From Weak/Unhealthy Mom to Super Strong Fitness Model Mom

I've been very anxious to feature a very special female in my life, Katie Dawers. This young lady has come incredibly far and superseded all of her expectations by a long shot.  On behalf of everyone, including myself, who has trained with her, watched her grow, we are truly so proud of you Katie! Don't ever quit! Dedication, determination, and smart training pays off, as you have proved to yourself and the world!

Read her story below. Hope you are all as inspired as much as we continue to be.


Everyone has a story. Some people’s life stories are sad, some of them are exciting, some are boring and some are inspiring. With my story I hope to inspire everyone from all walks of life. I wont bore you with my childhood journey into adult hood, instead I will start where life really happened, and I mean this in the most literal way possible, when I got pregnant with my son.

​When I found out I was pregnant with my son I was 18 years old.  I had many unhealthy habits.  I smoked a pack to two packs a day. Caffeine was my best friend, as I would drink the large Red Bulls several times a day, on my minimal caffeine day it was coffee and two large Red Bulls.  It doesn't stop there.  My diet consisted of a bagel or croissant for breakfast, I ate lunch at Jack in the Box and dinner at Carls Jr.  Back then I worked for a lawyer and we would take breaks and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee and I loved it!  It made me happy.   Receiving the news of being pregnant I was in major shock and definitely not ready to make any life changes.  I found out I was pregnant really early, only about 4 weeks and my ultrasound showed only an egg.   After my sonogram I went home and smoked a cigarette, considering this is what I had done to cope for the last 4 years of my life.   After the shock I quit smoking and quit the caffeine as much as I could, I still had my one-cup of coffee every single day. Through out my pregnancy my wonderful husband talked me into walking every day, and so I did. However, I walked maybe half a mile a day if that.  Even though I made big steps (for who I was back then) my diet was not that much better. I would eat pizza with a bag of carrots. I did always try to eat something good.  I didn't have any money then so I lived off tuna helper and broccoli.  The meals were cheap and I was saving for my baby.  I didn’t know then that the most important thing was the health of my baby.

After a long pregnancy Cole was finally born.  I fell in love with this little boy.  I have never loved anything more in my life.  But this love was not enough, this little boy never slept (he still never sleeps) he’s just not a sleeper.  I became a little depressed. I had a little post partum depression and when that wore off I was still depressed. I remember visiting my mother.  My mother told me I was depressed from not sleeping. While I nursed my new born, she continued to tell me I needed to join a group that  had other mothers to support me.  Well my mother had just had a baby herself, my little sister Ava she was about 2 when Cole was born.  My mother did stroller strides back then and so I joined.  In stroller strides we ran a quarter mile stopped and used some bands for strength.  I was dying.  I couldn’t run nor use the bands.  As hard as it was I kept going, it got me out of the house and at the time I lived 45 minutes from my mom so I got to see her twice a week. My husband is a Marine and had to deploy when my son was 7 months old.  I was 45 minutes from my mom and alone with a seven month old baby.  Working out got me through the seven months of my life.  It quickly became my release.  While this is terrific most would say, I also began drinking wine, every night while my husband was gone.  It got me through the lonely nights. I felt like I never got a break and never had a baby sitter.  I hung out with my mom a lot and spent my first month living at my moms house, I was so lost.  Drinking helped and when my husband returned the drinking never stopped it became a habit and a bad one.

About a year or so after I started stroller strides, my mother Della Whelchel and Lauren Brooks decided to start a kid friendly class using kettlebells and strollers (Buggybellz). I was excited for my mom, however kettlebells were really intimidating for me.  As their first class approached I went early with my mom.  She was trying to show me a few tips and moves with the kettlebells before other mothers arrived.  Anyone that does kettlebells knows that we start everyone with an 8kg (18lbs). My mother says to me “press it”. First of all I didn’t even know what a “press” was nor was I sure I wanted to. The swing was enough to overwhelm me and the class has not even started yet. While my mother was showing me how to press it ever so gracefully, she handed me the bell and I begin to press it. Lets put it this way, it was very ugly and the bell never made it past my shoulders. I was weak. This was hard for me as in the stroller strides classes I felt I grew stronger.   As my life started to change so did my attitude.   Kettlebells were very intimidating for the first six months or so.   I remember thinking how strong Lauren and my mom were, I thought, “I will never be like that, I couldn’t, I will just stay where I am physically, I cant even imagine being that strong.”   As I attended these classes regularly three days a week I eventually got my form down.   I had the best support, my mom.   We would practice at her house and talk about it all the time.   My mom taught me almost everything I needed to know to get through the days with my baby to how to swing a 16kg kettlebell.   Going into these classes I remember how flabby my stomach was, I hated it.   I had rolls; my arms were flabby and weak.  In my first year of learning kettlebells this slowly but surely started to change and so did my eating habits.  I began to follow my mother.  We would talk about diet a lot as she is and was into health. I still didn’t eat that well though; I would still have pizza every once in a while and hit a fast food joint. My drinking was probably worse then ever at this point. I remained pretty mellow while drinking; it wasn’t like I was a raging alcoholic, or violent, if you didn’t know me you might not even know I have had something to drink. As time went on my mom and Lauren allowed me to teach a Buggybellz class for them once a week after receiving my HKC (Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification). This is around the same time I took one of Laurens classes at her in home gym.   She encouraged everyone to pick up a bell that they have never pressed before after a series of progressions. The biggest bell I ever used before at that time was a 16kg.  So I picked up the 20kg I racked it and I pressed it.  I think this was the first time I realized I could be as strong as my mentors.  I had to figure out how to do this.  Buggybellz wasn’t going to work. I couldn’t carry heavy enough bells in my stroller nor afford them.   I really had to think about this.  I began taking Lauren's classes once a week.  Lauren did heavy snatches in class and I snatched the 20kg, I felt like I was on fire. 

