Monday, December 12, 2011

Everybody needs a coach, especially me!

Many of you know I've signed up for the RKC 2 in April of next year. I did all of my technique stuff for level 1 on my own. As a result there were some hitches in my swing and TGU. The RKC weekend is more of a conditioning focus in my opinion. Level 2 is a different story.

There are lifts which I've never done and more importantly my technique in some of the level 1 skills and level 2 skills need some cleaning up. Most importantly I need to remain injury free (well as injury free as my broken old body can be). So for the next 3 months my training is being programmed by Mark & Nikki Snow over at SG Human Performance .

Me and my Coaches!
Biggest thing for me is to be coachable. What does that mean? The coach made the program, the athlete (in my case old athlete) needs to follow the program. The program is going to balance me out. Most of us, myself included avoid our weaknesses. Add to that my FMS screen (a 5 in October now a 12) my own training had me doing things that constantly hindered my movement. Based on my current screen my programming will allow me to improve my technique and my screen.

When I mentioned getting a coach someone in class commented ,"why do you need a coach?" Manny Pacquiao has a coach, Muhammad Ali had a coach, Magic Johnson had a coach, why wouldn't I have a coach. I don't need a workout partner saying "atta boy" or "all you" or "looks great". I need someone to evaluate my progress, check my form, correct my mistakes. Lastly I got a coach to be an example. If I tell my students something in class, I need to do the same. If I say to a student take 3 weeks off to reset it's because I've done so myself by listening to the coach. I'm very excited for the next 3 months of training and hopefully take a trip to Nebraska in February to work out with my coaches at their facility.

Pharaoh Out 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get Better for December

Ok quick and simple the title says it all. Get Better for December. Pick 1 thing and see if you can improve on it for the month. You have 31 days. I don't care what you pick. It can be pushups, pullups, run a faster mile, eat better, hell you might pick doing a better job at work. Only you can pick and only you will know if you got better.

And please spare me the "holidays are coming" crap. Stop! No one said you have to eat everything in sight. Get Better at 1 thing. The challenge starts tomorrow.

Pharaoh Out!

Monday, November 28, 2011

5 months until the RKC 2

The Kettlebell Gauntlet

150 days until the RKC 2. I saw one of the RKC's posted today on Facebook counting down the days until the cert. Whoa! Things just got serious. I had to give myself a timeout after taking the CK-FMS in October. I took 2.5 weeks off and just worked correctives focusing on ASLR, T-spine and shoulder mobility. Was it tough to take that brief time off? No, because the GOAL remains RKC 2. Taking time off to reset was needed after the grind to get to the RKC.

I started working out again 4 weeks ago. This is the program I followed.
Mobility prep - ASLR, arm bar, t-spine, ankle, open 1/2 kneeling
5-7 minutes naked TGU
2x5 tactical pullup (chest to bar)
2x5 double kb deadlift 24kg & 32kg
2x5 Goblet Squats 24kg

I started off doing 2x5 double kb deadlifts at 24 & 32kg's. I don't have a pair of 28's so that was the reason for the jump. 5-7 minutes of naked TGU. Get your minds out the gutter not "nekkid". My focus on those TGU's was doing every step 3 times per side before proceeding to the next step. 2x5 Goblet squats with 24kg and 2x5 tactical pullups. Those 4 movements were to re-establish my base and keep me from doing damage to myself. And when I say damage I don't mean injury. I mean undoing the 3 weeks of correctives. I followed this base program for 2 weeks training 4 days per week.

The past 2 weeks I've added weight to the TGU and added a few more exercises. My training sessions now are generally 45-50 minutes long. 15 minutes is mobility prep and working on my lowest scores from my FMS screen. The latest program is as follows

Mobility prep - ASLR, arm bar, t-spine, ankle, open 1/2 kneeling
6-8 bells 12-36kg
Goblet squat - 5 reps at each bell focused on hip and ankle mobility
TGU - 1 rep each side alternating heavy and light kbs (12-36,16-32 etc). This was inspired by Brett Jones.
2 hand swing - 5 reps each bell (16-36kg)
1 hand swing - 5 reps per hand each bell (16-36kg)
Clean - 3 reps per hand each bell (16-32kg) (2 times in 2 weeks)
Snatch - 3 reps per hand (16-28kg) (done 1 time in 2 weeks)
Tactical pullup/chinups

The pullups/chinups were done in between each exercise. Example TGU right/left 1 TPU/1 CH. When I can I throw some box pistols in the mix. So far feeling good. Pretty soon it will be time to include more of the level 2 movements into the mix. Right now still trying to clean some things up. 5 months is plenty of time to get ready with smart programing. Which means I'm going to let someone else "drive the car". Everyone needs a coach and I need someone else to navigate this course so I address my weakness, address my mobility issues and make sure I stop trying to drive a 1971 Buick like its a 2011 Ferrari.

