I chanced upon Coach Andyn, one of the pioneer and leading Kettlebell Coach in Singapore back in Dec 2009. I was intrigued by this odd looking ball and most importantly I was curious and almost frustrated when he insisted on teaching me the kettlebell swing for almost a month.
Little did I realise that technique and form is very crucial before I can progress to the next movement. He was passionate and meticulous and until he was satisfied with my swings only then was I allowed to progress. I was hooked by then at this sport that require so much attention, focus and patience. I was also losing inches and dropping body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. How did I know this? My weight back then was hovering from 60-62kg. Now I am still 60kg but I can fit into clothes 4-6 sizes smaller than before!
Feeling satisfied with kettlebell training and hungry for more, I registered for the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation Level 1 certification for Certified Kettlebell Teachers in March 2010. I travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to be trained by Coach Vince Choo. My journey has just begun.
I did not mentioned earlier that in my conquest for kettlebell inspiration, I kept watching youtube videos of athletes from Russia and US and from there I stumbled upon some CrossFit videos. I did some reading. WOD, or Workout of the Day, sometimes named after women, such as Fran which consisted of 21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull Ups flew over my head. I was clueless. I then found Coach Kevin Lim of CrossFit Singapore who is Head Coach and owner of a “Box” at Kallang Industrial Park who is also a good friend of Coach Andyn! I got acquainted quickly and… after the first 3 fundamental class, I was hooked too!
If I thought Coach Andyn was meticulous, Coach Kevin was a perfectionist. Shouting across the box “butt back!” “engage your core!” “chest up!” he is relentless with form and that was also drilled into my head. A slight error would be disastrous so strong foundation is extremely important. I am blessed to have met both of them who are passionate and hold true to their beliefs and integrity.
Lets take a quick walk into memory lane. Before 2009, my version of fitness just like many, was to be able to run a marathon under 3 hours. I trained long hours on the cardio machines – elliptical, stairmaster, bicycles, treadmill, you named it I did it. I refused to lift heavy weights for fear of bulking up, I did crunches to squeeze those packs out and my idea of functional training was joining a kickboxing class so I can kickbox my way through life. I excelled in two of the ten domains of fitness – cardiovascular / respiratory endurance and stamina but what about strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, accuracy and balance?
CrossFit taught me so much and up to today I am still learning. There are always new moves to learn, new theory and discussion sprouting up and I feel that I will never learn it all! The CrossFit Journal holds an abundance wealth of information which if one just spend time reading it everyday, one will improve and learn something new every single day.
After the course in KL and passing the CrossFit Fundamentals, I trained two to three times a week at CrossFit Singapore, two to three times kettlebell training on my own and adopted a new approach to my nutrition – Paleo Diet. My body after a month was changing so quickly it was incredible! I thought I was fit, I was WRONG! CrossFit humbled me down and I was again hungry for more knowledge. On top of that I met this group of amazing athletes from all walks of life in the box and they became the one of the biggest reason why I wake up at 5am every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to attend the 7am session. It did not matter to me that they screamed out “No Count” at me during the workout, I secretly wished they do because that only means I am getting better everytime. I always looked forward to that PR (Personal Record) even if the lift increased by only 5 pounds, I always looked forward to the WOD even when I never knew what it was the night before so I could chicken out and I always looked forward to that shopping trip for new clothes! I never felt so good training, I am healthier, I am leaner, I am happier, exercise is like brushing my teeth, life became so much easier, I am more alert longer in the day, I have more energy and strength to cope with what life throws at me. Mentally and Physically.
Needless to say, I got certified as Level 1 Crossfit Certified Trainer in Sydney, Australia at Crossfit Effects in November 2010. Yes, I love to travel for certifications because that allows me to meet other outstanding people who have the same interest, living in a different country and culture.
In between, I also met a non-profit team called the SG Titans who focus on basic principles of strength and conditioning with a training ground three MRT stations away from where I live. Most of them are strongman finalists and it was there I learned how to apply all the training I did in Crossfit and Kettlebells into… the 180kg tyre! It is a big feat for a 60kg female to flip a tyre three times her weight but with the right technique, right amount of hip drive at the right time, she can do it! I am proud to say i am able to flip it 10 times and that’s the most number of flips I have ever done. My record is 1:04 and I hope to be sub 1min. Like Coach Kevin would say, if there’s an earthquake and the building collapse on your loved ones, will you be able to lift the rubble out of the way, carry your beloved and sprint to safety quickly? With all due respect to endurance athletes (I would never be able to run 42km under 3hours) but no amount of marathon running will help us adapt to that. The unknown that life throws at us. That is why I hold the CrossFit 10 domains of Fitness close to my heart.
June 2011 brought me to Hong Kong to compete in South East Asia first Kettlebell competition organized by Muk (IKFF/IKSFA). What a wonderful experience to meet fellow kettlebell athletes from the region. I have a lot more to learn and in future with more Kettlebell Competition coming up, I hope to improve my technique and form and meet more people!
Now did I mentioned to you; before I became a trainer I was a fat, sloppy, what i THOUGHT was a doomed-to-death genetics-induced pear-shaped figure, 68-70kg girl who thrived on Fast Food and Old Chang Kee and the only exercise I got was walking to the nearest Cafe to get a Vanilla Latte and a Chocolate Muffin during tea break?
Kettlebell, Crossfit and many special individuals have changed the way I approached fitness. Changing my eating habits have further enhanced my performance and lifestyle. Everyone can make changes to their lives. It depends on how badly you want it.