by Coach Chris Wilson of Team Critical Bench
The weekend before my big debut with Team Critical Bench started with a 3 Day Workshop in Tallahassee Florida and about 30 hours of kettlebell exercise.A few months prior to this amazing weekend the Founder of Critical Bench who is my good friend Mike Westerdal reached out to me with an opportunity.
We had already been discussing the possibility of me joining the business but at the time he was searching for a training partner.
He wasn’t looking for a spotter or motivator…he was looking for a commitment from a hard working friend.
Mike had recently been rewarded with the chance to train with kettlebell’s. And not with Joe Schmoe either. With the most prestigious organization in the world for Russian Kettlebell Training…Dragondoor.
He’s like, “Hey, do you know much about kettlebells?” I said, ”a little bit, stuff like swings and squats I guess.”
He proceeds to tell me a little bit more about this awesome chance to learn from the best in the business and offered me the opportunity to join him. Knowing that I had a real chance at joining Critical Bench in the near future, I felt almost an obligation to say YES to Mike.
So the date was circled on the calendar and I felt great about it, until…I drove up to where Mike had been training for the past few weeks with an RKC Instructor and I had a…….
I meet this really nice, reserved fellow named Mike Wille as well. We make friendly conversation during warm ups and then we start doing some basic kettlebell exercises.
Fast forward about 5 minutes…
I’m already dying and scared about what’s coming next! Meanwhile, Mike the trainer is tossing these things around like they’re 5 lbs AND I outweigh him by at least 50 lbs! Talk about feeling wimpy.
Mike Westerdal & Mike Wille, RKC
I barely get through the hour long workout and I have to drive back to my old work (almost two hours by the way…ughh). Let me tell you, I’ve been training with weights for years and just one hour of doing strict kettlebell movements left me beaten, battered and extremely humbled.
I was so nervous about not only the next training session with ”Mr. Nice Guy” Mike the trainer but I was seriously considering bailing out on that RKC Workshop thing at the end of April. Well, I didn’t quit just yet…I wanted to stay the course for my friend and see if there was any chance that I could improve my skills with that darn 24 kilogram weight. I’m usually pretty confident when it comes to strength movements and being explosive.
But not doing stuff like deadlifts, power cleans, clean and jerk, and push presses for a while will drastically destroy your chances of being truly explosive with weights. I practically had to reteach myself to be explosive and move with real power through my hips.
By the fourth session with Mike the trainer I had a smidge of confidence in myself. Enough to remain committed to my friend and this upcoming weekend workshop.
Russian Kettlebell Certification ”RKC” WEEKEND
Mike and I make the drive to northern Florida from the Tampa Bay area in good time. We decide to eat some burgers (with some reservations of course) the Thursday night before the workshop started.Little did we know, we could have eaten 5,000 calories if we wanted to and still lost weight over the weekend.
By Friday evening (after 10 hours of straight exercise), Mike and I were so sore, so exhausted that we looked at each other at dinner and thought, “how in the world are we gonna be able to do that again on Saturday AND Sunday???”
Well, Saturday came and went ending with the kettlebell Snatch Test, an RKC special. After moving around all day long with kettlebells varying in weight from 16 kg to 32 kg, we were asked to do 100 reps of kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes or less….it still scares me to think about.
I was toasted. I failed to get 100 snatches. My hands were destroyed with open sores and I fumbled my way to 67 reps. Mike did much better and got to 88 reps. His powerlifting background really helped his efforts. For the rest of my life, I will remember those numbers!
Sunday was more of the same with even more testing at the end along with the final workout called the Graduate Workout….let me just say, imagine the worst 20 minutes of your life and multiply it by 5.
Easily, one of the most grueling exercise routines I’ve ever participated in. A non-stop combination of kettlebell swings, cleans, presses and squats….I mean non-stop…you never put the weight down!
Mike and I received certificates of attendance and we passed on several of the skills but both of us had to retest the Snatch Test and we had 90 days to do it following the workshop. Good old Mike was the first one to nail it and a few weeks later (after 3 failed attempts) I reached 100 reps with the 24 kg kettlebell in 5 minutes and became an RKC certified instructor too.
Here is a cool video of me passing my snatch test finally. This was months after the RKC but it is an example of what perseverance and dedication can do when achieving your goals.
And of course, we can’t forget the man himself, Coach Mike passing his snatch test!
Easily, one of the greatest and most challenging accomplishments of our life.
Get Ripped in 8-Minutes or Less with Kettlebell Finishers…
By Chris Wilson
The Health and Fitness community really benefits during this special time of year. It is this particular 2 month stretch where normally healthy people end up making very unhealthy decisions. And you know what….good for them!
I’m the first one at the dinner table to indulge in mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn bread and of course turkey (and in some cases ham too). I work my tail off all year long as do many health conscious people across our great country. This is the time of year for reflection and celebration. A time to give more and be kinder to those around us.
Being thankful and extra thoughtful for a few months seems to come naturally to some during the months of November and December and FOOD is often the catalyst!
Just think about, co-workers and patrons bringing delicious treats into the work place for you. Desserts and high calorie food present in almost any place of business and certainly sitting on the kitchen counter at home. Leftovers for days and weeks. It’s impossible to avoid the stuff.
Okay, be smart about this and have a game plan. Don’t just throw caution to the wind. Like any good sports team, you need to do some homework and have a plan of attack.
Tip #1: The 10 minute rule
We’ve all heard this one before and guess what…it works! After you have ONE plate of food, STOP and give yourself 10 minutes before loading up the second plate. I promise you, that second plate will be smaller than had you immediately restocked after the initial consumption.
Tip #2: Drink water before you eat ANYTHING
This one is a no brainer and easily forgotten by many. A majority of the country is dehydrated on a regular basis. Instead of drinking water and recognizing our thirst indicators, we very quickly jump to food which satisfies both hunger and thirst. If you fill up on a large glass of water every hour or so and certainly just before a meal…you will do a much better job satiating the body. That translates to LESS superfluous calories at dinner time leaving you feeling more comfortable and less lethargic.
Tip #3: Workout Finishers
Exercise is critical in the effort to maintain a muscular build and keep the body revved up all day long. This can be done in less time than you might think. The 5-10 minute workout finisher can be extremely useful during a time of year when family, friends and celebration take center stage. Making time for working out is very hard and for some of us, nearly impossible. Enter the 10 minute (or less) workout. By doing a series of movements like push-ups, body weight squats, lunge patterns and planks, it is possible to burn off those extra calories AND hold on to that well-earned muscle you’ve been piling on all year long!
When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas time, I’m ALL IN. I want to eat and drink with my close friends and relatives. I don’t want to miss out on the fun and enjoyment of home-cooked meals and hand-made desserts.
By plugging in the 3 BEST muscle saving and waist reducing tips, I can still look good on January 1st and have memories that will last for years to come.