Wednesday, December 31, 2008

10 Exercises that you Can Stop Doing

Nice little article (for the most part) by AOL confirming what a lot of the experts are saying against. I don't necessarily agree with what they have to say about the squat completely.

Here is my opinion on the article and the 10 exercises.

  • Leg Extensions: They spell disaster for your knees since it is an isolation exercise and puts a ton of torque on your knees. If you have knee pain-you should NOT do knee extensions and hamstring curls, this is just not the way our muscles were supposed to work. Only if you are a body builder and do nothing else but lift and pose. Just not very functional as well.

  • Lat pulldowns and overhead lifts: I totally agree that you should not pull the bar behind your head due to the fact that it is just (once again stated) not natural. When you lift your spine should always be in a straight or "neutral" position. As for the overhead pressing I approach it like squats. Overhead pressing (military presses, kettlebell presses) and overhead pulls (pull ups, lat pulldowns) are only bad on the shoulders because you are doing them wrong. When pressing and pulling above your head you MUST make sure that your shoulder blades and packed back and down, also your ears must be in line with your shoulders.

  • Cardio: I totally agree with this one. Vary your workout speeds burns way more calories in half the time. Try going with 2 minutes at a pace that you would consider a 5 out of 10 on your exertion scale (10 being all out gasping for air), then do 1 minute at 7/10, then 2 min back at 5/10 and repeat. Here is a good one for ya. 2min 5/10-1min 7/10, 2min 5/10-1min 8/10, 2min 5/10-1min 9/10 and repeat that cycle for 2-3 rounds.

  • Sit ups: you definitely do not want to use those hip flexors to work instead of your abdominals. There are also ways to use tubing or weights to help you master the sit up. For those of you who have back problems there are much better exercises in which you stay away from spinal flexion all together (Like front, side and reverse planks for instance).

  • Abduction/Adduction Machines: I do use the ab and adduction machines for some of my therapy patients to try and get those muscles tuned in a bit, I do make them brace their abdominals and tighten their glutes while they perform the exercise. Once they master the machine (2 weeks tops) then I get them moving onto band walks, lunges, and more standing band exercises instead of machines.

  • I totally agree with side bends and twists. If you need to see some good abdominal exercises Nikki and I have some on youtube. One of them includes the thoracic rotation exercise.

  • Squats: I love doing squats. The only reason you should not do them is if your knees are absolutely shredded. But again, its not the squat that causes pain, its how you do the squat (I quote Dan John out of the book "Enter the Kettlebell" by Pavel). The picture in the article is a true reason that people have pain. When people squat now a days they are what I call "quad dominant" and have glute amnesia. The first thing people do wrong is they bend their ankles and knees to lower and this puts a crapload of pressure on your knees. Think about reaching your butt back as if you were trying to sit in a chair, your shins should not move much if at all when squatting. Another issue is squatting below parallel, if you squat below parallel then you use your glutes to come back up instead of your quads, THIS IS WHAT WE WANT! Again, concentrate on pushing your knees out and pulling back and down with your hips into your squat. Hip hinges, bench squats, and face the wall squats are great in improving your squat technique. I will work on some instruction video to help with this.

  • Toe touches: There are much better ways to improve your hamstring flexibility, hip hinges once again are a great way to improve your technique on these and not have to put yourself through all that spinal flexion business.

  • Light weights: This is an absolute truth. If you use too light of a weight then you give your body the ultimate opportunity to use whatever muscles it wants to get the weight up. If you chose a weight that you can only perform 5-10 repetitions then you HAVE to use the right posture and technique (incorporating your stabilizers) to perform the lift correctly.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My wife and I would like to wish everyone out there a safe and happy holidays. We look forward to a new year of using this blog to provide you with information on rehabilitation, kettlebell training, nutrition ideas and recipes and so much more!

2009 is going to be a great year for SGHP!

Nikki and I have just finished our first group video together on a circuit Dave Whitley terms "THE ABDOMINAL SNOWMAN!". We will get those videos out in the beginning of 2009.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ab Training

Great post by Charles Staley on Abdominal Training

  • Having A 6-Pack Is About Diet, Not Training
    You can train abs, all abs, nothing but abs, all the time, and still not have a six pack UNLESS- and here's the kicker- unless you're below 10% bodyfat. And probably you'll need to be below 8% bodyfat. The truth is you already have abs- you just can't see them.
    Now of course, you can drop bodyfat through training as well, but not "ab training per se:" instead, focus your efforts on challenging the largest possible muscle groups. My favorites include heavy weight circuits including a mix of Olympic lifts, power lifts, and strongman lifts.

  • The Main Function Of Your Abs Is Not Force Production
    Although the abdominal muscles can and do function to flex and rotate the trunk, I'd argue that their primary function is to prevent unwanted motion. Specifically, strong abs help to protect the spine in two ways:
    1) They create intra-abdominal pressure which helps to counteract compressive forces resulting from axial loading (e.g., squats, deadlifts)
    2) They help to prevent forces that take the spine out of its preferred neutral position. More on this in the second installment next week….


Anyone interested in getting in a great 60 minute workout the day after Christmas? Nikki and I are hosting a Post Holiday Bootcamp at the UNO Dome at 10:30am. Only fee is that you will be required to go to UNO Campus Recreation and pay a $5.25 guest fee to workout. THAT IS IT!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mark Update

March 2nd, 2008

December 19th, 2008

Just a quick little post to let everyone know how my training is going. For those of you who like to read what we are doing in bootcamp, I will post those as soon as I get time (I know I am behind).

My weight is right at 200 pounds, lowest I have gotten is 198. Not discouraged with what the scale has said due to the fact that my body fat is down 2% since starting kettlebell bootcamp. You know what that means: less fat & more muscle.

No longer wearing XL shirts since they just hang off of me, down to L. Pants are all to big for me. Energy level is doing great. Still eating healthy and trying to get a lean protein and a vegetable or fruit in with every meal. Trying to cut back on processed carbs unless it is right before or right after a workout.

Getting very nice compliments from everyone at work, and my biggest compliment is the sexy looks I get from my wife who enjoys looking at my arms and lats now. Very cool. I feel stronger than I have ever been in my life.

  • Pull ups are easier,

  • I just cleaned and pressed a 28kg kettlebell with my Left arm and snatched the same weight as well on both sides last night before class started.

  • I can do a standing full squat below parallel without cheating.

  • My FMS went from a 14 with imbalances to a 17 with no imbalances.

You should see my wife! She is so strong now! Our little "wrestling matches" when I used to dominate are now getting to be more evenly matched. Her strength has sky rocketed in only 9 weeks.

I will have to admit that I am a lifer to Pavel's Hard Style of training. Thanks for opening my eyes David....and for transforming me from a piece of mush into a piece of iron.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #27

Wednesday Evening Class 12/17/08

I know it has been awhile since I last posted a bootcamp. Sorry about that. Things are really taking off for us here.

Warm up included the spinal wave, side lunges (push knee out to side you lunge and point opposite foot to ceiling), body weight squats and the pump.

Began our workout in high gear with a circuit of push ups, body weight squats, snatches on L side, snatches on R side, and v-ups. Then repeated for 3 rounds. ( I am guessing we did around 30 sec each session). THIS WAS AN AWESOME WAY TO START A BOOTCAMP!

