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RKC Team Leader
I started at RPT in April 2013 and at that point was thoroughly disillusioned with the futility of what I was doing on the fitness front - doing workouts at home a few days per week based on what I had picked up from all sorts of sources; not getting any stronger, leaner or better conditioned but feeling liked I had ‘worked out’; and frequently picking up injuries.I had always resisted the prospect of using a trainer, misguidedly thinking it was mainly for people who were time poor, lazy, had money to burn or just needed someone to motivate them. I had enough stuff at home, was careful where I spent my money, thought I knew enough and the desire to exercise and remain active had never really left me, so why pay for the services of someone I figured? However, the time came that I eventually realised that I was beating my head up a wall and not really getting anywhere. I was still in effect paying dearly for my ignorance in terms of lost time, physio bills and the like. After coming across dragon door on the internet, I started searching through the reviews and was impressed by the depth of them referring to just how good this Andrew Read fella was. It was not just a handful of words of gushing praise, but real detail on what Andrew had taught them and how their training and results had just turned around. What did I have to lose I thought? My plan at that stage was just to go for a few sessions, to iron out a few kinks in my technique, get them to teach me a few exercises, give me a few workouts and I’d be on my way back to my home gym with perhaps a periodic refresher “tune up” to make sure I hadn’t picked up any bad habits.I recall speaking to Andrew for the 1st time one day during a work break for about 30 – 45 minutes and being a little struck by the directness and the conviction he had with his views. While it made sense to me on one level, another part of me remained a little cynical and doubting. My own personal failings or outcomes from past experiences have a tendency of leading to one becoming closed off and cynical. That mindset isn’t helped when you see just how many poor service professionals there are in all walks of life, happy to take your money and offering little in return. I was a bit taken back initially too that there was a process I had to follow, a minimum standard I needed to have achieved technique wise, just to be given the all clear to join the group classes. This would usually take 4 – 5 sessions. At $150 / time for an hour a session with Andrew, or $100 for one with Andrew’s partner, Shannon, the mind was thinking, jeez, how much are they going to bleed me dry here? Andrew directed me to Shannon, and any initial misgivings about being “palmed off to a lesser trainer” vey quickly evaporated. Shannon is, initially at least, perhaps more friendly and welcoming than Andrew, and right away I was impressed with her attention to detail and knowledge. She has a huge passion for what she does and a genuine interest in your progression. While I knew I had “issues”, Shannon was shocked at how I had not only managed to lift a 24kg ‘Turkish get up’ exercise into the top position, but had not completely ruined my back in the process! I had in-fact been unbelievably lucky getting to this point without doing major, and perhaps permanent damage to myself! It felt initially that I was regressing, and it was very humbling not being able to do certain stretching exercises, or complete certain parts of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), let alone going back to “baby” weights. While we were only focusing on one, perhaps two of the core kettlebell exercises in a session, there were so many intricacies to take in on the technique that my mind felt like it was getting a bigger workout than the body! Shannon, also set me lots of “homework” in terms of stretches and routines on the basics to work through before my next weekly session. She was also happy to follow up by email too and answer any questions I had – and as they were quick to find out, I am a pretty inquisitive person!I seemed to pick things up reasonably well and Shannon was always encouraging, but still firm when she needed to be and when I wasn’t grasping something. What also impressed me was that there were no short cuts taken, and it was about quality, routines, forming new habits and doing things over and over until the basics were ingrained. You didn’t go to the next exercise until the 1st one was nailed technically!I recall one Saturday session when I was really struggling getting the hips to “pop” on the swing and just couldn’t get it. Eventually after trying all sorts of things, including various extra little props, filming the sequence on the iphone and replaying back, and calling in an extra set of eyes, being Alby, the 3rd trainer for RPT, we came to the conclusion that I had one leg probably about 1 inch shorter than the other that meant adjustments needed to be made in my technique to accommodate. I remember looking at my watch and seeing that we had gone about 15 minutes over the hour deadline but Shannon & Alby were not worried about the clock or charging me for the extra time, and were determined to get me over this hump. Once again, the videos were emailed to me and the follow-ups via email were pretty thorough, together with drills to work on and eventually we got there. Soon after I had reached a point where I was good enough to join the group for classes but soon reached another hiccup, where I need to be proficient in one of the other core exercises, being the snatch before I could do all the stuff in the group class. At his point, I arranged what turned out to be two separate sessions with Alby, who not surprisingly was also extremely passionate, detail focused, “real” and avoided any short cuts. He had no hesitation in resorting to all sorts of tools in his toolbox, be it ‘mind hacks’, analogies, use of props or breaking down the mechanics further to get me doing the movement properly and then grooving it. We had a couple of laughs too along the way, which was good! Alby and Shannon are certainly cut from the same cloth as Andrew and are excellent, and would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them highly to anyone. The only difference is that they are in effect still the protégés, and Andrew the master, having been in the health and fitness industry for an almost unheard of twenty years (where most give up in 2 – 5 years).
