Glenwood’s Burgio continues to smash own U.S. record in kettlebell competition

Jessica Peterson
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Audrey Burgio competing in kettlebell snatch in Maryland in 2016.
Courtesy photo

For the past eight years, Audrey Burgio, a personal trainer based in Glenwood Springs, has honed in on kettlebell competitions and worked to improve how much she could lift in the snatch event.

Her work culminated recently in setting the American record for her weight class — by breaking her own previous record.

“The thing with kettlebell sport is it’s a very inclusive type of sport and there’s a lot of positivity in the community,” Burgio said. “Yes, it’s great to win, it’s great to be first, but I think most people actually find that they’re competing against themself more than they’re competing against another person.”

Burgio is in the 58kg (127 lbs.) weight class and lifts a 24kg (52 lbs.) kettlebell. Back in 2019, she became the record holder and this past February she beat it by lifting 131 reps in 10 minutes. Burgio said the motivation for someone beating his or her own best kettlebell record extends to athletes who may not be focused on wide-scale competitions, but just doing better than they did the last time.

“It’s a little bit different,” Burgio said. “Most people in the sport don’t have that mindset of, ‘I want to beat this other person.’ It’s, ‘I want to do the best that I can do and do better than I did last time. And if I win, then that’s great.'”

The moment Burgio became hooked on the sport came from taking a class to expand her personal training repertoire. She trains independently but also has a desk job to avoid burnout when she trains others and practices on her own.

Burgio said she didn’t realize how comprehensive of a sport kettlebell was until she signed up to take a course for certification on training people with this kind of weight.

“I took a class just to further my education on how to teach kettlebells in general,” Burgio said. “At that time I didn’t realize the kettlebell sport was an actual sport. … I found it to be very intriguing because it was super technical and challenging. Something new and a goal that sounded fun.”

Audrey Burgio demonstrating the snatch lift with the kettlebell

Kettlebell is currently more popular in Eastern Europe than the United States, and Burgio said in addition to competitions in California, Connecticut and Las Vegas, she’s also been to Scotland and Switzerland as part of the U.S. kettlebell team. The sport is being considered for the Olympics, but due to COVID-19 the review period by the committee was extended by two years so they’d have more time to observe the competitions in person.

“It’s pretty exciting. It kind of gives you something to look forward to, and continue to train for something with a little bit more motivation,” Burgio said.

For inclusivity, Burgio said it’s common to have older people, from age 50 to even 80, competing as well. They use lighter weights, but it’s a fitness competition with low impact and accessible for people of all walks of life to hunker down in and start working toward their own goals.

“It really is for all ages. … We have people competing in their 60s, 70s and 80,” Burgio said. “Those people are a small number but some people pick up the kettlebell sport in their 50s or 60s and are able to learn the technique and compete.”

If others are looking to become involved with the sport, Burgio said there are many ways to do it, but there are a couple important steps to take to make sure they’re off to the right start.

“You can get started by following people that are a part of the community online,” Burgio said. “And you can watch YouTube videos on technique. But working with somebody that can at least give you a good foundation, I think, is a great first step. And then having a program — like anything, being consistent is really important.”