JOHN RIORDAN: Fitness apps fit the bill absolutely for Condron

It would be easy to enjoy a mini-rant about Juan Manuel Marquez’s miraculous sixth round recovery to land the punch of the year but there are more than enough inches cascading down upon the 39-year-old’s reputation.

We all enjoyed that fight a little too much. So when I spoke to Declan Condron on Monday evening, it was a case of balancing the books and purifying the mind.

Here is a man who has a healthyknowledge of what the body is capable of.

Condron is a Clondalkin-born fitness professional who arrived in New York in 1994 and has dedicated his professional life to exploring innovative ways of pushing without reaching breaking point.

His company PumpOne is described as “the world leader in mobile personal training solutions”. Set up in 2005, it has moved with the times — every new device that has landed in our hands has provided them with a ready-made home for their fitness guides.

When the now 40-year-old first arrived in the US on a green card, he worked on building sites. But soon his talent on the soccer pitch began to open up a whole other world.

“I was playing in the Long Island League with the Irish Rovers. I got chosen for a couple of league select teams and all the other players were college players while I was a construction worker.

“So the coach asked me if I wanted to study and play football. They shopped me around to a few colleges and I jumped at the chance.”

He was a 24-year-old freshman (“an interesting time”) at Hofstra University where he opted for a Bachelor of Science Exercise Physiology and after he graduated, he moved on to Southern Connecticut State University where he took a Masters in the same discipline.

While there, he won the 1999 National Championship with the Division II level outfit, the second tier but still an incredible achievement.

“We had a phenomenal team. Definitely the best I played on — probably three or four of those team-mates were the best I ever came across. We won every game and we were only tested maybe three or four times. It wasn’t like the competition was poor, we just had an incredible team.”

As he made his way in personal training, he met Craig Schlossberg, an entrepreneur from Long Island. The client/trainer relationship soon became a business partnership as both men expressed their ideas about how to improve the world of the workout.

“A vast majority of people have no clue how to exercise properly,” Condron believes.

“I hesitate to say people are doing the wrong thing because I don’t think that’s a very professional way to respond.

“But I do think there’s a much more efficient way of doing it. Growing up in Ireland, you were always trained by ex-players who carried on the legacy of their coaches, run the lads until they’re puking, straight lines, doggies… it was absolutely pointless. And even in college, I actually had multiple arguments with my coaches because I was studying it. ‘You’re training us like you trained 20 years ago. It doesn’t work anymore’. They’re good friends now but we really butted heads back then.

“Most of the personal trainers working today aren’t very good.

“The job of the good ones is to make you better to the point where you’re not needed anymore. Most people are receptive but not everyone.

“Some come in with pre-conceived ideas. Even my business partner is a prime example of someone I battled with.

“You’ll always have arguments with people who want to push clients around and tell them they’re doing it wrong and are risking injury.

“But I prefer to emphasise efficiency. It’s controversial — on a weekly basis, some other fitness professionals challenge my way of doing things but I can back it up.”

He says the company has been growing rapidly over the past couple of years mainly because the technology is advancing so fast.

“A few years ago, we redirected our focus into apps and now we’re one of the world pioneers on fitness applications for touch screen devices. We were one of the first companies to employ visual downloads, guiding people how to perform an exercise.

“Prior to that, it was all audio which can be very hard to figure out.

“It got to the point that we knew the iPhone was coming out and that apps would be a powerful part of that.

“We have been planning for months for the iPad Mini. You have to stay ahead of the curve. If you can adapt your product to these new developments, you’ll always be in a better position.”

* john.w.riordan@gmail.com Twitter: JohnWRiordan


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