Pharaoh out

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank you

Today is my last 12:15pm Sports Conditioning class in Midtown. It's been a great run. From 43 participants in that small studio. To having the floor boards wrecked from water damage and still getting it done. To the class that carried heavy bags up the stairs (girls too!!!). Thanks for making me bring my best each and every Tuesday afternoon.

A few shout outs to some vets of the class
Andra - DALLAS!!!!!! T-Veins!!!!! Thanks for calling your nanny in class (and yes it was her first class too). Thanks for always being a good sport and always working hard.
Wendy - B.A. Thank you for improving! You've come a long way and I'm glad to have shared in it.
Arlene and Kelley - I had to put you 2 girls together. The work you 2 girls did when we trained together!! Best part of my week was knowing I was going to train you 2 on Monday.  I'll never forget that last "sprint".
Adam - Yo Big Man!!! Thanks for always keeping me on my playlist game. Thanks for the t-shirts. It forced me to get back on my grind and get back in shape to wear them!
Tyshon - Put it down every week. Had the toughest job since I knew you were the strongest in class I had to challenge you even more. It also helps when the entire class depends on your success!!! Hahaha
David - I always knew if I gave the WTF option you were going to try to do it. And give me the finger after.
Amy - I appreciate the energy! The hard work! And most important you always look like you're having fun. I could be killing the class and you're in the zone. QUICK FEET!!!!!!
Marcela - Always a hard worker.
Petey and Dan - the Queens crew. Thanks for coming through and reppin' the borough each week.
Glen - Thanks for the best endorsement ever. The vid of your boys saying ,"Ari is Mean" is one of the greatest moments I've ever had as a trainer.
Ryan - Thanks for making T step his sprint game up! The competition between you 2 always got me amped up!
Merissa - Lil sis the Original Sprint Champ! Go Team! 

Lastly thanks to the smack talkers. It makes me go that much harder every week. Nuff Said!

Now I gotta find that Boys II Men song so I can officially close the show.

Pharaoh Out!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pharaohs Zumba Fitness - Stay in your lane

Announcement, I will now be teaching Zumba instead of my regular classes. I see that Zumba is new and hot and energetic and I want to be part of the craze. Of course I haven't danced (well except for the 2 step I do occasionally in class) in over 20 years, but I did dance in a few music videos, so this must mean I'm qualified. I'm going to start teaching and make videos and make a ton of money. Why? Because it's the new thing to do, everyone is doing it and I have to be cutting edge. Also I'm going to start giving Muay Thai instruction. I figure the 3 months I trained with my boy Joe is good enough to classify me as an expert. Show me the money!!

Ok, lets be real, we know I won't be teaching Zumba, and if I taught a Muay Thai class it would be, "How to get your butt kicked by a real Muay Thai practitioner. What's my point? Kettlebell training is "new" and "hot" and yes my gym has them. But as a trainer take pride in learning your craft. Get an objective view of your technique and teaching abilities. Don't be satisfied with coaching poor form, sipping your frappuccino, texting away while the client goes off and wildly swings away. And if you really don't know how to teach a skill, don't. Choose things that you are good at teaching. The client will benefit in the long run.

Don't be afraid to say I don't know how to teach that effectively. There are so many tools in the fitness tool box, trainers have a multitude of things to choose from. Don't get fascinated by the hot item or technique. And if you do invest some time and effort in truly learning and understanding before you pass yourself off as an expert. If you're looking up kettlebell training, take the RKC if you want to learn Hardstyle. If you want to learn Girevoy Sport (GS) then look for an AKC or an IKFF trainer. If you want to learn Suspension Training then look for a TRX Suspension Training Course. Again take the time and invest in your professional career.

Now enough ranting I've got to get my DVD out so I can make some of this Zumba money. Just kidding,  I know my lane and I'm perfectly fine with that.

Pharaoh Out!!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CK-FMS Weekend - I'm a bad person, but I can still swagger clap!

Arrgh!!!! The CK-FMS Pirates

I'm a 5! On a good day I'm a 9 or 10.

What am I talking about? The Functional Movement Screen. A few basic tests that tell you how you move. Of course it's a bit more complex than that but that's the basis of it. The scoring is simple you can get a 0,1,2 or 3 for each movement. Some things (Shoulder mob for example) get scored per side. I knew I was a mess physically going to the workshop, I had no idea what type of mess I was. If you just show up take the test and have no pain you can get at least a 7.

