Thursday, October 1, 2009

But wait, there's more!

More reasons why I'm feeling good about my HKC experience, that is.

1. I got to train with the incredible Geoff Neupert, Senior RKC, and Andrea U-Shi Chang, CK-FMS. I can't say enough good things about them. Not every gifted athlete is a gifted teacher, but Andrea and Geoff clearly are both. Exacting but never condescending, strict but never harsh or unkind, they were the ideal instructors and great role models for all of us who intend one day to work with clients. If you live in the Durham, North Carolina, area and are looking for an amazing kettlebell trainer, go see Geoff Neupert. If you live in the Seattle area and are looking for an amazing kettlebell trainer, go see Andrea U-Shi Chang. You won't be sorry!

2. I got to train with the wonderful ladies and gentlemen on Team Neupert. We were a diverse group. There were three women and seven men, ranging in age from early 20s to early 60s. A couple of the young men were in the military, while one was a retired Air Force pilot. We also had a doctor in our group, and of course we had a few fitness professionals. They were wonderful, hardworking, enthusiastic, and never lost their good humor except maybe during the burpees :) I want to give a special shout-out to the lovely Gen Ovalle of Palo Alto, who was my training partner for much of the day. She was one of the two who passed, and deservedly so. Her technique is pretty much perfect, and so is she. If you live in the Palo Alto area and want an introduction to kettlebells, consider hiring her as your instructor.

3. I got to experience Pavel. And believe me, it is an experience! It's hard to know where to start. I have no idea how he acquired his knowledge, but it's obvious he has a profound understanding of exercise science. He is also an excellent communicator and educator.

He's also a great showman. This is not a criticism. When you're teaching an audience of 120 people, all of whom are strangers to you, inevitably you're going to adopt a persona. Any of you who teach group exercise know what I'm talking about. If you're teaching to a small group of people who are pretty well known to you, you can more or less be yourself, but if the group is large and mostly strangers you have to switch gears. If you're a people person at all -- and most good trainers are -- you learn pretty quickly what works for most of the people most of the time, and that becomes your persona. I'm not naturally a super-caffeinated, high-energy, perky cheerleader type at all, but that's what seems to get the best performance out of my cycling classes, so that's who I am when I teach cycling. I suspect Pavel is doing the same sort of thing when he teaches. He's figured out that his students want and need him to play the "evil Russian," so that's who he is at these events. Again, this is not a criticism. Quite the contrary. "Being yourself" is overrated IMO :)

4. I got to meet "Strong Sarah" Hill Jones!!! She is as lovely in person as she is online, and I'm thrilled she is now an HKC. If you live in her area and have an interest in getting started with kettlebells, you couldn't ask for a more wonderful person to train with. I just wish we could have spent more time together.

5. I got to meet kettlebell enthusiasts from all around the country. Kettlebellers are some of the nicest, friendliest people you'll ever meet. It's either the endorphins or the confidence that comes from training with what in essence is a cannonball with a handle attached. You can speak softly when you swing a heavy bell!