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How Cait Timmerman lost 160 pounds with kettlebells and mindset

Cait Timmerman Kettlebell Training

Dragon Door: Before our call, I learned that you lost 160 pounds with kettlebell training. How did you get started on that path?

Cait Timmerman: Five and a half years ago, I had just given birth to my youngest. When she was a few months old, I started feeling super terrible about myself and my body. But, my husband built me up and said we could work on this together. We started making some progress in the gym, and then he fell in love with kettlebells. He trained for six months, then went to an RKC Workshop and earned his certification. From there I became his Guinea pig! He had the knowledge, but needed to practice communicating and coaching. He taught me how to train with kettlebells and that's how I got started.
 
Cait Timmerman Before Weight Loss with Kettlebells

While I had been training with kettlebells for five years, it was only during the past three years that I was able to actually lose weight. My mindset had been holding me back from connecting with what I was doing. I was going through the motions, but didn't believe that I could actually accomplish anything with it. I was standing in my own way.

Eventually, after about two years something finally clicked and I felt worthy enough to lose weight. In that year 100 pounds dropped off—and all I was doing was 100 kettlebell swings every day and 50 strict kettlebell presses on each arm. I just needed something simple, and I fit it into my day, every day. It was the same workout I had been doing for the first two years, but I began to lose weight when my mindset changed.

Dragon Door: When your mindset changed, did you begin to approach the movements differently?

Cait Timmerman: Yes, I felt connected to what I was doing. I also started to understand the movements more, and took it upon myself to really start understanding what I was doing, which let the exercises start effecting my body.
 
Cait Timmerman kettlebell get-up

Dragon Door: That is such an important idea. It seems like a lot of people who are just getting started might just going through the motions. They’re making the effort to show up, but the physical changes don’t seem to be happening for a number of reasons. It seems like you've really stumbled upon an important concept—having the right mindset allows you to start experiencing the benefits of improved technique? Or is it something different?

Cait Timmerman: At first I didn’t feel worthy of knowing how to do the movement—or that what I was doing could actually change my life or how I felt. While preparing for this interview, I watched some of my videos from 2016 when I was still very overweight. The videos really brought back how uncomfortable I felt—and that I didn’t feel like I even deserved to lose the weight. It’s a strange thing to explain.

Dragon Door: I’m glad you’re trying—it’s an important idea for us to understand as coaches and instructors.

Cait Timmerman: After I met my goal of losing 100lbs in that year, I had to reevaluate and find my next goal. One hundred pounds was a huge goal to accomplish in many small steps along the way. Each month I had had a goal of losing X number of pounds, and once I reached 100, I almost felt lost. Even though I had reached my goal, I still wasn’t where I wanted to be physically. I was still uncomfortable with my body, but I also didn’t know who I was anymore. And while it sounds silly, I didn’t know how to pick the next goal, even though it was just going to be continuing the process. So while it was just continuing forward consistently, I was struggling with the next goal mentally. I really did feel lost for a little while—I no longer knew who I was or how to relate to people anymore!

In some ways it’s still a continuous cycle. On one day I will think I look good, then the next I’ll complain about how I don’t! Even though I knew I was still making progress, I sometimes had a hard time recognizing myself. Physically, emotionally, and internally I was becoming a completely different person!

Dragon Door: This is so important. If someone is putting in the time, as trainers and instructors we really want them to be getting the kind of results that will keep them moving forward. How are you feeling about this connection to yourself now after continuing your training?

Cait Timmerman: I feel confident and comfortable in who I am now. But there's still moments when I may struggle or not recognize myself. And sometimes I’ll still feel like I have not accomplished enough. But, I simply pause and ask myself why I am feeling this way or what’s changed.

It may be that my diet is a little off or that I’ve been overwhelmed with too many tasks and just need a moment to myself. If I get busy, sometimes I lose a little bit of my self-care routine and can get caught up in the stories in my head. In general, I’ve shifted my mentality from "I have to do this workout," or "I have to eat this healthy food" to "I get to do this and I get to celebrate it."

Dragon Door: It’s amazing how powerful mindset can be. Anecdotally, I've noticed clients over the years who have stronger exercise adherence and healthy habits a similar attitude of celebration. "Look at what I get to do today" instead of "look at what I have to do today." It’s such a huge differentiator. What inspired you to start training for your own RKC certification?

Cait Timmerman: I love teaching and helping people. Because I know how hard it was for me to overcome a lot of the mental obstacles I put in my own way, I want to help people with those obstacles as well. Kettlebells are so versatile—they’re also cute and tough looking at the same time. You get to swing them—and you look like a badass while you're doing it. Kettlebell training makes me feel grounded. I want to share it with people who feel like they can't, or who may be uncomfortable to even attempt it.

So while I don't have my certification yet, it's definitely a goal of mine. Friends of ours call us the Kettlebell Family. Dennis and I will go out with our two girls and swing kettlebells together. mean, we've got friends that call us the kettlebell family.
 
Cait Timmerman Kettlebell Swings

Dragon Door: How did you ultimately decide on your next physical goal?

Cait Timmerman: I used to train by myself, but decided to start training in a group setting. Before, I’d always felt like I didn’t belong in group classes—even though my husband is a trainer at a gym! But now I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and work out with people in a different dynamic, and become friends with them! We still use kettlebells every single day at home, but getting out of my comfort zone and interacting with other people pushed me to achieve my next goal.

The atmosphere at our gym is just phenomenal. People can come in and try a class, check out the place, and ask questions with no commitment. But it still can be hard to get someone to take those first steps. I’m always telling people about it because I think it's important to share the community, the energy, and the atmosphere of our gym with people. Once they come in and feel welcomed, they usually join and stick with the training.

Dragon Door: The community aspect is super important. It’s amazing how supportive a group class can be when they’re in an environment that encourages them to befriend and support each other. How big are the classes at your gym?

Cait Timmerman: There are a few different sized classes, but the classes are usually pretty small with five to eight people.

Dragon Door: I love classes that size. Everyone gets to know each other! What are you working towards now along with the RKC?

Cait Timmerman: That's my goal after coming back from Iowa and seeing everyone who went through the certification with my husband, Dennis. I think I'm definitely ready for the HKC but, would like to test myself at an RKC too.

Dragon Door: Excellent! And it sounds like you've really practiced a lot of swings. Is it your favorite kettlebell move?

Cait Timmerman: The get-up is my favorite because I feel like it's so poetic. You can go slow and really take your time to feel the movement. But, I’m also really working on the kettlebell snatch too.

Dragon Door: Definitely sounds like you have your sights set on the RKC. What do your workouts look like right now?

Cait Timmerman: There’s a lot of kettlebell and body weight movement. We do a lot of swings, overhead carries, farmer carries, presses, push presses, squats, goblet squats. And we also do push-ups, side kick-throughs, scorpios, and other bodyweight and functional movements.

I think consistency is key. It took two years before I saw any physical progress—I was losing and gaining the same ten pounds. But even during the time when it feels like nothing's changing or happening, if you can stay consistent and believing in yourself, or learn that you deserve what you’re working towards, something has to change because of the effort you’re putting into it.

Dragon Door: That is such a powerful message, and I’m so glad you shared it with us!
 

CaitTimmermanKettlebellSnatches thumbnailCait Timmerman, along with her husband Dennis Timmerman, RKC, educates individuals within the Sioux Falls Kettlebell Club. They offer 1:1, semi-private or group kettlebell classes. Follow Cait and Dennis on Instagram at @siouxfallskettlebellclub and Facebook: facebook.com/siouxfallskettlebellclub/
 

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