“It is so important for moms to look after themselves,” says Rosemary, a stay at home mom.

She’s 43, married to Brian and runs a busy household with three school-going kids David, Michael and the youngest, Ella.

“I committed to myself that I would devote at least two hours per day to myself, just to break the monotony of daily household chores.”

Cleaning, cooking, laundry, shopping, taxiing, kids and two hours of Rosemary-time which she usually spends at CrossFit Tipperary.

“Just being in a workout gear and heading out with a sport bag in hand is a great example for my children.”


Ella is eight years old and first got into CrossFit after trying out the kids class with her older brother Michael. Although she wants to be a vet when she grows up, Ella also aims to represent Ireland in Olympic weightlifting and captain Waterford’s ladies gaelic football team to an all-Ireland final and win.

“I don’t think we have ever discussed skinny with Ella but she knows about being strong. I think because she is so young, strong is all she knows and I hope it continues like that.”

Ella loves doing snatches and box jumps, but doesn’t really like burpees. Her favourite athlete is Emma McQuaid who she met at last year’s Irish Throwdown.

“CrossFit teaches kids at a very young age to be non-judgemental and supportive of others.”


Rosemary was introduced to CrossFit Tipperary through a friend who invited her to come along and join a class.

“The first thing that struck me were the camaraderie and encouragement from other members and coaches: ‘don’t worry, I was like that when I started, it gets easier’.”

Some people compare CrossFit to an addiction.

“I will admit it’s not far from the truth.”

Being a stay at home mom, Rosemary can quickly finds herself in a situation where she doesn’t see another adult until her husband comes home.

“For me CrossFit is not just about physical fitness but also an opportunity to socialise with likewise individuals.”

It’s that time of the day when her mind is free of anything, focused on getting through the workout. Except if Ella is watching, then she tries a little bit harder.

“I’m very conscious that she’s there.”


Both of them already competed in weightlifting and Ella was, and still is, the youngest girl ever to participate at an Irish Olympic weightlifting competition.

“Many people think weightlifting is not suitable for kids but our children are lifting their own weight on a daily basis. Once you have a knowledgeable coach, it is not an issue. We are lucky to have one of the best coaches in the business, Colin Roles.”

Not many eight year-olds have an opportunity to meet a World Champion and Olympic medallist in Olympic Weightlifting. Ella had and even did a quick training with Apti Aukhadov.


“It’s great to be able to work out and spend time with Ella. Sometimes we do a WOD together after class, it’s our quality time.”

Ella always wins.

“She always beats me.”

Rosemary’s happiest memory is mastering toes to bars after nine months of practice.

“Also something that stands out is one of the younger girls, aged 22, saying ‘I hope I’m like you when I’m a mom, still crossfitting’. That was amazing to hear.”

The helpless female card was thrown away.

“CrossFit is such a stress reliever, it’s my therapy! And if you can’t look after yourself, how can you look after others?”

Rosemary’s goal is simple: to keep crossfitting.

As for Ella, one message she wants to pass on to her daughter is: “Anything is possible in life. It may take hard work but anything is possible. And enjoy the journey.”

Photos: Polona Fonda