20 Questions: World champion clay pigeon shooter Franko Duffy on how he hits his health targets

Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: World champion clay pigeon shooter, Franko Duffy from Portadown

 Franko Duffy from Portadown, newly crowned world champion clay pigeon shooter
Gail Bell

Franko won gold at the ICTSF World English Sporting Championships hosted in Dowth, County Meath, this July – just seven months after taking up the sport


Up and at it – what is your morning routine?

I recently joined the '5am club' – I get up, put the kettle on for a black coffee and maybe boil a few eggs which I will eat later. Sometimes I jot down on a notepad anything important that I need to get done that day, then I head off to the gym for a 6am workout programme before starting work as a lorry driver with the ABC council at 7.45am.


What might you eat in a typical working day for…Breakfast?

After the gym, this will consist of a milky protein drink and protein bar, boiled eggs or full fat Greek yoghurt with oats and fresh fruit. Sometimes on a Friday I will treat myself to a full soda with brown sauce – that fills me up for the whole day.


Lunch might be a tin of fish – tuna or mackerel – and an apple or banana.

Evening Meal?

This will usually be some kind of meat, maybe chicken or steak, along with vegetables such as broccoli and carrots.


Is nutrition important to you?

Nutrition is super-important to me, especially since completing a BioSignature test at my local gym. This involves answering a number of questions regarding your desire to either lose or gain weight before a bespoke meal plan is devised that best suits your lifestyle. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.


Best meal ever?

It would have to be steak and chips, with peppercorn sauce – for me, that meal is hard to beat, no matter where I am in the world. I spent some years in America and I always remember a restaurant in Faneuil Hall, Boston, called The Black Rose, which served up the most amazing steaks.


Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Yes, milk chocolate and Haribos. I have been caught loads of times with my hands in the children’s sweet cupboard.


Have you ever been on a diet? If so, how did it go?

Yes, I tried the military diet once and lost 8lbs in three days.


Do you take health supplements?

Occasionally, I take cod liver oil capsules, but that’s about it.


How do you relax?

When I am out by myself, shooting or fishing, I am at my most relaxed. I think, just being outdoors, surrounded by nature, is the most relaxing therapy. I also try and squeeze in 20 minutes meditation when I am at home.


Teetotal or tipple?

Tipple. I like getting out with the boys and having a laugh.


Stairs or lift?

Stairs. You always feel better when you use the stairs and it’s normally quicker too, unless you’re climbing up a skyscraper!


Do you have a daily exercise regime?

Yes, I'll be in the gym from 6am to 7am most mornings following a unique exercise programme designed for me by Big Dee at Vo2 gym in Portadown. After work, I take the dogs out for a walk and I do my shooting practice twice a week.


Best tip for everyday fitness?

Laugh as much as possible and work on your own mental fitness. I try to watch short, motivational video clips each day on YouTube as they are a great way to remain focused and positive when you are feeling low. The aim is to visualise yourself doing what you set out to achieve. The belief system is: If you can see it and believe it then, you will achieve it.


On a scale of one to 10, how fit do you think you are and how fit would you like to be?

In terms of physical fitness, I would put myself at an eight. I think I am a nine if we are talking about mental fitness.


Have you tried, or would you try, alternative therapy?

I would be willing to try anything that would help me gain that extra inch or go that extra mile to achieve my goal.


Were school sports happy times or do you have a memory you would rather forget?

I was always pretty good at sports in school, so I have happy memories. I wasn’t the biggest kid, but as the Mark Twain saying goes, "It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog". I quoted this to an U10 Gaelic team the other day and they loved it.


Did you ever have a health epiphany which made you change your lifestyle?

Yes, it was when I was out in the garden one day playing with my two boys and I ran out of breath. I decided that I needed to get back to the gym and work on my fitness which has led to a whole lot of other changes in my life as well.


Best health/ lifestyle advice you were ever given and would pass on to others?

Dream big, set your goals high and just go get it.


Who inspires you or who would you try to emulate in terms of fitness/ attitude to life?

I watch Tom Bilyeu (Impact Theory) a lot. He interviews people who are very successful in all aspects of life and I pick up on different things all the time, learning and hopefully improving in my own way.


What time do you normally go to bed and do you get enough sleep?

I do get enough sleep – I normally go to sleep around 10.30pm mid-week as 5am comes around quickly. At the weekend I do stay up later.


Would you say you have a healthy attitude towards your own mortality?

Yes, I have always tried to keep myself in shape physically, but now I also work a lot on keeping myself healthy mentally as well and I can see and feel the benefits of this.

The mind controls everything and I believe it can heal the body as well.

Franko won gold at the ICTSF World English Sporting Championships hosted in Dowth, County Meath, this July – just seven months after taking up the sport.

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