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Dragon Door Interviews Laura Robertson, RKCII, CK-FMS, PCC Instructor

Laura Roberston RKC II Kettlebell Swing with Mohawk
 
 
Dragon Door: How did you first get into fitness?

Laura Robertson: As a teenager, I was going through a rough time, and a local gym—where I work now—offered to let me work out for free and take a class once a week. During that one hour each week, I felt free from worry and it kind of forced me to be in the moment. From that point on, I've always followed the fitness path. A few years later, at age 22, I was still really passionate about my workouts and hanging around the gym all the time. The owners of The Firm noticed that I loved it there and offered me a job. They've been great to me and have offered so many opportunities.

Dragon Door: How were you introduced to kettlebells?

Laura Robertson: It was love at first swing. I came across them about eight years ago when a crazy punk named Spencer Bradford taught me how to use them. He was really passionate about kettlebells and getting strong—he really roped me into it.

I did the HKC a long time ago then followed it with the RKC Workshop. Since then I have also started working with yoga, and really fell in love with it too. Yoga also complements kettlebells so well. Next I tried CrossFit and became a coach. I enjoyed the intensity of CrossFit along with the Olympic lifting, powerlifting and gymnastic aspects as well. This summer I had the honor of taking three Dragon Door courses: the CK-FMS, PCC, and the RKC Level II.

It's kind of a silly story, but two years ago I started BMX bike riding, and my instructor—a professional BMX rider—said, "You have to find your right group of kids." When I think about all the personal training and instructor certifications I've completed, I feel like I have found my "right group of kids" whenever I come to a Dragon Door workshop.

Dragon Door: What results have you experienced from training with kettlebells?

Laura Robertson: Right off the bat, learning to use my glutes and core in an effective manner has transferred into everything I do—the way I sit, walk, stand, practice yoga, dance, and how I carry myself. The biggest change really has been how I carry myself every day, and that happened when I started working with kettlebells.

Dragon Door: Do you mostly train individual clients or lead classes?

Laura Robertson: Right now I'm teaching a lot of classes—I coach CrossFit, teach spinning, and lead yoga. I also work with clients one on one. After attending the Dragon Door workshops this summer, I have an exciting opportunity at the gym to share this knowledge in a new small group class format. Right now I am in the process of putting it together, but the curriculum will include the knowledge from the PCC, CK-FMS and the RKC 1 &2.

Dragon Door: What inspired you to make this big investment in your education this summer?

Laura Robertson: There's a fear aspect in life and in living. And I have come to a point in my life where I'm no longer willing to negotiate with fear. So in going forward whether its with training and learning, I've thrown out my fear. Learning more and then sharing that knowledge has only brought me more good things. In addition to the small group kettlebell and calisthenics class, I'm also working on a very accessible class for people who are starting at the absolute beginning. I am scared because I want to do it well and I want to do it right, but I need to let go of that fear and allow what I've learned this summer take over.
Laura Robertson Demonstrates Part of the Human Flag Progression


Dragon Door: It might be obvious to you and I, but how would you explain the way the information from these workshops fits together?

Laura Robertson: Movement makes me happy, and being happy is being healthy. For example in the RKC the bracing sequence of engaging the gluteus and core lines up the body for efficient performance of any fundamental movement. These might include pushing off of the ground, rolling from side to side like in the CK-FMS rolls, or flying up into a human flag or clutch flag.

Dragon Door: What are some of your current goals?

Laura Robertson: Right now I teach a basic upbeat, fun ashtanga-based yoga class and want to bringing in some of the tools from the PCC and Primal Move along with a lot of good music. The goal isn't to reinvent yoga, but to revolutionize the way we teach it at The Firm. I will be very excited to offer it to a lot of people who've been doing yoga for a long time but might be missing things by flowing through too fast.

