There has been an explosion of interest in Martial Arts, MMA in particular, thanks to the meteoric rise of Conor McGregor. Looking in from the outside, one of the most captivating elements of Conor McGregor’s journey has been his determination to go after his dream. Someone else who is currently on the ascent and well on her way to realising her fighting dream is Kickboxing and MMA Star - Dee Begley.
At only 23 years of age, Dee has an impressive list of accomplishments that we predict will only get bigger in years to come. In Kickboxing she has competed at the highest level, coming away with multiple World and European medals.
Her top honours include a 2nd place finish at the WAKO European Championships 2016 & 3rd in the WAKO World Championships 2017. She also won double Gold at the Bristol Open in 2017. Her MMA career also started with an explosive win on her debut by guillotine.
Huge Inspiration to G+C
Dee has been a massive inspiration to us here at Gym+Coffee. We have worked with her on a number of occasions and we were extremely privileged to have her on board for our recent Leggings Launch. During that time we got to find out more about her fighting life and her desire to get to the very pinnacle of her sport.
Although Dee started from a young age, there was an element of serendipity that put her on the path to fighting. “I got into fighting by pure chance. I’d been doing athletics for two years in my hometown of Bantry, Co.Cork. On that particular day, I had finished training and waited for my mother, who was late (Thanks Mom, love you!). While waiting I saw the Kickboxing club setting up for their training session. I was immediately curious and the following week I went to the Kickboxing class and instantly fell in love with it. 8 national titles and 7 years representing the Irish Team later, I’m still going.”
Having started fighting at such a young age she has developed qualities that have transferred to all aspects of her life. “Fighting has made me very disciplined and driven to achieve my goals. Once I have my mind set on something I won’t give up until I’ve achieved it. This drive means training is a lot easier for me. It’s never felt like something I had to do, It’s always been something I wanted to do.”
That drive to succeed is equally present in the gym as it is at work.
“At work I always want to be at my best. I’m constantly looking for ways to be more efficient just like in my training. I set a very high standard for myself. I always want to win in MMA & Kickboxing. If I lose I look at my training and talk to my coach and see what has to change. I’m the same at work. If I’m not progressing, I’m start asking the question - “What has to change?”.
Dee has recently noticed a huge shift in her mindset. At the beginning of her career, the expectations she put on herself were much lower. That has changed a lot in recent years. Now her eyes are firmly fixed on achieving big things.
“When I started MMA, I didn’t think about where I’d end up. My ego was never big enough to think I could be the best. It’s a completely different ball game (from kickboxing). But when I started out in MMA, I took to it so naturally. The movements, the wrestling, although the Jiu Jitsu may have taken a bit longer. Now I’m at the point where I can say yes, I’m going to go professional in the next two years.”
In the last eight months, Dee has moved to Dublin to train in SBG under coach John Kavanagh. That move has been incredibly beneficial to Dee’s progress.
“Everyone in the gym has been incredible, so friendly and welcoming from the start. The girls I train with are the best, we train hard but we have great fun doing it.”
The immediate goals for Dee are to win the WAKO European Kickboxing Championships in Slovenia and to compete in the IMMAF MMA World Championships in Bahrain. These are massive goals and, as we found out, ambitious goals like those are backed up with a vigorous training regime.
“I train two mornings before work and four evenings after work Monday to Friday. Then I do all my Strength & Conditioning with Leon Lynch in Exceed Fitness in Cork. I train with him every Saturday morning, he’s the best in the business. After that I usually head over to my first club MMA Cork for some boxing training. I take Sundays off to recover from the week. If I feel an injury coming on or if I feel a bit run down I might take a session off and do some active recovery instead. That would involve heading to the sauna or do a foam rolling session.”
What makes Dee’s dedication to training and rise in MMA/Kickboxing all the more impressive, is that she is doing all this alongside a full time job. That said, juggling work and passion is all part of the chasing a sporting dream. Dee offered advice on nutrition, training and motivation for anyone trying to do the same.
On Nutrition - “Try to find the time to do a big weekly shop and prepare your meals for the week ahead. Then, make sure to bring enough healthy food with you to work. This stops you snacking on bad foods. If you feel low on energy and are craving sweet things, having fruit with you in work is a good way to stay on track.”
On Training - “My advice is to make sure you get enough rest. Your body has its limits, even if your determination doesn’t. Take a day off to rest, do some active recovery - foam-rolling, take a swim in the sea or just go for a walk on the beach.”
On Motivation - “Pushing yourself to get up for training early in the morning is the hardest part. When your alarm goes off at that ridiculous early hour, my advice is to get up, go out and train. Just by doing that, you set yourself up for a successful day. Not answering that alarm clock is what will cause the doubts.”
It was fascinating to get an insight and spend time with someone chasing a childhood dream. We will be rooting for Dee all the way. She has achieved a huge amount already and we have absolutely no doubt that there are massive things to come.
We are more than excited to announce the latest arrival to our women’s collection.
To add to our growing range of hoodies, t-shirts, vests and leggings we have our brand new women’s tank tops - the U-Range. The range comes in three subtly distinct styles that we know you're going to love - U-Move, U-Live and U-Stretch.