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Zac Zech and the HKC Fort Collins Experience

Many people have asked about the HKC, and one of my clients is planning on getting her HKC soon. While I know a lot of people who participated in the program, I haven't, and I feel like I've really missed out. Since I can't fill in the details of what you may experience if you attend an HKC workshop, newly certified HKC, Zac Zech was kind enough to write an account of his very recent experience. Also note that Zac was able to train for this intense worshop from essentially a "remote" location, far away from any other RKC or HKC certified instructors. He used sheer will, creativity, some driving, and technology to make up the difference. I would encourage you to do the same, even though nothing replaces one on one live coaching, don't let your location stop you.  Zac is in the 2nd row, wearing the red shirt in the picture below - I'm sure you all see some familiar faces in this photo!   Without further babbling from me, please enjoy Zac's HKC journey!

Best,

Adrienne Harvey, GiryaGirl.com


HKC weekend in Ft. Collins, Colorado, November 2011

Guest Spotlight: The HKC Experience

by Zac Zech, HKC

 

     My journey to the HKC began in February 2011, when I (a newly minted personal trainer) started looking into these strange 'kettleballs' as a way to separate myself from the pack and find my niche in the fitness world. The more I researched, the more the name Pavel kept showing up, so I switched my focus to researching this 'Evil Russian' defector. I admit to getting sucked in by him, his promise of 'hacking the fat off your meat without the dishonor of aerobics' spoke to me and told me exactly what I wanted to hear. This was my original introduction to the RKC. I thought, “That's what I want to do, and what I want to be when I grow up.” But as an out of shape, washed up former athlete, and 25 year old weakling, I was intimidated by the requirements for the RKC. Living in Great Falls, Montana, I didn't really have much access to RKC quality coaching. So my dream of RKC status seemed to be a pipe dream. But as I continued my research, I stumbled across this Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification, and it seemed achievable, and so after exchanging a few e-mails with your favorite Girya Girl (and mine) Adrienne Harvey, I decided to go for it and I started looking for one in my area to attend. I told my best friend and fellow trainer about it (who I'd introduced to kettlebells a few months ago). We decided on the Ft. Collins HKC taught by some guy named Franz Snideman. We finalized our plans in July and signed up in August. It was on!!!

 

     With the extra months we had to prepare, we watched countless Youtube videos and even traveled to hit a couple of sessions with some RKCs in our area (in Montana speak that means within 200 miles). We even got in touch with Franz Snideman and Aaron Pierson, who were sponsoring the event, and sent some videos to them for critique. So fast forward to November, and here we are in Ft. Collins sitting outside the gym waiting for our event to start. We finally got to meet RKC Aaron Pierson and this 'guy named Franz' in person, and that right there would've been worth the trip. They both were such genuine, insightful people and quality instructors. After filling out a little bit of paperwork, introducing ourselves to the other participants and the other RKCs(which, not to name drop, included a pretty prestigious group, such as recent Iron Maiden Val Hedlund, RKC2 Josh Hillis of System Six Fat Loss fame, K.A.T. kettlebell juggling mastermind Gus Petersen, Heather Hubbard, Shari Wagner, and Jim Perry). There were actually more RKC instructors in attendance than HKC candidates.

 

     We began with the strength test: 5 pullups/chinups for guys. I can't remember feeling so light, between the adrenaline and my desire to impress I felt as if I could have done them one handed (probably not, guess we'll never know). After that was done, we did some mobility complexes, fast and loose drills, then proceeded to spend the next 4 hours talking about, drilling, practicing, and perfecting the swing. After all the practice, and training I'd done to be ready for the swing, I ended up spending every second of those four hours relearning the swing, and instilling some good habits and at the end of the day ended up with a much more powerful swing. This is where having all those RKCs was awesome, I went from having Jim Perry coaching and instructing, to having Val in my ear, and then getting tag teamed by Franz and Aaron, eventually my friend and I became joined at the hip with Gus, who we both love working with. With all those those different perspectives and personalities and coaching styles, I was just blown away by the entire thing, but never once did I feel overwhelmed or overloaded with new information. It was just some great teaching and an opportunity to learn from some straight up elite RKCs. We went out for a quick lunch, hammering our food down so we would get back in plenty of time for the second half of the day. We got back so early in fact we had lots of free time on our hands, and you know what they say about idle hands... Even though the HKC is only about the swing, TGU, and goblet squat, we practiced some snatches, pressed 32kg and 36kg kettlebells, actually I failed at the latter, and climbed around on some ropes they had hanging from the ceiling. Not a very good recovery plan, I know.

 

     It was amazing to see the other RKCs quizzing Franz, because he had tips, tricks, advice, and answers to everything. He is a giant in the fitness world, and I have so much respect for the man. After lunch, some demonstrations and a group picture we dove into the Turkish Get Up. Although its one of my favorite workouts, I'd struggled some with the form. But after a few shoulder packing drills, LOTS of reps, and some tough love, it improved a ton. Still working on it though, and interestingly enough, when it came time for us to get tested on our coaching, I got to coach the Get Up, more on that later.

 

     After the Get Up and a short break, and some more showing off on the ropes and messing around with these funky 2.5 lb weight magnets that Josh Hillis brought to add weight to kettlebells, we got started on the goblet squats. We used the squat as both a stretch and a strength exercise, pretty simple, but not easy. We did lots and lots and lots of squats. I was getting pretty tired at this point and ready to move on to the testing.

 

     Finally it was time to test. After a quick workout with Aaron, we started with the coaching. Like I said I got assigned the Get Up and I feel like I hit it out of the park. I ignored the fact that there were all these eyes on me and just treated it like it was just me and my buddy working out. I spoke with authority, like I actually knew what I was talking about, using the same cues Aaron and Franz used with me earlier. I even threw in a little bit of my goofy humor(if nothing else, it kept me loose) and I felt really good about how it went afterward.

 

     Next was technique testing on all 3 exercises, I was like ball of energy waiting for my turn, bouncing off the walls, doing fast and loose drills, acting like a rowdy 3 year old. I was less than impressed with my technique, and knew exactly what I'd done wrong without Franz and Aaron having to tell me afterwards. I dunno if it was fatigue or just my bad habits creeping back in, but it was good to talk it over with Franz and Aaron after the fact, when they were giving me the news that I'd passed. It was a great relief at the end of the day to walk out of there with all the new experiences, making all those friends, feeling like a part of the RKC/HKC community, and having my certification to show for it.

The HKC is a stepping stone, a smaller goal leading to a larger goal, which now, not only seems achievable, but inevitable. Now I have the blueprint for success, some first rate coaching, and all of that community support. I'm a new little brother to an amazing fitness family.

 

     Now that I'm an HKC, RKC is the next step, so for me the HKC is a stepping stone, a smaller goal leading to a larger goal, which now, not only seems achievable, but inevitable. Now I have the blueprint for success, some first rate coaching, and all of that community support. I'm a new little brother to an amazing fitness family. Now I could be content with my new found status as an HKC and remain the little brother, and that would be totally fine if someone wanted to do that, that is something worth aspiring to, but for me, I'm using the HKC as a launch pad to bigger things.

Rings of Power by Mike GIllette

Rings of Power by Mike Gillette Cool new book from Mike Gillette about Ring Training for all fitness levels. Being on this shoot with Mike was like working with a real live action hero! (And I got to put a cinderblock on him too!) Mike knows his stuff and shares everything you need to know for his versatile go-anywhere ring training.  Full progressions of every exercise, workout plans, and all the know-how to take the training as far as you wish. Good stuff, and yes, that's me on the left side of the cover  :)

 

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