Friday, March 1, 2013

Student First, "Strong First"

In one weeks time, next Friday I'll be waking up and getting ready for the first day of three days to learning more about being "Strong First".  I'll be writing a little bit more about what "strong" and "strong first" means to me, but today it's just business!  I've been doing some serious training for the past 6 weeks in preparation for some new physical strength requirements for my recertification as a qualified Kettlebell Instructor through Pavel Tsatsouline's new Certification program Strong First Girya (SFG)

Here are the requirements I have to pass 

15 second bent arm hang
5 minute snatch test, 100 reps, 16kg
16kg Get up
10 double kettlebell swings
5 rep double kettlebell front squat (weight to be determined)
5 rep double kettlebell cleans
5 rep double kettlebell military press 

Oh, and basically three full days of practice and training.  

It's not the testing and training I'm the most excited about, because in between the testing and training is the learning!  I've decided to give up everything I know, I mean really give up everything I know, for three days and fully immerse myself in becoming a beginner again, a student of strength, and hopefully a qualified Instructor of Strong First.  For three days I will pay attention and take everything I can from some of the most qualified Instructors in the country, in the world.  Check out this list!

MSFG Mark Reifkind
MSFG Dave Whitley
SSFG Karen Smith
TL Lauren Brooks
TL Jason Marshall

The standards Strong First has for it's top level Instructors is of the highest and I will walk into those three days as a nobody in comparison.  I am not going as Tracy Reifkind, "Mark Reifkind's wife", and I'm not going as Tracy Reifkind "Queen of the Kettlebell Swing", or author of "The Swing", I'm going with a clean slate, a fresh ear and a brain like a sponge!  With that attitude I can only imagine who I will walk out as!

One of the things I think makes a good Instructor is not what you know, but knowing what you don't know!  In other words, never thinking or acting as if you know it all, and being open to new and different ways of growing as an Instructor, teacher and coach.!  I'm very lucky to get this opportunity and I will not take it for granted.  I am a student first....and next weekend I'll be Strong First.

Photo at top taken at the first SFG Leadership weekend in Salt Lake City UT Feb 2013.  

Middle photo is me in the red jacket at my very first RKC, St Paul MN, April 2006.  

Bottom photo is Pavel, me and Mark at my last RKC in San Jose CA, Feb 2010.


Tali said...

I think that it is very rare for a person who is considered an expert in any field (and from the research that I have done over the last couple of weeks, you are definitely an expert in the field of kettlebells), to humble themselves and admit that they just might know it all, and that they have some more learning to do. I have no doubt that your recertification will be a very rewarding experierence for you and you will come back armed with even more knowledge to share.

And in response to the comment you made in your previous post. Although I'm just getting started, I am already enjoying my beginner kb workouts. I have a long way to go, I'm starting at ground zero and have a ton of weight to lose, but strangely, I'm alredy feeling a little stronger.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I am an expert in my own weightloss and training, and I'm happy, more than happy, to share what has worked for me with anybody else that is interested.

Anybody interested in listening, learning, and being open to possibilities instead of arguing, defending, and justifying why nothing will work for them.

Your comment kind of took me back to remembering what I was feeling "during" the weigh loss, and I can tell you that my focus was not the weight loss. The weight loss, and then the workouts were secondary and happening in the background of my life at the time....I'll have to give it some more thought and write more specifically about the mindset.

Thank you for reminding me of such a wonderful time in my life!

Tali said...

Well, I'm definitely interested in listening and learning. I don't blame anyone but myself for the shape I'm currently in.

I have been slowly making my way through your blog, from the beginning, paying special attention to the posts that deal with your weight loss and fitness journey.

Yesterday I received your "Top 40" DVD and I just finished workout #1. It was tough, but I made it through the first 15 minutes before I started losing my form because I was so tired. So I set out a couple of sets but was able to bring it home for the last 40 two-hand swings.

I was a hot and sweaty mess at the end, but very proud of myself, even though I'm using a lighter weight than you recommend starting with. I plan on doing the #1 workout exclusively for the rest of the month while gauging my increase in strength and endurance.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Hanneke said...

I am so envious it's not even funny!!!
Please keep us informed.

I did the HKC last year and planned to use the discount for an RKC within a year but then things changed as everyone knows.
Now there is an SFG level I in Edmonton Canada in September , that is just a few hours driving from where I live. Very upsetting because by that time my discount opportunity has passed. Grrrrrrr, I guess I can't have it all.

So please tell on your blog all that you can, I will be reading!!

Love all your wonderful information!

Tracy Reifkind said...


You should contact Mark Toomey, (CEO of SFG). He might be offering some sort of compensation, even if it's not a $500 credit, it may be something that would make you feel a little better. I'm sure John Engum will be teaching that Cert.

I'm really looking forward to the whole weekend, and I plan on returning a better Instructor for sure!