Saturday, July 30, 2011

Strength Based (mostly) Kettlebell Workout with Lauren Brooks and Katie Dawers

Here is a strength workout that can be for either men or women.  This workout in the video is demonstrated by two small ladies.  Katie Dawers, soon to be RKC, at only 121lb's easily doing double cleans with a pair of 24kg's (53lb) kettlebells. That's a total of 106lb's.  Lauren Brooks 114lb's demonstrating Goblet Squat's with a 32kg (70lb).   There will be a new article being released, I wrote dedicating it to "Strong is the New Sexy" theme.  It's good to know that this is finally what's accepted and not the anorexic unhealthy flabby skinny look.  Women can and should be strong as well and now it's sexy, so I hope you enjoy the new article coming out in the My Mad Method's magazine.  Details below to get your copy. 






Kettlebell Strength Workout for Women Instructions:
Perform each set with 90-120 sec between sets and exercises.

Kettlebell Strength Workout designed for Women but powerful enough for a Man:
A: Alt Clean & Press - 5 x 5-8 ES
B: Ring Pull Up - 5 x 5-8
C: Double Cleans - 5 x 5-8
D: Goblet Squat - 5 x 5-8
E: Side Toss - 5 x 45-60 sec  Or Swings if you don't have a partner
 ( Side Toss taught to me by RKC Team Leader, Michael Castrogiovanni)



Check out the Kettlebell Magazine Issue at 
http://mymadmethods.com/store/magazine-issues

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sweaty Saturday - slightly more conditioning than the usual workouts

We did this workout in my class last Saturday.  The beauty of this workout is, it's designed to where you can still use relatively heavier weights due to the time interval being only 20 seconds per exercise.  Give this workout a try and let me know what you think.

Set your timer for 20 seconds.
Go through the following exercise and only break 20 seconds when you need to transition to the next exercise for both sequences.
Sequence #1

SWING
FLOOR PRESS (less strong side)
FLOOR PRESS (stronger side)
GOBLET SQUAT
FRONT LUNGE (less strong side)
FRONT LUNGE (stronger side)
H2H SWING

Repeat 3-4 Rounds

Sequence #2

PULL UPS OR ROWS
SNATCH (less strong side)
SNATCH (stronger side)
BACK LUNGE
BACK LUNGE

Repeat 3-4 Rounds

Cool down

Plank Holds
Side Planks

2-3 rounds


Attention : SAN DIEGO AND NORTH COUNTY LOCALS.  Check out our most recent FAT LOSS WINNERS and get started on your wellness journey with us.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Robin in her mid 50's - Shares her story to a lean, strong, healthy, and beautiful body

Many of you may already know Robin Duncan.  Robin trained with me side by side in the first DVD that I ever filmed back in 2008, "The Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells."  Robin was in her early 50's during the filming.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.  We ended up filming for 16 hours in 110 degree weather on top of a building downtown.  It just happened to be one of the hottest days in LA.  She was such a trooper!  I wanted Robin in the DVD not only because I admired her strength, beauty, and youthfulness, but I wanted to show other people in their 50's, 60's, and 70's that they too can use kettlebells this way.  


Filming of kettlebell DVD




Robin in her 50's
Before working with Robin I was very enthusiastic about trying to convince my older friends and clients in their 50's and 60's, that training with kettlebells properly is a must!  Many would say things such as, "Lauren, as you get older you just have to accept the changes.  Our bodies get weak and I will never be thin like I use to be, it's a part of the aging process.  Kettlebells are for young, strong individuals like yourself."   To be honest, I was sick and tired of hearing this negativity that we had to accept weakness, sickness, weight gain, bad backs, just because of our age.  Why should we accept and let our bodies deteriorate if we don't have to?  Once you make up your mind and tell yourself you are too old for this and for that, what's the point?    Truthfully that's creating a barrier for yourself and not letting you live to your fullest potential, it's basically giving up.   That's why having Robin in my life, as a role model, has been such a breath of fresh air.   Prior to meeting Robin I was lucky enough to teach a few positive thinking ladies in their 60's one or two kettlebell exercises.  They loved it, became stronger than they ever had been before, but still had the mindset of wanting a more gentle routine due to their age.  Then I met Robin!  Below, Robin will share her story.  Robin is now in her mid 50's is still going strong and has never looked or felt better!!





