Follow Jackie Healy-Raes Journey where he will keep us updated with his struggles, his reality and the mental toughness needed ON A JOURNEY TO FIT AND HEALTHY! 
12th September- 19th September 2016
Week 1
Jackie’s Journey
So here I am again, walking through the door of Hercules Gym, all 93Kg of me, that’s right 93Kg. For someone who is only about 5ft 6in that is not good. I haven’t been back training with the great coach himself Ronan Kiely since Dec 15 where I left him about 78Kg and with a body fat of less than 9%, easy to say that I left him in the best shape of my life.
Needless to say I am back now though worse than I was before I met Ronan, this obviously purely through fault of my own, shit eating, no routine, no exercise at all being done !! So I have reached the point where you look in the mirror and your disgusted with what you see, you go to pick out a nice shirt but lone behold the buttons won’t close. That’s really when I hit rock bottom especially mentally. So obviously for me it was time to get serious and contact Ronan.
The first week is always the hardest, I keep telling myself that , so does Ronan and it’s no surprise that our first session has me left dead, our plan is simply to go 3 days a week for 15 weeks, very manageable, no excuses to be found there, I think everyone can make time to workout at least 3 times a week !!
I am keeping this more for myself but always for Ronan to monitor exactly whats going on and if it can relate to anybody out there who maybe in the same situation as me, because to be honest I was abit embarrassed going back to the gym, considering the last time people in there saw me I was in a lot better shape and it can be abit hard for people especially if it’s the first time they’ve been in a gym.
But, as always Ronan and his crew at Victory Fitness are true professionals, making you feel at home every time you visit, it does make it a lot easier when you have someone there motivating you, laying out your diet plans etc and you really come away knowing you gave it your all and that what this first week have been for me.
By Saturday, 5 days in I had lost 2.8Kg already and that’s just the first week, ultimately I have 14 weeks left to get to around 78/80Kg and that’s a damn good start in my book and gives me plenty motivation to kick on. Its tough work but when you step on that scales and see the difference especially after 5 days, it’s the kick and pick me up you need.

Week 2
Monday 19th September – 26th September 2016

This week started as the last one ended with one focus, that was on my food and my training, the first 2-3 weeks are always the hardest and that never changes, once you get over the first few weeks you start to see that change and it starts to get easier to stick to the routine that you are in, you have fully detoxed from the shitty food you have been eating for  weeks the 2/3 litres of water I am drinking a day has begun to flush me out and I am feeling much better and again this is only after a full 7 days.

As I said before I am training just 3 days a week with Ronan but I am playing hurling and I am training with the club also 3 days a week with the last 2/3 weeks so that is obviously a big help to me as well. The training with Ronan has gone well throughout this week, but make no mistake it is tough, no shortcuts until you get it done and that is what you get when you sign up with Victory, you will be pushed to your limits but I do believe that it isn’t until you push yourself to your limits that you will begin to see change.

I would be lying that when I weighed in on Saturday I was very disappointed, I was down to 90.2 Kg but I really wanted to get under the 90Kg this week and was very disappointed not to have hit that target, but Ronan has reassured me not to worry, I do have 14 weeks left so maybe I am being hard on myself, I still lost over 1Kg and like Ronan said if I did that every week for the next 13/14 weeks I would be well under 80Kg, so I do see his point.

I am going to keep the head up and not worry about the weight too much for now once is keeps moving in the right direction I am happy, but there will always be ups and downs on a journey but no good complaining about it, as Ronan always says “Trust the process”, he hasn’t failed me in the past so I don’t see reason to doubt him now.

