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 (kettlebellsnyc.com 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