I first sought Shannon assistance when I signed up for the RKC and realised I needed some serious help. My general fitness was o.k but I had some major weaknesses regarding mobility and getting into proper positioning which was preventing me from maximise each lift. Travelling a 4 hour round trip for a PT session, to say I was sceptical is probably an understatement. Having been in the fitness industry for over a decade I was thinking, this would want to be worthwhile and not some basic generic advice that i could of read in a book. Thankfully it didn't take long for my scepticism to subside, Shannon's professionalism and knowledge was evident early. Within 20 minutes she had put me through a screening process and provided me with several corrective exercises specifically designed to target my deficiencies. Following this was a clear explanation of areas i needed to focus on in some of my KB lifts. Her level of knowledge on the kb lifts was evident. Its safe to say the several PT sessions i had before the RKC were well worth it and payed off in the end. The time and energy i saved in getting proper instruction form the start meant i didn't have to unlearn to many bad habits. I would highly recommend Shannon to anyone wanting to improve their KB lifts. The corrective exercise made a huge difference and i can say for the first time i am actually proud of my bottom position of my squat, instead of looking like some kyphotic camel :)All the driving was well worth it thanks mate.
I've been extremely fortunate to have Shannon train me for the Australian RKC this past November. As soon as we set a plan in place, she emailed me my training program to do at home and we booked in PT sessions so I could ensure my technique was spot on. Shannon's knowledge of everything required for the RKC is brilliant! Nothing goes unnoticed. I've trained with other trainers before with many more years 'experience' in the fitness industry than Shannon, but their professionalism, knowledge and understanding of the human body, movement and exercises didn't even come close to what I see her providing to clients. At the RKC Shannon's expertise stood out. As a team assistant she had our team on the ball and her attention to safety during one of Melbourne's hottest weekends of the year didn't go unnoticed. She has definitely helped me become a better trainer. The 5 hour round trip to training sessions have been and will continue to be worth it!
As a nervous newcomer with a history of spinal issues, I had my doubts about my suitability to kettlebells. I was unsure when I first called to enquire, but after a chat with Andrew and Shannon I quickly warmed to the idea, so came in for the initial FMS. During that screening I was amazed at Shannon's knowledge and insight. I learned a great deal about my body's current state and potential. It was obvious that Shannon knew exactly what she was talking about, and what's more, embodied that knowledge.Inspired by her "can-do" demeanour and vivacious personality, I signed up for a series of preliminary sessions. How much I learned and how far I progressed in those sessions with Shannon blew me away! Shannon's meticulous attention to detail of body alignment and form is nothing short of exceptional. As a student of Iyengar Yoga, I am accustomed to this kind of precise anatomical discipline, so was very excited to find this parallel. (I am already noticing the correlations between the two practices and how they enhance each other!) Beginning with the fundamentals, explaining the hows and whys, she gradually unfurled deeper layers of understanding until I achieved more confidence and awareness of my form. Her eagle-eyed scrutiny, constant corrections and ability to explain key concepts using verbal and physical analogies in a practical way, has given me a solid foundation to build on.Shannon's sunny personality also made the sessions fun, positive and always encouraging. She knows when to punch you around and when to high-five you. I don't think I've ever been beaten up while attempting to hold a plank before, much less laugh about it!! Apparently laughter is strengthening too! Shannon naturally balances her professionalism and profound knowledge with her jovial and friendly manner.Even though she works and trains hard in her everyday life, Shannon is always very present and willing to take the extra time and energy to help out.All up I have found my time with Shannon to be extremely motivating, enlightening and confidence building. As a result, I am continuing training with the Dragon Door crew, safe in the knowledge that I am in the best of hands.
From my first session with Shannon I knew I was never going to get away with putting in anything less than 100%.With her extensive training and knowledge she could pick errors in my technique from across the room.One of the best things about Shannon is her eye for detail and being able to take you from what you are currently doing to the best possible technique with the most power.What I thought were minor movements in what I was doing had massive impact on me corrrectly working muscle groups and therefore a positive change of shape in my body and my overall results.If you want perfect technique and to be worked hard - Shannon is for you!