Then we revisited the ABdominal Snowman! Hot potato with KB, thoracic rotations with KB, sit ups to double arm overhead lockout with KB, and planks. 3 rounds of that as well at 30 seconds a pop. (I will try and get a video of this ABdominal Snowman, it is a killer workout)

Then we did swings with Tabata protocol, 20 sec on/ 10 sec off. About 10 rounds.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NEW DVD OUT! Metabolic Training by Alwyn Cosgrove

Alwyn is very successful and getting the most out of your workouts and burning the most amount of calories to help you with your New Years Resolution to lose body fat. You can order the DVD through perform better. Click on the banner to the Left to get to the perform better site, then under "shop by departments" click on "books and videos" by author. Alwyn Cosgrove will be your first choice.

It covers several different types of metabolic training. To learn more about metabolic training. Check out his article; The Hierarchy of Fat Loss.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shout Out From the Iron Tamer

Received a nice shout out from my Kettlebell Instructor, Dave Whitley about his knee. Thanks Dave.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #23 (perfect reps)

Hello everyone.  Hope all you readers out there are doing well and working towards their holiday shopping and looking forward to being with family and friends.  Maybe even consider reaching out to someone you have not seen in a long time.  Also forgiving those who have hurt us as well, I am going to try to do that as well.

Great bootcamp today:
-Warm up using the spinal wave.
-Split into groups of 3, 30 sec on/30 sec on/30 seconds off to rotate, 3 rounds (12 min total)
    -push ups first 30 sec, then front plank next 30 sec
    -static lunges, switch sides after first 30 seconds
    -one arm rows, switch sides
-Swings (10 minutes total, Dave did a combination of work to rest ratio that would equal 1 min)  sometimes we did 30/30, sometimes 50/10 or 10/50, ended on 1 minute total swings.

One thing that I would like to point out that Dave said that I believe is very important, he stated that he wants us to get as many perfect reps as we can within the time frame, but that does not mean we have to go continuously.  He wants our attention to be towards working hard and doing the lifts correctly, but not at the expense of us doing the form wrong and getting hurt. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Exercise over the holidays/2009 goal

Hey everyone! Nikki here. This is my first ever blog post and  I figured it's probably about time.  We went home back to Nebraska over Thanksgiving.  It was great to be home to visit everyone and see family and friends we haven't seen in months.  

One thing I noticed, though, when we got back to Nashville, I felt really sluggish and it was hard for me to get my mind and body back into my workout routine.  I'm sure many others have felt this way about the holidays and being around all that wonderful food and possibly alcohol.  Not to mention the fast food we ate on the drive there and home.  Mark and I made sure to workout while we were home and I don't think our workouts were even that bad.  I just think my body was not used to some of the stuff I was putting into it.  

Sometimes when we go on vacation it tends to be a free for all and we have a hard time sticking to our diets.  We still work out, but we don't eat (or drink) that great.  That's going to be my big goal for 2009.  We like to travel a lot so I'm sure we'll be doing some of that next year. I really want us to focus on trying to enjoy the food and drink of different locations but to not go overboard.  

My first test at this will be when we go home for Christmas.  We are going to be home for about a week.  Our plan is to bring along healthier foods for the car ride and then hit the grocery store for meals during the week.   It's the holidays, so I'm a firm believer in at least enjoying a little bit of the good stuff around you, just as long as you don't overindulge.  If I want a Christmas cookie, I'm going to have it. I'm just not gonna have 5 of them!  And I'm going to make sure to keep my workouts consistent as they have been.  We've been making such progress over the past few months and I want to make sure that we keep that consistency going over Christmas break.  It's going to be a great time to see family and friends but not an excuse to eat junk for a week!  

If anyone has any helpful hints they use while traveling, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #22 (Newbies are coming on strong)

More newbies today that I brought from work.  All are very strong willed, female certified athletic trainers.  All will do well if they stick with it.

Had 12 total participants today in the morning class, no problem for Dave.  
  • warm ups including the "spinal wave"
  • split into 4 groups of 3, each group had one station: v-ups, push ups, squats, and renegade rows (in deadlift position) for time, 19 seconds rest in between sets, did 3 rounds
  • then the carousel of pain, everyone grabbed a different sized kettlebell and we did swings for time 30 on/20 off and rotated to the next kettlebell.  Smallest size we had was a 12kg to the largest being a brand spanking new 28kg kettlebell.   very impressed to say I saw 2/3 of the class swing with the 28kg, while the others did deadlifting with it.  Remember, out of those 12 people, 3 were men.  So don't believe that bullshit that women can't or should not lift heavy weights!
Going to do a post later about making a financial commitment to your health.  You either pay for it now and enjoy the benefits, or pay for it later and be miserable.  Either way you end up spending money.  How much is your happiness worth?

If you are going to miss a workout…

by Rachel Cosgrove

Setting Your Priorities when it comes to Fat Loss
The majority of women I work with are extremely busy. Many of them are moms and/or career women and don’t have much time to spare. When it comes to their fat loss we have to prioritize their training to make sure their time is being used effectively and they are going to get the best results they can in the shortest period of time. 

#1 Priority when it comes to Fat Loss is….

• Metabolic Resistance Training

Benefits: Builds lean body mass, increases metabolism and burns calories
What is it missing? Nothing. 

Metabolic resistance training including using circuit style training with full body exercises. The Art of Strength workouts are a perfect example of Metabolic Resistance Training. These type of workouts build strength, increase lean body mass and boost your metabolism for the next 24-48 hours along with burning a good amount of calories during the actual workout. This type of exercise is the MOST effective for fat loss. 

The problem is many women have their priorities backward and make this their last priority and get their cardio in before they lift weights. They think that if they are going to miss a workout, they will miss their resistance workout. This doesn’t make sense since resistance training has the most benefits when it comes to losing fat and keeping it off. This type of exercise is what will give you the definition and lean you out to look the way you want. 

How much? With metabolic resistance training there is a limit to how much you can do and still recover. You should do up to 4 of these workouts a week. More than four of these workouts a week would be more than you could recover from and get the benefits. 

For most of the clients at our gym, this is all the exercise they do. A metabolic resistance training workout three days a week and that is it. 

#2 Priority when it comes to fat loss training is….

• Interval Training Cardio Workouts

Benefits: Increases metabolism and burns calories
What is missing? Doesn’t build muscle

Once you are doing 3-4 Metabolic Resistance Training workouts a week and you have extra time for more workouts you can add in an interval training session. This is a cardio workout but push yourself at a high intensity really getting your metabolism revving. Add these types of workouts in 2-3 days a week. But keep in mind, you should always take 1 day completely off every week. These workouts will burn calories during the session and will boost your metabolism for the day. 

How much? These workouts are tough. I think in addition to resistance training you can really only do up to 2 effectively per week. 

And Very Last Priority for Fat Loss…

• Steady State Cardio Workouts

Benefits: Burns calories during the workout and that is it!
What is it missing? Doesn’t build lean body mass and doesn’t increase metabolism. 

So as you can see steady state cardio has the least benefits when it comes to fat loss. Why is it that the majority of people that want to lose fat usually start with steady state cardio? It doesn’t make sense. Basically if you are doing 3 resistance training workouts a week, 2 interval training sessions and you want to add a steady state cardio session in you could but it should be your very last priority. 

If you are going to miss a workout skip your cardio and hit the weights! 

Rachel Cosgrove co-owns Results Fitness and Punch Gym Santa Clarita located in southern California. She has also been featured in Women’s Health, Oxygen Magazine, Shape Magazine, Muscle and Fitness Hers, Fitness Magazine, Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health. Check out their gym website at or Rachel’s female specific site at 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #21 (Always good to start back from scratch)

12/3/08: Very good bootcamp today and all we did was the swing and turkish get up.

