Jodi Barrett started over from scratch at the age of 41.
Jodi Barrett shares with D’FYNE what made her uproot life as she knew it and how she came to lead Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada and, ultimately, found herself in the process.
Do you ever feel like you are wound up so tight that if someone pulls just a little tighter you are going to just snap? This is how I felt about 10 years ago, but I kept ignoring it and kept moving forward. I wasn’t a quitter and I was determined to have the perfect family and perfect marriage.
Then one day I went to the gym and I stared at my reflection and I knew something had to change. I knew I was physically strong, but something was missing. That day, I could not summon the energy to lift anything. Instead, I left and went for a walk and ended up at a little bridge where I let my tears flow. At that moment, I felt so lost. I kept asking myself, “How did I ever get to this spot where I don’t recognize who I am?”
I knew I was a great mom and did all my duties as a homemaker and tried my best to serve my husband. But in the meantime, I had forgotten that I mattered, that I had passions, and that I should have a purpose beyond my “roles.”
It was then that I realized I had to leave my marriage. Even though I felt like I had failed in marriage, I knew that if I didn’t leave the relationship, I would be failing in being true to myself. We have this one life and I knew I couldn’t go through it without being happy anymore. I understood that I had to find and connect with myself again before I lost myself even more so forever. And even though I realized I had to do this, it scared me more than anything.
The day was not the hardest day of my life but it was the start of many hard moments. To be honest, when I chose to leave, I don’t think I knew how hard of a journey it would be–and this was likely a blessing.
The toughest moments include the day I had to tell my kids I was leaving. Now, as I get ready to do something hard, I use this moment to bring it into perspective. Another one of the most difficult times was when I represented myself in divorce court twice. I learned very quickly that a lawyer should handle legal matters, but at that point, I was fed up with the system and decided I would represent myself and I would walk away with my head high no matter the outcome.
When my kids decided to move out was another challenging time. But I know in my heart that the day I decided I mattered was the day I fully embraced life. I chose my soul versus the comfort of having a summer cottage home in the Okanogan, and shopping daily, buying whatever I wanted. I chose myself for the first time above everything. Knowing I had lost my purpose as an individual, I was willing to strive forward alone to rediscover myself.
My spirit was begging me to pay attention and I’ve spent the last decade passionate about fueling a purpose, a principle upon which my company, Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada, is built.
Launching my own company
When I first separated from my husband, I could not even rent a place for me and my kids because I had “not been working for 13 years.” This inspired me to build a company that helps moms. I wanted to give something to mothers who love fitness, who want to make a bit of their own money, and provide them with a moment for them to teach and be just themselves. Gh I brought kettlebell certifications to Canada for everyone, my personal focus was, and continues to be, women.
So at the age of 41, I boarded a plane, having never traveled alone before to New York City, with the idea of convincing the owner of the Kettlebell Kickboxing brand to hire me while I was taking the certification. I was able to convince them, and seven months later, I was offered the opportunity to open the Canadian Region. Looking back, I realize how green I was, and I admit they might have seen me coming. I paid for my eagerness with every experience; I learned my lessons, though, and I am no longer as naive as I used to be.
The evolution of Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada has been quite an adventure. I went from doing certifications across Canada to teaching classes in the basement of a martial arts academy. My passion for training trainers was still very much a focus but a shift was happening–I was getting to experience taking people on their own fitness journey. Watching people transform was incredible. How they went from just wanting to lose 20 lbs to losing weight but gaining confidence, and developing the mindset that if they showed up for themselves, that is how you get results.
Keeping my company afloat through the pandemic
In early 2020, I was looking at space across the street to lease when my phone started blowing up with texts saying a pandemic was shutting us down. I had to pivot fast and hard. Within 48 hours my clients had picked up and signed out kettlebells and we had our first online class using the online platform I had built and updated in December 2019. Once we settled, I had to decide whether I should move forward with the space (at this point they were saying it would be only a couple of weeks of being shut down). I wanted to puke, but I reminded myself of the hard moments I had made it through, then those feelings subsided and it came down to needing to make a decision.
I decided I won’t sit still in this life. I don’t wait for someone else to get the ball rolling. If I want it to roll, I have to push it. So I negotiated some free months on the lease; I was hoping to get ahead once when we were able to train. I opened in July 2020 and we were starting to grow, but then in the fall came more restrictions. Masks were required and our clients had to be in a 10-foot training bubble. I was very grateful to be able to work but in the six years I have trained, I had to triple my hours for the same amount of money in order to be able to get everyone on the mats. I’m 47 now and although my body rarely hurts, every time I had to roll over that summer I had to beg my body to do it because it hurt. Now looking back on it, I know my gratitude got me through to where I am today. It was a challenging time–I think I sat on the floor crying more often than not. One silver lining was that the online opened up a whole new world, introducing me to clients around the globe.
Expanding into the world of international fitness retreats
In 2022, I flew to Mexico for mobility training with an organization called The SUPVETS. I had been training one of the members, an ex-Navy SEAL for over a year and he was having great success with the program. Since then, I launched my own fitness retreat in Mexico in 2023, and 17 people registered for it, and came from as far as the United Kingdom.
Why making the hard journey is worth it
I’m sharing my journey because this was my hard that I picked. I made a decision to say “Why not me?” instead of thinking I couldn’t do it. I have had to stand in front of the mirror in the past 10 years and look at all areas of my life that I was not doing well at; my relationship with my kids needed a lot of work, for one, and once I put boundaries in place and recognised my worth and value in my life it helped guide me daily.
I’m here to tell you that age means nothing–and if you put in the work on yourself, it will be the greatest gift you give yourself. You will have to believe so deeply within because when you embrace your journey, there will be days you will be so tired and nobody will understand why you do it. But you are going to have to show up big to see and experience life in a big way. That big way of thinking is how a divorced mom at 41 like me can help make the world a better place one swing at a time.
Photos by Kyle Mahadeo