Irish, Ambitious, Stubborn Kettlebell Wonder Woman

There are people who live their life the easy way, just cruising along, doing as little as possible to make waves, and then there are those who fight their asses off to be the best they can be. Always evaluating, always improving, always taking that one step forward and not letting anyone push them back.

 

We’re gathered here today to celebrate and give recognition to those that fight their assess off. Without further ado, allow me to present to you someone that always takes two steps forward…

I’m an ambitious and stubborn person who always wants to prove people wrong when they put me down. I’m a perfectionist and I put my heart in everything I do. If I’m passionate about something I put my all into it so that it’s the best it can be.

I lead my life by this Winston Churchill quote:

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

For me, there is always a bright side to any experience. During all these years I took a lot of right and wrong decisions, but there is nothing to be ashamed about and I don’t regret anything. I am where I am today because of all the good and the bad decisions I’ve made.

Name: Luiza Ieremie
Age: 39 (only a month and turn to the big 4-0 ??)
Your nickname: Wonder woman
Speciality: Long Cycle
Nationality: Romanian/Irish
Weight: 59kg and under 58kg when competing
Height: 163cm
Personal best: 2x16kg Long Cycle 80 reps / Jerk: 115 reps / One Arm Long Cycle 24kg: 88 reps / Jerk: 109 reps

It’s only you who can make the steps towards your own success.
Everyone else is just part of your journey!

 

 

If you haven’t achieved what you wanted in one competition that means it was not your moment to shine, so keep working hard because your moment is about to come if you do the work and really believe in yourself.

Being part of a team and taking part in the small or big sports events, it’s a huge achievement on its own. Failing a goal on the platform is not a failure, it’s a win because just stepping on the platform is. The hours, days, weeks, months and even years you put into the sport besides the passion of it, makes you a winner. The difference between being on the podium or not, or between hitting your goal or not, depends if your moment of victory arrived or not. So NEVER GIVE UP!

Hi, my name is Luiza Ieremie and I’m very honored to have been nominated as Caveman Athlete of the Month.

I have a Bachelors degree in Law. I’m a Personal trainer, Fitness Instructor and a Nutritional Therapist. I am a proud mother of a talented, artistic 10-year-old boy, Sebastian, and loving partner to John, the man who gave me so much support, trust, and encouragement that I needed to become the person that I am today and had to succeed in my goals. I am a fitness lover in general, but kettlebells were always my first love. I was born on December 30th, 1978, in Romania, a communist country at the time, where the idea of equality was valued over individuality. My father was serving in the army and left my mother, two sisters and me when I was nine years old. These factors meant I grew up in a very strict family where everything was a rule.

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I became competitive from a very young age because I felt that my older sister was getting all the attention, so I tried harder, to prove that I was better. I was always an active child who was full of energy with the fitness bug from a young age. I took part in many sprints and I tried to find a sport that would inspire me to perform at my best, but my lack of confidence and support meant that I didn’t perform in any races. Throughout my childhood, my dream was to become a professional athlete, but the chances to fulfill my dream was very poor in my country. On top of that my hopes were empty due to an illness from the beginning. I began taking swimming lessons at age 7. Four years later I was getting ready to go to my first competition when I was diagnosed with Hepatitis type A. The doctors told me to rest and follow a specific diet for the next full year, leaving me unable to train. After that, I never went back to swimming, not because I gave up, but because swimming was not a sport that I felt most inspired to succeed in. At age 9 I was diagnosed with a digestive issue and told that I should have a part of my large intestine removed or to live on a very specific diet for all my life with a dependency to pills. I chose the second option so I could continue to pursue my dream.

During high school- because of my digestive issues and hormones, I experienced some weight fluctuations, leaving me unhappy with my body. That didn’t stop me trying hard, showing my P.E. teacher the love I had for the sport. Unfortunately, over the course of over ten years, he managed to put me off it – only admiring and supporting the students with a gymnastics background and the rest of us considered ‘lazy’.

I knew that I was anything but lazy, but despite that, he made me believe that maybe the sport was not for me.

I abandoned my dreams for a long time and worked in an office for 15 to 17 hours a day.

Sooner than later I knew this unhealthy lifestyle had to change. It was at that point I met the man who became my husband, who was an Irish resident. So in 2005, I decided to dramatically change my life and leave everything behind to start a new life in Ireland.

