The Bell Blog

Venue Changes of All Fitness Classes at John Ruffell Fitness

As many of you may know but if you do not?…. We suffered from a fire at the Studio on July 1st 2017.

It was imminent that we would have to move out of the Studio ready for demolition of the premises. The date is now set – We will be leaving the Studio Tuesday 2nd April. This will make changes to where we hold our Bootcamp, Circuit and Kettlebell Classes….

Morning Classes will be held at The Church Rooms, All Hallows, Church Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7AS – 

Wed 4th April – B-FIT Bootcamp – MON – WED – FRI – 0600-0645hrs

Fri 20th April – Kettlebell Group – FRI – 0915-1015hrs

Evening Classes will be temporarily held at The Church Rooms, All Hallows, Church Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7AS – Gymnasium, Testbourne Community School, Micheldever Rd, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7JF – 

Thursday 5th April – Kettlebell Group – THURS – 1930hrs – Gymnasium

Monday 9th April – Kettlebell Group – MON – 2000hrs – The Church Rooms

Tuesday 10th April – Kettlebell Group – TUES – 1900hrs – Gymnasium

Thursday 12th April – Kettlebell Group – THURS – 1930hrs – Gymnasium

Our Spring/Summer Venue for all our evening Kettlebell Groups will be held in the Indoor Arena, Long Meadow Sports and Social Club, Winchester Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire, RG28 7RB

From Monday 16th April – Thursday 23rd August our Kettlebell Groups will be held in the Indoor Arena –


Monday 1945-2045hrs

Tuesday 1900-2000hrs

Thursday 1930-2030hrs


Swings of Change – the 10,000 Swing Challenge, by Peter McLeod

I was just turning to leave the new John Ruffell Studio after my personal training session when John reminded me that he was going on holiday for the next week. Perfect! Some down time… relax a bit, maybe a few beers with the boys…. But no…

“I have got some homework for you to do while I am away, I thought you would like to do the 10000 swing challenge with a 24kg kettlebell to keep you going while I am away.”

All thoughts of a heading out to the pub immediately evaporated as the implications of what he was suggesting slowly sank into my brain. Never one to back down from a challenge through being either extremely obstinate or just plain stupid my mouth immediately accepted before consulting my brain or my body. As John has been training me for kettlebell classes twice a week for a while now I suspect he was fully aware of this and the trap was sprung.

So while John, Katy and White were sunning themselves by the pool I found myself staring at a green 24 kg Kettlebell that was now living in my sitting room.

“Okay, how hard can this be?” I thought to myself. I did the maths quickly and figured that to fit into my work schedule I was going to have to complete 500 swings in the morning and 500 in the evening for 10 consecutive days. That did not seem to bad and judging by “Death by Swings” Session we had done at kettlebell classes a while back I estimated it would take me about 3o mins to do 500.

The first session the following morning I cracked on and began the task. I blasted into it and I think did 80 swings straight off the mark, followed by another 80. No worries.. by the time I hit 250 I could barely hold the bell and by the time I hit 300 I had to drop down to the yellow 16 kg bell I had as a backup as I had totally overcooked it. I had forgotten to ask for chalk which is my friend and grabbed some old weights gloves, so my hands were in a sorry state of repair. Somehow I had blisters on the tips of my little fingers which was a new one on me. Now the full enormity of the task I had undertaken hit me and I have to say I felt slightly panicked, but was not going to back down. That first session took me nearly 40 minutes as I adjusted position and grip along with breaks in between. Somehow I managed to get through the session that evening by taping hands up and cutting the reps down to 50. I still had to switch down to a 16 kg after 300 reps though.

I woke up the next morning feeling very stiff, mostly in the glutes and forearms, but also quads and shoulders.  I repeated the process and I have to say in some ways it was even worse. The sweat poured off me so I knew I was getting a serious workout. I knocked about 5 minutes off the time which I put down to better execution, timing and have a better feel for reps. By the time I hit day three I finally managed to stick with the 24 kg bell throughout the entire session which made me really chuffed. My hands were still causing issues though as by the time I hit 300 reps I was losing my grip which was slowing me down.

