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A Profound Story of Transformation with Kettlebells

Susan Sloan 100lb Weight Loss with Kettlebell Success StoryRecently I had the honor of interviewing fellow Floridian, Susan Sloan.  She's now celebrating her 1 year anniversary as an RKC instructor, and considering the journey she's had to get there, this is even more significant an accomplishment than usual (it's not something just anyone can do, and the odds she has overcome make it even more impressive.)   I'll save the details for you because I'll be posting the link to the interview below, but I first met Susan in 2010 at the RKC which was held here in Orlando.  I didn't know her story at the time, only that she was working with someone who was soon to become a close friend (and one of the few other RKC-IIs here in Florida, RKC Team Leader Laurel Blackburn).    After seeing a feature on Laurel's boot camp in Tallahassee, Susan decided that it looked like something she wanted to try, and after the usual struggles and annoyances with typical gyms, Laurel's facility fit the bill. 

Through proper kettlebell training, nutritional guidance, effective goal setting and sheer determination, Susan has lost 100lbs and kept it off.  AND she's been able to help others as an RKC certified kettlebell instructor.  One of the things I really like about Susan's interview is how she shares the exact strategies she used to get through the tough times when others would have just given up.   I feel like this interview is especially important not just for people who are looking to make big changes and finally commit to a big lifestyle (and body) transformation, but it's also helpful for instructors and trainers who may be helping someone on such a big transformation.   I can't understate how important it is for instructors and trainers to really listen, empathise and UNDERSTAND what's going on with a given client.  Susan provides her perspective and how she got through it, I sincerely hope this interview helps and inspires others to lead longer and healthier lives through a smart transition to activity and improved food choices.  

It's also so important for people to address what's going on mentally with these kind of transformations, and there's nothing wrong with finding a good counselor too!   I am super proud of Susan's transformation and just thrilled she was willing to share her story.

Read Susan's complete interview here.

In Defense of Very Heavy Kettlebells... and Why I Love Having Them Around...

Beast Kettlebell next to 10lb kettlebell - Both from Dragon Door While very heavy swings are certainly not recommended for beginners, intermediate to advanced kettlebell maniacs might want to consider the challenge.  For one it can be both a serious ego check (at first) and a real ego builder (a little later).   And ladies, do NOT shy away from heavy when you're ready... short sets of heavy swings make for some glorious glutes, and bring power to all your other lifts, sports, and life in general.  The gluteus maximus is named that for a reason... might as well put it to work! :)

Keep Reading for a list of tips for very heavy swings......

A Fun P.E. Inspired Outdoor Kettlebell and Bodyweight Variation for Small Groups--with VIDEO

We've been having a ton of fun occasionally using a giant soccer field for our small group workouts.   A little bit ago, I'd received a SandBell from Hyperwear and was inspired to think about "P.E. games" and related activities that might be fun to add to our workouts... Then I found my old stack of 20 orange plastic cones, and the following workout variations came about.  In the video I show the variation that we used recently which has elements of chance (a poker chip of a random color is under each cone, each color corresponds to the number of pushups we'll need to do), sprints (or active rest if necessary--you could walk or jog out to a cone), and a little bit of mental flexibility (whenever someone returns with a cone and chip, we have to stop what we are doing and knock out the required number of push ups).   Obviously you want to keep this variation to groups of 3-5... a giant group would throw off the timing to the point that it could be frustrating!  Video is below:

Ask GiryaGirl: I want to work out today, but have no idea what to do?! What's GTG?

Q: I want to work out, but have no idea what to do, I'm between programs or haven't decided what I really need to work on.  The internet has filled my head with conflicting info and lists of 1,203 different exercises that I now feel compelled to work on RIGHT NOW!  What to do?!?

A Short Answer: Do some kettlebell (or even just bodyweight) get-ups!!   After a bad run-in with the "cold from hell" which some have theorized was "the flu" my first workout after recovering, was single get ups - beginning with 50 bodyweight get ups done throughout the day, then adding in a couple of reasonably light kettlebell get ups with pauses, and a few kettlebell "bottoms up" thrown in there for variety.  The key to this is of course impeccable form, and taking the time to make sure each get-up done is given full attention... every time I do this sort of thing, I learn something.

Long Answer:  Right now it's very trendy to bash mult-tasking, but I don't bash multi-tasking in all cases... if you can do it and do it well, then why not.   Granted, the example below is more in the category of "very useful active rest" or "leveraging my time."  I inherited a "special" habit from my Dad... and that's creating stacks of things, usually books, notes, lists, etc.  I can remember as a kid carefully navigating the temporary obstacle course of books and papers which would appear in his home office if Dad was working on a particularly engrossing project.  Guess what?  I do it too, and will say, "Uh oh it's gotten all 'term-papery' around here"  So last night I wanted to work on very strict form dead hang pull ups, which is a great opportunity for a workout that involves tidying up (putting books back in their category, evaluating to-do lists and adding items to the project management software when necessary, and generally just putting things away).

What Do You Mean, You 'Accidentally' Walked 11 Miles?

Original title of this blog post was The Importance of Play and Exploration in Fitness--Even for Grownups, but I though that sounded too academic, especially since I wasn't going to throw around any stats.

When most people think about fitness, images of gym environments and machines may pop into their heads, or maybe P.E. class, or maybe even weight loss advertisements.  Lately there's been more talk about fitness as a means to being able to enjoy life more fully, especially for those of us who are not exactly 20 anymore.  Maintaining and increasing our fitness levels will help us enjoy life in and out of the "gym" that much more.   Last Sunday I donned the SPF70 and joined a friend for what ended up being a fairly long walk.   We wanted to explore the Orlando Urban Trail, something that had slightly hinted at its own existence with little signs on a short stretch of 17-92 near the Art and Science centers.  "Greater Orlando" isn't necessarily the most "walking friendly" place... so the idea of being able to stroll to fun destinations along a decent path was definitely worth checking out.   Fortunately, the Orlando Urban Trail is really nice and seems to stay in safe, interesting parts of town that I enjoy...  Added bonus, many of these places seem to have limited parking, so between that and the fact that it kept me from buying extraneous stuff and/or groceries, I may have actually ended up saving money.  As some people already know, "walking around and checking things out" is a favorite activity of mine, and one of the reasons that I like large metro areas all over the world, especially foodie-inclined areas.   This was when I realized that Winter Park / Ivanhoe had some further potential.  Besides everyone knows that parking on Ivanhoe can sometimes be a drag, arriving on foot would feel vaguely victorious.

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