Saturday April 26, 2014. This date has been circled on my calendar since last year’s Agatsu meet in October. I knew I wanted to lift here but it was only a month ago that I officially signed up and committed to it. I had just started training with the 20kg kettlebell a week or so after the OKC Cali Open and knew that this competition would’ve only given me 7 weeks of training and preparation. I wasn’t sure if that was enough time to work up to doing a full 10 minute set or what to expect of myself, but decided to make it my goal anyways. What’s there to lose, right?
Fast forward 7 weeks – today was the Agatsu Canadian Kettlebell Championship held in Toronto at the Fighting Arts Academy Gym. What made it more special was that it marked many firsts for me:
• First time competing in 20kg long cycle. I had no numbers in mind. Just to have fun and lift in the moment.
• First ever 10 minute set with the 20kg kettlebell. My longest set done to date was 6 minutes at 9.2rpm. The ultimate goal would’ve been to maintain a 9-10rpm pace throughout.
• First time as a judge. Honestly, I think I spent more time worrying about this than doing my actual set. I made sure I studied all the rules to ensure that I knew when to make the no count and -1 calls.
I was on at 11:40am on the 5th flight and 2nd platform. This time, I had fellow lifter and owner of Fighting Arts Collective gym, Ryan Kennedy as my judge.
Once Flight 4 ended, I had about 5 minutes to get ready. Aside from a bit of stretching and mobility I did beforehand, I only had a chance to do like 20 swings and 3 reps of long cycle with a 12kg bell. Then the rest of my time was spent setting up my camera, picking out my kettlebell, and getting my lifting form to my judge. Just as I was about to pick up the 16kg to continue my warm up, the 30 second countdown began. I was out of time, so ready or not, the only option left was to go straight into my set!
I had a great strong start. Maintained a steady pace of about 10rpm for the first 2-3 minutes, then 9-8rpm on the remaining 2 minutes. In 5 minutes, I got 45 reps on my right arm before switching over to the left. I stayed calm and relaxed throughout my set and made sure I kept my technique clean and had good fixation on each rep.
After switching sides, I continued on with my left arm, going at a steady pace of about 8-9rpm as this was my less dominant arm. I felt a tiny bit of fatigue set in towards the end of my set but I was determined and went right to the end! Finished my time with another 39 reps on my left, making it a grand total of 84 reps! This definitely felt like my best and strongest set to date and I can feel a big improvement in my lifting technique since moving up a weight.
After my set was done, I had volunteered to help judge a few sets. The tables had turned, I was now put in control of determining the validity of the lifter’s performance. This was exciting and new to me, so I made sure I was well prepared and took my job seriously. It takes a lot of mental strength, determination, confidence and perseverance to get under those heavy bells. Being an athlete myself, I know that all the GS athletes here trained really hard to display their best efforts while giving it their all on the platform. As a judge, I stayed objective, fair, and professional in all my calls. It was all in all a very good learning experience as I got to judge lifters of different skill sets – from new lifters to seasoned veterans lifting the 24kgs.
A FEW THANK YOUS
A big thanks to my GS coach Jason Dolby for being patient and there for me, despite the 4200km buffer zone and 3hr time difference. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. His GS programming is like magic! Just do the lifting he prescribes and the results will come. Then throw in a bit of my workout rebel ways of doing my lifting late into the night and adding in ‘extra workouts’ here and there. Just like that. BOOM!!! CHU HI!!!
Thank you to Agatsu and Sara-Clare Lajeunesse for organizing another great event and for letting me help out as a judge! This was an amazing experience all around!
And thanks to my PJ for the amazing energizing massage the night before the comp. My body was still so tired from all the workouts I fit in (soccer, kettlebells, abs, deadlifting, squatting, pressing, Clubz Cardio workout, etc) leading up to this competition. I guess it’s a good thing I listened to my coach and skipped the hot yoga on Friday in exchange for relaxation and not making weight. The massage energized me and I rocked my set today!
With a total of 84reps in the 10 minute 20kg long cycle event, I won a Gold medal! The result was way beyond what I expected to get considering I only had 7 weeks of training and 15 lifting sessions! This was definitely a good first run with the 20kg. Now that I know I can survive a 10 minute set, my new goal will be to hit 100 reps somewhere down the line. For now I will continue training hard and aim to hit that number at my next competition: the Niagara Falls Kettlebell Open Championship in June!
For those who weren’t there, here’s a video of me representing Kettlebells 4 Autism at the Agatsu KB Championships during my 20kg long cycle set: