What am I trying to say?

I'd fallen off the bandwagon a bit and put some weight back on this summer.   So I decided to participate in the PK Little Black Dress Project . I was training for Broad Street as well as my normal sessions at Precision Kettlebells in the winter/spring months so I was able to get away with eating not so great.  I'm single woman so cooking for one isn't too much fun, especially when you're really busy. I was finding myself just picking up a bite to eat as I ran from one place to another.  Isn't Ice Cream dairy?  So doesn't that qualify as dinner some nights?  Well, It did for me...

Since getting involved in the LBD, I was able to tell Mike that I was in the 140's....now, just one pound into them but hey, can't tell you the last time I'd been there.  Mike knows I was going to the gym 2-3 / week prior to LBD (I'm now consistently 3x /week, hopefully 4x this week) so really the difference for dropping the weight via LBD (10 lbs so far) is the diet.  Kate sends out weekly calendars with what you're supposed to eat, a grocery shopping list and recipes.  It's super simple, the meals are AMAZING and I have a ton of leftovers (my sister's family is enjoying some too).  Oh, wait, did I forget to say it's real food? A real lifestyle? Not, so much a diet.  I'm better about drinking my water also (that had fallen off that bandwagon too....I should have bruises for how many wagons I fell off!).  

What am I trying to say?  Well, what Mike and Kate harp on since your first step in the door, "You Can't Out Train A Bad Diet".  Training for 10 miles and doing boot camp sessions at PK helped me maintain and lose some but as soon as I stopped exercising twice a day, the pounds crept on.  I looking forward to hitting my goal weight in 3 1/2 more weeks while enjoying some great food.

Thanks Kate & Mike for all you do for us!

Judy - Thorndale, PA

I feel strong, empowered, and confident!

My husband and I started our family at a young age, and while my girls were young and I was young, it was easier to mind my weight because I was very active with my kiddos.  However, as they grew up and I grew older, I slowed down and began putting on some weight as time went on.  It didn’t happen all at once, but gradually over time I was gaining more and slowing down.  As time went on, I became less and less active.  I literally became a spectator in life instead of a participant.  My husband and my girls are active, and I found I wasn’t able to keep up anymore.

My family has a history of over-weight women with the high risk of diabetes and other related health issues.  I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (underactive thyroid) when I finally went to the doctor about how I was gaining weight and was feeling awful all the time.  All I wanted was to sleep!  Now I had a “reason” for these feelings.  I was supposed to gain weight and feel awful.  I weighed around 147-150 during my highest weight and I don’t have height on my side.  I was tired of feeling miserable and tired of watching as life passed, so I knew I had to do something and fast.   Over the years, I had tried many things such as big gyms, YMCA classes, and even a personal trainer.  Nothing seemed to stick or work for me.  There was no accountability.  I tried working out at home with a video routine and began walking the Chester Valley Trail.  I lost a little bit and felt a little better until winter came and I stopped walking.  I was bored with the home routine, not to mention I wasn’t really putting my all into the workouts.  

In June of 2015, I saw a friend post about a 14-day boot camp at Precision Kettlebells. I had noticed my friend looking amazing, so I thought I would try this kettlebell boot camp.  I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  I lost 6 pounds during the boot camp and signed up for the year.  I’m down to a weight that is perfect for my height and I have built and toned muscle I had no idea I had.  I’m now 48 years old and I feel strong, empowered, and confident (not to mention I feel about 20 years younger).  I work hard, I’m learning to eat healthier, and I’m doing things like hiking trails with my husband and getting out and about.  I’m participating in life!  My family is proud of me and they are so supportive.  My fit family is amazing and I am so thankful for their friendship and support.  I’m finally making goals, achieving goals, and living life to the fullest.  I share with everyone I meet about this amazing journey at Precision Kettlebells.  Thank you Mike and Kate!  Thank you Michelle, Pete, and John!

Deb - Malvern, PA

I am now putting me first

October 16, 2015- The day my life changed. I will never forget this date.

Hi, I'm Annemarie Alberts. I am a workaholic and an emotional eater who puts everyone and everything before myself. And have been doing this for years.

I have been overweight since 1981. I remember years of only being able to shop in the Sears Pretty Plus department (still cringe at those words). I remember the taunts of kids. I tried eating right, being active. I played soccer (poorly) and even tried ice skating (have the scar to prove it). I loved getting on my 10 speed bike and walked everywhere, but it did not work.

In High School, I did Nutrisystem..and lost weight! But I did not learn how to live off the program. Or how to control my emotions. Oh how not to turn to food as a friend, a comfort, a way to quiet the voice of insecurity.

