My mission is to help you build a body you love!
Well Who Are You?
Wherever you’re at on your fitness journey, I’m delighted that you found my site and I can’t wait to help
Everyone’s story is unique to them:
- Maybe you’ve tried to lose weight in the past and haven’t kept it off long term.
- Maybe you’re looking to pack on some quality muscle, feel better about yourself when you look in the mirror and build the confidence and belief in you that’s always been there waiting to come out.
- Your Doctor has told you that you need to get your health in order, you could get away with the lifestyle you lived in the past but not anymore, and if you don’t change your habits now, the consequences could be severe!
- Maybe you’re feeling down and out, your energy levels are low from lack of activity, and you’re ready to throw away the key, so you need a good kick in the ass to get you going, get the cobwebs off, build basic consistency and get moving in the right direction.If you read and like the content on The Fitness Jungle, it tells me a few things about you.
Your care about your health and fitness, how you look and feel are important to you. You’re into personal growth, being all you can be, achieving your full potential and becoming the best version of yourself on the inside as well as on the outside.
You understand that getting in top physical, mental and emotion shape is a process, it does not happen overnight.
All you need is a proven plan, once you make time for yourself and focus on daily progress instead of perfection you will get there without question. You’re no different to the countless people all over the world that have in the past, today and well into the future made specific goals for that are important to them and really mean something then they did whatever it took to achieve them.
We only touched on a few reasons why you would want to improve your health.
With the Internet now, apps, bookstores full of information and everything else, people don’t know where to start.
That’s why I created The Fitness Jungle. I wanted to create a site that kept things simple for people while being flexible enough for their own unique situation. Here you will find more than enough strategies to help you build the body you want.
People intuitively know what to do, but they don’t always do it or use the best strategy to get there. At the end of the day action and getting results you really want deep down is all that matters.
On top of that though and most important of all we’ll bring order to your mind, figure out deep down what’s your “WHY.” If you don’t know this or it’s not strong enough, then you’ll never break through, but once you figure out what this is, then you’re on the way to happiness, satisfaction, and peace of mind as you achieve all of your health and fitness goals!
So who the heck am I?
My name is Stephen McGouran; I’m a fitness coach that got started back in 2002 once I finished school and have been doing it ever since, although I took a break from 2008 to 2011 to leave Ireland and travel the world.
I don’t want to give you my whole life story, I have always been super active, getting stuck in and making sure I had fun while I was doing it but we’ll start when I got into the fitness industry going right up to now.
When I finished school I felt like life had just begun for me, don’t get me wrong, I believe in education one hundred percent. You can never know enough but I was a restless kid in school, I found it hard to just sit in my seat like everyone else, I was always messing, trying to entertain the rest of the class when it might have made more sense to focus on passing my exams and getting better grades.
That being said, I enjoyed having a laugh at the time!
When I “Got Through” school and finished, a lot of my friends went off to study teaching, Law, Medicine, etc. But I knew the last thing I wanted was to sit in another class (even if it was a much bigger one I could hide in) for at least four more years. I did end up going to college in the end, but thankfully at least 80% of the course was running around, jumping up and down, lifting weights, learning about the human body and all we’re capable of doing with it. As I’m writing this now, I realize what a godsend that course was because, at the time, I really did not know what to do after school.
I spent two years doing that course where I qualified as a Personal Trainer, an aerobic instructor, pool lifeguard and a few other qualifications such as becoming trained in first aid. I had such a wonderful time, met a lot of great people, and felt truly happy with myself as I passed all of my exams, got qualified and was ready to look for work in the world of fitness.
Funnily enough, after I got my first job in the fitness industry, I ended up going to the same college as a lot of my friends from school and did Sports Management there, although I quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I’m happier training people to get in shape instead of managing a health club, although like any other experience, I got a lot out of the course, it helped me moving forward even though it wasn’t the direction I was heading in long-term!
Starting Out In The Fitness Industry
Similar to most professions, when I went looking to get started somewhere, a lot of the gyms I went for were looking for people with experience, but thankfully I got my first job working in fitness within a few days. I gave my notice to the restaurant that I had been working in; they were delighted for me as they knew this is what I wanted to do so they let me finish up quickly so I didn’t have to give too much notice and I could get started within a week.
I quickly got going. Like a lot of people in this field, I began teaching fitness classes, doing one to one sessions and realizing how much I did not know regarding health and fitness. Losing weight, putting on quality muscle, nutrition, working with the mind as well as the body and many other facets of becoming the best version of yourself and then continue building on your hard work.
I would hear other more experienced coaches talk about guys like Paul Chek and Charles Poliquin, this was around 2005-2006 and then I would do my own research and eventually go on to do courses with those guys, namely the Chek Exercise Coach Certification and I got up to a PICP Level 2 coach under Charles Poliquin.
