Wednesday 24 October 2018

Fitiness secrets of international football star Aine

Irish international Aine O'Gorman.
Irish international Aine O'Gorman.
AINE O'Gorman

Aine O'Gorman

Aine O'Gorman began her quest to become a member of the Republic of Ireland women's national football team at the tender age of six, when the striker would accompany her older brother to football training at the Bog Meadow pitch in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.

"I remember my brother's manager, Ger Barton, use to let me join in and then I soon joined the boys' team at my own age and haven't looked back since. There was no family history of footballing genes but a few of my uncles and Dad would have played a bit of GAA but there's no All-stars, I've been told," laughs the Irish footballer.

Growing up, Aine's love affair with the spherical ball always topped any other sports in her life which she briefly flirted with.

"Football was always my number one, I suppose I loved it because it's probably one of the only things I'm half decent at. I enjoyed playing Gaelic, played tennis during the summer, occasionally did athletics, cycled and played a bit of golf as well but soccer always came out on top.'

"I was always very active as a kid, loved being outdoors, enjoyed staying fit and healthy and loved the buzz you get from competing and winning. I also hate losing, my best friend won't even play tennis with me anymore because she says I'm way too competitive."

On the back of getting her first cap for the Irish senior football team when she was only 16 years of age, as well as playing Under 15, Under 17 and Under 19 football, it soon became apparent that football would feature heavily in Aine's future.

The sports star received sports scholarships to study fitness instruction and leisure management at Sallynoggin College of Further Education in September 2007 until 2009 and briefly at IT Carlow from 2009, while playing club football for Stella Maris Football Club in Walkinstown.

"Stella Marris was the first girls' team I played with, they were hugely successful winning the Dublin League and National Cup at Under 14, 16 and 18."

"I really enjoyed my time at Sallynoggin as I was studying what interested me, so it came a lot easier than school, which was something I really had to work hard at. I particularly liked anatomy and physiology, learning how the body works from a sports performance point of view and the importance of staying active to lead a healthy lifestyle.

"I was on the football course at IT Carlow, which was great, as we trained everyday with top coaches, did coaching courses and studied other relevant subjects."

Around this time, the sports addict was also selected to represent Leinster, helping them to the 2009 inter-provincial title.

Aine then switched to football club and National League champions Peamount United Ladies Football Club, based in Greenogue Newcastle in west Dublin, where she became infamous for scoring a hat-trick in the 2010 FAI Women's Cup final, as Peamount beat Salthill Devon 4-2 at Tolka Park.

"I played for Peamount for one season before I went to England and we won the treble which included the FAI Senior Cup, Dublin League and Cup, something that will always stand out in my mind as well as being named U19 FAI player of the year in 2007, of course."

Multi-tasker O'Gorman also played Gaelic football for Bray Emmets and in September 2010 helped the club win the Wicklow Ladies Senior Football Championship, scoring four goals and two points in the final.

It was in October 2010, that the Wicklow native signed for two years with the English FAWSL club Doncaster Rovers Belles after a successful trial along with other signings Kylla Sjoman and Maria Karlsson.

In signing for the Belles, Aine became the first participant from the BA Sport and Exercise (Soccer) course in IT Carlow to earn a semi-professional contract with an overseas club.

"I was 22 when I went across the water to play for Doncaster Belles in the Women's Super League, which is the highest standard of football in England. It was tough being away from home, leaving all my friends and family but it is an experience I will never regret."

"While I enjoyed my time in England but it was never home, I met new people. The people of Doncaster were always very nice and made me feel welcome. The time I spent there helped me develop as a person on and off the pitch.

"It was a semi professional set up and a high standard of football, which was a great challenge. We generally had a game once a week, trained three days a week on the pitch, had to do two gym sessions and recovery sessions as well. When I wasn't training I did some coaching in nearby schools. I also played with a great bunch of girls called 'I'm Donnie'. We were one of the top teams in the league but we worked hard as a team to get results and made it hard for the opposition to play against us."

At the time Belles' manager John Buckley said about the 5ft 4in player: "We are delighted that we have been able to attract Aine to the club. She will prove to be an excellent addition to the squad.

"Aine is hungry to do well, wants to score goals and will certainly be a handful for any defender to deal with in the Super League. It says a lot that she's won 38 caps for her country and she's just 21."

At the end of the 2011 FAWSL season the striker returned to Peamount on loan ahead of the Irish club's Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain but it was not until October 2013 that Aine left Doncaster Belles for good, as she grew more homesick and came home to play football for the Irish women's senior team.

"It's a great honour to play for your country and something I always aspired to do when I was younger and starting out playing football. To play up front, it helps if you are quick, strong or skillful and you need to be very fit and have high work rate, particularity on the wing.

"Recently I've been playing right back so I'm getting pushed back down the pitch, maybe it's my age and I'm still trying to learn how to tackle."

Women's football is on a crest of a wave in Ireland and as part of the Irish women's team, Aine and her team mates have proved successful.

"We are improving as a team and progressing as a country with the U17s qualifying for the World Cup finals two years ago and the Under 19s recently qualifying for the European Championships. However, the aim for the senior team over the coming years is to qualify for a major championship such as the European or World Cup finals tournament, that's what most of us would have dreamed about doing as kids."

On Fridays the Irish national team trains at the National Aquatic Centre in Blanchardstown which, as well as housing an international FINA standard 50m x 25m swimming pool with changeable depths and configurations, also features a state-of-the-art health club/gymnasium with all of the latest cardio vascular and resistant equipment, aerobics facilities and a dedicated spinning room.

