So every year I travel to the Arnold expo in Columbus, Ohio to compete in kettlebell sport. This year of course was no different. This was my 4th Arnold Expo and it was spectacular! Lifting next to world champions, meeting the strongest man in the world, being on stage in front of thousands of people, talking with people from Concept2 and Doughnuts & Deadlifts, the Arnold 2017 was really big for me this year and it was big for kettlebell sport! Read on and let me tell you all about it!
On Saturday I competed next to the greatest kettlebell sport lifter in the world Ivan Denisov! Having the 13 time world champion lifting next to me was very motivating! Some people would crumble under this pressure, lifting next to such a great lifter, but I loved every second of it and was a true honor to be next to him. Ivan was almost double my pace, so every other rep he put up I knew I had to push, this made my breathing and pacing actually quite easy. My goal this year is to hit CMS (Candidate for Master of Sport) which is 60 reps on 28kg , I told some close friends I would be happy with 50 reps and I hit 51 so I am happy with my set. After blowing out a tendon in my right forearm two years ago while training to hit CMS it has been a long road back to the 28kg “pumpkins” but I am here, I am healthy, I feel good, and my technique and strength and confidence is improving. As long as I can stay healthy and injury free I have no doubts that I will hit 60 reps for CMS this year. I have been training very hard, staying super dedicated, not doing extra bullshit that could get me injured. Last year I began training under coach Igor Morozov, multiple time Russian, Military and World champion and a really good coach and programmer. Igor has truly inspired me and motivated me and helped develop my confidence and improve my speed and technique and I thank him a lot. I also have some great lifting friends who have helped me a ton, Will Metcalf, Josh Harshman and Carter Berry, and a few international friends who have also helped me, thanks a million guys! But as always my biggest thanks goes out to my biggest supporter, my wife Lindsay, thanks so much for everything you do for me and the gym and the AKA, love you this much!
I only wanted to meet a few people at the Arnold, some Olympic lifters, some gym owners, and a couple other athletes. Due to our lifting schedule I did not get to meet half the people I wanted to but I got to meet Greg Hammond from Concept2 who I hope to collaborate with this year to put on some great row and ski events and do some online social media challenges with the rower and the skierg coupled with kettlebells. I also got to meet Krissy Mae and Chloe Johnston from Doughnuts & Deadlifts, two amazingly friendly ladies who work their asses off lifting and promoting their gym and their apparel brand. So many people go to the Arnold to meet super famous models or bodybuilders, they stand in line for hours to get a picture with these people. I went to the Arnold to compete and lift with my friends and to meet just a couple of real world people who work hard and love what they do. But the people I did not expect to meet were the most famous power lifters in the world, Thor “The Mountain” from Game of Thrones, Bryan Shaw, and a few Russian lifters. We were given the opportunity to lift on the main stage in front of thousands of people, right after these guys set some new world records, and I got to meet them all backstage! Let me tell you, I am not a small guy but these dudes made me feel like a bug they could crush at any moment! But it was an honor to meet guys who’s work ethic and dedication to their sport have brought them to the biggest sports stage in the fitness world, and I got to be there and lift on that same stage in front of that same crowd.
Exactly what were we doing on that stage? Well we were promoting a new format for kettlebell sport, the “Face Off” head to head bracket! Similar to a basketball bracket, we had four guys, myself, Ivan Denisov, Yevgeniy Goncharov, and John Lesko. I faced Goncharov, he won, then Lesko had to face Denisov and Denisov won, then I had to face Lesko for 3rd place and he won, and then Denisov had to face Goncharov and Denisov won. The format was 3:00 long cycle, jerk, snatch, with a 1:00 rest between. The pros Denisov and Goncharov were on 32kg and Lesko and myself were on 24kg. Let me tell you, we all competed on Saturday in our normal sport sets, and then we knew we were doing the face off on Sunday, but the promoters came and got us and told us we were going on the main stage right after Bryan Shaw and Thor got done breaking world records! Sound crazy? It was! The crowd was huge, the lights were very bright, we were on two massive tv screens and being live streamed on the Rogue website to millions! The sets were brutal. I gave it all I had but I lost both matches. I was just fried from the day before. My arms were done and my legs did not want to move. It was truly a fun time and I loved it but I was tired. But even through the pain I could see all the people in the crowd amazed at watching kettlebell sport for the first time, after we got off stage we got lots of questions from people in the crowd and we got to explain the sport to them. This exposure for kettlebell sport was huge! And I was happy to be a part of it!
Right after we got off stage we had to pack our stuff and get out of the expo as I had to take Goncharov to the airport and then I had to make the 7 hour drive home after competing three times. Tired and sore do not begin to describe how I feel! Haha!
We are hosting a large meet at the Charlotte Europa Expo on April 22-23, if you would like to train for it, even if you are a beginner, please let me know! I can help you! If you are a sport athlete please come to this event it will be two days and have regular sport sets, half marathon, strong sport, and yes a couple of face off matches! Here is the link for registration…
Thanks to everyone for your continued support! I am in need of sponsors to help me travel to compete at the AKA nationals in August in Wilton CT, and hopefully to Seoul Korea for world championships in November. Interested sponsors can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org thanks! I can offer promotion of your company or products to hundreds of followers on social media and email lists.