Saturday 21 September 2019

Miriam O'Callaghan's daughter Georgia turns to boxing: 'I was so crippled by anxiety that I was house bound'

'Boxing helped me sort crippling anxiety and lose weight'

Georgia McGurk at training
Georgia McGurk at training

Denise Smith

Miriam O’Callaghan may go round for round with politicians, pulling no punches when it comes to her interview style and it seems her daughter, Georgia McGurk, has that same fighting spirit, especially in the ring.

The 24-year-old who intends to study psychology explains why boxing is not just a sport, it’s a form of meditation.

“Boxing is an incredibly technical sport, and I suppose you only learn to appreciate just how skilful it is once you try it yourself. It’s very physical and about using the power of your entire body as the force behind your punch. Therefore, there is a lot of focus on foot work, shoulders and core, which essentially makes it a total body work out. On top of this, cardio is a vital factor in boxing. As any professional or amateur boxer will tell you, regardless of how hard you can box, it is about endurance and longevity when it comes to the ring. Hence where the skipping comes into it.”

For the Beau Jacks regular, boxing has become a form of therapy.

“I can’t really begin to sum up in words what boxing or exercise as a whole has done for both my physical and mental health. I have suffered with anxiety since I was a young child, and even went through phases of being so crippled by it that I was house bound. Anxiety is primarily based on adrenaline and fear, so exercise has afforded me a whole new way of channeling that adrenaline and fear into something constructive.”

Stepping into the ring with the desire to lose weight, Georgia soon realised the far-reaching benefits of the discipline that surpassed toning up.

“Initially it was the desire to lose weight that encouraged me, as any good boxing class (in combination with a healthy 80/20 diet) will allow you to lean up and tone up, but now it has become so much more than that. I feel so lucky to be part of a family like Beau Jacks where I have met some of the most amazing people and some who will be my friends for life. It is a really special place.

“In terms of my appearance I definitely feel much more comfortable in myself. Physically, I feel the strongest I have ever felt, and that is from a combination of lifting weights with the help of a great PT and boxing with a great coach.

Georgia McGurk at training
Georgia McGurk at training

“Steve, our coach treats everyone the same, and expects the same level of hard work from everyone, regardless of sex. I think Katie Taylor has changed how people view women in boxing in a really positive way. ”

Encourgaing more women to pull on their boxing gloves, the Dubliner says: “Just do it once and see how you find it. The longer you think about it, the more reasons you will find to not do it. It is the best I have ever done, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without Beau Jacks now and the balance boxing has given me. Especially considering we live in a world where unfortunately women are constantly projected as victims, whether it’s in fairy tales or unequal salaries, as women we should aim to be our strongest selves — both physically and mentally.”

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