Robin Duncan's Well-Being Story

My path to overall health has been an interesting journey.  For most of my adult life I was a runner, competing in half marathons and routinely placing in the top 10 women in my age division.  This was my life and my identity.  But a series of running injuries sidelined me.  I did not know where to turn.  I thought I needed running to feel strong, maintain my weight, and deal with stress. 

In desperation, I hired Lauren Brooks as a personal trainer to give me some tools to stay fit, just until I could run again.  At the time, Lauren was just starting to use kettlebells so I was one of her first devotees.  I was hooked!  Bells made me stronger, leaner and more overall fit than ever, and I wasn’t beating my body up the way I was with running.  Yet, I’m stubborn so I kept trying to ease back into running, but my body just wasn’t having it.  So after over 25 years of pounding the pavement, I hung up my running shoes.  This didn’t happen overnight.  I had to injure myself a few more times before I gave up the fight. 

Enjoying Yoga
Now I take long walks (trying to incorporate hills and sand) and do kettle bells with Lauren.  I love working with Lauren, and how she is a life-long learner of fitness and constantly adapting and making her training better all the time.  A few years ago, I got my yoga certification as well.  The most important thing that yoga taught me was to listen to my body – the breath, my mental state – all of it is crucial in maintaining overall health.   I feel strong, lean and youthful.   People routinely stop me to ask what I do to defy the years.  I tell them it is never just one thing! 



I have also learned so much from Lauren about nutrition and supplements.  I love food, but I am a nut about whole food, organic, and as unadulterated as possible.  Give me an organic kale salad drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a handful of cashews and I am a happy camper.  I do eat chicken occasionally, and love fish – especially sushi, but the bulk of my diet is raw and green.  Hungry mid-afternoon?  I grab a handful of almonds, or make a protein smoothie with almond milk, spinach and half a banana, or dip rice crackers into raw garlic spread (available at Jimbo’s and Whole Foods).   I try to avoid gluten and sugar because I just feel better when I don’t eat them – I really don’t have a sweet tooth so it is not too hard for me; however, a few bites of dark chocolate after a meal is a nice treat.

Robin Duncan, mid 50's, strong, lean, and beautiful

Now in my mid-fifties, I feel like I really have a handle on the right combination for my body – and I also know that life is about being flexible.  What worked for me in my twenties, might not work in my fifties, but staying fit, looking terrific and feeling good are something I can have at any age.



Thank you so much Robin for sharing this story with everyone.  I often get emails of people telling me that Robin is the one that inspired them to try kettlebells.  Even people in their 40's start using the "old" excuse, but upon by seeing Robin, it took all excuses away.  Being that the first kettlebell DVD, is still my #1 seller, I have also had many people ask and wonder what Robin looks like now.   Coming from everyone who gets to train with her regularly, we are all in awe of her timeless body, mind, and spirit of a 20 year old!  We know that age is just not a reason to have an excuse.  We create our own boundaries and limits! Thanks again Robin for being the role model and inspiration we all need in our lives!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Green Juice Recipe

I just finished teaching one of my evening kettlebell classes outside.  I was lucky enough to be able to join in this time around.  The workout that we did tonight is a workout I will be featuring in the next edition of My Mad Method's magazine.   It was a tough one!  Being that it's summer time, we were all pretty drenched after this class.   With that being said, the only food that my body was craving after this sweaty evening was a glass of fresh juice.  I wasn't planning on juicing tonight so I didn't have my usual staples.  However, with what I had in my kitchen I made a surprisingly refreshing juice that satisfied me to the fullest.  I had to write this one down so I can go back and repeat this amazing fresh green juice filled with rainbow chard, cucumber, celery, apples, and key limes I made with my Breville juicer.  Yummy!!!



Fresh Green Juice - this made enough for 2-3 servings

Ingredients

1/2 bunch of Rainbow Chard (I cut part of the stems)
1 Cucumber
1 Celery head
2 Organic Small Apples
3-4 Key Limes (hand squeezed at the end) Key Ingredient


Hope you all enjoy this one as much as I did.  Feel free to interchange your chard with kale, spinach, or any salad greens.  I'm sure it will be just as refreshing.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Robyn and David's Kettlebell Experience and Life Changes

