Amanda Kelly is one of the country’s most experienced personal trainers, based at Bodybyrne Fitness on Clarendon Street. I’m lucky enough to have been training with her twice a week for the past two years. I absolutely love it, and it’s fair to say that she really pushes me! I love being challenged, and she is constantly thinking up new moves, regimes and introducing heavier weights to continuously keep my body guessing. I’m generally a red, sweaty, dishevelled mess after an hour with Amanda, but I always feel great for it and it’s difficult to beat the feeling of being strong, fit and healthy.
I’ve picked her brains a little bit here on all things fitness:
Hi Amanda, tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve always been very sporty and started training as a gymnast from a very young age. Even as a child I remember asking my coaches loads of questions about training and why we were doing certain exercises! All the way through school, I competed in gymnastics, athletics and basketball. When I got a bad knee injury in my teens and needed surgery I couldn’t train in those sports at the same intensity so I needed a different outlet to train. It was at this point that I started doing some more resistance training and researching ways to maintain my strength and fitness while injured. Really this is where my interest in fitness began and I realised I didn’t just want to do it as a hobby but as a career, leading me to do my degree in sports science and health in DCU and my masters in strength and conditioning in the University of Edinburgh.
The best part of my job is seeing my clients get results they want and reaching their targets, because I train such a variety of individuals that could range from a client losing weight or being able to run a 10km charity race, getting a bride ready for a wedding. It’s always satisfying knowing that my clients not only look and feel better about themselves, are more productive and have more energy following training sessions.
Or personally, I love helping a woman maintain their fitness levels during pregnancy. I do get to know my clients well and its great to be part of that journey with them both pre and post natal. Training is something that women can often give up when they become pregnant but as long as there are no issues its very safe to continue to exercise, as long as the intensity is monitored and you listen to your body.
How many days a week do you exercise?
Is it difficult to find the time to train yourself after a day of helping others to get fit?
As much as my busy schedule will allow I usually try and get a training session completed in the middle of my working day, personally I train better in the middle of the day rather than at the end of the day when I might have trained 10/11 clients that day.
I always plan out my training at the start of the week when my clients have booked in so I ensure that I get my own training sessions completed. If I’ve had long day and have to train in the evenings, I might do 20-30mins of interval training, rather then a heavy legs day, which I’d save for another day when I’ve more energy and time.
Do you feel under pressure to remain at a high level of fitness all year round?
I suppose there is a certain amount of pressure to look a certain way, and as a trainer I think it’s vital that I look like I train regularly and eat really well. I cant tell clients to train hard if I’m not doing it myself, so for me it’s definitely a case of practising what you preach. Training is all I know because I’ve been doing it from such a young age and I love to do it, so if I’m sick or injured, I find it so frustrating not being able to train. I do train hard and eat well all year round but I must admit if I’m going away on holidays I will be a little less strict with myself than usual. I will allow myself a cheat at the weekend, whether that’s having a few drinks or going out for dinner and allowing myself to have a dessert. Having that balance is really important for me, so that I don’t feel guilty about having a treat.
What is the most popular type of exercise amongst your clients?
The most common exercise I tend to do with clients are squats, I always tell my clients if they were only to pick one exercise to ever do again then it would have to be squats. They’re such a great exercise that can work a lot of muscle groups. Also there is such a variety of ways you can perform squats to target specific muscle groups. For example overhead squats are a great way to target abdominal muscles, so with my clients I can hit leg muscles, abs and shoulders all at once.