The weight came back on with a vengeance. I remember breaking 200 lbs in 1993 and in tears because my then boyfriend weighed two pounds less than me and was a foot taller. (OH..and I did have the chocolate cake after that) And over time, it kept creeping up. I had gym memberships, home equipment, even a personal trainer. But something always came up that either stopped me, or I fell into bad habits.

(Pic 1 - Me in 2013 at my highest)

Then I was 252 in 2013. And as much as I swore I would never be 200, I REALLY swore I would not be over 250. I had to do something. So I changed my diet and lost 40+ lbs. And I was doing great. And then I stopped counting and tracking. And the weight started creeping again. I never added an exercise regiment to the changes. Life was always throwing something my way. (All excuses now)

Then there was 2015. 2015 was a bad year of epic proportions. I went from living in another country working on a dream project, to it suddenly ending and having to move back and start a whole new role. At the same time, I lost seven family members and friends to cancer in less than six months. One was my father-in-law, another was my favorite Great Aunt. Add to that, my husband Mark (that boyfriend that used to weigh less than me) went to live with his mother as a caregiver as her health continued to fail. Here we were living in different states for the first time in eighteen years while grieving all the change.

I get on the scale in early October and I am now 20 lbs more than I was the year before. I know I have to stop and I have to change. And it has to happen now. 

But what do I do? Where do I start?

I run into a friend at work and I tell her everything. And she turns to me and says “You need to come to my gym. Precision Kettlebells is awesome. I have been going since April and I have changes so much. Trust me. You will love it.” And I say “OK. I will think about it.”

That night she emailed me about one of those 28 day challenges. And I decided then and there I was going to do this. I call Mark to tell him what I am going to do, I made myself an account before I lost courage, and signed up for a challenge. And I made the appointment to meet with Mike and get weighed in and learn more.

Which brings me back to Friday, October 16, 2015.

(Pic 2 - Me and Mark- Oct 16,2015)

I was scared. I brought my husband Mark with me on his first day home in three months. LOL. 

And I met Mike Barbato. His first words to me were "You're late!" (and I was..LOL) I liked that he called me out.  And as we talked, his desire to help me change and watch me succeed was evident.  His enthusiasm was infectious.  And I saw the truth and the damage I had done over the years with the numbers and the measurements. But I was going to do this.

ONE month. I can do a month... Anyone can do one month!

My first class on Monday. I thought I was scared on Friday??? I was TERRIFIED on Monday. I remember thinking I have not worked out in years. What if I mess up? What if I drop the kettlebell? What will everyone think of the new slob? Oh the voices in my head were loud and negative.
But I still stood there in class and looked around. Everyone around me was supportive. And everyone was focusing on their own workout.. And I did it. And it was hard.. and I sweat.. A LOT.
I remember about half way through thinking “Wait..I am having fun?!!???” I was! I was having fun. It was a surprise to me! I could not wait for the next class....and the next class...
During that first month I came often. I even came on Saturdays. People were noticing. My Mother In Law Evie even commented to Mark how proud she was of me finding something I loved. And Mark replied ”You don't know the half of it. She travels an hour each way to work out. She is giving up three hours each Saturday.”
See, Precision Kettlebells is close to my work, but not to my house. And I was driving here on the weekend without a second thought. It was not until I heard this that I realized that was true. I was in love with these classes, these instructors, these members. That is when I realized I was going to become a member.
Precision Kettlebells is more than a gym. It is a family. We all are working towards a common goal to better ourselves. We laugh, we tease, we hug, we cheer each other on. Mike, Kate, and crew have worked to build a community. We help each other through it all.
The trainers all care about you. They challenge you . They push you. They also rarely repeat a workout. Yes, the moves may be similar, but I swear I have yet to have the same exact workout in almost a year.
And when work life started getting crazy and I was missing classes, I changed. I did not give up or go back to my old ways. I became a morning person. I now get up at 4:15, out the door shortly after 5 AM, and am in the gym and ready to workout at 6 AM. This is so not my natural biorhythm. I am SO not a morning person.. the only reason I seem like one is I have been up for two hours by class time. LOL.
This is the big change. I am now putting me first. I make sure I get my workouts in. I WANT to be in class with Mike, Pete, John, Michelle, Christina, and Marianne. I want to get stronger. I do Saturday yoga now so I can improve my balance and flexibility. I am doing THIS for me.
The weight will come off when it wants to come off. It did not come on overnight. But I am losing inches like crazy. I bought a size 14 (!) dress recently. I have had to replace all my exercise pants so I was not mooning the class.
My posture has improved. I walk with my head up high. I have coworkers come up to me and tell me how I am changing. I get stressed, I go to class instead of eating. I also have a confidence and energy that was missing.
And I have motivated some of them to join me here. I tell everyone to come see us here. I now never miss a Monday and look forward to Circuit Fridays. I have a love/hate relationship with burpees, planks, and ropes. I am swinging, dead lifting, and snatching at weights that seemed unfathomable last year.
And this. This is my new favorite picture. (Pic 3 - glasses)
In class one Friday in July, Mike mid sentence stops, walks away, then comes back with his camera and takes a picture. Oh great...I am going to be all sweaty and bright red... But it is this...Look at my glasses. My glasses are all fogged up from class. And I love it. The new active me. I love the new me. It only took me 42 years to find me. See you in class.
Annemarie - Harleysville PA

