Seasons of Training

Our physical training can have many seasons depending on factors such as our current state-of-health, goals, hobbies and current conditioning level.

We just hosted an RKC-I event at MoveStrong Kettlebells. The participants, including two from our gym, were focused on mastering the six skills they were required to test. They also prepared to test 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a prescribed kettlebell weight and they worked hard to increase their overall conditioning to make it through the 27 hours of the event. They were in the season of Event Preparation.

Event Preparation. When we have paid and registered to participate in a competition, workshop or certification event, very specific training is often necessary to get the most out of the event. In my experience, this includes at least 2-3 days of week of specific skill preparation. The other 2-3 days can include mobility/movements that complement the event preparation. Our two RKC candidates prepared by attending kettlebell classes regularly 3-4 days a week. I made sure the programming was appropriate for them with technique emphasis, conditioning and snatch test preparation. This same programming benefited all of our general kettlebell students with occasional modifications.

Standard Training. This is training to be happy, healthy and mobile in everyday life. This is how we (at MoveStrong Kettlebells) train most of the time. This is a mix of upper and lower body push and pull 3-4 days a week using hardstyle kettlebell movements and lifts, lots of mobility and bodyweight work and occasional barbells lifts. We seek to improve in some way in every session. Some coaches refer to this at the 1% rule (get 1% better at something every time you train.) Standard Training can actually be quite extraordinary because there is a lot of learning and progressing without the pressure of preparing for an event. Personally, this is my favorite way to train because it is a mix of light, medium, heavy training and exploratory movement, with rest days as needed, over the course of a week.

Training Toward a Personal Record. Our general physical preparation is varied, yet strategic, so that progress is made consistently over several months. If someone has a specific goal, we can train toward that over time. We don't always have to train, for example, barbell deadlifts, to keep that skill high. However, for an experienced athlete who is seeking to improve a lift by, for example, 20%, that athlete needs to train it regularly with attention to load, volume and rest to achieve that goal. That student may want to follow a specific written program with steps to progress intentionally to that goal. This can be challenging in a group setting where all the needs of the group must be met. Some additional work with your coach may be needed outside of classes. 

Adaptive Training. Sometimes a new or former injury fires up and we need to carefully step back and train differently to allow the body to strengthen and/or heal. Perhaps a weak area of the body is causing a compensation in another area. Special attention is needed to progress in our weak areas to protect our health and to keep safely progressing. For example, if low back pain occurs because of rounding in the lumbar during pulling activities, the focus is on improving pull technique, repositioning the load to prevent compensatory movement or perhaps using no load at all until the movement is perfected in the body. Some additional strengthening exercises, more mobility, or even time away from the gym may also be necessary to move back into Standard Training.

Specialized Sport Training. Many students have a specialized sport they enjoy for a portion of the training year. I like them to continue their strength and conditioning with us two days a week to keep their kettlebell skills high and to help them stay overall strong and therefore more resilient to injury. But of course, when they are in 'season', our general training is secondary to their primary sport. My goal is to keep them injury free and moving well. They are not training their heaviest with us when they are in season and I ask them to manage their overall physical and mental fatigue. I have found that hardstyle kettlebell training is highly complementary to specialized sports with appropriate loading and rest days.

Summary. Our gym members fall into different seasons of training at different times in their lives. Yet, we all train together in small group classes. How is that possible? It is surprisingly easy to do with the RKC System of Strength which allows each person to adapt with varied training loads, volume, intensity and rest. Small group training is a cost-effective and a safe way for people to train if they are moving safely and mindfully. With small group training, you have peers to support you, a coach to guide you, and the programming to help you progress at your own pace in a non-competitive environment.

Do you want to learn more about our training methods? Contact us as we'd love to share our training approach with you. ~Lori

Strong Member Spotlight: Patty Rinella

Patty joined MoveStrong Kettlebells after she retired from the City of Dublin. I had met her in some classes I was teaching at the City and I always enjoyed her willingness to try new things. Patty has an infectious laugh which makes her a blast to have in class.

Patty also enjoys yoga and walks regularly so when she came to MoveStrong KBs, she was already a very good mover and she learned the kettlebell movements quickly. 

I will never forget the first time she walked into class and saw the barbells all lined up for deadlifts. She turned around like she was going to leave! But of course she didn't -- and now she loves deadlift day and has a PR of 185#.

Patty likes to lift heavy. The heavier the better with deadlifts, sled pushes and carries. She also excels at squats and swings. The cardiovascular work we do with swings, snatches and cleans is challenging for all of us, but Patty never backs away from a challenge. 

