger wagging - the ‘you must do this, you must do that’ element – there are other sound words of advice like: “I want you to become excited about making the principles in this book a part of your life going forward.”
However, this paragraph had the most telling personal effect:
“One of the most crucial ingredients for success is having the right people around you. A good support system is massively important, so make sure your circle of influence is one that will help keep you motivated...”
Given that herself has always been a fantastic support, particularly when it comes to a dieting regime, I have an excellent and encouraging personal trainer in Karen Concannon who is part of Sarah Thornton’s team.
That the staff in the Radisson gym are equally encouraging and helpful and that I seriously needed to look my lifestyle, it seemed an obvious decision to have a go at Jump Start especially with the long range aim of a sea change in my personal quality of life.
It was not easy, certainly not for the first couple of days, but it was effective. Over the 17 day period I had set myself, the body shed 14 pounds weight and the energy levels increased. And while I didn’t complete the full course, there is no doubt it has pointed towards a permanent change in my way of life - and that these changes have been and will continue to be beneficial. The support team proved itself to be strong and resilient and this will be crucial to continued improvements.
The 21 Day Jump Start has a great deal to offer to the reader who is seriously interested and what Divilly himself has to offer to anybody open to the challenge is invaluable. Hopefully, this is not the last we will see of him in print. On a personal level however, I might have a chat with him about his ‘Motivational Playlist’ and, please, no more cauliflower!