Does this mean I'm a bad person? No, but it does mean I have A LOT (cue Brett Jones pause for effect) of work to do. An ideal score would be a 14 with no asymmetries (balanced). First things first I have to take some time off and address my injuries and pain. Yes I said take time off. So if you're a client of mine or take a small group class and I screen you, don't give me the but, but, but if I tell you to rest and work correctives for a week or 2. Don't tell me that not running, taking class or doing swing for a week is going to kill you. If you get injured as a result of any asymmetries it will be A LOT (cue Brett Jones again) longer than 2 weeks you'll be off.

My mobility "Dad" and "Mom" Mark and Nikki Snow

What does this mean for me? 2 weeks of doing correctives and crocodile breathing (belly breathing). I thought I was going to be doing pistol progressions until a check of my ankle flexibility. 4 inches is good for running (yes this means A LOT of you shouldn't be running). After some foam rolling and stick work I managed to get 1/4 of an inch on the right ankle (Achilles rupture) and 1/2 an inch on the left. The best way to describe this is to use the analogy Brett and Gray repeated this weekend. You have 2 employees, 1 takes a 15 minute smoke break every 15 minutes, the other guy keeps working. A body of imbalances and dysfunction (but I'm not a bad person). So I'll be working some of the correctives I learned this weekend. What does this mean for you? Well if you're my client expect to get a movement screen in the next week. First because I care and second because I need practice. I need to submit a case study to receive my certification.

This was a great weekend, even with my dysfunctions. I got to meet some new RKC's, get my form evaluated and checked, learned a ton of stuff and saw some friends from the San Diego RKC that I attended. I have a new tool in the tool kit to use as well. Well off to the gym to work on my active straight leg raise and loosen up my heel cords so I can get some mobility in these ankles.

Pharaoh out!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Don't forget the fundamentals

Often in training we push the envelope. How much can I lift? How fast can I go? How many reps can I get in x amount of time? How fast can you run a 5K? How fast can you do your RKC Snatch test?

How many times do you go back and work the basics? How many times do you actually go back and take care of the foundation? How many times do you try to improve your technique so that the end result will be a much better outcome?

Recently with my training I've noticed something was missing in my swing. It also meant that my cleans and snatches lacked the necessary "oomph" needed to be efficient. So today's training for me called for 2 hand swings and 15 minutes of snatches. Remembering what my swing felt like during my RKC certification I decided to work from the ground up. I started off with deadlifts, working on rooting and the vertical plank. Next came the hover so I could feel the weight and lock everything in place. Next was the hike back so I could let gravity control the bell. Last was the hike to stand, firing my quads and glutes. After 10 minutes I began my 2 hand swings. I found exactly what I was missing since the RKC. 

Does this mean my swing is perfect? Ha! Hardly! I have made some changes to my swing. Next week I travel to Minnesota for the CK-FMS certification and hope to have some more tweaks done to my swing. But today showed me that going back to the foundation is something that's needed in order to make improvements. 

What does this mean for you? Well if kettlebells is your thing take some time once or twice a week and drill the fundamentals of the swing. If you're a fighter, spend time shadowboxing and really be critical of your technique. Use the drills you first learned when you learned how to jab. Are you a runner? Think about what you're doing with your arms, sit on your butt and do arm drills. Stand facing a wall and do wall runs. It may add 20 extra minutes to your training session, so be it. Isn't the end result worth 20 extra minutes?

Pharaoh out! 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Kettlebell/TRX Suspension Trainer workouts

The 6:30 group in action

This week I've decided to post a few workouts for the readers of the blog. They're a few of sessions I've done with my classes in the past few weeks. Just make sure you use good form. It helps to have someone watch you and be honest instead of giving an "atta boy" or "it's all you". I've also included a video of the 7:30 class doing this past Wednesday's circuit.

9/28/2011 - 7:30 level 3
Mobility prep and Naked TGU practice
TGU with snatch weight bell 5 mins

2 hand swing and plank.
30 seconds of each for 3 sets. Each set is 3 minutes long.
Alternating swings (transfers) and TRX Suspension Trainer side plank 30 seconds of each.
Do 30 seconds of swings followed by a suspended side plank on 1 side. Then 30 seconds of swings followed by a suspended side plank on the other side. Do 4 sets

Circuit - Flow drill
Kettlebell - 1 hand swing, 1 clean & press, 1 front squat and an uppercut (figure 8 to a hold) to switch sides
Suspension Trainer - 1 chest press, 1 chest flye, 1 bus driver. Watch the video to see the bus driver.