When Patty first started, she attended noon classes, and after I moved out of Old Dublin, I didn't have the foot traffic to support noon classes any more, so Patty adjusted her schedule (and her life!) to attend the 7:30 a.m. class --- for which I am very grateful.

Kettlebell Training in Patty's words ...

What surprised you the most about strength training?  

The variety of workouts and training programs; it's never boring, always challenging and rewarding. The amount of cardio involvement has been a real wake up call for me, and "form" really does matter. I walk out at the end of every class and think to myself, "I can't believe I do this and I love it."

What is the Impact of kettlebell training in your everyday life?  

I feel great, I'm strong and high energy. I am also more aware of what I eat. I honestly believe I'm more toned than I have ever been. As you know, for me the health benefits are a perk, my main reason for starting this journey was to keep my arms strong.

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What are your favorite kettlebell lifts?

I like the push press, it makes me feel powerful, I think it's probably because I can use a heavier bell. I also like goblet squats and after an extremely long learning curve, I really like getups. I feel like I'm using every muscle in my body when we do these moves.

Advice to someone considering kettlebell training ...

Choose a trainer wisely; you must like and trust that person. Make a deal with yourself to commit for at least 3 months and show up.  This is what worked for me along with some Biofreeze! 

The moves are not complicated, kettlebell training make me happy, keeps me moving (which keeps me healthy) so I can do what I want to in life. Since I retired, I don't do complicated. Right now I can do this, and I have fun with it, so I do.

Is This Warmup or Workout?

I have heard this a lot lately in classes and it makes me happy.

Warmup is a series of dynamic movements to get blood and nutrients moving into your muscles and joints. 

Warmup wakes up the nervous system and helps us dial in our movement patterns. It reveals any tightnesses / strengths / weaknesses / imbalances that may need attention and it gives us a sense of how we feel that day.

Our particular way of training is about half-and-half strength and mobility -- and sometimes the mobility work, that spans both Warmup and Workout, feels harder than the strength work.

Warmup should relate in some way to the Workout. For example, squat prying is a good practice in warmup if you are squatting in the workout. T-spine, hip and shoulder opening is always helpful to prime the body for kettlebell lifts. 

Prepping complex movements with lighter weight, no weight or movement regressions in warmup makes sense. For example, we don’t train Snatch-to-Lunge without doing some light snatches and unweighted lunges -- separately beforehand.

Warmup can be weighted or unweighted.

Kettlebells. Bodyweight. Olympic Lifts. TRX. Calisthenics. Primal Movement. Play. Warmup and Workout mix and match to include upper body pull and push and lower body pull and push using varied tools and methods.

Master RKC Dan John advises no separation between warmup and workout and recommends warming up with a lighter version of what you will do in the workout. This is when I most often hear these words, ‘Is this workout yet?’

We know that skipping Warmup will negatively impact the Workout and put us at risk for injury. 

Once we truly dive into the Workout, there are more reps, higher intensity, heavier weight, and more more varied movements and rest periods than during Warmup. There is a more serious mental focus and perhaps an accumulation of fatigue that builds, needs to be monitored by checking biofeedback, and reduced with some calming mobility / flexibility movements between sets.

Warmup and Workout should work seamlessly together.

Train safely. Move to increase range of motion, add stability and increase flexibility. Get stronger while maintaining or improving movement quality. Build cardiovascular endurance (yes, you will begin to breath hard during warmup.)

My role is to facilitate your understanding of how your body is moving and dosing the specific movements in just the right amount so you feel energized, re-charged and renewed afterward. I try to expand your physical horizons with varied, but targeted, warmups and workouts.

The lines are blurred with Warmup and Workout, but this makes the experience rich and varied and keeps our training fresh. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

5 Formidable Benefits of Consistent Exercise

Your body is simply amazing, just as it is, since the day you were born.

Imagine if you challenged your amazing body with moderate physical activity on a consistent basis, starting right now, so that you learn to move, strengthen and lift in new ways that transform your outlook on life. According to the CDC, only about 20% of us get the recommended amount of exercise each week, so what is holding you back?

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Now is the perfect time to start.

How does exercise transform your daily life? Your relationships? Your work? Your play? Your overall health? Your impact on others?

