People know me as the “Kettlebell Guy.”
I am not just about the “Kettlebell”, but the universal PRINCIPLES that I apply to using this tool, which also apply to the Barbell, to Bodyweight and to Flexibility training: to MOVEMENT.
Above and beyond everything, I teach Movement based principles that revolve around QUALITY, SIMPLICITY and PURPOSE. The idea is to move well, be strong and resilient for the rest of your life. In order to become stronger, we must always assess ourselves and continue to work on our weaknesses.
What I love about the kettlebell, is that it is a “carry around” gym. It is a simple and indestructible tool that, if used properly, can transform someone’s life for the better.
I had never even considered picking up a kettlebell until one unfortunate event changed my life.
When I was 21, I was sentences to a 7-year prison term.
My “Rite of Passage”
Coming from a broken home and an alcoholic father, dealing drugs while in high school was my way of coping with life. My lifestyle spiraled out of control until it landed me in jail.
While in prison I discovered a part of me that I never knew existed: my strength. Becoming self-reliant, stronger and resilient was instrumental in my ability to survive the harsh environment.
With an abundance of free time, I dedicated myself to strength training, and learning the best methods to become stronger. It gave me a new purpose and became the perfect meditation. I could transport myself to a different place far beyond the barbed wires, focusing on my mind and body.
I came across a book called Power to the People, by Pavel Tsatsouline. Pavel’s teachings changed my entire approach to training. Although his program focused on only two exercises, the depth of detail on the techniques and principles made it like no other. His methods gave me instant results that converted directly into strength. I became one of his most loyal followers. I ordered most of his books and learned about bodyweight and kettlebell training from the master.
Because of my circumstances, weights weren’t always available, so I had to make the most out of what I had. Through calisthenics, I was able to strengthen my body without having to rely on any equipment. This gave me ultimate independence: My body was a tool and I could train for strength wherever I went without having to rely on external weights.
About six months before my release, the Rec Supervisor at the facility ordered two pairs of kettlebells. No one knew how to use them, besides me. Well, sort of. This was my first exposure to kettlebells. This awkward and unusual weight felt “heavy” compared to the more traditional dumbbell. Little did I know then about the power of the kettlebell…
In prison, I dreamed about what my plans would be once I got out. I knew I wanted to become a certified instructor and teach others how to become stronger through the use of kettlebells, and bodyweight training. I wanted to lead others by example and inspire young people to make better choices by sharing my story.
Upon my release in 2012, I signed up for the HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification) in Toronto, and that’s where I finally met Master Jon Engum, who became my teacher. He told me about Pavel’s new organization called StrongFirst.
This was it. This was destiny speaking to me.
I immediately signed up and started preparing for the industry’s toughest and most challenging certification: the SFG Level I. It took me over a year to prepare. In November 2013, I attended the certification in Toronto. The rest is history.
Since then, I have continued my quest as a student to educate myself and learn as much as possible. I have become SFG2, SFB, SFL under StrongFirst. I finally got to meet and learn from my mentor, Pavel at his seminar Plan Strong. I have become the Flexible Steel leader in Canada under the tutelage of my teacher Master Jon Engum, I have become certified FMS2 under Brett Jones and also a certified Ground Force Method professional.
I currently teach the StrongFirst Kettlebell and Bodyweight user courses, as well as Flexible Steel certifications across Canada. I am also the proud owner of Hardstyle Kettlebell Mtl, my own “school of strength” in the Montreal area, where I teach. In my free time, I share my story whenever I can in hopes of inspiring others. For some, I offer hope, strength and a new purpose. When I am not swinging kettlebells, I pursue my other passion which is drawing and painting.
Although prison was a necessary accident for me, I do not wish this upon anyone. It was something that I needed to grow. There, I learned many lessons on life and training that have stuck with me ever since. Here are 7 of them:
- Be free and self-reliant: Do not become a prisoner to the gym. There will be times where you won’t be able to make it. Be the person to make the world his own playground and that can train anytime and anywhere. Use your own bodyweight and a kettlebell for your workouts and rely on yourself, not a gym schedule.
- Be consistent: Make training a part of your lifestyle and you shall not have a problem with being consistent. Make strength a part of who you are and training will come out of necessity. Set yourself an achievable goal and progressively work towards it.
- Strength is your attitude: Strength should not be judged solely on what you can accomplish physically, but your character and view on life. You cannot feel and be strong all the time, but you can come back every time. You can be the person with a strong spirit and an indomitable will.
- Live by your principles: Honor your word, respect others and be loyal to your family, friends and colleagues. Trust me, your reputation will go a long way and your respect will be earned.
- Master the basics: Focus on fewer things, but aim to do them better every day. Practice before working out, pay attention to the details in your movement. Focus on the basics like squats, pullup, and presses. Keep it simple and it will be much easier to manage in the long run.
- Find your purpose: Find what drives and motivates you to do what you do. What makes you happy? Find a mentor or role model that inspires you and can guide you along your life’s journey. Keep improving yourself and never stop learning.
- Get-up every time you fail: The world can be a harsh place and failure is part of life. But what determines your success is being able to bounce back every time. Being resilient to life’s hidden valleys is what will make you tougher. It won’t be easy and you will have times where you’d rather quit and give up because it much easier. Don’t give in to the path of least resistance, instead give your 100% every time and if you fail come back stronger.