Evolution of a Kettlebell Lifter

As it gets closer to my technically 3rd kettlebell competition ever, I have found myself feeling reflective. The biggest change for me has been my body composition changes. I’m not sure if this is something that would have happened if I hadn’t become more serious and disciplined with my kettlebell training. I’ve met some amazing people who have given me a lot of help along the way.

First…I have to post the most embarrassing thing ever – my very first competition. I was a whopping 70kg. It was a press only competition and I tied the only other woman in my category for reps but because I was a big fatso and she wasn’t…she won the event. It was a bit of a wake up call.

Here’s a picture of me and the East York Kettlebell Crew. You can see how absolutely swollen and unhealthy I look! January, 2012

After this competition I made several changes – I completed a Whole 30, I took part in a 2-Day MovNat workshop in Toronto in February,  and was training consistently at StrengthBox. I also made a goal (in an effort to stop being fat) to compete in the Tactical Strength Challenge at StrengthBox in early May. I made myself a program using Wendler’s formula for my deadlift, press and front squat. My goal was to lift 315#- 320# for my deadlift, 100 snatches and double digits for pullups and I came close!  All of this conditioning and clean eating did help me shave off some pounds. The only real mobility I was getting was from my MovNat training which is probably the only thing that kept me injury free (that and occasional Steve Maxwell mobility which I should have used more consistently!!). But soon even this would not be enough to completely prevent injury from my years of abusing my knee. At any rate, I competed in my 2nd ever kettlebell competition – this time in the long cycle. Boris first tried to recruit me by training me for the biathlon. I HATED the snatch with a passion and found it really frustrating. Shoulder injuries from my  shitty technique almost made me give up the sport entirely. About a month before Canadians Boris gave me a long cycle set and by random chance I was doing it at the gym while he was working. He watched my set and said “Hmm…. you know you’re way better at that then you are at snatching.” And after that I registered for the long cycle. I managed to slim down from 70kg to 65kg (technically 63). Using a 12kg bell at Canadians I missed a rank #1 by 1 rep. 121 reps. Ugh…. but I was definitely hooked. April 2012

From here I decided it was time to get serious about this kettlebell shit and see what I can really do. Ideally I’d like to hit as high a ranking as I possibly can which I can’t see myself stopping until I obtain the highest one possible. Then I realized I needed more help. I decided to approach Jason Dolby from the Orange Kettlebell Club to coach me on-line. I had the opportunity to take a workshop with the OKC in April 2011 and immediately fell in love with those guys. At the time I knew next to nothing about kettlebell sport as Boris had just introduced it to me. They are absolutely brilliant at everything kettlebell and inspiring, motivating trainers that it made me want to try harder to figure this sport out.  I love that they teach and still compete themselves so they know first hand what their athletes are experiencing. There is a special learning community/camaraderie/family that develops in that situation. It reminds me a lot of my years playing Ultimate. Some of my greatest mentors were also my teammates. Which leads me to why I asked Jason specifically. The short time he was in Toronto I really loved the energy and spirit he gave off. He is so nurturing, caring and selfless…. he gives absolutely 110% all the time. When he speaks to you you genuinely feel like there is nothing else going on other than what’s on your mind. He’s patient and encouraging…if I could put him in my back pocket and carry him around with me every day I would! 🙂 I was thrilled he was able to take me on and help me prepare for the IKFF National Kettlebell championships coming up in November. My goal here is to compete in the 59kg weight class using a 16kg bell. I would need 98 reps for a rank #1 which is my other goal.

Since Canadians I have been training kettle with Jason 3 times a week and doing MovNat inbetween. I also played ball hockey for the first time ever this summer. On top of eating relatively clean (I do enjoy my icecream in the summer) I still have maintained an excellent degree of conditioning and the pounds are still coming off. At the end of the summer I did my MovNat Certification to become a certified trainer which is where I really felt all the benefits and hard work pay off. After a 5-day retreat in West Virginia and 2 MovNat workshops in Toronto, the trainer cert felt like a well-deserved graduation present and opportunity for me to demonstrate how hard I had worked over the past year. I also took Steve Maxwell’s Fundamentals of Human Movement Certification which further developed my knowledge and skills on how best to move my body and stay injury free.

I’m well on my way to my first goal of dropping a weight category. I did also decide to recruit some help here for the final stages of shaving down for the competition…. I had plateaued at 61kg. I would sometimes dip down near 59kg but then go back up to 61kg. My great friend Greg (and StrengthBox gym owner) had been doing some personal training with Tyler Sarry so I decided to approach him for help. As a personal trainer and fitness model I knew he could help give me advice that would help me lean out to my goal weight in a way that I can maintain instead of taking part in some crazy antics like hydration/dehydration or sweating it out mere hours before weigh in. I’ve been on his program for a week and I’ve already hit my target weight. Now I would like to drop 1-2kg for extra insurance. I’ve still got 6 weeks so I’m feeling good about it.

Here we are – September 2012

Here’s a video clip from a training session just this week. I wanted to see if there was a contrast between 63kg and 59kg. Definitely in my technique and overall strength, but visually I think not much has changed. Overall I am super optimistic for Nationals and I can’t wait to meet my OKC/CTC family 🙂

Training with Jason the last few months has been amazing. He’s inadvertently introduced me to some amazing people that I haven’t even met yet in person! There is such a spirit of love and generosity with everything the OKC touches. Beautiful, beautiful people. My gut feeling is that I’m going to be very satisfied with my performance at Nationals and it’s going to be a great time as I get to celebrate with some amazing people. I feel really blessed.


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