Author Bio

Cian Foley BSc, PG Dip, QQI Level 6 Sports Nutrition (Distinction)

Cian Foley graduated with top results in the BSc in Applied Computing degree at WIT in 1999 and soon after started his career as a researcher at the internationally acclaimed TSSG post graduate facility at the same institute. Cian spent almost a decade working on various telecommunication and IT projects during his time at the TSSG. His main focus as a senior researcher was in the provision of services over Instant Messaging (IM) and had a clear vision of a day when communicating with services via IM would be as seamless as communicating with another human being.  He lead and was involved in a number of large EU and Enterprise Ireland funded projects in this area and published a paper (IMPRUVE) with his colleagues on the subject.  An EU proposal entitled IM Enabled that Cian lead ranked 1st out of 70 applications that year. This research was carried out well over a decade ago, and today we are still seeing the emergence of such services, known as bots, over instant messaging systems such as Slack and Facebook.

In his spare time while at WIT, Cian created and ran a local community website, which had a large local following before the mass popularity of social media sites such as Facebook.  This lead to the research, compilation, creation and publication of Cian’s first book, a successful local book of colloquialisms known as The Deise Dictionary of Waterford Slang, which was a surprise Christmas hit and was launched by internationally acclaimed magician, Keith Barry (advisor for the movies Now You See Me 1&2).

Based on this success, in 2007, Cian left the TSSG to take part in a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management to pursue a career as a self-employed entrepreneur.  During the diploma, he created a site that collected and organised Irish slang by social media popularity and published For Focal Sake – A 32 County Guide to Irish Slang, which has since gone out of print. The book was featured on various radio shows including Ryan Tubridy’s show on RTE radio. It also featured in a monthly section on Ryan Air’s in-flight magazine. Cian graduated from the Diploma in 2008 and won South East Ireland Entrepreneur of the Year award (SEEPP Enterprise Awards).

After graduating from the diploma, Cian began liaising with local companies and agencies, advising on their Internet Marketing strategies and online offerings. He created and delivered courses to local enterprise office clients on the subjects of social media marketing, internet technologies and search engine optimisation  (SEO) and delivered solutions for a large array of clients during this period.

With the success of the books and the luxury of being self-employed, Cian gave of his time to another passion of his: the memory of Thomas Francis Meagher, his creation of the Irish National Flag and the symbolism of peace between Irish Catholics and Protestants, which is represented by the colours of the flag. He assembled and chaired a committee that subsequently organised the very first 1848 Tricolour Celebration in Waterford, which commemorates the very first unfurling and raising of the Irish flag on March 7th 1848 by Thomas Francis Meagher at 33 The Mall, Waterford City.  This annual celebration was chaired by Cian for the first two years and, in the second year, he had the honour of securing a visit from the then Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer to Waterford City.  During his time on the committee, Cian liaised with the Waterford City council with regards to the naming of the new Waterford bridge ‘The Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge,‘ which finally happened in 2015.

Cian’s life changed drastically at this point. With the time he was spending on work, raising kids, and involved running the 1848 Celebration, his health suffered as Cian had become chronically obese over the course of many years of not making the time to exercise and supporting his body with adequate nutrition. He was suffering under the stresses and pressures of his commitments. Something had to give and it was then that he took a back seat on the 1848 Committee in order to make time to focus on his personal wellbeing, fitness and health.  At the age of 35, Cian was suffering from various pains in joints and a worrying recurring chest pain. He went to see his friend and family doctor, Dr. Mark Rowe, in the Waterford Health Park clinic and was hooked up to an ECG machine to try and determine the cause of pains in his chest.  Luckily the scans showed nothing serious, but it was enough of a wake-up call to force him to begin focussing earnestly on his health.

