Being a global company with over 600 employees, thebigword is proud of our talented members of staff and the interesting, amazing things they achieve outside of the workplace. At thebigword we actively encourage our employees to take on new adventures, hobbies and explore their talents.

Finding a new passion

Maintaining an active, healthy life style has always been important for me. It’s crucial to keep active and on the ball. Not only is exercise a fun, out of work activity, but it also helps with concentration and performance in the workplace. After an intense weight loss journey several years ago, I made it my mission to find a way to keep focused and maintain my efforts, and found my passion along the way – kettlebell sport!

I was first introduced to a kettlebell during an intense gym session with my personal trainer. After dedicating myself to building up strength and nailing some hefty goals, I scoffed at the look of a kettlebell, thinking it would be easy and far from a challenge. Little did I know how wrong I could be!

Within 30 seconds of continuous movement, my entire body was burning and I struggled to catch my breath, yet simultaneously I felt an amazing sense of achievement. I’ve never been the sort of person to shy away from a challenge, so I quickly got myself to work and found myself hooked working with this new piece of equipment.

Excited to push myself even further, I got some kettlebells at home and started practicing regularly. This was frustrating, difficult and exhausting at times, yet the overwhelming sense of achievement outweighed it all.

Moving forward

Eager to continue my kettlebells journey, I nervously attended a class at a local gym. Before I knew it, I was rapidly progressing and getting better every day at this new sport. This excitingly led me to my first Grassroots competition in April 2017. Feeling extremely nervous and full of adrenaline, I put my all into this event and felt very proud to have competed.

Moving forward I felt more and more inspired by the kettlebell community around me, and began to plan the next step of my journey. To my surprise, my coach actually encouraged me to qualify for the England team. Initially, I laughed the idea off and considered it out of my league. However, the more I thought about it the more I longed for that sense of achievement, and once again I was back to intense training with the support of those around me.

I attended a competition in Scotland in August 2017 and I cannot begin to describe the nerves I felt as I stepped onto the platform. Determined not to let myself down, and with the encouragement of those who believe in me, I gave it my very all and it most certainly paid off – I qualified for the England team!

Looking back to the day I first lifted a kettlebell and felt that adrenaline rush through me, I’m overwhelmed with how far I’ve come. I now compete for England and I’ve won gold medals in the amateur veteran categories. After recently qualifying on the professional weights (2x20kg kettlebells), I now compete in several countries with and against athletes from all different countries around the world.

Keeping active outside of work is so important and it’s great to have my colleagues supporting me. Training and entering competitions gives me an overwhelming sense of achievement and it’s a great feeling knowing you’re part of a team, both in and out of the work place.

My kettlebells experience really reiterates the importance of communication, and we’ve experienced significant challenges trying to expand kettlebell sport across the world when we don’t all speak the same language. thebigword really does help to connect people, industries and communities and this just reinforces my passion to succeed for thebigword and the MOJ.

Tracey Howson, General Manager –  MOJ