Archive for June, 2011

1,2,3…HKC!!

June 30, 2011

The tax year is done.

The year is half over.

Are you halfway to achieving your goals?

If one of your goals was to become better at your job as a personal trainer, to dominate your area as a kettlebell instructor and to educate yourself with world leading knowledge then you need to attend the July 30 HKC in Melbourne.

It’s no secret that Dragon Door are the world leaders in kettlebell training. It’s also no secret that if you’re currently training with kettlebells, and not living in Russia, that it is all down to one man- Pavel Tsatsouline. Since he arrived in the US he’s taken the fitness world by storm with his Russian Kettlebells. Having been named “Hot Trainer of the Year” by Rolling Stone magazine, featured in strength training journals and now recognized as a subject matter expert in strength and fitness by SEALs, Marine Special Operations, the FBI…the list goes on.

In 2001 he created the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, although these days it’s better known as the Russian Kettlebell Certification. It’s held up as being the number one, gold standard, kettlebell instructor’s course anywhere in the world. However, the RKC is tough – so tough that up to 30% of attendees fail. It’s a three day, grueling test of strength, stamina and mental toughness. And not everyone who is interested in teaching kettlebells is ready for that.

And that’s where the HKC comes in.

The HKC is a one day course that contains the key elements of kettlebell instruction that made the RKC so famous, without it being quite so tough. Don’t get me wrong – the HKC is still hard work. In fact, for most people it’s up there as one of the hardest training days they’ll ever have. Dragon Door don’t just hand out instructor status. We expect our instructors to be among the best in their field – to lead from the front. And the only way to do that is to earn it in sweat and hard work.

I often get comments from people about the HKC being “only” three lifts. The problem is that we’re not teaching you how to do these lifts. Oh, you’ll learn how to do them better than you ever thought was possible – with a great amount of detail and a high level of skill you may not have realized was even possible in lifting. But what we’re really going to do is teach you how to teach those lifts to your clients. And that takes time. The Swing alone can take hours to go through the myriad of drills that we have in our manual, updated continually by Pavel, to help you trouble shoot, diagnose and maximize your clients’ training. These drills will enable you to get your clients swinging as easy as “1,2,3” and they’ll never even guess at how detailed your knowledge is of these backbone, foundational kettlebell moves.

Unless they’ve trained with another instructor first. Nearly all of my current PT clients are refugees from other trainers. They love kettlebells, but they were sick of being hurt and made to do movements they knew were hurting them. So they seek us out at Dragon Door Australia. And when you apply Pavel’s RKC methods, even on “simple” moves like the Swing – you get massive results. It’s funny – when people think beginner they think of Swing, Get Up, Squat and then all of a sudden there’s a rush to learn the Clean, Press and Snatch as well as a bunch of other moves. But if you don’t know the Swing you’ll never get the Clean and the Snatch (certainly never well enough to pass the Snatch Test). And if you don’t have a solid Get Up you’ll probably hurt yourself Pressing or Snatching. And then when you become more advanced you realise that most of your training should stay centered around Swing, get Up and Squat – in fact, they’re all I’ve done for the last month!

Don’t waste any more time – the $100 discount on the July 30 HKC ends in 3 days on July 3! Click the link below to joint the number one kettlebell training group worldwide!

Dragon Door’s HKC (HardStyle Kettlebell Certified) Instructor Workshops- U.S. and Worlwide
Click here for Certification Course Information – Register now!

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Experienced or Merely Qualified?

June 21, 2011

The fitness industry is in shambles. Sorry to tell you, but it’s true. From the people running the courses to accrediting trainers to (most likely) your trainer too – barely any of them have any real idea how to make things better.

The problem goes like this –

In Australia our Fitness courses are marked on what is called competency based marking. Essentially this means that you have to be able to prove competency in certain criteria. The problem is that CBM is pass/ fail. Either you proved you could do it or you fail. That actually seems pretty straight forward, however that’s not the full story.

The commercial reality is that most fitness institutions are competing for the same dollars in what has become a very crowded marketplace. If one institute were to run a course that was “by the book”, as in they failed those who don’t display competency, the thinking goes that no one would attend their course. So in an effort to maintain their attendance (and income) they soften their course little by little until a shaved monkey on crack could pass.

At Holmesglen TAFE where I used to teach a student could fail a given piece of work an infinite number of times and would always be allowed a resit – as long as they attended more than 80% of the classes. In other words, as long as you turn up every day you can be miserable at something up until the a week after the final day of the course when results were done. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have someone train me who failed program writing seven times before finally making the teacher so frustrated with having to spend further time with them they were gifted a pass – anything as long as the teacher no longer had to deal with that student.

To further complicate matters the definition of competent is somewhat vague and this creates further problems. Let’s say that the task is to sit on a chair. Some teachers will pass anyone who manages to land on the chair no matter how out of control, lopsided or dangerous it may be. Others will only pass the student if they sit a particular way – back straight, feet shoulder width apart, controlled descent, etc. This can be further complicated by teachers being involved in subjects they have no involvement or experience in.

