"Bodybuilder reveals dodgy practices in the cult-like organisation,", Sunday World
INSIDE THE MAD WORLD OF THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE MESSIAH, By Nicola Tallant
’It was like being put on the moon. Quinn made us go see the lights coming out of the sea...his followers were all jumping and pointing but there were no lights’
A FITNESS instructor who was recruited by a Tony Quinn Gym has told how the millionaire messiah tried to turn him into a clone of legendary Mr Universe Steve Reeves on a dangerous diet of fatty lamb, bags of monkey nuts and glasses of double cream.
Twenty-three-year-old Kildare bodybuilder Keith Farrell says he was told to eat like a caveman – just like Quinn – to attain the body beautiful so he would look the part to work at one of the gyms, which operate as franchises of the Quinn empire,are scattered across Ireland, America, the UK, South Africa and Belize.
They promise clients massive weight losses over 12 days through a strict diet and exercising with a personal instructor.
Keith says he accepted what sounded like ‘a dream job’ in Dublin without realising that the religious guru was behind the fitness programme.On a promise of a €1,000 a week salary following a two-week training course in the sun, he innocently quit his own job and boarded a flight to the Bahamas to learn how to teach the ‘Educo’ way.
But just days into the course he realised he had walked into the middle of a bizarre cult where Quinn is seen as God and where everything he says goes.
“My experience with Tony Quinn was the worst thing that has happened to me in my life. I am still counting the costs now and I really just want to warn people out there what this Educo thing is like.
“I walked into this because I had never heard of Quinn or Educo and I feel it is now my duty to tell my story so nobody else will do the same,” he says.
Keith, from Newbridge, successfully applied for the job after answering a small ad.
“I was told I could earn a minimum of €500 a week and over €1,000 a week with commission. If I took the job I would have to go to the Bahamas for training. The company would pay the €18,500 for the course and would take it back out of my wages over two years. It sounded fantastic so I agreed and within three days I was on a plane."
“It was only when I met the other instructors that I was told this was a two-week introductory course and I would have to come back again for another two weeks in the gym training."
“I immediately knew it was weird when Quinn arrived and started talking about all this mind stuff and the secret to success and all this kind of thing. I wondered what that had to do with fitness training."
“The others on the course were so into it and it was like being landed on the moon. They talked about Quinn like he was God and everything he suggested, they did.
“They spent hours flailing around on the floor at his instruction. For me it was utter hell. I may as well have been from a different planet."
“The worst was one day when he told us to take a walk down to the beach to see the lights coming out of the sea. They were all jumping around and pointing but there were no lights.”
When Keith returned to Ireland he was re-assured the fitness instruction course would be more suitable for him so he returned to the Bahamas a number of days later to embark on what he now describes as the “weirdest two weeks of my life”.
Twenty other instructors were on Paradise Island to learn how to work in the Educo gym network which are largely run by Quinn followers.
“I am a qualified fitness instructor so I just couldn’t believe the things he was telling us to do – like not drink water and stick to this diet which meant we were only taking fat and protein into our bodies."
“He actually wanted me to take 15 liver tablets and 15 Amino Acid tablets with every meal. On the first day he took photos of us in our underwear and there was another taken at the end. I was training at the time for a bodybuilding con-test and had a very strict diet already but he told me to scrap it and eat like a caveman – just like him – if I wanted real success."
“There were people there drinking big glasses of double cream for breakfast and bowls of monkey-nuts. At lunch it was the fat off meat and glasses of olive oil. You could only eat salad if it was smothered in olive oil. Dinner was fat off the meat again and more cream. It was absolutely foul and very bad for you.”
Keith says the diet is based on the Ketogenic diet – devised 80 years ago to treat severe epilepsy in young children.
It is high in fat and mimics aspects of starvation by forcing the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrate.
In recent years it has been toned down into milder versions like the Atkins Diet.
“You eat so many proteins that it poisons the blood and would have been something bodybuilders might have used in the 1970s but it has been scrapped because it is not good for you. I felt sick with the diet and got terrible headaches. I even fainted one day during some of the exercises. After that I decided I was going to have to eat some carbohydrates and at a push he said I could eat oatmeal – which he claims to eat with cow-heart!”
Keith says that a lot of the ‘gym’ training was made up of hard-sell techniques, how to convince people to part with money and learning off a mantra to be recited to members who sign up for 12-day courses.
“As a fitness instructor I just couldn’t agree with any of it. We were supposed to learn off this stupid mantra about success and goals to roar into a person’s ear while they were exercising. We were supposed to give them a ridiculous diet to stick to."
“Would they lose some weight? Of course. But it is absolutely unsustainable and in my mind that is not what fitness instruction is about.”
Keith returned from the Bahamas with no job and due to the Quinn diet had lost all chances of competing in the South Coast Body Building Classic which he had trained for over a year.
“Myself and another bloke had both left our jobs for this. When we got back the guy who recruited us kept telling us that the work would come and just to think positively. It was ridiculous. You can think positively all you want but that doesn’t pay the rent.”
The job never materialised and Keith believes it was largely due to his attitude to the teachings of the guru.
“The man is an absolute joke who for some reason convinces people to part with their hard-earned money. It was very strongly suggested to me that he was Jesus – but he isn’t. He is a guy who somehow convinces people that all his crap is real.”
Article sourced from Dialogue Ireland.