MR MUSCLE Jay Daly flexes his muscles during a competiton.
Currently, I’m four weeks out from the NIFMA European Championship to be held in Dublin. I compete in the Men’s Physique and Classic Bodybuilding categories. The IFBB (International Federation of Body Building) introduced these categories ten years ago because the public could not relate to the sport as some of the professional guys looked like monsters on stage. Men’s Physique is basically the Californian beach body look where one’s abs and general condition is what counts.
My day starts at 6am; up out of bed and basically drink a concoction of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and hot water. It is absolutely vile but it gets the metabolism started.
I have that and go straight to the gym where I do a fast cardio. I go on the bike or rowing machine for 40/45 minutes doing high-intensity interval training. The idea is if you do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach the body has no option but to use fat as a fuel source. You burn the fat and spare the muscle.
After training it’s imperative that I eat protein, either through a shake or a prepared omelette.
My body is craving carbohydrates [but] right now it’s burning fat and will continue to do so if I feed it protein. The last thing in the world I can eat is breakfast cereal and toast.
Leading up to a show when I’m in the ‘cutting phase’, I eat carbohydrates only every fifth or sixth day to refuel and to kick start my metabolism. This can be up to 4,000kcal.
Otherwise, it’s simply protein and vegetables six times a day. Luckily, I’m sponsored by Ketterick’s family butchers in Castlebar. Seán has been very good to me indeed, looking after me with chicken, liquid egg whites and his famous turkey burgers.
I would take the equivalent of ten egg whites and make an omelette the night before and take it with me. After the workout I would have that straight away. That would be the start of the day.
My day job is in sales and marketing with CRC Radio. Everyday, I bring into work six Tupperware containers with my food. It would be chicken, turkey, fish or meat with broccoli or asparagus. That is all I eat all day that is it. Coming into a show that is a diet. It isn’t the nicest.
My sport is all about diet. It’s 80 percent. Without the correct food and macro nutrients at the right time, I would simply break down. One must be very organised and a pretty good cook – and be prepared to cook enough for 12 meals every second day … the food bill is quite high.
When I’m training myself I put in my headphones. I have certain playlists based on what workout I’m doing. If I’m doing fast, short bursts of cardio I would listen to dance music from the noughties. If I’m lifting it is more slow tempo. More Robbie Williams and ’80s type of stuff. Music is an excellent motivator. There is nothing worse than going into a gym and listening to awful music.
In the evening time I finish work at five. I’d go straight to the gym for my second workout. Normally I do the biggest body parts – the shoulder, the chest, the back and legs. That is six days a week. It doesn’t leave much room for anything else. But look it, that is my choice and I am happy doing it.
I’m lucky, I can come and go from the Connacht Boxing Centre of Excellence in Lough Lannagh … they have been very good to me. There is no proper gym in Castlebar for what I need to do, and I divide my training between different gyms. I have often gone to Galway or Ballina just to do my legs.
Ironically, Castlebar produced Ireland’s top Pro bodybuilder, Blessing Awodibu, who has won the Arnold Classic and had close to a million Instagram followers. He moved to Dublin to further his career. John Van Den Oosten and Ranjit Dillon are also of international standard.
I raced at International-level cycling in Spain and raced at a high level for a long time. I retired in 2010 and I did not know what I wanted to do with myself. To be honest, I got fat and I didn’t like what I saw. I had to seriously cop myself on. I’d worked in fitness all my professional life. I needed a new challenge to motivate me.
I decided after four years of not doing a whole lot I would do a show within a year. I did my first show in 2015; the upcoming show will be my ninth. Stepping on stage in 2015, I was so green … I made so many mistakes during the prep. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
You’ve got to be very focused. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you reach a high level at any sport, you’ve got to be very driven. I couldn’t push myself to this level unless there was the carrot of the contest. It drives me on to train every day. There has to be a goal otherwise I wouldn’t do it.
So here I am today prepping for my third show of the year already on the cusp of the European Championships, with almost 7,000 instagram followers on @jaydalypt. I must be doing something right.
Name: Jay Daly
Occupation: Marketing and sales rep, personal trainer
If money was no object what would you do all day?
I would move to Tuscany in Italy and have my own vineyard and make wine.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
Crocodile. I was told it was fish. It wasn’t.
Telling us something about yourself we don’t know?
I am a huge Robbie Williams fan. I have been to eight Robbie shows.
What makes you angry?
Who was your first hero?
Sylvester Stallone. He still is my hero.
What’s your favourite TV show?
‘Money Heist’ on Netflix.
What do you miss about being a kid?
Most prized possession?
I am a devil for Oakley sunglasses. I must have ten pairs of them.
Best advice you got?
Go hard or go home.