9/28/2011 - 6:30 level 2

Mobility prep and Naked TGU practice

TGU with snatch weight 5 minutes

2 hand swing and TRX Suspension Trainer chest press (3 foot positions)
3 sets of 15
For the chest press your first set is done with a neutral stance. Your second set is done with your feet together. Your last set is done from a staggered stance with you stepping back so you're lower to the ground. You'll be able to go lower and build up to a much lower chest press.

1 hand swings and TRX Suspension Trainer Pistol Squats
2 sets of 20 swings (10 each hand), 2 sets of 10 pistols (5 each leg)

10 minutes working on kettlebell cleans using facing the wall drills to tame the arc and dead stop swings to ensure proper set up each rep.

Circuit - AMRAP
12 minutes of
3 cleans (R,L)
5 front squats (R,L)
7 TRX Suspension Trainer rows


Again take these workouts and use them yourself. Feel free to share them with others (just direct them here to get it hahaha). Make modifications if necessary. Use a lighter bell if you have too. If your form breaks down STOP THE EXERCISE.

Pharaoh out!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Train your weaknesses first

Ok, so I can be a bit edgy at times

Let's face it, no one likes to think about their weaknesses. Think about the last time you were at a job interview and someone asked, " So what are your weaknesses?" Response, "Ummmmmmm".

Too often in training we focus on the things that we are good at. Personally I avoided workouts that included pullups like the plague. What good does that do us? Wouldn't we be better in the long run if we turned that weakness into a strength? Wouldn't we be mentally and physically stronger if we addressed our weaknesses? Let's be clear here, I'm not talking about "problem areas". Fat loss strategies will be another blog post (most likely a rant so be warned). I'm talking about something that limits you.

For RKC 2 I need to perform pistol squats. Does this mean I avoid becoming an RKC 2? No it means that 4 days a week I work on them. Right after my mobility warm up (which is another blog post) I do 2 sets of 5 tactical pullups and 2 sets of 3 pistol progressions. I'm doing enough so I become better at the movement, but not over doing it so I'm tired and produce junk reps (guess what I sense another blog post). Generally it takes about 5-10 minutes and then I proceed to my training. If you're a boxer and your jab is a weakness, do you avoid throwing it? Good luck with that strategy. If you're a basketball player and you can't hit free throws (damn there's a ton of those guys), do you avoid contact so you stay off the foul line? No. If you're a runner and hills absolutely crush you, do you avoid races that have hills? If you're a person that takes my Sports Conditioning class and you hate the stairs, do you stop coming to class? If you take my kettlebell class and snatches are you're downfall do you avoid them when I put them in a workout? C'mon Son! Get outta here with that bull.

Set a timer for 10 minutes 2-3 times a week and work on the things you're not good at. Do them at the beginning of your workout when you're fresh. Focus on the technique and don't wear yourself out. If you make a mistake or you can't do something, shake it off count to 10 and try it again. If you need to video yourself and study it. When the timer goes off, finish your workout. Don't go past the 10 minute mark. MORE DOESN'T MEAN BETTER, BETTER MEANS BETTER!

Pharaoh out

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why do you yell so much?

 Hey DAD!!!!!!

That's a young Pharaoh on the right. The man on my left is my Dad. My sister says the older I get the more I look like Dad. This photo is at a N.Y. Jets game at Shea Stadium in the late 70's. Many Sundays my Dad and I would go and sit in the 1st row of the endzone and watch games together. I always wanted my Dad to be proud of me, but didn't always feel I did enough for him. My Dad and I would argue and many times go a long time without speaking, often for silly reasons.

6 and a half years ago I started working at NYSC. My first year there was rough and contemplated leaving many times, but stuck with it. At the start of my 2nd year I began to teach classes and found my niche. By the middle of my second year I was a Master Trainer with NYSC. 5 years ago my Dad and I went to eat for my birthday. Of course stubbornness by both of us left us not speaking at the end of the day.  I remember telling him about my promotion and being excited but again, we were too upset with each other to notice. My Dad was planning on moving to Texas to live with my sister and be "Pa pa" to his 3 grandchildren. He was also sick with a rare autoimmune disorder. So Labor Day weekend we (and I mean he drove and I rode shotgun) went to Texas. He was admitted to the hospital 3 days later and never came home. He passed away 2 months later.