There were 5 new people who had little to no knowledge of the kettlebell and its exercises tonight. David introduced all of us step by step how to perform the kettlebell deadlift (essential to learn the swing), the kettlebell swing and the turkish get up.

We practiced right along with the newbies. You would think that Nikki and I would get bored, but I learned some new cues to improve my technique on my swing and especially my turkish get up. I found out that I was not performing the first part correctly and it actually made my getup more productive.

We ended up doing around 6-7 rounds of swings as well in 30 sec on/ 30 sec off. Had the heartrate monitor on today and still got the HR up to 175. And burned over 350 calories.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #20 (Week 7)

Sorry I have missed a couple of workouts. Nik made 2 workouts last week and I made only 1 and we had a short week due to Thanksgiving.

  • Warmup including spinal wave and the pump.
  • Split into 2 groups and did alternating ladders of goblet squats with the other group resting in the bottom of the squat, and push ups with other group resting in the top push up position (plank like hold) - did about 5 rounds
  • Stayed in groups and performed clean to press ladders with other group resting
  • Again stayed in the 2 groups and performed kettlebell swings for 30 seconds while other group rested. I believe it was 10 rounds
  • 40 minutes later and 513 calories we were finished and exhausted. Great workout

Monday, December 1, 2008

What the heck is the thoracic spine? By Michael Boyle

Mike is a stud when it comes to injury prevention and improving human performance.  If you have an ipod and are into fitness, you should be listening to his strengthcoach podcast on itunes.  He is brilliant and covers many important topics.  His website has terrific articles on it as well.  You can see his link on the blog page to the right if you would like to read more.  He has free articles as well.  

His latest post talks about the importance of mobility of the thoracic spine.  If you suffer from neck, low back or shoulder pain you should definitely read this.  Click the title above to go to his post. 

Hope all is well and I hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving and have taken the time to appreciate all that they are thankful for.  I sure have. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Functional Movement Screen

In August of this year I attended the Core Training Systems, Functional Movement Screen seminar in Boston, MA. The city was beautiful and I ended up learning so much in a small amount of time. I now am a Certified Specialist of the Functional Movement Screen and use it as the very foundation of my Injury Prevention and Human Performance Program.

The Functional Movement Screen (or FMS) was developed by Gray Cook. Gray is a licensed Physical Therapist, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, a level 1 coach with the US Weightlifting Federation, and is also a Level 1 Russian Kettlebell Instructor.

The FMS basically is 7 individual movement exercises that represent the foundational movements that exist since we were just babies. The tests include the Deep Squat, Hurdle Step, In Line Lunge, Shoulder Mobility, Active Straight Leg Raise, Trunk Stability Push Up, and Rotational Stability. Each movement is graded on a scale of 0-3: You get a 3 if you can perform the movement without cheating, 2 if you perform the movement but cheat, 1 if you cannot perform the movement at all, and 0 if you have pain with the movement. Highest score you can achieve is a 21. Some of the tests include you performing a test on the L side and a test on the R side.

Once the test has been completed this gives the FMS specialist a detailed map of the individual. What "the Map" will indicate if there are any asymmetries or imbalances present within that particular individuals body. Asymmetries are the second leading factors that can lead to injury (#1 is previous injury). It also tells the specialist if the movement issue is a stability problem or a mobility problem.

With this information we can determine what movement needs to be improved on to provide better balance to the individual.

So who could benefit from this? Everyone. Whether you have suffered a previous injury or had surgery, you are planning on training for that first 1/2 marathon, you want to begin an exercise program for one of your goals. This movement screen should be done first and foremost. If you test out and you have a good score with no imbalances, then train away. If you have a poor score with pain or imbalances then you need to work with a specialist who knows how to correct those movement imbalances.

NFL teams' Athletic Trainers & Strength Coaches use the FMS, why shouldn't you? I will try and get some video up on my first FMS that I performed for myself.

For more information on the FMS, and to find an FMS specialist near you. Check out

Kettlebell Bootcamp #18-Another Snatch Day

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! If you ask me I would term today's bootcamp is "get your ass kicked by the kettlebell snatch Friday". Dave was back from his travels and we spent the whole session practicing the snatch technique from the single arm kettlebell swing, to the "snatch pull" (as Dave termed it), then to the last part being the end of the snatch position.

We practiced by:
  • single arm swings 2x5 each side
  • single arm snatch pulls 2x5 each side
  • swing, to snatch pull, to snatch (then repeated full snatches x5 each side)
  • snatches 1x5 (with a hold at the top anywhere from 5 sec - 20 sec)
  • Lastly we did a snatch interval where we did 7 minutes of either continuous snatches, holds at the top of the snatch position, or swings. Our goal was to never drop or set down the kettlebell.

40 minutes later we were beat and the Heart Rate Monitor read 500 calories. Awesome day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #16

Great workout today.  Did only two foundational exercises but Matt (subbing for Dave who is out of town) put a unique spin on one of them.

  • Warm up including "the pump"
  • Partner Get Ups 1 rep each side, then partner goes 1 rep each side (10 minutes)
  • Kettlebell swings 30 sec on/30 sec off - 1st 5 rounds of swings were performed with a kettlebell in each hand! I used 16kgs, Nik did 12kgs.  Once my technique got a bit sloppy moved to regular swings with a 24kg (Nik did 16kg) for another 5 rounds
Sorry I don't have a calorie count, I was a bit sleepy this AM and forgot to wear my heart rate monitor.  Starting to see some cool changes in the past 6 weeks.  Performing swings with at least 24kg kettlebell, where I could only do that for 1-2 rounds the first week.  Nik is kicking ass with a 16kg on swings and her get ups are getting much crisper.  Won't be long and she will be doing swings with a 24kg on a regular basis.

Dave was nice enough to allow us to loan out some kettlebells this week to practice at home until our order gets in.  He didn't have to do it, but chose to cause he is not only a great instructor, but a great person.  THANKS DAVE!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #15

You would not believe it but I am squatting much better since KBBC #14 where we worked on improving Nik and I's squatting pattern. Too cool.

Great bootcamp today. Hit the strength in a circuit set and then followed by an "ass kicking" with swings.

  • Warm up 5 minutes including spinal wave and the pump
  • Circuit in groups of 2 people, 30 seconds on and 20 seconds rest while changing stations: station 1: push ups, station 2: v-ups, station 3: renegade row, station 4: deep body weight squats. Performed 3 rounds
  • Kettlebell swing ladder w/partners: Each alternates performing swings: 10 swings, then 15, then 20 and repeat. Do as many ladders as you can in 12 minutes. I believe Nik and I did 5 rounds total. That is 225 swings in 12 minutes for each of us. A new achievement for us: Nik performed the ladder with a 16kg KB the whole time while I did 24kg KB. A new personal best for each of us.

Everyone have a terrific weekend and stay active!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #14 (learned to clean)

We had an awesome night tonight at bootcamp.  Unforgettable actually.  Nik and I walked in to greet Dave and he told us: "you want the good news or the bad".  "the bad news is, its just you two and me for bootcamp tonight, the good news's just you two and me for bootcamp tonight".  He turned our bootcamp into a terrific education section, then kicked our ass at the end.

