Sunday, November 19, 2017

Meet Our Kettle Coaches: Liz

Sick of the Chicago weather and in need of a serious change, four years ago, Liz Din and her boyfriend, Connor, moved to Seattle. Prior to relocating to the Pacific Northwest, Din worked as a graphic designer for ten years before realizing that along with a location change, she wanted to make a career change.

Although Din has been with Seattle Kettlebell Club (SKC) for about two years, when she met the club’s owner through classes he used to teach in the park, fitness and competitive sport has been a big part of Din’s life for some time now.  Back in Chicago, she competed in roller derby for four years.

“When I tried out, it was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I had ever done,” Din said.

Although Din loves roller derby, for it helped her define herself as an athlete, the sport is notoriously dangerous and has a high injury rate. While she no longer competes in roller derby, Din has not hung up skates for good. Last winter, she competed with Seattle’s Team Lightening speed skating team.

When she is not teaching GAP and Sport classes at SKC or training clients at Sync Fitness in Queen Anne, Din still does some freelance graphic design work. She also enjoys hiking, which is another reason she moved to Washington.

Din recalls that when she first started training at SKC, like all beginners, she faced many of the same insecurities that people new to kettlebell training face. 

“I felt much uncoordinated at first, but you keep practicing and figure out how your body moves,” Din said.

Her favorite parts of her are job are working with clients and seeing them progress. She is also pleased to see people compete when they never even considered it as an option.  

“We always joke that we’re a rag tag group of weirdos,” Din said.

Along with helping others on their physical journeys, Din is also competing in the 2017 Seattle Kettlebell Pro-Am Competition on Dec. 9.  She claims that when she first joined the SKC team, she was not sure if she wanted to compete, but she deeply missed the competitive environment that roller derby brought. However, Din would like to note that she loves competition as a way to challenge herself.

“When you’re competing, you’re not against other people. You’re definitely trying to improve your last lift,” Din said.

Overall, Din’s time at SKC has clearly been a positive one. She loves helping others improve, and being part of such an amazing team where the members and employees can relate to her struggles.

“I love watching other succeed, and remembering what it is like to be new to fitness” Din said. Being there to be their cheerleader is always my biggest drive."

For Liz’s class schedule or the club’s complete schedule in general, visit

-Camille Borodey

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Camille's Kettlebell Journey: My First Class

On my second day as a personal assistant at Seattle Kettlebell Club, I finally stepped into new fitness territory by taking the Core-6 Fundamentals Workshop, which is the required introduction class for anyone who thought that kettlebells had any relations to popcorn or simply know nothing about proper technique. 

The class consisted of seven other people, which obviously makes the environment a lot less intimidating while also allowing the instructor to pay close attention to each participant’s form. When I was in college, I remember attending Zumba or Kickboxing classes that consisted of 30+ people, and it was easy to practice bad form when I was crammed in the back of the studio out of sight from the instructor. 

I should also mention that I have terrible coordination and hate playing contact sports, which is probably why I found myself drawn to the gym when I started college 7 years ago, and kettlebell training requires quite a bit of hand eye coordination. I mean, I do not think anyone wants to hit themselves in the face with a kettlebell. 

Being someone who has lifted weights for about six years, I’m used to curling 20-25lbs weights, but there was no way in hell that I was about to swing a 20lbs dumbbells, and I was mildly disappointed when the instructor had me handle the least heavy kettlebell (4 kilograms) since I do pride myself in my strength. Plus, the 4-kg kettlebell is yellow, which is totally not my color.  However, I could tell he sensed my lack of confidence, and I was more comfortable performing the moves with a lighter weight.  One of my biggest pieces of advice for newcomers is to start with the lowest weight possible. Bodybuilding/ dumbbell lifting are an entirely different practice. Just because you can bench or squat your body weight does not mean you can swing a kettlebell of the same weight. 

This class focuses on the Core-6 basic kettlebell exercises: swing, snatch, rack, clean, press, and jerk. Do not be intimidated by the fact that the class is two hours, for this beginner’s class is much less of a workout and focuses much more on proper technique and introduction for performing these exercises safely and effectively. Along with watching videos or showing us pictures of the moves, the instructor also walked us step by step through each exercise. The class offers excellent instruction for those who are either visual or auditory learners. 

We also practiced each move multiple times, and did short sets of one minute, where the instructor would patiently correct each trainee on their form. Do not worry about feeling insecure about being corrected; everyone was struggling at more than one point. I cannot stress enough how necessary this class is for newcomers. For any new exercise, proper instruction and safety tips are essential for preventing injury. Also, do not forget to stretch after! 

So where do I plan on going from here? My next step is trying out the GAP class, which is a mix of kettlebell and body weight exercises. Of course, I would like to continue heavy training, and yoga as well, but I look forward to incorporating kettlebells into my workout.  For someone who despises running, I’m always looking for new ways to gain endurance and get my heart pumping. 

