Meet Elisabetta Bruno, Skimble‘s featured Trainer! This kettlebell queen is all about improving functional movement for herself and her clients. We recently had the chance to chat with Elisabetta and learn about her journey from being an active teen to a passive desk jockey, resulting in many health issues. A much-needed change of course helped her regain control of her own wellbeing and now she’s helping others do exactly that.
Tell us a bit about your background and where you’re from.
Elisabetta: I’ve lived in the UK for many years but I’m originally from Italy. Growing up, I was one of the more active girls, sometimes the only one in my physical education class who actually wanted to move, so I’d wind up playing sports with the guys! I started out with Judo, but then I discovered volleyball and I was hooked. Although volleyball was my favorite sport, on any given afternoon you could see me play football, basketball, or do exercise of some kind. Although I didn’t really like the latter that much, I even tried fencing!
What inspired you to become a personal trainer?
Elisabetta: Once I started working, I became a serious desk jockey. I ended up having some real issues with asthma and I put on a lot of weight. I had recurring crippling back pain. I could not even stand up, it was so bad… and I was hardly 30! You wouldn’t have looked at me and thought, “Oh yes, she loved sports as a teen.”
One day I decided to lose weight for real and I hired an online coach. Having that kind of accountability really helped me to stay motivated. And being me, I couldn’t just be told what to do, I had to learn more about things and understand what it takes to lose weight. I exercised and improved my eating habits. I started with bodyweight exercises.
I will admit – I really like videogames. So when I tried a virtual reality headset I totally fell in love with it. You can do a lot of physical activity with one of those. You wind up doing kickboxing (shadowboxing obviously) or wielding a bow and dodging incoming fire, or you get to be a samurai. Anyway, it reminded me of how much I liked to move so I started to do real sports again.
Before I knew it my asthma issues had gone and so did my back issues. I had lost 26 lb too! I wanted other people to experience the same health benefits I had, so I paired my love for physical activity and my never-ending quest for knowledge, got my certifications and became a trainer.
What are your training specialties?
Elisabetta: I focus on healthy lifestyle and I have recently become a Girevik. “Girevik” is the Russian word for someone participating in Kettlebell Sport, also known as Girevoy Sport. This is a fairly new endeavor for me, but because I find I gravitate towards using kettlebells more than any other tool, becoming involved in the sport was a natural progression.
I will use other tools, and I know how to program someone using barbells, gym machines, and bodyweight of course. When I train with clients I focus on what they would like to do, the equipment they have and their skills. I then coach them accordingly. And regardless of their goal, whether it be weight loss, muscle gain or athletic performance, I always put their health first. I will always look for a sustainable way of doing things. No crash diets. No steroids. A huge emphasis on autoregulation and healthy habit building.
What’s your favorite Workout Trainer feature?
Elisabetta: I really like the social aspect of Workout Trainer, and how you can prop each other up. I have often seen a client finish a workout and other people just chimed in and cheered them on. It’s amazing. And it helps me as well, as I am not the only one trying to motivate my clients.
Who are your heroes?
Elisabetta: I wouldn’t say I have any heroes, but I do aspire to be as good as Brittany van Schravendijk in Kettlebell sport. She is definitely my inspiration. She is a Master of Sport (that’s the highest rank you can get) and holds several records.
For Yoga, Dean Pohlman and his ManFlowYoga are definitely the best for me. He focuses on Yoga for men, but his advice works for everyone, and he does have women clients (I should know, right?). I like him so much because of his practical application of Yoga and how he uses and shapes it to fit any situation, whether it’s injury prevention or athletic recovery. He is not going to just give you a Sun Salutation and then call it “Yoga for Athletes”.
Last but not least, Chris Peil. He is a strength and conditioning coach and physio, and he coaches a lot of Strongman competitors. What I like about his rehab style is that he takes into consideration your individual athletic context. He gets you back into training as soon as possible while respecting your body’s limitations. His articles on T-nation are perhaps a bit different from what you’ll usually find there as he focuses on what makes you strong in real like, rather than on a bench.
What keeps you motivated to stay fit yourself?
Elisabetta: I like to strive to get better and that motivates me. However, I have stopped relying on motivation to keep me going. Motivation gives people the spark, but like a spark, it is ephemeral. After that it’s a matter of keeping your eyes on the mountain, follow the path and being disciplined. I would say that Girevoy Sport is what is now driving me forward. It’s a sport you can grow with, and you can continually work towards setting personal bests and improve. I definitely don’t want to go back to being the person with the breathing issues who can’t even walk. Never again if I can help it.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Elisabetta: Chocolate. In moderation, of course!
What are your hidden talents?
Elisabetta: If I told you they wouldn’t be hidden now, would they? Alright, alright. I am being told I can sing. Apparently.
Do you have any go-to training gear that you would recommend?
Elisabetta: Wolverson for kettlebells if you are in the UK (or comparable US models).
Please share a secret health/fitness tip with the Skimble community…
Elisabetta: Brace yourself because this is perhaps the biggest secret the fitness industry is trying to keep from you. Consistency. You have to be consistent. That’s it. Try to make healthier choices more often. Try to be consistent with these choices. And most of all build habits, one at a time if you have to. Forget shortcuts, special blend supplements and the like. If they work in the first place, they are not sustainable. You only need to make the good choices 50% of the time to become healthier.
Thanks for sharing with us, Elisabetta, we’re excited to see what the future will bring for you and your training biz!