I started training with Shannon when I began a 16 week PT program. Hardest thing I have done in my kettlebell journey so far. But SO worth it. Shannon shared her expertise with me, and refined my form. Her attention to detail is amazing. She is a hard task master when needed, but is also understanding of the pressures and added stresses that life can put on your training program. Through everything she helped me achieve my goal. Massive increases in my strength, and a bonus of 14kg in weight loss. What I was not expecting was the 10cm loss from my waist and each thigh, as well as the 15cm loss from my hips. I could not ask for more!
46 years of my life have past which has included many years of general physical training and martial arts. After many years off the scene I got back into it at the beginning of 2011 by joining a well established gym network. Over the last 18 months I have come in contact with at least half a dozen Personal Trainers and observed dozens more. I was very happy with my trainers, all of them offering me great support and pushing me very hard. Over time I noticed some of the other members working with these things now known to me now as Kettlebells. One night driving my daughter home from singing I drove past the Moorabbin Dragon Door Centre. I decided to drop in just to see if I could find out about these strange awkward looking heavy handbag weights. This was when I first met Shannon. For a start she looked very fit (it surprises that some trainers do not) and she was very passionate about Kettlebell training. She explained what a difference they had to the her many sporting interests which which included hockey, martial arts and rock climbing. I grabbed her card and details. Shannon said she would call me after I had some time to review some of the information around Kettlebells and decide whether they were for me or not. Shannon called me and we decided a 10 session program would provide me with a good foundation to experience what Kettlebells can offer. The first session started with the most elaborate assessment of my physical body that I had previously been through. Shannon was focussed on assessing my mobility and the differences between my left and right sides. I scored okay with the results providing Shannon with a good understanding of what she was working with. Shannon also gave me some stretching type exercises to assist in increasing ankle and shoulder mobility. I continue to do these and experience the benefit the more that I do them.When we got down to business we started with the deadlift. This was when I realised this trainer was ahead of the rest actually it is not fair to compare. It is like comparing a surgeon with the local GP doctor. It was detail after detail yet bit by bit in other words no overload. Every exercise was broken down to its component parts and Shannon has the wherewithal to build the complex movement up from those parts. I appreciated this approach as I am someone who needs quite a bit on instruction to understand how something is to be done right. There was no rush at all in any of the sessions. The form had to be right, she honours her role and her clients body. If the movements are not done correct the benefit will be limited & may ultimately lead to injury. On most sessions I learnt one movement and at the end of each session I walked away feeling educated and confident to take what I learnt back to the gym. The next day and days I always knew that I had done the movement right because I was always sore in the all the right placesBetween our sessions I would attend my gyms and work through the growing list of Kettlebell exercises. Progressively my workout has become all about Kettlebells. I now have the Deadlift, Swing Two/One, Goblet Squats, Clean & Press, Snatch, Get Up, Halo, Sling Shot and a range of lesser movements in my repertoire. As far as what I think Kettlebells "Awesome" is my answer but I must admit if is was not for Shannon my answer would most likely be "yeah there okay not sure what all the fuss is about". I still have plenty of room for improvement. Form is the key and not weight, sets & reps. When the form goes stop. Last Wednesday was my tenth session and as usual I pulled up sore in all the right places. I expect to be be checking in with Shannon for subsequent monitoring especially in the short term. I have a 16kg KB at home called Betsy and more on the way. In closing it's a big YES to Kettlebell training, a big YES to starting out with a trainer and huge YES for contacting Shannon to discuss training with Kettlebells. Thank You Shannon
Shannon is undeniably an exceptional trainer, her technique is perfect and she really share her knowledges with modesty and is always happy to help.She also have a big heart and she treat her victim (me !) with tough love, I don't want to re-write all The RKC Code of Conduct but she is the best at REPRESENT our small community in Australia.I whish you all the best Comrade Shannon..
Personally the single biggest thing that stood out for me when I met Shannon was just her great personality. That's not to offend her knowledge and skills because otherwise she wouldn't be an RKC 2.But for me her willingness to help you succeed in any lift was just awesome. I remember when she took her time out of her own training to help me with my get up. Not many people would do that.When Shannon starts talking and demonstrating exercises (especially the KB Snatch) you truly understand why she is the only female RKC 2 in Australia.Thanks for everything Shannon, looking forward to future training sessions at DD Aus.
It was an absolute pleasure to be instructed by Shannon at the recent Melbourne HKC. She is not only a phenomenal athlete and technician, but an outstanding coach. Something that is quite rare these days. The practical and effective instruction I received was communicated in such a positive and friendly manner that gave me confidence and motivation to keep improving. Shannon is an inspiring coach and great role model. Would recommend her to anyone and everyone seeking to either learn or fine-tune their kettlebell technique.
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