Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY MICHAEL SCULLY

A CELEBRITY cook­book is surely the next step after lean, mean Cian Healy got him­self slim­mer than he has been in al­most a decade.

The 30-year-old has been through the wringer in re­cent years be­cause of a cat­a­logue of in­juries and the emer­gence of Jack Mcgrath as Le­in­ster and Ire­land’s No1.

But a hip prob­lem for Mcgrath has pro­vided Healy with a start against South Africa – his 71st cap – and the chance to show Joe Sch­midt that he’s se­ri­ous about get­ting back to the top with a new body in top shape.

“It would be a dan­ger­ous cook­book,” Healy laughed at the sug­ges­tion he should share his recipes. “I wouldn’t fol­low it!

“I just got rid of the s*** weight. There’s no belly weight or any­thing like that. I’m prob­a­bly the lean­est I have been since, I don’t know, 2008 or so.

“I’m feel­ing good. I don’t feel like I have any ex­cess weight.”

While Mcgrath was com­ing off the bench in all three Li­ons Tests in New

Zealand, Clon­tarf man Healy was feel­ing back to his best on Ire­land’s sum­mer tour.

“I came out with a pretty pos­i­tive feel­ing,” he said. “I had a real de­sire to get back into sum­mer train­ing which I haven’t had for quite a time. You’re usu­ally ready for your hol­i­days, ready to kick the feet up.

“It’s the first sum­mer in a long time where I’ve wanted to train, keep on top of it, stay fit and look after my­self.”

Healy worked a lot at home dur­ing the close sea­son – he rented a crosstrainer and used it ev­ery morn­ing – and is now down to around 18 stone.

At one stage he was up to a stone and a half heav­ier but in­sists he has lost none of his power.

“When I was strug­gling after a cou­ple of the surg­eries, the weight would’ve helped me when I was less ca­pa­ble around the field,” said Healy.

“I’ve got this fresh­ness about my­self, I’ve lifted the fit­ness and dropped the weight. I de­cided to become fast again and not worry about be­ing a bit of a bull­dozer. It’s a bal­anc­ing act.”

NEW MAN Healy with Sch­midt yes­ter­day

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