How to Choose a Personal Trainer


Working out alone isn’t for everyone. Many of us (myself included) thrive in having somebody to share their experience with, someone to be accountable to and to help build them up when they are feeling defeated. This sort of accountability can come in many forms, such as a friend or training partner or in hiring a personal trainer. But with so many trainers out there and so much conflicting information circulating in the health and fitness world where do you even start in searching for the trainer that’s right for *you*?

1. Credentials: The industry is flooded with some very qualified and some no-so-qualified people. Do your research. Make sure you know your trainer has undergone the appropriate education before you entrust them with your body. You wouldn’t give you car to an untrained mechanic so don’t settle for anything less when it comes to your body.

2. Chemistry: A trainer can have all the qualifications in the world but if you don’t vibe with their personality you will not get the best out of the experience. You are not likely to stick with / enjoy training if you don’t actually like spending time with your trainer. Find somebody you can connect with, who you feel comfortable with and you trust. While working out with a trainer you will be pushed to your limits and physical training can unveil emotions you were never expecting to surface. Find someone you are comfortable in building this relationship with. 

3. Methodology: I say it all the time but there are a million ways to be fit and you should find the type of fitness training that you actually like doing. A good trainer is flexible and can work with a variety of clients and types of training but most will have a speciality. Search for the trainer that positions themselves as an expert in the type of training you are interested in.

4. Someone Who Genuinely Cares: It might sound obvious but find a trainer who genuinely cares about you and your goals. Don’t just hire someone because they have a big Instagram following or chiseled abs or because they have the most certifications. Hire somebody who checks in on you between sessions, who asks how you are before telling you how they’re doing, who will be in your corner rooting for you no matter what. The hour you spend with your trainer should be about YOU and your goals. Find someone who genuinely listens and genuinely cares. 

5. Somebody Who Inspires You & You Can Relate To: Your trainer is your cheerleader and sets an example for you. They should be someone who walks the walk but you should also be able to see yourself living the kind of life they are educating you to live. You will be more successful in your training if you can find somebody you can identify with. Maybe you connect with their story in some way or they do a good job teaching you how to change your lifestyle in small achievable ways. Whatever it is, your trainer should be able to motivate and inspire while showing you that a healthy lifestyle is attainable for you.

7. Somebody Positive! This is a big one! Hiring a trainer is an investment in yourself. It should always lift your energy! Hire somebody who can keep a positive spirit even while pushing you hard. Avoid any negativity, be it in their energy or the way they speak to you as a client. If you leave a session feeling defeated, low in energy or in a bad mood, ask yourself why and how that came about. You are not in a military bootcamp - your trainer shouldn’t be wearing you down to your most vulnerable self. Your trainer should be someone who can build you up to get the very best out of you. Don’t pay someone to make you feel less than you deserve to feel.

I hope this was helpful for anyone confused about where to start when hiring a personal trainer! If you had any questions I’d be happy to chat some more.

Benefits of Boxing For Fitness

Boxing for fitness has an incredible amount of health benefits but is often avoided due to its intimidating reputation. Understandably, many of us have a preconception of boxing gyms being scary, grimy places but these days that is not really the case. Many mainstream gyms and studios now offer boxing fitness classes that allow people to enjoy learning the skills of boxing in a safe, non-contact environment. Furthermore, many new boxing gyms are cropping up all over the world that cater to both those who box for fitness and those who box to compete. These are bright, clean spaces, where egos are left at the door and beginners and seasoned competitors are welcomed equally. These gyms have cleverly bridged the gap between the old school boxing gyms and 'cardio boxing' classes to create boxing fitness workouts that are accessible to the general public while maintaining the integrity of the sport of boxing. Many who train in these gyms have no intention of ever stepping foot in the ring to compete but are able to benefit from the numerous health and fitness benefits boxing has to offer. Boxing fitness is becoming increasingly trendy and popular with many celebrities citing it as their workout of choice but what is it that makes boxing so beneficial? 

1. Functional Fitness.

Functional fitness exercises recruit multiple muscles to work together to train the body for everyday life by simulating common movements you would do at home, at work or in sports. These exercises have a strong emphasis on core stability and the ability to work upper and lower body muscle groups at the same time. Because functional fitness exercises train you for everyday life they can reduce your risk of injury, improve your quality of movement and in turn, improve your quality of life. Boxing is an excellent example of functional fitness. Everything from throwing a punch to slipping or rolling (defence movements) require the use of multiple muscles - arms, legs, shoulders, hips and especially your core. Though you may never throw a punch outside of the gym, the ability to do so correctly can improve your movement quality in your everyday life and keep you safe from injury. Furthermore many of the functional skills learned in boxing are transferrable to a number of other sports. 

2. Builds Confidence. 

Though boxing can be intimidating as a beginner, it is amazing how quickly the fear disappears and confidence starts to grow once someone learns the basics. Boxing as a workout is so rewarding because you can see yourself learning and improving every single class. This generates a huge boost of confidence which travels with you far beyond the walls of the gym. Again, you may never throw a punch outside of the gym but there is something incredibly empowering about knowing you can. There is nothing quite like the feeling of connecting a really strong, technical and powerful punch with the mitts. 

3. Improved Physical Fitness.

Boxing is extremely well rounded as a physical fitness workout. In one simple activity you are working to improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, explosive power and balance to name but a few. Cardiovascular fitness is important for strengthening your heart, lungs and circulatory system, reducing your risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. As far as cardio goes, boxing is a lot more fun than spending hours on a treadmill and it comes with all the added physical fitness benefits listed above!