I am truly excited to share this beautiful story about a wonderful couple who has clearly made some amazing life lasting changes.  I had the pleasure of introducing kettlebells into Robyn and David's lives along with some nutritional influence along the way.  Robyn and David now look and feel the best they ever have.  Many people out there can relate to Robyn and how she suffered from a weak lower back that would constantly give her problems.  She was very active but continued to have back pain.  Like most people who have ever had back issues, she was intimidated and wasn't sure if she could trust kettlebells.   Robyn has given birth to 2 beautiful girls, and like me had very large babies, via C-section.  David, Robyn's husband, came to me with little strength, much like the average endurance athlete and in just a short time he has become a machine.  He is unstoppable, extremely strong, fast, has a balanced body and lots of muscle.  As a husband and wife they have transformed together!  It's an honor to share Robyn and David's journey with all of you.  Not only to highlight their success for all of their close friends and family to see, but to show them how proud I truly am of them.   In addition, I enjoy inspiring all of you to be the best that you can be by showing you a real story about real people, who deal wth the same issues as everyone else.  It's always such a humbling experience to be apart of each and every life change that I encounter, especially ones where good friends have become like family.  Check out both of their inspiring stories below of what now helps them keep the lean, healthy, and fit bodies they worked for. 




ROBYN'S STORY

Robyn and David before kids and kettlebells

When I was first introduced to kettlebells at the end of 2008 I was skeptical about it because I had a weak lower back and the kettlebell swing, at first glance, appeared to be very jarring on your back.  In all honesty, I wasn’t sure it was something my back could handle.  Well here I am 2 ½ years later telling you it has been the BEST thing for my back. 

I am 33 years old and weight lifting was not something I did very much of in the past.  I would lift 8-10 lb dumb bells with some of my exercises but never much more than that.  I was a dancer for about 18 years, an avid walker, an occasional jogger and swimmer, and enjoyed a few years of tae bo, yoga, pilates, and The Firm videos. So I definitely was not coming into kettlebells with a “no exercise” background.  I was very much into fitness and always enjoyed getting in a good workout but never took it to the next level.  

Babies…
I gained 35 lbs with each of my pregnancies and have been able to get back to my “pre-baby” weight but the 2nd time around was much different than the first. 



1st Pregnancy 40 Weeks Pregnant
During my first pregnancy I suffered from extreme lower back pain and sciatica and it was very early on in the pregnancy which was strange. I had random lower back problems for a couple years prior to that also but just seemed to me like I had a weak back. Once the baby was born my back seemed fine. Anyway, I decided to shed the rest of the weight by training for a triathlon in my neighborhood. I didn’t actually do an organized triathlon – I did my own little one in my neighborhood!  So with my husband cheering me on (he had just gotten into triathlons – the organized ones) I was able to complete it 7 months after my c-section. The sprint triathlon consisted of a 1/4 mile swim in our community pool, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run.  I returned to my pre-baby weight and my back seemed ok but I had no real muscle definition and my nutrition was filled with a variety of things – I have always been that person who eats pretty healthy but also mixed in unhealthy too and I loved my sweets!! And it didn’t help that my husband brought all sorts of sweets into the house…I didn’t have the willpower to say no once they were staring me in the face.


I told Lauren about my previous back issues and how I was very concerned that the kettlebell exercises looked so hard on your back. She promised me that once I learned the correct form I would only be strengthening my back and core which will help me in the long run. I took a private class with Lauren a few months before becoming pregnant with my second child and began using her volume 1 kettlebell DVD.   During my second pregnancy,  I did not suffer from lower back pain.   After my second baby was born (and yes, another c-section) I decided I would shed the weight by doing kettlebell fitness classes. 

Once I got the green light to exercise 6 weeks after my c-section I started up the kettlebell DVD again and loved the fact that it was such an efficient way to burn calories and fat because all of us moms know we don’t have that much time to devote to exercise especially in the beginning with round-the-clock feedings.  3 months later I joined Buggybellz – a super effective kettlebell class 3x a week with baby in stroller.  I was hooked.  Between Lauren’s kettlebell classes, Buggybellz classes, and doing the video at home I was back to my pre-baby weight within a few months.  I was feeling stronger but still didn’t see muscle definition.  I used the 8kg bell for several months then graduated to the 12kg bell. 

I kept telling Lauren I was fearful of using heavier weights because I didn’t want to “bulk up” and I was still being very cautious in regards to my “weak back.” After using kettlebells diligently 3-5 times a week for a year now I can see that my body is much leaner and I finally have defined muscles (which I have never had before) but absolutely no “bulkiness.” My back is so much stronger than it used to be as is my core.  After 2 c-sections my abs definitely have a mind of their own but I work hard (even if just for 5-10 minutes a day) at engaging them and making them strong.  At 109 pounds, I can swing the 20kg bell with ease, do push presses with a 16kg, and snatch and double clean with 16kg (35lb) bells. I know these aren’t super heavy bells but I also know my limitations and have learned to listen to my body.