With the new year, people are thinking about exercise in relation to losing weight -- and that is fine, but I challenge you to look more deeply into the truly transformational role exercise can play in your daily life:

  1. Experience the thrill of learning something new. It is exciting to learn a new skill and engage the brain and the body in thought-provoking activity. We know that exercise promotes neurogenesis, which is the brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells, at any age. Humans are meant to learn and thrive at all stages of life and exercise gives you a daily dose of this.
     
  2. Be the most energetic person you know. What you eat plays a role in your energy level of course, but so does the number of mitochondria you have. Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria transform energy from food and turn it into cellular energy. Exercise increases the number of mitochondria in your body, thus improving the body’s ability to produce energy. This helps you exercise with a higher energy output (i.e. faster and longer) and the result is you feel great. Side Note: train moderately with light, medium and heavy training days and lots of mobility work, but more importantly, train consistently (2-3-4-5 days a week - listen to your body.) Learn the doses you need and you will train well into your elder years.
     
  3. Feel calm and peaceful with more mental clarity. Exercise normalizes insulin resistance and boosts the natural “feel good” hormones and neurotransmitters associated with mood control, including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and more. The feeling of calm after exercise is real.  With regular exercise, changes in the heart occur, including potentially a decreased heart rate which can help you feel more calm. There are positive changes in the circulatory system. Many physiological and neuromuscular changes occur in the body during exercise that contribute to your overall sense of feeling good and feeling well.
     
  4. Tune in to your true appetite. It is widely accepted that exercise, along with eating to match activity level, can help individuals achieve optimal bodyweight. Exercise directly impacts appetite along with the individual’s resting metabolic rate, gastric adjustment to ingested food, changes in episodic peptides (such as insulin) as well as the amount of tonic peptides, such as leptin. So starting a new exercise program does not necessarily mean you will eat more; you may feel like eating less (hydrating more!), eating healthier or begin craving specific foods that your body needs for muscle repair. 
     
  5. Enjoy increased creativity, productivity, optimism, joy and confidence. When the body feels peaceful, strong, conditioned and purposeful, there is the potential for increased joy and confidence in daily life. Isn’t that what we want most? Research shows that exercise can enhance cognitive abilities related to creativity, productivity and optimism.

We are currently accepting new gym members, and during the month of January, 2016, you can take advantage of one month free with a three-month commitment. We invite you to experience our way of training in a strong community of men and women who seek to be their best every day, in every way, to live full and fulfilling lives.

Goals vs. Intentions

We recently did some goal-setting at the gym.

We focused on the areas of Mobility, Flexibility and Strength. We train to be better for everyday life, so many of our goals are related to improving moves and lifts, weights or times that are not easy for us.

A few of us also have specialized sports we enjoy so our strength goals have to support and work with those efforts as well.

There are always a few people who tell me their goal is to have a goal -- and that's okay too.

                                        Goals can be anything that challenges and excites you!

                                        Goals can be anything that challenges and excites you!

In every class, I see new goals emerge organically as we identify weak links in our bodies.

Turning weaknesses into strengths can help prevent injury and help us advance our training in ways we didn't know were possible.

Working to improve a snatch technique, or single-leg balance, working toward more ankle mobility, getting swings done with more weight, or with more ease, are goals that are attainable with dedicated practice.

Goal-setting is not a one-time activity. We may not realize it, but we do it every day, in little ways; you may consider them intentions rather than goals.

Goal-setting is a way for us to acknowledge potential areas of growth and to identify new challenges that excite us and give new focus to our physical and mental training.

It also helps guide me as your coach, to know what you feel needs improvement, to help you prepare and progress in ways that are meaningful to you.

There is some accountability involved when we state a goal out loud. Often goals are kept privately and that is fine too.

If we focus on daily intentions ... our little stepping stones of improvement, done on a regular basis, we can enjoy the strength journey, rather than be concerned about the end result.

If you’re bored with life - you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don’t have enough goals.
— Lou Holtz

There is never a point at which we are done growing and improving; intentions / goals can be infinite.

Hopefully, put us on a path of self-growth, self-improvement and self-discovery.

I remember when I was practicing a lot of skills to prepare my body for the pistol squat; skills such as single-leg deadlifts, narrow squats, single-leg squat- to-box, single-leg squat on a raised surface, and  a lot of mobility/flexibility with hips, knees and ankles. I was preparing for the RKC-II so this was a goal imposed on me that I would not have worked on otherwise.

I learned a lot about my body and how to help others with this skill so it became a valuable goal. I rarely did full pistols in my preparation -- I had my daily intentions to work on I patiently progressed (over several months) to my goal of doing a pistol at the RKC-II.

