Career-wise, there are a lot of things I thought I would be growing up.
And most recently, linguist.
If you had told me that I’d be a kettlebell instructor, certified through the world’s most rigorous, physically demanding, and highly respected kettlebell instructor certification course – the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) by Pavel Tsatsouline and later its successor StrongFirst – I would have thought you were crazy. Like, REALLY crazy.
As you can see from all the careers listed above, they’re all physically undemanding. A desk job or a job in some sort of intellectual field is pretty much what I had resigned myself to. Unlike a lot of personal trainers and strength coaches, I’m a late bloomer. I never thought I was “born” for it, like everyone else who did that kind of work seemed to be. Other than a few years of gymnastics and an attempt at weight training (and not a very good attempt, by the way), strength, fitness, and athleticism were just not things that ever clicked with me. And everything I had experienced in elementary, middle, and high school PE just reinforced that. I was rarely picked last for team sports, but I was usually the last to get picked before the team captains had no choice but to start picking the nerds and geeks who didn’t know the difference between a basketball and a soccer ball. The only sport I ever rocked at was badminton, but I thought it was just a gym-class sport. If I had known it was an Olympic sport, I might have taken it more seriously, and I’d probably be writing this now as an Olympic gold medalist. Well, maybe just silver.
I had tried weight training in some form or another since age 14, and always fell flat. Despite getting some instruction, it never really felt “right” for an average guy like me. Dumbbells and barbells are great tools for strength, but my body always felt locked up when I used them, and the results I got weren’t bad, but I always felt like there was a missing piece to my attempt at strength training.
Fast forward to 2008. A friend of mine, Drew, from my university Spanish classes would always hang out before class, and early that year he had discovered this thing called a kettlebell, reintroduced to the West in all its glory by a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor named Pavel Tsatsouline. For months he talked about them, and because I was always such a klutz with physical training, I listened politely, but had no interest in trying it out.
Then, one fateful April day Drew called me and asked if I wanted to try out a kettlebell workout. To this day, I don’t know why, but I said yes. I showed up at his house, he handed me a bell which he assured me was light – 25 lbs – but to me, it felt heavy. Then he showed me how to use it properly. Suddenly it felt light as a feather as I learned how to engage my whole body to lift it. With each rep, I felt stronger and stronger. Suddenly, in the most unlikely of places and with the most unlikely of weights, everything started becoming clear. Like Neo becoming The One in the Matrix, I saw everything the way it really was for the first time. The kettlebell was the missing piece I had been seeking for so long, and the RKC was the way to make the missing piece fit in my life. That day, that oil-stained driveway, and the way the kettlebell made me feel as I lifted it over my head and swung it out in front of me changed the entire course of my life. From then on I started my journey down the rabbit hole to see how far it went, and I’ve never looked back.
In 2010 I took the plunge and decided to sign up for the RKC instructors’ certification course. I trained hard five days a week for eight months, passed it, and began a new chapter of my life. I wasn’t just going to use the kettlebell to improve my strength and fitness. I was going to use it to help others find their missing piece, and enjoy the strength and physical fitness that we were all meant to have and meant to enjoy. Teaching people and helping them to get closer to their goals of fat loss, strength, flexibility, and health makes me happier than anything.
The StrongFirst School of Strength and it’s predecessor the RKC, along with the trusty kettlebell helped me find strength, fitness, flexibility, and full-body health. No matter what your age, job, athletic background, or current level of physical fitness, StrongFirst and the kettlebell can help take you from where you are to where you want to be and beyond, and faster than you ever thought possible. If you haven’t discovered the power of the StrongFirst School of Strength and its Hardstyle of kettlebell lifting (or even if you have and you want to know more) connect to me and start your journey! There’s no time like the present to find your missing piece!
In the immortal words of Pavel Tsatsouline…
Power to you!