I nervously turned to Sophie, my finger hovering over the mouse button, ‘Am I doing this?’. The look in her eye and smile on her face confirms this is the right decision. I click the ‘Confirm’ button and I’m done. I’m on my way to becoming a StrongFirst kettlebell instructor. The first step has been taken, here is step two – telling you all and committing to trying my hardest, training hard, and loving every minute of it.

Why do I want to be a kettlebell instructor

Christmas with some of the awesome Fitter London Crew

Christmas with some of the awesome Fitter London Crew

Kettlebells have been instrumental in me changing my life. That may seem a little extreme but, without a doubt, they have. Upon starting my journey in September with Fitter London, I found kettlebells not just effective but engaging and interesting on a number of levels.

I was lucky to find a great group of people to train with, a real community that encouraged and supported me through my early days and helped me develop my passion for strength training. This was continued with the amazing Flux Motion, a new group that opened up just in time for my move to West London.

Maybe all kettlebell people are awesome?

The results started to come thick and fast, this just compounded my drive and dedication. At the same time I started to address my nutrition and, with some great support, changes started to kick in at a rate of knots. Before I knew it, I was getting stronger, leaner, and fitter with all aspects of my life benefitting.

I have seen amazing results.

I have seen amazing results.

The results of dedicated strength training, and the integral part that kettlebells have played in my training, speak for themselves. Since starting I have climbed steeper, harder routes with a confidence in my body I’ve never had before. I ran 62.5 miles with minimal running training, the work on my hamstrings and glutes from countless swings and variations allowed me to finish without any injury. And finally, the results I am seeing here, in Chamonix, powering up steep, strength-sapping snow slopes at over 3500m metres with ease. Well, maybe not ease, but more ease than before!

I love kettlebells and the effect they have had on my life and I want to know more.

Why StrongFirst

Training with Fitter London

Training with Fitter London

I was first introduced to the idea of kettlebells by Dave Frost, an RKC qualified kettlebell instructor. At the Chamonix Mountain Festival, after long days in the hill and over a glass of wine, we started talking about shoulder injuries – a common complaint for climbers – he told me how, after losing months of training due to injury, he was introduced to kettlebells. He fell in love with them and, with a lot of hard work, qualified as an RKC kettlebell instructor. He regaled me with stories of the feats of strength you need to complete to pass the tests. I was in awe.

When I returned to London and was searching for kettlebells classes I could take he sent me some links and information on StrongFirst. Without any coaches in a convenient location to me, I kept the links in my favourites folder set off with Fitter London.

Training with Flux Motion, in Putney

Training with Flux Motion, in Putney

In the new year, Sophie and I decided that now was the time for us to follow our dreams, the first step being moving to Chamonix. While working out what we were going to do out there, I knew that I didn’t want to just continue building websites for people. I wanted more, more strings to my bow, and something that would benefit me physically.

I knew that something relating to strength was what interested me most but what and how?

I looked into Personal Training qualifications as well as dedicated kettlebell qualifications and started to get an idea. On Dave’s advice, I revisited the StrongFirst links he sent but I had missed the boat. The one and only UK qualification weekend was in April, it was sold out, and there was no way I would get up to the standards in that timeframe.

Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. I was disappointed. Everything StrongFirst stand for resonated with me – by focusing on strength first, the rest will follow; safely, quickly, and most importantly without injury.

The fates decided they wanted to throw me a bone.

A few days ago, I received an email from Kettlebell Fever, the UK arm of StrongFirst, and it was just what I wanted to hear: due to popular demand they were running another instructor qualification weekend November. This could be it. I knew this was what I wanted to do; I have enough time to train properly for the grueling snatch test, in which you have to complete 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a 24kg kettlebell.

I have done it. I’ve signed up. Paid my fee. Now the hard work begins.

Why do I want to become a StrongFirst kettlebell instructor

Sophie and I making up our own sessions

Sophie and I making up our own sessions

I want a solid and strong foundation in structuring and running kettlebell and strength training sessions. Partly just for myself but also for others. I’m cobbling together classes for my wife and I, and there is already interest in friends tagging along but I‘m very aware I need to know more, to be properly trained.

I also believe there is a massive, if unconscious demand for this sort of training here in Chamonix. The valley is packed with elite climbers, runners, cyclists,and more. All training hard, playing hard, and constantly striving to improve their performance. Though new here, I have not found anyone offering dedicated strength training as the foundation to these sports. Maybe I could offer that? Maybe..

I love to learn. I constantly challenge myself to learn new skills and I want this to be my next challenge. I want to feel confident in my knowledge of strength training, of kettlebell instruction, and have the support network that StrongFirst have to lead me in these next steps of my life.

But today I took my first step.

First though, I’ve got to get training. Hard. I have to get up to completing 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a 24kg kettlebell. My current personal best is 108 snatches in 6 minutes with an 18kg kettlebell. It is a good start but I’ll be honest, I am scared! Wish me luck!

by Charley Radcliffe

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