Further muddying the fitness industry is the desire for PTs to accumulate continuing education. I am all for continuing education and believe that most trainers should spend more time on their education. In the last few years there have been some interesting developments in continuing education and two, in particular, have affected me. The first was a decision that for PTs to use boxing in their workouts they needed to have participated in an accredited course. This year the same has happened with kettlebells too. I have no argument with either of these policies, however the means of implementation has been rather sloppy and heavy handed because of what it causes.

I used to work for Thump Boxing. I firmly believe that the Thump course is one of the best fitness related courses of it’s kind in the country. In fact, looking at it’s growth both here and overseas it is very clearly a great success story for it’s creator Christian Marchegiani. Having said that, the popularity of the course does create certain issues, that are exactly the same as the mass production of fitness trainers via the educational system spoken about earlier. The modern fitness industry is based on this “competence” not on actual skill or experience. At the Thump courses, over the three to four years I worked for them, I saw a total of one single person I could have safely sent clients to. One out of around a thousand. That’s not a slight on the course but on the marking system and on the fitness industry itself. The industry is built on people with shallow knowledge in a broad range of areas always looking for new ways to entertain clients rather than seek out deeper skill and actually have their clients really get results. This means that most will not have any boxing or combat sport experience prior to attending the course, and that is fair enough. But to suggest that by attending a weekend course they have somehow reached a level of mastery that should allow them to run classes using a potentially dangerous form of training is ludicrous. Considering that they have spent thirteen hours of the course learning, that is like a person who has been to two months of boxing classes off the street being allowed to run classes. And which gym would allow that? But somehow if you’re a PT it’s expected that you’re gifted an unnatural ability to learn new skills quickly and that despite having next to no experience that you are now in a position of authority over a class of people who in many cases may actually have more experience than you!

So they may have the piece of paper, but are they really masters of the subject matter? And do you want those people training you?

Contrast this to what goes on at the HKC/ RKC. We have set standards, many of which are easy to find on this blog, and we expect a student to be able to do them. If they are not met you fail. The standards are set out in such a way as to ensure that marking is consistent across the board. Additionally, when it comes to marking, every RKC knows the standard and what is required inside out. So the person marking you is intimately familiar with what it entails, spends a large amount of time themselves working within the system and has many, many hours of experience. For my part, I treat my clients no different to what I expect from students at the HKC. This means that every day we are working on the standards and we even have them up on the wall of the gym. Every single class and PT session for us is a trial run for marking at Dragon Door events.

This high standard approach has been problematic when getting our course accredited. We were actively encouraged to make the Squat standard easier as the “fitness authorities” felt it was potentially dangerous to squat below parallel. While it can be a problem, if a student has spent adequate time and effort preparing for the lift there is no danger in it. And right there is one of the biggest issues for many – we expect that our students turn up having spent some time learning how to use kettlebells, training hard and gaining strength and movement. So yes, our standard is high – higher than any other fitness course in Australia. We have failed instructors from other certifications who simply weren’t good enough to meet our requirements and we have failed people who simply weren’t ready to become instructors. Dragon Door take their role as the market leader in kettlebell training very seriously which is why there is such a big difference between the results you can expect to obtain from an HKC or RKC than from any other brand of instructor. If you are paying good money to have someone train you wouldn’t you prefer they actually had experience with the thing they were teaching you rather than just turned up and had a piece of paper handed to them just because they had a credit card?

This same high standard continues throughout the system too. As instructors we have to regularly attend events to re certify or we lose our accreditation – no different to the continuing education process of the fitness organisations. But, to re certify we are expected to maintain the same high standards that we had to exhibit to pass in the first place. Recently another exercise distributor made a blog post about how he hadn’t really been working out. For me, that guy should not be held up as an authority on exercise. When you see videos like Master RKC Dave Whitley doing 200 snatches in 8 minutes it really puts it into perspective. If you’re an exercise professional you can choose to either maintain high standards and professional integrity or you can be a shadow guru, professing knowledge without being able to demonstrate it.

If you want to learn more about fitness, strength and kettlebell training there’s only one solution –

Dragon Door’s HKC Instructor Workshops- Enter the lucrative world of the certified kettlebell trainer—and attract more clients for a better income. How to master the essentials of kettlebell lifting—and dramatically boost your power.Click here for Course Information or Register Now!.
How to master the essentials of kettlebell lifting—and dramatically boost your power and effectiveness as a personal trainer or coach Pavel and Dragon Door’s one-day, entry-level kettlebell instructor certification workshop .

And, because we take you being the best instructor you can be very seriously, the only way to really get ready for that workshop is to start with our Beginner and HKC Preparation workshop

If you’re a prospective client – do some homework on your trainer. Find out if they are experienced or merely qualified. And if you’re a trainer – get serious about the service you are selling and give your clients the results they are paying you for. Don’t just get qualified.

