Once I realized I was on my own, and wouldn't have a trainer, I actually developed my own routine quite quickly.
The gym opened at 4:30 am and I was there 5 days a week before they opened. The gal who worked the front actually gave me the code to the key box in case she was late for some reason, so I could enter the code, get the key and open the door.
I would wake up at 3:30 am (yeah I got kind of fanatical) and then run to the gym! It was 4 miles each way. I would put on one of those silly orange reflective vests, and off I went to the gym. Once I got there I lifted weights, then I put my cute little vest back on and ran the 4 miles home again. People teased me, people laughed, but who’s laughing now?
I started to read a lot, so I could understand what to do and what not to do. I read all the magazines but then I bought books. Most of them were about strength development, how the muscles worked, definitely not bodybuilding that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time.
I looked mainly at men’s strength training; I don’t believe women should train any differently than men should. I bought e-books, I bought videos, and I taught myself everything I didn’t learn from Baz.
I got very comfortable and felt I started to really know a lot. The diet was not anything I concentrated on, I just tended to eat a lot healthier than before and I gradually ate better, but it was not a focus of my life as it is now.
As you can see in the picture above, I was lean and fairly muscular, but not in a Figure competitor way, that takes a different type of training.
Then I had a problem, my gym was going to be sold yet again. I freaked out, as they said they would be remodeling and you know what that means! I also researched the company taking over who had one other gym and I was not impressed. Plus the name of the place was not very inspiring "Anastasia's Club Fit" what on earth was that?! I set out to find a new gym before they changed hands.
After locating all of the gyms within the distance from my home I would consider, I narrowed it down to the ones that opened no later than 5:00 am, which was really the latest I could train.
I then set out to visit them, there were only 4 of them and unfortunately since I live in a fairly upscale community, only one was a low cost “chain".
I ended up at the most expensive one, Courtside Club, but it really is a great place and I have come to call it home, I have been here now since 2007.
I can tell you all about why I didn’t choose the others but that isn’t the point.
I arrived at Courtside strutting in like I knew everything, but quickly felt out of place. This was no bodybuilders gym, in fact, most people didn’t even venture into the weight rooms, this a a club and the folks here like cardio best, or tennis.
I slowly developed friends among the morning crowd, a very friendly group of people indeed.
I started reading about kettlebells; I got several books by Pavel. Who is he? Here is a bit from Dragon Door: Pavel Tsatsouline Master of Sports, is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor who has been called "the modern king of kettlebells" for starting the Russian kettlebell revolution in the West.
In 1998 Pavel introduced the ancient Russian strength and conditioning tool to the American public in his subversive article, Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting, and Other Russian Pastimes. The article was published by MILO, a magazine for tough hombres who bend steel and lift rocks. When Pavel started getting mail from guys with busted noses, cauliflower ears, scars, or at least Hell's Angels tattoos his publisher took notice.
Several years later Dragon Door published Pavel's book Enter the Kettlebell! which became the golden standard in kettlebell instruction. It was followed by Return of the Kettlebell which introduced the most advanced Russian strength and muscle building techniques.
Pavel is a subject matter expert to the US Marine Corps, the US Secret Service, and the US Navy SEALs. A kettlebell in his fist, he was voted the 'Hot Trainer' by Rolling Stone and appeared in media ranging from Pravdato Fox News. Dr. Randall Strossen, one of the most respected names in the strength world, stated, "In our eyes, Pavel Tsatsouline will always reign as the modern king of kettlebells since it was he who popularized them to the point where you could almost found a country filled with his converts…"
I also have books by the above mentioned Dr. Randall Strossen…Anyway, Courtside didn’t have any kettlebells, I thought this was crazy! So I decided to buy some of my own and teach myself.
Well, if you have ever seen anyone try to use KB’s that hasn’t, you know they are not as easy as they appear. I asked the Fitness Director at Courtside if I could keep my KB’s there, in the trainer’s room and use them when I was at the gym. That’s was fine and worked well until they sometimes locked the door and I couldn’t get to my own equipment! I also decided I needed a trainer so I asked who in their huge cadre of trainers knew about KB’s. I was steered toward a woman (no longer there) and purchased 10 very expensive sessions with her.
“KB Trainer” said she knew what she was doing, well, she wasn’t certified, had never had any formal training and basically taught herself KB’s…the wrong way.
After that expensive lesson I started searching for a qualified instructor. I went to the Dragon Door website and emailed every RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified) in San Jose. The conversations went back and forth quite a bit and I finally arrived at a choice: SC (Strength Coach) who would go on to train me for about three years.
Soon: My second trainer, “SC”
Oh, Courtside now has two full sets of kettlebells including "the beast"