Daire Curley  (Instagram)Daire Curley (Instagram) © Copyright

Survival of the fittest

 The world of bodybuilding is a weird and wonderful place. Golden Adonises grace stages all around the world like statues, to prove they in fact have the best bodies in all the land. To some it may sound slightly vainglorious, but it's anything but. These guys are dedicated athletes whose sport is literally fitness. 

We spoke to World Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (WBFF) European Pro champion in the Fitness Model category, Daire Curley, 23, to find out what it takes to reach what many would consider physical perfection. 

Hi Daire. Congratulations on being crowned the 2016 WBFF European Fitness Model champion. Where did it all begin?

I actually started lifting weights when I was 16. It stemmed from playing sports as I was predominately a rugby player and my coach at the time got me into lifting weights. I'm extremely, extremely competitive, and can't stand when others can't pull their weight so I wanted to be the best I could. Getting into the best shape possible became the side I liked the most in the end. It became like a sport for myself that I could do in my own space, and hammer away at my own rate. I loved it.

From there, how did you get into fitness modelling?

Well, I've only been in the industry for a year or so! Beforehand when I trained I was literally just doing bicep curls and training legs – I didn't really have a clue what I was doing.

By the time I reached 19, a lad I knew who competed in men's physique said I should give it a go competitively. I've always had good legs but didn't really want to do men's physique, so I looked at fitness modelling. The problem is there weren't any competitions with fitness modelling categories in Ireland, so I had to come over to the UK to compete in the Miami Pro Universe contest.

Daire Curley modelling (Instagram)


In that contest you won the Junior Men's Fitness Model category, as well as the Over 75kg Fitness Model category, making you the overall winner – what was that like?

It's fair to say it went really well! I wasn't expecting much to be honest; I looked good – well I thought I did anyway – but apparently I looked amazing as I bought home three trophies from that show. When I won that competition, it was the defining moment for me. From there I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life and that's what I was going to pursue.

This November you were crowned king of the Men's Fitness Model category at the WBFF European ProAms, earning your pro card along the way. Can you describe how it felt?

It's all a bit surreal really; it's only just setting in that I won, I think! All I know is that it was first time I walked on to the stage and felt so confident about myself. I felt great, and I think that was reflected in my turns and my poses. I felt like I brought the full package. Apparently it's one of the most competitive classes going, and I won it clearly. I'm made up.

It means I'll be competing in the WBFF LA Pro show in April 2017, before going to the WBFF Worlds in London later in the year.

Daire Curley in comp (Instagram)


You're also a PT as well as a fitness model. How do you balance the two?

It's definitely hard but there's literally nothing else in life I want to be doing right now. My business is doing really well – I've got 40-hours of PT a week and 28 to 30 clients online, so I'm making a living off doing something I really, really love.

I fit my training in and around my business other commitments. It can be real busy – sometimes I was only sleeping for four hours a night. You can go without sleep to a certain extent, but it certainly catches up with you in the end. I do honestly believe I'm yet to work a day in my life however, as I love my job so much.

You joined ON as an athlete in August – how has Team ON benefitted your training? Has anyone inspired you?

It's been amazing being a part of this team. Having a company like ON putting their time, money and faith into you is special.

They've helped me gain a better understanding of nutrition from a science-based perspective. I come from a general application background, so knowing the science behind what works for me is really helpful. It's nice to bump heads with experienced people such as Dr Crionna Tobin and get her perspective on nutrition and training methods, too.

Shaun Stafford and Steve Cook have been a big inspiration. They're great to look up to and I'm in regular contact with them both, but for me being able to say I'm part of the same team as them is enough for me. They're at the top of the industry, so to have their advice and guidance is amazing.

Daire Curley looking bench in the gym (Instagram)


Approaching a competition, how much time do you need and how do you structure your training?

My preparation is pretty simple. I'll train six days a week and my workouts usually take around between an hour and a half, and two hours. Every body part gets hit twice a week. I'll do chest and back, my arms and shoulders, and then my legs, and then repeat for the next three days. I'll also do cardio of course; that's usually 45 minutes of fasted cardio of walking on the treadmill for example in the morning, and then 20 minutes of H.I.I.T after I've trained.

I'll probably follow that up with 15 minutes of say walking on a treadmill at an incline. Even on my rest day I'll stay active and do something steady, such as an hour's walk on the treadmill.

What's your nutrition like when preparing for a competition?

Firstly, when I diet, I diet hard – if I want something there's going to be no one or one thing that will stop me getting it, not even a burger (doughnuts and peanut butter are my kryptonite, though).

My nutrition is pretty basic to be honest. It consists of five to six meals a day and I carb cycle, too. On my rest day I drop my carbs. My high-carb days are usually my leg days, and on the Saturday after legs I'll have a cheat meal. I'll usually have a nice meal with my girlfriend or family, like burger and chips. It helps reset my metabolism a bit and gives me that mental boost. I've never gone zero carb and I never will because that's torture.

My calorie intake is strict; on a low day I'll have around 1,650 kcal, while on a high day it's 2,600 kcal, the average being 2,200 kcal. It drops considerably in the last two weeks of competition prep.

How has a performance nutrition brand like ON helped shape how you fuel your body?

Even when you've been around this kind a thing for a while, ON still help you learn new things. They've helped me with my cooking for example, and how I can incorporate product into what I eat. I'm big into my protein pancakes, protein brownies, Greek Yoghurt with whey, and they've guided me a bit with this – I very rarely have to drink protein shake these days.

What ON products do you use and what's your favourite?

I have pretty much the full line apart from casein! That's everything from Pro-Men and Fish Oils, to Amino Energy, Gold Standard BCAA Train & Sustain, Gold Standard Pre Workout… you name it, I use it. They're genuinely the best products on the market. The Pro BCAA is my favourite product – It's great first thing in the morning with some Glutmaine, too, as it really helps settle my stomach.

Want more fitness advice? Check this out - Train like a strongman

Instagram - Daire Curley 

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