"Once a week on a Friday evening an elite group of players based in Ireland meet here, where we do an hour strength and conditioning with Ger McDermott and Kathryn Fahy in the gym, they give individual programmes which has been hugely beneficial and an essential part of the game to compete at the highest level and stay injury free. We then do an hour of high tempo training out on the pitch, working on whatever areas of the game the coaches feels necessary at the time."

A twenty five year old Aine has parted ways with Peamount United since her return from England and is now playing club football with UCD Waves in the Women's National League, a new club formed as an amalgamation between UCD and DLR Waves.

"Peamount United parted ways with Eileen Gleeson one of the best managers I've ever played under and Eileen got the job with UCD Waves so myself and a number of the other girls decided to stick with her, the location suits me better and the facilities and resources UCD have to offer are second to none."

Now a personal trainer and fitness instructor working at the Glenview Hotel and Leisure Club in Delgany, Co Wicklow, this profession is something Aine gets an incredible amount of satisfaction from.

"As an athlete having a good diet and training regime is a very important to compete at the top level, so it's always been a keen interest of mine. I'm told I'm a good motivator, which is something I think you either have or you haven't got, so being a fitness instructor and personal trainer is probably the ideal job for me.

"I genuinely love my job and do a lot of shift work at the gym so no day or week is ever the same, if I'm not opening up at 6am I will have private clients to train early in the morning before they go to work, then generally I do my own gym session and go home for a second healthy breakfast. It is important I take a nap if I've been out club training the night before, to catch up on sleep and then head back to work where I carry out fitness assessments and teach a variety of classes, which include spinning, circuits, body pump ,boxercise, super seniors or aqua aerobics. Eat, Sleep, Train, Repeat!

"So far I have 67 caps for the Irish women's senior team and I will play for the national team for as long as I possibly can, as long as I stay fit and the manager picks me and circumstances allow."

"Beating Italy U19s is a game I'll never forget and as well as making my starting senior debut against Germany, so I'd like very much to start creating more great memories."

It's a great honour to play for your country and something 
I always aspired to do when I was younger and starting out 
playing football


Aine's 10 Fitness tips

1 Set goals

Short and long-term that are specific and measurable, for example, I am going to loose 5kg in 10 weeks or going from only being able to walk, to doing a light jog in four weeks. A long-term goal, for example, would be to participate in your first 5km or do next year's marathon or an event you have coming up, such as a wedding or holiday, for which to get the bikini body ready for.

2 Plan

It's a great idea to 
meet a fitness instructor first to get an assessment and personalised programme. Then decide what days and times of the week suit you best to train.

3 Training Type

Aim to do a minimum of a 40 - 60 minute work-outs three times a week combined with 30 minutes of cardio. Intervals are best and resistance training is proven to build strength, speed up metabolism and increase bone density which decreases the risk of osteoporosis especially for women.

4 Monitor Progress

Take note of inches/weight lost monthly, weights lifted and reps completed, increase in fitness levels, results breathe motivation. Heart rate monitors are a great training aid, in the gym we have MY Zone software so PT clients and members get feedback on the intensity of their workout, calories burned, and what training methods work best for them, "quality not quantity'' anyone using it loves it and it works (there's no cheating)!!

5 Variety

Changing up your training regime every four to six weeks will cause muscle confusion, helps avoid injury, prevents boredom and your fitness levels plateauing. Doing fitness classes is a great way to exercise in a fun sociable environment.

6 Cool Down

To return your heart rate to normal, increase flexibility, aid muscle soreness and improve recovery.

7 Recovery

Sleep is a vital part of recovery to allow the muscle repairs and have sufficient energy to get the maximise effort from your next workout.

8 Training Partner

Having a training partner is a great way keep you on track and avoid excuses. If you have committed to someone else you are less likely to miss a workout, the days you are not in the mood they can be the ones to give that little push you need to train and healthy competition to get results.

9 Enjoyment

Find something you enjoy doing, for example, whether its training for sport, running a race, walking, hiking or cycling.

10 Consistency

Fitness is a lifestyle change for life not just for January as they say and never miss a Monday, you will fall off the bandwagon.


Aine'straining regime

My training regime, is full of variety depending what stage of the football season it is but I generally train six days a week, always having one full rest to allow the body to recover physically and switch off mentally.

My training regime, is full of variety depending what stage of the football season it is but I generally train six days a week, always having one full rest to allow the body to recover physically and switch off mentally.

Currently it's preseason so we are doing three club football sessions a week, where we do a combination of running and ball work, most days I'll foam roll to aid recovery and muscle tightness, two to three gym sessions which include an interval run, sports specific strength and conditioning, plyometrics and injury prevention.

Most weeks I'll do a cross fit or TABATA and boxing session, join in with one of my PT clients or my friend who is always nagging me to train with her.

I live near the mountains so I try to get out and cycle as much as I can whether its alone or with friends especially in the fine weather.

I then usually get involved with whatever classes I have to teach in the gym where I'm always looking to come up with new ideas to keep the members on their toes.

I have a healthy diet 90 per cent of the time, I love cooking so I make a lot of my own food but I do enjoy eating out once a week. I'm coeliac so this makes me very aware of what I eat, as I cant have wheat, barley and rye.

I always start my day with a bowl of porridge, banana and seeds or dried fruit.

Ill usually tend to have my dinner in the afternoon which includes slow releasing carbohydrates brown rice, sweet potatoes, lean protein or fish and lots of veg or salad.

Then in the evening after training or work I will have a lighter meal, first I'll see if my Mum has anything nice left over from dinner and if there's nothing I'll generally have a banana pancake or whip up an omelette.

Throughout the day I snack on fruit, smoothies, nuts and yogurt, hummus and carrots.

As a treat I'll have some dark chocolate and I love chocolate brazil nuts and raisins, anyone that knows me knows that, FOOD IS FUEL.

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