Robyn after 2 Kids and Kettlebells!
Baby #2 - 9 months!


In the past few months I have also really improved my eating which has made a huge difference in the way I look and feel.  Having my husband on the same page now, in terms of healthy eating and daily exercise, gives me that extra push…we really motivate each other which makes it fun. We eat lots of vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts and have really cut out the empty calorie and high sodium foods.  I enjoy making myself a different salad everyday for lunch so I never get bored.  I have really cut back on chicken and don’t eat any red meat anymore.  I do enjoy fish once or twice a week. And I still eat some sweets just not the muffins and cookies and cakes that I used to go for - now it’s a little frozen yogurt or dark chocolate.


The strength, conditioning and new found health I have achieved through both kettlebells and the influence of good nutrition will stay with me forever and I will be able to pass that on to my children.







DAVID'S STORY

I’ve been actively involved with some form of sports or fitness activity for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing football, soccer, basketball and baseball and also participated in a few short distance running races just for fun. Fitness was just a part of my life growing up and continued all the way thru college. On average I would say I spent 1 to 2 hours per day exercising or doing some form of fitness activity.  I enjoyed staying fit as it was a way of keeping my mind and body healthy, and was a great way of challenging myself (and my teammates) to meet and exceed personal and/or team goals.

In my opinion, a significant part of being able to successfully maintain my level of activity came from eating a fairly well balanced and nutritious diet. As we all know, when we are young it’s easy to not eat as healthy as one should and can still get away with it. But as one ages, one quickly learns that the body is not as forgiving.  However, once I graduated college and started working full time, I found that my days were spent for the most part behind a desk rather than on a ball field or gym and this is when I first started noticing changes in my body both physically and mentally.

My days of exercising for 1 to 2 hours per day were reduced to 1 to 2 hours per week and gradually decreased to almost 0 hrs per week as time went on. I was working 12 hour days and also got accepted into Graduate School to get my M.B.A. Clearly I became inundated with both work and schoolwork and unfortunately to keep up I chose to eliminate exercise all together. Additionally,  my eating habits become poorer as well. Crazy work schedules meant fast food for lunch, junk food for snacks and midnight dinners right before bed only to wake up and do it all over again the next day. My energy level was decreased to the point where I felt I needed to nap each day and even on the weekends had little to no energy or desire for that matter to exercise. I felt slow and sluggish and generally just fatigued. I started to gain weight, first slowly, and then at an increasing rate. I’m 6’ tall and I went from 195 lbs to 235lbs in about a year and in addition to feeling more fatigued I started to notice that my immune system was weaker as I was getting sick more often. It was a terrible pattern that I had got myself into and really missed the days of feeling energetic and just overall healthy.

It was at that point that I decided that things needed to change. I mean going out and playing a friendly game of basketball with friends was a struggle, or going for an easy bike ride at the beach was just too hard. I didn’t want to continue going down this road. I was aware of the consequences that a poor diet coupled with a lack of exercise can lead one to.  I knew that it was time to make a change and get myself back on track.


The day I finished Graduate School I made a commitment that I would do my best to try and set aside more time to exercise and stay overall more active. I started out by just walking a few miles several times a week, and then moved on to jogging a mile or two per week. It felt good to be getting my body moving again. I noticed that I had a little more energy which was good seeing as we just had our first child and would definitely need the extra endurance for that. I did not make any real changes to my diet as I really wasn’t convinced that would have much of an impact on how I was feeling. One thing was obvious though I wasn’t really losing any significant weight or gaining any new muscle definition.

I was fortunate enough after Graduate School to be offered a C.F.O. position with a well respected Triathlon Apparel/Footwear Company and from that point on my exercise routine changed dramatically. Partly due to my competitive nature and partly in order to keep up with my fellow triathlon focused co-workers. I started gradually increasing my running distance from 2 to 3 miles, to 5 or 6 miles per week, riding my bike 10-20 miles per week and swimming 1 mile per week. It was a struggle at first keeping up with this routine. Running especially was hard for me. After a 2 or 3 mile run I was completely wiped out. It did feel great though being active again and slowly but surely the weight started to come off. After about 2 years of consistent training I was able to bring my weight down from 235lbs to 205lbs. In May of 2007, I competed in my first Sprint Distance Triathlon (.25 mile swim, 9 mile Bike, 3 mile Run) and by the following year competed in my first Olympic Distance (.90 mile swim, 25 mile Bike, 6 mile Run) race. In fact a buddy of mine challenged each other to go out and do our own Half Ironman distance race (1.2 mile Swim, 56 mile Bike and 13 mile Run) which took about 6 hours to complete. It was a great achievement and I never would have thought that I could have done it seeing as where I’d let myself get to just a short time ago.

