Love Island’s Eoghan Murphy Shares How He Got In Shape Before Entering The Villa
If you find yourself binging on reality television late at night, you’ll notice one thing every time: contestants are ridiculously fit. And it’s not surprising. Sure, viewers at home judge every roll of fat and every vein on their arms, but when you’re cast on a show that requires coupling up or wooing over the opposite sex, the pressure is tenfold.
So what does it take to get in shape before entering the villa on Love Island? For one singleton, his much-talked about body has been nearly 18 months in the making.
Speaking to Men’s Health, Gold Coast-based Love Island favourite Eoghan Murphy jokes that his “head isn’t the best, the money maker for me is my rig, so I needed that to be in top condition if I had any hope of turning girls heads inside the villa.”
While the Irishman may resemble an action hero from The Avengers, his interest in working out is only recent and a result of brutal self-reflection.
“It was March last year when I started my fitness journey. I was just sick of not being happy with how I looked. I’d had two or so years of just not caring about what food I ate or sticking to a consistent workout routine and it culminated in me being the heaviest I had been by a good 8kg. I was weighing in at 104kg. I had a scattergun approach to both my diet and workout routine,” he says.
He also quickly realised that he had to put his wellbeing before his career.
“I was chasing the dream in real estate, wanting to be super successful and wealthy until I realised that none of that matters if you’re not healthy. So many people invest in trying to acquire wealth yet at the same time neglect their health. It’s funny because ever since I started making my health the priority everything else in my life started to grow as well including my work,” he continues.
Although Murphy only stepped into the gym in early 2018, growing up he was always physically fit, pursuing a dream of playing professional football until he was 20. Unfortunately, that dream slowly fizzled out and it reached a point where he was resigned to never going pro. Taking his foot off the pedal, Murphy started to neglect his body and that left him out of shape.
“I’d been so disciplined all my life so I just wanted to relax but that caught up on me really quick. My metabolism slowed and I started to stack on the pounds really quick. I was eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.”
Fast forward four years and you’d be hard-pressed to get Murphy away from the squat rack. He now describes his relationship with dumbbells as “religious”, struggling to fathom life before gym. He still doesn’t know how he “didn’t even go to the gym at least once a week.”
For the real-estate agent, heavy weights became his go-to. Before that, he used boxing to help torch unwanted fat, dropping from 104kg to 92kg. That gave him a “a good base to build lean muscle,” before he later transitioned to shifting iron.
Murphy’s workouts are detailed and disciplined – he spends 6 days a week sweating it out and getting swollen.
“Each session goes for about an hour. Monday is always chest and biceps, Tuesday is legs and I hit calfs, quads and hamstrings. Wednesday is just shoulders. Thursday is back and biceps and Friday is chest and triceps and Saturday is purely biceps and triceps. I finish every session with an ab finisher,” he explains.
He also sticks to big movements while adopting the Mark Wahlberg approach: the early bird gets the worm.
“I love compound movements such as deadlifts, squats. I feel like if you are using the right technique during these movements you inadvertently hit your core and that is why I don’t have a session purely for abs. I wake up every morning at 4am and get to the gym for 5am. I love getting it out of the way at the start of the day.”
Murphy says it took just two months to notice changes in his body, with most of it a result of his new-found love for iron.
“When I was stripping down fat that happen immediately but I had always been skinny with no definition. Once I started hitting heavy weights, after 8 weeks my composition had changed completely. My best mates went to Europe for this whole period and were literally blown away when they got back.”
His diet is equally strict but he also concedes that you need to be committed for the long haul to reap the benefits.
“I am super strict with what I put in my mouth now. I have one cheat meal a month and if I eat out at a restaurant I make sure it’s a meal that fits in with my plan.
“I know a lot of people promote flexible dieting and enjoying your life and all those shenanigans. The fact is, changing your body is hard but 4-6 months of pure 100 per cent dedication and sacrifice will change your life forever. It is such a small blip in your lifespan. Look at me, I went from being a skinny fat guy that no one would look twice at to being on Love Island, anything is possible.”
And despite being desperate to put on size, there was no dirty bulking in his quest for muscle. Instead, Murphy focused on fitting in more meals by waking up earlier.
“Bulking was hard task for me to get used to. I had to literally start waking up at 4am just so I could fit all my meals in in a day. It got to the point at the end of the day where I felt like I was just shoving food down and there was no room for it to fit. I would have 4-5 protein shakes a day. High fat intake. High carb intake in the form of gluten free pasta. My dinner would be a large bowl of oats. I bulked for 4 months.”
Being the last member to be cast, Murphy had just three weeks to ensure he was in peak physical condition. “It was tough but it was made easy knowing what the reward was,” he says. Ahead of the show, Murphy didn’t need to overhaul his eating habits. Instead he focused on fine-tuning his engine by reducing his calorie intake.
“My diet has been extremely strict since I started my fitness journey over a year ago so it wasn’t a matter of removing foods it was just a matter of cutting back calories (in his preparation for the show). For instance, one of my meals on a maintenance program would consist of 200g of gluten free pasta, that was cut to 80g for this shred. The other 6 meals were similar in what was cut back. I don’t consume any sugar or salt and only drink water.”