Q&A – Michael Byrne busts mental health and mindset myths

Michael Byrne is more than a fitness coach; he transforms his clients from the inside out. He’ll identify negative thoughts – I’m not good enough, I’m never motivated, I don’t have what it takes – and ask you to dig deep and think about where those thoughts come from.

He’ll then weed them out, like a highly motivating gardener, and leave you with a total mind reset that’ll get you on track to achieving your goals. He’ll make sure you enjoy the journey, too.

Michael is an expert in identifying and healing wounds because his own journey has been exceptionally turbulent. He feels that in order for us to understand his work he must share his own truth; and Michael knows how to bring people back from the brink because he’s been there himself.

He used to work in show business, and quickly climbed the ranks from choreographer to creative director, working on gargantuan theatre productions like Starlight Express and We Will Rock You. He achieved a lot, fast, and then burnt out. “I’m talking about full-on drama. I collapsed in Aldi, of all places. They drove me off in an ambulance.” 

After his burnout, he trained to become a life coach and started working with executives in a business context. He soon added fitness training to his repertoire, because it gave him energy and made him profoundly happy.

Michael has over 2800 return clients and his classes book out within 45 minutes. He believes people train with him for more than rock solid abs and clad iron glutes. When he teaches, he shares nuggets of life wisdom along the way – the kind of advice that’ll turn you inside out and have you questioning every negative thought you’ve ever had about yourself.

Michael’s remote Urban Sports Club classes include HIIT in the Kitchen, Barre in the Kitchen and Ab-Attack in the Kitchen and, from Monday 30th November, he’ll be launching Coaching in the Kitchen with Urban Sports Club.

Michael describes it as a hybrid fitness and coaching concept that will address “the traits that trap us,” such as imposter syndrome, goal setting, mindset, mindfulness, procrastination and motivation.

This week we caught up with Michael to discuss the key myths that stop us from reaching our goals and fulfilling our potential.

Myth 1 – If you aren’t fit then you don’t belong in the gym

NOT TRUE. Everybody deserves to be in a gym – but only if it’s your thing. Coaching is about finding out what brings you value and what lifts you up. If the gym will bring you value, then you absolutely belong there.

What’s more important here is your belief that you do not belong. In the coaching world we call that a limiting belief and we need to call that belief out. If it’s limiting you, then we need to challenge it. Break the pattern. Exchange that limiting belief for one that serves you better.

Imposter syndrome affects 75% of people. We all have it, me included. And it’s important we understand why we feel this way and that we can reprogram ourselves to unlearn these hardwired negative beliefs.

Remember: the gym isn’t for everyone. Don’t let society tell you otherwise. In the end, you belong wherever you want to belong.

Myth 2 – If you don’t reach your goals, then you have failed

Goals are important because they give us a sense of direction and purpose. They don’t have to be tangible – they can be spiritual or mindful, too. Some people say their goal is to find a goal, but a goal can also be to take a break.

I personally believe we need to keep moving our bodies, because you can’t deny the science – it will make us feel better. Moving our bodies is very connected to mental health. I’m very open about my mental health issues.

I’ve had therapy and I have been coached and both of these interventions have changed my life. This is why I do what I do. Whenever I’m stressed, overwhelmed or overworked, I take a break and I move my body. I always say, the value is in the journey. It’s important to have a goal because it’s closely linked to motivation, and once you get going, you’ll find your way.

If you perceive something as failing, then you need to be much kinder to yourself. Are your goals achievable and realistic? A lot of us go from 0 to 100 which just isn’t possible in a fitness context. Forgive yourself if you don’t reach your goal one day. Work out what’s derailing you – is it procrastination, fear of failing, or lack of motivation?

Acknowledge and embrace your imperfections. Replace the word failing with the word learning. And value the process over the end result.

Myth 3 – Motivation is something you’re born with

This has “Fixed Mindset” written all over it. Someone with a Fixed Mindset believes their talent and traits are all they have, but that isn’t true. A Growth mindset is the belief that with hard work and perseverance you can achieve a great deal more. Motivation comes with clarity. Be clear…  What do you want for yourself and what do you need to reach that goal? The bravest part is saying it out loud. My mantra is STATE IT TO CREATE IT!  Then think – ACTION! 

Procrastination is a coping mechanism. There’s always an underlying reason, and usually it’s about fear of failure. That’s why most of us don’t execute and don’t start. But if you tell yourself to sit down and work on your goal for five minutes, 85% of people just keep going.

I am also fearful, but I’ve spent time understanding myself by looking inside. We often think if I fix that one thing, I’ll be fine. But in the end, nothing external can fix you. Only we have the power to do that and it’s done by starting with ourselves and our own beliefs system. The way to reach your goals, or to a healthy relationship, or to a good career, is personal development. Once after we find fulfillment from within will everything else fall into place.

Confidence is contagious. People want to be around it, and the only way to get confident is to take notice of the things that make you shine bright. And it’s about being brave enough to head in those directions, to keep trying, and if you fail, give yourself a break, be kind, and keep going. 

My clients would tell you I have changed their lives and transformed their mindset. I would say they did, they just needed the thinking space and tools to be able to do it.

I invite you to join me each week for my COACHING in the kitchen series. Here I will discuss the typical traits that trap us and share with you my coaching tools and tips to overcome them.

If you have burning questions for Michael Byrne, we’re hosting a live Q&A on our Instagram Channel on Monday 30th November at 11 am. Send your questions to our Instagram Messenger now.


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