I suppose you can say it all began with a text. I was on my way to the All-Ireland final and I get a message from Dec, it was an offer/challenge to train hard for 12 weeks with his guidance and help to see where it would take me. Maybe it was the day that was in it that inspired me or maybe I was just feeling the two or three pints I had already swamped, but whatever it was, I said yes, I’d love too and that’s where our story begins.

Before front
After Front

At first, I loved the sound of it, but in the beginning that’s all it was to me, a nice sounding dream that I never really thought I’d be able to achieve. I have been overweight since I got injured when I was in my mid-twenties and have struggled for fitness since. I love playing football, but I haven’t enjoyed it for a long time and its down to the weight and just not being able to do the things I used to be able to do. So, when Dec set the challenge, I took it with both hands as I had nothing to lose and if it worked, wouldn’t it be great…

Heaviest in 2017
Dave with his lovely fam back at his heaviest post-injury in 2017

The first couple of weeks were mental, I made a lot of big changes quickly. I completely turned my nutrition around, before this I didn’t know anything about calories and just ate what I wanted when I wanted. Wouldn’t matter what it was, if I wanted it, and it looked nice it was getting milled and no man or woman could stop me. I’d eat fast food for fun and drink fizzy drinks like there was a shortage and as if I might never find it again. I was very unhealthy foodwise. Training wise I’ve always tried to stay active but never saw the results because of my eating habits.

Cant Outrun Bad Diet

My family and girlfriend have been a massive help, they have encouraged me and helped me right from the start. My mam has changed the type of food that she buys in to the house to keep me from temptation, she has also taught me how to cook different things so that has helped me a lot.


Karen has given up a lot too, we used to eat a lot of takeaways. We have cut that down to one a week now, we have even started looking at ways of cutting calories from that takeaway, by not getting extra toppings on the pizza etc. They are only small changes, but they all add up. Karen and I have also started going on runs together, I never thought that would happen.

As the weeks went by and the weight started to drop, I got addicted to losing weight, every time I weighed myself, I needed to be down a bit, or I’d be disappointed.

(Video is Dave’s recap at the 1/2 way point)

Week on week, I was down a bit except one and that was a low point, I was worried and was thinking about dodging Declan’s call just so I wouldn’t have to tell him. See, I know Declan all my life, he is one of my oldest and best friends, we have played football together since we could kick a ball, we went to secondary school together, when we started going to discos we went together. So, disappointing this fella wasn’t something I could do, to be honest I think Declan had more faith in me than I did. The type of belief he showed in me was a major factor in me succeeding in this challenge.

Boom is back
Teammates back in the day – good times!

After that little slip, I just put all my effort into it, in particular the nutrition side. During the challenge, I had to have an operation on my back, this meant that I couldn’t exercise or go to the gym. I thought my challenge was coming to an end and thought Declan might say, we leave it t that, you have done great so far but lets call it a day, but I was completely wrong, Declan saw it as a new challenge and one to embrace and go at all guns blazing. We discussed other things I could do and how to further improve my nutrition while I couldn’t train. In the end I actually lost more weight while recovering. This was a major boost to my confidence. After that I felt that I’m doing well here and started to feel proud of myself.


I’ve felt good and confident for the run in of the challenge, I’ve started to get lots of compliments and people have really started to notice. It is a great feeling. I feel that this experience has opened my eyes a lot. I have lost 15kg in the last 12 weeks and it has been tough, at times I was thinking what the hell am I doing, why is it 9am on a Saturday morning and I’m doing a 10km run, am I losing my marbles. Although, it has been tough, I haven’t missed out on much socially, I’ve been out a number of times at weddings and to the pub with friends etc.

Karen and Dave looking WOW

With Declan’s help I’ve been able to manage this and find a balance that works with me. Before the challenge, the next day after drinking I’d eat two takeaways and loads of chocolate, and that would continue for two or three days at least. That has changed now, now it is about getting back into my good habits and the good routine of counting the calories etc.

lightest since 25 in his 30s

Counting Calories has helped Dave to get lean and trim.

I just want to take the time to thank Declan, I’m so glad he texted me that day and offered me the chance to work with him, I’ve a different outlook and perspective on things now, I’m definitely happier and more confident in myself because of this experience.

Declan is a miracle worker, he should be known as Jesus reincarnated for the job he did whipping me into shape.

Thanks Dec!!!

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