Staying motivated enough to do even the smallest bit of physical exercise has been a major challenge for lots of people. Those few extra ounces became pounds, and in some cases, even stones. When your mood is low, you feel sluggish and your energy levels hit rock bottom — the last thing you want to do is think about your weight. We all often need to be reminded that life is not simply about the number on the scale, but it’s always there at the back of our minds. You tell yourself that your daily calorie intake is trivial when compared to the bigger picture: avoiding the latest Covid-19 variant. Then you have one sugary treat, followed by another.
So, if you can’t motivate yourself to move from the couch in front of the TV, and feel that you have lost your way on a fitness journey, then head along to your local gym where you’ll find a knowledgeable and dedicated expert. Someone who can help you get back on track. Someone who can lift your spirits in the way that Fifth Dimension’s song ‘Up, up and away’ will.
Former Offaly footballer Joe Quinn, owner of Aspire gym, Clara House Estate, Clara (https://aspireperformance.ie/) should be on top of your list of people to go and meet. He is someone who lives by, and preaches, a daily gospel of peak physical performance that doesn’t seem manufactured or contrived. He is just as passionate about helping elite athletes, as he is, a newcomer to achieve a manageable level of fitness.
Joe’s parents are originally from Northern Ireland; his mother is a Tyrone woman, and his father grew up in Derry. With little prospect of getting work, his father moved to Canterbury, a Cathedral City in southeast England. There he joined the Police force and met Joe’s mother who was a local midwife, “My mother would cycle around Canterbury delivering babies.” An opportunity for Joe’s father to set up his own business arose, and so the family moved back to Ireland. They chose Tullamore because it was a good central base for travelling across Ireland. “My father left a good, pensionable job to pursue a gap in the market here in Ireland to set up ‘Quinnspares’ which supplied spare parts for home appliances. Shortly, after they had moved back, I was born in Tullamore. My dad retired from the business a few years ago, but It’s still going strong.”
Any child that has grown up in a family-run business will tell you that it is impossible not to get involved, and it was the same for Joe. “I learned so much about running a business, and how you often need to take risks. But my father never forced me to go into the family business, and encouraged all of his children to follow their interests. That was good because all I wanted to do was to be fit and be involved in sport!”
Joe went to secondary school in Clara and had decided he wanted to pursue a career in sport and fitness. He had already been playing a variety of sports for both the school; local clubs and the GAA — which had become very important in his life at that point. “I wasn’t very good at GAA but got better with lots of help along the way. Eventually, I won lots of All-Ireland medals with my school. After leaving school, Joe opted to study for a B.Sc. in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Limerick. “It was the perfect degree course for me. Everything I studied was to do with improving health and fitness. Around the same time, I was playing with the Offaly Seniors and was applying all the textbook theory I was learning during classes, out on the pitch on myself. ” One massive thing that affected Joe in college was the work placement he was required to do as part of his course. “My GAA strength and conditioning coach at the time was also the coach for Leinster Rugby, and I jokingly asked if he could sort me out with work experience. He organised an interview for me with the IRFU! I got to work with the Leinster Rugby senior team for eight months. I saw first-hand how professional sports teams actively used science in their approach for peak performance. That experience planted the seed in my head to set up my own business specialising in that whole area.”
Building the base
After Joe graduated in 2006, he went travelling to Brazil and Peru in South America for about seven weeks. When he got back, he worked at a gym and saw how it was run. Armed with this knowledge, and with advice from different types of people, he decided to go into business. Joe felt he could develop a science-driven fitness centre and gym aimed at amateur and professional sports teams, and individuals.
He was fortunate he didn’t have to look too for the perfect location – he grew up in it. “About 30 years ago, my dad bought Clara House, which sits on an estate with over 30 acres of land, which was a perfect location for my venture. Joe needed funding for his start-up costs and went to his local bank, and they loved his idea. Joe used the funding to convert an old outhouse (that he played in as a child) into a fully equipped gym, together with overnight accommodation. His idea was to run training camps and offer a country setting for a retreat so that he could provide team building activities.” He named his new business Advanced Sports Performance Ireland, which was abbreviated to Aspire. Leinster Rugby’s Felipe Contepomi came down to officially open his new premises.
Joe won his first-team training client shortly after launching Aspire. A few weeks later, someone asked him to do a few sessions with their team, “Teams were ringing me and seeking my advice. They wanted to learn how to train properly. Every single team is constantly looking to beat its rivals. I have always believed sports science will get bigger as an industry. Now strength and conditioning is everywhere, but back then in 2007, it wasn’t.”
One of the main parts of Joe’s business is coaching teams, and he might be working closely with a team throughout the season. “Covid-19 struck and everything ground to a halt, so when you’re not training there’s no income. I had to cancel all my bookings for the remainder of 2020 and return the deposits. It was difficult to swallow. My accountant helped me to apply for supports, and I appreciated the financial support that the Government put in place for small businesses like me.”
Joe started doing online training programmes and developed an online app for that purpose. He also did Zoom sessions and used YouTube Live, “Zoom team training sessions have kept my business ticking over.”
If you are returning or new to fitness, then there isn’t anyone better than Joe Quinn of Aspire to make you feel safe and confident. He will understand your physical limits because he is a skilled personal trainer.
From his years in the industry, Joe has a thorough understanding of the human body and will push you in the right direction to reach your fitness goals. So, there’s ‘no show like a Joe show.’