Prehen woman Lisa Curran’s youngest child was just two when she decided she was going to get fit and improve her health.
With two young boys (now aged three and four) Lisa, who competed in gymnastics until the age of 16, admits she had “lost all her confidence” and wanted to do something to boost her self esteem.
She never thought for a second that just over a year later she would earn the title of ‘Ireland’s Fittest Woman’ at the Titanic Games in Belfast at the weekend.
A devotee of CrossFit - an exercise programme which combines cardio with resistance and weight training - Lisa began exercising again in May of last year. Having not exercised since having her children Daniel and Eoghan, Lisa admits she was very nervous when she went to her first session at CrossFit Derry, which is based at Pennyburn Industrial Estate.
“It took me a second or two to build up the courage to go through the door. As mad as it sounds the hardest part of it all is getting out and getting through the door. Once I was in there, it was different. Everyone was in the same boat.
“You hear about there being a community in CrossFit and it is true - you are welcomed and encouraged as soon as you walk in the door and every step of the way while you are training.”
CrossFit is certainly not for the faint-hearted - Lisa lifts weights in excess of 100kg, but the regime is not solely about weight training. It is a strength and conditioning programme which works every part of your body.
“I train five mornings a week,” Lisa said. “Classes start at 5.30 in the morning so I can be out, have my workout done and be home before the babies wake up. I take two days’ rest a week - but what I love about it is how I have been able to combine it with looking after the children and doing everything they need.”
To build up to competition level Lisa increased her training, going back to the gym when her children were at school between nine and 12. She found her previous skills as a gymnast also helped her when it came to competing.
She was one of three local athletes to compete in the Titanic Games with Steven Duffy being placed as the third fittest man in Ireland and Claire Lightowlers being placed as the sixth fittest woman in Ireland.
“This time last year I would have said there was no chance at me even thinking about competing in the games,” Lisa said. “But it has really made a huge difference to my life. It has helped all aspects of my health - physical and mental and I’m glad I gave it a go.“