My sister told me the day before Dad passed away he told her that he was proud that I'd finally found something I was passionate about. I never got to hear him say it. But knowing that he that's how he felt gets me going. It's why I do tuck jumps before class. It's why I ask for 2 CLAPS! It's why I make people yell louder when they count. It's why I sit up late at night and look up stuff to do in class. It's why I've brought suitcases with 50lbs of equipment to a group exercise class. It's why I get hyped when the person in my Small Group Training class makes vast improvements. It's why I get in your face for you to work harder. It's why it pisses me off when some people show up to class and talk.

I'm fortunate to do something I'm passionate about for a living. I'm fortunate that my Dad knew about that passion.


Pharaoh out!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The GOAL is to keep the GOAL the GOAL

The title is a quote from Senior RKC Dan John . What is your GOAL? Don't lose sight of it. If your GOAL is running a marathon, then go run with no worries and have an experience. If your GOAL is to run the Empire State Building, then go climb the stairs and have an experience.

On the right side of my blog I have a list of Training GOALS. A few are just for show (100 double unders just sounds cool to me). Others have a purpose and meaning. When I started this blog my top GOAL was to become an RKC. With that came things that I had to focus on to attain the GOAL. Having a faster time on my snatch test was something I wanted and listed as a goal, but it wasn't the GOAL. The GOAL was to become an RKC. The snatch test was a part of getting to the GOAL. Looking better Nekkid (yes I said nekkid) was never the goal, although it's a great result from training and reaching my GOAL. 10,000 swings in a month was a goal, but again it was something I chose to do in order to get to the real GOAL.

So my new GOAL is to become an RKC 2. Yes, I'm doing it again, April 27-29, 2012, St. Paul Minnesota. What does it entail? Here's a link to the list of the requirements . Again on the right side of the blog, you'll see my training goals. Become an RKC 2, clean and press a 44kg bell, pistol squats and 5 tactical pullups with the 24kg. The last 3 are requirements needed to become an RKC 2, except for the 5 tactical pullups. Only 1 is needed, 5 just sounds cool. So my training for the next 8 months will be all about the GOAL.

The video was from my kettlebell class last night. We focused on some new things and had some "aha" moments. Very soon, some of the participants will have their own GOAL to shoot for!!!!! Pick a GOAL and strive to achieve it.

Pharaoh out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My RKC experience

Please forgive me for being a bit scattered with this. Unfortunately I didn't write this down each day and surely have forgotten some things.

Thursday 8/18/2011 - meet and greet
I felt very uncomfortable,wanted to get my manual and leave. Hard to believe I'm very uncomfortable meeting new people in large groups when I don't know anyone. I constantly walk to get lemonade and walk out of the parlor, just counting the minutes until they hand out the manuals. 8:30pm I get my manual and go back to my room.

Friday 8/19/2011 - day 1
Master RKC Brett Jones welcomes everyone to the RKC weekend. All the participants get in a circle and introduce themselves. California, Seattle, Virginia, Texas, Brazil, Venezula, Austrailia, NYC are the places of origin. We then break into team meetings and introduce ourselves to our coach Senior RKC Dan John. I don't realize it at the time but I'm extremely lucky to be in his group. I introduce myself and say I was going to attend in St. Paul but was injured. He remembers my name from that group and asks if I'll be able to do the test. As long as I do my mobility prep I'm good to go. We head outside for the pull up test,my 5 reps were smooth and under control. We have some very strong women in our group, one who was originally training for the Iron Maiden challenge. We have our first lesson, learning the deadlift, hover, and the swing. My partner for much of the weekend was Levi, an RKC that was recertifying & had an Achilles tear.

Morning work done and we have to "earn lunch"  I go you go 50 swings with 36kg,1st time going that heavy and will go heavier before the weekend is over. After lunch we went over the swing and to float the bell at the top. The 24kg feels really light. Next up is the Beast Tamer & Iron Maiden challenge. Men have to do 3 things with a 48kg bell aka the beast (10lbs). Men have to do 1 pullup, 1 clean and press and 1 pistol. For women they use 24kg. 1 man and 1 woman took the challenge and both killed it easily. Next was TGU practice and learning patterning drills rolling 45's and pushup plank rotation.