After moving country, having my son and being in what became a toxic and aggressive marriage for years, I decided once again that it was the time for a change. This time it was even more significant, as it wasn’t only myself I had to consider. I separated from my husband and was forced to work hard as a single mother to support my 18-month-old son and myself. The only help I received from my ex-husband was an offer of a one-way ticket back to Romania for both of us. This moment made me harness all my motivation and ambition to work my hardest and show everyone that I’m a strong woman, that I could get through all of these hard times without ever GIVING UP. Little did I know, this would become a motto I’d tell myself throughout my life when times were hard. I was trying to balance my work and home life, most of the time having to bring my son with me to work, but soon I managed to make the difficult jump from simply surviving to having a good quality of life.

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My unhappiness with my body that pervaded my teen years continued into adulthood. In particular, I struggled with post-pregnancy weight and so I initially began running to try to lose it. Even though I was training hard and did manage to lose 2 stone in 6 weeks, I couldn’t understand why I was not able to lose the lingering pounds. I wanted to improve my body and in turn, my wellbeing and self-esteem, but I didn’t know how. It was in 2010 when I first set foot in a gym that I rekindled my love of fitness and began to explore new avenues. I decided I wanted to be an instructor and this led to completing a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor course in 2011 qualifying with ACE – American Council of Exercise. In 2012, I also qualified as a hard style kettlebell instructor. From the first moment I was introduced to kettlebells, I knew that was my favorite way of training and I stuck to it for years, training very hard and with passion. Sport and kettlebell training, in particular, has saved me of being dependent on pills and helped me to have a normal life.

Despite my active lifestyle, I felt like I wasn’t fuelling my body in the way I should have been and I needed to understand better the positive and negative impact that nutrition can have on our bodies. Hence, I decided to establish my skills and global experience in a field of holistic health, high-performance training so that I could inspire others to feel as motivated as I was. This led me to complete a course in nutrition at the College of Naturopathic Medicine, where I graduated as a Nutrition Therapist in 2014. Training hard and following a healthy lifestyle made me gain confidence in myself and my body and becoming a happier person, but something was missing a competitive goal to train for. At the back of my mind, my childhood dream of becoming a professional athlete was still alive.

My participation in races came courtesy of my wonderful friend Zita, who came along to my first Obstacle Course Race (OCR) three years ago and pushed me to register with the elite wave even though I didn’t consider myself one. I was the first female to finish that race and it created a hunger in me to keep going and compete as much as possible. Not long after, I had qualified as an elite athlete to represent Ireland in the following year at the OCR European Championship in the Netherlands. At most National races I was finishing as the first female, but internationally I was not making the podium, just being very close to it.

Despite this, my love for kettlebell was still there and growing by the day, so I decided to pursue my passion further and contacted my coach who introduced me to Girevoy Sport (GS). In October 2016, I started my journey into GS, but it was not all smooth sailing. Even though I was an experienced, well-trained hardstyle kettlebell instructor and a strong athlete, it took me a while to transfer and implement the new kettlebell technique. My first kettlebell competition was on November 2016, lifting 16kg kettlebell in Long Cycle (LC) and Jerk. I didn’t place on the podium, missing it by a whisker. I was getting lots of no counts – the kettlebell felt light and the new technique was not the best. I said to myself that I wouldn’t give up and I’ll prove that I will be a good lifter. I moved on to a heavier weight 20kg kettlebell, which gave more confidence and slowed me down being able to perform with better technique. I worked very hard and prepared very well for the second competition at the National Cup.

Unfortunately the tendons on my left wrist started to get inflamed from too much practice. During the competition, after 4 min on the left side, my grip went and I had to change hand but when I did it my left hand as I couldn’t hold the kettlebell anymore. I still managed to catch the kettlebell with my right hand and clean it, getting ready to keep going when the judge stopped me, telling me that I lost the momentum. I was devastated. I felt like a failure and a disappointment. I left the venue room and went to the car and cried for 2 hours with my son beside me who was trying to make me feel better. I was not able to go back to the room because I felt full of shame. To add insult to (literal) injury, a fellow athlete accused me that I was taking the kettlebell sport as a joke because they considered it very unprofessional for me to leave the venue room before the event was finished and I shouldn’t be allowed to compete again. BOOM! That was the turning point for me when I decided to return to my motto again: NEVER GIVE UP!!! Prove them wrong!

