Me with Phil, RKC Team Leader and my trainer of 2 years

Me with Phil, RKC Team Leader and my trainer of 2 years

Four years ago I met Wilicious (back then I just called him Will) – a local trainer who was doing in this thing called kettlebells. I’d never hear of them, but Will seemed to know his stuff and the training seemed hard core – right up my alley, so I went to a class and I loved it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take Will’s classes due to schedule conflicts but but my interest in kettlebells had been sparked.  A year later I was still interested in training with kettlebells, so I did what most people would do – I bought a bell and a DVD and started training on my own. I became proficient in some of the movements (or so I thought) but I still had trouble with the clean and snatch, evidenced by the “kettle bruises” all over my forearms.  Even though I’m a PT, I know when to seek out help from an expert, plus my forearms were really starting to hurt, so I found my way to my current trainer, Phil Scarito.

I’ve trained kettlebells with Phil for the last two years. I love the workouts because they’re efficient – you can get conditioning work and strength work from one little (albeit heavy) tool. Training with kettlebells has improved my endurance and strength, and I can definitely credit the thousands of swings I’ve done with my 260 pound deadlift.

Last summer, 2009, the RKC, the gold standard in kettlebell certification and training, announced that they were coming to the Philly to do a certification. I asked Phil if I should go, but he told me I wasn’t ready. Fair enough. I went on the last day of the cert to volunteer and got a chance to see the grad workout. The grad workout is the last physical test of  the 3 day certification workshop. During this physical test the candidates are put through a grueling workout that demonstrates what they have learned over the weekend and their ability to perform under physical exhaustion. This is after 3 days that begin with the Snatch Test (the candidate must perform 100 snatches in 5 minutes), and require the candidate to do several demanding workouts,  physical training and absorb a ton of information.  After witnessing the intensity of the grad workout last year I knew I had to be there in 2010. I have issues.

I began to focus on training for the RKC back in February. I committed to PT sessions twice a week, trained on my own and added in a third day of PT plus classes over the summer. It’s amazing how fast 7 months can fly by. A week before the certification weekend I kept saying “I remember when this was all 7 months away and now it’s HERE!”

My heart was in my throat as I waited to do my Snatch Test on Friday. I completed the test in 4:45, not as good as my PR of 4:20 but good enough to pass. The next three days were physically and mentally exhausting (did I mention that we had to carry our kettlebells, 26-53 pounds depending on your size, with us EVERYWHERE on Friday?!) but I survived.

I’m proud to say that I’m now an RKC; a member of a community of select trainers and athletes. I’m grateful to Team Heinz, all the other assistants and team leaders and Pavel Tsatouline (RKC Chief Instructor) for their patience, caring, top notch instruction and guidance this weekend and to “Willicious” for the extra training he did with me this summer. But the major props go to Phil for sharing his knowledge, challenging me, helping me reach me goals and being such a great guy.

Power to You!