The Making of a Kettlebell Athlete - Ashley Hughes

I train firefighters, so when a genuine athlete walks into my gym, I take notice. About one year ago, I had my first training session with Ashley Hughes.

Ash, an appropriate name for a firefighter, wanted to prepare for the upcoming FDNY firefighter physical. Within a month she was a fixture in my gym and on the payroll.

Already possessing incredible endurance, timing, and coordination, Ashley appeared to be in very good condition. But day by day, as I gradually introduced her to my way of training, her diverse background unfolded.

Ash had been a competitive swimmer and skater all her life, and was not a stranger to exercise. From 1997 to 2001 she led her high school swim team to many victories. At only sixteen years of age, she was qualified as a beach lifeguard on Long Island and put through vigorous "rookie training". In 2001, Ashley was accepted into Miami University of Ohio on a partial scholarship.

Miami U. has a world class synchronized ice skating team, and Ashley led the way. Competing all over the world, taking her team to the finals in 2002.

Throughout her life, Ashley has always been an avid surfer. You can find her riding waves in the dead of winter off Long Island's south shore. Ashley Hughes, wise beyond her years both mentally and physically, is now attempting a brand new challenge.

On November 3 in Miami, Ashley is competing in the World Kettlebell Lifting Championships, sponsored by the American Kettlebell Club. No stranger to international competition, Ash is simultaneously attempting her first Kettlebell Master of Sport ranking on that same day. To put this monumental achievement in prospective, remember that Ashley had never even seen a kettlebell before November of last year.

The combination of Ashley's raw ability and Valery Fedorenko's (AKC head coach) training of both Ashley and myself has allowed a steady progression of her strength and endurance that I wouldn't have believed possible a year ago. Ashley, a true student of technique, works at it every day with many different individuals. Her honed coaching skills are only surpassed by her kettlebell lifting abilities.

Look for Ashley Hughes in Miami on November 3!

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