So, I was a personal trainer and I think I saw a Youtube video of people doing kettlebells. This then quickly escalated into me going to a Kettle Bell workshop. In retrospect, the workshop wasn’t that good, what I mean by that is that is it was just ‘hard work’. There was nothing about technique or the detail of lifting - which is really what it’s all about.
I went home from the workshop, and started watching some amazing Russians doing Kettle Bells (again on Youtube)…this inspired me to teach myself. The thing at that time was that Kettlebells weren’t big Australia, there was pretty much no one to learn from. So I did what I thought was the next best thing and got my self an Online Coach - Catherine Imes. Just some background, Catherine was America’s first Master of Sport.
Before we go any further let’s talk about what the f**k is a Master of Sport is? A Master of Sport is a certain level of accomplishment in Kettlebell lifting - actually it’s not just for Kettlebells but also Martial Arts etc. in Russia. Russia is obviously the home of Kettlebells. So Master of Sport is a ranking system like Jujitsu - Blue, Purple, Brown, Black…so the same applies to Kettlebells. So in that language a Master of Sport is a black belt. As you’ll see later in this article I managed to become the first Australian Male Master of Sport.
From online coaching I then went to the US and learned directly from Catherine and Valery Fedorenko (World Champion Kettle Bell Lifter/ Teacher/ the guy that brought Kettle Bells to the West from Russia). I learnt heaps from Catherine and Valery, they helped me pick-up my game. I did my coaching certification with them - officially a World Kettle Bell Club Coach.
Coming back to Australia it took another 3-4 years of banging around until I went further. As I said earlier there really wasn’t anyone to learn form in Australian, so you make mistakes for yourself - and you grow and learn. That’s something I pass onto people I now train so they don’t have to repeat my mistakes.
In 2013, I took it a step further and decided to go to this Kettlebell competition where Sergey Rudnev was judging. Rudnev, is a Master of Sport as well as the president of one of the most prominent Kettlebell factions in the world - International Kettlebell Sport & Fitness Academy (IKSFA). I heard he was hosting this competition and teaching a workshop. I knew I had it inside of me to get Master of Sport. Basically, to get a Master of Sport in Kettlebells you’re lifting a certain amount of reps - the bar is set high.
What makes it special is, you won’t be able to lift that many reps unless you have great technique - and a great foundation. You can be fit and athletic but that’s not a guarantee you’ll make it through. So, on the day I did 93 x double jerks at 32kg - and was awarded the first Australian male Master of Sport. Today, there are 6 Masters of Sport in Australia.
A few months later I opened 100Strong Gym on Henrietta Lane in Manly. I was lucky enough to find somewhere special in Manly. It was perfect for my vision of a Kettlebell gym. It’s not mainstream - it’s the opposite. 100Strong differs from other gyms because it’s not about the outcome, it’s about the process. Don’t get me wrong, Kettlebells are great exercise. I don’t think there’s a better way to develop whole body fitness than Kettlebell training - it’s strength across all major muscle groups, it’s also cardio and totally mental. You can do as little as 2-3 hours work a week with Kettle Bells and get amazing results (even though it’s not just about the results).
But ultimately 100Strong differs because it’s not about aesthetics, it’s about increasing my clients quality of life - making them strong, flexible -not just physically but mentally. That happens as part of the process, not the outcome.