SFG1 Strength journey at FITIN2IT Personal Training, North Melbourne
It was the first time in two years that I had a break from work. I was on my exchange semester in Australia, and I had absolutely nothing to do. I had been eyeing the StrongFirst Girya level 1 certification (SFG1) for a while; my fellow trainers back in Montreal were crazy about it, and truth to be said, they looked amazing (if you didn’t know, StrongFirst Girya is about strength training with kettlebells. Read more about it on Strongfirst.com). I thought of myself as a retired athlete at 21 years old, but those people, who were in their thirties or forties, were heaps better than me in pretty much every aspect of fitness, and still competing! Adding all that together, I decided to start training with Patrycja at Fitin2it Personal Training in order to prepare for the cert (she is the only accessible trainer from StrongFirst in North Melbourne).
What the trainers do at Fitin2it is a lot more than just getting “fit”.
I usually think that everything is easy, especially when compared to the training I had done when I was a competitive swimmer at the provincial level (FYI, that means training around 15h-20h per week, and a bit more than that during training camps). I consider myself a fast learner too, which does not help my attitude when it comes to trying new sports. I’m cocky and I get bored easily from doing most kinds of repetitive training, which is often required to be good at a sport.
I started training at Fitin2it in the beginning of March 2017. I’m not a fan of lifting weights, for those of you who are curious, so that was the first time I did proper strength training. Although, we DID do weight training as swimmers, but from what I recall, it was more for muscle hypertrophy and muscle endurance than strength, and I hated it. This just goes to show that I was not very enthusiastic about it at the start, and was ready to bail at any time. In the end, I didn’t bail, and I got my SFG1. This cert might actually be the only thing I have really worked for since I stopped swimming. What kept me on track and even made my training FUN was my coach and friend Patrycja, who was ready to tell me the truth: that I needed more practice, that I needed to get my butt off the ground and that I had to start working earnestly. She gave me an appropriate challenge, safe methods to get to my goal, and made training very enjoyable.
To give you an idea of what happened: a bit less than a month before the cert (it was in mid-June 2017), I thought I was ready. Yes, it was a mistake from my part to think this way. Patrycja actually scolded me and scared the hell out of me!! It was the first time in ages that someone told me off like that. I was very disappointed with myself for being so cocky, so I worked my ass off afterwards. In the end, my left press, which I had trouble with, got good enough that I can do sets of 8x (5-5 press) with the 16kg with little to no trouble. I went from 0 pull ups to 3 from dead hang. My core strength and stability improved. My TGU could be done on some days with the 24kg. And most importantly, the results of my training transferred to the other sports that I had been doing: my climbing improved, and my swimming did not deteriorate as much as I thought (even though I had not trained in the pool for ages).
What I have learned during my training with Patrycja is not just physical strength, but strength of character. I re-learned what I have lost since I stopped swimming. I take training at Fitin2it to be a privilege; it’s not the kind of gym where you can walk into and say “oh yeah maybe I’d like to get stronger”, waste both yours and the trainers’ time, and walk out after giving up. Trainers at Fitin2it have expectations, and to be able to train with them, you have to meet them halfway. Having a trainer who is willing to be angry at you for not caring after yourself enough is so very rare in the fitness industry… I believe that I couldn’t have found a better place to train other than at Fitin2it anywhere else in Melbourne. I hear my coach say this quite often: “just COMMIT to lifting that weight”. I think it applies just as well to committing to your own well-being and showing up to training and make your body happy.