My Health Is Not My Priority

Before starting boot camp sessions at Precision Kettlebells I found myself living life day to day without very much thought about my physical condition and how I was treating my body. I was not an intentional person, I just existed. I wasn't making great food choices and I didn't really know what it was like to workout with any consistency anymore. After a breakup, the stress of a new job, and my 30th birthday looming I suddenly looked in the mirror and I realized I didn't even recognize the person looking back at me.  As a former college athlete I really looked in the mirror and saw what I had been ignoring for some time.  My former athlete self was gone and replaced by someone I didn't know, and frankly didn't like; it took me a moment to realize I hadn't just gained "a little weight" but I had gained somewhere around 50 pounds along the way.  The thought of hitting the gym felt overwhelming because I felt like I didn't even know where to start to get done what I needed to. I had never been in this place before.

The apprehension I felt about getting involved in a boot camp had little to do with the physical work needed to get back to someone that I recognized in terms of my health, but rather more to do with the cost associated and knowing literally what to do at the gym.  I know myself, and as many of my friends and family will attest, my competitive nature can be my worst and best attribute; but I knew if I could learn how to use a program and learn how to effectively lose weight and gain strength I would put every ounce of myself into that.  I was just really worried about what it was going to cost me.  I remember Mike saying something to the effect of "instead of saying 'I don't have the money' say 'my health is not my priority'"  It was that thought that pushed me to join a 6 week challenge and say to myself this is something I NEED to spend my money on...getting myself back. I haven't look back since. The fears about knowing "what to do" were quickly negated as Mike and the other coaches made sure I knew what I was doing, how to long to do it for, and just how to push to my limit.  Very quickly the cost associated was not an obstacle.  I realized the need to take care of myself was worth far more than a monthly fee.

Since beginning my journey with PK, I have lost about 35 pounds.  Some I lost on my own before starting to work out, but the bulk I lost the second I started working out and eating better.  While weight loss was my initial tangible goal, the idea of finding my physical strength and seeing myself as an athlete again was a close second. As I suspected, I dove head first into the workouts, most days hitting Mike's 5:15 a.m. class.  People around me were constantly telling me how crazy it was to get up at 4:30 for the gym. But very quickly I remembered how great I felt during a workout and realized how crazy it was that I had let myself get this out of shape.  Crazy, to me, was not going to the gym and continuing to be miserable.  Sanity was getting my ass to the gym and getting in a sweat-dripping-off-your-nose workout every day before work. 

I find myself now 35 pounds down and stronger than I have been in a long time.  I like what I see when I look in the mirror each day.  I feel stronger and I look stronger.  The clothes I had been buying a size up here, another size up there, no longer fit and the clothes I saved as "someday I'll be back in those" are my daily wears.  For me these are the tangible rewards I so desperately needed; but whats more is I feel like my best self these days.  I honestly feel like I've been lifted out of a fog I didn't quite realize I had been living in for a long time.  Working on myself physically helped me find quite a bit of clarity mentally.  6 months ago the thought about my 30th birthday gave me some serious stress, because I wasn't quite sure who I was or where I was going.  But by the the time my birthday rolled around in June I welcomed my 30th year...and left 35 pounds in my twenties.  No stress, no self-loathing, just strength and feeling great.

I recommend PK to people for about a million reasons. For someone like me who really needed to complete a bit of a personal journey, PK provided a judgement free place to do that; the support, guidance, and advice along the way helped me transform myself physically and mentally.  Whether someone is looking to lose weight, get stronger, be a part of a community, learn how to eat better, or just get inspired by unique workouts each day...PK provides all of these elements with just the right balance of you-might-barf-but-won't-die-you'll-thank-me-later kind of attitude.  I still haven't reached my ultimate goal, but thats part of the beauty of it.  PK and it's role in my life have changed from short term fix to long term partner.  I know Mike, Kate, and the whole team are going to continue to support the changing goals that I have as I continue on my own journey.

I'm Erin, a 30 year old teacher with no children.  My Advice - just get started. Take the leap and you'll surprised by the change you're able to accomplish and how great you'll feel doing it.

