Lesley Dempsey is the founder and managing director of Fusion Elite Carlow. She qualified as a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in 1994 and she has been teaching fitness classes ever since. Her passion for fitness came at a young age when she competed at championship level in squash. She went on to further her studies and became a qualified Coach in Rugby, Squash and Soccer. Due to reoccurring knee injuries she no longer plays these sports but she remains an avid fan from the side lines.
Most people would allow an injury to tarnish their career or in some cases finish it completely but not Lesley… Driven by a thirst for knowledge and the willpower and determination to self-heal, she went on to study and qualify as a Neuromuscular Therapist (NMT) in 2000. She began treating clients regularly and this became her main income for many years. She has some very high profile sports personalities on her books as well as some high profile television personalities. Her proudest achievement to date was travelling as an NMT for the Irish Paralympic Team to Beijing in 2007 and then again for the World Games in Canada in 2007 where many bronze, silver and gold medals were brought back to Ireland by these amazing athletes. It was a gruelling schedule but Lesley loved every minute of it.
Her skills in the NMT world do not just include Humans!!! As a young child, Lesley has had a love and a bond with Horses that is indescribable. She has ridden from a very early age and has owned her own horses over the years. However, her real love comes from being able to treat these majestic animals to give them relief from sports injuries, muscle soreness, and/or behavioural issues. These animals are sports professionals in their own right and they need just as much maintenance and attention as their fellow human athletes. Lesley qualified as an Equine NMT and has treated hundreds, if not thousands of horses over the last 15 years with major effect. She is never fazed by their size or nature as she knows that once she puts her hands on the horse to help, they respond with absolute honesty and loyalty. Some well-known horse yards Lesley had worked in are Charlie Swans Racing Yard, Corries Cross (Eventing Stables), Temple Stables and Pilswoth Stud to mention a few.
Lesley has a passion for helping people, she is an educator in every sense of the word. While studying for her own Fitness Instructing and NMT courses, she was hand-picked to become an educator/facilitator on these courses. She has taught fitness instructors how to be fitness instructors for over 10 years. She absolutely loved this work and in 2010 she took a role as the Making Connections Manager under the Carlow County Development Partnership. This job involved working with people, on a one to one basis, from different walks of life who all came from substance misuse backgrounds. Lesley’s main goal was to help to educate her students with the basic Junior Cert Level skills and also fitness, home cooking, literacy and numeracy skills amongst many other life skills. Many of her clients have gone on to pursue their Leaving Certificates with some progressing to Higher Education. Lesley loved this role but it was through this job that her fitness career re-emerged. She had been asked to teach on behalf of the Carlow VEC for different groups. She began teaching them Zumba® and other Aerobic type classes. She had been out of the group fitness teaching for a couple of years but the buzz of it left her wanting more……
The demand for her group classes was becoming over whelming and after 3 – 4 years of trying to juggle her separate roles she felt it was time to pursue her passion for teaching fitness class and having a huge impact on people’s physical, emotional and mental health.
She put on her own public Zumba® Classes in Tullow and Carlow Town. They were a huge success. She was renting different halls such as the Presentation College, The Carlow Rugby Club, St. Fiacc’s Hall etc… Her real goal was to find her own premises where she could introduce her many other classes that she had qualified in so that she could offer lots of variety to her very loyal customer base. In November 2014 she found her own premises on the Portlaoise Road in Graiguecullen, Carlow. The unit had previously been a car show room so it was wide open and perfect to house group fitness classes. With a few tweaks (and lots of sweat!!!) the studio was ready to launch on December 1st 2014. Having her own base allowed her to offer so much more and to appeal to a much wider market. And as they say the rest is history…….
Fusion Fitness has gone from strength to strength. With 3 full time instructors and 23 classes per week on in the studio alone, there is always something available to get the people of Carlow moving. While physical health is so important, the classes are so fun and inclusive that the change in peoples overall mental health has been attributed by local G.P.’s to this fitness studio and for that Lesley could not be more proud. She wanted to provide a place where a 13 year old could come with her 20 year old sister/brother or her 38 year old mam/dad or her 45 year old aunty/uncle or her 75 year old gran/grandad. After working in the community for many years, Lesley knows there was a real need for inclusion. Exercise is not for the elite, it is for everyone. It is vital in this day and age where obesity is on the rise and where suicide figures are so high that there is a space for everyone to come with no judgement and no fear. Our classes are affordable and they are varied to suit everyone regardless of fitness level, age or ability. We are also very lucky to be able to teach classes to some wonderful private groups such as The Carlow Supported Training Services, The Delta Centre, Cairdeas Centre in Tullow and BEAM Services in Bagenalstown.
Some of the many qualifications in group fitness held by Lesley are: Tai Chi; Fitboxe; Aerobics; Aqua Aerobics; Pre & Post Natal Exercise; & Step Classes. She is certified to teach Zumba®; Zumba Gold®; Zumba Kids®; & Zumba Step®, Fitsteps, Bounce DanceFit, Tomboogie, POUND®, RIP60™, Piloxing Knockout® and Metafit™.
Other Relevant Qualifications:
Lesley has also qualified in providing Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture Treatments. In order to keep her licence, she retests every year under NADA Eireann.
This is also recognised as Acupuncture for Substance Use. Lesley combines this treatment with a guided meditation to create a relaxed atmosphere as the acupuncture works with the body’s chakras.
She has also qualified as an Oncologist Massage Therapist under the Obus Holistic Courses. She gives treatments to people who have cancer or who are recovering from cancer. This is a very rewarding role. She has also studied Hopi Ear Candling and Cupping Massage under The Obus Holistic School also. She uses these treatments as part of her NMT sessions if required.
Lesley’s thirst for knowledge is never ending, she retrains constantly to ensure that she has the most up to date programs available for her clients. She believes there is always new improvements in the way we work and it is up to us individually to go out and research new methods or new trends to understand what her customers want and need. Her ultimate dream is to one day open her own college. Watch this space……