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By Adrienne Harvey, SrPCC, RKC-II, CK-FMS
I was about 27-28, and luckily I had not put on any weight. I think my genes helped me, but I still knew I was quite unfit. One day I started playing squash again—my dad used to coach me in squash when I was a kid. He wasn’t a professional player but he played at a fairly high level.
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As a kid I did competitive gymnastics from age six to nineteen, then took a break from it for most of my twenties. It wasn't until I bought my house and built a gym in the garage that I started doing bodyweight training again. It was mostly because I didn’t have much in the garage—I built a pull-up bar, had some mats, a set of p-bars and some rings.
Along with knowledge, I feel that a coach needs to be able to do all or at least some of what they are teaching. A good coach also builds a connection with their students and clients, and understands how to interact with them on a physical and emotional level. I want my clients and my students to come in and then feel stronger and confident when they leave—and I want them to come back the next day.
In some ways it was a straight shot. My bachelor's degree is in exercise science, and my master’s degree is in human movement. I started personal training almost from graduation. It was inline with what I studied, and my lifestyle as a gymrat and former athlete.
The kettlebell is a really good tool for my athletes, especially since I work with a lot of baseball players now. We don’t do any Olympic lifts with the baseball players, so kettlebell swings and one-arm kettlebell swings give me another way to incorporate speed and power—while reducing the risk of wrist and shoulder injuries.
At 18, I went to Brunel University in West London as a footballer. But basically, I wasn’t doing well on the team, and wasn’t shown a lot of love from the coach. So, I wanted to find a sport where I could take the performance into my own hands. I enjoyed athletics through my school years, but had always been involved in team sports. Since the University had a good track program, as soon as football wasn't working out, I started with track. We had a really good group and coach—I fell in love with
I used to train at Rob Miller’s gym. Last fall he called to tell me about a kettlebell competition, and to see if I would be interested in joining. He said it was coming up soon, but he could add me to a team. I wanted to try something different, so I said yes.
Eventually, I learned to step back even further within the basics. Now I really appreciate teaching the first steps to my beginner clients, because those were the same first steps that worked for me, too.
In bobsled, I learned really quickly that people noticed when I showed up every day on time (or early), brought my best, did what was asked of me at a high level, and practiced and trained every day. Back in 2005, I was kind of fighting for my life with bobsled—it was a cutthroat pre-Olympic year.
A kettlebell doesn’t lie. As silly as it sounds, you have to respect it, and you need to have full body awareness. If you want to get the full, safe benefits of the kettlebell, you must learn to understand your body.