4. Stress Relief. 

Most of us deal with some level of stress in our daily lives. While any form of exercise can relieve stress due to the production of endorphins (our body's natural 'feel good' chemicals), boxing allows us to physically fight away those stressful feelings. Ever had a bad day and felt like punching something? You're not alone. Boxing is a safe place to let those feelings out. While the physical fitness benefits of boxing are amazing, nothing beats the emotional benefits. 

5. Massive Calorie Burn. 

In one single boxing class you will throw hundreds if not thousands of punches. Now, remember which body parts are working when we throw one punch - arms, legs, shoulders, hips and core. If you want bang for your buck as far as burning calories goes, boxing is the workout for you. Though the actual number of calories burned depends on a variety of individual factors (such as your body weight, age, exercise intensity and duration) you can be sure you will absolutely torch calories in a boxing class. This is due to the high intensity cardio element and the functional aspect of boxing - recruiting multiple muscle groups at once. If your goal is to lose weight, boxing is an excellent addition to your training regimen. 

6. IT'S FUN!

I am a firm believer that fitness should be fun, above all else. There are so many ways to move your body and so many ways to stay fit and healthy so why would you do something you hate? Many people quit their gym routine because they find it miserable and boring. Boxing is a seriously FUN workout. There is no better feeling than seeing yourself improving each week - getting more skilled, more confident and stronger! When you get comfortable throwing basic punches, the combinations you can work on the mitts are genuinely thrilling and there's no better feeling than nailing a combination of punches, defensive moves and counter punches. Try it! What have you got to lose?!


I am now available for a limited number of private one-to-one and small group boxing on Nantucket. If you are interested or would like to know more, email me or call 508 680 2216. 

Learn Constantly; My Box 'N Burn L1 Experience

Living on an island 30 miles to sea, it can be easy to get stuck in a routine and become stagnant in what you do. To up-skill and learn new things, it takes a little bit of extra effort (ferries, buses, flights) and with that, quite a bit of extra investment ($$$). But I'm a firm believer that to be truly good at what you do, you must be open to learning constantly from people who are better than you. 

"If you are the smartest person in the room, then you are in the wrong room," - Steve Jobs

I've been successfully teaching boxing fitness on Nantucket for a year but inside I've been itching to improve my skills - to learn and be as good as those I look up to. With that in mind, I spent months online scouting out boxing certifications and trainers all over the US. I wasn't willing to make the big trip off island until I found one I knew was the real deal.

My standard is high because back home in Ireland, I worked at my brother's gym The MMA Clinic. At the MMA Clinic, even the boxing for fitness classes had a strong foundation in coaching correct boxing technique and boxing specific training. This is how I learned and it's how I want to train others. Learning to box correctly is not only more fun (who doesn't love the empowering feeling of throwing a good strong, technical punch?!) - it's also safer and a better workout because you're using your whole body in a functional way. The Hatton Academy in London gave me a great basis to work from with my boxing classes but I had come to a point where I felt I was good at what I was doing and wanted to push myself to be better than that. That's when I found Box 'N Burn one day while scrolling through mitt work videos on Instagram and I immediately knew I had to train with these guys. 

So, I booked their Level 1 Box 'N Burn Academy certification course and on March 25th I hopped on an 8 seater propellor plane to escape the Nantucket winter followed by a flight from Boston to LA to spend four days soaking up as much boxing knowledge (and maybe a little bit of much needed Vitamin D!) as I possible could. It was the best decision I could have made. 

The moment I set foot in the door of the gym the morning of the course, I was filled with excitement. I hadn't been in a real boxing gym for a long time and I missed the buzz, the energy that filled the air. It reminded me of my days at the MMA Clinic all those years ago. I was greeted by Tony Jeffries - English Olympic Bronze Medallist, owner of Box 'N Burn and all around super nice guy - who made us all feel so welcome and at ease. I've taken many certification courses over the last few years but none has ever whizzed by as quickly as this one. From the get-go it was straight into practical, hands-on work. With the help of Tony, Kevan Watson, Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie and Josh Polit, we were schooled on the basics of not only how to box but how to each others to box.

"You don't have to be a boxer to teach boxing," - Tony Jeffries. 

As someone who got into boxing a little later in life (my short-lived white collar boxing 'career' shattered by a shoulder injury in my first fight - haha), Tony's philosophy "You don't have to be a boxer to teach boxing" filled me with confidence. I've always felt strongly about this but to hear it from someone as well respected as Tony Jeffries was awesome and really gave some weight to the idea behind the Box 'N Burn Academy. Some of the best coaches out there have never boxed competitively. At Box 'N Burn Academy, the focus is on learning how to be the best boxing trainer, not how to be the best boxer. 

The Box 'N Burn Academy Level 1 course strips everything back to basics yet by the end of the day (thanks to the excellent coaching by the team), participants are confidently putting each other through quick, flowing combination work on the mitts. I went there hoping to learn new things and in reality it was the stripped back drilling of the basics that made me better than I was when I walked in the door. Level 1 lit a fire under me and left me hungry for more - so much so that I'm already looking ahead to Level 2 in Austin, Texas. 


Of course, I wasn't going to fly 3,000 miles from home without getting in some sessions on the mitts myself. I booked in for one to one sessions with Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie and Mati Parks - all of whom gave me a serious workout and a humbling reminder that I have much to learn. Only when you live your life knowing that you always have more to learn and there is so much growth in the vulnerable feeling of being around those who are better than you can you ever progress to being the best you can be. How exciting that is! 

Thanks so much to Tony Jeffries, Kevan Watson, Glenn Holmes, Kerrie Christie, Josh Polit, Mati Parks and everyone I met at Box 'N Burn (especially my awesome assessment partner and fellow shortie, Kaycee Duale!) for the most amazing experience. I can't wait to be back! 

If you would like to experience the empowering feeling of boxng for fitness, I am now taking on new clients for one to one and small group training. Email or call 508 680 2216 for details.