Week 3
Monday 26th September- 3rd October 2016
 This week by far was the toughest of all so far mentally, I trained Monday with Ronan and with my hurling club on Tuesday evening, but due to work commitments I found myself travelling to Dublin for 3 days which takes me well out of my routine and into a world full of distractions and temptation.
 Unfortunately, I am very easily lured back into eating shitty food and giving into my cravings a lot, in other words when it suits me I take the easy option. But I knew if I did that I would be cheating nobody only myself, the journey to fitness and being healthy really is all about disciplining yourself, of course you are going to have your cheat days here and there but it really isn’t sustainable to be eating crappy food all of the time, especially when you want to be active because trust me it all catches up on  you and I know that better than anyone, going from a near 78Kg all the way back up to 91Kg, it’s not pretty.
 So off to Dublin I met where the minute you get out of the car I think I could smell McDonalds, honestly, Grafton Street literally around the corner and I can picture it in my head, here I am with my shitty lunch box full of rice, chicken and lettuce thinking what the hell am I doing and telling myself just to go for it and throw the lunch box in the bin, but I again, what does that get me, 20 minutes of comfort food, before not only will I feel guilty but I will again be hungry, that is 100% the worst thing about fast food, you no longer have it eaten before you are hungry again.
 But it was a tough few days but I got through it, I feel water really helps when I feel hungry or have a craving, also a protein bar to kill any chocolate cravings are great, really helps take your mind off it. What really got me through it I think was thinking of myself in 13 weeks, do I want to look back on this and say to myself, yes I did my best but if only I didn’t have that takeaway and that bag of taytos, no way, I am 3 weeks in and I know it’s not a lot but to me I have come a long way in the last 3 weeks and you can accomplish so much in a short space of time.
 Back down to Ronan on Saturday, weighted in and YES, finally back below 90Kg, took a week longer than I thought it would but it’s there and another loss of over 1Kg, its going in the right direction which is down and what I love is when you have that little monkey in your head saying eat this and eat that, send Ronan a Viber Message and he won’t be long knocking that idea out of your head, its nearly 4 weeks now and I’m anxious to have over a stone lost so here’s to next week.

 Week 4

Monday 3rd October – 10th October 2016
A great week in the bag, between training with Ronan and training with my club, things have really began to come together and its only been 4 weeks, I am so much fitter now than I was 4 weeks ago, it really is scary what you can do with your body with 4 weeks of training and clean eating and that is what it is down to, consistent training and clean eating.
 I won’t lie, I found myself at times this week getting abit complacent in that I was finding myself having a cracker here and there, maybe even a biscuit or 2, a slice of toast with my turkey rashers instead of the soda bread because I said I am losing the weight and with all the training I am doing it won’t matter, more or less rewarding myself, but that wasn’t long stopping before it got out of hand.
 Training with Ronan is getting harder because he is upping the intensity, breaks are getting less and the circuits are getting harder, he is pushing me before we move onto the next step, to get the weight down more before we move onto incorporating more weights to the sessions, for the last 4 weeks it has all been cardio and it has been very hard, every session will leave you sweating buckets but that’s good, that’s what you want, to leave the gym knowing you did everything, finished it all and you feel great after it.
 We did a few shoulder exercises with weights, I seen him coming with 7.5Kg dumbbells and I was saying to myself surely he will give me something heavier than that, but after one set I wasn’t saying that, in fact it was quite the opposite, crazy how I could’ve done shoulder presses with 25kg Dumbbells a few months ago and here I am with 7.5Kg but that will come back, all part of the process.
Saturday is always my favourite day and most anxious to see how much weight I have lost, because my family have started saying how I have lost a nice bit of weight, I even find myself fitting back into stuff that 4 weeks ago wouldn’t get down over my belly.
I am down just another Kg bringing me to over a stone lost in 4 weeks, but I was kind of disappointed not to have lost more, but I go back to what I said at the start, the beginning of the week I allowed myself get complacent and almost reward myself.
So for this coming week, 1Kg of a loss won’t be good enough, It has to be more , the eating will be 100% on point along with my training to make sure I hit my target, I am the only one who can do this, nobody else can do it for me, always remember that, if you’re asking yourself questions, its only you can decide when to start, how you do it, when you do it, but it’s all about making that first step and that for me happened 4 weeks ago, and thanks to my belief in Victory Fitness and trainer Ronan I have lost over a stone in 4 weeks, onto the next step now.
Jackie’s Blog
Week 5
Monday 10th October – 17th October 2016
I started off this week how I feel I should every week, I wrote out a list of 5 goals that I wanted to complete and pinned it to the mirror in my room, so that every morning when I wake up the first thing I see Is what I said I wanted, because the only person who can drive this is myself, everyone can only do this and that for you, but If you’re not willing to do it yourself then it simply won’t happen.
I let myself get a bit complacent last week, I was disappointed my weight hasn’t gone down more considering all the training I have been doing, I guess It really does just reinforce that the diet is the NUMBER 1 factor in losing weight and achieving your goals.
As the last number of weeks have passed, I finally find myself fitting back into some of the clothes that simply would not fit me 4/5 weeks ago and it feels great, I remember being in a shop a few months ago and seeing a lovely shirt and got the size I would normally be and the buttons simply wouldn’t close, that for me was crushing and its things like that which put me back on the saddle.
With my hurling game this week I trained with Ronan only twice this week and with the club lightly for 2 nights, intensity wasn’t very high which is a good thing to stay fresh for the game, at the end of the week I still have ended up with my goal of dropping over a the KG, losing 1.3Kg this week which really have boosted my spirits.