  • warmed up with "the pump" - about 5-8 times
  • had us squat as low as we could go, then he had me lie on my back and made me mimic a squat while he put resistance on the top of my feet, then we had to squat again and work on "pulling ourselves deeper and deeper into the squat
  • then put us in this god awful frog like position that made me think I was going to pop my hip joint right out of socket, then had me sink deeper and deeper, push knees in, then push knees out.  It was awful.... Until I got back up and squatted probably 2 more inches deeper and my butt got lower than my knees.  Then we did a few goblet squats to reinforce our new range we achieved by improving our hip mobility.  Then did a few KB  swings, I could not believe how "cleaner" my swings felt.
  • Then Dave asked us: "what do you want to learn today?"  See, this is why he is the #1 rated RKC instructor by  We both were not sure what to do next, he then spent the next 20 minutes teaching us how to clean a kettlebell.  I was perplexed by how hard it was for us to learn, but did feel a lot better about my clean by the end of working with Dave.  
  • Then it was ass kicking time (literally).  We did kettlebell swings for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest for 10 rounds.  All in all we learned so much in one session and also burned almost 400 calories in just 10 minutes of work.  Amazing.  I am really glad that everyone showed up for the 5:30 time and not the 6:30 so Nik and I got to have Dave all to ourselves.  Again I am still amazed about how much I learned and how much performing kettlebell exercises can promote using your stabilizers better than any dumbbell or crappy machine exercise.  Every bootcamp session I learn something new that I can apply in my job in rehabilitation.
  • Dave was also so gracious as to stick around and talk to us about our goals for becoming RKC certified and felt that he could have us ready by April.  Financially we are shooting for late summer and early fall.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

KB Bootcamp #13 (week 5)

Great class again today.  Today was more of a technique component which I agree is essential to make sure that everyone reviews the very basics of kettlebell exercises.  I was surprised to see that my Turkish Get Up and Swing could still use some work.  This tells me that I should not be practicing other "sexy"  kettlebell tricks until I can get these two movements down.  If I can't perfect these first, then I will be unable to perform the more demanding lifts later on.  

Today in class:
  • Warm up for 5 minutes including "the pump"
  • Get up practice 1 rep each side
  • Partner Turkish Get Ups 1 rep each side then partner goes for 10 minutes
  • Kettlebell Swings that ended up turning into the "carousel of pain"  30 seconds swings with 20 seconds rest for 11 rounds
40 minutes & 400 calories later we were done.  Also on another fun note, Nikki and I ordered our first set of actual kettlebells!  I can't wait for them to arrive so I can perfect my Turkish Get Ups and Swings.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Few Good Reasons Why You Should Invest in Someone to Make You Exercise

I was at kettlebell bootcamp the other day when one of the ladies was talking about how much she loves this class and that she hated working out before she learned about the joys of kettlebells. She use to hire a personal trainer to work her out but she admitted that half the time she did not show up and let the personal trainer charge her when she missed sessions. She stated that looking back on her experience with a personal trainer, "I will never understand why people would hire a personal trainer." I pondered that question and began a list of reasons why people should invest in a personal trainer and/or a group exercise class like the kettlebell bootcamp I am currently in. Let me know what you think, if your reason is not on the list, please comment and give us your reason:

  • MOST PEOPLE BENEFIT FROM MAKING A FINANCIAL COMMITMENT TO WORKOUT- Think about it. Most people are more willing to not blow off their workouts if they have already have paid for the sessions in advance. The I am too stressed, to tired, too busy excuses tend to go away. This way you will make yourself go to the class/session since most people do not like to waste their money. This motivates you to go and creates a habit of you getting you exercising. My wife and I are a great example: for a good month we woke up early and worked out with each other at home on our own, then as time marched on getting out of bed got harder and harder. Now with our bootcamp (we made a 4 month commitment to workout) we would be wasting money when we sleep in and my tightass will not allow for that to happen!

  • IT IS A LOT CHEAPER THAN MEDICAL BILLS - A commitment to a group class and/or personal trainer seems expensive, but look at it this way. If your older self could go back in time and talk to you now he/she would kick you in the ass and curse you for not making the investment into your health. Believe me, I have seen way to many individuals now in their golden years who cannot enjoy their retirements because they did not train themselves the way they should have years before. They have a total joint replacement, are out of shape and fat since they can no longer exercise without pain and have poor health since they can no longer exercise or be active. Also now you have less money due to all the medical expenses you wasted your money on. Broke and miserable is no way to go through life.

  • SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT AS GOOD AT MOTIVATING THEMSELVES - Most people aren't the greatest at motivating themselves to workout. We need help from a workout partner, a group class with a knowledgeable instructor, or a well qualified personal trainer. These people can get you motivated to workout and can usually push you farther then you ever thought you could push yourself. I know for a fact that this is true with the class I currently attend.

  • TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE - You ever worked out in the gym and watched someone do a certain exercise and you cringe at the sight of them working out? Their technique is so poor that you can almost guarantee that they will snap a limb out of place right then and there. That is why there are instructors and personal trainers. They can make sure that you are doing the exercise perfectly. Because if you are not doing perfect reps, you develop bad habits and are going to end up in the doctors office anyways.

  • BRING BALANCE TO YOUR LIFE AND BODY - The majority of us have some type of muscle imbalance in our bodies that we do not know about. If you begin an exercise program or train for a new activity (say a half marathon) without putting your body in the correct balance you can do a lot of damage. A good group instructor and/or personal trainer can help determine what weak links you may possess and help you to correct them so you can train/exercise more efficiently with bigger gains and make you less prone to injury. I would advise to anyone that if they want to train for their first ever marathon or 1/2 marathon, they need to get screened for movement imbalances and work with someone on preparing you for training for your upcoming event. Just running alone won't prepare you for a marathon or half-marathon.

  • THEY HAVE A PROGRAM, YOU DON'T - Lets face it, we have all done it. We walk into the gym without any type of plan whatsoever. We look around to see what machines (I HATE MACHINE WEIGHTS! but that is for another post) are available and we have no idea how many sets, reps, weights we are going to perform. Every GOOD group instructor/personal trainer can set you up with a program that identifies with your goals be it weight loss, muscle gain, training for a sport, or general fitness. Without that program you are like a gerbil on that wheel, you are definitely doing something ,which is nice, but you aren't getting anywhere doing it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #12 (I got a weak Left cheek)

Very good class today. Not only in a performance aspect, but I always love it when I learn something in a workout.

As many of you already know (just ask my wife Nikki) I always preach a lot at about muscle imbalances and how they can wreck your body with activities. The beautiful thing about kettlebell training is that it helps you to work on those muscle imbalances, like my Left butt cheek (sort of speaking).
Today (after warm up) David had us get into a half kneeling position and move our feet in line like we were kneeling on a tight rope (I call it half kneeling tightrope position). Then had us rack the kettlebell and press it overhead. We have done this before but before we would have the left leg forward and press up with the right arm, which was hard enough. Today we had to have the left leg forward and press with the left leg. Talk about hard & unsteady. Then Dave showed what we were doing and then showed what it looks like if you engage your stabilizers (some people say "core" I like to say pillar) this means David engaged his hip stabilizers by squeezing his butt, engaged his core by how he likes to call it "pull your sternum and your pubic bone together" and engaged his scapular stabilizers in his shoulder by pulling back and down with the shoulder blade and squeezing the handle with his hand. This made the movement much more "efficient" lets say with way less "energy leaks". It is those leaks that occur during movement within our training or everyday activities that can lead us to injury.

