Be the Best You Can Be!

Kettlebell Trainer are a group of Elite Coaches, Personal Trainers and Health Care Professionals, delivering Strength and Conditioning coaching for competitors and athletes and Personal Training for fitness enthusiasts in Solihull, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

Shamim Cortazzi Interview


1. Hi Sham thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. How old are you Sham and How long have you been a personal trainer?

I'm 38 years old but I'm still pretending to be 25. No-one seems to have noticed in the gym yet so I'm not going to tell them! I've only been a personal trainer for 10 years.

2. What interested you in becoming a personal trainer?

I'm a firm believer in educating yourself to be a better person in whatever field you work in. I was heavily influenced by the world of bodybuilding as a younger man simply because size is visually impressive but with a growing understanding of fitness I realised that for me, bodybuilding was an ineffective route to overall fitness.

I then got more interested in functional training and saw rapid developments in myself which I thought I could use as a teaching tool to others. Next thing I quit my job and took a leap of faith doing a very basic YMCA course to become a PT.

3. Do you have a competitive sporting background?

As a boy I was a champion javelin thrower. My school record stood for over 12 years! The school actually closed down and no-one beat that record! I also did well in gymnastics, boxing and track cycling but never had the opportunity to take any natural ability I may have had any further. That opportunity is far greater for young athletes these days.

4. Do you still play sports and what sports do you enjoy playing?

I'm now into CrossFit which describes itself as 'The Sport of Fitness'. Constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. I'm the kind of person who will try anything! My sporting to-do list is still very long.

5. Do you set yourself goals to keep in shape?

I record all of my own workouts and have a constantly changing list of my personal bests in running, rowing, Olympic lifts, and CrossFit workouts. The only way to assess your goals and progress is to record what you do. Understanding basic things like time, speed, power, distance and workload and their relationship to the 9 elements of fitness make you realise how to develop yourself and others as athletes.

The 9 components of fitness are;

My diet and food plays a huge part in keeping in good shape too. Without quality nutrition you can only reach half of your potential.

6. How many times do you train per week?

Generally I train 6 times a week. 3 days on, 1 day off.

7. What do you do in your spare time to relax?

I ride my motorbike when the sun is out. I also have a fairly active social life.

8. What qualifications do you have has a personal trainer?

and of course my KettlebellTrainer/BWLA qualification.

9. What did you think of the Kettlebelltrainer qualification you did with us and would you recommend it?

The course was a great start and using the knowledge after over and over, which is exactly what I did was the only way to become a confident and competent coach.

10. Was the Kettlebelltrainer qualification useful in developing your skill set and benefit how you trained your clients?

Yes and it opened doors to other areas which I have since developed much further like Olympic Lifting and CrossFit.

11. How did Kettlebelltrainer's course differ from other courses you have completed?

I studied strength development books by respected authorities like Mark Rippetoe and Fredrick Hatfield. People pay me to demonstrate my knowledge. If I can't apply any education I've had I would not be able to keep my clients or get new ones! I have clients who have been training with me for 6 years or more. The KettlebellTrainer course has a practical application of technique and theory. It's also affiliated to the BWLA so it has more authority than most other kettlebell and lifting courses.

12. Are you planning to complete any more Kettlebelltrainer courses?

Yes. I think they will compliment the other courses and skills I will be developing to develop myself as a better coach and better athlete.

13. Where are you based?


14. What type of facility do you work from?

The gym I am based from is a fully equipped club. I only use the Olympic Weights there but I have a lot of kit myself and the club has everything I need.

15. What percentage of your clients train at your facility and what percentage train at home?

I train about 60% of my clients from the gym. The rest if my clients are priviledged enough to have their own facilities.

16. Have you seen an increase in clients wanting to train at home who are trying to save money due to the economic downturn?

Not really. I pay a substantial amount to my gym to allow me and any of my clients to train there. It doesn't cost my clients any more to train with me at the gym. Having a Personal Trainer come to your home is far more about convenience and motivation than cost.

17. How many 1-2-1 sessions do you teach a week?

I do on average 20-25 personal sessions a week.

18. Do you run Group sessions on a weekly basis?

Yes -3

19. What is your preference?

I prefer to stay in one place and for people to come to me but I totally appreciate that London has many people who want someone to cone to them so I'm happy to do this and adapt my training accordingly.

20. Do you believe a client can get as good focus from a group session as a 1-2-1?

Absolutely but this depends on the coach!

21. How do you asses your clients when initially performing a consultation, what tests and information do you take off them?

There are several tests I will opt to do on an assessment depending on the client. A fitness test should really cover all 9 components of fitness so something like a Cooper test will only tell you how good a middle distance runner someone is. I insist on checking clients basic squat ability (the unweighted air squat). Pullup ability, kettlebell swing and a simple metabolic conditioning excersice -for example something using the Tabata protocol.

22. What demographic split do you have with your clients, ie women, your women, mothers, older women, men, older men, athletes?

The average male trainer will probably have more female than male clients. Women are more self conscious than men. My split is 60/40 women/men. The age range is vast. My training methods are not for everyone. As a CrossFit coach I'm more interested in getting clients fit. Weight loss, body shaping and fat loss. These things are all the direct result of fitness and nutrition. It's hard work. There are no quick fixes or magic tricks.

23. Do you train different type of clients differently, or train them all on an individual basis?

I train my clients on the CrossFit principals and adapt the workouts according to their abilities.

24. What are main principles of training and what methods do you utilise with your clients?

See answers 22 and 23

25. How to you monitor your clients progress?

I record my clients workouts, records and achievements. We repeat older workouts after a while and if they are faster on the timing of the workout or are lifting more weight they are getting fitter!

26. Do you set goals for your clients using SMART?


27. How often do you use kettlebells?

Kettlebells are an important tool. I use them regularly and I'm the only qualified kettlebell coach in my gym.

28. Do you view Kettlebells as a fad or an integral part of training?

Like any tool, the kettlebell is only ever as good as the person using it. It's not the be all and end all. However, If I was unfortunate enough to only have one piece of kit in the world to use, a kettlebell would be a good choice.

29. How do you see the fitness industry evolving in the next 2 years?

I love to see more Olympic Lifting used as a fitness tool. Its easily the best thing functionally in my opinion. Large gyms don't like them though as they require skilled, educated staff and weights machines don't!

30. What are your goals as a fitness professional?

I would like to have my own CrossFit gym.


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