Lisa Towell, producer of the After Work Athlete podcast and Richard Smith, Director of Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR).
After Work Athlete podcast series exploring the lives of amateur female athletes
by ilovelimerick correspondent Chloe O’Keeffe
Did you know pole fitness isn’t just for Hen weekends? Or that there is more to kettlebells than a way to burn fat?
The After Work Athlete podcast, produced by Lisa Towell and supported by Limerick City Community Radio station launched earlier this year and sheds some interesting light on often overlooked sports that are happening in Limerick and beyond such as bodybuilding, kettlebells and powerlifting to name a few.
The first six After Work Athlete episodes (available on Apple podcasts and Podtail.com) feature interviews with Ireland’s Strongest Woman, a Powerlifting champion in Limerick’s Powerlifting Club, an up and coming bodybuilder, a European Kettlebell sports champion, a pole fitness coach, and a cross fitter.
Producer of the After Work Athlete podcast, Lisa, got interested in fitness and sports when she took up running a few years ago, “Like a lot of people, I took up running back in 2010-2011. It was the prescribed emotional and physical antidote for anyone suffering the economic downturn Ireland was experiencing! I graduated from 5ks to 10ks, then to longer adventure races, duathlons and even a sprint triathlon. Just as I was coming around to joining a triathlon club a number of injuries hit me all at once and I hung up my Asics.”
But hitting the gym just wasn’t enough. Lisa needed something with more focus that went beyond working out in the gym.
Shortly after arriving in Limerick, Lisa joined Studio One Fitness in Annacotty and started going regularly to their ladies’ weight lifting classes. Since joining the powerlifting team there in 2017, Lisa became more interested in strength sports and the perceptions some of these sports have.
“Some of the sports we talked about like bodybuilding, pole fitness, powerlifting and even kettlebells are often misunderstood and if something is different it can be dismissed, or people feel intimidated. For a lot of strength-based sports, women feel they shouldn’t be lifting heavy weights or they lack the self-belief in their own abilities. To paraphrase Ayshea Ullah (Ireland’s Strongest Woman) in her interview ‘[Women] are a lot stronger than we think we are, and we are a lot stronger than what we give ourselves credit for’.”
The idea for the After Work Athlete podcast came from looking at how health and fitness is communicated to women and seeing the same sports being profiled in the media, “I wanted to tell the stories of normal women doing extraordinary things in sports that are not as well-known and encourage other women to take up a sport. The focus on sports or exercise for women is nearly always around weight loss and looking good. It rarely takes into considerations women’s passion for sports, for competing or for personal development opportunities that sports give people. Sport is for any age or gender,” Lisa says.
“I really enjoy listening to podcasts, but I couldn’t find any podcast that was focusing on women in sport outside of rugby or GAA. I wanted to tell the stories of the other sports happening in Ireland. I feel that at times the only female sports we hear about are camogie, rugby and ladies football. And that’s still as an afterthought! I wanted to hear from women who were more like the women I was encountering – that they were working full time, but trained for marathons between working, the school run and keeping up with family and friends. There are some fantastic sports podcasts out there but they are focused on just professional athletes (usually male) or are very technical about training methods or science nutrition. I’m really looking forward to sharing more women’s stories on the podcast. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of Limerick City Community Radio, who have been fantastic with their support for the After Work Athlete podcast.”
LCCR is Limerick’s only community radio station run by a team of passionate volunteers. The station is dedicated to giving a voice to those not in mainstream broadcasting, but also education and inspiring people in the local community.
Richard Smith, Director of Limerick City Community Radio (LCCR) said they were more than happy to help Lisa with access to facilities and advice, “Giving people the opportunity to tell their stories through broadcasting is what community radio is all about. As Limerick’s only community station, we take our purpose very seriously. We were delighted to help Lisa with access to the equipment she needed to make her podcast. We rely on funding from Limerick City Council but also the Broadcast Authority of Ireland. We offer work placements to students or to those looking to gain new skills in broadcasting. Unfortunately, Limerick City Community Radio is looking for a new home from its current location in Sexton street. We are calling on businesses and the local community to help us find a new location, so we can continue to be a media for all of Limerick.”
Lisa is happy with the reaction the podcast has received and is busy working on the next 4 episodes, and she is also keeping an ear out for interesting stories. If you know a woman who is an After Work Athlete and might be a great fit for the podcast, you can drop Lisa an email at [email protected] or follow @afterworkathlete on Instagram.
If you want to help LCCR find a new home, please contact LCCR at [email protected] or find them on Facebook.
To listen to the After Work Athlete podcast go here.
For more stories on LCCR go here.