The game went well felt fit, so much so that I felt I could have played another hour, but its back to the gym, onto the next step, the weight is coming down nicely and time to start shaping it, time to hit the iron !!!
Jackie’s Blog


Week 6
Monday 17th October – 24th October 2016
This week seen a welcome return to doing some weights, even though it was very hard on the body for the first few days it was great to get back, time have absolutely flew over the last 6 weeks and seeing the picture Ronan put under the blogs there is some difference to the first day to now even and I cannot believe how fast it has been, not easy, but it shows that hard work and discipline can do it.
To hear friends and family saying I have lost a lot of weight already it great, hearing little comments like that really drive me on because it means what I am doing is working, a lot of that obviously goes to Ronan because he is training me and with him and Susie keeping on top of me about my diet it shows that if you trust the process it really works. For the first time in 6 weeks I am eating something that chicken fillets, thank god for a change, Turkey Burgers are back on the menu, its great and I love them, I would advise anyone looking for a break away from Turkey Burgers, get down to Matt the Butchers in Tralee and pick them up, so lean, not fat on them and they are so tasty.
This week of training has been very hard on the body, doing both, training with Ronan which was a lot of weights this week and training with the club which was a lot of hard running has taken its toll. But the best thing about all of that and when your diet is on point, the result on Saturday when you weigh in, which was just under 86kg giving me over 1.4Kg drop this week.

I cannot wait to up the weights and bring this body into shape coming into the Christmas period.