The day ended with 1 final workout by RKC Dr. Ricardo - 30 seconds of swings,overhead walk or hold and plank. I think we did this for 10-15 minutes. I was at the end of the field counting loudly and laughing. I was the loudest counter in my area and had a few RKC candidates saying I motivated them to finish. Best moment of the day was being told by RKC Mark Snow of SG Human Performance ,"you helped about 25 people to finish". I keep track of how many swing we did,
463 total swings. I get back to the room very excited about day 1 and posted a video detailing experience

Saturday 8/20/2011 - day 2
We start at 8am, an hour earlier than day 1. It's cloudy and cool which doesn't last. Team meetings and review of swing,TGU and goblet squat. We get in the large group and learned the clean from Coach Dan John. He recently had a hip replacement and has RKC Tim assisting him. Next up is a clean workout by RKC Team Leader Andrea Chang - 3 bells 20,24,28 5 reps per bell. Starting off with the left hand 5 reps with the 20, then right hand 5 reps with the 24 and left hand 5 reps with the 28. Each time you get to a new bell you switch hands. The workout was 12 minutes. Halfway through I start screaming "all day" because I felt so good and the bell moved easily. the workout is over and the cloud cover vanished. I start feeling drained by the sun spend most of the afternoon trying to get in gear. Next is Double bell swings and group practice. After lunch we have a double bell workout with RKC team leader Joana 3 reps of  clean, press, front squat, swing. The workout lasts about 12-15 minutes.

Next was learning the snatch from Master RKC Dave Whitley. He had us hold the bell overhead for several minutes each hand - ouch. He then had a great quote about the snatch test ,"what do they call a person that finishes the snatch test in 4:58? An RKC - some still didn't get it. I understood that a month ago. My wanting a faster time was to have "just in case" room. He talked about hand care and hand rips due to too many reps too soon & too much test practice. The casual runner doesn't go from 3 miles to a marathon overnight so the same should be done with the snatch. Next up is more team practice - towel drills to pattern swing and prep victims workout. Coach Dan John cautions us about information overload. Next is Coach Dan John's passionate lecture about, What is an RKC? He uses the term "permanent beginner" which strikes a chord based on my blog post a few days earlier about this being the beginning of my journey, never being satisfied with my knowledge as a trainer.

Team meetings once again and another team gives a half hearted team chant. I don't like this and get team Dan John to do "2 claps" which I learned from the combine 360 crew. Master RKC Brett Jones joins our circle. After our chant all the other teams follow suit, lacking the same fire and spirit.  Katie the youngest person in my group says, "I want to take your energy home with me!" Tim one of the RKC assistants in our group asks what I do for a living and do I work with kids? Years ago I tell him. Coach Dan John asked his assistants to write down 10 things they learned this weekend. Tim says my energy and get people motivated. I'm very humbled by that. Last workout of the day a breathing ladder of swings 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5 from Dr. Ricardo. 1 deep breath for every 5 swings. Even extremely tired sets felt easy and bell felt light and floated to the top.

I feel very drained at the end of day 2. Several times during the day I questioned why I was there. Showered and went to dinner on my own instead of the RKC dinner, I needed alone time as I was physically and mentally drained. I lay down on floor for an hour, could barely move to stretch. Fell asleep at 10, 1 more day. Big day!

Sunday 8/21/2011 - day 3
Test day!!!!!
I'm up at 5:15. I shower & prepare my victim workout. I rewrite it 3 times because I'm doing too much, make a few notes and take it from there. I get a bagel and have my iPod on. T.I. Talkin' to You. I'm so incredibly excited for the day and music I burst into tears. Haven't been this excited in 5 years. I remember the exact class too. It was a few weeks before my pops passed away. Need to calm down so no one calls the cops on the crazy black man pacing at 7:10am
Get to the field early to do some extra mobility work, shoulders ache from not doing enough prehab & need to burn off some energy. I get my lacrosse ball and superband and get loose. 7:30 I go inside and bring out a 24kg bell and Coach Dan John's chair. 7:35 and I'm on the field doing a dynamic warmup, iPod is loud and I'm starting to relax. 8am team warmup and technique test I'm very calm. Buddy asks ,"what about the claps?" not yet we don't need that energy yet.

We each go through our technique tests. I nail them without a hitch. Feel great
Coach Dan John gives us 5 minutes before the snatch test. I pull out the iPod  and play the Re-Up Gang intro, always gets me where I need to go! I get even calmer, very loose, bouncing
I gather the team before we get started and lead "2 claps"! Master RKC Brett Jones is near us again and joins our circle. Go time!

I give the 1st 3 up a pound and tell them it's easy. I yell to the group the quote from Master RKC Dave Whitley,"what do they call the person that finishes the snatch test in 4:58? An RKC! Next 3 up, my turn! Daps to my teammates and tell them it's easy, just like practice. I'm incredibly calm. I give myself 2 claps and grab the bell. Light! 1 minute down I'm at 27, never gone faster than 24 in a minute. Rep 30-35 I let out a laugh. I feel great. I go 70 reps before setting the bell down. 2 claps I pick it up and finish out 5 & 5 to the finish. I laugh at 100 and hold the bell over head before putting it down. I don't care about the time but have more than enough time to cheer on my teammates. Last time I heard was 4 minutes, I guess I finished 15 seconds or so later. Personal Record! I wasn't trying to, just felt really good.