In 2011, Cian and his wife Nicola took part in the Inca Challenge, in order to raise funds for the Irish Red Cross.  This was the first stage of his transformation. Soon after, with the help of one of his friends, Kieran O’Sullivan, Cian took up Kettlebell Sport (Girevoy Sport).  Over the course of a number of years, Cian became proficient in the discipline of Amateur Long Cycle, which involves cleaning and jerking 2x24kg kettlebells repeatedly, performing as many repetitions as possible in 10 minutes.  He made it onto the Irish team in 2013 and improved dramatically as he focussed more and more on sports nutrition and training. His first international success was winning a bronze medal in the <95kg category in the European championships in 2013. In 2014, Cian won <85kg category the Pan-American championships at the Arnolds in Columbus Ohio scoring a PB of 91 reps, and managed to get into the company of his boyhood hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger and listen to him talk and reminisce for over an hour at the event.

Soon after this event, he suffered a back injury, due to over training, and as a result could not compete for 6 months. He managed to rehabilitate enough to compete at the World championships in Hamburg later that year through rigorous terrain running in the local Comeragh mountains, where he developed a fond love for the beautiful Coumshingaun lough. Cian placed 4th in that event narrowly missing out on Bronze.  In 2015, Cian (at 39) had great success with the sport and won the national, European and World championships in the mens amateur long-cycle <85kg bodyweight division.

Here is a video from the European Championships this year which shows how gruelling the sport can be…

The Podium at the IUKL World Championships, November 2015
Left to right: Per Olhans, Cian Foley, Karsten Bollert

(photo credit Anton Krieger)

It was at this point, Cian came up with the Don’t Eat for Winter concept and The DEFoW Diet method of eating and applied the theory and techniques to his daily life treating his body like a computer program, giving it the correct inputs to respond in the optimal way.  Through eating this way Cian dropped to 76kg bodyweight by his 40th birthday and was stunned by the nature of the results having thought being a <85kg lifter was as light as he was ever going to get. His transformation was complete (or so he thought).

Cian, before and after The DEFoW Diet

Getting to that weight revealed muscles and abs that he didn’t even realise he had, and allowed Cian to drop to the <73kg kettlebell lifting weight category for the nationals championships, which he won for a 5th year. He subsequently won the European Championships at that weight category in Poland in May 2016. At this point Cian began writing the book in order to get the idea out to the general public, in order to help with the fight against chronic obesity, in the best way he knew how: using his research knowledge, book publishing experience and internet skills.

Cian took up full time employment during 2016 with Kyckr Ltd and took the opportunity to research the suitability of Blockchain technologies with regard to the company’s offering and delivered a presentation on his practical research to a large Fintech audience at the FinDevr event in Silicon Valley, CA with CEO of the company, Ben Cronin in October 2016.  He currently works at NearForm, contributing to open source software and working on various software projects using node.js and react.

Cian forfeit his attendance at the 2016 World Kettlebell Championships in order to climb Kilimanjaro with his wife Nicola and good friend Emer, having raised 17K between them for Diabetes Ireland.  He spent the rest of 2016 completing the Don’t Eat for Winter book.


n 2017, Cian trained to compete at amateur biathlon, a double event discipline with Kettlebells, involving jerk and snatch, and won the <78kg mens category in the 2017 Cup of Ireland on February 25th.

In 2018, Cian shifted to a more physique oriented approach to training, and was a medalist in his first competition: the Men’s Physique classification at the NBFI National Irish Championships.

His main focus is the dissemination of ‘Don’t Eat for Winter’ as it is his dream to positively impact the world’s obesity crisis, with his simple message on eating, i.e. to eat anti-autumnally in order that we spring into our summer bodies.

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Cian Foley is a Software Engineer from Waterford, Ireland and also a 2 time European, pan-American and World amateur kettlebell champion. Cian was a 115kg (256lb) obese 35 year old and has completely transformed into to a fit and healthy 78kg athlete through his 8 year journey of discovery around nutrition and exercise. He now competes as a natural bodybuilder at the age of 43 to prove that it is never too late to get into great shape without the use of steroids.