FITNESS FANATIC Claremorris native Conor Finn, owner of AXSOM Sports, is one of Mayo’s leading Strength and Conditioning coaches.
“IT’S 6.15am when the alarm goes and I’m at the gym at 6.50am.
On a typical day I would work on the gym floor until 10.30am until Cheryl comes in and I take a 20-minute break. We’d have a primary school in from 11-12pm for sports coaching on most days. After this, I work in the office until 2pm or so before taking a break to either get a training session in myself or go home for dinner.
I’ll work at the gym pretty much until I head to Castlebar or Bekan around 5.30 or 6pm. I am on the field most evenings, except Mondays, working with any one of the Mayo GAA teams.
My afternoon and evening is usually a combination of assessments/profiling sessions, and monitoring and managing our remote athletes and teams from my computer. We have over 900 clients on our system right now between facility members, sports teams and remote athletes. We work with athletes and teams from all over the country, and some individuals training abroad.
I first got involved with Mayo GAA under Niall Heffernan at the end of 2013 with the Mayo U-21s and was brought in to the senior backroom team 12 months later under Barry Solan. I was with the Sligo minor footballers and IT Sligo Sigerson team at that time also.
It could be 10 or 10.30pm when I get back from football training and I like to go out for a walk with Lynda (my wife), read, or watch a documentary or something to help switch off, I don’t go to bed straight away if I can help it.
I try to get three training sessions in a week but it can be tough balancing it, even though I own my own gym! I work a good bit off my Apple watch – I’m fairly particular about getting the activity rings closed off every day. If I get home and haven’t got enough physical activity that day then I will head out for a walk or a run.
My introduction into the fitness industry came about seven years ago. I set up a weightlifting club at my home in Claremorris with about six or seven lads. We soon outgrew that and rented a unit in the old bacon factory in Claremorris and purchased some equipment from a loan from my dad.
That grew to 25 or 30 members and I decided to register as a business – initially as a sole trader – under Platinum Performance. I took steps to get the building where we are now on the Athletic grounds and got it built somewhat to our requirements and kitted out to spec.
We’ve been very lucky with the location from which we built our busines. We have a seven- lane 60m indoor track and 400m Olympic standard running track on our doorstep. I’ve Jim Ryan and Liam Smyth in particular to thank for this.
We’re now operating as AXSOM Sports. It’s a blend of two words: Axon, a Latin word which represents how the brain communicates with the body; and Soma, meaning body, again Latin.
PE was my first choice on the CAO but I didn’t get the points and ended up doing mechanical engineering, but I left that – twice! I then decided to follow my initial passion and go the sport and coaching route. I completed a variety of courses, some in Ireland, the UK and also in the States.
My brother Darragh and I spent three months in San Francisco in 2012 where we travelled weekly to meet with some of the top coaches and facilities in America. Around the same time I got into motorbikes and motorbike racing.
However, eventually I had a fall off the bike that prevented me working and that’s when I decided to go back to college and study Sport with Business in Sligo IT, with the view of having my own gym as the end goal.
I graduated with honours and an outstanding academic achievement award and was accepted onto a Masters programme in Exercise and Nutrition Science.
Along with my brother Darragh, we registered as a company two years ago and rebranded. At that time, John Forde, a good friend of mine, also joined the company as a shareholder.
We added a number of technologies like sprint timing systems, force plates and jump mats to enable us to accurately profile and test everything we support our athletes in improving.
Everybody we work with is screened prior to having a programme assigned to ensure every exercise that they are prescribed can be performed cleanly and without compensation or pain. No two people are the same, even if their end goal is.
I am extremely fortunate with the coaches I have working with me - Darragh, Seán Boyle, Martin Connor and Cheryl Saxton. We also have a college placement student, Rachel, who has been with us for a number of months.
We’ve just opened an elite room at the centre. This area houses all of our technology based equipment and is primarily used for our one-to-one and profiling sessions. Our remote athletes would visit here every couple of weeks for progress check-ins and personal coaching.
We’ve a lot of stuff in the pipeline that we’re hoping to unveil in the next couple of months – we want to support as many clients and athletes as we can, and so we’re really going after the most scalable aspect of our business in our remote services.”
In conversation with Ger Flanagan
Name: Conor Finn
Occupation: Owner of AXSOM Sports Ltd
If money was no object, what would you do all day?
I’d still do what I do, just with more time off.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
I used to compete in Olympic Weightlifting.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Street food in Penang, Malaysia.
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
Yosemite National Park, California.
What makes you angry?
Name three things that are always in your fridge?
Milk, eggs, meat.
Favourite TV show?
Capetown, South Africa.
What do you miss most about being a kid?
What’s your most prized possession?
Best advice you ever got?
“Do something every day that your future self will thank you for.”
Describe yourself in three words?
Honest, motivated, driven.
How do you unwind?
Walk, read or chill out with Lynda.