I had the privilege last week to interview/audition for a position at a very well known gym here in the Denver area. I was very excited about this audition for many reasons. 1) The trainers at this gym deliver very challenging and very unique workout routines that really take you and your body to the next level. 2) They play loud fun music which I love to be listening to when I am struggling through a workout. 3) They are located in cool little neighborhoods in Denver. I love the city vibe and the company of urbanites. After all, I was an urbanite for 20 years. 4) This would be a great learning environment for me. I could grow as a trainer and as a student. 5) They highly value community and relationships and these values are the core of who I am as a trainer. I would rather teach two or three people that I can develop a relationship with other than 40 people with whom I cannot. As a fitness professional, I desire change for my clients over dollar bills in my pocket, although I do need dollar bills.
For the audition, they requested a kettlebell workout from me. As a kettlebell trainer, I see kettlebell training as a very pure sport, whereas much of the fitness world does not. They tend to see the kettlebell as a prop that they can add to any given exercise. This in itself is not wrong, it just doesn’t magically transform any exercise to a kettlebell exercise. So in my preparation for this audition, I struggled within myself on how to present a kettlebell workout that was varied and diverse. Because there are only so many pure authentic kettlebell moves, it could’ve potentially gotten repititious after a while, since the workout was 45 minutes long.
After much deliberation, I included what my coach would call “bastardized” kettlebell exercises. For example, a “bastardized” kettlebell exercise would be a squat with a kettlebell. This exercise is no different than a squat with a dumbbell. The only difference is that kettlebells always look cooler. Let’s face it, dumbbells don’t come in different colors. They should. It would inspire more people to lift weights.
Personally, I don’t have a problem with these “bastardized” moves. I only have a problem with everyone thinking they are doing a kettlebell exercise when in fact they are not. They are just using the kettlebell as a prop. I like using the kettlebell as a prop, but I know this is what I am doing. Your average gym client would not know this unless you told them.
Here’s the other thing. You cannot teach authentic kettlebell technique in a fast paced environment and this is what I was asked to do. The “bastardized” moves are easy to teach quickly, but to teach a pure kettlebell move, you really need time to demonstrate the technique. I did not have this liberty. I knew this going in, and I really should have spoken up.
As I was leading the workout, the people in the class were struggling with the single arm swing, which is usually one of the first moves a person is taught to perform with the kettlebell. In its purest form, it is highly technical. You can just demo it and people can blindly follow, but w/o proper instruction they miss out on so many elements of the exercise.
What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that I should have been more open and honest with the people asking me to do the audition. I was presenting a workout in a style that I did not believe was a good match for the kettlebell. I believed in their method of training, I just didn’t believe in it for a pure kettlebell workout routine. As a teacher, I felt I couldn’t really teach kettlebell in a fast paced manner. Maybe I could have, and I simply failed to do so effectively. Who knows?
What have I learned from this process you ask? I have learned much. I have learned that I need to be true to myself and I need to speak up when something is troubling me. If I would’ve spoken up and elaborated on my thoughts about kettlebells, then maybe I could’ve presented something different to them. I ignored my inner voice that wanted me to slow down while I taught the moves, but I was trying to stay with the clock.
In conclusion, you should never ignore who you are and what you believe in. Yes, you may want to impress someone with your skills, but it isn’t worth changing yourself over it. Be true to you.
With all my heart,