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Already a month later, and I’m still over the moon to have (finally!) passed my Level 2 kettlebells.

What’s next? Achieving my deadlift and bench goal numbers – while rounding out my training paradigm to have a fun time getting there!

Levelling Up

To be honest, I got pretty choked up when the instructor gave me my certificate! It’s been a long time coming. (The photo is of myself with Karen Smith, Master SFG and instructor, with Alex Karu, the course assistant, having just received his Beast Tamer designation that weekend, and the red face is what happens to a Canadian in San Diego who was training outside without sunscreen.)

This was actually the third time I’ve attended this certification (although the first that I was in any condition to even attempt testing any of it).

The first time it left me racked with pain and unable to move for about a week and a half afterwards. The second time, I had recently started to do some PRI work, and it meant I was only a few days in that state afterwards. And I was over the moon this time to have been able to perform all the movements, actually pass everything, and still be sitting in my hotel room pain-free afterwards, only just a little “regular sore.”

I can honestly say that this may be the thing I am the most proud of accomplishing in my entire life.

Why This is Such a Big Deal for Me

Contrary to how a lot of people paint the physical aspect of the aging process, my own quality of life continues to improve year after year.

Much of it is due to implementing the StrongFirst training principles. When I updated my instructor listing shortly afterwards, I noticed that each initial certification with them has come at 5-year intervals. Coincidentally (?), each certification has also resulted in being able to experience pain-free movements for the first time: When I took Level 1, I experienced my first pain-free push-up (and as a former boxer, believe me, I had done a lot of push-ups), and the SFL certification gave me my first pain-free overhead bar press.

And the rest is staying pig-headedly true to the belief that with putting in the work, whatever that means to us and wherever we are at in our own life, we can always accomplish something useful: moving ourselves in the direction we want.

Passing Level 2 not only corroborates my belief on an intellectual level, it’s ever-so-liberating to finally feel free of my entirely self-imposed label, that of being a “remedial” person in the strength world.


Then Came the Nationals

Not ideal timing, but my third trip to the powerlifting Nationals followed just 3 ½ weeks afterward. Alas, this competition resulted in a disappointing performance and my worst total number ever.

What’s up with that?

My take is:

  • I had dropped about 3.5 kg/7.5 ish pounds of excess weight between late October and late January/early February. Yes, it was fat and not muscle, and it had to be done, but that probably affected my numbers, particularly bench press.
  • My squat focus leading up to SFG2 was on kettlebell and front squats, and the first time I put my bar on the back before Nationals, well, whoops, definitely not hitting depth, so I went with an extremely conservative, “no drama” squat approach.
  • Specificity of training as far as hitting one-rep maxes just wasn’t there leading up to the competition.

On the bright side, though, with only three weeks to get into Nationals mindset, it gave me a reason to really focus on physics, regarding both the ascending bar path in the bench press and the application of lateral forces for the deadlift. (If you want to talk those through, you know how to get hold of me!)

Speaking of Specificity of Training

With those big things out of the way, I can release the pause button on a couple of things I’ve wanted to tackle lately. Expect more Indian clubs, more steel mace work, more having fun with kettlebell athletic drills (once the basics are solid, of course!), more bodyweight training (especially now that the SFB drops a one-armed pushup and a pistol into my long-term sights), and more… CrossFit?

Yep (ahem), it’s true. CrossFit has always represented, for me, the absolute best and the absolute worst of fitness. So much depends on the coach and the “box” (i.e. gym) in question.

I’m just starting to take my Level 1, and along with that, I’ll definitely need to spend time participating in Olympic lifting classes.

Back to That Double Bodyweight Deadlift

I’m getting close, but I still haven’t reached my goal.

Another goal I’ve been wanting to hit, but this time to get back to where I used to be (a nasty thing to have to say, eh?), is a 5:00 1K run time.

There’s no particular rush on either of them, and I’m looking forward to the day when each of them happens.

As I chip away at my ongoing goals, please be in touch if you need help with achieving your own.