Dragon Door Interviews Rachel Cosgrove, RKC

September 26, 2012 09:40 AM

Dragon Door:   What inspired you to try kettlebells?
Rachel Cosgrove:    I’ve actually been training with them for a while. I took a different kettlebell certification about six years ago, and we’ve been using them with our clients at the gym ever since—they’re really a fantastic tool. I had heard a lot about the HKC, RKC, and already knew Brett Jones and Pavel—we have spent some time with them in the past. Since we use the FMS as our primary screening tool, when Gray Cook got into kettlebells, we were interested to see how he integrated kettlebell training into his correctives. The FMS is an important tool at our gym—ever since we opened, we’ve screened all of our clients with it.
Dragon Door:    That’s great!
Rachel Cosgrove:    First, our entire team did the HKC with Dr. Mark Cheng—he was awesome and our whole team just loved it. Actually, as a team we decided that the HKC was one of the most useful seminars that we've ever taken, and we take a lot of seminars and workshops.
So, it says a lot when our team learns a lot from a seminar or a workshop—and we got a ton out of the HKC. The following Monday morning after the HKC, we felt like we had a lot of great cues, and new usable training tools to integrate into our philosophies. The kettlebell certification we had attended years ago had been more of a fluid style. When we learned Hardstyle, a few of us noticed less lower back pain. In the past we had been using kettlebells with our clients, but now felt even more confident.
Dragon Door:    Curious to see how you use the training information from the RKC Workshop. Since you’ve been using the FMS with all of your new clients, how do you using their scores in your program?
Rachel Cosgrove:    The FMS really shows us how a new or existing client can move right now. Most of our clients hire us to help them with a fat loss goal. So, we're not doing any sort of physical therapy, we just want to know how someone can move, what they can do, and where to start them. The FMS is the tool we use to figure out how to meet the client at their fitness level and movement capability.
Dragon Door:    Almost sounds like a type of placement test...
Rachel Cosgrove:    Yes. With the information from the FMS, we can be sure that we won't start a client on an exercise that isn't appropriate for them. But at the same time, it helps us make sure we design an appropriate program for the client. We want them to start with exercises that allow a feeling of success, and that allow them to visibly progress. Our programs are designed to start exactly where the client needs to begin, so that they can progress over the lifetime of their program at our gym.
The FMS has really been the best tool for this task, out of everything available we've tried. Over the years, we’ve tried a number of different tests and systems, but since we opened Results Fitness, we’ve used the FMS and haven't found anything better suited to screening our clients. It gives us what we need to know about the client's performance with the seven basic movements. After we start our clients with appropriate exercises, they begin to move better and better as they progress.
Dragon Door:    How do you lessen the "intimidation factor" of kettlebells for new clients who may have some reservations?
Rachel Cosgrove:    First we teach people how to move, starting with body weight exercises. This helps to build trust along with their skills. Gaining a client's trust is key to introducing them to anything new—including kettlebells.
Dragon Door:    What’s your favorite kettlebell exercise?
Rachel Cosgrove:    That’s a hard question. I actually really like the snatch, but I like doing swings too. With clients, I love to teach and use kettlebell swings—especially because we do a lot of interval and metabolic training as part of our fat loss programming. The swing is also something that we can teach as soon as a new client is moving properly—we use swings quite a bit with our clients. We don’t use the snatch so much with our clients, but it's something that I like to do in my own training.
Dragon Door:   What are some of the changes you’ve personally noticed from using Hardstyle kettlebell training?
Rachel Cosgrove:    The aggressive hip action is something that wasn’t taught before. By using the hips so much more, it really takes a lot of the lower back out of it. It feels safer with this more aggressive approach instead of the fluid style we were using before. The ideas of a bigger hip thrust, and really using the tension in moves like the RKC plank stand out to me.
At our gym, the goal is to increase metabolic demand resulting in fat loss for our clients. So, we want as much muscle involved as possible to increase metabolism, so this style makes a lot more sense for our clients' goals. If we can really get their metabolism driving we can really get them losing fat. Hardstyle actually fits right in with our philosophy a lot more than trying to be super efficient and fluid, which won't burn as many calories.
RachelCosgrove kbclean
Dragon Door:    What's an example of a favorite kettlebell workout or combination for fat loss?
Rachel Cosgrove:    During our metabolic interval training workouts, the kettlebell is a fantastic tool because I can keep my heart rate up while I switch exercises as my body is gets fatigued. For example, in a 1 minute interval, I might start with 20 seconds of snatches, and as I get tired, switch to 20 seconds of swings, then 20 seconds of overhead presses—all while keeping my heart rate high enough to get an interval training response.
Dragon Door:   What is the most critical factor that determine someone's success in fat loss?
Rachel Cosgrove:   It is definitely mindset.
Dragon Door:    What's one of the most dramatic transformations a client has made, and how did your approach make the difference?
Rachel Cosgrove:    Every year we run a Rock Your Jeans Challenge and watch as 50-70 people drop two sizes in 8 weeks. This program is so successful because it gets people off of the scale. Because they are lifting weights and using kettlebells, they will build muscle and the scale won't be an accurate indicator anymore. Instead, they focus on fitting in their jeans. This mindset shift is so dramatic when we watch them suddenly understand that their jeans fit but the scale has only gone down a pound or two.
Dragon Door:    After the RKC, what's next for you and kettlebells?
Rachel Cosgrove:    I've definitely got my eyes on the Iron Maiden Challenge. But, I’m always excited to learn. But, for me it’s just fun to come to something and be the student, just soak it all in and learn. All of the instructors are excellent, and I’m learning a lot.
Dragon Door:    Congratulations on recently receiving the I.D.E.A. Personal Trainer of the Year award. How many people do you think you've helped live a healthier life during your career in the fitness industry?
Rachel Cosgrove:   Before opening our gym over 12 years ago I had probably trained at least 50-100 different people—many of my clients I trained were with me for a number of years. Since opening our gym, we have had hundreds more come through our doors. Currently, we have close to 400 active members. In addition, I coach trainers who want to model themselves after what we do at Results Fitness. Currently we are coaching 100 trainers who each have anywhere from 10-100 clients of their own. In addition, through my blog, magazine articles and my best-selling book, The Female Body Breakthrough, it is pretty cool to think I have reached thousands of people.
Dragon Door:    Given your experience and perspective, what do you think will be the next evolution in the fitness industry?
Rachel Cosgrove:    I'd like to think that our gym is ahead of the curve, as one of our core values is to Keep Leading. I think we'll see more and more gyms like ours with trainers transitioning from one on one training to offering semi-private and group training with programs based on science and exceptional customer service. I think customer service is lacking in our industry right now.
Dragon Door:    How long have you been in the fitness industry?
Rachel Cosgrove:    For 20 years—and we've had our gym open for 12 years. So I’ve been doing this for a while. After graduating with a degree in physiology, I started training my first client 20 years ago, mostly on machines. It’s funny to think back 20 years! I love to keep learning about all the new things in our industry. The RKC has been a really great workshop and education this weekend.
Rachel Cosgrove owns and operates Results Fitness with her husband, Alwyn Cosgrove. She is the 2012 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, a columnist for Women's Health Magazine & Huffington Post, a Nike Performance Expert, is on the Livestrong.com Advisory Board. She is also the author of The Female Body Breakthrough & Get Off The Scale (released March 2013) To learn more about her visit www.rachelcosgrove.com or www.resultsfitnessuniversity.com.