I met AnaBell at BodySmith, where she teaches some amazing classes including kettlebells and ropes (if you've ever heard me say Tsunami, you know how sore that class makes me). She recently launched Kettlebell Chicks and because I'm a huge fan of hers and of the movement I wanted to share this interview about how it all started and what it really means. Follow AnaBell on Twitter for updates on the next classes and check out her website.
WHAT IS KETTLEBELL CHICKS?
The Kettlebell Chicks Movement is an empowering program for promoting the physical health of women of all shape, and sizes. We cater to any female who wants to become stronger mentally and emotionally through the promotion of Kettlebell training.
HOW DID IT START?
Although the Kettlebell Chicks Movement has been five years in the making, this is an endeavor just recently underway. It began in 2009 as the result of my own personal journey. Personal training, like many other male-driven industries, has been difficult for me as a female. I began my experience with kettlebell training in 2004. I actually thought I was pretty fit until my first contact with a 25 pound kettlebell. My training buddy at the time would meet me three times a week for one hour. After three months of consistent training, my KB weight went up to the 35 and 50 pound weight. Long story short, not only was I in even better shape, but I could swing and squat and do moves men twice my height and weight could not. My knowledge began to expand, having now the ability to do the different exercises. I was picked up to work at a local Crossfit, assisting the owner Mr. Mike Krivka in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I was then sponsored to take my first Crossfit Kettlbell Class, where I met my current mentor Mr. Jeff Martone. I immediately volunteered to assist him with teaching and running Crossfit-Level 1 Certifications. On weekends I would frequently dedicate nine hours on both Saturday and Sunday to assist him. I wanted to learn from the best in order to become the best.
After several years of assisting him, Jeff was kind enough to pick me up as one of his paid trainers (I was the only female). I was humbled to learn that Jeff valued my teaching expertise, especially since I wanted to walk in his footsteps. It’s been four years now since I’ve been a part of his Crossfit and Tactical Athlete staff, but he continues to guide, assist and advise me in my training business. Even though I have equal experience and training as other trainers in the area, I still get passed over by less qualified (male) trainers for teaching opportunities. This is why the Kettlebell Chicks Movement was established. Although I have had the privilege to work with the best in the industry, am knowledgeable and hold many specialty certifications, the men in this industry continue to devalue my skills. My goal is to spread awareness through Kettlebell training because in Crossfit it is the most under-utilized, yet effective tool. And that’s how I see US WOMEN, under-utilized and most effective!
WHO & HOW CAN YOU JOIN?
Anyone can join! Go to www.anabellsfitness.com, click SHOP, purchase a tank top or tee shirt and come train with us on Saturday and Sundays for free!
WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A LEADER IN A MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY?
It’s difficult at times, but every time I get a door closed in my face I know I need to tackle my goals even harder to open two more doors.
HOW DID YOU START YOUR BUSINESS AS A PERSONAL TRAINER?
I’ve always been into sports. I played varsity basketball, volleyball, and ran track in high school. I went to school for rehabilitation services with a focus on mental health, and there I gained interest in becoming a sports trainer for the women’s basketball team and had the privilege of traveling with them. I knew then that training would be my passion.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS, IN REGARD TO FITNESS? BUSINESS?
I don’t think I have a big secret. I was raised by a strong mother. We had nothing growing up. In fact I came to the United States when I was five. Not knowing the language and being held back a year was very frustrating for me. I wanted to have friends but because of the language barrier; I grew up having only a few friends. I would barely see my mother as she was too busy working three jobs to care of our family. I watched how my mother would struggle just to feed us. I knew then I wanted more. I was the only one out of four siblings to go to college and, after three months of working in my field, I left to try out personal training. I began my own business one year later. Knowing where I came from has given me the drive to understand where I want to go.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO SOMEONE THAT WANTS TO HAVE A CAREER IN FITNESS?
Entering the fitness world isn’t a piece of cake. For the most part, one will apply to become a trainer at a local gym where there they are fed clients from the personal trainer directors. Although it sounds simple, it’s a slow process. One bit of advice I would give is to be confident and educated. I remember when I almost quit the first time I was asked to go up to a complete stranger and give suggestions on their current workout to help maximize their results. The client I approached was the wrong one…. he not only dismissed me after cutting me off, but yelled at me (“What do you know, you’re just a little girl”). I laugh to this day. Hopefully he hasn’t injured himself from the terrible form of exercising he was doing.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH KETTLEBELLS?
I fell in love with kettlebells after accidentally being introduced to them by a friend. A trainer, Mike Krivka would come work out with one of the trainers on my staff. I was the new kid on the block. Well, the trainer had an ankle injury and couldn’t work out with Mike. Mike didn’t even know my name but asked me to workout with him. After agreeing, and nearly dying, I was hooked!
IT’S FALL. IT’S DARK IN THE MORNING. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET UP EARLY AND GET TO THE GYM?
These last few weeks have been tougher than normal. But my schedule is also hectic. Knowing that I physically will not be able to workout at 9pm after a full day of clients helps me to avoid hitting the snooze button. It’s all about priorities. I’m not perfect in anyway, but I practice what I preach daily to my clients. I always put my mental and physical health first. Having a background in mental health, and a fitness business, it has become part of my lifestyle. I can honestly say it does NOT get easier as the years pass. I’ve been working out at 4:30 am for five years now. Knowing that’s the only time I have to work my program helps me stick to my schedule.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
What most inspires me are my clients. Hearing my athletes express gratitude and feedback on how they feel and look thrills me. I want to help change lives. And if I’m helping someone feel emotionally and physically well, then I’ve done my good deed for the day.