It took me 2 weeks to put myself together and go back to train for the next competition, and as well as taking part most of the weekends in OCR events, I started to train harder and harder for GS. With the support of my coach and my family, I put my ego aside and I accepted to compete one more time with a 16kg kettlebell in LC, in order to be allowed to take part of the next competition. Again I didn’t place the podium but I’ve learned a valuable lesson: Always embrace the hard experiences because they only make us stronger and wiser.

After that, I moved on heavier kettlebells and every lift was a victory and a place on the podium. I have qualified for the EC, lifting for the first time 10 mins 2x16kg kettlebell, with a broken finger. One week before National Championship, during training, I had broken my right-hand pinky and needed a surgical intervention. At the time I thought I would not be able to compete in any of the lifts planned but I still attended the event. Before my Long Cycle flight I went to warm up area and tried to see if I can hold the kettlebell with my right hand, something that wasn’t pleasant but I managed nonetheless. That made me decide to perform for OALC 24kg with my left hand, switching for my injured hand as long as the pain allowed me. I did 5 min 30 sec on the left side and the rest on the right, finishing 10 min with 78 reps and achieving gold medal and Master of Sport title. That performance made me to believe in myself and also on my mental and physical strength to try the second lift, first time 10 min on TALC 2x16kg. I surprised everyone including myself by being able to hold on for 10 min and completing 65 reps and receive a silver medal. During the lifts, despite the pain, I kept saying to myself: NEVER GIVE UP and just keep going… and I’ve made it through.

Within less than two years from my first kettlebell event, I was competing for the Kettlebell European Championship and 5 months later in World Championship, bringing back home one bronze medal for the official lift and three gold medals for trial lifts for the EC, as well as a gold medal for the official lift and a gold, a silver medal and a 4th place for trial lifts at the WC.

My childhood dream to become a professional athlete became true and I love every single minute of it. Being an OCR athlete makes me conquer my deepest fears and constantly puts me out of my comfort zone, but as a kettlebell athlete, I have proven that you can reach and even go beyond your dreams if you believe in yourself and add up every day new steps towards your own success. Looking back on my past experiences and many hardships, I can say that I’m very proud of my efforts and all I’ve achieved throughout my career. It just proves that with the right determination, commitment, and support, you can put your mind to anything. So from here, I aim to keep pushing myself physically and mentally and plan to partake in many more challenges to come!

Accomplishments:

  • World Championship 2018
  • Golds: 2; Silver: 1; Bronze: –
  • European Championship 2018
  • Gold: 3; Silver: -; Bronze: 1
  • National Championships 2017/2018
  • Gold: 5; Silver: 2; Bronze: –
  • Plus too many to count for OCR events, CrossFit, Spartan etc.

That was four months after I had my son and just a couple of months before entering my 30’s. The extra weight I was carrying after pregnancy and getting closer to a big 3-0 made me get into action and change something to make me feel happier.

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After working in an office for 15-17 hours and feeling that I was becoming unhealthy, I knew that was not the job that would make me happy. At the time I didn’t know that I would jump into the fitness industry but I knew it would be something that would require a lot of physical activity. The opportunity to get into the fitness industry opened when I came to Ireland and the rest is history.

Perhaps it was because my family didn’t see my passion for sport and didn’t encourage me to engage in it. Certainly, another factor was my PE teacher in high school, who put me off sport for more than a decade. He considered only the teenagers with a gymnastic background as athletes, the rest of us just being just lazy or fat.

She was the first child in the family and when she was born she was very frail and needed a lot of attention. She was always taking her time with everything and had her own way of doing things. Unlike her competitive sister, it never bothered her if she was not first or the best. My family always told me as a child that I was the family boy (they always wanted one) and I was always able to manage to get what I wanted and learn what I needed without any help. Hence they let me swim throughout my younger years and allowed me to find my own way of doing things, whilst giving to my sister all the help and attention she needed.

When I was 9 years of age I was diagnosed with a digestive issue, I didn’t understand it too much and I thought that it would be a condition that would follow all my life. However, my studies in Nutritional Therapy made everything clear for me, and this is how I found out that there is a chance to reverse the issues so I could have a normal healthy life.