After time Lauren and I started talking about me teaching for her.  I became RKC, Russian Kettlebell Certified, my confidence really started to grow.  I felt better than I ever have in my life and I had such great people supporting me.  I felt like going into Lauren's classes I wanted to be better, as if what I was doing wasn’t enough and I found a way, I just figured it out.  I grew to be really strong and confident. I got compliments on my body more than ever actually for the first time ever! I had this fire in me (I still do) to do something, to be something great; I didn’t want to settle for less. There was more out there, there had to be. I had a dear friend, make a phone call to a mainstream fitness photographer. I sent him some pictures and he said he would throw me in the “hopper”.  Well these “mainstream” guys they get busy, my friend and I kept calling him and emailing and eventually he did a shoot with me for Compax.  I went down to his studio with butterflies in my stomach I probably could have vomited. Luckily he was a really cool down to earth guy.  I spent hours at his studio and when I left I never felt more alive.  I had a rush and I wanted that to be my life.  I had to figure that out too.  While this was all a slow process I kept in touch with the photographer, and I tried signing with different agencies.  I got really into my training, I got really strong and I was going to Lauren's classes 3 days a week and teaching one day a week.  My life has officially changed since the day I found out I was pregnant.

I cut down on my meat tremendously; in fact I even dabbled with being vegan.  I now only eat grass-fed organic meat, I only eat organic veggies, and I no longer use drinking as a release.  I have a glass of wine or two on occasions.  I don't eat any dairy and I make my own nut milks.  I have a garden in my back yard.  I don't eat fast food but of course we have to live and I will have dark chocolate or nut brownies once in a while ;) I do not drink coffee or any other caffeine (unless it’s a special treat of course).  I am now able to press a 24 kg, pull up with a 12kg, single leg dead lift 2 32kg’s, swing my body weight and much more.  I will never stop doing kettlebells I will never stop training it has truly changed my life.  I now have a few shoots under my belt in fitness; you can find me on the cover of 3/GO magazine, in My Mad Methods Magazine, in Nuun, Compax, etc. I have signed with a fitness agency in LA, and am signing with a fashion agency as well.  I now train at On The Edge Fitness with Lauren Brooks, all while continuing to go to college, raise my beautiful son, and hold my marriage together.  My life has forever changed.  I will continue to grow and evolve.  I will continue to motivate myself and always strive to be better as everyone always should. Living outside my comfort zone as much as I can. If there is anything I would want someone to take away from this story it would be that just because you are someone you may not be proud of today, does not mean you have to be that person tomorrow.  You can be whomever you want.  Though, it is not an easy road, you are not stuck and you have a choice, you have to want to change.  There is hope and it only takes one step at a time. Take one step and never look back!

Thank you Katie for sharing your journey from unhealthy to super woman.  You have only just begun and I truly look forward to your continued road to optimal living.  I'm honored to have been a part of your life change experience and look forward to witnessing your incredible success! 