A more traditional definition of a goal is this: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timebound (SMART). See a great article about this here.

Goals can help motivate us, dig us out of a rut and make training more interesting, especially if we are competitive-natured. Is anyone out there competitive? Yes, I thought so.

Goals can bring great changes to our routine and help us learn something new about ourselves in the process. If we aren't able to get to the goal -- our bodies might not be capable, and that's okay, as the journey is what matters most. ~Lori 

Strong Member Spotlight: Scott Wemer

Scott's strength journey has been a lot of fun because it seems like every time he walks into the gym he improves his technique or lifts more weight. He has great mental focus and enjoys new challenges while being consistent and moderate in his training.

He excels at the standard barbell deadlift and he is climbing toward 400#.

His kettlebell pressing is very strong along with the swing and the snatch.

He had not done much bodyweight training previously, so his squat, pull-up and pushup have also advanced tremendously.

I think Scott was surprised by how much he would enjoy learning to use kettlebells and barbells; it is hard to believe this is a new skill-set for him as he moves so naturally making it look easy.

It has been fun to watch how his kettlebell training helps him excel in cycling and running with much less training time. 

Here is Scott's strength journey in his own words ...

What led you to start with kettlebells?

I had noticed a lot of my running friends had started strength training and their times had been improving. I decided that strength training was something I needed to add to my training and I saw an article about kettlebells. It struck me as a perfect way to strengthen my entire body and not just certain muscles. Then a few months later I saw this little sign that said “Move Strong Kettlebells” and I gave it a try.

What has surprised you the most about your strength journey over the last year?

I surprise myself all the time in class. I can do so many more pushups then when I started. I had never done a deadlift before, and now I can pick up 170% of my body weight. 

I just like the overall strength I have developed. I improve my PRs just about every time we go for them. I used to shy away from the challenging movements, because I didn’t want to embarrass myself. Now I like to give them a shot and surprise myself almost every time. I call that everyday strength! 

What are your favorite movements and lifts?

Before I started at MoveStrong, I had tried the Snatch and Turkish get up at home. I never quite got it, and I thought I was going to hurt myself. After learning the technique from Lori, I would say those are my favorite kettlebell movements. I like the mix of technique and strength you need. 

I think my favorite lift would definitely be the deadlift! I had never done that before I started at MoveStrong. I always look forward to “DEADLIFT DAY!”  

How has strength training helped you in other sports and in daily life?

I ran a quarter marathon a couple of months ago. I hadn’t run much leading up to it, but I was able to run the whole six and a half miles without running to prepare. It was not as fast as I had in the past, but I was able to run it all.

Then the next weekend I did a 100 mile bike ride, I hadn’t ridden 100 miles total in the 8 months leading up to it, but I completed it just fine, and my friends were quite surprised about how well I was able to keep up. Fast forward to now, my cycle training has caught up to my conditioning and I can ride up front with my friends who have many more miles riding. 

In daily life, well, I have received compliments about my appearance in the last few months.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to start strength training?

I would tell them that whether you are 26 or 66 you will benefit from some strength training. You don’t need to be training for a marathon, or century ride to strength train. It doesn’t mean becoming a body builder. It helps your posture, gives you the cardiovascular endurance  and generally makes you look and feel better. I have a friend at work who started strength training earlier this year. She is diabetic and was taking 80 units of insulin a day. After training for a while she is down to 14 units. Incredible! I believe that when I am 70 I can still be out there enjoying life and not just watching it. 

Outdoors

I believe it is essential to get outdoors and be physically active while the weather is good in Ohio -- whether in a park or urban area. I kick my gym members out of the gym sometimes -- and some of them are cheering and others ... not so much.

Yes it's air-conditioned, structured and tidy in the gym, but getting outdoors is necessary to challenge the brain and body in a different way. We have to deal with the sun and heat, different surroundings,, the ground surface (some of us are barefoot.)

Get outside. Watch the sunrise. Watch the sunset. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel big or tiny? Because there’s something good about feeling both.
— Amy Grant

Today is Saturday and we did our Mobilizing Tight Muscles class outdoors surrounded by trees, with the sun peeking over the treetops, with a light breeze, birds chirping and a mix of urban sounds.

We use kettlebells a lot during our weekday training, so when we can mix it up with different methods and tools on Saturday, it's refreshing and invigorating.

I don't care what you say about fitness; if people aren't having fun, they won't keep it going.