As it turns out when I was pressing with my right arm, I was having a significant amount of trouble! Does that mean my right side is weaker, maybe. But more than likely it means that I am having trouble stabilizing with my left hip (my weak left cheek). I also notice this with my turkish get ups as well. Here is our workout today:

  • We did 1x5 tightrope half kneeling same side presses each side, then received more instruction then repeated with 1x5 each side with much more efficient presses
  • Then of course we did KB swings 30 seconds on, 20 seconds off for 6 rounds.
40-45 minutes later and 500 calories later we where winded and finished. Great workout! I will try and get us some video up of the tightrope press when David and I have time. I am also going to introduce everyone to the Functional Movement Screen and how I tested on the FMS before I began kettlebell bootcamp. Have a terrific day everyone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #11 (I know how to SNATCH now!)

Yes, go ahead and laugh. I did too. Everyone does when they hear the word "snatch". All in all though Nikki and I had a terrific bootcamp this morning. I did not think we could top the rough, kick ass workout we got last night, but my wife and I left bootcamp today with a huge sense of accomplishment. Cause know we have learned the kettlebell snatch, probably wasn't the prettiest of snatches but we did them and our forearms are free from bruises.

The first time Nik and I met with Dave I told him that I have seen the kettlebell snatch but was not familiar on how to do it. He had me try and rep and "WHACK" I popped my forearm so hard I was rubbing it for a week. He told me that he would get me to doing pain free snatches in the near future. Low and behold I banged my forearm up really good with a 12kg kettlebell 4 weeks ago and today I snatched a 16kg kettlebell 15-20 times today and walked out with no bruises and pain free, David is no liar.

Here is the workout:
  • Warm up which included spinal wave and "the pump"
  • KB squat to press from rack position 15 sec, 15 sec rest then other side 15 sec x 3
  • Burpees followed by KB orbits (at least that is what I call them) around our midsection 30sec each then repeat x 2

Then David educated us step by step the art of the kettlebell snatch:

  • practiced "pulls" both sides x5, repeated 3 times
  • 3 pulls followed by 1 snatch (pull then punch at the sky), then continued with 5 more snatches, then switched sides: performed this 2 times each side
  • one arm swings for 30 seconds, 30 second rest
  • 3 one arm swings to snatch, continued to perform 5 more snatches, 30 second rest then switched sides

All in all around 43 minutes of work and 599 calories later. Heart rate got up to 185 during snatches. Notes: need to keep my damn opposite hand off of my thigh! Got in trouble 3 times, my bad gang. Ended up finishing my snatches with the opposite hand behind my back. Probably not the best snatches in the world, but damn it feels good to be able to perform a snatch. Need to keep practicing and cleaning up my swing, this will help me to perform a much better snatch!

Kettlebell Bootcamp #10

Kick ass day today in KBBC. Dave just returned from Japan where he instructed a kettlebell seminar and basically stepped off of the plane and headed over to teach class. Nikki and I went to an evening class this time due to the fact that Nikki has to go to work early on Friday.

  • Circuits of alternating dumbell row, push ups, goblet squats (I believe we went 30 seconds exercise and then 15 seconds rest) x4

  • After a quick break we did double arm kettlebell swings for 30 seconds and then 10 second rest x5

All in all we did only around 30 minutes of work, but my heart rate shot up to 185 and I burned 400 calories in that time. Let alone how many calories I am going to burn (one article states up to and maybe over 38 hour increase in calorie burn) since I combined weight training in a format that gets my heart rate to go at different levels.

After class I wanted to video myself performing a turkish get up to show everyone what we are doing when they hear about the turkish get up. David was so gracious as to stick around and watch to make sure I performed it correctly and then jumped in and gave step by step instructions. Thanks so much Dave. Your class and your instruction is top notch! Here is the video with instruction first and the full get up second.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy Sunday

My wife Nik and I had a very productive Sunday today. On Saturday we did about 3 hours of grocery shopping at 4 different stores. We first headed off to the Farmer's Market for vegetables, then to Costco for our bulk items, next Wal Mart and finally to Whole Foods for the things we needed that aren't at any of the other stores.

Woke up this morning and began cooking. In a few hours I had made 2 dinners (breakfast casserole from gourmet nutrition & an enchilada casserole) and 2 snacks/post workout bars (peanut butter bars & granola bars both from the gourmet nutrition cookbook). I did all of this in time to sit down and watch football and monitor my fantasy football teams. By the time the Giants were taking care of the Cowboys, Nik and I made one final meal of stir fry steak and cauliflower mash (kind of like rice or mashed potatoes with the fiber and not the starch-gourmet nutrition cookbook as well).

All in all Nik and I made 3 anytime meals and 2 snacks that will end up lasting us the whole week. Its very true what the experts say, it pays to plan ahead and make all of your meals ahead of time.

Now we have no excuse to say that "we have nothing to eat" or that "we are too tired to cook". I will try and get a recipe up this week and also try to get some more video of Nik and I performing our kettlebell routines.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #9

Two full weeks performed of kettlebell bootcamp.  Already had three comments this week of "have you lost weight" which is always welcomed.  Feeling stronger as well.  Nikki bought me as a pick me up when I was a little down in the dumps a cookbook called "Gourmet Nutrition 2.0".  I am so stoked about the cookbook as it comes from the precision nutrition line.  This is where the pumpkin pie bars came from.  We are going to try some recipes this weekend and I will report back next week.

As for the workout, after quick warm up:
  • Circuit of body weight lunges, kettlebell presses, and one arm bent over rows (30 seconds R  side, 30 seconds L side, rotate to next station during 30 seconds rest)
  • Kettlebell swings (45 seconds on, 45 seconds rest)  did 6 rounds I believe
40 minutes later and 460 calories torched, more of a strength portion today which was different since we went high on endurance last two sessions.  Still max heart rate got up to 175. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #8

Today was a bit different today.  Dave was out of town in Japan doing a kettlebell workshop, so Dennis was are replacement instructor.  Today we re-learned the turkish get up, and learned a new spin on the swing, the 1 arm swing.

After warm up 5 min, we followed with:
  • Turkish get ups, 1 rep, alternate sides for 10 min
  • Goblet squat (also called steering wheel squat) with kettlebell followed by 5 push ups then repeat for time (I believe we did 10 minutes or 5 or 6 rounds)
  • 1 arm swings with partner (1 person swings while the other rests) 10 swings each arm, then 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 and finally one last set of 10 each arm.
All in all we did around 10 getups each side, 50 or 60 squats with perfect technique, 25-30 push ups and a total of 200 swings. 45 minutes, 570 calories later and my heart rate reached a max of 183.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Have you found your "AHA" moment when working out?

All of you have had trouble with something, be it work, homework, maybe a problem you just can't seem to solve.  Then ,magically, all of a sudden the stars align and you get your AHA! moment where you find the answer.   Have you ever had one when working out?

I have been working with a nice woman who has knee pain every time she runs and hikes.  She is in very good shape and even participates in aerobics classes at the YMCA.  The funny thing is she has NO knee pain when she participates in her "pump" classes.

On her functional movement screen ( it showed that she has weakness in anterior and rotational stability.  We have been working on that in therapy but over time when she begins to get tired and low and behold her knee pain returns.  

Then the AHA moment appeared out of the blue when I gave just the right cue to get her to "brace" her abdominals.  I told her to pull her sternum towards her pubic bone (thanks for the cue David Whitley!), and hold her abdominals tight like if someone was going to punch her in the stomach.  Then she said a big "Ohhhhhh, I know what you mean!" and then proceeded to perform 30 non stop lunges on one side and another 30 non stop lunges on her other side, PAIN FRICKIN FREE I TELL YA!  