Looking back on these qualifications, as well as all the other ones I did, I learned a lot, but I never applied a lot of the Chek course to what I was doing in the gym, but the Poliquin courses were excellent. Not that I did not learn a lot too from studying Paul Check, I just preferred the Poliquin methods at that time. I also ended up going abroad for these courses, which was a lot of fun. For the PICP Level 2 course, I spent a week in Germany and had a wonderful time way back in 2007.
One thing I realized, probably more important than anything else is that the most important thing when you give someone a program or a nutrition plan is that they adhere to it. Everyone knows that broccoli is right for you, but that doesn’t stop people having fries instead of broccoli. You need to own your clients’ mind, in a respectful obviously but whatever you recommend for them, once it’s logical and ethical, then the critical part from there on is that they take decisive action on the advice they got. It took me a while to figure this out initially. You can give someone the best training material in the world but if they don’t do it, it ultimately means nothing!
At this point in my life, I was studying every day, leaning everything I could, learning about psychology, people skills and really focusing on my clients, getting results with them by trying out different things and being flexible with each client to find out what would work for that particular client. Results are all that matters at the end of the day, and I was getting them, it’s the best feeling in the world when you can help someone out, when you make them happy, you truly make yourself happy, at this time that’s what was happening with me!
But something was missing in my life. I wasn’t 100% happy; I was working hard every day, not taking well needed holidays and not really having a life out of the gym. I wanted to see the world and felt like I was missing out big time, I didn’t want to live in regret when looking back on things I could have done but didn’t. So I made the decision to not only leave my job, but I packed my bags and left the country not knowing when I would return.
Seeing The World
I remember making the decision to take off; I never felt better. I gave my place of work at the time plenty of notice; they knew about four months in advance, they let me do my thing, save up the money I needed for what I wanted to do. I had a bunch of going away party’s and all that kind of thing, and then I was off not knowing when I’d be back!
I remember one of my work colleagues Damien Maher who founded BFit4Life telling me to knuckle down; double my efforts before heading off, or I’d be going away with no money! I took his advice to heart, and I remember not taking a day off for around four months before I left. I was Personal Training, doing classes 24/7 and working as a pool lifeguard. It was all so worth it when I got on that plane!
It was incredible, after leaving Ireland the first thing I did was spend six months in South America and got to see Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, Cuba, and Mexico! I missed out on the Galapagos Islands off of Ecuador so another trip back that way is in order at some point!
This was all back in 2008, and I truly had the time of my life for those six months in South and Central America. The thing that struck me most during my time away from Ireland is that no matter where you are in the world if you’re black, white, Hispanic, etc. we are all essentially the same. Everywhere I went before I got there more often than not, I would hear a lot of negative stories, like most of what you hear in the media but 99% of the people I met in 100% of the places I went were wonderful people. They all were doing what they could to look after their families the best they could; they all smiled, and had a sense of humor thank God!!
After leaving Mexico my friends and I headed to San Francisco for a week before spending a week at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada Desert! Supposedly when fully built, it’s the fourth biggest city in Nevada for that week, and I’d well believe it! It was a wild week, and after all the partying we did the first thing to do is relax after it, but we were going straight to Vegas, so there was no chance of that lol!!
It was great to finally see Las Vegas; you see the old and the new Vegas countless times through the years in movies, TV, etc. so it was nice to get there and see what it was all about for real. After a week in Vegas, seeing all the sights and hitting the clubs we were off to Oz for at least a year!
Australia was amazing, I worked and traveled all over the country, the weather and the different climates all over the country were terrific and the people were great.
I remember working in lots of different jobs that I’d never done before and I’m glad I had the opportunity. The more experience you get, the more well rounded you’ll be I feel. I did landscaping, bar work, drove one of those giant Caterpillar dump trucks on a mine site, did farm-work, worked for a tiling company, learned how to make latté’s and cappuccino’s etc. in a coffee shop, worked in a call centre, worked in a factory, worked in a hotel doing housekeeping and worked at a gas station which was my favorite of all.
I ended up staying in Australia for a second year, for the visa I had for Australia, to get a second year there I had to work 88 full days in a rural area which I did through the tiling company and doing the farm work. That was probably the most fun I had while I was there. Before I worked in the outback of Australia, I looked at it as something not to look forward to, but once I got out there, did the work, made friends and had a wonderful time, I realized it was the most fun I had in the two years I lived in Australia.
Kununurra was where I stayed when working in a rural area, about a days drive from Darwin. It was so hot; you could not go swimming in the water in most parts because it was full of Saltwater Crocodiles and the chances of coming out on top against one of those guys are pretty slim!
I could talk and talk and talk about my travels as we all could; I’ve only scratched the surface like everyone that has a story to tell, but you came here to improve your body, so we better move on!
My two years in Australia was at an end, a lot of my closest friends got sponsored through their work and stayed longer, one of my best friends ended up marrying an Aussie girl and never came back! Not me though, I ended up going back to Ireland. That was late 2010, and I have been here since.
