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Craig McInerney, Damien Murtagh Dec 8, 2019 12:00:00 PM 11 min read

Damien's FFS Story - What makes FFS Gyms Different

"In my opinion the best thing about the gym are the other members. Everyone is encouraging, no one is judgmental, in fact in my experience other members have been some of the most helpful and motivating people in the gym. It’s a community. You can feel the positive atmosphere when you walk in the door...."- Damien (Damo) Murtagh - FFS Gyms Member
It's not the equipment and space that makes a great gym. It's great people that make a gym great ! It's been really exciting to welcome so many new members to our new gym at the Ivy Exchange and I'm thrilled that Damien is one of them. Here he shares his experience of FFS to date.

"So like a typical stereotype, along came January and I thought, right I’m going to join a gym. I was working In Fitzwilliam Square and a quick Google search of gyms in the area led me to FFS. The reviews seemed great. I sent an email and literally within an hour I had booked in to go down to look at the gym with Brian. I was so nervous, the idea of joining a gym was daunting. I went. My fears were quickly alleviated upon meeting FFS Coach Brian, he explained the timetables, the types of workouts, the ethos of the gym and the other services available, nutrition, PT etc. and answered all my questions, I had a lot. So I bit the bullet and signed up for a trial class in something called a Met-Con, whatever that meant.
I got 12 minutes through my 45 min class before I had to stop. Ego crushed I had to sit out the rest. I wanted to quit but Cathal another coach and Brian explained that this is hard work but it gets better and you will see results.. I made a decision to join the gym proper and it’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had a consultation with the coaches to highlight any injuries that may affect my training, had my weight taken and sat down to discuss my goals, I just wanted to feel fitter. Cathal again explained the classes and recommended what classes I should start with and the frequency of those classes. I couldn’t believe it but I was excited about joining a gym! 14 year old Damien would be laughing! 14 year old Damien was all Nintendo and junk food.
So what’s so great about FFS, let’s start with the coaches. Firstly they genuinely have a passion for what they do...They explain exercises clearly and show proper technique, think you know how to do a push up properly??, I did, but I was wrong. They are consistent, I’m sure that they have bad days, but in all my time this has never affected their positive attitudes. They want you to succeed. They always remember my name and take time to check in with me, “Morning Damo, how’s the body?”, “ it’s getting better!”. They are motivators, I wanted to quit all the time but I was encouraged at every stage, given achievable goals and always told to aim for “Progress Not Perfection” a mantra I now live by.

Onto the classes. The classes are thought out and very well structured to get the most out of 30min, 45mins or an hour of training. They also vary from month to month so you are constantly improving and not just focusing on one particular exercise or set of benefits. My favourite is the Met-Con, yes that’s the thing I couldn’t do for more than 12 minutes when I first started. It’s a 45min HIIT class, so you will be rowing, doing jumping jacks, thrusters, ski erg in a measurable environment. When I have only 30 mins then the Bodyweight Blitz class was ideal, a mixture of strength and aerobic work. The Strength and Conditioning classes are strength based exercises and as they are set over 8 weeks so I can measure how much stronger I am getting, and believe or not I am getting stronger!
What about the other members. In my opinion the best thing about the gym are the other members. Everyone is encouraging, no one is judgmental, in fact in my experience other members have been some of the most helpful and motivating people in the gym. It’s a community. You can feel the positive atmosphere when you walk in the door, sounds made up? Walk into any of the gyms and feel it for yourself. We have group night outs, community events, fundraising activities and the amazing Summer BBQ. Work hard play hard right?

I recently made the move from the South Side gyms to the new gym in the Ivy Exchange. I was worried that I would have to change my routine, miss out on certain classes, be late to the classes I could make and that I wouldn’t know anyone. I had nothing to worry about. The timetable has classes to suit my needs, ..and as for not knowing anyone, I forgot how strong this community is. Everyone is so welcoming and they couldn’t introduce themselves quick enough. Even got a hair tie in my first week from another member, yes, I have a man bun now…. It’s terrible.

In summary, joining FFS is one of the best decisions I have ever made, I am a better person for doing the classes, I have consistent sleep, much more energy I have lost weight and gained muscle. If you are thinking about joining I can’t convey how much benefit you will get from this gym. Its daunting to join a gym when you don’t know what to expect but with FFS expect all the advice, encouragement, tools and motivation that will you need."
- Damo Murtagh, FFS Gym Member & Resident Style Icon
Find Out More
If you want to become a stronger version of yourself with FFS Gyms Ivy Exchange, then try a free trial class and ask a coach about why we are more than just a gym.
About the Author

Craig is Director of FFS Gym at the Ivy Exchange. Our brand new gym located opposite the Rotunda Hospital, just off Parnell Street. He is an S&C Coach, Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach and program director of our Suspension & Body-weight Program across all 3 FFS Gyms. If you would like to know more about training at #ffsnorth contact him here
Email Craig at craig@ffs.ie
Find Craig on Instagram at @craig_ffs

Damo in his own words: "I am 36 years old, originally from the depths of Mullingar so I can’t say 33 properly, living in Dublin for about 17 years. By day I work in the exciting world of insurance, luckily I love my job! In my spare time I’m an Improv Comedian and have been doing that for about 5 years now performing all around Dublin and have been lucky enough to perform at the Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival and Improvfest Ireland. I recently started volunteering with a charity called “Give Your Skills” and I am co-creator of Dublin’s first and only Free Fringe Festival “Frayed Festival” which runs in September."
Find Damo on Instagram at @murtaghdamien