“Kettlebell lifting… continues to transform me”

Interview with AKA National Record Holder Christian Goldberg. 

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What is your athletic background?

When I was 13 my sister, tired of me bouncing off the walls, suggested I join her in an aerobics workout. I commandeered all of her workout tapes; my love of cardiovascular exercise had begun. On the cross-country team in high school the coaches brought low-weight, high-repetition exercises in as assistance training. I moved to a mountain town in Colorado for college and took up hiking and rock climbing. After a bad ankle sprain from a climbing fall, I went back to the weight room for more endurance-style lifting and through a group of friends began learning yoga. In 1996 I took up martial arts to combine my new-found love of stretching with intense cardio exercises and weight lifting, and used the time in Shiatsu school to bike or walk everywhere in Boston. I returned to Colorado to begin my Shiatsu practice and was introduced to general kettlebell fitness in 2002. In 2009 I learned about Girevoy Sport. The rest is history.

What do you do for a living? 

Primarily I am a Shiatsu practitioner, a Japanese mat-style bodywork. Otherwise I teach people how to use kettlebells, either for general fitness or GS (at Longmont Kettlebell Club) and am an independent distributor for Young Living essential oils.

How and when did you start Kettlebell Sport?

I re-certified as a Kettlebell Teacher with IKFF in 2009. It took about two days for me to see the benefit of adopting the more efficient movement patterns. Then I attempted to do a 10-minute Snatch set with my first 8kg competition diameter kettlebell. Hooked.

I had been teaching general kettlebell training for about 6-months before this and gradually introduced GS techniques to my classes. After a few years and a few more certifications from IKFF and IKSFA I had all my students doing timed sets and was hot into competitions myself.

Why do you lift kettlebells? What keeps you motivated?

Kettlebell lifting has made me into a different kind of athlete and continues to transform me. I love the newness of the sport in the US. The difficult growing pains it is going through inspires me to keep improving myself and reaching for higher goals.

What is/has been the hardest part about learning how to lift kettlebells?

Unlearning my previous training. I’ve gotten a few dings along the way including a sprained wrist in the transition between 20 and 24kg. Once I realized that my technique and flexibility training needs to constantly adapt I stopped being afraid of injury.

How long did it take you to get up to the 24kg bells?

Three years to compete with 24kg (September 2014). I trained with 24kg about two years into competing.

What is your favorite competition memory?

2012 IKFF Nationals, first time my coach Sergey Rudnev was at a competition with me. Every time we’ve been at the same event I get a new favorite competition memory!

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What is the best piece of advice you have ever received (with regards to kettlebell or just life in general)?

Yoda’s immortal words to Luke Skywalker: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

What is your ultimate goal in Kettlebell Sport?

There are several, but one I find daunting is training Snatch with 24kg.

 Do you train alone or with others?

Up until last November all of my training was on my own at Body Balance Gym, a small gym in Boulder, CO. Since my fellow coach Alison Zemanek and I started Longmont Kettlebell Club last fall I often train on Saturdays with them!

How many days per week do you train? 

Four.

What mental tactics do you use to get yourself through a 10-minute set?

Break it down into 30-second increments and have a powerful “happy thought” or two in mind.

 What are your best results?

20kg LC: 123
20kg Biathlon: Jerk 150 + Snatch 120
20kg Snatch: 130
24kg LC: 83

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