'People really feel the benefits of going to the gym on such a stressful day': Cork gym opens its doors for class on Christmas morning

Those attending ranged in age from 16 to 63 years old and many had children who woke their parents up in plenty of time for class.
'People really feel the benefits of going to the gym on such a stressful day': Cork gym opens its doors for class on Christmas morning

Michelle O'Brien (centre) with Trish and Jill Morrissey of Mindset Fitness based at St. Vincents GAA club taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A CORK gym owner decided to do something a little different for Christmas, opening up for her customers on what is usually a day off for most workers.

Michelle O’Brien, of Mindset Fitness in St Vincent’s GAA Club, said she was keen to provide a Christmas morning class for her clients on what can be a stressful day for some.

“The gym isn’t just about keeping fit for me, it’s about your mindset, and Christmas Day is no different from any other day, really, when it comes to prioritising that,” she told The Echo.

Members of Mindset Fitness based at St. Vincents GAA club taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Members of Mindset Fitness based at St. Vincents GAA club taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“People always leave with a smile but I especially see it on Christmas Day. Some say it should be a rest day but I don’t buy that. People really feel the benefits of going to the gym on such a stressful day”

Around 13 people booked in for an 8am class on Saturday, which lasted 45 minutes.

Those attending ranged in age from 16 to 63 years old and many had children who woke their parents up in plenty of time for class.

“I have one woman who comes in and she has two young sons and they get up early and are fine for the hour while she nips out,” Michelle said.

“She knows exactly what it does to her head for the whole day. Christmas can be so stressful and that can really take over and people think there is no alternative, but we have everyone out of here by 9am and they’re set for the day then.”

Mindset Fitness has held a Christmas morning class previously but Michelle thought it was more important than ever this year. “We’re really like a small community here at Mindset, especially with everything that’s been going on for the past two years,” she said.

“We started running together when everything was shut down and one of the women is 63 and had a knee replacement. By the end of our training she was running 8km. It was amazing.”

Michelle St. Ledger and Michelle Fitzgerald of Mindset Fitness taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Michelle St. Ledger and Michelle Fitzgerald of Mindset Fitness taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The group is training to run a marathon in June, with their sessions returning this week.

All of the proceeds raised will go to Cork Missing Persons Search and Recovery; the Mindset members donated over €7,000 to the organisation last year.

“Everyone will get back together after Christmas and start training three days a week,” Michelle said.

Yvonne Qulligan and her daughters Chloe, Megan and Ericka Hennessy of Mindset Fitnesstaking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Yvonne Qulligan and her daughters Chloe, Megan and Ericka Hennessy of Mindset Fitnesstaking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“We always fundraise for Cork Missing Persons because what they do is just amazing.”

For Michelle, who will train seven days a week in the lead-up to the marathon, days off don’t mean much.

Lorraine Conway and Peter O'Herlihy of Mindset taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Lorraine Conway and Peter O'Herlihy of Mindset taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“What I do doesn’t feel like work to me. When you love doing what you’re doing it’s not work,” she said.

“I’ve had so many people who come in to lose weight but they end up getting so much more than that from the gym, which is lovely to hear.

Natalie O'Brien taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Natalie O'Brien taking part in a session on Christmas morning. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

“It’s great to see people coming together and getting all of the benefits from a class on Christmas.

“I was delighted to be able to give them that opportunity.”

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