Meet Ireland’s fittest doctor who is powerlifting her way to glory

FIONNULA McHale is not your typical Irish doctor – when she’s not busy wielding the stethoscope, she can be found wiping the floor with her rivals in international fitness contests.

She also doesn’t look like the typical medic, with her hourglass curves and sassy heels – mainly because she likes to practise what she preaches when it comes to healthy living by lifting weights to stay in shape.

Dr McHale, a graduate of medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, has just been crowned champion at the International Fitness Championships in England last week. This is a relatively new discipline that combines powerlifting with bodybuilder-style poses.

Dr McHale, 28, said: ‘I think it’s quite motivating especially for females; it’s really good to see you can perform strongly at that level and have an athletic physique that also looks nice in a dress.’

Although she competed in a hot pink outfit, those weights were no joke. To claim her title, Dr McHale performed an incredible routine of five one-minute rounds lifting weights, including 27 squats, 37 bench-press repetitions, 44 repetitions for push-press, 45 deadlifts and 18 chin-ups. She competed weighing 58kgs (nine stone 2lbs).

It’s no wonder her patients take their medicine when she tells them. The Galway woman even managed to convince students at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to sit through a lecture on diet and exercise – two things not usually associated with the student lifestyle.

And while her social media accounts are filled with mentions of athletic clients such as MMA fighters Conor McGregor and Aisling Daly, her message is that weights are for everyone: ‘Women get better with age at lifting. The older you are, the stronger you are,’ she said.

‘It’s great for women around the menopause age – it helps the bones, the muscles, the joints – it’s the perfect time. A lot of people who come to see me have poor energy levels, they’re not sleeping properly, their mood is low or maybe suffering from anxiety. They’re people who’re not acutely sick but they’re not well.’

She added, laughing: ‘I’ve even got my mum doing weights now.’

The oldest woman Dr McHale has seen powerlifting competitively was in her early 60s.

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