Cats Always Land on Their Feet..

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When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves ~Viktor E Frankl

Sometimes life throws new challenges at you that you just don’t expect.. Yesterday I was hit with the news that the main one of the gyms that I work in has lost the contract to another company and we are closing down in 3 weeks. First I was sad, then angry about the situation, and then finally my brain kicked into what almost felt like “panic stations” mode and I started brainstorming what to do next.

I’ve worked in this gym for the last 6 and a 1/2 years, that’s a heck of a long time in Personal Trainer years – they are kinda like cat/dog years but possibly even longer, PTs generally have about a 2year life expectancy. I know most of the gym members by first and last name and some even their employee numbers and can greet them all personally each day. These are people that you get to know reasonably well – you know about their training, what they get up to in their free time, their families etc. They are my friends and the people that I miss seeing when I’m away on holidays. The thought of losing these people hurts.

Maybe I will be able to continue training my PT clients nearby and the folks who do my classes will come over to another facility that I train out of. Certainly building up my classes at Physiofit is an ideal course of action as it is so close to the other gym and the training there encompasses my ideals. It could be a great opportunity to build my own business client base and train out of home or the park next to my house. Build up my Kettlebell classes in a new location. Or find a new location to train out of. Really in this industry there are many opportunities it’s just that I’m such a creature of habit and not particularly fond of change.

But change brings focus. It brings motivation. Makes you actually have to use your brain again… Maybe change shouldn’t be feared but instead welcomed?

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Where does Motivation go after obtaining your Goal?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius

I function very well when I have a goal to aim for, I function quite badly without goals. But after achieving whatever it is that I’m working towards whether it is training for a certification or challenge, or something more basic and personal – like moving house for example – everything is so much worse for just a little while.

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For the last couple of days, since handing over the keys to the house I resided in for the last decade, I feel like I’m suffering from a hangover or coming down from a big night out after being beaten with a bat. The motivation to get up in the morning isn’t there, not having a specific reason to get up and do something makes the day a little bit harder.

Prior to this event the last time I felt this way was after I completed my second Kettlebell certification. I had been training hard for this for a while and had a side project goal of completing the Iron Maiden Challenge which involves completing one rep Pistol Squat, Press and a Pull up with a 24kg Kettlebell. Unfortunately during training for this my shoulder gave me some issues and I wasn’t able to do it on the testing day. I have not returned to this challenge. Upon returning to Perth after being sick for the entire certification weekend I let myself rest and then never really got back into full training mode. It has been well over a year now.

So what do I do?

Should I find a new goal that I probably can’t ever achieve so that I don’t lose all motivation afterwards? No, unachievable isn’t proper goal setting and is likely to demotivate me in the end.

Plan out a series of goals to continue to work towards so that there isn’t any dip between completing items on the list? Maybe this will work. From previous experience having a distraction immediately after success with a goal works for me. When I completed The Russian Kettlebell Certification I continued holidaying through America and returned home feeling fresh and ready to pass on my knowledge from the course and continue learning myself.

The biggest problem I feel when I’m unmotivated is that finding a goal that I’m passionate about is the hardest part… Maybe I’ll go back to conquering the Iron Maiden.

I’m going to start with an 8 week diet change challenge with fellow RKC and BJJ enthusiast Tess Hunt and a new training program to give me a kick start and then new goal setting.

What are you going to achieve?

 

 

Another Kettlebell Journey

name tag

Three years ago today I nervously walked into a room and collected my name tag and began meeting some of the many other candidates and Team Leaders that were attending the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) that was commencing the following day in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I say many because there was well over 100 people in attendance of this course. You’d think this is a long way to go to learn correct teaching and technique involving kettlebells when you are in Perth, Australia but the journey prior to that was much more enduring than travelling days and time zones. After 3 days I was certified and my journey continued on.

In November 2013 I traveled again to further my knowledge and skills to Melbourne to complete RKC II, this trip was a different kind of fun challenge given that I had come down with a cold the day we started.

In December 2014 whilst again in Melbourne furthering my knowledge down a slightly different avenue I was asked by Andrew Read if I could make it back over in March to assist the RKC that was being held, I was so excited to get to be there and watch and help new trainers reach the elite kettlebell level of RKC!

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Turkish Get Up – my fave

My own personal training had somewhat slipped around Christmas time (as it can do for many) so after the New Year had passed and life got back to usual I started a new program from Andrew involving body weight training and and the kettlebell skills that were being retested.

