Seamus Keane and Eoghan O’Kelly are combining the discipline of the gym and the benefits of Ireland’s rugged outdoors for the benefit of their U.S. clients
By Nora Scally
Eoghan O’Kelly and Seamus Keane, originally from Kilkee, County Clare and Louisburg, County Mayo respectively, are pursuing careers in holistic health, and this in one of the most health conscious and health demanding places on earth.
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O’Kelly and Keane have opened Hanuman Health Club, a fitness club that takes a “balanced and mindful approach to fitness.”
The two friends began their move to the United States after completing college in Galway. When the duo had completed college in 2009, it was not an ideal time to be entering the workforce in Ireland, so they set their sights westward to America.
O’Kelly and Keane found themselves in the fitness world for very different reasons, but in the end, they both decided to follow their common passion.
“Having just finished college I was working in a corporate setting but wasn’t happy. When a friend asked me ‘if money was no issue, what would you do?’ without hesitation I replied ‘train people,’” said O’Kelly.
“So right then I decided to quit my job and follow my passion for movement and training”
“In 2014, I moved to New York to work in finance before leaving my job to become a full time fitness professional.
“I just loved the way people’s quality of life was improved through that regular exercise, balanced nutrition and mindset practices,” said Keane.
“One of the best parts about fitness and health is regularly taking part in team adventure races raising thousands of dollars for charities and helping to make a positive impact on those less fortunate.”
When the two decided to make a career out of fitness and holistic health, they knew that they needed to stand out amongst the competition.
“Our unique style of training focusing on movement quality and holistic health over aesthetics and appearances.
“This helped us work with a diverse group of people. Clients range from a 90-year-old lady to an Olympic athlete ranked number five in the world.
“While I love training athletes, I see the biggest reward in training your everyday person, someone who never thought the gym was for them, they are the people who see the most benefit,” said O’Kelly.
“An already fit person getting a little fitter is cool, but a mother getting out of back pain for the first time since her child was born two years ago, that’s the really rewarding stuff.”
In addition to a personal and unique take on healthy, the duo offer special retreats to western Ireland.
This is an immersive and uncommon experience, especially for native New Yorkers. The retreat involves numerous activities involving health, music, and experiencing Irish culture.
“Each day starts off with an invigorating exercise session, followed by a local excursion on the Wild Atlantic Way and most evening’s wind down with the option of peaceful yoga or an intimate traditional music session at one of the local pub’s for that real, authentic, experience,” said Keane.
“The local excursions can be anything from a hike or trail run locally to a private boat trip to a monastic settlement or a water based activity under jagged cliffs. Visitors love the natural beauty and the wilderness of the West of Ireland. “
O’Kelly and Keane come from there of course and chose Ireland’s western edge because they know first hands of its rugged beauty.
“We come from the West of Ireland, a place where we feel an exceptional bond to. Parts of it don’t get as much love as other parts of the Wild Atlantic Way, but it is still breathtakingly beautiful,” said O’Kelly.
“We are also interested in creating more options in other lesser known parts of the Wild Atlantic Way.”
The fact that, for example, West Clare is relatively unknown to tourists can be viewed as a challenge for the two Irishmen. The two also realize that taking people from the Big Apple is no easy task.
“Coming from a city like New York, where everything is do fast paced and hustle bustle, it’s a challenge, but also an opportunity for people to detach, unwind, and to experience another way of life, a more relaxed existence that isn’t always about going somewhere,” said Keane.
Looking away from the challenges, the trainers have found a lot of success with their business. They find that American clients are very receptive to their non-traditional means and have found a love for Ireland through it.
“The feedback has been great so far. So many Americans have a natural love of Ireland and a desire to visit,” said Keane.
“It’s a chance for the members in New York to come to Ireland and put the natural movement learned at the gym into practice. Now we have set up the Wild Atlantic Vacations Tour Company in Ireland to work with our American gym partners and bring more tourists to the West of Ireland.”
The two Irish trainers are looking ahead to the future, very optimistic about the direction their company and the retreat idea is heading.
They both want to expand to more locations in Ireland, to be able to show their home country to more people. In addition to the Clare retreat, they will be expanding into County Mayo in the near future.
“The retreats bring together fitness, adventure, good food and Irish culture to connect people and create life lasting memories and experiences while learning how to incorporate activity and recovery into everyday life,” said Seamus Keane.
You can learn more about Hanuman Health Club on their website, www.hanumanhealthclub.com.