I successfully completed the Russian Kettlebell Challenge and am now a certified RKC instructor! I can honestly say that it was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done but it was also one of the most enjoyable and definitely one of the most satisfying!
It was held over three days in St. Paul, Minnesota. The first day started off with registration and then right into the fitness testing where you had to complete a pull-up test and a snatch test. For the pull-up test you had to do 5 dead hang pull-ups. The pull-ups weren’t a problem for me because I’ve a been working on them a lot over the last year at CrossFit Vancouver. The snatch test was another story. The purpose of the snatch test, is to test your hip hinge and to see if you have the proper conditioning needed for the course. You have to complete 100 snatches with the 24kg (53lb.) kettlebell in under 5 minutes. Now this might not seem like too hard a task but let me tell you, it is! The first 40 or 50 snatches come off without too much trouble but once you get into the second half and your body starts to fatigue, it becomes a real head game! This is something I trained really hard for and I made sure that I had my numbers down before I left. I completed it in 3:58 which was almost 15 seconds faster than my best previous time. In my group of 13, there were 4 people that didn’t make it. One guy lost his grip on the bell at rep 76, another guy failed on his 99th rep.
After the fitness tests were finished we started with a group warm-up and some mobility drills. I liked that they spent quite a bit of time on this and I picked up some really great stuff. After we were warm we worked on the deadlift, the goblet squat, the get-up and the swing. All of the movements were broken down and we were able to troubleshoot from every angle which I thought was really cool. We finished the day with a pretty intense workout that consisted of swings, swings and more swings! They definitely made us earn our dinner that night!
The second day of the course was probably the longest training day that I have ever experienced! It was absolutely brutal and my body was completely trashed after! Even as I write this blog a few days later I can still feel the tightness in my glutes and the spasms in my back! The day was extremely hard, we learned so much and I absolutely loved it! We would learn a new lift and then drill it and then get put through some sort of workout built around it. By the end of the day we must have done at least half a dozen different workouts! We finished the second day with another grueling workout and I could barely hold on to the kettlebell by the end. I practically crawled back to my hotel room that night and could barely adjust the dials in the shower!
We got tested on 6 different exercises on the third and final day. We were tested by our team leaders in groups of 3 and it was a little bit nerve wracking. I felt pretty confident about my training though and got through all the testing with out any troubles. The final exercise was the turkish get-up which I thought I nailed! My team leader said I did well on it too so I was pretty stoked! I was pretty confident at that point that I had passed the course.
The last two components of the weekend were teaching a person from the area one of the kettlebell exercises and then the final grad workout. I was partnered with a girl from Minneapolis and I taught her the swing. I didn’t have any trouble with that part of the course because I have taught most, if not all of my clients the swing over the last year.
The last component was a punishing “grad” workout that was 20+ minutes long and consisted of swings, cleans, presses, snatches and squats complex. The entire group, all 100 of us, completed the workout together. It was pretty brutal but really awesome when it was over and everybody was congratulating each other!
I really enjoyed myself over the entire weekend. I met some really great people from all over the world; New York, California, New Zealand and Japan! The instructors were amazing and the level of integrity was very humbling! I am very happy that I decided to take this journey and am now very proud to say that I am... an RKC!
Exercise & Workout article by Ben on Thursday, April 21, 2011 3:11:15 PM EST
While we were away last month I had a chance to read a few books. One of the books was called The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. The Paleo Solution is a diet and nutrition book based on the diet of our paleolithic ancestors before the days of wide scale agriculture. The paleo diet, which our “hunter/gatherer” ancestors followed, consisted primarily of meat, fish, fat, seasonal vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds.
Robb Wolf is an accomplished trainer and gym owner and has an extensive background in biochemistry. In the book, he explains why today’s modern diet is so bad for us and why we need to revert back to our ancestors way of eating. He talks about the negative effects of cortisol on the body, how gluten wreaks havoc to the digestive system and how eating refined sugars and processed foods can lead to cancer and a slew of different diseases.
The book gives step by step instructions on how to clean out your kitchen and re-stock your fridge and pantry with foods that will have your body functioning at an optimal level. The book includes a 30 day diet challenge that guarantees to change your life and has a bunch of great recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!
Another great thing about the book is that it includes training and lifestyle tips. It has recommended exercises that you should be doing to maintain a respectable level of fitness. And it explains how much sleep you should be getting, how to properly manage your stress levels and how to avoid overtraining.
I’ve been following a modified version of the paleo diet for a few months now. I tried to go strict paleo but had a really hard time giving up cheese and dairy so I follow what they call the “moo paleo”. Giving up bread was also pretty hard because I love sandwiches but after a couple weeks without grains and trying different things like stir-frys, salads and omelets instead, it has gotten much easier.
I’m going to try to stick with the paleo way of eating from now on but allow myself some cheats once and awhile. I mean, there is no way that I could give up pizza for the rest of my life and summer is right around the corner and there’s nothing better than BBQ burgers!
Oh.. and I also read the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy while we were gone. We both did... I thought it was really, really good and would definitely recommend the entire series to anyone looking for a great murder/mystery story!
Fitness Reviews article by Ben on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 7:30:20 PM EST