A couple of years ago my wife decided to give Kettlebells a try. She started out using Lauren’s Volume 1 video at home. I had never heard of Kettlebells prior to this. At first it didn’t interest me in any way as it looked awkward, nor did it really seem enjoyable or beneficial. During that winter our local pool had closed for repairs and so I couldn’t swim as part of my normal routine. After several weeks of watching my wife do the videos I reluctantly chose to give Kettlebells a try and I haven’t looked back since. I started like many others just doing Lauren’s Volume 1 video at home using a 26 lbs Kettlebell. I mixed this new Kettlebell routine in with my running and biking and then worked my way up to signing up for one of Lauren’s classes. She really proved that Kettlebells was an effective way of strengthening one’s body while having fun at the same time. I also really started enjoying the fact that you could do Kettlebells anywhere.  At home, on the road while traveling, etc. It was very mobile and easy to do anywhere. I went from doing Kettlebells once a week to combining it into my routine 3 or 4 times per week.

Feb Fat Loss Photo - before nutrition and major strength changes
After just a few short months, I noticed that my body was becoming leaner and stronger and also was loaded with energy. No need for my daily nap anymore that’s for sure. In fact I had found that I had more energy than ever. Also, Kettlebells provided a great environment for my wife and I to work out together which was really rewarding. Again I continued to drop the weight with my regular Kettlebell routine, going  from 205 lbs to 200 lbs. However, there was still one significant piece missing that would ultimately help me get to the next level and that was the nutritional aspect of my routine.  You see with all of the exercise that I was putting in, it gave me the false impression that I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. That’s not to say that I was eating junk food 100% of the time. I ate a fairly well balanced diet but clearly still ate my fair share of fatty and non-beneficial foods on a regular basis. All of my exercise was just counter-acting my diet so there was in essence sort of a “neutral” impact to my body.



 4-5 Months of Nutrition Changes and Heavier Bells!
With that said, Lauren convinced me to give one of her infamous monthly Fat Loss Challenges a try. I was reluctant for sure but decided to give it a shot.  I started by eliminating the daily ice cream routine, weekly french fries and potato chips, the post  lunch cookies, weekly pizza night, etc and that’s when it all changed.  I mixed in more healthy flour-less breads, salads, greek yogurts, nutritional smoothies, nuts and raw fruits/veggies on a regular basis and made it a point to only splurge once a week (you have to keep sane for sure). Within just one month my weight dropped 6 lbs, my muscles became leaner and more defined and my energy level was off the charts. I have now been continuing this exercise and “cleaned” up diet routine for almost 5 months now. I’ve lost 15 lbs since then and consistently maintain a weight of 185 lbs to 187 lbs. I’m able to double press two 80 lbs Kettlebells several times, do a pull up with an 80 lbs Kettebell chained to my waist and easily snatch an 80 lbs Kettlebell several times.  I completed my first half marathon in just over 2 hrs in April 2011 and hope to maybe sign up for a full marathon later in the year. My core is so much stronger and flatter, my arms have become more defined and my posture is much straighter which I believe is all related to my new routine and diet.
Clearly, one can see the true benefits of staying active and eating healthy. I am living proof of that. I don’t want other's to feel they have to go to this extreme.  Everyone can do it at their own level and pace, but the crucial thing is that they enjoy it.  It’s just about taking the time to make a change. It doesn’t have to be drastic just enough to make a difference in your life so that you can have many more years of health and happiness.  I wish everyone the best of luck.



The Strong, Fit, and Healthy Couple


I just want to thank Robyn and David for inspiring all of us to continue to be our absolute best in health.  Everyone they encounter they inspire!  It just so happens that today is also their anniversary.  Happy Anniversary to an amazing couple of 9 years!  We love you!!!



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nutrition Interview with Lauren Brooks from Smart Fitness Coach

Here is a free podcast interview with me regarding some topics such as raw food, plant based eating, paleo diet, and more. 

Download your free episode on itunes here or visit Smart Fitness Coach to download the mp3 and get some show notes and things discussed in the interview on where to go.

A few resources to learn more about raw foods or plant based living can be found at the post directly below this one.