I also am working towards the goal of bringing some fitness programs to my Grandmother's senior living community. I've been encouraging her to continue moving, but I see her moving less. The plan is to enlist her help to try out a few things before creating a program. I have some CK-FMS concepts planned for her as well as some early progressions from the PCC. The beauty of the PCC is how it's progressive and fundamentally accessible to anyone—even my Grandma.
Laura Robertson Performing an Aussie Pullup at the PCC
As for training goals, after meeting Iron Maidens Beth Andrews at the PCC and Valerie Hedlund at the CK-FMS, I've been motivated to start working towards the Iron Maiden. That's a big goal and I have no idea long it will take—maybe even a couple of years.

Dragon Door: Who do you typically train at your gym?

Laura Robertson:
I train a full range of clients. Some who have a variety of physical limitations to clients who compete in CrossFit. This morning I trained a friend of mine who is a yoga teacher and just loves kettlebells. It's amazing how naturally the movements in yoga can really help alignment in kettlebell exercises—especially the Turkish get-up. He has one of the most beautiful Turkish get-ups I've ever seen.

In general though, my clients are really all across the board, even though I do a lot of specialized movement training. I also love to work with clients who have other types of challenges and help them get on a healthy exercise regimen. It kind of goes back to my roots, and I like to help people who need what I needed when I first got into fitness—some freedom and an opportunity to be in the moment.

Dragon Door: Since you've been at The Firm for a while as a trainee and now as an instructor, they must have a philosophy or environment that you enjoy. Can you describe it?

Laura Robertson:
I am proud to work at The Firm. And on most days there's no where else I'd rather be than at work at the gym. We're very positive and when I come into work, its like getting ready for a party that we're hosting. We have fun, we pump up the music, and our clients interact really well as a community. When someone new walks in, many times existing clients are already greeting them! We have a fun, family energy and I feel very honored to work there.

Working at The Firm gives me the liberty to be very creative, and with calisthenics and kettlebells there are so many creative options. Ever since I bought the Neuro-Mass book at the PCC, I've been applying it. I love it and am seeing my clients progress using the creativity, movements, and unique program design in that book.

Dragon Door: We were talking about music at the PCC group dinner, and I observed that sometimes clients who are musically inclined can be very successful in their training Have you seen that pattern, and how are you using music in your training?

Laura Robertson: If someone can get the beat, they can usually can combine it with their breath and movement. So obviously in spin I'll need something with an eight count. When we're swinging kettlebells the music isn't as directly important. However, people who are empowered by music usually have an easier time keeping the momentum in their workouts. They'll approach rest periods just like in a musical score with variations in intensity.

LauraRobertsonDJ

I combine a passion for music with my training. Many times, given the client I'm working with, I will plan out the music for their hour session. It's very personal to me because I love music, and personal for them because it can help keep them in the moment, and engaged with the workout.

In my spare time—which is currently nonexistent—I would like to conduct a study or write about how music effects movement, specifically exercise. In CrossFit there's a school of thought that music isn't necessary for training, and Olympic lifters usually train without music because they will have to perform without it during competition. But within a class or one on one session, I've noticed that some clients experience a huge surge of energy and excitement when songs that they like are included. Whether it is music or continual encouragement, I think the key to being a good trainer with the ability to make a difference in someone's life is to use and share what you're passionate about. I feel very fortunate that my passions lie in music and movement. And that I can us it to help other people.

Dragon Door: Do you play any instruments?

Laura Robertson: I play many instruments, but I don't play them well so I am not going to quit my day job. Most recently I've been playing the violin—usually with really loud techno music, which holds the beat and overpowers the violin screeching!

But I'm also a DJ, and it's funny because many of the people who book me for DJ gigs are clients who've come to my classes and enjoyed the music. Then many of my clients are people who I have met at a gig who've enjoyed my music at the club and want to come to my fitness classes and work out!
 

LauraRoberstonKettlebellMohawk thumbnailLaura Robertson trains clients and classes at The Firm www.TheFirmMPLS.com. She can be reached directly at LauraRobertson11@gmail.com
 

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