Monday, September 17, 2018

Staying fit through pregnancy with kickboxer Orla O' Brien Clancy

Kickboxing while pregnant fit pregnant

From kickboxer to mother and now both together, Orla O’Brien Clancy is developing a training programme for women who want to get fit again after giving birth. And unlike many other trainers, she’s ready for women who want to go high-octane as well as those happy to walk at a brisk pace.

I started following Orla on social media a few months ago when she was just charting her own journey back to fitness. From Cork the mother of two had a huge kickboxing career; holding titles at European and World level, and earning her black belt in 2014.

She says: “Kickboxing demanded so much of my attention for so long, my husband and I put off having kids until I felt I’d achieved what I wanted. It was worth it though, I had to be ready to step away. I started kickboxing later in life – when I was 23 – and was about 38 when I stopped. We’ve two children now so it’s all worked out great, but I know I was very lucky.”

Pregnancy wasn’t an easy stroll for her in spite of being so fit and that spurred her on to learn more.
She says: “I nearly died, it was very serious. And afterwards I felt I didn’t have enough information about my body, I’m an athlete so I’m used to a high level of training. I had this sense I should be recovering faster but that’s not true. There’s expectations that if you do sport you will just bounce back but it has to be safe, you need awareness.”

Orla took personal training and pre/post natal courses but felt it wasn't enough. It was when she came across the Brianna Battles Pregnancy and PostPartum Athleticism course that things fell into place.  She says: "The course took a few months, but it was fantastic. It's coming from an athletic mindset and it helped me become the coach I want to be."

The blurb for Orla's seminar includes: “Pregnancy is one short chapter in your athleticism. Returning to fitness or sport postpartum requires a strategy. It’s not about bouncing back; it’s about progressive overload and slowly returning to what you love. Slow is fast.”

She says the seminar will suit any woman interested in sport and fitness, from people looking to regain Olympian-level fitness to those starting out, saying: “The principles are the same for everyone”

Orla’s had inquiries from crossfitters, power-lifters and runners, from women who are currently pregnant and others realising they need more help now the first blur of motherhood is passing.

She says: “It’s about learning what modifying an exercise means, there’s no shame in that. Athletes come in with the mindset of being used to cutting weight and being disciplined, but this is about not beating yourself up. It’s about knowing that making mistakes is OK and learning about eating healthily for this stage. They say you’re post-partum forever. So it’s about showing athletes how to come back.”

Orla herself could be on that come-back road also shortly. Kickboxing Ireland runs events for veteran athletes too, and Orla says she’s not done yet with her kickboxing career. That will give an added dimension to the training seminars when you know the instructor is following her own advice.

Of course women should always see a women's health physio before resuming exercise after giving birth, do be careful out there. 

Follow Orla O’ Brien Clancy on Instagram @fighting_fit_momma for more information.

Book to attend the September 27th 2018 pregnancy post/partum exercise seminar on Eventbrite 

Watch a video interview with Orla Clancy O' Brien on Vimeo 

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