How I Became a Personal Trainer and Kettlebell Instructor

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Hi there!  My name is Kalin, and this is my blog.  I want to introduce myself and give you some of my background as personal trainer and kettlebell instructor.

Becoming a Certified Personal Trainer

I started my personal training career in 2010 while working at a chiropractic clinic.  Our clinic was tiny, and the room where we did rehab exercises had about as much space as your average shoe box.  It took a little ingenuity, but we managed to do some decent work for our patients.  Time and time again, I saw one thing confirmed: patients who consistently practiced their rehabilitation exercises got better faster and stayed better.  This job gave me the ability to work with populations that otherwise would’ve been outside my scope of practice.  Because of it, I gained valuable insights into movement rehabilitation.,

Becoming a Kettlebell Instructor

After being certified as a personal trainer, I wanted to sharpen my skills and grow my knowledge.  I signed up for the HKC in April of 2012.  This was a one-day certification that covered the kettlebell swing, goblet squat, and Turkish get-up.  I got a huge boost of confidence from attending the HKC.  Dan John, one of my training idols, ran the certification and I was thrilled to get the opportunity to learn from him.  So I trained like crazy for this little certification!  As a result, I received a lot of compliments on my form.  Not only did I pick up new training tricks and techniques along, I came away with something huge: the confidence to go on to the RKC.

Kettlebell Instructor
After my HKC with Dan John, 2012

The RKC was a full three-day certification covering all the basics of kettlebell exercises.  The RKC is notoriously tough.  Participants engage in three full days of intense exercise, drilling every small detail of kettlebell exercises. They’re also flooded with information and advice from some of the top kettlebell trainers in the industry. I successfully completed my RKC Level I in September of 2012.  I think it was a great learning experience: extremely tough, and incredibly rewarding!

StrongFirst

The RKC organization split soon after I was certified, with some of the leadership and instructors staying in the RKC and others leaving to form a group called StrongFirst.  After some deep though, I transferred my certification to StrongFirst.  StrongFirst administers certifications for kettlebell instructors (SFG Level I and SFG Level II), barbell certifications (SFL), and bodyweight certifications (SFB).  Also, people just dipping their toe into the grand world of kettlebells can go through their User Course to learn proper technique.

I’ve maintained my SFG Level I certification since 2013. As certified kettlebell instructors, we’re are required to recertify every 2 years. One of my recertifications took place at the original Dome of Strength – a huge certification held in Chicago where Level I and Level II ran concurrently.  I’ve also recertified by video with a Master SFG and really enjoyed that experience. Even as an experienced instructor, there’s always a lot to learn and ways to improve.  One perk of video recertification was being able to be in the comfort of my familiar environment: in my own gym, using my own kettlebells.

Kettlebell Instructor
SFG certificate from recertifying at the Dome of Strength, 2014

StrongFirst also sponsors the Tactical Strength Challenge – a worldwide strength competition where competitors test their max deadlift, max number of kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes, and max pull-ups.  I’ve enjoyed competing in these as well as acting as a host ambassador.

Kettlebell Instructor
October 2015 Tactical Strength Challenge: 340lbs deadlift, 1 pull-up, and 140 kettlebell snatches with a 16kg.

Becoming a Functional Movement Screen Pro

In 2012, a few short weeks after my HKC, I completed my Functional Movement Screen certification.  I knew I wanted to specialize in strength training with an equally strong emphasis on movement restoration.  The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) played a huge role in my own fitness journey.  It forever changed the way I view movement and exercise. Because of that, I knew I had to learn the ins and outs and use it to help my own clients.  I still use it with nearly all of my new clients.  Utilizing the FMS, I can identify red flags in their movement patterns. It also gives us a baseline measurement of their movement quality.  From there, it is upward and onward to helping them move better, get stronger, and reach their fitness goals!

Eureka Kettlebell

After a few years of working and training at the chiropractic clinic, I knew it was time to head out on my own.  In 2014, I opened my own studio, Eureka Kettlebell.  Located right along Main Street in my hometown, Eureka Kettlebell is a modest training studio where a whole lot of awesome stuff happens.  When you walk in the door, you’re greeted by a selection of kettlebells and some soft tissue tools.  In the back of the studio is a squat rack with a few barbells stationed nearby.

For someone used to a commercial gym crammed with a couple machines dedicated to every individual body part imaginable, I’m sure it looks rather stark.  But believe me, we combine bodyweight, kettlebell, and barbell exercises to target every part of the body (even the brain!) and do so in a safe, effective manner.  There’s beauty in simplicity, and one of my favorite sayings describes much of the work we do at Eureka Kettlebell: “Simple but not Easy.

Beyond Certifications

I think certifications are great, and they make for great goals.  But my hunger for knowledge doesn’t stop once the certification is achieved!  I’m constantly striving to learn more and to evolve and adjust my training techniques.

Information on strength training, fitness, and movement restoration is abundant online.  Social media gives us a great outlet to share knowledge, which is one of my goals with this blog.  I hope to share valuable information with my blog readers, and I welcome your feedback.  Don’t hesitate to comment or contact me!

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