So after our stretching class, we trained with battling ropes, wall ball, sledge-to-tire, sled pulls, sandbags moves, jumping rope, handstands, balance on curbs, pistol squat practice and some kettlebell juggling give the nervous system something new to process and a lot of growth and fun comes out of that process.

I love watching our members practice, learn and explore functional fitness in different ways. The opportunity for growth is boundless. Interested in joining us? We'd love to have you.

 

Listening to Your Body

Listening to your body is the most important skill you will develop in the gym.

Much like learning the kettlebell swing, or the barbell deadlift, it takes time and practice to become a really good listener.

Many of us have spent a lot of time ignoring signals from our bodies, so this may be something totally new for you.

I promise there will be times when you want to do something in your brain, but your body doesn't feel ready -- and you know it and ignore it any way.

I can't tell you how many times I have trained alone and raised the 24kg KB to start a getup -- only to put it back down. My body says no ... over and over and over. My head says yes over and over and over. But it doesn't feel right. I feel wobbly and unsure. Fortunately, I detest being injured, so I have learned to listen and react accordlingly. I will continue to listen because I have learned through experience that ignoring my body will result in an issue I will have to REALLY listen to later.

Listening usually requires a response. So do it. You know I support you. If you want to go lighter, sit out, go heavier, stretch, or go home. I will support whatever your body tells you to do.

Listening is the essential skill to keep you safe and safely progressing in the gym.

I can't feel what you feel. I wish I could. I joke about attaching a meter to you to get the same feedback you are getting. I wish it were possible.

I do see signs of what you are feeling, but I depend on you to confirm them. And most of the time, you are great about listening. You are learning to take charge of your body so that you know what to do and how to respond no matter where you are and what physical activity you are doing.

I believe that listening is the greatest PR you can ever achieve. 

And what you hear and feel will change constantly. Once moment you might feel strong and fresh and ready to bump up weight. In an instant, there could be a muscle twinge, or an empty feeling like you just ran out of energy. You could feel like you are on top-of-the-world, or tired from a lack of sleep the night before. You will experience so many scenarios that I can't even begin to summarize them here. There is never a moment off from listening, feeling, discerning and learning.

Here are some tips to improve your listening ability:

  • Nourish your body with food, sleep, water and rest so that you can really hear what your body is saying to you when you train in the gym.
  • Train with a coach who will guide you and help you discern what your body is telling you.
  • Never let a muscle twinge or joint issue, or anything that feels weird, go unnoticed. Stop, assess and address.
  • Pay attention to changes, such as a loss of balance, reduced grip strength, extreme tightness, light-headedness, an inability to concentrate, pain and so on. Listen and react.
  • If in doubt about how much is too much, take a day off and rest! Training should not deplete you; it should energize you.
  • Keep a journal to log how you feel or use our online skills tracking program to log results/concerns in the Notes section. Review often. Share with your coach if you wish.
  • Add some gentle movement and stretching outside the gym "to feel it out" if your body is sending you signals of concern. Address the signals now.
  • Talk with your coach if you have questions or concerns. Don't stay quiet because you don't want to call attention to yourself in class. I always want to know.
  • Listen during the training session, afterward, later in the day, the next morning, two days later and at the end of the week, month, year. How do you feel? Yep, listening, and therefore, learning, never stops. 

Being a good listener will help you keep your body safe in the gym and in your everyday life. 

Never lose sight of why you are training in the first place: to be healthy, strong and vibrant for life and sport. Nothing is worth compromising that overarching goal.

Strong Member Spotlight: Maddie Revis

When Maddie joined the gym late last year, she was very motivated to get strong and she had just started on her weight loss journey. She learned to use kettlebells quickly and made a commitment to training with consistency and moderation. She loves being physically active and I admire how she has incorporated exercise into her social life with events like the Warrior Dash, Urban Obstacle, charity fitness events, softball and light runs in the park with friends.

Most of our members know Maddie because her work hours vary, so she is able to attend at different class times. She can occasionally attend two classes a day, but she is really good about listening to her body and resting or changing up her fitness activity when needed.

Maddie is a great team player who encourages and applauds others in class. She is already developing a coaches' eye. She is humble and a lot fun to coach. She is serious about her kettlebell training, but she has fun too -- the perfect combination to make fitness sustainable over a lifetime.

With her solid kettlebell technique, and consistent training, she has become very strong. Her body has been transforming since she started because of her commitment to staying active and maintaining life balance with work, rest, training and play.

I think, like many people, Maddie was surprised at the cardiovascular benefits of kettlebells ... and how you get hooked on how good it feels when you move well and move strong.