We were both competitive and fiery characters and when my ex-husband decided to become self-employed against my wishes, what was supposed to be a happy and healthy marriage became a toxic one. He put his business before his family and the stress of the failure of his business made him become aggressive. At that point, I knew that all I wanted was to live a life in peace, harmony, and happiness, together with my child that deserved the best, even though that meant divorcing my husband.

After I qualified as a Nutritional Therapist I was able to make that “big turn around” because I finally understood how to improve my health and combine sport and nutrition in order to have the best results.

Movement was one of the biggest factors that helped me to overcome my digestive issues. A sedentary lifestyle, sitting at the desk for 15+ hours, aggravated my issue, hence when I started to move and especially when I started kettlebell workouts, my health improved so much that I no longer needed to take my pills in order to have a normal digestion.

I had a full month of intense training before my first competition, doing my best to implement the new technique but it took me a bit longer than that to be comfortable with the new technique. I can’t say that I’ve learned all the techniques for GS because every time I meet the international masters of GS (through workshops), I discover new ones. There is always something new to learn and I relish the opportunity to do so.

Ohhh that was a terrible and great experience at the same time! When I was stopped I was upset and frustrated because I thought they could have let me keep going. In my mind, the fact I didn’t touch the ground with the kettlebell, when I changed the hands, was good and I was happy to keep going. When the judge explained to me the reason, I understood why he stopped me, accepting his decision and knowing that rules are rules, especially when myself I’m a big advocate of them. Afterward, I became very angry with myself because I didn’t change the kettlebell in a safe way. All my hard work went out the window… but I’ve learned a great lesson: it wasn’t my moment to shine and my failure was actually a win.

I’m very lucky in this way I’d say because I got very few since I’ve stepped into the fitness industry. My first injury was in Feb’17 with my tendon in my left wrist which took me less than a month to recover and my second one happen during OCREC (Obstacle Course Race European Championship) this year in June, which was a major one, when I pulled all the muscles in my left shoulder and since then I’ve tried to recover fully but because I didn’t rest since that happened, there is still a bit of damage that needs to recover. During this year I got a few more minor injuries and most of them were from obstacles or running during my events, but I did recover very quickly in a couple of days or weeks maximum.

My first approach for an injury that doesn’t heal with the right nutrition and attention for a week or maximum two would be some sessions with my chiropractor and physiotherapist which happens to be my coach also, and if needed dry needling. I’m also using foam rolling, a good warm up before workouts and stretching after I finish my training. Needless to say that rest it’s very important but in my case, I still have to work on that.

When I have a competition coming, it’s 3 days a week and when it’s recovery time only 1, maximum 2 days a week.

Well, you want me to reveal all my secrets ?. I would usually keep an LCHF diet starting my day with my favorite bulletproof coffee, having my protein shake after the workout and another bulletproof coffee to spoil myself. A small lunch that would be a superfood salad, soup, or nibbles of nuts, and if I skip lunch, I would have a bigger nutritious dinner like steak and veggies or fish and green veggies. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself. I would have 90% dark chocolate with my coffee and at the weekend or after a big event like a kettlebell competition, I would have 2 glasses of red wine with my dinner. Sometimes I might have dessert but that would be rare.

My partner inspires me every day with his patience in everything that he does and his positive outlook on life… His endless support, patience, and encouragement have allowed me to achieve my goals and he constantly inspires me to get better and better to make him and my son proud of me. Also, Kimberly Fox and Ivan Denisov are two GS athletes that inspire me by their ambitious attitude towards this sport and how they never stop to impress all the athletes with their spotless performances.

Ooo yes, I do. I love dancing very much. From salsa, bachata, samba, tango, waltz and so on… when I don’t have any race or sports event on, I try to go out and meet my latino dance friends, relaxing and enjoying the freedom of dance and music.

Hmm, should I tell you my well-hidden secret that makes me lift so well? Haha! Every time before I lift I will always drink beetroot juice. So that is my magic potion. Boom!!!

No matter how many times I’ve been competing already, I’m always nervous before I step on the platform. The soon the start is on, like a miracle I detach myself from everything that’s happening around me and all I hear is my mind and my coach if he’s there, but it’s more me and my mind. Most of the time it’s just me and the kettlebells on the platform. I even close my eyes to find the power to keep going… it’s like I teleport myself into a magical world, where it’s only me who can do the magic, I pull the best out of me while I’m there and come back to this world with a happy ending. Simply I just let the magic happen!

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