David Poff – Personal Training and Nutrition Through Sports Science

Alumni of PE and Coaching


David Poff had his sights set on playing with Leinster rugby when he was in school. He wasn’t thinking about personal training or becoming a nutrition coach back then.

When he got the opportunity to play for Leinster’s underage teams during his final years in school, he saw rugby as his life path. Unfortunately at the time, it didn’t pan out the way he had wanted it to.

“I was playing with unbelievable players, most of them are playing for Ireland now. Rugby was a real big focus for me. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in college.”

Although he was close, David never got that full-time contract with Leinster. Considering the calibre of player he was competing with, he was disappointed but not overly so. He recognized the level he had reached and stayed optimistic while continuing to train.

Keeping his rugby dream alive didn’t mean giving up on his education. Alongside one of his childhood friends and fellow Leinster youth player, David found his way to Portobello Institute where both he and his best friend would attend classes.

“It’s something we were both interested in. We both loved PE in school. We thought it was the right balance if we wanted to keep playing rugby at a high level. We could still get a decent degree and it wasn’t that five or six day week in college.

We had enough time to train and prepare for rugby. It wasn’t as full-on a course as something where you’re in every day. In Portobello it’s kind of like two or three days full-on. You had an extra few days to plan the week with that.”

Although the flexibility afforded by Portobello was a factor, the more time David spent in college the more he welcomed his career outside of rugby.

He graduated in 2018 and had developed a keen interest in personal training and health science. His Portobello degree gave him a foundation of knowledge and also some direction on what he ultimately wanted to do.

David completed a couple of personal training and nutrition classes. He realized during his Portobello course that he never wanted to work in an office and would feel at home in a gym.

The guidance of Dr. Susan Giblin was particularly valuable for setting him on the right path.

“I definitely still have the teaching in the back of my mind but I’m a year down the road and I’ve a three year contract. The amount of stuff we did with Susan in terms of reading literature to dispel the myths, the stuff that isn’t true in sports science and health and fitness, it gives you a huge base to work with.

Through all the practicals and stuff like that, I never saw myself as a person who’d be sitting at a desk all day. I always wanted an active job. We did a lot of practicals. We got some unbelievable opportunities.

It was the perfect balance for me anyway.”

Even now, years after he graduated and after setting up his own gym, David still keeps in contact with Dr. Giblin and values her input on everything he does professionally.

“She is the most unbelievable woman that I’ve ever met. Just helped me and so many people in our course. It was just incredible the amount of work she put into helping us get the best out of Portobello. I’m forever grateful for that.

And she’s still in contact with me now asking how the gym is and everything like that. I don’t think my experience or the level of education I got would have been the same without her. She made a huge difference to the college. Everyone in the course speaks so highly of her.”

David notes that Susan would always ask him what he was passionate about when he was a Portobello student, that’s how she knew to push him towards personal training and set him up with people to contact and follow.

“She had a huge impact on the career path I’ve gone down. I can’t thank her enough for that.”

While Susan stood out in particular, David’s whole experience at Portobello Institute provided him with exactly what he was looking for. He’s enjoying his career every day, working in an environment he feels he belongs in and working on what he’s passionate about.

“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

If you have a passion for sport or health and fitness, going to Portobello would be great for you. It has so many different avenues you can go down.

I went to a course that I knew I’d be interested in.”

David Poff – Personal Training and Nutrition Through Sports Science David Poff – Personal Training and Nutrition Through Sports Science