While most League of Ireland players would be happy to kick back and get their feet up over Christmas, Dundalk midfielder Richie Towell spent the festive and new year period pumping iron in the gym.
Working with Dublin based personal trainer Darren Dillon, videos of the Dundalk midfielder dead-lifting monstrous looking weights surfaced on the internet, suggesting that he meant business ahead of pre-season.
That was confirmed on Dundalk’s first day back when Towell showed unbelievable reserves of stamina to leave the rest of his team-mates behind in the bleep test.
And speaking after the Lilywhites’ opening pre-season game against Barnsley, Towell said that a conscious decision to change his lifestyle when he arrived back in Ireland from Celtic was paying off.
“When I came back from Scotland I decided to change everything,” he revealed.
“Graham Byrne has been a big influence in that. He completely changed my way of living, my food mainly. Once you are eating the right things then it shows on the pitch. It’s fuel for the body and if you’re putting the right stuff in, your body will react to it.
“I think it’s important to hit the ground running,” he added. “Thats what I tried to do last year and it worked out for me. Coming back this year, I think I’ve worked even harder coming into pre-season.
“I was in with Darren every day doing weight training and body conditioning and he pushed me to the limit”, said Towell.
“I was also doing my own bit of training just to try and come back in top condition.
“Tonight, I was lucky enough to get on the scoresheet and I feel great. My legs went a bit towards the end but I feel fit overall.”