I remember getting a fitness trainer role not long after coming back. At this time I had been out of fitness for almost three years. I had stayed in decent enough shape while I was away from working on building sites etc., walking or cycling everywhere I went and remained active, but it still took me a few weeks to get in shape the way I was before I left Ireland. As they say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” which I found out.
I have to say; I was younger obviously back then, but after training with some of the top individuals in the Fitness Industry early on in my career, I thought I knew plenty and I did. But when I came back, was a little older and wiser and began to get going again, every other trainer I worked with I learned something both good and bad.
There is no one way that’s the best way, you need to be flexible because every person is a little different from the next, everyone’s personality is different and at the end of the day results is the only thing that matters, I got into the psychology side of things even more.
I began to look back at my own training, how could I improve. I remember buying Mark Rippetoe’s books from Starting Strength many years back but not taking the time to learn the big primary lifts that he, in my opinion, is excellent at coaching the big lifts that include the Squat, Deadlift, the Press, Bench Press, and the Clean.
The difference it made when I put effort into the big lifts has paid off many times over, it’s so simple, but I was doing them completely wrong. Now as I train in the gym and I coach male and female teenagers that are just starting out in those lifts, it gives me great joy when they see the difference it makes to their strength, physical appearance, their confidence in themselves, and the satisfaction of knowing that what they’re doing is making a real difference in their lives.
I tell them all, “learn how to do it right, it’s not all about looking good, you have to feel good, get strong and keep your body healthy for the long-term. Don’t waste ten years like I did doing it wrong, correct it now and you have it forever.”
These days when I train anyone, I stick with a solid foundation. Proper nutrition, a healthy sleeping pattern, keeping your stress levels at a healthy level which Phil Richards really drove home with me when I attended one of his courses. Adequate water intake, and then optimal training consisting of resistance training, stretching and mobility training, and then I will mix this in with Cardio training that will often be a HIIT session that varies for the individual.
You work your heart and lungs when lifting weights anyway; all of those muscles need oxygen in them to lift the weight, but it’s important to keep training session entertaining as well as effective, so variety is essential for the mind as well as the body!
On top of a solid foundation, I spend time always testing things out on myself. If someone asks me a question about something and I don’t have the answer I will make a note of it, do the research, then try it out on myself. When I come back to them to answer the individual, I will do my very best to answer that question relating it to that individual, because getting and keeping them on the right track is all that counts!
The feeling you get from helping people achieve their goals when they need the proper mix of education and motivation to draw the potential out of them is the best feeling in the world.
I’ve never been depressed so I can’t comment on that personally, but I have been down the odd time in my life. I remember listening to one of Tim Ferriss’s podcasts talking about his bouts with depression, I’m paraphrasing here slightly, but he said, at the time that “If you can’t make yourself happy, make someone else happy,” and I couldn’t agree more.
You have to love yourself, it’s not conceitedness, it’s awareness, but you certainly don’t only want to focus on nothing but yourself!
The birth of The Fitness Jungle
The Fitness Jungle was started in December 2016 as a one-stop shop for people that want to get in their best shape not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally too. With the internet the way it is, no matter what industry you’re in, you can help so much more people than you ever could in your own time even working 24 hours straight, so it was a no-brainer for me to start this blog!
It all begins in your mind, creating an image of yourself as to how you truly want to look and feel.
I started the Fitness Jungle, so you have a place to go so not only will you get information and strategies for building your ideal physique but also how to create the proper image of yourself first. To change how you look, you have to change your self-image first. Paint the picture in your mind if what you really want even before the first workout!
None of this is new; I don’t claim to have originated any of the information you will find here. I have just taken the very best information that I have learned in the last 15 years. All the mistakes I have made, all that I’ve learned and continue to learn and have put it all in one place and all for free to remove the last remaining excuses left people might have for improving their health.
I will be creating guides on training, working on your mindset, writing on current and popular trends (are they the same thing?), product reviews and so much more.
The blog is still in its infancy, but my ultimate goal is to have a community of millions of people like you from all over the world. Having a place to go to support each to achieve true happiness in this area of your life, squeeze every last drop out of life and the accomplish that ever-evolving goal of becoming the very best version of yourself for the rest of your life!
Well if you made it this far, thank you very much for reading right until the end. I could keep on ranting on but enough is enough, now it’s time to check out the site, work on developing one good habit at a time, form good habits in one area instead of trying to do it all at once. This could be improving your sleep, consistency in the gym, cutting out refined carbohydrates, etc.
The confidence, certainty, and belief you will get from improving that one habit will have a positive knock-on effect on the other good habits even before you begin working on them!
Where are we going you ask? We’re going straight to the top; I’ll be back here often to update things as the site continues to grow!
In the meantime let me know a bit about yourself below, what’s your story, why are you here and what do you want to accomplish?