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An Interview with Katie Petersen, RKC-II: From Figure Competitor to Kettlebell Coach

Katie Petersen Get Up
I attended an RKC-II certification event recently. As always, I met some people who are truly inspiring in the way they train with kettlebells, coach others and balance their lives.

One of those people is Katie Petersen, age 30, of Chicago. Katie is a Loyola University graduate and a former nationally-ranked Figure competitor. She placed in the top five in 2011 and went on to prepare other competitors to reach the national level.

Katie Petersen headshotKatie is a newly-minted RKC-II (Chicago, April 2014) who was first introduced to kettlebells by friends in 2008.

She had just started competing in Figure, and had to decide between continuing to train for Figure or training for the RKC. She continued with Figure through 2012 and then made her transition from Figure to kettlebells to improve her strength.

Katie started attending RKC Team Leader, Rob Miller’s kettlebell classes at I.D. Gym in Chicago for just this purpose—she also remembered how much fun she had with kettlebells back in 2008. Rob reinvigorated her passion for this type of training. His coaching and motivation empowered her to take what she had learned to the next level. "It seemed that ego didn’t play a big role in kettlebell training and that one could be both teacher and a student—and part of a larger community of athletes and instructors. This aligned with my personal fitness philosophy."

She attended her first RKC Workshop in October of 2013 for personal development. She also wanted to learn more about teaching others how to progress with kettlebells.

"Before the RKC, I didn’t know if I was teaching the swing correctly. My body knew how to do it, but I didn’t know how to break it down correctly for my less athletic clients. The RKC Workshop gave me that and more with regressions and progressions I could use to teach the swing and the other key kettlebell movements."
Katie Petersen Cortez Hull

She describes the RKC Certification event as particularly impactful because the RKC instructors taught the participants to instruct one another, instead of merely expecting them to take direction.

"I had a big sense of accomplishment at that certification. It was a very emotional weekend for me after teaching and practicing each of the movements one-to-one with different certification candidates."

Katie recently attended the RKC-II in Chicago to learn more and because, "Doesn’t everyone want to be a master of their trade?"

"There were times in my youth when I quit sports because I felt I wasn’t good enough to be one of the top girls. I’m over that! I always want to get better now—and I felt empowered by my RKC experience based on the coaching and encouragement I received from very motivating instructors."
Katie Petersen Press At RKC2

At the RKC-II, Katie felt even more prepared. She trusted herself and her abilities and knew she could build on the technique she’d already learned. "Using kettlebells gives you confidence in all areas of your life." She was pleasantly surprised that there were more women than men at the RKC-II. "Women are strong leaders and equal to men in the kettlebell community."

Katie currently teaches kettlebell classes for all fitness levels in Chicago. She was initially concerned about teaching proper technique in a group. After seeing how quickly her students progressed with all the movements, she was enthusiastic about the power of teaching kettlebells in a group setting.

"That was really exciting. While the hard work and strong body of a Figure competitor can inspire others to get fit and practice discipline, very few people will ever step on a stage. My reach as a Figure competitor was limited compared to what I can do teaching people kettlebells. Kettlebell training is accessible to everyone."

Kettlebells are at the center of her current business model because her clients appreciate the whole body conditioning. She doesn’t train as many Figure competitors at this point; however kettlebell training can be appropriate for helping women prepare for a competition.

Katie’s kettlebell clients come from all backgrounds, including martial arts, personal training and those new to athletics. All of them are seeing results with kettlebell training, including increased strength and positive physique changes. Katie is excited about helping five trainers from the gym where she teaches prepare for an upcoming RKC.
Katie Petersen instructs kettlebell swing

Katie continues to set goals, and looks forward to assisting at certifications, opening her own gym, and hosting kettlebell certifications. She also has her eye on the Iron Maiden Challenge and the Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC).

If you are thinking about the RKC-II, Katie offers you this advice:

"Why wouldn’t you want to continue to be better at what you do? There is so much more to learn. The review of the core RKC skills and how to teach them is invaluable. With so many cues for teaching, there’s so much to remember and review. Also, how do you teach more advanced clients more advanced skills? The RKC-II re-ignites your passion for teaching kettlebells and gives you many ways to help your clients develop even more skills. It also allows you to continue to grow personally and network with others like you."

Katie Petersen Get Up thumbnailKatie Petersen is an RKC-II Instructor, NASM personal trainer and strength training specialist at HiFi Fitness in Chicago. Her website is and she can be reached at
Photos from Chicago RKC-II Workshop by Katie Basil Photography
Studio Photos by Will Edwards, TLR79 Photography