A Simple Guide To Designing a Workout for Kettlebell Instructors

LaurenBrooks article
You’ve trained hard. You’ve completed the grueling three-day weekend of the RKC/SFG or the full day of the HKC or Strong First User Course. Congratulations, you are now officially certified! You have proved that you can execute the basic kettlebell exercises with safe and correct form. You have proved that you understand the concepts and can relay them to a novice. You have proved that you are tough and can withstand challenges. You have developed the strength and conditioning needed to pass the certification process. These are all wonderful qualities, but now it’s time to work on the most important part, putting it all together. Actually designing a safe, balanced, and efficient program for your individual clients and group classes.
Now that you know how to do these exercises and you can do them well, you are probably anxious to teach (if you aren’t already doing so). Students will come to you because kettlebells are the new, cool thing and they’ve heard that they are efficient for fat loss, strength, and conditioning. Now it’s up to you to design workouts for both individuals and classes, that will not only deliver excellent results, but keep them engaged, excited, and most of all, safe.
Working with a group who are at different levels and have varying backgrounds can be very tricky. Here are some general points that you need to realize about the population who tend to participate in group classes.

1. Not everyone who walks through the door wants to be as strong as you or will enjoy training with kettlebells as much as you. Therefore, spending 6 long weeks on mastering the Turkish Get Up and treating everyone like they are at the RKC may have them running the other direction faster than you can swing a kettlebell.
2. LISTEN to the goals of your clients and RESPECT them. If they tell you they want to lose weight, feel stronger, and become more conditioned, then spending a few weeks learning the Bent Press is not going to be the smartest approach; unless, of course, that is what they specifically request.
3. Clients need to regularly feel some sense of accomplishment. If you design a program that your students can never get through, they will leave feeling like a failure as well as completely exhausted. Having unrealistic programs is generally why trainers have clients dropping like flies. People will come to you wanting to feel better and improve themselves in some way. Not to feel worse. If they wanted an "extreme" workout every time by performing an incredibly high amount of reps, they would have signed up for P90X. Causing a client, especially a new one, to become too sore to walk the next day or lift their arms doesn’t make you a good trainer. In fact, it shows that you didn’t educate them about putting on the breaks during their session. Have them leave your session feeling challenged but very accomplished. They need to have won, not lost.
4. Educate your clients, they will appreciate and respect you more. Exercise fanatics and ex-football players have a real hard time not doing more in my classes, especially in the beginning. They have been programed to assume that if they don’t feel like they’re going to vomit or are completely wiped out by the end of the workout, that it was a waste of their time. Spend some time throughout the workout, and afterwards, educating them on the importance of approaching the workouts as practice. You wouldn’t practice basketball until you could barely dribble the ball anymore or practice surfing to the point that you are so fatigued that you’re almost drowning. Show them all the people who’ve had success so that they have models to relate and aspire to. Whether it’s other RKC’s or inspirational stories of people who train using the same philosophy as you, show them that these people don’t train until failure yet they continue to add strength, conditioning and achieve fat loss. Real photos and stories will speak a thousand words and will get them to trust you. They need something relatable to them. An article I wrote 5 years ago, "The Need To Train Like A Man, Especially If You’re A Woman," has been found useful for so many. Trainers use it as an example to educate and show their female clients that it’s okay to use weights that are heavier than 5 pounds. Since I originally wrote the article, I’ve found it on the internet translated into several languages. Have some motivational material up in your gym and/or ready to show your clients.
Now for the fun part. Designing workouts for multi-level classes is a learning process that I’ve personally had the chance to evolve and improve over the last 7 years. Every year I learn more techniques, change my mind on certain philosophies, and am therefore making my programs better and better. This article would not be necessary if I didn’t see and experience unsafe, ineffective "kettlebell" classes. Just because someone is certified doesn’t mean that they have a clear understanding of program design. This, of course, is true with all fitness communities. For example, CrossFit coaches are getting a very bad rap for valid reasons. I have met several excellent ones that create smart programs and focus on proper form. Yes, just several out of thousands. Pretty scary! Just like the HKC or RKC, you represent all of us. I have had clients come and tell me the stuff they did with a kettlebell instructor and I’m surprised they ever decided to pick up a kettlebell again. Hopefully this article sheds some light and helps change some common mistakes.

