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How a retired South African police officer has lost fat and gained strength with kettlebells

January 18, 2011 10:22 AM

Albie Wentzel, RKC, Kettlebell Strength Training Instructor

Don't let the sweet appearance of this woman fool you: She's as tough as the kettlebells she lifts. Albie was a police officer in South Africa for 23 years, working part of that time as the deputy commander at a police training facility.

She and her nephew Marco share an interest in fitness, and when she retired from the force the pair opened a gym in their small costal village just outside of Cape Town. They were on the lookout for new fitness practices to incorporate into their business when her nephew came across Pavel's books on

Marco got excited about stretching , joints , and especially kettlebells . His enthusiasm spread to Albie, and because kettlebells aren't available in South Africa, the pair started doing modified kettlebell lifts with dumbbells.

Within a short period, Albie noticed that she'd lost a few kilograms of fat, gained muscle weight, and felt a lot stronger. She also felt that the pain in her lower spine, due to a back fusion operation years before, had all but disappeared. Whereas most of us might toast the return of a healthy back with a sedate glass of champagne, Albie chose to celebrate by bungee jumping, during which she felt no pain.

Albie and Marco didn't hesitate to share the kettlebell technique with their clients, who have had great results so far with the lifts. In particular, Albie has noticed that many of the female clients her age have lost stubborn weight that wouldn't come off with traditional cardio workouts or light weight training.

She's found that KBs can take care of more problems than just physical ones, too:

"Today everyone's talking about depression, depression, depression, and stress, stress, stress. But when you're lifting a heavy kettlebell, you don't have time to be depressed or stressed!"

When she and Marco read on the internet about an upcoming Russian Kettlebell Challenge with Pavel in Minneapolis , they started packing their bags. Marco was unfortunately denied his visa to the US, but Albie was granted hers. What did she do? This lady with backbone came by herself and lifted kettlebells with the best of them! Not only that, when the workshop was over and everyone else was hobbling to the nearest hot tub, Albie's KB challenge continued. She was busy hauling six KBs - one set of three for herself and one for her nephew - onto the plane back home.

"It was quite a struggle to get them past security, but once I was through, I booked it straight home. Yes, they were heavy, but it helped to get rid of all the stiffness after the workshop!!!!!"

Albie Wentzel, Police and Law Enforcement Kettlebell Strength Training Instructor