I met with Nash Davis (RKC candidate from Perth) a couple of times while he was training up for the course to check on his skills and talk kettlebells, handstands and BJJ. Nash is one amazing person, having read pretty much every quality kettlebell book, watched about as many DVD’s and listened to podcasts all about the ‘bells. He used RKC/SFG training programs from the highly regarded Brett Jones as his preparation. He, like any other RKC candidate, was most worried about the Snatch Test – 100 snatches in 5 minutes. While speaking with him about the snatch test I remembered how daunting I had thought it was leading up to my certification but I practiced it and worked out my rep count/breathing breaks and it all fell into place at the time of testing.

I arrived in Melbourne at lunchtime on the Thursday before, collected my car and headed out to Moorabbin. Checked in at the Sandbelt Hotel and messaged Nash to see where he was, then the pair of us went and got lunch and bought food supplies for the weekend. Chilled until I had to be at Read Performance Training to do retesting and then join in the class that night for a workout. Retesting was fine and mostly painless, the cardio “Triathlon” that I did after that was torture! Thanks Andrew for the fun workout!

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Swing practice

First day of RKC arrived! Friday morning we met the candidates, RKC’s now are much smaller than the one I attended but having a cosy 6 people made it much easier to help them refine their skills more. Among them was my RKC friend Tania Rowan re-certifying, great to get to catch up with her! Interesting mix of people, some trainers, a school teacher, someone who just wanted a better knowledge of kettlebells. We covered 3 of the 6 skills over day one with their correctives and progressions, great to be reminded of small details that may have been forgotten over time.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of what was taught throughout the cert, if you want to know more feel free to ask me.

I feel that I spent too much of Day 1 not saying enough, too much watching before correcting, so my goal for Day 2 was to be louder and say more.

Before Day 2 commenced I met Andrew and snuck in a training session, his focus was gymnastic/calisthenic moves mine was Clean & Jerks and Turkish Get Ups. Shannon Scullin joined us for the day and taught two of the skills for the day and Gabriele D’Angelo came up with an awesome double kettlebell workout that I really wanted to try also. Four RKC’s assisting 6 candidates is a pretty darn good ratio really, lots of correcting and sharing of different cues to use to get people moving correctly. Then we went and shared a meal and had some laughs (sadly not at Fat Bob’s Burgers as they were too busy..)

Double kettlebells
Double kettlebell complex

Day 3 started with skills practice and then testing! Eep testing!! I felt nervous for everyone testing today. One by one they were all tested on all six kettlebell exercises and then lunch then teaching testing and onto some programming before completing the final workout and finding out if they passed or failed. This is what I like most about the RKC course, there are far too many certifications in Australia that you can just pass pretty much by turning up on the day and being able to answer a couple of multiple choice questions. Skill in teaching of exercise seems not to be as important as pumping out big certified numbers of trainers.

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All the RKC’s

The RKC usually has about a 30% rate of failure at completion of the weekend, with having a much smaller class all 6 people passed! Some still need to work on further refining their technique but we all have things we need to work on.

I came away feeling that my passion for kettlebells was a bit bigger and feeling fresher, after being in a little decline it’s been fantastic to reconnect with like-minded, passionate people. Training is back on track!

If you want to try kettlebells or refine your own skills or want to certify feel free to contact any of the people mentioned, we are all over Australia 🙂

Chewing My Finger Nails Off

The second weekend in March seems to be the weekend that I do things that are outside of my comfort zone. Last year it was participating in the World’s Greatest Shave and raising money for the Leukemia Foundation. This year I competed in my first ever Brazilian Jui Jitsu competition – 2015 WA No Gi State Titles.

I am still very new to BJJ but my training buddy Kelly said that she was thinking about entering the comp and suggested I should too. Hesitant at first, it was soon pointed out that the worst that could happen would be that I’d have to tap out and lose (I could be injured I guess but I think that I’m smart/wussy enough that I’d tap before that), I registered.

It was only two weeks before that comp that I registered having thought about it for about 4 weeks or so prior. So on the Thursday leading up to it I went along to an extra session at Riddler’s and then had our usual Babe’s n Belts session on Saturday with Tess and the girls. We got in a bit of guard passing and submissions. I was asked on Saturday what my game plan was, loosely it was knock them over, take side control and then figure four to submit. Basic plan, harder to pull off than I thought.

Saturday I cruised through the day, not particularly stressed about the upcoming event.