10 Basic Rules For Designing A Strength and Conditioning Kettlebell Class

1. Include a Pulling movement in almost every workout. Whether it be One Arm Rows, Horizontal Body Rows using Rings, One arm Body Rows, Pull-ups, or Double Farmers Walks. Pulling and using the lats in a variety of ways through both vertical and horizontal is a must. Most of your clients sit too much and thus have an underdeveloped posterior chain, rounded shoulders and weak lats. Be sure to make it a priority to show them where their lats are and to help them make sure to strengthen them to counter balance their day job.
2. Program rests in your workouts. If you want your clients to achieve any kind of real strength, putting in a required rest before beginning the next exercise or round of exercises, will allow them to recover properly and use a significant load with proper form. Trainers that want to run their clients into the ground will have them go from one exercise to the next without any type of break. A workout like that might be okay on a rare occasion, but if they come to you hoping to get stronger, you are doing them a great disservice by not encouraging rest and mobility breaks.
3. Do not put the Grinds at the very end of a workout. I’ve seen it too many times where an instructor will wipe the floor with their class by having them do hundreds of swings, squats, push-ups and snatches. Then at the end they will have the students do an excessive amount of Windmills or Turkish Getups. By then the students are so tired and shaky that they can barely hold their arms up enough to complete a solid rep. Rule of thumb, place them in the beginning or after a significant period of rest so the student feels fresh. Asking them to perform slow, controlled exercises that require focus when they are very spent is basically like asking a drunk person to try a max rep of the Turkish Get Up. It’s a crap shoot, and with a group it’s never worth it nor is it beneficial. Hopefully I’ve made my point.
4. All out interval conditioning drills such as Tabata, Vo2 Max, and HIIT generally should go towards the end of a workout. Unless the entire workout for the day is a conditioning day with intervals throughout, then do not have your class perform extremely high intensity conditioning work, and then expect them to perform well for Heavy Double Presses and Double Front Squats. Just like #4, regarding the Grind Lifts as a general rule, heavy lifting should be done towards the beginning when the body is fresh.
5. Mix up your class focus from time to time. If you have your clients train heavy the majority of the month, surprise them with lighter days and slightly higher reps. I prefer strength training and consider anything over 5 reps to be a high rep class, but let’s get real here. As someone who wants to be overall physically fit, it’s nice to show your clients and yourself that high reps are achievable when done safely. Throwing in a new approach here and there can break them of feeling stagnant with the same old way of lifting! Same thing goes with high rep cardio kettlebell classes. If you are addicted to the cardio feel and are constantly having your clients reach for the lightest kettlebells so that they can make it through your high rep class without vomiting, then try and change gears from time to time and focus on heavier bells with low reps. It will take some adjusting for those clients that are programmed for the go-go type class, but educate them as to why you are changing to more of a strength focused class. Wow your clients with the size kettlebells that they can swing at reps of 5-10. Most will be pleasantly surprised and will feel empowered because they hadn’t truly realized their overall increase in strength.
6. Stick to Basic exercises, but vary it slightly for the advanced student to keep it fun and interesting. I’m all for practicing the same exact exercise for years on end, but I do have to remind myself that my clients are not me! Not everyone finds joy in doing Turkish Get Ups everyday like I do. If you want them to continue to get better at squats don’t just do Goblet Squats. Throw in variety. Split Squats, Front Squats, Over-head Squats, Bottoms up Clean Squats, TGU Squat Style, Deck Squats. Have fun with them. Most regulars will appreciate it. Your more advanced clients know how to do basic exercises and can easily do them on their own. They pay to come to your group classes to experience your smart, yet unique workout design with the hope of learning something new, whether they know it or not.
7. Hands and grip need to be considered when designing the program. Giving your class hundreds of snatches and swings with tons of farmers walks on a humid day will only do one thing. The rest of the week your schedule will be clear. Their hands will be trashed so that not only will they have to miss training sessions, but they may not even want to come back at all. Be sensitive and think how the workout you planned will effect their hands. I know it may not be an issue to you since you are used to it, but it’s a big issue for many students.
8. RKC is a school of strength not a school of endurance. Remember why you chose to be certified or affiliated with the RKC or HKC. We want our clients to first move well and then move well with load, gently adding speed and conditioning appropriately. Let’s not forget the philosophy we share. If your personal client only wants endurance training, then wonderful. I have never had a client of mine mad at me for making them too strong. My clients have become such believers in strength based workouts with finishers that they tested themselves with long runs after a substantial absence from running. Believe it or not, they ran like a champ. One ran over 8 miles with ease, which was their longest run ever. Another ran a half marathon without training. I don’t recommend you try it, but yes there is something to smart program design. It works!
9. Balanced Exercises for a balanced body. Going back to rule #1, regarding pulling exercises, you want to make sure you choose a balanced workout. If you have a workout that entails lots of of Push-Ups, Presses, and Burpees you are asking for fried shoulders and possible neck injuries. Leaving out pulling exercises such as rows or pull-ups places your clients that much further from a balanced body. Can you put all those pushing exercises in one workout and be safe? Yes you can from time to time, but very carefully. Throughout the week make sure you have included lower body strength. If you have your class focus on heavy or multiple squats, make sure that they get in deadlifts or more hamstring dominant lifts as well. It doesn’t all have to be in the same session, but program it in during the week for overall balanced training.
10. Include a warm up and cool down. Whether it’s correctives for your individual client, light body weight exercises, or mobility, warm up the class together in some fashion. Cool down the class with either light stretching and/or joint mobility. Encourage meditation, active recovery and restoration of the body in order for them to return to class feeling optimal and recharged.

