Just before Janelle started packing up to head home to The Burgh, we found time to do the HKC interview. Read the first part of the reunion story here; read Janelle’s account here. Read HER interview of ME here!
Here we go!
TS: You are on a ship, and it begins sinking. You have to make a choice about the ONE fitness tool you can bring with you–and it CAN’T be a kettlebell (that would sink the raft, of course). What tool do you choose to bring with you, and why?
[This was the first–but not the last–funny look I got from Janelle during the course of the interview. Really, it’s a serious question! I wanted to see how she set priorities and found alternatives, and where her other sources of strength might be. Frealz.]
JP: I would grab my portable pull-up bar–it’s a great all-purpose tool for building strength by mastering bodyweight. I’ve been experimenting with lots of more specialized moves lately, like skinning the cat, one-armed pulls, etc. My goal is eventually to master the muscle-up, which is some serious strength business.
[Janelle, practicing her skinning the cat moves]
TS: Same question, but with food. What would you grab to take with you if you could bring only one item?
JP: Almonds, no doubt! They provide the body with healthy fats, some protein, and will curb your appetite for a while (which is good if you’re stuck on a life raft). They won’t go bad, are easy to stash (again, important on a life raft). . . . what’s not to love?
[You can read more about Janelle’s adventures with food and health on her blog. She has an amazing story of transformation by way of nutrition.]
TS: You know my story. What would you say to someone in the same place as I was 2 years ago–dangerously overweight, feeling sick and stuck, feeling like things will never get better?
JP: I discovered kettlebells randomly while in grad school in 2010, with the simple goal of getting in shape. But a sudden and very serious career change sent me spinning out of control–I was wrecking myself because I didn’t know what to do with my life, or how to make it better. At some point I realized that I couldn’t stay “stuck”–I had to do something, even if I didn’t really know what that might be. I picked up that kettlebell again, and this time started working seriously with it. In the process, I discovered a community that wanted me to succeed–was absolutely committed to helping me succeed!
To those who feel stuck, I would say: know that even just making small changes will help. The hardest part is not finding the fitness routine that will change things for you–it’s believing that you can change to begin with. That’s where a support community helps the most.
TS: I know you primarily through our connection with kettlebell training. What are the other parts of your life that fulfill you, keep you sane, make you who you are?
[Cue second funny look.]
JP: I don’t do much right now outside of kettlebell training, just because I’m in preparation for RKC. But just recently, I’ve reconnected to a local faith community called Hot Metal Bridge. They’ve helped me get grounded again spiritually, and that’s been really important to me. The community meets and really builds each other up through regular group meals and networking. I also participate in community outreach programs sponsored by Hot Metal Bridge.
It’s good to do more, be known for something outside your work, to broaden your horizons. I drink way too much coffee at the Beehive . . . though my trainer disapproves, I love to go skateboarding around the Southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Every Monday, I hang out with a group of people to kick back, watch movies, sing some tunes and talk about where our lives are going. I like to be part of the Pittsburgh community as much as I can, and will do more in the future as things settle down for me professionally.
Basically, I am an all-around goofball who enjoys good company. I can talk your ear off about philosophy, psychology and theology as those are the subject matters I studied throughout college and grad school. Ha! I’m a nerd.
In my spare time I also rock out my keyboard (been playing piano for 22 years now) and I also lay some tunes down on my guitar. What can I say? I wanted to be a rock star at one point!
[See Janelle sporting her best rock star duds here!]
TS: Where will you be, and what will you be doing, in 5 years?
JP: I’m certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for personal training (taking the exam this month!) The significant health problems I’ve been through (auto-immune disorder, depression, substance abuse) have made me really want to help people take a stand for their own health, as I did.
I’m certified by DragonDoor for the Russian Kettlebell Challenge instructor certification (April 2013). This certification has been my dream since I started getting involved with kettlebells and the RKC community.
I’m a full-fledged kettlebell instructor, whether for athletic types improving their performance, or for regular people working their way back into good health.
TS: What has been THE MOMENT, the highlight of the work you’ve done with kettlebells so far?
JP: True story! Back in 2010 when I started with kettlebell training and I was looking for instructors, I found that there were some important trainers right in Pittsburgh (Brett Jones and Kerry Swick, for example) in addition to those I was following online (like GiryaGirl Adrienne Harvey and Sharon Shiner RKC).
This became kind of a pattern: I’d post my workouts online, would get contacted by these folks with encouragement and suggestions for my training, and then suddenly I’d get a chance to meet AND TRAIN WITH these wonderful people I had learned about and looked up to way back in the beginning!
Even better, some of them have become my friends, and now I have a new pattern of traveling to meet, train, eat, and hang out with them: Florida with Adrienne, New York City with Marshall Roy, West Virginia with you, next Boston with Sharon Shiner RKC!
It just goes to show you that dreams really can come true! You gotta have the faith to get started–and then just keep going.
[Read more about Janelle’s Have Kettlebell, Will Travel adventures on her blog.]