Sunday morning I got up around 7.30am and had my delicious Overnight Oats and a coffee and watched a bit of TV. Then decided that I needed to make up my “Get Psyched” mix to listen to. Played a couple of the songs on the list to see how they’d go.. Battery by Metallica is really loud and fast, Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now and I Want it All were very uplifting, and Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up just seemed the most appropriate. Then the hyper excited/nerves kicked in. I got the shakes and my belly was doing flips and honestly I have never needed to pee so often in my whole life. I packed up my gear and hit the road. Tried my hardest to sing out the nerves but it didn’t help, hands just kept on twitching.

Walking in the doors of the Craigie Leisure Centre and passed the hall with the comp being held in didn’t help to settle the nerves. There were so many people in there watching from the stands! Then I saw a couple of familiar faces and said hello, high-fived about first comp and competing in general. Realised that we are all in the same boat and even if you have competed a few times that you still get the jitters.

Into the hall I went and found my team sat up very high, watching the matches from above. It was hot in there and even hotter up the top. Hanging out with the crew helped a bit and then we just waited to be called to the fighters holding pen. Tess and Kelly were called up before me, just after 12pm I was called up (of course my name was called on my 3rd visit to the loo). I gave my name and she went to weigh me but I’m in the over 71kg (HEAVY WEIGHT) category and didn’t need to weigh. Then the fingernail check, at least 5 of my fingernails were too long so I had to stand to the side and chew off my finger nails before being allowed to proceed.

The First Match – After hanging out, warming up and watching a couple of rounds I was called onto the waiting mat. I tried to put my game face on and then the girl that I was against, Cristy, says to me, “I need to pee so bad.” Then I giggled and said that I’d already been many times and asked her to please not pee on me. And then more laughing. No more game face… It was a very short match (~1.16min), there was hand fighting and attempts at tripping that failed. She jumped guard and dragged me down, I fell to the side and she landed in mount but had an arm around my neck and all I kept thinking was “deep breaths” knowing that I can get panicked and not breathe correctly. She jumped to side control and choked me, I tapped.

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Second Match – After a short 10 minute break I was back on the mat to face the other girl in our group, Tuss (above). I really don’t remember how we went to ground but looking back at the video it looks like I got tossed over. I don’t remember much of this match even though it went longer. I was stuck on my back again and tried hard to not be. She tried for a choke but didn’t get it and ended up finishing off with an armbar (and me with another bruised ear). Tuss and Cristy faced off, Cristy won Gold, Tuss Silver, and I got Bronze.

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I was so tired both mentally and a bit physically that as I walked off the mat and saw Kelly in the holding area there was a few tears shed. Tears of relief and from just being a bit overwhelmed. Then Kelly said we’d been called up for our fight…

Third Match – The Open. It was just Kelly and I in the Masters  Novice Open, so straight to the Final. Most fun match of the day because we were both so tired that we goofed off a little bit and made it much more like our usual rolling and far less intense than the previous fights. I thought she had me but I pushed her off, took side control, fiddled around for a bit and final got the figure four that I’d wanted. Gold! I’m going to take this more as a participation award than actual gold as I don’t think that it was really earned.

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That hug was the best, I got to have a laugh to finish the day with my friend.

It was all so exciting and terrifying, and without really having success winning I still won the biggest challenge just by stepping onto the mat.

the end

Keepin’ on Truckin’

mitsu domoe crew
All the Babe’s and the Blokes too

Four days of rolling fun times have come to an end. It’s a little bit sad but also very positive, we were all welcomed in with open arms by our new extended Jiu Jitsu family in Albany. The Mitsu Domoe crew were just as excited to have us there as we were to be there.

We were greeted by Sasha the superstar at her humble abode, we had never met this lady before and I must say I was a little curious about the person that was happy to have 6 complete strangers come and stay in her house. She is amazing, so warm and funny and just a damn cool chick. She even had giftbags for us from Janelle who also made us the most awesome singlets, feeling super spoiled! We offloaded our gear and then the second car of girls arrived and we were off to our first session.

Chris Mazzali and Jeff Dybing welcomed us into Mitsu Domoe, we met more of their clan and did a traditional little welcome to the mat then got into warming up and learning. The main technique focus for the whole weekend was the Truck which is a 10th Planet (by Eddie Bravo) technique. Jeff had been over east mastering the 10th Planet stuff for 6 months and is in Albany spreading the love. The guys were awesome with teaching and also showing where and how you could use it and from different positions. As usual for me, new techniques take a little while to grasp but we continue repping until it’s good. We also did a little of Rubber Guard work but to be honest, right now I really don’t remember it (I’m sure it will come back to me)..

After techniques we rolled for a bit and were all absolutely starving by the time we got out. Feasted on Thai, showered and headed to bed. Kelly and I were bunked in together and like schoolgirls at a sleep over chatted and giggled for a while.