Perpetual Motion

June 16, 2011

Along with turning lead into gold the invention of a perpetual motion machine has been long desired. The thought is that by designing a machine that not only can continually reuse the initial amount of energy put into it but perhaps even continually create more, out of thin air, the world would obviously be a better place. Imagine a car that actually had more gas in it when you returned home from shopping?

However, much like turning lead into gold, or fat into muscle, the creation of a perpetual motion machine is impossible and beyond the laws of thermodynamics. I’m not going to go uber geek on you and explain why, just realise that things that never run out of energy or recreate new energy from scratch are impossible.

Unless you’re the RKC…

I should be more specific and mention that this probably doesn’t apply to ALL RKCs as everyone has different desires and different aims and goals. But what I am about to say runs across the board with ALL the Masters and Seniors as well as all the Team Leaders I know. Not a single one of them is sitting still, content with their abilities either physically or intellectually. Reading their blogs and FaceBook posts you realise very quickly that as high as the RKC standard is the standard among the senior ranks is even higher. How high?

Well, let’s use as example number one this video of Dave Whitley, Master RKC. 

What’s significant about this is that not that many months ago he had knee surgery and has actually spent more months recently doing rehab than “training”. While some may argue that his size and obvious strength make this not such a challenging effort I urge you to go try it for yourself before judging. To put this in better perspective in Pavel’s book Enter the Kettlebell he cites 200 snatches in 10 minutes as the objective for conditioning. Dave completes this in 75% of the time! Clearly, despite being well known throughout the strength community for feats of strength Dave hasn’t just sat still and has kept moving forward. I happen to also know that he attended a marketing and sales workshop last weekend to further improve his business skills. At the speed he’s rolling along, continually developing his skills, it’ll be some time before anyone in his area can even come close to catching him to try to compete against him.

In fact, this marks his second marketing and sales workshop in a year as he attended the first Marketing Mastermind Intensive with me. Hosted by John du Cane and attended by Pavel, two Masters, two Seniors, three Team Leaders and a handful of distributors as well as high achieving “normal” RKCs this event was described by all who went as “the best marketing workshop of it’s kind” by all who attended. So Master Whitley clearly sees the value in attending ongoing education to further his skills as a trainer, businessman and RKC.

While we’re on the subject of continuing education I’m not sure people realise but the HKC now has CEC and PDP points accredited to it. While I realise that the necessity for points does have some bearing on the decision of which courses to attend it should by no means be the sole factor considered. Looking at myself as another example I have spent roughly $50,000 on my education over the last two years – none of which had points attributed to it. But, let’s look at the benefit –

  • Became one of only  handful of RKCs in the country.
  • Became first Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist in the country.
  • Became the first RKCII in the coutnry.
  • Became the distributor for Dragon Door in Australia.
  • Became first Australian to ever teach at an RKC.
  • Became first ever Australian Team Leader.
Let’s break down some of these a little more:

The distribution side of things is a good side business to PT. It doesn’t earn as much as PT most weeks although on occasions I have earned as much as $3000 in a single week from it. So the money I have spent on my education and on developing my networking and marketing skills has been more than repaid.

Likewise the money I initially spent on attending the RKC was repaid. I ran two seminars within a month of returning home teaching people how to use kettlebells. The trip – course, flights, accommodation, etc. – cost me ~$5,000. I made $6,600 in my first month home! A $1,600 profit from a single weekend in the US, not counting my actual PT revenue from the same month. Clearly, the RKC alliance has been a great one for me.

You would be mad to think that “saving” money by attending a cheaper and, let’s be honest, inferior course would somehow give you as much benefit. I’m yet to see a kettlebell instructor from another brand certification be able to match any of that in terms of income. And that is one of the biggest separators for the RKC – all of the senior ranks very much understand that we are in the business of fitness and selling fitness. Points or not, if you want to succeed as a trainer there are vital elements that need to be looked at.

Continually looking to move forward, to strive for more is what keeps the Masters and Seniors still training. They’ve all achieved massive levels of strength and mobility yet they keep looking for more. For my part I am lucky now to have two RKCs working for me making us the only place in Australia to have multiple RKCs in the one spot) and I have them constantly look over my form. I’m not going to rest on my laurels of everything that has happened for me in ONLY TWO YEARS. I, and Dragon Door Australia, are going to push ahead to keep innovating in Australia, attempt new highs and learn new skills while continually improving our base. By expanding our abilities, yet staying within the kettlebell zone, we will wind up owning our niche as kettlebell trainers. And that’s a very important thing –

as a trainer you can choose to either be a general trainer knowing a bit of everything or you can choose to be a specialist. Let me ask you this – when you go see a doctor who makes more money? The GP or the specialist?

I know which one I want to be. And the start of all things kettlebell, of starting to develop the skills necessary to niche target and really build your financial success is the HKC. Book now to reserve your spot. If you’re a raw beginner though the best thing to do is attend our Beginner and HKC Preparation class. If you want to become a leader in your field and really develop the deep skill necessary to be able to distinguish yourself as a specialist in functional movement and kettlebell training come learn from the best. We’ve got the track record to help you.