Local swing singer Dave Martin has told how lockdown motivated him to embark on a massive health and fitness kick which saw him shed over three stone in as many months.
The Belfast-born star, who lives in Limavady with wife Kristen and children Micha (8), Seren (5) and two-year-old Sian had a series of wedding gigs lined up but was left without work when Covid-19 forced their cancellation and hit the entertainment industry hard.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, the 37-year-old, who performs with Casino Cats and The Merchants, decided to use the downtime to tackle his weight after piling on the pounds over the last few years.
He started a strict calorie and macros-controlled diet, cycled and ran every day and during the three months of lockdown lost over three stone.
Although he's not sure when he'll next be performing live, Dave feels like a new man and can't wait to get back on the stage again.
"I've always taken notions with my health. Three summers ago, I lost two and a half stone over 11 weeks ahead of a family holiday to Majorca," he said.
"While away, I put on half a stone and then it just crept back on again over the past couple of years.
"I was back to square one and not feeling great about myself. To be honest, it got me pretty down.
"I felt too self-conscious to even put my photographs up on social media.
"Image is important in my job. No one wants a fat singer, unless you're a hugely talented one."
Dave's motivation was twofold: he wanted to boost his confidence and improve his health for the sake of his young family.
"My incentive to lose weight the last time was wrong - it was short-term gain for a holiday," he told Sunday Life.
"This time, I wanted to be fit and healthy for my family but also for my work. It helps to be in better shape as a singer. It can be quite a physical job and being in good shape helps with breath control too.
"I also wanted to feel happy and confident again."
Dave, who also performs at corporate functions and gala events, entered lockdown weighing in at 16 stone and four pounds.
To begin with, he worked on his diet, meticulously counting calories to between 1,600 and 1,800 a day.
With that sorted, he moved onto a new daily fitness regime. A keen cyclist before lockdown, he got his bike out again and took to the roads and also began running.
Dave used fitness apps to monitor his performance and, within just three months, he had dropped down to 13 stone and two pounds.
Everyone around him noticed a change, not just in his appearance but in his confidence too.
His last wedding gig was on March 12 and he hasn't performed live since then.
At the moment he still has bookings in the diary for August and September, but he isn't sure the bands will be allowed to get back together again.
Despite that, he's optimistic for the future. "I'm lucky because my wife has a good job and I have my family to focus on, but for a young musician,I can imagine how tough it has been," Dave said.