I just love those moments.   Especially when I can help make them happen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #7 (Week 3)

Today was a rough one. You wouldn't think that way if I told you all we did today was push ups, squats and kettlebell swings.
  • Warm up 5 min
  • Ladder (2 teams, 3 rounds) of push ups then sumo squats with kettlebell at chest level, beginning at 1 rep, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Other team not performing reps in up push up position or in down position of sumo squat with butt towards floor and chest tall
  • Then performed 5 push ups and 5 sumo squats all together
  • 10 push ups and 10 sumo squats all together
  • Kettlebell swings 11 rounds at 30 second swings with 30 seconds rest
  • final round of swings for 60 seconds total (I call it the ass kicker, literally!)
All in all we performed 60 squats with weight and 60 push ups, we improved squatting technique with the use of the kettlebell and did planks during our rest times.  I am guessing we did over 200 kettlebell swings in that time as well.  

40-45 minutes total, 800 stinking calories later!  

I also have an upcoming surprise and will try and get some new pictures up as well!

If you would like to see what some of the kettlebell exercises are like.  David Whitley has some videos up on his website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Uncomplicated Dieting

Are all of you confused with all these different rules and regulations you have to go by to diet correctly? Want something a bit easier? I am going by a simple 4 rule system and it is paying off very well. I weighed in at 200 pounds this morning and am well on my way to breaking below the "mendoza line" sort of speaking. What is even better is I measured out on my body impedance scale at 19% body fat. I have not broken 20% since high school. Okay now back to the rules.

  1. With those 5-6 meals per day make sure you are eating a vegetable (or fruit but not all the time) and a protein source with every meal.

  2. Limit your carbohydrate intake (don't count veggies) to first thing in the morning and right after your workout, that is really when your body needs them the most and utilizes them in a very good way.

  3. Of those 42 meals you are supposed to eat every week (6 meals per day X 7 days) you are allowed to cheat 10% of the time. This gives you 4 meals per week to have a little fun.

  4. SLOW DOWN! (My biggest problem). Enjoy your food! If you are using one of those cheat meals then enjoy every little bite and chew! This will allow you to get full faster and you end up enjoying one brownie instead of 3!

There is no way you should count calories and do all that other crap if you cannot adhere to these simple rules. Then once you get really good at these rules and are still not getting the results you want, then you can get more detailed. A food and workout journal still helps to see if you are taking to these rules, but you don't need to get detailed unless you like it that way.

Hope this helps everyone. Comment back or email us at if you have any questions or concerns.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Protein Shake Recipes: Chapter #2

Pumpkin Pie Shake

-6-8 ounces of fat free milk or water
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Nik and I love Syntha 6 by BSN)  Best price we have found is
-2-3 table spoons of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix!)
-few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
-1 teaspoon of splenda brown sugar (if you like it sweeter)
-3-4 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy.  I LOVES ME SOME PUMPKIN!

Kettlebell Bootcamp #6

Nik and I drug ourselves out of bed and headed out into the rain for bootcamp.  Thank God we have a shelter type area where we can do the bootcamp and stay out of the rain.  

After warm up we did:

Circuit #1 (4 rounds)
-Kettlebell squats holding kettlebell at chest position (almost like a front squat)
-1 arm rows (each side)
-push ups

Circuit#2 (3 rounds)
-push presses (each arm)
-Static lunges (each leg)

Last circuit (termed the "CAROUSEL OF PAIN")
-Everyone got into a big circle with their kettlebell.  We did KB swings for time and then rotated to the next kettlebell.  (20 sec on, 30 seconds off).  There were 10 total kettlebells in different weights we ended up swinging.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #5

Quick note on bootcamp today. We did sets of push ups the right way, lunge holds in the down position, then top push up position to plank position and back up, terrific exercise by the way. Next we did a circuit of body weight squats, to alternating kettlebell rows (awesome and such a core workout) to v-ups x2rounds. Then we did 4 or 5 rounds of kettlebell swings to running 40 yds down and back, rest then begin again. All in all 45 minutes and 569 calories later a very good workout.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eat like it is your job, by Marie Spano, MS, RD, FISSN, CSCS

Terrific article by Marie Spano who is a registered dietician. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kettlebell #4-Week 2

We are now in week #2 of kettlebell bootcamp.  We are very happy with the workouts as we are working on strength, power, cardiovascular systems and fat loss.  Here was todays workout.

-Push up ladders with partner.  One person performs push up while other stays in plank position.  Ended at 5 reps.
-Deep squat ladder (2 rounds to 5 reps max) with partner.  One person comes up from squat position and back down while other person stays in downward squat position
-Kettlebell swings for time with 1/2 rest (example 30 sec swing/15 sec rest) performed for 10 minutes

Max heartrate was 178, calories burned was 491 on my watch.  Very pleased with the workout and how I feel afterwards.  

After the class Nikki and I decided to film each other doing swings, our instructor David saw what we were doing and came over to help que us.  He also performed some swings for us to compare ourselves to.  I am noticing that I need to hinge at the hips more and David gave a great que for activating my abdominals during the swing: "pull your sternum to your pubic bone".  He stated that he was pleased with how are technique is progressing but we just need to keep practicing to perfect the technique.

Let us know what you think!

Monday, October 20, 2008

High Intensity Training for Fat Loss

Terrific Blog about the positive effects of high intensity training! If you have a sound cardiovascular foundation and are not sufferring from any current imbalances or injuries you should be interval training!

Click the title above and read it. This guy is a research stud!

Kettlebell #3

Sorry for the late post. Nik and I left for New Orleans for our anniversary trip. Had a lot of fun, but before we left we woke up early and worked out with Dave at bootcamp.

We performed:

Circiut #1 30sec/30sec (4 rounds)
kettlebell rows each arm
bulgarian squats (basically a lunge w/back foot elevated on a bench) each side
push ups then planks for the last 30 seconds

Circuit #2 (4 rounds)
partners of 3 people, one person runs 40 yards, another person kettlebell swings until the front person gets to 40 yards and the last person follows (basically on person running up, one person running back and the last person doing kettlebell swings)

45 minutes and 530 calories later!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp #2

Kettlebell bootcamp #2, 40 minutes and 480 calories later.

Heart rate got up to 178. We performed only two exercises today and I felt like Nik and I just worked out for 3 hours non stop. We practiced two of the very foundational movements. The Turkish Get Up and the KB swing.

We practiced with no weight first to get the get up technique correct. We only did a "half get up" today and stopped at our half kneeling position and did not get to full standing. Then we did a half get up with weight, then brought our feet inline with each other and did a kettlebell press 3 times. What a difficult thing it was to have such a narrow base and keep your core stabilized while you press. Then we would go back down and do the other side. Did that 3 rounds each side.

Next we did a partner swing ladder. Nikki would swing a 16kg kettlebell 10 times and drop, then I would swing a 24kg 10 times and drop. Then 15 swings, then 20 swings and then repeated another round until 15 minutes was up. I had to move to 16kg halfway through due to the fact I thought that I was doing the technique wrong>

David is great at instruction and stated that I still need to work on bending my knees less and flexing my hips more. Nikki is a natural at the swing. I am very jealous.

He also showed us a way to improve our turkish get up. Balance a water bottle or a shoe on your fist hand instead of a kettlebell. Try to perform a half or a full get up without the shoe/bottle falling off your fist. I tell you what I can't do a watter bottle but can barely do a shoe. Great core exercise.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 1: Kettlebell Bootcamp

Today was a very eventful one as my wife and I get up at 5:30am on our anniversary to head out to kettlebell bootcamp.  It was actually a beautiful morning as the temperature was 65 degrees when we started.  We had two new additions to class as well and Nikki and I so David (our instructor) began the class from the very beginning, the anatomy of the swing.  After warm ups we practiced our technique on the swing and David was good at giving us cues to help us perform better.  We also practiced the art of dropping the kettlebell instead of setting it down.

