Do you ever ask yourself ‘how do I stay motivated?’ ‘What can I do to reach my full potential?’ ‘Who can help me to achieve this?

These are the age-old questions that we all ask when setting a particular goal in mind. Whether it is an up-coming event that you need to slip into that LBD for, or a rugby match that you need to be in top form for, we all aspire to be the best version of ourselves. With the incessant hustle and bustle of our ever-changing, fast-paced lifestyles, it can often be very difficult to juggle daily responsibilities with looking after the number one thing in our lives – ourselves.

With so many factors involved nowadays in relation to a healthy lifestyle, food and personal choices, the notion of ‘being fit’ is an undoubtedly pressurising standard.

Managing Directors at Evolution Chris O’Mahony and Mark O’Callaghan (left & centre) with Personal Trainer Will Twomey

We cannot ignore the fact that our society has dramatically changed in terms of some people making increasingly poor decisions in relation to food and exercise. According to recent research in 2011 from the National Adult Nutrition Survey Report conducted by the Irish University Nutrition Alliance, ‘26% of men and 21% of women were obese. In the same year the National Longitudinal study of Children showed that 19% of 9 year olds were overweight and a further 7% were obese.’

However, the health and fitness industry has thoroughly thrived in Ireland in the past few years, where Personal Trainers, nutrition consultants, new gyms and a ‘new me’ attitude has taken to the fore.

In a society that is often caught up with the doom and gloom of life’s chores rather than focusing on the fabulous resources that are at our finger-tips, The Circular spoke to Mark O’Callaghan, Managing Director at Evolution Health and Fitness, whose glowing positivity shines through.

O’ Callaghan, along with business partner Chris O’ Mahony, possesses a refreshing outlook on the Irish reformed view on leading a healthy lifestyle. These highly motivated and incredibly knowledgeable fitness experts are gaining clients and followers alike by the day.

Their client’s results speak for themselves – ‘without question one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life joining the lads in Evolution…  I lost 45lbs or 3st 3lbs in 3 months… I was nearly 16 stone down to 12st 9lbs. I had a custom diet plan with six clean meals a day… I feel a new man, my energy levels are unreal.’ (Paul McCarthy 2014)

With a wholeheartedly-passionate work ethic on changing people’s fitness and food choices for the better, Mark highlights the hard graft that went into setting up his own business; ‘I knew I wanted to do three things. Help people succeed, see them succeed and witness their on-going transformations.’

Mark has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Cork College of Commerce and a Masters in Business Administration and Commerce from Swansea University. Throughout his time studying every aspect of setting up a business and maintaining success, he was consistently intrigued by the ever-evolving world of fitness, and in particular, tailored personal training fitness. After years of researching, editing and compiling a business plan, the pair decided to take the plunge and launch their own personal training gym – and so, in 2012, Evolution Health and Fitness was born.

Mark opens up about his own struggle with weight issues. ‘I was always a great eater, as they say here down in Cork. I loved my food from a very young age and this progressed into my teens and early twenties. It became my absolute code of comfort, which I found very difficult to get out of. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with early arthritis, which inevitably led to a replacement hip surgery. After two years of hospital visits and physiotherapy sessions, I vowed that I would transform my lifestyle. I wanted to become physically and mentally fit.’

He certainly has achieved this goal. With an extensive range of cardio machines, free weights and resistance exercise machines, Evolution is a testament to all of the hard work both Mark and Chris have put in. Programmes like T30 promote hard work, consistency in personal training sessions and tailored meal plans involving clean eating.

In addition to this, a true testament to the businessmen’s dedicated work lies in the hands of the many successful clients they have seen come through their doors in the last three years.

In a world where an idealised view of body perfection plays a pivotal role in distorting a healthy lifestyle mantra, it is clear that young people are at risk of perceiving these images in the wrong way.

According to the 2012 study of young people’s body image between the ages of 10 and 21 years, ‘77% of Irish adolescents ranked body image as being important to them. 57% of the young people surveyed expressed some level of satisfaction with their body image, which means 43% were dissatisfied. Negative body image is considerably more prevalent among girls than boys.’

Although these facts and figures astound me to the core, I have hope that the future of Ireland’s increasingly positive view on a healthy, balanced lifestyle continues to flourish. Seeing successful people like Mark, Chris, their employees and numerous happy clients really boosted my self-motivation in my quest for the ultimate ‘fit’ lifestyle.

If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more from Mark and his colleagues, email them at evolutioncork@gmail.comphone 085-1726050, like them on Facebook, add them on Snapchat and Instagram.