Friday, November 27, 2015

Learning Kung Fu with a Shaolin Monk in Wexford

Shaolin Monks Wexford Kung Fu Niamh Griffin

I'm always up for trying new sports but it doesn’t always mean I'm any good at learning them as I found out when I had my first ever Kung Fu lesson!

It was pretty special, as I learned with Master Zheng Xiaohong from the Shaolin Temple. He and one of his students Wang Jinlei spend three months in Wexford every month at Monart Spa. Most people do Qi Qong and meditation with them, but how could I turn down learning a little Kung Fu from the very best?

Master Zheng was so polite, he smiled and clapped his hands when I got anything even half-way right. He said: “I like teaching, I love even with the people who cannot do it, it’s fun.” Hmm, very polite. And good-humoured for a man so long away from his wife and two children.

The hour-long lesson it felt more like 15 minutes. We went through Bow, Horse and Crab stances (confusing!) and then together in a sequence. He looked amazing, so elegant and swooping close down to the ground. Me? I did a pretty good imitation of Kung Fu Panda as I scraped and twisted my way across the floor.

I would have been fine except there were full-length mirrors so I couldn’t avoid myself! What a treat though. And a serious work-out, these moves may look gentle but my quads and biceps were aching next day.

We went outside after the class to take photos (see more on my last Wordless Wednesday post). The two monks were so serious, but I couldn’t stop laughing at how surreal it all was.

I was writing about the spa for the newspaper I work at – have you ever managed to drag sport into your everyday job??

Disclaimer: I spent the day at Monart Spa in Wexford courtesy of the Spa for my job with a newspaper. This is my honest opinion!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Kung Fu in Wexford

Wordless Wednesday  - I spent a lovely day learning Kung Fu and a few other things from Master Zheng Xiaohong from the Shaolin Temple recently  - come back on Friday for the full story!

Kung Fu Shaolin Monks Monart Niamh Griffin

Kung Fu Shaolin Monks Monart Wexford
Add caption

Waterfall Kung Fu Shaolin Monks Monart Niamh Griffin
Add caption

More Wordless Wednesday bloggers here.           And here on Image-in-ing

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dr Fionnula McHale on women and lifting weights

Dr Fionnula McHale weights Invigorate Clinic Fitness
International Fitness champion and medic Dr Fionnula McHale via @DrFionnula
When you’ve won silver at the Powerlifting World Championships, but your body is telling you that elite level of lifting is just a bit too far, what do you do next? Turns out there is a new sport in town, and one that Dr Fionnula McHale has fallen in love with.

Twice European Powerlifting champion (yep, as well), I talked to her a few days ago because I heard ** she's won the International Fitness Championships title in England. She's training now with Englishman Mark Coles, and just a little focused on this new type of competition which mixes power-lifting with showing-off a toned physique.

Fionnula said: “I like looking the way I look, and I like being physically strong. I love weights, I fell in love with them the first time I tried it. I tried a competition that was just about physique but I missed the intensity around weight training and competition.”

The IFC championships is five one-minute rounds of lifting, and she cranked out an astonishing: 

  • 27 squats
  • 18 chin-ups
  • 37 bench-press repetitions 
  • 44 push-press repetitions 
  • 45 deadlifts 

Of course I asked her what she tells her clients about weight-lifting, and why she thinks women should do it. Once she started talking on this she couldn't stop!

Dr Fionnula McHale weights IFC Fitness champion power lift
International Fitness champion and medic Dr Fionnula McHale via @DrFionnula

Reasons women should lift weights 

  1. Weights will revolutionise your training
  2. You can change your body shape completely but “still look nice in a dress” 
  3. Lifting helps your muscles, your joints 
  4. It’s even good for women around the time of the menopause, or much older
  5. She’s seen a woman in her 60s competing in power-lifting: something must be right! 
  6. You need to eat well and eat a lot to maintain strength: any excuse will do, thanks! 
  7. With good training you can lift the same weight as man: ego points!
Fionnula did say more than a few times as we talked that a GOOD TRAINER and GOOD FORM are so important. And in case you're wondering she competed at 58.2kgs in that photo above so you can park any fears about bulking-up. (I know, we shouldn't think like that but we do sometimes, don't we?) 

More shots from that tournament and more on her Instagram DrFionnula.


Want to Powerlift? 

Fionnula describes in excruciating detail her first experience at the Irish Drug-Free Powerlifting Association tournament, read it and wince at UltimatefitCrew. 

**Thanks Aoife Murphy MMA for telling me about Fionnula!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...