Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Second Trainer- SC

SC stands for Strength Coach. I am not showing you his picture, I am not saying where he works, nor will I reveal his name. You can take a look at his ear though.....

He never should have been training me and I don’t want to jeopardize anything he has going on right now, simple as that.

I met SC in 2007. I was looking for a qualified RKC and we connected via email. I arranged to come by his facility and meet with him. I will never forget the day I walked in there, oh the place was wonderful, absolutely huge with Olympic platforms, racks, free weights, glute ham raises and really, really loud music.

I stood in front of him, all 125 pounds of me and told him pointedly:
“I don’t need someone to motivate me, I don’t need a coach, I don’t need anyone to show me what to do. I  know the basics of kettlebells, I just want to master them and learn more about them so I don’t injure myself.” I kinda thought I was all that.

He was big, not a lot taller than me, but a big, buff, young guy. He smiled; we talked a bit longer and came to an agreement.

We started training on Friday afternoons, just like I do with Roy.  The very first time we trained he asked me to show him what I knew. Immediately he stopped me and corrected my transition when changing hands with a one hand swing. “Never change in the back” he said.

So much for the “training” I received at Courtside.

I became quite good, I learned everything. Turkish get-ups, suitcase deadlifts, one hand swings, two hand swings, snatches, we went for speed, we went for volume.

He had big bowls of chalk. I loved to walk up and plop my hands in it, then smack my butt so I had two nice hand prints there.  I would get huge calluses, my hands would bleed. He was very caring, when the blood was really bad he would follow me into the kitchen as I rinsed my hands, then squirt liquid dish soap on them and say “wash ‘em!” ha ha

One day as we sat in his office he looked at me and said “Kristy, I have taught you everything I know. You are good, really good. You could be an instructor yourself. You would easily pass the RKC test. I can’t teach you anything else”

I said “Then teach me all you know about strength training. I want to learn”

So began a three year odyssey.

I learned to deadlift. I learned squats. I learned to do pull ups with a kettlebell strapped to my waist. I pushed a prowler in the hot sun on artificial turf.  I still carry my cute black patent leather cleats in my car, just in case I get to push a prowler again. 

I swung a sledge hammer with football players in the hot sun in a sand pit, smacking a huge tire, sweat dripping into my eyes, clothes soaking wet.
I would swing those bells, at the end of each session usually 10 sets of 10, heavy ones too, each time blood blisters would form.  I slammed leather med balls against the ground while on my knees, I learned to do eccentric chin ups for much longer than anyone would want to every think about.

I learned all the words to 2pac’s music.

I learned the Olympic lifts. Clean and jerk, hang cleans, snatches. It was scary heaving the barbell up like that and actually letting it drop. It was fun to watch it bounce. SC used to compete in Olympic lifting, he knew what he was doing.

We would train for a couple hours sometimes, I loved it. After each session I would go to the locker room and take a long shower, and then we would talk in his office. I told him that I really want to understand what makes it all work. So he gave me a text book to read. He expected me to read then report back what I thought of the theory, of the data. What was this book?

Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and William J. Kraemer.  I ended up buying my own and have read it two more times, it is that complicated. It is a college textbook and not cheap.

I ended up reading countless books and e-books he gave me, and we would discuss them as we found time.

I then became his “guinea pig”.  We tried experimental things such as isometric training, sessions of high volume, sessions of heavy weights. He would write up a new program every few weeks. The first time we would go through the exercises and make sure I knew what they were, we would set weights then I would record my training the rest of the week. The following Friday I would come back and he would increase the expected weights for the next week.

At one point I started to get pretty ripped, muscular and people kept asking me if I competed. Competed in what? I didn’t know what they meant, I thought there was only bodybuilding. I started to research it all. I told SC I was going to hire a nutritionist and I would consider competing. I told him I work my butt off and I want something to show for it, I want a goal to keep driving me forward.

He thought that was a good idea, but looked me in the eye and said “I hate bodybuilders!” that hurt me, but he then said that I wasn’t a bodybuilder, I knew more than any bodybuilder did.

I remember once I asked him if he went easy on me because I wasn’t one of his athletes, I was a woman and I was almost as old as his mother. He replied “Kristy, I expect the same from you as I do all my other athletes”. And he probably added something about stop whining and start lifting….

SC never had a good opinion of personal trainers; he said they gave Strength Coaches a bad name.  Strength Coaches have studied a long time, they have advanced degrees in the subject matter, and a personal trainer can just take an online course and pass an exam. This certainly doesn’t mean that there are not personal trainers out there who are not qualified, but I would get an idea of their training and background before committing to them.

SC is probably one of the smartest people I have ever met when it comes to strength training. 

To my knowledge, SC only trained one other “non-athlete” during those three years, a young guy as a favor to a friend, and then he had a 2 month stint with a group who wanted him to train them how to use kettlebells. Other than that, it was me and I still don’t really know why he agreed to do it or even continue it.

SC started checking my bodyfat weekly with a 9 site caliper test, I don’t think it ever went above 12% and when close to a competition, it would go as low as 4%.

In the first year with SC I started to compete in Figure and then brought a new trainer into my life, an IFBB Pro. I would end up training with both of them for about a year and a half. My fun and strength development was with SC, my “sculpting and posing” was with my Figure Pro. As I write about her, trainer #3, I may bounce back and forth between them a bit.

Later, after I had been working with my nutritionist (I will write about her later), some of his female athletes wanted to know how I looked the way I did. He said “ask her what she eats” I wrote up a few diets for some female athletes trying to drop some bodyfat.  

In the end, we had to discontinue our training, not that either one of us wanted to but circumstances forced us to. SC has taught me more than I could probably learn in a Kinesiology course in college; he gave me practical knowledge and shared his experiences with me. He taught me the importance of research, studies, books, data and gut wrenching hard work.  I would not be the person I am today had he never come into my life. 
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