Week 7
Monday 24th October – Monday 31st 2016
This week was low key, 2 days training with Ronan before our big game on Saturday in Waterford in the Munster Championship. Monday, we did the heaviest sessions, having got back into the weights in the last couple of sessions it was good to get a good weights session in especially focussing on the legs and making sure that my hamstrings and glutes were firing before Saturday.  
The food has got easier and easier as the weeks have gone by, but it is coming to a point where I’m saying to myself “I’m sick of eating the same shitty thing every day” which will obviously happen, I find myself in a routine where it’s easy to just repeat and repeat the same meals every day, but it gets boring, mentally you get tired of it and realistically you can’t keep it up in the long term.
It would be lies to say that I wasn’t crippled after Monday, it was the first hard leg session we have done since starting with weights and my arse is on fire making it even hard to sit down, but I guess that’s all part of it, Wednesday was tough with my legs still sore we focused on speed work and reaction time.
It one thing that I really like about Ronan, his ability to adapt to what you need or anything that is coming up, for instance in my case adapting our workouts to ensure that I was maximising weight loss but also ensuring that what we were doing was going to maximise my performance in a game.
I am writing this as I am on the bus to Waterford, everything over the past 7 weeks have gone to plan, throughout any kind of journey like this, you will question yourself, you will begin to think you are not changing enough, you yourself will always be your worst critic and always remember the biggest fucker of a thing that was ever invented because you never see yourself the way that other see you, you will always think less, so my advice fuck it out and keep the head up and battle on.
 Jackie’s Blog
Week 8
Monday 31st October- Monday 7th November 2016
I cannot believe we are 8 weeks in and that we are into the first week of November aswell, we are approaching Christmas fast and the number of weeks that I have to get to my goal is getting shorter.
Having lost our match at the weekend, for me it was a great experience playing in Munster, but it will also give me that break now that I need to really focus on my training with Ronan and the weights consumed that a lot this week in order to try and get my body to take shape.
It gets better every week when more of the clothes in my wardrobe that didn’t fit me before now do and that is how I am measuring my progress, not by standing in front of a mirror every morning and judging myself, but by literally trying on clothes that didn’t fit me 8 weeks ago and it’s amazing to see the changes and clothes that I had bought when I was fatter now being too big for me, my waist line is coming in and it feels great.
Ronan tells me that the nutrition will be changing up next week, so a visit to Susie at this stage is most welcome to see if we can bring in more food and allow myself to get stop being negative about the nutrition that like I said last week I am getting bored of.
My Journey here with Victory Fitness is all about getting me back to the way I was about 12 months ago and then incorporating an 80:20 healthy lifestyle that I can keep to, because its not good me busting my ass to get to my goal to keep it for 3 months and eat shit and abuse my body again to have to go back and start all over again , but instead being good 5 days a week, keep my training going, but also live my life without feeling guilty about having a bar of chocolate because  at the end of the day life is for living but you can have the best of both worlds, a good healthy lifestyle.
Training with Ronan has been intense this week, a lot of weight work but always finishing with 20 mins of conditioning which can really be a lucky bag, from core, to ropes, sprints, working with the weighted sled, it really can be whatever Ronan can come up with to really work up a sweat and kill me for 20 mins, but once you catch your breath after the session you really do feel great and believe me nothing beats leaving the gym knowing you killed yourself in there.
There was one day this week, where I was just tired, feeling shitty and had a damn bad attitude with Ronan, asking “why we doing this, it’s stupid” and just in bad form and those days will happen, but by God he won’t be long knocking that bullshit out of you and making sure you don’t leave that gym without killing yourself and giving him 110% and that’s what you need, especially when you know you won’t do it by yourself and that’s sometimes where I struggle, but with Ronan there towering over you telling you to cop on, you won’t be long getting back in line.
Jackie’s Bog
Week 9
Monday 7th October – Monday 14th October 2016
Today’s Friday, doing my blog abit earlier this week because otherwise I will be late AGAIN and in 3 days’ time all I will hear “WHERE’S MY FUCKING BLOGS” so this way nobody can say anything to you.
I suppose I want to say firstly, that I do hope that those of you who put themselves through the pain of actually reading these, I hope they help. I want people to see that you can be like me who walked into the gym at 93KG, I needed to change, but the only person who could change it was myself, I was the only person who could take the first step and that was to contact Victory Fitness because I needed someone to help me.
So I would advise that anyone who is reading this today and isn’t sure if they would like to do or feels too shy or doesn’t think they would be comfortable going to a gym, have a 30 minute sit down with Ronan in the office, have a chat with him and he will put you completely at ease and will tell you what he can do for you, but obviously a lot of it comes down to the person themselves.
That’s my little rant over for now, this week so far has been a lot better than the last few, I met with Susie on Monday and we changed up my nutrition and I am now able to track what I’m eating and how much protein, carbs and fats I am having daily with an app called “My Fitness Pal” its very good, you can easily scanned the barcode of the food you are eating and it gives you all the nutritional values in that, you can plan you foods for the next day and see exactly how many calories etc you will be taking in which is great and it gives me a wider scope to the food im allowed to eat as long as I meet my daily target of protein, carbs and fats which is great and a welcome change for me.
Monday was a killer, legs with conditioning was the name of the game Monday. It was really a great workout, really got a sweat on and was very happy with myself leaving the gym, a lot of core work and a lot packed into one session but killed my legs.
Wednesday was a change, I got to train with Victory’s newest personal trainer Shane, we did a really great chest work out which really go the chest pumped and finished with what he specialises in Conditioning or simply killing people for a living, but no, he is a great addition to the team at Victory Fitness, really has a great knowledge and a great trainer so be sure to give him a good welcome, but be mindful he will kick your ass and get the very best out of you during your session which Is what you want.
So, back in this evening, not sure what Ronan will throw at me but we will have to wait and see and finish off the week with my weigh in and morning session tomorrow, it’s been a good week happy with the new nutrition, Christmas is coming thick and fast and looking forward reaching that goal, we are well and truly on track.
Week 10
Monday 21st October- Monday 28th October 2016
A lot of change came my way this week, my sessions with Ronan got a lot more intense focusing purely on high intensity weight sessions and I really enjoyed them, but that wasn’t before Monday night, when as agreed with Ronan to keep up my cardio I would take the Victory Fitness class, this to me sounded ridiculous, I was like thinking to myself “what am I doing this shit for, this class is going to be way too easy for me” well I love to be proven wrong and wrong I was.
The class was unbelievable, the sweat that came off me Monday night was ridiculous, it really was a great intense workout and I struggled a lot as time went on with stuff that I would consider to be “really easy”, but you definitely only get out of it what you put in. Shane and Tommy Monday night really pushed everyone in the class Monday night to be fair to them, even though I did a lot of giving out to them and all the 2 of them did throughout the session was pick on me it was a super workout to be fair.
The rest of the week  was quite, super intense weight session with Ronan for 4 days and other than that to be honest this week was a run of the mill kind of one, not much to report, everything normal, nothing too drastic to report.
Jackie’s Blog
Week 11
Monday 21st November – Monday 28th November 2016
Where do I start with the last week, it’s been a tough one, the last 11 weeks have been tough, has there been a significant change, yes, but am I happy with it, well at least I thought I was until Thursday, even though when I look at the pictures of the last couple of week and see how much my body has changed I have allowed the weighing scales to dictate the way I have been feeling mentally.
I stepped onto the weighing scales on Thursday and see that my weight has gone back up to 87kg, “what the hell  is happening” I ask myself, I am disgusted with myself, I feel like shit, fat, useless and again I am asking myself “why”??.
But I know why, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself, to Ronan, to Susie or to anyone, because usually when I have a problem I like to fix it myself instead of asking somebody for help. The reason I am where I am is because I have been struggling with nutrition, my biggest problem is when I am stressed, trying to cope with something, I turn to food and I mean I turn to food, I would eat you out of house and home in less than an hour.

