In a twist to our usual MHC Life series, this month as part of our WOW Month (Working on Wellness), we chat with some of our colleagues who give us an insight into their favourite sport, and give us some fitness and wellbeing tips. This week we speak to Doireann Clarke, a HR officer in our HR team. Doireann talks about how she got into powerlifting and some key nutritional advice.
How did you get into powerlifting?
After college I started with a personal trainer who introduced me to strength training. When Covid hit I quickly went online and purchased a barbell and 150kg of plates. I initially used my bins as a squat rack before I found a safer option. I joined a powerlifting club online and trained in my garden (rain or shine) for a number of months before the gyms reopened and I entered my first competition.
What do you love most about powerlifting?
I love the constant room for growth and improvement. I also really enjoy the powerlifting community. There is a wide range of personalities and age ranges for example I often share a rack with 16 year old 6th year student and also 60 year old doctor both equally as strong as each other. Although powerlifting is an ‘individual’ sport, there is a huge element of camaraderie which I think you can see in all powerlifting clubs in Ireland.
What’s been your best sporting highlight to date?
I came 2nd at nationals this year which was a huge accomplishment for me achieving a 420kg total including a 197.5kg deadlift, however I am most proud of my qualifying competition last December. I took 4 months off to travel South East Asia last summer. When I came back in September I was completely detrained and unmotivated. I entered the last qualifying competition for nationals in December. I did not have any expectations for this competition. My aim was to just qualify for nationals. I ended up winning out of 16 competitors and PB’d my total!
What’s a typical day for you?
As much as I would love to be an early morning gym goer my training sessions can take up to 2.5 hours so I lean towards training after work. With the longer days I usually make my way to Portmarnock beach for a sunset swim.
Any tips for beginners on how to get started?
Get a Coach.
Any other passions besides powerlifting?
I recently began sea swimming which also really helps with recovery. If I’m not in the sea or in the gym you can most definitely find me sprawled on the couch watching reality TV (I also like to classify this as recovery!)
How important is nutrition when preparing for a competition/game?
Powerlifting is weight class sport so nutrition is extremely important both in and out of peak for a competition. I tend to make the majority of my meals Monday-Friday and eat out at the weekends, its all about balance! I chose a weight class which I do not have to cut weight for, so thankfully I still get to enjoy the constant flow of treats in the HR office.
Do you find that motivation comes and goes? If so, how do you get back on track?
Motivation is extremely fickle. I find having a goal to work towards helps me stay motivated. When I receive a new training block I identify a goal I want to complete, whether that be hitting a certain number, competing in a competition, or even just being more confident in a certain lift. Aside from having goals, I think simply acknowledging that being 100% motivated all the time is certainly unrealistic, so when I do experience bouts of low motivation I am aware that it is just part of the process.
Do you have any top tips for mental well-being?
“Control the controllables”
From your own experiences, what advice would you give to anyone starting their fitness journey today?
Try something new!
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