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Jeff and I rolling, me getting stuck in his hooks

Saturday was a big big day! Kicked off in the morning with some conditioning that incorporated most of my current training program (hang/pull ups, Chest to wall Handstand holds, squats, and core). Refreshed on the Truck skills and then into Open Mat rolling. Rolled with a few of the ladies, a memorable one with the lovely Janelle and her damn hook feet that I just could not escape! Rolled with Chris for a few rounds who gave me some great pointers and corrections as we went and rolled with Jeff (above) who also has sticky feet. Damn Mitsu folk and their hooks! We had a break for lunch and were back in the afternoon for more.

Sunday was an easier day (for me anyway), I was sore and tired. We trekked out to the Denmark Surf Life Saving club for a BBQ and some more open mat rolling and general hang time. Rolled with Sash, Janelle and even Kheira our ace photographer even donned a gi and had a roll, hope that she comes along to our Saturday sessions. The weather wasn’t any good for a swim though – 19 degrees and overcast. We cleaned up and headed back to Albany and cleaned up ourselves and then went around to Richard and Janelle’s place to watch the UFC! Woo

Monday morning got up, packed up and then went back to Mitsu for the final session. There warm up got us sweating again and then Crucifix and Guillotine work and then back onto the Truck. Things were getting more complex and my poor brain was cooked. I decided to sit out the rolling session as I was pooped and knew we needed to drive back to Perth.

The main thing that I’ll take away from the whole weekend is the bonding, everyone just got along so well and were eager to help and not make you feel bad or stupid if you didn’t quite have the correct move. Instant friendships were made, I cannot thank them all enough for the incredible journey that I’m keen to continue.

I still don’t think I’m yet a proper fighter but definitely getting closer with the help of others

Blue Hair, White Belt and the aim to learn and laugh more

Never have I thought of myself as a fighter. I’m a happy-go-lucky coward who doesn’t particularly like being hurt (as I’m sure that not many people really likes being beat up).

I always thought that if push came to shove that I’d run, run like the wind to safety. But recently after the hype and enthusiasm from my friend and blue belt Tess I’ve decided to give Brazilian Jiu Jitsu another go. I say another because I tried it out a couple of years ago but the timing and location weren’t convenient for me.

The idea of joining a Ladies Only class was way more appealing to me than joining general mixed classes; I feel that men and women learn differently having trained both for several years now. Being able to learn the basics from the beginning with like-minded people who don’t have the inflated ego/I’m going to break you mentality is certainly a plus. I don’t feel threatened with these ladies and don’t have to question who I will or won’t roll with because all of them are cool.

Going to BJJ isn’t my main form of exercise, my preference is training with Kettlebells and doing Gymnastic/Body Weight training (like bridging, handstands, pull ups etc.), BJJ is for fun. When at the class I spend a decent chunk of the session giggling, mostly at myself for doing things wrongly and being caught in positions that result in me tapping (or yelling out TAPPING as I can’t figure out what I’m trying to tap with). A good laugh is just as good for you as the sweat session you get as well.

This weekend the Babe’s n Belts crew that I train with are going on a road trip down south to Albany, a mere 437km from Perth. This weekend will be the most BJJ training I have done altogether having only been doing the Saturday class weekly. Four days of rolling is going to be tough work but excited to meet new and different training buddies and grow our group further.

Maybe one day I’ll consider myself a proper fighter but for now fun is enough 🙂

So I bumped into a former client the other day….

I haven’t trained ‘Bob’ for a couple of years and haven’t seen him for at least a year.

Bob – early-mid 40’s and kinda shaped like Homer Simpson. He needed to lose weight and was trying to become more active. He had started riding his bike to work when he could and was trying to make it to the gym on other days that we didn’t train. He had split from his wife many years earlier and had a couple of kids as well as a girlfriend who had a couple of kids also. Sadly due to family commitments, work commitments, and money issues his sessions dropped off and then he hardly made it to the gym. Eventually he changed job roles and location so he didn’t come to the corporate gym I work in anymore.

I was happy to see that Bob had managed to lose quite a bit of weight, his tummy was quite flat, he could see his feet again which is fantastic! So I said to him, “Bob you’re looking great!” and his response left stunned..

“I had a HEART ATTACK”

This really wasn’t something that I expected to hear from him.

It’s terrible that he got to this point where a doctor enforced his weight loss to continue his life but he’s certainly glad to be alive and well now and able to have fun with his kids.

If you are lazy, inactive, have a crappy diet, can’t see your feet then please seek help to lead a healthier, longer life.Image