4000 reps came and went and I solved the hands issue by buying some cheap neoprene weights gloves from Tesco of all places which were tight and cushioned my hands and lower fingers beautifully. Match with a bit Yellow Vet Wrap around some offending fingers and finally I had grip and by locking my thumb down over my second finger I could hold the bell for longer. I was also beginning to notice that my body was changing, extraordinary for such a short period of time. My forearms, biceps, triceps and lats, along with my back were beginning to feel much tighter… like a tiger. My back too seemed to be losing some of the loose skin that had been there and my glutes were less stiff and seemed to feel a bit less… shall we say, volumous? My times were dropping and I hit a steady rhythm of 40 reps being the way forward.

Once into 5000 – 7000 reps I had cut the time down to 23 – 25 minutes to complete the session and with the help of some serious dance music from Juicy M was actually beginning to enjoy it! I think my technique was improving, I was not squatting so much and the snap from the hips was taking over from brute force in the upper body. All was well with the world and I the fat layer around my stomach was decreasing and there appeared to be some shapes appearing below my pecs which I suspected were stomach muscles…. Which I have not been reunited with since my mid twenties.

Once I hit the 8000 mark I was into a pattern which worked well at 0630 in the morning as I was into 160 reps before I actually woke up. The sessions were becoming part of my daily routine and the dog had gone from being mildly terrified (not unusual for him) to only raising one eyebrow in mild interest. My hands had settled down completely with some new callouses appearing and I could really feel my body tightening up. On the scales I was putting on weight and by this stage had gained a 1 kg which I was really hoping was muscle. By 9000 the end was in sight…

The last day arrived and I was really pleased that I had stayed the course. Always with challenges like this it is so easy to get half way through and miss a session.  That turns into two and then your done as you are out of the routine and your motivation is gone. I blasted through the last 500 swings in 20 minutes and 30 second setting myself a new record and a fantastic way to finish the challenge.

So what did I get out of it? After 10 days I lost an inch off my waist while putting on 1.5 kg in weight. My whole body feel s tighter and I have definitely become stronger and gained bulk on my upper torso. My gluts and hamstrings have also benefited hugely. I have learnt a much better squat position, hand position on holding onto weights and my grip has improved dramatically which will be useful for Judo.  I won’t deny it was hard work, but I think it has put me on the path to change and given me a strong base from which I can move forward to meet my physical goals. I had forgotten how much I enjoy exercising first thing in the morning as I am awake and full of energy to go to work. If you are looking for a challenge to kick start you then I would highly recommend this. I am already looking forward to the next challenge.

The John Ruffell Fitness Studio

We are delighted to announce that after many years of using other venues, John Ruffell Fitness has acquired our own premises from which to base our classes and personal training. The new John Ruffell Fitness Studio provides 75 Square metres of training

The studio is located alongside the Murco Garage in the heart of Whitchurch and is easily accessible on foot or by car. there are several parking areas available including the central town parking which has a convenient passage that make it no more than a three minute walk. The routes and parking areas are clearly highlighted below. The yellow routes are the roads, Blue represents pedestrian cut through walk ways and purple areas represent parking.

Please note all classes apart from the Andover Kettlebells class will now be taking place here at the studio.  If you would like to discuss or have any further questions please email John Ruffell or call on 07910 736432.

Launch of FIT 6 Home Programme

FIT 6 Home Programme, John Ruffell Fitness, personal trainer, kettlebells, Whitchurch, Hampshire

So you want to get fit and turn over a new leaf this year but cant make the FIT 6 training sessions due to work or child care? Why not sign up to the FIT 6 at Home Programme?

The FIT 6 Home Programme is a six-week circuit class package to support your personal fitness goals. The FIT 6 at Home (monthly) Package includes: – Closed Facebook Group support – Weekly online (Facebook/Email) nutritional support, advice and recipes – Video tutorials supplied on weekly basis for each Home workout. – Monthly LOG Sheets to record your fitness journey.

The FIT 6 at Home Package costs just £5 per calendar month and is the perfect to supplement your personal fitness goals. We look forward to welcoming you into the FIT 6 community.

If you are interested please email John Ruffell  or call on 07910 736432.

Why kettlebells are good for lower back pain


A little while ago we came across a really interesting article that highlighted the use of kettlebells exercise to fix lower back pain and I wanted to share it. Please click HERE to see the full article.


Fit 6 – A six week journey to get into shape

Happy Thursday all…. Have you heard of the FIT 6 Programme?

Look no further to get into shape this year!
A LIVE circuit based class a week, Home workouts supplied weekly, nutrition help and advice, LOG sheets to track your progress and support via a closed FB group

Contact John Ruffell or John Ruffell Fitness to secure a space on the next 6 week phase, starting Monday 20th Feb.