AKA 2014 Nationals in NYC – The Pride Conditioning Kettlebell Army

I have so much to say I am not sure I will get to everything that is in my head. I met so many new people and got to hang out with a bunch of friends we already knew, and my team’s performance was amazing and my performance was great, so wow, a lot to get to!

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I will start off with my team’s performance. We had a first time competitor on the team for this competition, Ashley Z and wow she picked one of the biggest comps in the US for her first! Ashley did great, hit a big PR of 169 snatches and got 1st place in 12kg snatch and rank2. Ashley’s performance was great, she was super smooth and even though her nerves were pretty fried coming into this big competition she was very composed on the platform and when she was done she thanked her judge and yelled out “that was fun!” Yes it is fun isn’t it Ashley?! Well, Ashley is going to give all of you some of her own words and thoughts from the perspective of a new lifter, stay tuned and we will get it published in a couple days.

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On to Ashley’s other half, Chris; he did great with a big PR of 72 reps Long Cycle on 20kg bells which got him first place and rank2! Closer to the comp I was giving Chris a lot of my workouts that I was given by my coach, same time and reps just on his competition weight bells and wow did it really push his number up big time, Chris will now begin training for the 24’s.

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Next up, Billy; what can I say, this dude is a beast! Another big PR and another first place and rank2! Billy crushed those 20kg bells in biathlon with 120 jerks and his best snatch set ever with 144 reps worth 72 points. We are super proud of Billy, this guy works his ass off and he will be moving up to compete on the 24’s now.

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On to Team Seamans…

Lindsay has had some serious shoulder injuries which prevented her from competing on 16kg which is what she was training for and while it upset her to drop down to the 12kg she put up some huge numbers for her first biathlon event and ended up with 133 jerks and 174 snatches for a first place and rank2. Lindsay and I have been Long Cycle specialists since we started competing so switching her over to biathlon was tough at first but she really enjoys it now. Lindsay was truly amazed at all the compliments people gave her on her technique, especially in snatch, she makes it look effortless and smooth. We are all super proud of Lindsay, especially myself, for struggling through her injuries and still stepping up on that platform!

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So how did I do? I took this event very seriously and trained my ass off. Several months ago after Lindsay and I were both very injured from bad technique and moving up in weight too fast, we hired the best coach in the business, Chris Duffey of Lockout Kettlebells. Duffey is amazing, his programming is tough, very tough, but somehow doable, he knows exactly how to push us and he knows what we are capable of even when we doubt ourselves. We completely changed my technique and rack position and each week my training got tougher and tougher but each week I was putting up a PR. We kept all of this very hush hush, knowing that my performance would speak for itself…and it did. I took first place in long cycle on the 28kg kettlebells with 51 reps, just 6 reps short of CMS. Our coach did not even let me think about or focus on that CMS number, my only concern was making 10 minutes and winning. My competition, Juan Pellot, is an amazing lifter with great strength and super fast and crisp technique, he was ahead of me by one or two reps the entire set until he put the bells down a little early which allowed me to catch up and then win. Juan is a great guy, and a great lifter and I was happy to meet him and compete next to him. This was my first competition having a coach there and it was an enormous stress reliever, if it weren’t for having Duffey there to tell me the game plan and to keep me calm I am not sure I would have done so well, I seriously cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me, thanks a million coach! Next comp I will bring home that CMS pin!

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How about the competition itself? It was freaking awesome! We brought and sold a lot of Cavebars and a lot of shirts and we met a ton of new faces and people we connected with on facebook and were finally able to meet in person. We got to meet fellow Lockout teammate Will Metcalf who has come back from brain surgery to compete with amazing success, we also got to meet Megan Densmore, Lorna Kleidman (one of the first woman in the US to hit Master of Sport), Chris Doenlen, Randal Setzler, Amanda Wegner (we will see you in Saint Petersburg next year!), BJ Bliffert, Jason Lesko, and many others (if we met and I am forgetting you here I am sorry!)! We also got to hang out with our big kettlebell family from all over the country, we got to see Steve and the Ice Chamber girls, Jess, Surya, Brittany, Miranda, Melissa and the rest of their team. We got to hang with our Punch family from Florida, coach Jay Trunzo, Teri, Cayla and Chris. We got to see our good friends Judi and Valerie and Cara, our NY/NJ ladies. I got to hang with the big dog John Lesko and meet his brother Jason. We got to see Erin and Jenny from ATC here in Charlotte compete and we got to talk with their coach Cyrus, the man who taught me how to swing, clean, jerk, and snatch a kettlebell. And we got to show everyone who our coach is and show how his programing works to produce serious results, Duffey even took the time to go over technique with all of our lifters which is truly an amazing thing when someone with his knowledge gives you a gift like that.

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Overall the competition was run very well, it was organized by Yuri and his assistant Alexander, the US reps for the best kettlebell organization in the US, the American Kettlebell Alliance. The AKA is the official US organization under the IUKL, the IUKL is the official kettlebell governing body with support and approval from the Russian government. The IUKL will be holding the world championships in Hamburg Germany in two months. We joined the AKA due to their organization and their promotion of kettlebell sport in the US and because they are part of the largest worldwide organization. We will now begin working with the AKA to help other gyms in the Carolinas hold competitions to bring more new lifters into the sport, to grow the sport. All of this work and promotion by the AKA and the IUKL is for two goals, to grow the sport and attract new lifters and to someday apply for kettlebell sport to be in the Olympics. We truly hope that if you are reading this and you are interested in kettlebell sport that you will come see us or another AKA gym to help train you and get you on the platform to have some fun! As you can see part of this sport is about the pain and intense training and the agony as well as the joy of competing, but it is also about the people, making new friends and traveling to new places, so please come join us and join the AKA! We are hosting a competition right here at Pride Conditioning on October 25th so please come lift with us, we will have a big BBQ and beer and a kettlebell fire juggling show after!

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