Sample Class Workout Ideas for an All Level Group

Sample 1
A1. Turkish Get Up (Alternating) 2 reps
A2. Heavy Swing 10 reps
Rest and Repeat 2-3 rounds
B1. Goblet Squat 5 reps
B2. Push-Ups 5-8 reps
B3. Double Cleans 8 reps
Rest and Repeat 2-4 rounds
C1. Horizontal Body Row or One Arm Row 3-6 reps
C2. Forward Lunge 5 each side
C3. High Plank or Ab Roll out for 15-20 seconds
Rest as needed and Repeat 2-4 rounds
Finisher: Take a comfortable bell and make it look pretty, fun and fast. Ladder it down. 5 each arm, 4, each arm, and so forth. If the class is very advanced feel free to add
1 Arm Swing or Snatch 5,4,3,2,1
Sample 2
A1. DeadLift (Double or Single Bells) 4-6 reps
A2. Double Press (or single press for beginners) 3-5 reps per arm
A3. 2 Hand Swing 10 reps
Rest and Repeat 2-4 Rounds
B1. Pull-ups or Stabilized One Arm Row 5 reps or (75-80%)
B2. Stationary Lunge (Single or Double Bells) 5 reps
B3. 1 Arm Swing 5 reps each side
Rest as needed and repeat 2-4 Rounds
Finisher: 15 seconds on 15 seconds off for 4-5 rounds. Use a bell for the snatches that is challenging, yet allows you to move quickly. Make it look good.
Snatch or 1 arm Swing Left
Snatch or 1 arm Swing Right
Squat Thrusts
Ropes Waves or Vertical Jumps
Final Point
I admit that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to poor program design. Teaching a group class is not something that I believe one should take lightly. Do your homework and put together solid workouts for your class in somewhat of an orderly fashion that makes sense. Hopefully the two sample workouts focused on strength with conditioning will be a helpful guide if you are just beginning your journey into teaching. I do a lot of traveling so don’t be surprised if I jump into one of your kettlebell classes. Remember the more simple the better. Stick to the rules and your clients will continue to see strength and conditioning gains. As Dan John says, "It’s just that simple." See you soon!


Bomb Kale Salad in Under 5 Minutes (Vegan Friendly)

This bomb ass kale salad is delicious and healthy. I believe in a healthy high fat diet with super foods and this just about covers it with a quickness. Due to Trader Joe's being one of the most convenient and fun places for me to shop, every single ingredient in this recipe can be found there. There are only 5 (now 6) ingredients so it makes it super easy and convenient, which is imperative for a busy working mom that rather spend quality time with her kids than taking extra time in the kitchen that's not always necessary.

Updating this to 6 ingredients thanks to the awesome comments below.  Adding fresh lemon juice to the tahini sauce to thin it out is such an excellent idea!!

Tahini Kale Salad

2-3 cups Organic Kale (I used Lacinto)
2-3 whopping Tbs of Tahini Sauce (add fresh lemon juice and water to thin it out to the consistency of your liking)
1/2 chopped Avocado
Handful of raw cashews
Several slices of Red onion to taste

Directions: (Brace yourself since it's very complicated ;P) Toss kale and tahini mixture together until blended well. Add the rest of ingredients and serve.  PHEW, that was tough.  (that's my sarcasm)

Meat eaters can add several ounces organic free range chicken for extra protein or some shrimp.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Thinking Out Loud About The Spoiled Versus The Driven

Why Some People Have Drive and Some People Don’t

"A man's mind will very gradually refuse to make itself up until it is driven and compelled by emergency."  Anthony Trollope

Calling on my own experiences when I was a child, things weren’t given to me easily.  I strongly feel that kids who grew up in a household where they didn’t have to work hard to get what they wanted, end up lacking important qualities such as drive, determination, and perseverance.  I’ve seen it all too often and it hits close to home for me.

Take a look at some of the most successful and driven people around.  Do you think the majority of them grew up getting every thing their little hearts desired?  Oprah Winfrey for example, known as one of the most successful women in America. Do you think she grew up with everything she desired? She was very poor, was moved around a lot as child, and during the time she lived with her father, he would send her to bed without dinner unless she learned five new vocabulary words.  Obviously this is to the extreme, but you get my point.

