UL Transforms: Paul Flynn - MY FINAL WEEK

Friday, 16th March 2018

Well, I honestly can’t believe UL Transforms is over!


Most of ye will be thinking, “Thankfully I’ll never have to see his face on Snapchat or hear about his blog from now on!”. I’ll try and keep this one interesting at least.


The last 7 weeks have been incredible and I really enjoyed every minute of it. So many people approached me in the last few weeks wishing me well, asking me how the transformation was going, asking about what is was all about as well as telling me I’m an eejit for doing it in first year! What I really enjoyed the most about it was some people actually started to try and be a bit healthier in their everyday lives. It was great to see my friends, and also people I had never met before, making a conscious decision to get a bit fitter or to eat that bit healthier or even to have one less pint on a Tuesday (charity week not included)! Maybe that’s because we all hate them plastic cups…



The part that I found the most challenging was to get the balance between coursework, socialising, getting to the gym, eating well and getting lots of sleep. I’m not even sure if I still have struck a balance yet but I’ll work on it. My friends calling me a tight so-and-so after I turned down a pint in Stables didn’t help either!


I’ve benefitted so much from this initiative. I feel fitter, stronger, more energetic and happy I was a part of something so successful. I think a lot of people have benefitted from the exposure UL Transforms received throughout the 7 weeks. The excellent staff associated with Éist, the UL mental health counselling service, were extremely helpful (namely Aoife Clancy and Ciara Corcoran!). Although they both said I was really laid back and stress-free I feel like the chats I had with them really helped clear my mind and focus myself on the goals I had set. I’m not sure if ye knew what my diet was like for the 7 weeks but I’ll give ye a quick rundown. When I met with nutritionist Dr. Catherine Norton, I told her I wanted to put on muscle mass and get a bit stronger. This was because I was always kind of skinny so I wanted to put on at least a bit of weight! She basically told me to eat little and often. She said to eat at least 80 grams of protein a day, and spread it out over the day. I felt bad for the rest of the guys doing UL Transforms because I was given free reign over what I ate (as long as it was nutritious food!). Dr. Norton advised I eat at least 2,600 calories a day, and honestly my face lit up! I was delighted with the diet. I thought “2,600 calories? This will be easy!”.


I really believe this initiative was a great success and I hope this year is the first of many successful UL Transforms programs. Roberta Harrington has been supportive the whole way throughout the program and I hope that next year’s Student Union continue on this initiative (yes, I’m talking to you, Lorcan O’Donnell!). It should be done every year from now because it got people active, and making a change in their lives, so I hope it becomes and annual thing.


What will I miss the most, now that it’s finished? Definitely seeing my face on your phones every so often, which I’m sure ye won’t miss! I’ll miss the feeling of being involved in something that took up 7 weeks of my life. I would love to be involved in more and more initiatives that result in people becoming healthier across campus when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing, and I’ll definitely continue to encourage people to do that!


Again, I’d just like to thank Aoife Clancy and Ciara Corcoran of the UL Students counselling service, for their help over the last few weeks. Thanks to Dr. Catherine Norton for all her wonderful advice regarding nutrition. Thanks to Roberta Harrington and all at the Students Union for their support and the drive to set up this brilliant initiative. I’d also really like to thank, and congratulate, all the other leaders of UL Transforms because without them it wouldn’t be possible. Fair play to ye for getting involved and I hope ye continue to encourage each other and yourselves to continue leading a healthy lifestyle! Lastly thanks to my friends and family for the support for the last few weeks! Ye have been great, and while ye might have been annoyed I was sober for most of it, I appreciate ye sticking with me! Here’s a photo of me enjoying charity week, if ye had forgotten I’m still up for the craic!



For now, I’ll continue to eat well, exercise and promote this initiative! I still have gym membership so I might as well make the most of it!


Good luck to ye,