I cheer the rest of team Dan John on and RKC Assistant Tim asks, "did you do your snatch test?" I say yes, he can't believe I have so much energy and bounce. Testing is done and back to the hotel for a marketing lecture by David Whitley. He gave several great ideas ( coming soon!!!!!)

A few words about our victims workout and off to lunch. My victim was an HKC, just got it in July. She says she's not ready for RKC so I say there's a special cert just for her next week in Piscataway NJ. She laughs and I know it's going to be a good session. We go over floating the bell and clean being a swing. For the 10 minute workout I chose 30 seconds each 2 hand swing,farmer walk, plank, farmer walk.We get through and she enjoyed our session 1 more hurdle the Graduate Workout.

2 different sized bells a 16kg & 24kg 1 clean,5 presses, 10 swings,5 steps, across the field. RKC Mark Snow comes up to me half way down the field and says ,"Ari they need you". I sound off as loud as I can, trying to motivate myself as well as others. All the RKC candidates get to the other side of the field. Workout done and we gather for an RKC chant! We have team meetings and get our certificates. Coach Dan John hands me my certificate and thanks me for my energy, once again I'm humbled and thankful.1 last 2 claps with the team and an RKC chant.

I head inside the gym to receive my RKC instructor shirt. I walk over to Master RKC Brett Jones and shake his hand to thank him. He thanks me for the energy I brought to this weekends RKC. I'm extremely humbled by this. I'm looking forward to being a part of the RKC community. I leave the gym staring at my certificate I walk back to my room and collect my thoughts. This was truly an incredible weekend. This is just the beginning!

Pharaoh out!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

RKC day 1 thoughts

Morning, 8 minute vid on day 1 of the RKC. Headed out in a few. Breakfast and then some mobility work before the day begins.

Pharaoh out!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

1 more day

This is it. 8 months of training, for this weekend. Hard to believe it's a day away. Thousands of swings (11,000 last month), Turkish Get Ups, cleans and snatches during those 8 months. I've tweaked things along the way and had them re-tweaked. I met with a few RKC's who looked over my form and made some corrections. I've had a few RKC's comment on my videos and make suggestions (it's why I started going barefoot). It all comes to a close this weekend.

Does it come to a close, or is it just the beginning? 3 days of swinging, drills and learning. Yes learning. All this focus on passing and worrying, I forgot the purpose of this was to get better. To learn. To become a better trainer, better kettlebell instructor,better teacher and a better student. Yes the beginning! This 3 day weekend is the start of my journey as an RKC. I'm looking forward to returning (well almost hahahaha) and teaching the things I learned last week and what I will learn this weekend.

I'll try to update this weekend with photos and video. Just being stingy since it's $10 a day to have an Internet connection in the room.

Pharaoh out!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Training Goals and Training versus Working Out

A few months ago I read a blog post by Andrew Read an RKC 2 from Austrailia. The title was Training versus Working Out . I posted the link to the blog post on my Facebook fan page. In my opinion most gym goers are at the gym working out. Day in and day out they show up at the gym with no focus, no plan, no goals and as a result they see no changes in their body. I'm no different, I have much better results when I'm training for something instead of just working out.

Last year I ballooned (more like exploded) up to 235 pounds. From May 2010 September 2010 I lost 42 pounds to get to 193 pounds. Most would be ecstatic with those results. Losing the weight was great, my ankles and knees felt much better without the excess baggage. But my body fat was still 20%. I was still soft around the middle and would still grab the bottom of my shirt to hide my belly. January of this year I started training for the RKC, which is only 2 weeks away. At the start of training I was 195 pounds and 18% body fat. Currently I'm 190 pounds and 13% body fat, the lowest it's been in 12 years. I have abs (I'm quick to lift my shirt now and show off my abs and obliques now!). People are asking me what I've done and how much weight I've lost. 5 pounds on me is not a noticeable difference, losing 5% body fat is a different story.

So how did I do it? I signed up for the RKC which would require me to train.30% of RKC candidates fail. THIRTY PERCENT! I knew if I wanted to pass it would require a complete commitment (1 hunnet percent). It would require me to stop making excuses (yes I can make excuses with the best of them) It would require me to look at my weaknesses and confront them. Pullups have always been a weak point for me. The RKC requires you to do 5 full pullups or chin ups. Not a big number, but 8 months ago it was a very rough 5. It did all of those things and it gave me results that I didn't plan on. Losing 5% body fat wasn't a goal, nor was having abs or increased flexibility. They were direct results of training.