Look for more blogs post as I hopefully improve my kettlebell skills. If you’re interested in the Core-6 Fundamentals Workshop, classes will be hosted this Tuesday the 21st, and Saturday the 25th. Visit our website to reserve your spot today!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

How Kettlebell Lifting Became a Sport

While many may see kettlebell training as a hip new form of exercise, today I learned that kettlebells have been used for activities to improve strength and endurance for several centuries. 

Born in Moscow, Russia, Mikhail Marshak has been involved in kettlebell training and competing since 1995. Along with being an instructor at Seattle Kettlebell Club, Marshak runs a popular YouTube channel called kettlebellsport. 

When he started university at the Moscow Aviation Institute, Marshak knew that he wanted to pursue some type of competitive sport, and at the time he was in-between wrestling and lifting when his coach introduced him to kettlebells. 

“It was not what I expected,” said Marshak. “I told my coach I wanted to pump iron, and he told me ‘No, it’s lifting kettlebells.”’
 Marshak competed for his university for 10 years before moving to the greater Seattle area in 2007.

Although kettlebell lifting as a competitive sport did not gain popularity until the '60s and '70s, kettlebells have been used since the 18th century; when workers would use them as tools for measuring goods. In fact, girya (kettlebell in Russian) was published in the dictionary in 1704. 

Workers realized the exercise benefits of handling kettlebells, and they began to use kettlebells to perform power tricks such as juggling. Soon Dr. Vladislav Kraevsky applied more scientific methods to the sport and introduced the public to different kettlebell exercises.

When kettlebell competitions gained more popularity in the 1970's, the lifters followed the same rules as Olympic weightlifters where they would compete in triathlons with no time limit. 

“They [Americans] think that all Russians lift kettlebells, but it’s more of an underground sport” Marshak said. 

Marshak also notes that kettlebell competitions have changed overtime. Techniques have changed, and exercises include shorter sets as well as a time limit. 

Despite the Olympics excluding kettlebell sport, this type of training has become more more popular over time and has gained popularity in North America and Europe. In 2001, the first female kettlebell competition was held, and the practice has become more popular in the recreational fields, for athletes now have more options in weight to choose. In traditional competitions, participants are limited to certain weights. 

“Powerlifting is pure power. Olympic weight lifting is power plus speed, and kettlebell sport is power and endurance.” Marshak said. 

Mikhail Marshak instructs a class at Seattle Kettlebell Club
Make sure to check out Marshak’s channel KettlebellSport, which is Youtube’s best resource for kettlebell training, competing and exercising. With updates almost every day, and over 11,000 followers, the channel offers over 1200 videos with content featuring exercises, power juggling, instructional and competition videos, and interviews from athletes. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Introduction to Kettlebell Training from a Beginner

Although I have been a fitness enthusiast for several years now, kettlebell training is new to me, so on my first day as an assistant, I sat down with my new boss Nikolai Puchlov, who owns Seattle Kettlebell Club with his wife Amber, to get a brief introduction on this form of exercise. 

Puchlov describes a kettlebell as a ball shaped weight with a handle sticking out at the top.  He claims that people often mistake the name of a “kettlebell” for a “kettleball” due to the equipment’s shape. 

Kettlebell training has many physical benefits that one cannot get from other exercises. One of the main reasons that Puchlov pursued the sport was because he kept getting injured from conventional weight training practices. Puchlov claims that the movements in kettlebell training feel much more natural, and since the moves focus a lot less on isolating certain muscle groups and more on working the full body, one can become stronger in areas that they could never hit with other exercises. He also enjoys the fact that one piece of workout equipment goes a long way in getting a full body workout. 

According to Puchlov, who has been involved in kettlebell training since 2010, “[w]hen you use a kettlebell, it becomes an extension of your body.” 

Puchlov recommends that new clients keep several things in mind when introducing themselves to kettlebell training. First, like with any new exercise, clients should make sure to receive proper instruction to prevent injury. Second, he would like to remind clients that kettlebell weight and dumbbell weight do not translate, “so whatever weight you think you’re gonna be using, divide that by five,” Puchlov says. Often new clients will overestimate his or her strength and not realize the difference between traditional weights/dumbbells and kettlebells. 

A proper kettlebell workout is also beneficial to the nervous system, and helps improve coordination while also being easier on the joints and tendons than other traditional workouts. 

To learn more about kettlebell training and start a new fitness journey, visit Seattle Kettlebell Club at its new location at 1716 21st Ave South or visit the website at Those with questions should feel free to call (206)280-4941.  The club offers classes for those who want to train recreationally or train for competition. 

Also, look out for my upcoming blog post, which will be from the perspective of a newcomer navigating my way through the art that is kettlebell training.  

-Camille Borodey