By Grainne McCool
A fitness centre in Donegal has helped to give a formerly overweight 11-year-old boy a new lease of life thanks to a relaxed, fun approach to fitness that has seen him lose a stone in weight in just six months.
Adrian Doherty suffers from left sided weakness/hemiplegia and from a hydrocephalus for which he has a shunt in the right side of his head. Adrian also has epilepsy and has a diagnosis of autism which means he has difficulty concentrating.
“Back in June Adrian’s parents got in contact with me,” says Seanan McColgan, the founder of SMC Health and Fitness in Carndonagh, Co. Donegal.
“They wanted to know was there any way of helping Adrian become more active.
For a parent to admit there child is overweight is really hard but they had his best interests at heart. We sat down and we put a plan together.
In just six months, Adrian has made startling progress. “Adrian began training with me for one session a week for 30 minutes and now it’s increased to 45 minutes,” says Seanan.
“Each session involves a lot of fun games to raise his heart rate but also focusing on improving key elements such as his posture, movement patterns, hand eye co-ordination and strength.
“Week by week we introduce little tasks for Adrian at home, trying a little piece of fruit instead of a biscuit; having a glass of orange dilute instead of a fizzy mineral; and he would report back to me each week.
“This is not to say Adrian didn’t have any chocolate or fizzy minerals as a treat. He often refused his treat as he was happy with how he was progressing and was learning different foods that he enjoyed more, instead.
Adrian has made fantastic progress. His posture has improved so much. Adrian’s movement patterns have made amazing progress and with just small changes he has lost just under a stone in weight.”
Seanan opened SMC Health and Fitness earlier this year and says it “delivers classes in a fun relaxing environment. You will be motivated and challenged while working towards your goals.”
He wanted to open his own studio to help people and to share his love of fitness.
“I have always had a passion for health and fitness and it’s been there in me whilst growing up,” he says.
“As I got older and became even more passionate I also developed a desire to help people and encourage them to become more confident in their own body.”
Seanan is incredibly proud of the progress has Adrian made.
“I’ve not met a more determined person who is always wanting to better himself and make his parents proud of him,” he says.
“Every session he gives his all. Some days drills would be more challenging but he never gave up.
“His fitness levels are on a new level. He is now happy to try new foods without questioning and is now doing his own exercises at home because he wants to keep on progressing.”
And Seanan also humbly admits: “I have learned a lot from working with Adrian and I’ve taken so much away since our first meeting.”
Seanan is continuing his work with all age ranges and says, “I believe that people are turning towards a more healthier lifestyle now. People are starting to understand the many benefits such entails. My own motto is, ‘you only have one body, look after it’.”