Christian and Mark certify with Steve Cotter!

Last weekend Christian and Mark Stroud joined other Kettlebell freaks from all around Europe to train with master trainer Steve Cotter from the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF)

The IKFF “Certified Kettlebell Teacher” training programme is considered one of the best in the world, with a gruelling exam to pass it. Who better to train us, than one of the best kettlebell trainers in the world, Steve Cotter who is renown for his amazing strength and endurance.

Steve in action:

Steve and his team strive for excellence, and put us through extended sets of up to eight minutes of snatches and overhead squats. Squatting with a 24k extended at full lock out above your head for time really has to be experienced!


< Mark and Christian practice the overhead Squat.

We where also assessed on the double kettlebell squat, which involved squatting with 48kg (2 X 24kg) for 4 minutes. Pure evil!

We where amazed how many people had flown in for the two day course from all parts of the UK and Europe, a testament of how highly regarded the qualification is internationally.

It was great to finally meet Jonathan Lewis from Industrial Strength London who was assisting Steve on the day, and Ranoch Donald (Simple Strength) the daddy of Kettlebells in Scotland. Also assisting was Charlotte Ord, who I trained with back in 2007 to gain my first ever Kettlebell qualification. Thanks to all of you for your help and assistance over the gruelling two days!

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The False Athlete

Maximum respect to Jon Le Tocq, who wrote this superb post.

Posted on 04 July 2009
Source: The False Athlete

Go into any gym in any country in the world and at least 90% of people will tell you they are there for some variation of ‘building muscle and burning fat’.
We have been programmed to pay homage to the ‘inspirational’ figure models we see on the front of magazines.
I find it quite comical how many guys take the piss out of girls who literally come to worship or at least idolise the ‘Size Zero’s’ who make all the headlines, then slip into the downward spiral of eating disorders and the rollercoaster that is crash dieting.

get an athletes body

The fact is boys, you are no different. You are obsessed with a similar journey, just in an opposite direction. Life becomes about what you can do to add another pound of muscle and get another 1% of your body fat.
too have these goals but my approach has some very critical differences which I want you to explore or at least consider.

Stop for a second.

When have you EVER been satisfied with your results?

You may well have hit a target you set in terms of adding muscle or burning fat but I am willing to bet my bottom dollar you still felt the need to go out and buy more supplements, another magazine or got sucked into another ‘insane muscle building’ program on the internet.
athlete physique

I truly believe the reason for this is that you are well off target in terms of what you THINK you want.
The truth is, you want to look BE an athlete.
You want a muscular physique with minimal body fat all year round right?
That is fair enough.

However, you are not willing to train like an athlete and simultaneously achieve a body that performs like one.

You marvel at the Floyd Mayweather’s and ripped MMA fighters of this world but you refuse to think like them, let alone act like them.

Until you can achieve this you will never reach fulfillment with your training and will constantly be like the little girls who are obsessed with appearance only.

Not only this, but what you fail to realize is that many of these cover models are either ‘one hit wonders’ or don’t really look like or act like you think they do.

Last year I was part of the Men’s Health team that competed in the inaugural Survival of The Fittest event. Two or three of our team members were cover models. Not only did I finish ahead of all the models in the event who struggled massively when their bodies were challenged beyond a camera shot, but their bodies were nowhere near as impressive as what you seen on the magazine cover.

Yes they had more muscle than me but the definition of the photoshoot wasn’t there and if I hadn’t been told otherwise I wouldn’t have known.

I have heard many bodybuilders talk of how their abs only look great once or twice a year when they have stripped down and dangerously dehydrated themselves to get ‘stage ready’.

You believe they look like this all year and begin to chase the dream.

It’s like Stevie Wonder walking through a minefield.

See you’re not only being sold dreams that are actually ‘photo-shop’d with clever computer trickery, but even if you do achieve a great LOOKING body, you are still aware you are just pretending to be an athlete.
You know it and it niggles at you even if people tell you how good your guns look.

It’s a built-in animal trait to want / need to be the strongest, leanest animal in the pack.
Unfortunately many humans are trying to APPEAR this way whilst missing out the middle man of training and performing like an athlete.
six pack abs

As a result, they are always aware of their inferiority and so keep trying to add more muscle to APPEAR even stronger and leaner.
It’s like drinking caffeine to increase energy levels. It will give you some short term gratification but ultimately still leave you wanting.