After seeing my weight on Thursday, instead of doing exactly what Ronan told me to do which was not to worry, because the weight is only a number, he said “your body is changing so there is not need to worry, keep in contact with me throughout the day and you will be fine” what did I do in my infinite wisdom, I shut off, from Ronan and anything gym related, I was upset, I wasn’t happy with myself and I was trying to find something to blame instead of looking at the real problem which was and is myself only and my eating habits which have to stop, that night in the space of 15 minutes, I had a bag of popcorn, 2 bags of Doritos with melted cheese and 3 cans of Fanta, now even when I’m looking at that I am thinking to myself “what the fuck is wrong with you”.
I do always feel guilty after, I do not know what the hell is wrong with me when I do stupid shit like this, it’s always the same cycle, do really well in the gym, lose weight but never quite let myself get all the way because I fall off the wagon, I think it’s something that I need to actually seek help with because if I don’t it may affect me later in life.
When I finally spoke to Ronan he has really opened my eyes to the whole situation, I do have a problem with food, for the nect 3 weeks we are going to continue with my programme because I will go cold turkey, but come January something Is going to have to change in my life because over the last 2 years especially it has always been the same, do really well and fuck it up by turning to the same shitty food that I always do, maybe its because I am afraid of failing and instead of failing I sabotage myself so that I can say “oh well I didn’t actually fail, this or that happened” either way It is a problem that I am going to have to face.
Week 12
Monday 28th November  – Monday 5th December 2016

This week started as the last one ended, me struggling, I had a long chat with Ronan on Monday night and it was quite refreshing to have him talk to me about the challenges that I face myself mentally, because that has been the toughest part of all this journey for me.

Have I failed myself ?? I think I have, can I redeem myself ?? I will but can I do it in the next 2 weeks, no !! Am I happy with the progress I have made since my first week, yes, could I have done more, definitely, for me it hasn’t been the session that I found tough, even though they were, but it has obviously been the nutrition that has got at me the most. When I say I am happy with my progress, I am happy with it for now,  but by god when the New Year come and we are back, I cannot allow myself to fall into the same holes that I find myself getting trapped in all the time.

I simply  use food to cope with all aspects of my life, if im not happy with something, if I am stressed at work, upset, angry, I simply turn to food like an alcoholic would turn to drink. I can go weeks without touching rubbish food, but by God when something happens that triggers my urge for food nothing will stop me, I will go so far as to hide the stuff I am eating from my family and friends to make it appear as though I am still sticking to my diet, so it really is an issue of I have.

I have never really spoke about it before because I didn’t see it as an issue, but when I look at myself, I could have had so much better progress if I was able to control my nutrition a lot better, I blame nobody only myself, I have to take responsibility and fix the problem which I am working on, because Ronan can give me all the sessions, programs etc in the world but if I can’t nail it nationally, I will keep sliding back down the hill as soon as I see the top because It has happened before and this is my second time of trying and I find myself in the same situation again.

I am extremely disappointed in myself, but again I have to admit I have made good progress but not enough progress for the amount of sessions I have done, I should’ve been 82Kg 4 weeks ago, the fact that I am not is nothing but my own fault.

I will learn yet again from my mistakes, I am where I am, I am a lot better off then where I was when I first went back, a big difference, look at the pictures, but I have along way to go to get to where I want to be.

It sounds like this is my last blog but It will not be, plenty more to come, I hope that anybody reading these can relate and might get others going to the gym aswell who struggle like I do, stay tuned over the next few weeks.