Body Project balances for better in more ways than one

Gillian Hynes left the cooperate world to set up Body Project because she wanted to be in control of her own destiny. Here she tells Think Business how changing your lifestyle can change your life.

What drove you to set up Body Project?

As a personal trainer, I saw how my clients struggled to eat well with any real consistency. While they had their training right, breaking unhealthy eating patterns proved much more difficult for them. I set up Body Project to meet this problem. We provide personal training and healthy, chef-prepared meal plans under one roof, taking the stress and guesswork out of healthy eating and allowing people to make positive changes in the long-term. The programme is one of kind in Dublin and as far as I know in Ireland.

How important is a healthy mind and body to attaining business goals?

In my experience, it’s not so much that people fail to achieve work goals due to being unhealthy but rather they can find themselves having achieved a lot in their work life but at the expense of their health and fitness. We often have clients who come to us at the top of their game in terms of their career but feeling physically at a low. The great thing is that carving out time for themselves and getting fitter actually boosts the enjoyment of their work and gives them tonnes more energy to tackle their day to day.

“We often have clients who come to us at the top of their game in terms of their career but feeling physically at a low.”

How can we achieve a better balance?

First and foremost, it is vital to diarise exercise. If it’s not in the diary something else will always take precedence over an impromptu workout. I book myself in with my trainers at Body Project otherwise I’ll find myself tackling my to-do list and exercise won’t happen. Planning for healthy eating is also key. For instance, if you have a work dinner you simply balance the day by eating a lighter than usual breakfast and lunch. It’s important too to know that healthy eating doesn’t mean having to be ‘perfect’ all of the time.

Anyone setting up their own business has drive. I would say to people, find your niche, whether it’s Zumba or hill walking, find something you like to do. Having your own business is 24/7, you’re never really switched off from it. You have to have something that helps you switch off.

“It’s important too to know that healthy eating doesn’t mean having to be ‘perfect’ all of the time.”

How does the support Body Project provides help women in all aspects of their work/personal lives?

I think women generally can be very self-critical. I have seen so many women come through our doors with an outwardly great life and successful career and every reason to feel great but inwardly their confidence is at zero. Training doesn’t just make their muscles stronger; it makes them stronger mentally and more confident too. I am continually amazed at how life-changing adopting a healthier lifestyle can be.

“I have seen so many women come through our doors with an outwardly great life and successful career and every reason to feel great but inwardly their confidence is at zero.”

Energy levels are better, stress is reduced. We have women here who are going through a stressful period and it’s their lifeline. They come for weight loss but it changes their lives in much more profound ways. A lot of them don’t know how they will take time off to do the programme. What they realise when they do it is that business doesn’t ground to a halt. Wherever you work they will take as much as they can from you. You have to look after yourself. They get a better balance from doing our programme and realise life goes on. It’s good for them to get the balance back.

We had one particular client who came to us feeling very low in herself. She felt trapped in a well-paid but ultimately dissatisfying role and had neglected her personal life for years. Fast forward a few months later and she was bouncing in the studio door and smiling all of the time. Within the year she had a new job, a fiancé and was pregnant. I love that story; it encapsulates so much about what we do at Body Project and why we do it.

Gillian Hynes is the owner of Body Project, a fitness and lifestyle transformation business based in Dublin 2.

Interview by Olivia McGill.