Being nomadic here in Chicago, trying to find my way. My buddy Denis the guy, I met him at a GNC. He was like, “You should come train at Equinox.” I started [laughs] working at this Gucci-ass gym called Equinox.
Denis who was my mentor in all the fitness, I would probably say one of the first guys in Chicago to bring the Kettlebell to Chicago. I think he did the very first RKC Cert with Pavel. He’s the guy who understood all the old classic training, all the old 1920s, 1910, 1920s, Arthur Saxon-type training styles.
The way he looked you know those boxers back in 1890s, that’s how he looks. Very wiry thin but insanely strong and flexible. Me, I was always like this meatball that was like a rhino I guess, I don’t know.
When I started working at Equinox, my first couple of months in, he saw my bodybuilding stuff. Again, I love the progression and the programming for bodybuilding. He saw I do all that stuff. He came up and he’s like, “You should get into kettlebells and mace training and stuff like that.” I was like, “That’s not for me, that’s like whatever.” He said, “No, you should try it.”
It slowly progressed from that. For about the next two, three years, I would do swings casually, you rose. I would get the kettlebells and do tricep extensions and stuff like that. The creativity of bodybuilding is killer. I love it, dude. There’s so much avenues you can have in bodybuilding where you can make your workout fun.
Which is the antithesis of hard-style kettlebell training. Hardstyle kettlebell training is like, “You do these five movements and you do them until you need to progress,” which is the dog muzzle, a little foo-foo for me.
Anywho, then what happened was, I left Equinox and I went private. When you go private, especially in a place like Chicago, when you’re training privately, you are limited to little gyms or private gyms.
With that said, you get more and more into kettlebell training. Then what happened was, I went and got StrongFirst certified, which was monumental for my training, not only strength training but overall movement stuff.
With a background of bodybuilding and Equinox influence which is being over hyphy, the whole functional shit. Then the StrongFirst it started to build out from there. After my first StrongFirst cert, I started running all these regiments to my clients and stuff.
Also with myself, but I’m getting bored of the snatch test. The Turkish Getup, this is going to sound very pompous but a lot of the StrongFirst ideas just seemed very pedestrian.
It sounds really pompous, but to me, it wasn’t hard to do a Turkish Getup with a 48. That’s what I warm up with. The snatch test was almost a warm-up for me. At that point, I’m getting bored and I’m a failed artist.
I was a touring musician, skateboarder, degrees in History, and Philosophy, and Literature. The redundancy, I just was over it. I was like, “Why can’t we just paint it up a little bit?” Then I started trying shit. I started looking at cannonballs like I looked at skateboarding or I looked at bodybuilding, like, “How can I do this?”
I’m like, “Oh, fuck, let’s try it.” The fearlessness of me, I’m not scared [laughs] of anything like that. I started experimenting. It’s funny even to this day, a few months ago I was like, “I’m going to try this 80kg bell.”
I was a little scared. I’m like, “This is the first time I’ve ever been scared to do a bent press with an 80kg bell and we’ll see what happens.” That’s how it’s always been like I’ll throw this bell in the air and see what happens. [laughs] It’s not the safest thing.
I don’t get a lot, but even backlash, “Oh, that’s not safe. Aren’t you scared you’re going to hurt yourself?” “No, that’s why I do it because I’m not scared I’m going to hurt myself.” [laughs] Anyhow, that’s what happened, just progressed.
This random thing became a very cathartic output for me. I can give a shit. I’m not trying to sell anything, I’m not trying to inspire anybody. I’m just like, “Hey, here’s me. Here’s me doing a trick or whatever, and here’s a stupid blurb.” Almost like a live journal of my life. Then that’s what happens, it started to take off. [laughs]