Instinct Fitness in Bridgeville, a gym that serves the South Hills, is holding a national kettlebell tournament this weekend that is expected to attract dozens of competitors from across the county.
Justin Thomas, who owns the fitness center and is the head trainer, said they’re excited to host their second competition and make more people aware of the workout.
“It’s a pretty big deal for us,” Thomas said. “This sport is a passion of ours. It’s fun and gives us a national and international presence.”
The competition is expected to attract 30 people from across the country, including 10 members who routinesly workout at Instinct Fitness on Station Street. Anyone can attend to cheer on the participants during the daylong competition that begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 23.
Judges keep close watch to count the amount of reps and form by the competitors.
Kettlebell is a workout that began in Russia generations ago and combines strength with endurance. Competitors workout with different weights and different motions, performing the moves over and over again for 10 minutes.
“When you watch the Russians lift, it’s like night and day from what we do,” Thomas said of international competitions he’s attended before.
Thomas and his original business partner opened Instinct Fitness at the St. Clair Fitness & Racquet Club in early 2011 before moving to their current location in Bridgeville a couple months later. Thomas, who is a reservist in the U.S. Army and former Penn State police officer, had been working out with kettlebells for years and thought opening the gym would be a natural progression for him.
“Weight rooms were boring to me,” Thomas said. “This is more enjoyable. I’m not a fan of the big box gyms and the machines. It’s not relative to what you do in life.
“It’s a small, niche sport, but it’s growing.”
The gym’s 50 or so members are mostly located around the South Hills, but some come from as far away as Baldwin, North Side and Glenshaw. Their ages range from 25 to 70, and their professions are nearly as diverse with nurses, lawyers and firefighters joining the club.
The gym offers introductory classes for beginners to see if they like workout. Each training session offers something different as Thomas takes the customers through various strength and conditioning exercises.
“It’s set up so you’re not going back-to-back with the same workout every day,” Thomas said.
Go to www.instinct-fitness.com for more information about the kettlebell gym and its training hours.