Bristol Kettlebell club member – Julie Baldwin
When did you get into kettlebell training?
My wonderful friend Sarah introduced me to Kettlebell training last November. We both knew Pete from school and she had been in touch with him to do his bootcamp and thought it would be a great opportunity for us to get fit and see a bit more of each other. She came back from Cardiff three times a week in order for us to train together – that’s true commitment!
What attracted you to kettlebell training?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I’ve been a member of a gym for 10 years and have tried various things over the years to get fit without a great deal of success. I knew very little about it and to be honest was skeptical that I would stick to it and that it would hold any benefits for me – how wrong was I?
Pete is simply brilliant. I was talking to an old friend, who trains with Pete, about what it is that makes Pete such a good trainer and we realized that it’s hard to put it into words. He doesn’t shout at you like an army drill instructor but he has a way of instructing that makes you enjoy the classes and feel like you are an individual who is getting real one to one attention. He picks you up on your technique but does it in a way that makes you feel happy to take his advice. He encourages you and is always prepared to help, whether it be advice on nutrition or fitness. He is prepared to have a laugh too which means that sessions are always enjoyable. I never think – oh no I don’t want to train tonight ever. I feel genuinely disappointed if I cannot attend class due to work or social commitments. Yes I would rather go training than go down the pub!
Some say it’s really tough, is it?
It is tough, in that you really work hard but I absolutely love it. Having trained at the gym for many years, I realise now how important it is to push yourself and vary what you do to get results. At the gym, I always had a tendency to do the same routine and was therefore only working certain muscles. I have discovered that I have muscles where I didn’t know I had them! I love the fact that every time you go, the classes are different and you feel like you are pushing yourself as much as you can.
I’ve been going since November 2011 and I’ve never done the same class twice. The people who train in the classes are really lovely people and we spur each other on. I love the fact that every one is at different levels yet we encourage each other and get on really well. We also socialize together so although we train hard we play hard too. I’ve made lots of lovely new friends through kettlebells and have even managed to convert some of my old friends to kettlebells who were so bored of me banging on about how good it was that they decided to see for themselves and now love it as much as I do.
What other types of fitness have/do you enjoy?
I’m a pretty active person and do lots of stuff besides kettlebells, such as swimming, walking, pilates, gym, etc. My job as a teacher is fairly active and I am involved in the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and often get to be involved in active expeditions with work, including kayaking, watersports and this summer I am taking a group of sixth formers to Thailand/Cambodia where part of the expedition involves trekking through remote jungle.
There is a lot of hype surrounding kettlebell training, what kind of results have you seen?
My goodness, where do I start? At Christmas I made a decision to lose weight and at 15 stone, I had what I thought was going to be a difficult journey ahead. However, with a complete change to my diet (helped by useful tips from Pete) and kettlebell training I have managed to lose over 4 stone and it’s been easy. That amount of weight loss means that I now feel like a completely different person. I have gone down from a size 18-20 to a size 10 – 12 and I cannot begin to tell you how many inches I have lost. The most impressive measurements are probably losing 10 inches from my backside, 6 inches from my waist and going down 6 bra cup sizes!
As for the health benefits – I have arthiritis in my knees and hands but kettlebells has strengthened the muscles around my joints and I can happily exercise and live a very active lifestyle (including dancing the night away at the weekends) with very little discomfort at all. I am more flexible and my stamina has increased incredibly. At the beginning I struggled to hold a plank for about 10 seconds and now I can happily plank it for about 1 and a half minutes.
What size kettlebells do you work with?
I’ve gone from swinging an 8kg kettlebell to 20kg. Not bad in 7 months. I can snatch 12kgs but am looking to move up to 14kgs in the next few weeks.
What are your future goals within kettlebell training?
I really want to tone up even more now. My shape has changed dramatically and I have muscles now that I didn’t know were there! I would like to tone up my stomach more but I know that means putting in hard work. I have managed to get a better work-life balance and am looking to increase my training so that I can do this. After 10 years paying for my gym membership, I have decided it’s simply not worth the money so am going to cancel my membership and attend Pete’s classes more often instead. Thank you Pete – you have really helped me to finally get fit! I am truly indebted to you for not only helping me to get in shape but also giving me a passion for exercise.
Words from Pete – Julies dedication to get in shape is admirable and she has been rewarded with amazing results, dropping roughly 60 pounds (over 4 stone) in 6 months is absolutely brilliant, she is a perfect example of what can be achieved with consistent training and eating the right foods, with occasional treats. As she points out weight loss is not the only benefit she has received, a reduction in pain in her arthritic hands and knees is another, and flexibility, core strength and stamina will help her hugely as she treks through the jungle in Thailand in a couple of weeks time. I am so pleased for you Julie, and if there is anything I can do to help you reach your future goals just let me know.