My SFG Experience – Part 1: The Anti-Monkey Butt Saga

The Anti-Monkey Butt Saga

by Katie Armero, SFG, SFL

If asked how my SFG certification went, I will probably be compelled to tell this story.  As you may know, StrongFirst certifications are available all over the world, and I chose to attend the Florida location so I could work with some awesome people I met during my SFL barbell certification and to tack on a visit with my parents.


However, the Florida humidity is not such an ideal climate to do kettlebells for any length of time, unless you are in an adequately air-conditioned environment.  Otherwise, the bells get sticky, your hands get sticky, and chalk just forms a sticky paste in between.  The location was experiencing an ill-timed AC malfunction, and the only 16kg bells available for women had either rough handles or glossy painted handles with big chips in them.


What movement suffers the most with these kinds of conditions?  The snatch, of course.  I was already hearing strong words of caution from the female assistants that needed to retest all of the SFG tests prior to the event, some with terrible holes in their hands.  I left the first day of training, before we did any snatches, with my hands on fire, but no rips yet.  My adrenaline-fueled survival mode went up to 11.


I remembered an article I read in preparation for the training that had multiple hand care suggestions for performing snatches.  Various callous creams were recommended, but one tidbit I didn’t take as seriously was using Anti-Monkey Butt Powder instead of chalk.  I found that amusing and thought, how much better can it be?  I would have never anticipated that I would become desperate for this powder to survive the certification.


After Day 1

I researched where to find Anti-Monkey Butt Powder and went to 2 Walmarts, Bed Bath & Beyond, and CVS before giving up.  With every store, I begged an employee to make sure they didn’t have it somewhere, and with a product name like that (coupled with my desperation) I got some quizzical looks.  I added the explanation that it was, in fact, for my hands and I was attending a kettlebell certification.  I don’t know if that really cleared things up but it helped make me seem less peculiar.


Day 2 (during which I wore gloves the whole day, sorry Dan) I had done even more research and saw that Ace Hardware, Walgreens, and Tractor Supply usually carry this powder, so I headed to Ace where they checked every store close by but didn’t have it, then the neighboring Walgreens with no luck.  I went through the same spiel with the hands and the kettlebells, although with less enthusiasm.  I got back in the rental car somewhat defeated, and looked up the semi-local Tractor Supply.  It had the Lady Anti-Monkey Butt Powder in stock!  I ordered 3 of them for pick-up (don’t ask me why I needed that many) and headed to Oldsmar, FL.


Of course, this is also the most broken I’ve ever been – physically and emotionally on the edge of collapse.  During the drive I managed to find a semi-melted RX bar in my bag for sustenance.  After the 30-minute drive, I stumbled into Tractor Supply and inquired about my online order.  The teen to twenty-somethings working there responded to me seeming slightly amused, but I was too tired to say anything about my hands or kettlebells, just mumbled “you don’t know how hard this was to find”.


Back at the hotel


I get my order, drive back to the hotel, and as I walk by the mirror in my hotel room I get a glimpse of myself.  Hair pasted to my head, chalky sweaty clothes, and chocolate from the RX bar smeared down my chin!  Not to mention the smell one creates from doing 8 hours of kettlebells in a day.  Now I realize that the amused look on the Tractor Supply employees’ faces was “so this is the type of person that orders 3 containers of Anti-Monkey Butt Powder”.


But you know what?  I survived Day 3’s technique tests, snatch test, and graduate workout (that was a doozy) with my hands feeling AMAZING.  Bloody hands were had by many, but I’m sitting here writing this without even the smallest of cuts.  I am literally still recovering in every other way from this experience, but my hands are the one thing that’s NOT on that list.  Worth it.

personal trainer, kettlebell instructor