Then we performed a squat ladder with a partner.  Nikki and I both squatted down facing each other and then one of us would thrust our hips forward and stand then back down for a count of one, meanwhile I was in the bottom of my squat until she came back down.  Nik would do 1, then I would do 1, then 2 and 2 and so forth until we got to 5.  I tell you, I was never so happy to squat because the hard part was staying down in the squat for so long with a 16kg kettlebell in my hands.

After that we performed a circuit of push ups for time, 30 sec rest and then kettlebell swings for time and we did 4 rounds of that.  David instructed me that I am using my quads way to much and need to use my glutes way more and reach back.  I will try and get you a video of Nikki and myself doing swings.

All in all great first class, my max heart rate was 189 and my calorie burn was 484.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Football Sunday

So we got the chance today to get a ton of stuff done today.  Nikki and I went grocery shopping and got all the supplies we needed for the week.  We came home and worked like a team cooking and cleaning for the next 4 hours.  We made chicken enchilada casserole, protein bars, cut fruit and put them in containers, and made an AWESOME healthy Pumpkin Dessert Squares (yummmm!).  (Recipe coming!)

Then I was lucky enough to have time to get to sit down and watch an awesome cardinal/cowboy game.  Then I got to enjoy the best part of the fall (if you ask me), I switched from the Dodger/Philly game and the Charger/Patriot game.  My wife, bless her heart, was a little burned out from football all day (we only have one TV) and made a terrific suggestion.  Lets go down to our apartment and workout?  We went down there and she watched "brothers and sisters" and I switched between the baseball and football game on the other TV in the workout room.  

I brought my 15lb. kettlebell with me and my heart rate monitor.  I decided to do a little walking on an incline to get my glutes activated for a while.  Walked with the kettlebell in my right hand for a while and then with my left hand for a while.  (I noticed that I had a lot more trouble walking with the kettlebell in my L hand so I made an effort to work on my imbalance by walking with it the majority of the time in my L hand).  I did that for 20 minutes while watching TV.  Then did some mild cable exercises (chops with the cable) and some deadlifts.  At the end of it all, I worked out for 30 minutes and it really did not feel like much.  I looked at my heart rate monitor and it said I burned 383 calories!

That is an important thing when you are trying to lose weight.  Create a deficit!  Find ways that you can do more in your day to help burn more calories that you take in.  I think we are going to make this a regular Sunday tradition.  So for all of you Sunday football watchers out there try doing some things during commercials.  Here are a few ideas:
  • push ups
  • pull ups
  • front planks
  • side planks
  • stretching
  • lunges
  • squats to the couch and back up
  • grab a band and do curls and presses and squats
  • grab some dumbbells and do arm curls to presses, single leg stance exercises.
  • BE CREATIVE, it makes a big difference!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do gym members appreciate help on technique?

I was working out at the fitness center where I currently work and I look around at all the members who are doing exercises completely wrong. Don't get me wrong, my members try hard and I am happy that they are here, but my only concern is that they are doing these exercises completely wrong and may be hurting themselves more than helping.

What I would like to know is this. If you hire a personal trainer you EXPECT them to teach you and monitor your lifting technique. If you sign up for a class or a bootcamp you EXPECT your instructor to monitor your technique. DO YOU expect as a member of a gym for the employees to be keeping a careful watch on you and coming over to provide you with proper queing to improve your workout and prevent injury?

I put a poll on the right hand side of this blog. Please answer it as honestly as you can. It would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kettlebell Bootcamp

The wife and I have decided to try something new and join a kettlebell bootcamp.

What is a kettlebell you ask? Well according to

A 'kettlebell' or girya (Russ.) is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. The kettlebell goes way back, it first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or 'a kettlebell man'.

I began learning about kettlebells about a year ago and started to investegate them a bit thinking that they would be a fitness craze and not last very long. It got to the point to when Nikki and I moved to Nashville we ended up buying 2 kettlebells from Target, a 16 pound one for me, and an 8 pound one for Nik. The first couple times we used it we could not walk or sit for a few days due to our glutes being so sore. That is a good thing by the way, I was surprised because I thought I had strong glutes, but I was sorely mistaken. We used them now and then but not as much as we should.

So I went to the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) in Boston, MA hosted by Lee Burton and Gray Cook. Come to find out that Gray uses kettlebells for training athletes AS WELL AS using it as a rehabiliation/corrective exercise tool. He showed some pretty cool things and I was very interested to learn more. When I got back to Nashville, I looked up on to see who in the area was a Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor (RKC). I was very pleased to find out that one of the RKC Senior Instructors (David Whitley, lived here in Nashville and holds a bootcamp three mornings a week. It was also very pleasing to me that he was FMS certified as well. I contacted him about upcoming bootcamps and he invited us out to come to a few morning classes.

The first morning David asked us to come in after class and teach us a few techniques. He spoke with us on how much we knew about kettlebells and we said "a little". He asked us to show him what we knew and the moves we were comfortable with. We found out a few things: 1) we were using way too light of kettlebells (why you ask? I will tell you more later). 2) our technique was "ok" but we had a lot of practicing to do. We learned how to do a swing properly as well as a "turkish getup". I tell you, no video or book can compare to having someone right beside you queing you to perform a move better. David was terrific and all the instruction he gave was very informative and he made the instruction session difficult but fun. He invited us back the following week to participate in the actual bootcamp.

The bootcamp the following week was a tough one. We did 10 "deck squats" followed by 10 push ups (see video) as many sets as we could until time was up, then we performed turkish getups 1 rep each side for time, the last thing we did was swings for time followed by a 40 yard run down and back and then repeated for I believe 4 sets. What a workout.

David was great at teaching us the techniques and spotting us if we needed. We signed up for 4 months of bootcamps right then and there.

I plan on once per week updating everyone on how the bootcamp is going. I will try and sneek in some pictures as well as video of Nikki and I here and there if I get a chance. If you are interested in finding a kettlebell instructor, go to

To see some of the techniques performed by David. Check out.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mike Robertsons Free E Manual on the Foam Roller and more!

Just saw this today. Mike Robertson has come out with a new e manual for SMR or Self Myofascial Release. It compliments the last post I did on the foam roller and more. PLUS IT IS FREE!
If your training is taking a tumble, you are having issues, or you just want to get the best out of your body. You should download and look over this book! Tissue quality is a very important aspect in your life and it is mostly ignored by 90% of the population.  Click on the title or the picture to download your copy. 

Hope all is well.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trigger points and Foam Rollers

Let me introduce you to one of my best training partners:
The Foam Roller

Have you seen that long roller made of foam hanging out in the fitness center? Have you seen someone rolling their back or legs onto it and grimacing? Yes, this is our very own foam roller.

What is it?
- The foam roller is used as a form of myofascial release (like massage)
Why use it?
- To help relieve trigger points.

