Peter O’Halloran has served overseas with the Defence Forces.
An Irish fitness nutritionist who coaches people across Waterford has credited military training for helping him change lives across the world.
Defence Forces sniper instructor Peter O’Halloran won Ireland’s Best Fitness Nutritionist/Dietician award at the recent Irish Fitness Industry Awards and a few day later took the prize for Best Use of Social Media by a Gym/Personal Trainer at the Social Media Awards 2018.
The 32-year-old, who worked as a trainee cook and on building sites before joining the army 13 years ago, says the “mental side” of military life prepared him to help others reach their fitness goals. He studied personal training and nutrition in the evenings and on the weekends in Cork, followed by a further three years studying nutrition, before launching PPT Fitness and Nutrition online in 2015.
“Recruit training was physically very tough and demanding. Cardio is a huge thing in the army - when you are climbing to the top of a mountain you can’t stop and you have to overcome the doubt in your mind telling you to give up. It shows you that the body is important but the brain is more important. Learn to control the mind and you can control your body. It has given me an extra edge and has pushed me to achieve more. We have fitness tests every year in the army, and having to stay in good condition got me more and more into fitness and bodybuilding,” Peter tells Waterford Live.
Peter shares some motivational advice for people trying to lose weight.
“People need to understand that losing weight is like a long car journey - you will always have to stop for whatever reason and you might ‘fall off the wagon’. But remember, just because you stop doesn’t mean you have ruined your journey. Some people losing weight think if they have a bad day the whole thing is ruined. It's not!
“Think about it this way - if you are driving a car at 100km/h and take your foot off the pedal, it just slows down. The car is your body and slowing down won't ruin everything straight away. Get your foot back on the pedal and you will get back to speed in no time.
“Remember that you are still further on from where you started. Do not let these stops get in your head because life will always get in the way. If you want to stop for a bit then do but don't get obsessive. Get back in the car again, and it does not matter how fast you go - it's a long road at times but keep going until you reach your destination,” the corporal, based at 3 Infantry Battalion in Kilkenny’s Stephen's Barracks, continues.
In addition to his military pedigree, Peter’s “in-depth knowledge of fitness and nutrition, combined with funny fitness videos on Facebook” has seen his popularity soar in the fitness industry. He slams personal trainers who put their clients on low calorie, restrictive diets. “A lot of people do a PT course and learn the basics of nutrition. They can advise you on what to eat, but they are not really supposed to sell plans. Some of them will get into fitness and get a coach who will do up all the plans for them. They will get the body, the photoshoot and go on stage and then use their photos to get clients. People think they must be really good, when half the time it’s their coach who has got them in such good shape.
"A lot of trainers don’t have the knowledge when it comes to how food affects hormones and how the body holds water at certain times. They give you an 800 calorie diet and tell you to lose weight. The first two weeks you are going to lose weight anyway because of the drastic calorie deficit. The body will eventually go into starvation mode, your metabolism will slow down to accommodate the food you are taking in and you will hit a plateau. Your body will start to store half the food it’s taking in because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get fed again. Your body and brain become sluggish, and eventually you give up, make up eat and the weight piles back on. Think of it this way - if I ask you to hold your breath, you can hold it for a certain amount of time but eventually your brain will take over and make you breathe for survival. It's the same way with food,” Peter explains.
Peter, who trains at Clonmel’s Nitrous Gym and Fitness Centre, praises his “loyal following” for helping him achieve national recognition. He takes pride in watching his clients across the world benefit from his tailored online plans. “Without my clients I would just be a guy making plans - they have to put in the work. I have a good following and a loyal following. My clients listen to what I have to say, they follow my direction and they get the results. Also a special thanks to my wife Emma, who is the brains behind most of the social media side of things,” Peter smiles.