Many of my students and friends who follow me know that when I found kettlebells, Pavel, and the RKC in 2008, I really felt like I found my group of people. Before that, I ran into a lot of either “let’s focus on looking good” personal trainers or “let’s focus on the research, we don’t care what you look or move like” personal trainers or the misogynistic trainers that if you were a female trainer and didn’t take creatine or testosterone, you weren’t going to fit in.
I felt out of place. I loved what I did, and I found ways to help my students through learning from people like Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, and Alwyn Cosgrove, but I didn’t feel like I found my people.
Then I went to an NSCA event in Irvine, and it was there that I had a feeling this could be “it”. Six months later, I went to the RKC, had Brett Jones as a team leader and Fawn Friday as an assistant, I knew this was “it”. These were my people.
They were smart and strong and fit. And everyone was eager to learn: from the brand new trainer all the way to the top – Pavel took the CKFMS workshop as a student the first time it was offered. If that doesn’t prove the attitude of “permanent beginner”, I don’t know what does.
Since then, Pavel and many people on the leadership team broke away from the RKC and formed StrongFirst. I’m going to be honest with you all: it was sad. The RKC was a force. It was a brotherhood and sisterhood of strength. It was a place where like-minded people got together to share ideas without egos getting in the way. When the split happened, many people likened it to a sudden divorce – we loved having mom and dad together and we really didn’t care how they made it work – we just liked that we all lived together. After the split, we had to choose sides and the “old house” had so many memories, it was hard to let that go.
I finally chose to go with StrongFirst, the “new house”, for a variety of reasons. For one, the “new house” is the “old house” with a different name. Many of the instructors, my mentors, moved with Pavel to StrongFirst and I felt like that was the right move for me. A house doesn’t make a home, the people in the house make the home.
I chose StrongFirst for the same reasons I chose to run at Wake Forest. As a freshman, I knew I was coming in as the 8th fastest 800m runner on the team. There were schools interested in me because I would come in as a freshman and be the fastest. Wake was my choice because I wanted to learn and grow and keep my mentors close. I was fast, but I wanted to learn from the people who really knew what they were doing.
Ultimately, that’s why I chose StrongFirst. I never want to be the smartest, fastest, or strongest person in the room (and good thing, because that never happens). But the leadership at StrongFirst is so deep and there’s so much to learn from every single person, I don’t think I could have made a better decision.
And then, to my surprise, I was asked to be a part of the leadership team.
I could not be more excited, honored, shocked, humbled, terrified (!) – so many emotions ran over me when I was asked to be StrongFirst Team Leader. I have been hoping to earn the right to teach at these international certifications since I found this group of like-minded trainers. These were my people and to be recognized by my teachers, mentors, and friends as someone who has the knowledge, skill set, and presence to be able to train other trainers, is such an honor.
I am thankful to those who decided I was ready for this challenge and I look forward to earning the title of StrongFirst Team Leader every day.
Power to us!