Mickey Burke – Combining Passion with Profession
Mickey Burke is somewhat of a cult hero amongst the Gaelic Games community in the East of Ireland. Having recently joined the Aura Fitness Academy last September, Mickey has been studying to become a fully qualified personal trainer with our REPS approved academy. The Meath Intercounty Dual Code GAA Player, aka the ‘Honeybadger’ who last year was voted Meath Footballer of the Year, is also a serious fitness enthusiast and credits his fitness regime in extending his career on the football pitch. Aura Leisure caught up with Mickey to find out how he is getting on so far on his journey with the Aura Fitness Academy.
- Not many athletes can train and play sport at the highest level when they’re coming into their mid 30’s. How do you stay on top of your game to compete with the younger players?
Firstly Mindset, I WANT to play. I really enjoy training and playing at the highest level. I want to become a better player and a better person everyday. I am constantly trying to improve, and I fully believe im a better player now than I was 10 years ago. I enjoy competing and im naturally competitive. Taking on younger lads in the gym or in runs, and putting them in their box is satisfying
- What advice would you give to athletes who are reaching the end of their career in sport in the next few years?
Your sporting career is short. So why not give it your very best. Look after your gym work, diet, hydration and rest all those little bits add up and there’s absolutely no reason your 30’s or even 40’s can’t be your best years! It’s so important to me that I have a focus when I finish playing. I want to be able to put my energy into something that i’m really passionate about and also knowledgeable in from my own experiences. People now are becoming far more in tune with fitness and nutrition, by becoming a fully qualified personal trainer I can go on to work with individual clients and elite sports teams in the future. Training and coaching at the highest level is a goal I have set for myself.
- What advice would you give to a beginner looking to get serious about a career in sports, or health and fitness?
This is hard to answer quickly, but if someone had pointed me out on the Meath u16 team all those years ago and said he will play for Meath for 16 years people would have laughed. I wasn’t the biggest or strongest. I certainly wasn’t the fastest or fittest, but I wanted to train, and I wanted to get better. I never stopped practising I had a ball in my hand all day everyday kicking off my left and right foot at the end of the house. If you have a dream go for it. Never give up!
- What have been your ‘key learnings’ on Exercise, Training & Nutrition during your studies with the Aura Fitness Academy?
I have a decent base from all my own training down the years but learning how to teach a complete novice in the gym has been really interesting, showing them proper technique and exactly what muscles they will be using! Learning about all the bodies bones and where they are has been really challenging, but enjoyable!
- Do you find your new learnings on the course has helped improve your own fitness training or helped you in giving advice to other team members?
I’ve been contacted by a lot of people asking me to take them on one on one sessions, but I won’t until I’ve fully passed this course with Aura. I’m really grateful to Aura for giving me this opportunity to study and i’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and knowledge from Aura with plenty of people when I qualify as a PT.
- Have you found the element of online learning in the Aura Fitness Academy valuable when trying to balance other aspects of your career/life?
Absolutely, the online learning has been so valuable to me. I work helping my father farming during the day and we run a family pub in Longwood, this along with my own training most days leaves me with little time. I must try and use this time efficiently; The course tutor Luke has been very helpful to me and without online learning I would struggle.
- What have you made of your overall learning experience so far with the Aura Fitness Academy?
It’s certainly opened my eyes to studying, I left school after my leaving cert and didn’t go to college, I went straight into work in the pub and the farm at home. As I said earlier, I’m really honoured to be a brand ambassador for Aura, and I couldn’t speak highly enough of Luke and Niamh who are part of the academy. If someone is looking to get into the fitness world then I’d definitely recommend this course, especially as its online and you can work around daily life! The physical workshops are great as well, it’s great to put the theory in practise and I am learning so much more now about correct technique and form and the various CV and resistance training systems to enhance performance. You get to meet new likeminded people who are also going through the study and exam prep with you so we’re all helping each other out!
- Can you outline a typical day of training for the ‘Honeybadger’?
I train most days, my body reacts better to training even if its something small. I just enjoy being physically active. Whether that’s the gym or some running, I enjoy training in the morning if I don’t have a team session in the evening with Meath GAA. I like getting up early going for a run on an empty stomach. I’d have a black coffee and go to the gym or pitch for running. After that I will help my father at home on the farm and in the pub. I train hard most days, but rest and recovery is so important as well on your off days. I’m able to train hard everyday because I constantly look at my diet and I make sure i’m sleeping well. People train hard but forget about the other 1% I mentioned earlier! On my recovery days or days after a tough game I make sure to get up on the bike for 25 mins or go for a light run with some stretching to help get rid of the lactic acid in my body. I will often do some weights as well just to help get the body moving. This means ill be back ready for the team sessions when the other lads are sore!
Vinny Pyper – Marketing Co-Ordinator