This was the Rite of Passage workout from the Enter the Kettlebell program. Its a ladder of clean and press and pullups. I chose to do L-pullups to get some ab work in. I've done this with my small group TRX/Kettlebell class substituting pullups with body rows. The lesson today folks? Pick something and train for it. Pick something that has a deadline. Pick something that you might fail at. Pick something that's going to require you to train with purpose and not just go through the motions.Post your goals (mine are posted on the blog) and make people hold you accountable for them. Pick something and watch your body change and you get the results you're truly looking for.

Pharaoh out

Friday, July 29, 2011

A week of firsts

What motivates me as a trainer? Most of you think it's to crush anyone that I train (well that's also a perk to the job). Seeing progress is what motivates me. I get more excitement out of seeing people move up in weight, increase their speed, get better at their technique than taking MAAAAAAN DOWN photos. Ok that might be a bit of a stretch as the MAAAAAAAN DOWN photos are truly entertaining. But seeing progress and change is what I really enjoy. Sometimes I think I enjoy seeing the progress more than the client themselves.

This week one of my clients Sharron did her 1st Turkish get up with weight. We've been working the TGU each week in stages. Needless to say I was extremely happy. This week also saw Hilary do multiple snatches for the 1st time. She's using the 10kg bell (22lbs) right now, I'm sure it won't be long before she gets to the 12kg bell (no you can't move up next week so don't ask).

As for me well this has been a good week. After getting 10,000 swings last week I wanted to see where my snatch test time was at. So Monday after a thorough mobility warmup I grabbed the 24kg and went at it. I managed to cut 15 seconds off my time. Original time 4:55, Monday 4:40. I still want to shave 10 more seconds off that before San Diego. How? Grab a 16kg kettlebell for some VO2 Max testing. 80 sets of 8 snatches in 15/15 work rest split. This was also the 1st time I did 8's for the entire time. Last time I tried I managed 40 sets before the numbers started dipping.

Biggest first of all, my first bar muscle up. Joe and Flex were outside messing around on the bar doing muscle ups with a 20lb weighted vest (now that's just crazy). I hadn't attempted a muscle up in well over a year. I had gotten too frustrated with not being able to do them so I just labeled them as "stupid" and that "I had no need for them". I said to them "Once I get back in September I'm going to train to do muscle ups" Of course they were having none of that and said do it now. After 5 tries I finally get one so Joe says, "get the camera". Of course what do you think happened...

EPIC FAIL! You hear me at the end say "I'm done". Joe and Flex tell me to get back on the bar and a few seconds later

Yes ugly as hell too. But it's a start. Next step multiple muscle ups. Off to the gym gang.

Pharaoh out!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Turning 40 and 10,000 kettlebell swings

 This is dedicated to the memories of my Mom and Dad!

I finally decided to keep a blog to track workouts, meals, post videos, post fitness rants (oh do I rant) and give advice. I thought today would be the day to start for a few reasons.
  1. Today is my 40th birthday, and no 40 is not the new 30. 40 is 40.
  2. I just completed the 10,000 swing challenge. 
Yes 40, here is a pic of a young Pharaoh and my mom on my 25th birthday. This was long before I thought about being a trainer, long before the gym and certainly long before kettlebells. Next month I head to San Diego for the RKC, the most recognized kettlebell certification there is. Most of you know since late January I have been training for this. In preparing for the 3 day certification I decided to do the 10,000 swing challenge. What is it? Take a kettlebell, or 2 and swing it 10,000 times in a month. You have to use a weight that's challenging for it to make a difference. I used bells from 16kg-32kg (36lbs-70lbs). I started on July 1st and finished today about 12:30pm. 1 hand swings, 2 hands swings, snatch transfers etc. A few days I thought my hamstrings and forearms would explode. A lot of foam rolling, stretching with bands and advil got me to my goal.

What next? I'll take the weekend off and Monday push towards 11,000 possibly 12,000. I'm sure during the RKC I'll have to do 1000 swings each day, so I have to be ready for that. Monday I'll also do a practice run on the snatch test. 100 snatches in less than 5 minutes with a 24kg bell (53lbs) Is it hard? Think about running from a pitbull while pushing a truck uphill. Ok, not that hard, but it is taxing. We've done them a few times in my small group classes and everyone is always smoked when it's over.

Here is a vid of my birthday workout, snatch transfers. The workout comes from Tracy Reifkand who has a blog and posts tons of great posts about food, workouts and life. I plan on updating this blog on a regular basis. I have a food journal that I did a few weeks back, just haven't edited it yet.

Pharaoh out!