Do you think they were able to coast through school with their parents buying them the clothes and cars they longed for?  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely exceptions to the rule.  For example a good friend of mind in high school received almost anything she desired.  She was driving around a brand new cool car as soon as she turned 16.  She was able to shop for clothing that she wanted in an unlimited fashion.  She was handed nearly anything she truly desired.  I remember being very envious of all the material things she was able to get anytime she chose.  The nice clothes and the nice cars.  Despite all the goods she received, she was still a fighter.  She exercised really hard, played competitive sports, and did her due diligence with researching healthier foods to keep her weight down. While all her friends were able to eat what they wanted and didn’t gain a pound, she chose to work harder.   Other than her as the main exception in my life, most of the people I know today that are very driven and successful, didn't get everything they desired. 
Why spoiling kids now, will hurt them later

Let's not confuse this with spoiling your kids with love and affection.  Spoiling your kids with material things and giving them their way all the time, can take away so many aspects of what life has to offer.  When a child doesn’t have to work hard for something it doesn’t give them a sense of accomplishment.  When a child doesn’t achieve the sense of being proud such as “I earned that” it’s very easy to lose confidence, which can turn in to insecurities leading to depression.  

Here’s another exception to the rule of kids who received an abundance of material items. The children that were heavily involved and encouraged to learning new skills, such as sports and music, were able to develop the self confidence. This accomplishment gave them proud feelings as they improved, showed off their hard work with developing a skill set.  The kids that were given an abundance of gifts, taken on fancy vacations, were not encouraged to develop a skill set.  As they grow up the sense of urgency doesn't seem to be there.  The drive to strive above and beyond is.  Basically the “fight” in them never got developed.  Why would it become developed?  They never needed to work for anything in their life.  Everything came easy to them.  The parents are thinking they are doing their kids such a favor by buying their love with gifting them all their wants and desires.  They think they are being great parents by making their kids happy with instant gratification. But in fact it teaches your child to grow up not ever having to work for their wants.  Not ever having to strive for something and save up to finally be rewarded for their hard work.  When a child receives everything so easily there is no reason to be proud and appreciate it, since it’s easy to replace in their eyes. Things lose value and nothing excites them anymore.  In fact, kids who were overly spoiled tend to have more emotional and depression issues in life.  If you think you may be spoiling your kid a little bit too much here is a great website called Pediatric Advisor, that discusses all about spoil prevention.  

Finding the fine line of tough love

As a mother of 2 precious little girls I want nothing more than to give them the best.  When my sweet little girl see’s a beautiful dress in a store or wants a piece of candy in the check out line, chances are I’m going to say “no”.  Some parents will say “no” because they simply don’t have the money for it.  If I had all the money in the world, I would still say “no” much of the time.  However, balance is key, and I don’t want them to feel completely deprived, so on occasion, I will say yes. When I do say “yes”, they are happy and most of all truly appreciate it, since they know "yes" isn't always going to be the answer.  Of course I want to see them happy all the time, but if I give them what they want, they will turn in to unmotivated demanding spoiled little brats.   I'm trying to teach them the value of money, the value of hard work, and the value of life.  That’s why a parent this day and age needs to learn what tough love is all about!  These days many kids just don’t seem as appreciative.  It makes me sick to see such spoiled kids that walk around with such a sense of entitlement.   Years ago, kids had maybe a few toys to play with. Now kids have rooms full of toys to play with, I’m definitely guilty of my kids having way too many toys!   Even with all the toys and things to do, I’ll still hear sometimes “mommy I’m bored”.  My good friend Tracey tells her child to pick out 5 toys and put it in a bag to donate for someone who needs it, when she hears those words.  I have definitely started using this and the "I'm bored" words stop immediately!

Going back to what drives people.  Is it just innate in our biological self?  I’m sure some people think, regardless of their up bringing, you either have it in you or you don’t.  I beg to differ.  I do agree that some people have more tendencies to be more driven than others, however, their upbringing can really shape how they apply it as they get older.  Just ask your most successful and driven influences in your life, what it took to get where they are today.  Most of them grew up with a sense of hard work and things that didn't come easy to them.  Parents, if you want your kids to start having a value system and not the “I’m entitled to everything” attitude, stop spoiling them.  Start practicing the "no" word from time to time. Or let’s earn the trip to Disney Land after you clean your room for a month.  It starts now! I never thought I’d say this, but thank you mom and dad for not spoiling me and making me understand the value of life.  It’s the best thing you could have possibly done for me.  During the time it sucked, but it gave me drive and perseverance to fight for what I truly want.

You are who you surround yourself with

"The most important single influence in the life of a person is another person ... who is worthy of emulation."