A trigger point is a small area or section of muscle that acts differently than the rest of the muscle. It is what most people term “knots”.
• What these trigger points or knots do is they provide increased tension within that particular muscle.
• They are found in muscles that are very tight, very weak, or overworked.
• Trigger points are an indicator of previous injury, inappropriate use of the muscle, constant irritation, too much activity, or not enough activity

You might think, “Wouldn’t stretching & strengthening work? Why should I use the foam roller?” Think of it this way, the foam roller is like having a portable massage therapist on call for you. It can work out those knots in your muscles and allows you to get more gains from your stretching and strengthening exercises. If you basically just stretch
(and lets face it people, we don’t stretch nearly enough) you are going to
lose that flexibility if that knot has not been taken care of first. Think of it like
this, if you have a knot in your shoe string, would you pull it tighter to get rid of the knot? No, that would make the knot tighter and not help you out at all. That is the same with trigger points; you need to work out the knot in your muscles for you to efficiently get gains in flexibility and strength in those muscles that contain trigger points.

So think of it like this: Trigger point work 1st, then flexibility 2nd, then 3rd strengthen all those new ranges of motions you just achieved for you to gain the most from your exercise program.

Foam Roller Guidelines
• Roll an area of muscle with the foam roller, feel for tender spots and keep the roller on this spot and try to breathe and relax. Wait for the discomfort to diminish by 50-75%.
• When this area is no longer sensitive then begin to roll to see if there are any other sensitive areas
• Over time when you foam roll the areas may no longer be sensitive CONGRATULATIONS! But this does not mean you stop, keep foam rolling to help maintain that tissue quality
• You can use the foam roller as a warm up before stretching and activity or as a cool down (I suggest both if possible)
• Feel free to experiment with the foam roller on what works best and gets those trigger points. Some sample exercises are provided on the backside of this handout
• Remember you need to be able to relax, if the trigger points are too sensitive and make you tense up, then you will not get rid of the trigger point. Modify your technique or try the massage stick instead!

Recipes #1-Protein Shake Recipes

I just started getting bored with my protein shakes and found an interesting article from supplement warehouse that gave some ideas on how to "shake" things up with your protein shakes.

The Root Beer Float Shake
Just the other day Nikki and I went and bought a bottle of Diet A&W root beer. We added about 6-8 ounces of that to the blender along with about 4 ounces skim milk, ice cubes and one scoop of vanilla protein powder. If you are just post workout and want some simple carbs in the mix replace the milk with one scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt. There you have it ROOT BEER FLOAT SHAKES!

The Java Shake
Take your favorite protein powder (i use vanilla some days and chocolate on others) add either 6-10 ounces of coffee along with some ice. (basically just make it like you would your favorite coffee drink, but sugar free! I use the powder, ice, 2 sweet and low packets and a tablespoon of sugar free vanilla syrup). There you have it! Your protein shake, caffeine! and you don't have to go pay 5 dollars for it! Great for a morning pick me up!

More shake recipes to come. Like pumpkin pie shake and oatmeal raisin cookie shake!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Hint #4: Boost your metabolism

Stoke Your Metabolism
May 19, 2008

5 rules to get your metabolism heated up and help you burn more fat

Metabolisms are so much like furnaces. We want our bodies to use energy efficiently and to maintain our muscle while keeping our fat in a healthy range. The furnaces of today pull energy when they need it, to keep it running at the temperature you have set. Back in the old days of wood-burning stoves, people had to actually manually chop the wood and then feed it into the fire to create the heat. We don't have an automatic tap that sucks energy in to keep our metabolisms blazing, so what can we do to rev up the metabolism to keep it burning strong? We can utilize a number of simple strategies to rev up the engine on our own furnace and kick our metabolisms into the high efficiency zone.

#1 - Don't even think about waiting to have breakfast! When you wake up in the morning from that wonderful beauty sleep, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the entire day. Your body is running on fumes! When I test client's metabolic rates here at AP, I do it fasted and in the morning before they eat or drink anything because that will be their lowest metabolic rate of the day. The second you eat something, your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. That shower with the Irish Spring may wake your mind and your senses up, but that breakfast wakes up your metabolism.

#2 - Do not skip meals! You should be eating every 3 hours. When the body has to digest food, it has to work to get it broken down into a usable form. The fancy term for this is "the thermic effect." What does this mean to you? It means that every time you eat, your body has to rev up the furnace to break that food down. Now, I am not recommending that you eat huge meals every three hours or swing by to get a quarter-pounder a few times a day. I am recommending that you eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats every three hours, in portions that are correct for your size and activity level. When it comes to the number of meals, less is not more. In fact, more meals, means more metabolic revving, so eat wisely, but eat up.

#3 - Include a lean protein source with every meal. Mirror, mirror on the wall, what has the highest thermic effect of them all? Protein! When you eat protein, it is like throwing lighter fluid onto the fire in that wood burning stove; therefore, include a lean protein source with every meal to get a little extra burst of metabolic power. When choosing your protein, remember our saying: "The less legs the better." Fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken have two legs - take off the skin and don't fry it and you have a fabulous source of protein. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the only way to go.

#4 - Exercise is a must! When we exercise, we have this great post-exercise period called "EPOC." Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption = more calories burned. The magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training. Weight training and circuit training where you have 40-70 seconds under tension per set will rev up the metabolism (So, count to 4 on each rep in the set). Interval training can also bump up the metabolic marvel! Bottom line: all training will create EPOC, but these exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Try to do them four days per week and save the long easy sessions for your recovery days.

#5 - Drink your green tea! Remember when Alice drank the tea on her way to Wonderland? Well, that tea made her shrink, just like green tea can help to shrink the body fat on your body! Green tea has a natural component that helps to speed up the metabolism. Now, I am not talking about Lipton sweetened green, I am talking about brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins that stimulate the body to burn calories (rev up the metabolic furnace). Researchers have proven this and studies showing that four cups of green tea per day can help reduce body fat have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Added bonus? Catechins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, and may help control cholesterol levels.

So. No earth-shattering breakthroughs here. Just some simple strategies to get your metabolic fire blazing. However, I think that simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. If you can find a few simple things that you can consistently do savagely well, you will be well on your way to a healthy lean lifestyle and not back and forth to the bookstores for the newest diet fad. Stick to these strategies and send your metabolism blazing strong.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quick Hint #3: Weekend Nutrition

This quick hint is by Nate Green who posted this online article on t-nation. Stupid Things Young Guys (and Some Older Guys) Do in the Kitchen.

You've been rocking the gym all week, getting all of your healthy meals in, and you're feeling like a freakin' champ. Now it's the weekend and you're faced with an interesting dilemma: eat chicken wings and drink beer at Hooters, or try to talk your friends into doing something else. What's your call?
"It really depends on your performance that week leading up to Friday night," says Roussell.
Let's say you eat six meals a day, seven days a week, which equals 42 total meals. If you were following Berardi's 90 percent rule (eating well 90 percent of the time), you'd have four or five "free" meals where you could drink some beer and have some nachos without feeling guilty.
But if your nutrition was less than great that week, you'd be better off skipping the bad stuff, and ogling the Hooters wait staff while eating a clean meal and nursing a single beer.
No one wants to live a life free from beer, chicken wings, and general weekend debauchery, so the trick is to stick to the plan when you can, indulge on your own terms, and know when you need to get tough with yourself and get back on track.
The bottom line: When faced with an indulge-or-not-indulge choice on a weekend, let your adherence to your program and goals in the previous week be the deciding factor. If you've eaten clean and aced your workouts, you've earned the right to loosen up a bit. (Not that you have to use the privilege; I'm just saying it's there if you want it.)
And if you haven't earned it? You know, there are worse things than not eating crap food and getting sloppy drunk on a Friday night. You can be the designated driver for your friends, earning you some karma points.

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News