I'm typically not one to judge a book by it's cover, but I'll admit I was a bit dubious...
Then I saw her deadlift 275lbs and knew she was serious.
Then I saw her press the 20kg and knew she was VERY serious.
Then I saw her pistol squat the 20kg kettlebell and made her my girlfriend.
Am I biased?
Absolutely. But a girl this strong and knowledgeable needs to be sharing her story.
I hope you all enjoy this inspiring interview with Christine and all of the amazing content that she intends to provide on her newly launched site Beautiful-Strength.com.
Who is Christine Mooney? What is your athletic background?
To pay the bills, I am currently a consumer and market analyst in the retail world.
But I really identify myself as an athlete, a writer, and a certified personal trainer...and now the owner of Beautiful-Strength.com, a site dedicated to women in strength and conditioning.
I am very lucky in respect to having an athletic background. My family is a very active bunch. My dad is an avid basketball player. Even now, in his mid-sixties, he still plays basketball…and beats the kids who are decades younger than him! The man is a powerhouse. Mom was a top swimmer on Long Island (New York) as a kid, and I grew up watching her do yoga on a regular basis. My brother, whether he was playing roller hockey or basketball, or later on, excelling in Army Special Forces, has always been athletic.
When I was little and we were living in San Diego, Mom really got into healthy eating. We never had soda in the house, no junk food. There was a hot breakfast every morning and a home-cooked meal every night. I think we only went out to eat once a month maybe. I know that’s an anomaly, and I am extremely grateful for it. My upbringing and the excellent example my family set for me has made me confident that I know what to do, I know how to get back to “healthy”, even if I’ve strayed for a while (e.g. freshman year of college).
I’ve used kettlebells off and on over the years, but it was never as in-depth and as (almost) exclusive as now. Previously, kettlebell training was always something that I did just to break up dumbbell, barbell, or bodyweight training. It was more of a “novelty”. Oh my, how things have changed!
Describe your first experience using kettlebells. How did you feel after using kettlebells?
I don’t remember the absolute first time I used kettlebells. It was probably at a Crossfit gym in North Carolina, but I really don’t remember. But what I certainly remember is my first time working with "Pat Flynn" and kettlebells.
I write a fitness column for a local newspaper, and I had decided to write a piece on kettlebell training. A quick Google search and a phone call later, I was scheduled for kettlebell session at Dragon Gym. This first session wasn’t so bad. It was an orientation, and the trainer I was scheduled with didn’t go nuts. She took it slow, showed me the basics…
It was the second time I came in to train that I was with Pat. I think we were just doing swings and plank, and I almost threw up. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me. This is gonna make me yak? No way.” I was strong. I was fit. How could a 12 kg bell do this to me? So I decided I had to keep coming back until I proved to myself that 25 pounds wasn’t going to own me like that.
And well, I’ve just kind of stayed.
As for how I feel after using kettlebells, I’ve never felt this good. Over the past 20 years, I’ve been a competitive swimmer, basketball player, long distance trail and road runner, and triathlete. But now. Wow. I feel like I’m finally coming into my own as an athlete. I finally feel like I’ve found my sport and that I’m living up to my true athletic potential. I always knew I was athletic. I’ve always gravitated towards sports, but in my training over the past seven months or so, something truly incredible has happened—I’m performing better than I thought I ever could and finally fulfilling my athletic potential.
I’ve been training exclusively with the metabolic conditioning and single rep strength outlined in Birth of a Hero for the past several months, and the gains I’ve made have been phenomenal. I kind of thought that after six years of regular strength training, that maybe I had just reached my peak, that I had gotten as strong as I possibly could. I’m finding out how wrong I was, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
What are your current goals/aspirations? Are you training for anything in particular at the moment? If so, please tell us a little bit about that…
In September, I’ll be going for my RKC. We’re still quite a few months out, but I already have a very good handle on all of the components of the certification so I’ve decided to set the bar even higher for myself with the Iron Maiden Challenge, which is a weighted pull-up, military press, and pistol squat with the 24 kg kettlebell. Very few women have succeeded at the challenge. I’d really like to be one of them. So far so good, but I’ve still got some progress to make.
After September…man, I just don’t know. I’ve always been interested in martial arts but never tried it. Maybe I’ll give it a go. That’s one of the great things about fitness—no matter what you’ve achieved so far, there’s still so much more you can do. The goal is always a moving target. You can always progress, always grow and make gains. There are so many ways to quantify your efforts, which make fitness-related endeavors very gratifying. I’m looking forward to the next challenge, whatever that may be!
You have your own fitness website, Beautiful Strength (http://www.beautiful-strength.com), could you please tell us a little bit about what your vision for that is and where you want to go with it?
With the fitness industry as saturated as it is with bad information, I’ve struggled over the years to find a place to go for good, solid information as a woman in fitness. I’ve certainly found what I have spent years looking for here at Chronicles of Strength, but there is still a desire to cater to women. I knew that if I wanted something that I couldn’t find, that I simply needed to do it myself. That said, I recently launched a women’s strength and conditioning site--www.Beautiful-Strength.com—with the goal of providing women with the same level of quality info that COS provides but with more of a female focus.
Very early on in my weightlifting career, I distinctly remember telling someone my goal was to get strong but “not bulky.” I think that’s pretty typical for women. We tend to think there’s a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger living inside of us, just waiting to pop out at the very moment when we start hauling around significant weight. But I also know that there are a significant amount of women out there who know better. They know that to get strong, you have to practice at being strong, and they don’t shy away from hard work and big weights in the gym. For those strong women, I want to create a well-informed, intelligent, inclusive space to help guide them in their fitness “career”, whatever that entails.
Any final words?
Thank you so much to everyone reading this post. I’ve had a great time, interacting and learning from all the people on Chronicles of Strength. I love the atmosphere on this site. You rarely find such an intelligent approach to strength and conditioning, and I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome it is to get to interact with other people who understand that.
I’m also very excited about Beautiful-Strength.com. As we grow, you’ll find a lot of great information over there, albeit a bit different than what you’d typically find on Chronicles. So please, come on over, check us out, and don’t forget to sign up for our Cast Iron Wisdom newsletter!
You can also find me on Twitter @Kallos_Sthenos and on Facebook.
Strong = Sexy?
But maybe that's just me. Please share your own thoughts in the comment section (of course this is all subjective, and let's keep it cool... like the Fonz would...)
There are many kinds of strength, but the kind that impresses me the most is what I would call "hidden strength". Christine is a pristine (hardy har har) example of this. Just by looking at her build you could safely assume her to be an athlete of sorts, but if I had a nickel for everyone who has underestimated her deadlift based on her appearance, well I'd probably be writing this post from a yacht...