If you spend a lot of time with drug users or unmotivated people, chances are you will pick up their tendencies.  We as humans feed off one another and become who we surround ourselves with.  That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people you respect and have good qualities you admire and can relate to.  Your kids are even more impressionable. Having your kids play on a regular basis with other kids that like to cause trouble and constantly misbehave, chances are it will rub off on your child and he or she will pick up some of those bad behaviors.  As a parent you definitely can’t control everything your child does, especially as they get older, but you can do your best to encourage your child to engage with positive people and reward them for accomplishing new skills.  

As an adult I have had my share of many different kinds of friends.  Anywhere from successful over achievers to the unmotivated lazy couch potato friend.  Finding the balance and knowing when to put the breaks on certain people have been key for my own life.  The ones who call you and every single time they are ranting about how negative the world is and how horrible life is, saying poor me, will eventually just bring you down.  Let’s not mistake this for me not wanting to listen to my friends when they are going through a rough time.  I love being there for my friends in time of need.  I’m the first one to help a friend out when something serious is going on or they are having trouble with a relationship.  In fact, I love being a sounding board, being comforting, and enjoy giving helpful advice.  It’s just part of who I am.   But those who are constantly the victim in every situation day after day, you finally have to realize, that person is never going to change.  They will always be the victim.  I truly don’t want to live my life trying to be a victim in every situation that goes wrong. Life is very unpredictable but don’t just sit back and relax and let life smack you in the face thinking it’s all going to work out perfectly.  Taking charge of your own life by taking the wheel to guide you through your own destiny.  Sure you will hit bumps in the road, major forks that call for some quick decision making, and unknown shocking paths that you are forced to painfully ride on.  It’s up to you how you handle it, learn from it, and how you come out of it.   In closing, life’s an adventure, it’s a bit of a game (like my restorative yoga teacher referred to), if you play your cards right in this big game we call LIFE, you can and will come out a winner!  


Kettlebell (Kettle Ball Parody) - STOP the Madness and Get Educated

Too many folks are learning kettlebells the WRONG way and will use toning shoes and plastic surgery to try and get a quick fix. Ladies you won't get bulky using heavy kettlebells! 

If that wasn't funny enough for you, here is a sequel of the "Kettle Ball Trainer" teaching 5 cool moves.  Warning: Don't try this at home

5 Great Kettlebell Moves You're Not Doing - Not!!  STOP THE MADNESS!

"Kettle Ball Trainer" played by Frank Addelia. Uneducated Plastic enhanced Kettle Ball Students Lola (blonde) played by RKC Team Leader Lauren Brooks and Mindy (brown curly) played by RKC 2 Melody Schoenfeld. Filmed/Edited by STOP THE MADNESS and get with a REAL trainer and get educated!!!! Melody and Lauren


Posting A Press Release From My New Sponsor - F3 Nutrition

F3 Nutrition Announces Sponsorship Of "The Kettlebell Queen" Lauren Brooks


June 6, 2012, 3:31 p.m. EDT 

F3 Nutrition Announces Sponsorship Of "The Kettlebell Queen" Lauren Brooks

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mark Post, President, F3 Nutrition, LLC today proudly announced that F3 Nutrition will sponsor "The Kettlebell Queen" and fitness author Lauren Brooks and that she will contribute greatly to the company's goal to meet the Fit, Form and Function needs of athletes and fitness seekers today.

"When we were looking for athletes and fitness and nutrition professionals to sponsor, Lauren Brooks really caught my attention due to her expertise, passion for fitness, and many accomplishments in the industry," said Post. "Lauren will not only serve as a living example of fitness, she will also publish nutrition columns and write other health and wellness articles on behalf of the company. I'm excited to have her on board at Team F3 and look forward to working with her."

"I'm honored and excited to be a part of the F3 Nutrition Team as one of their sponsored athletes," said Brooks. "I am very particular with what I recommend to my clientele, especially as an athlete, but F3 Nutrition has accomplished experts who have developed high quality supplements that I can use for my training and recommend with confidence to friends and clients."

Brooks is the owner of On the Edge Fitness and the creator of the highly acclaimed three-volume DVD series "The Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells." She is an author of the book "Kettlebells for Women" and is the creator of the only pregnancy kettlebell DVD that exists today "Baby Bells." Brooks also has an iPhone/iPad application under development that will be available later this year.

Brooks earned her B.S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Fitness, Nutrition, and Health from San Diego State University in 2002. She became kettlebell certified in 2005 and currently holds certifications as a Russian Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 and 2, RKC Team Leader, ACE Fitness Trainer, Clinical Nutritionist, Functional Movement Specialist, TRX and Battling Ropes. Lauren makes sure to emphasize Nutrition, Lifestyle, Exercise, and a positive mental attitude. Part of Lauren's lifestyle is being a mother to her two daughters.