Erin - West Chester, PA

I was crazy busy, and I had no energy

I am  42 years old.  My husband, Chip and I have 3 wonderful children and live in Malvern.  I am a kindergarten teacher in the Great Valley School District.  I love to read and watch TV.  My favorite thing to do is hang out with friends and talk.   Now, I have the energy to do even more fun things with my friends and family!

My life before PK was a stereotypical mom life.  I woke up early to pack lunches, organize my kids and then went to my classroom for 9 hours before coming home to a crazy evening of homework, after school activities and dinner.  I would then collapse on the couch at 9pm to sit for a few hours before dragging myself to bed to do it all over again the next day.  I was crazy busy, and I had no energy.  I couldn't keep up with my kids activities or my students.  Over the past 8 years, my weight has yo-yo up and down while my husband has improved his overall health dramatically.  I was noticing that I was struggling to find things that we could do together or as a family.  It scared me to think about the future.

I was very apprehensive to start at PK because I have tried many other kinds of exercise plans and I get bored and stop going.  In the past, I have had a lot of foot and heel issues that have prevented me from doing  a lot of walking.  I didn't know if I'd be able to do the exercises and if my heel & foot pain would return.

Since joining PK in November, I have lost more than 30 pounds and have lost inches all over my body.  Most importantly, I have increased my energy level and am willing to try and do different things with my husband and kids again.  This summer alone, I've tried yoga, paddle boarding, hiking  and completed a 5k Mud run with my husband.  I also notice that I sleep much better and actually look forward to going to PK to swing bells.   At the beginning of the school year, my students and I do something called "Lettercise" to help them learn the letters and sounds for each.  I noticed last fall that I was not able to jump around and model the exercises like I wanted.  I would be winded when the song ended.  At the end of the school year, I played the song again and did the exercises with my students.  I was shocked how much easier it was than in the fall and how I felt when the song ended.  I can't wait for school to start so I can dance and play with my new students the way I want too.

My life is still crazy busy with my family and career.  But I now, look forward to finding an hour for me to go to boot camp.  I attend at least 3 classes a week (sometimes 4).  I sleep much better and wake up easier too.  I have a long road to go- but I am hopeful that I can continue to improve my health and try new things with my family.  Since starting at PK, I now understand the importance of setting and achieving mini-goals.  I have the "goals" card that Kate made for the Little Black Dress Project on my mirror with those goals all completed and I wrote more goals at the bottom.  


I've recommended PK to my friends because it works!!  I have never stuck with anything this long.  Every class is different and I have found that I enjoy working out with other people.  It's nice to make new friends and get to know others who are working towards similar goals.  It's a great place for me to be "Kim" not just someone's mom or a Kindergarten teacher.

Kim C.  Malvern, PA

I gained close to 100 pounds and gave up

Over the fast few years I stopped taking care of myself and I gained close to 100 pounds. I stopped being active and pretty much just gave up on myself. 

My name is Stephanie and I’m 36 yrs old. I have an office job just like you may have, so I am always sitting, which doesn’t help when you want to stay fit. I do love being outdoors but tend to power watch good tv series. I love to read and to learn new things. 

My road to PK...

Before finding Precision Kettlebells I was basically working out on my own at home. I've tried a few other gyms and other things but it just working.

I drove by PK for years not really knowing exactly what it was. In my head I thought it was for more advanced Kettlebell training. So I stuck with my in home workouts. Boy was I wrong…

Of all I days I started my first workout, it was a circuit Friday! Circuit Friday is a boot camp that is basically broken up into 4 stations. We rotate station to station as a team for the entire session. Well I became hooked even though I had to modify...a lot (I tend to have knees problems and low back pain). I was very uncomfortable at first. But once I saw the results I knew I was doing something right in my life. I was making progress! Since this past February I have lost roughly 40 pounds. 

Since starting my journey with Precision Kettlebells, I have acquired some great new friends. It's amazing once you start talking to people how much everyone deals with similar things and how we keep each other accountable. I really think this is an important aspect of any fitness regimen.  Mike and Kate are great. What owners do you know that actually take their time out of their day to check on their clients. Knowing they care has really pushed me. But.. as for my life changing? Most importantly, my confidence is creeping back. And people are noticing. 

I recommend PK to anyone, but I don’t really have too. Friends and co-workers approached me asking where I go as they could not believe the results I received within a month. I would recommend people as the atmosphere provided is one that they will never have anywhere. Not only are the workouts great, the coaches are by far the best!

Be greatest advice for someone “thinking” about starting your journey with Precision Kettlebells, whether it because you are out of shape, past injury, or just not a “fitness person” that It's okay to take your time and listen to your body. Push yourself and challenge yourself but don't hurt yourself while doing it. I learned that the hard way. 

PK coaches will take care of you.

Stephanie - Boyertown, PA