May 10th, 2023Beth headed to Hungary for world champs
DAYLESFORD’S Beth Whiting is heading to Hungary next month to
take part in the World Kettlebell Sport Federation championships.
Looking at the woman many people call “a pocket rocket”, there are plenty
of toned muscles and a very healthy glow from a strict workout regime. But it wasn’t
always that way. Eleven years ago, Beth was working with the Melbourne Festival and on
tour for six months of every year. With no fridge or pantry stocked with healthy food, and
always on the go, she found herself losing control of any food or fitness regime.
Beth used that moment to change her life around and rather than just find a diet,
she did a personal training course and started to eat well and work out. Still with the
Melbourne Festival, she took part in a boot camp at The Tan in Melbourne, worked out
on the stage of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and toned up. It was fun however Beth
certainly never thought it would be the start of a career. But it was.
She moved to the Central Highlands to live with her now husband, Brett, and found
work at a gym where she was also approached by a few people to see if she was interested
in starting an early morning local boot camp. Victoria Park in Daylesford was the first
location, starting on the oval, eventually moving into the table tennis pavilion and finally
now running full-time fitness classes for all abilities and ages at Integrate Fitness, out of a
purpose-designed space off East Street with “an incredible community all keen to be the
best versions of themselves”.
It was during the building of her fitness business that kettlebells came along and life
changed again. Beth had always loved them and had been looking for something for “just
“As every mum knows you lose yourself a bit and working in the business meant
I didn’t have time for my own workouts and my mental health needed that. I did a
kettlebell coaching course in 2014 with my now coach Shannon Pigdon and then
basically stalked him until he agreed to train me. He lives in Albury and I go up there
every three months or so to do a session with him.
“In the first competition I ever saw, the competitors were lifting continuously for 30
minutes so I went home and wondered if I could do that, and I picked up a kettlebell
and did it. It turns out I can do that – and more.
“Shannon sent me a program that involved three sessions a week, and I am all about
being accountable, so since 2019 I have done those three sessions every week. And it was
about finding me – I was a mum running a business – kettlebell is my meditation, my
flow, my time. And I had found not only something I was good at, and enjoyed, I also
found the strength it brought into my life.”
Beth says being good at kettlebells is all about a combination of mental and physical
resilience and the ability to keep going, no matter how tough that going gets. In
competition, once you start, you never, ever put a kettlebell down. The kettlebell itself is
a hollow ball of iron with a handle made of iron, weighing from eight kilograms to 50kg.
They are all the same size with the same handle, just the weight and colour vary.
Competitions include single and double lifts and range from 10 minutes to half
marathons of 30 minutes and full marathons of 60 minutes. The competitor’s weight, the
weight of the kettlebell and repetitions completed all come into the winning equation.
Beth sometimes competes against people who weigh five kilos less than her, or 40kg more.
And after competing at the Australian Nationals in September last year she was offered a
place on the Australian team to compete in Hungary.
“I am excited and I can’t wait to experience being a part of the Australian Kettlebell
team with 10 other incredible athletes. We have a wonderful community and this is a
really good opportunity to be involved in that.”
Beth is the Girevoy Sport Australia treasurer and also among those working to have
the organisation recognised nationally, to gain some much-needed funding, with a dream
to one day have the sport in the Olympics.
Back home, she now trains five people in kettlebell at Integrate Fitness. “We have an
incredible lifting community in Daylesford. I love watching our athletes achieve things
they never dreamt possible. They inspire me every day. They are amazing people who all
do incredible things.
“We had wanted to call ourselves The Daylesford Swingers, but the name was already
taken – with a very different meaning,” she laughs.
“But I would love to get more of the community involved. We have two competitions
being held at Integrate Fitness on May 20 and July 15. Athletes will be competing from
Daylesford, Melbourne, Geelong and Albury. We’d love for people to come along to see
what the sport is all about.
“It’s not for everyone, throwing a kettlebell around, some people find it a bit scary, but
I love it and I love my kettlebells – they are affectionately known as my babies. And if you
don’t want to watch a competition, we train most Saturday mornings from 8am – contact
us to join a session.” Details: Beth at email@example.com
Words: Donna Kelly | Images: Kyle Barn