Brooks has conducted kettlebell live workshops worldwide. Drawing on her own experience and research, she inspires others to stay fit even after going through pregnancies and surgeries. She is the writer of many fitness and nutrition articles that appear in online magazines, fitness websites, and hard copy magazines. Brooks has had the privilege of helping and inspiring thousands of people from all walks of life achieve their fitness dreams.

Brooks added, "I look forward to working with the outstanding group of people at F3 and with the other professional athletes. I already have trust in the F3 brand because I am highly impressed with the research that has gone in to formulating their sports performance and health supplements. It will be easy to refer people to F3."

For more information about Lauren Brooks, please visit her Team F3 Athlete page at , visit her website, or and through her blog at

About F3 Nutrition:F3 Nutrition focuses on the three critical elements in building a successful high-performance sports nutrition product: Fit for the specific purpose; deliver through the best Form available; Function for the specific goal of the individual. The F3 Nutrition portfolio will consist of pre-training and post-training products and also protein and health wellness category products. Each of the company's products will contain unique to market formulations to assist in endurance, strength and recovery. In 2012, F3 Nutrition is scheduled to attend and exhibit at the CrossFit Games Worldwide Expo, IDEA World Fitness Convention, Europa Sports & Supplement Expo and the UFC Fan Expo to showcase its products and provide samples to awaiting fitness enthusiasts. F3 Nutrition, LLC products will be distributed online at and on shelves at retail outlets including fitness centers and gyms, health stores, sports retailers and online nutrition supplement retailers. For more information, email Please visit us online at or on Facebook at .

Press Contact:Jen Wenkpress@f3nutrition.com702.635.0995@jenwenk

SOURCE F3 Nutrition, LLC

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved


Los Angeles Kettlebell Workshop


We will also be adding some Primal Move to this fantastic workshop!  Beginners and Intermediate Level welcomed!!  

Where: Brood 9 Martial Arts
6508 1/2 Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Date: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Times: 10:00am - 2:00pm
Cost: Early Bird $129 goes up to $149 

Please Reserve your spot below

We are only allowing 15 participants!

or 310-679-1998

For questions email Lauren

Music Therapy For The Mind (Guest Post From My Mom)

My Mother, lifecoach and psychotherapist is sharing her expertise regarding music therapy for the mind and self esteem.  Not only do we need to exercise to keep our body and mind healthy, but music is absolutely incredible.  Here are her words that she wanted to share with everyone. 

Anyone who has attended Lauren's fitness classes, watched her DVDs knows what an endorphin boost you get after a satisfying workout!! 
Music is also an amazing enhancer of mood! I reviewed hundreds of lyrics/songs regarding self esteem, love, friendship, and relationships. These tunes are not speedy workout tunes, but more for tuning up your self image ,confidence and motivation.  AudioSamples are available to explore on amazon and iTunes. One song aims for acceptance of your natural self before running for plastic surgery, another affirms a love based upon endearing quirky behaviors, not waiting for the classic drop-dead gorgeous rich partner!  The theme of being true to yourself, not a phony, being authentic is prevalent in the selection. 

I celebrate  the lyrics of How to be Real, affirming "clumsy elegance". On friendship- forgiving yourself or another for past mistakes (not abuse).
I have found that listening or singing music can also be a source of healing. For 14 years my music  group, Tikunotes, has sung to those in pain, residential facilities, or hospitals, and those wanting to celebrate a special occasion.
As Lauren's Mom, I sang to her  and her sister Tara every night  until she was 8 years old. Music and Exercise have  naturally integrated into all of our lifestyles. Hope you can do the same!!

Check out these self esteem and relationship boosters of songs in links below samples self esteem boosting music samples of music themes relationship,friendship,
or itunes if you don't have flash to see the links and widgets with my comments for each song..
Connecting to the iTunes Store.


Just Stop and Smell The Flowers (updated)

Do you ever just stop and think?  We, as a society, are constantly in a rush, stressed out, and have no time for anything. Everyone is chasing their dreams and going full force. I need to make more money, I need to lose weight, I need to do this and that..... It really never ends.

One of the main problems our society is dealing with is over doing it, which causes adrenal burn out.  More and more people are suffering from insomnia and chronic health problems just from the burden they put on themselves. You have to ask yourself, why are you doing all of this?  Why do you need to work 60 hours a week?  Why do you need to kill yourself and exercise 2-3 hours a day? All of that puts too much stress on your body in conjunction with all the other demands life has to offer.  Isn't the point of life to take a minute and enjoy the people you love and things you love to do?  If I die extremely rich, but didn't make time for my family, and do the things I love most, what was the point of working so hard??   KEEP READING  here