It’s like teenagers who walk around with gold bling hanging around their necks, their trousers hanging off their arse and dropping a hip every time they take a step. They want to PRETEND their a superstar rapper without putting the effort into the steps that need to be taken to get there.

It’s like up and coming city bankers who take out loans to buy Ferrari’s so they APPEAR to be at the top of their profession and earning the nost money, before they actually get there.

We all know where this misdirected impatience and thirst for appearance-only results has got the world’s economy. We also know these people will not learn and we will be in this situation again in a few decades.

See right now, if you are focussed on ‘build muscle, burn fat’ you have no hope of quelling the burning desires you have deep down.

These burning desires are to look AND PERFORM like an athlete; to BE strong, lean, powerful and capable of outperforming everyone else in your gym, sports arena or circle of friends. That is what makes you the leader of the pack.
esterday I waltzed into a hardcore gym in my area and proceeded to hammer out some kettlebell jerks for time, tyre flips and gymnastic based exercises which the other boys in the gym sat and watched from the bench press.

After being told about my forthcoming kettlebell conditioning tour by the gym owner, two of them came up to me and asked about it.

Soon, the age-old question came…

“Will it get me ripped and show my abs because I can never get them like yours even though I do loads of weights?”

I picked up my stuff and left.

Another example of someone who wasn’t concerned about trying to perform like an athlete but just wanted the body of one by lifting a few weights and finding the next magic solution to getting the cover model body.

It’s about time the world wakes up to the fact that training solely for a better looking body is an empty, meaningless, unfulfilling way to train.

In a few weeks time I am embarking on a mission to go from complete beginner to lean, ripped Muay Thai fighter.

Not only will the desire to win my first fight drive me to PERFORM better but, training to be lean, strong and fast will bring an athletic body people will envy.

No need to pretend.

No need to go to the gym to LOOK like a fighter.

No need to constantly buy the latest muscle-monkey program.

No need to associate myself with the false, misguided BS of the commercial fitness world.

Men have an innate desire to be strong, powerful and athletic. In the years gone by, athletic physiques were earned through training to be this way.

Now we try to PRETEND we are athletic. We try to be athletes by looking like one first.

It doesn’t work.

At some point in your life you will realize how meaningless your training is – everyone does.

We get wiser and realize that life is about the experiences we have.

The more athletic you are in terms of stamina, strength and power, the more experiences you will have that actually satisfy your inner desires to get the most out of life.

You will much more able to make the most of a world which is being destroyed by the very greed and false cravings for appearance and pretense that has infected the fitness industry like many others.

I hope this opens your mind a little more!

Jon Le Tocq (www.worldstoughestworkouts.com)

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Christian interviews Britain’s strongest man, Ollie Thompson

…shot the week before their succesful bouts, Ollie Thompson and Ryan White speak to strength and conditioning coach, Christian Vila about their training and the tools they use at the Kettlebell Fighter class at ZT Fight Skool.

Ryan went on to win his fight against Earl Brown at FX3 at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London, using a deadly elbow in the first round.

Ollie also won his fight last Saturday, at Fight Night in Hove against Ashley Pollard via G’n’P in the first round.

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Silvia Elia snatches the 16kg for time!

A true display of what can be achieved if you put the time and effort in!
Silvia Elia showed a lot of the boys how to work it, by snatching a static kettlebell (that is a dead weight from the floor!) for reps during our killer circuit today!

Silvia is a regular attendant to Brighton Kettlebell Fitness Classes, often clocking up three classes a week minimum!


Silvia warming up with some Turkish Get ups.

This results in not only a physique to be proud of, but excellent strength and technique in most exercises.

For this reason, Silvia will be awarded the rare, limited edition Black Brighton Kettlebells t-shirt, complete with the winged logo and distressed lettering.

This will be awarded to those who show determination, work hard and frequently attend classes.

Silvia is our Brighton Kettlebells Freak of the Week!

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Christian put the ZT boys through their paces!

Kettlebell Fighter Class: ZT Fight Skool every week!
Taking your fitness to the next level, we use Kettlebells and Sandbags to boost power, stamina and strength.
These skills can then be applied in fighting situations, enabling you to out-last and over-power your opponant in the ring.
Also featured are Lifeline’s Powerwheel for intense ab-work, and Lifeline’s Power Punch to boost punching power and strength. These two pieces of equipment rock!
In the background you can see Oli Thompson training for his debut MMA fight at Fight Night, which he won.
Video courtesy of Jason Baney.

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