The Turkish Getup did not come easy for Maddie, but she is now using a 48# KB and moving with ease. That is what I am most proud of at this moment. That and how well she moves with kettlebell snatches ... because not everyone does -- they are challenging -- but she makes it look easy!

Maddie will continue to get stronger and leaner ... I see no limits to what she can do in the gym and I look forward to helping her reach her goal of the RKC-I in 2016. ~Lori

Maddie's fitness journey in her own words:

What do you like most about strength training with kettlebells?

Training with kettlebells keeps me interested. I feel challenged every time I pick up a kettlebell. I started training with kettlebells just a little over six months ago, and I am still intrigued with the shape, size and variety of weight there is to use. Training with kettlebells is not a job or a task, I look forward to it. Waking up at 5:45 a.m. to work out is no longer a chore. I get this excitement the night before because I know I will be indulging in a new challenge as soon I step foot in the gym. It doesn’t compare to any other workout – I get both strength and cardio conditioning. It is never choreographed or routine. What I like most is the immediate response from my body when I train with kettlebells—the after-workout soreness in various muscle groups and the endorphins kicking in.

What are your favorite movements and lifts?

The Snatch is my favorite kettlebell movement. I am fascinated with how beautiful it is and how much control it requires. The Snatch came to me relatively easily, and that may be why I like it so much. Just recently I found my passion for the Turkish Get Up. The TGU required a lot of practice for me.  From the get-go, my form lacked and I didn’t really understand the purpose of getups. I thought it was hard enough work to get up off the floor with just my body weight. After a lot, a lot, of practice, I finally nailed the form, and I am now challenging myself with heavier weight. Like the Snatch, the TGU is also a very beautiful, intriguing movement. As much as I despise squatting, it is also on my list of favorite movements, primarily because it uses legs, which in my opinion is the strongest part of my body. I love that it takes discipline to squat, and that with kettlebells, we mix it up with racked double bells or goblet squats. We also use barbells and I am proud to say that I can Zercher squat 123 lbs.

What are some results you have seen since you started strength training?

The major results I have seen with strength training include weight loss and development of muscle mass. It took 6 months for me to lose 52 lbs. in a healthy manner, with some adjustments to my diet, mainly eating smaller portions and more protein. While training with kettlebells, I have gained muscle mass in every area of my body, which has triggered a quicker metabolism. I am fascinated with how my body has changed, in fact every time I look in the mirror I am proud of it. You can ask anyone that I know—I am the happiest and most confident I have ever been. I feel great and I am pain free. On days that I go without strength training, I can feel my body craving it. Every movement I have learned with kettlebells is applicable to my daily life. I work in retail, where it is required to lift heavy objects and stand on my feet all day. I can say that both come easier to me since training with kettlebells.

Was there anything that surprised you in this process?

I think what surprised me most about training with kettlebells is how quickly I have seen results. When I started, I was focused on losing weight. I was committed to exercising every day of the week, sometimes twice a day, incorporating spinning and softball, and any other periodic outdoor activities. I have hit a plateau with my weight loss, but I can feel my body changing every day—both mentally and physically. I have slowed down a lot with the amount of extra cardio I am doing. I recently ran the Urban Obstacle 5k, and I didn’t even train for it. I was able to complete it with no problem, and I know it was due to the strength and cardio conditioning from training with kettlebells. I totally underestimated the passion that I have developed for kettlebells, and the confidence I have gained in my everyday life. It is liberating to know that not all progress made is physical.

What are your goals over the next year?

Over the next year, I will still be focusing on gaining muscle mass and losing fat. I will spend my time training to participate in the RKC certification in April, 2016. My short term goal is to barbell deadlift more than my body weight and to eventually master the strict pushup and pullup. 

A Little Play to Get Stronger

Ever since I started teaching strength and movement, I have included play components in personal training and in our small group class programming ... and of course in my own training. I refer to this as Fitness Freedom.

We all need time to explore, learn, be free from reps, sets, time and be allowed to challenge our bodies in new and different ways.

Any movement or lift can be considered a play component -- Fitness Freedom has less structure and allows the individual to make decisions about whether to push forward or pull back.

It needs to be safe, fun, and even a little bit challenging. It may be different than our typical gym programming or it may build on what we do every day.

Read my full blog post about Play on Dragon Door.

So much is gained from play: besides strength and conditioning ... there is confidence and excitement, in addition to the opportunity to develop (or improve) skills.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!