Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Transformation Tuesday: Adrian Cowens

When Adrian Cowens first started his weight loss journey four years ago, he was 380 lbs. and dealing with multiple health issues including congestive heart failure, acute hypertension, and kidney failure. 

He started by turning his diet around, and cleaning up his food intake wasn’t too difficult since Cowens lives in Columbia City, which offers plenty of fresh food options. After losing 25 pounds, Cowens got a gym membership and for the first six months, he mainly did cardio and lost another 80 pounds before he found himself hitting a plateau, which is when he approached Nikolai Puchlov, who was the head trainer at Cowen’s gym, and now the owner of Seattle Kettlebell Club. 

“I frequently refer to myself as Patient Zero of Nikolai’s,” Cowens said. 

Puchlov trained Cowens for over a year, and they incorporated kettlebell work into his workout. After a year of kettlebell training, Cowen's blood pressure was under control, there was no sign of heart failure, and his doctor told him that EKG results showed that he was in completely opposite health as before. 

When Puchlov started SKC (previously Strikerfit), Cowens was so happy with the results, that he continued to train with Puchlov, and they started training in kettlebell sport. Cowens competed in his first kettlebell competition in February 2015 back when the Kettlebears (SKC’s Sport Team) only had 3 members; now the team consist of over 50 members. 

“When I first started off, I had no idea that I’d be doing competitive kettlebell lifting,” Cowens said. “I came to just get my health and balance of life together." 

It’s no surprise that Cowens is the Kettlebears Team Captain, for his energetic personality also translates well in his position as the leader and founder of a Cub and a Boy Scout troop, which is relatable since he was an Eagle Scout himself. 

“I had been looking for something to give my time to and give back to this community. The scouts make me a better person,” Cowens said. “I used to be that same kid that was 8 years old trying to set up a tent and getting rained on at night not knowing what I was doing, and now I get to see that with these kids.” 

Outside the kettlebell world, Cowens enjoys skiing in the winter, and in the summer he rides motorcycles and is even a member of the Ducati Club. He attributes success in his outside hobbies to the changes he’s made in his fitness life. 

“Fitness is all about balance, and it makes me a more balanced individual,” Cowens said. 

Cowens urges those new to kettlebell training or sport to try and pick one thing to focus on at a time instead of trying to master all the moves at once. He believes that the sport is all about longevity. 

“Kettlebell sport is not a sport of brute strength,” Cowens said. “It’s about the ability to think clearly and execute your technique and plan. It’s a thinking person’s sport.”

After being asked if people outside the kettlebell world have any misconceptions about the sport, Cowens said he thinks a lot of people only know what they know about kettlebells from CrossFit practices, and people are not aware of the technical abilities around kettlebell training. 

“I have a friend who calls it kettle corn,” Cowens jokes. 

Currently, Cowens is hard at work training for The 6th Annual California Open and The WAKSC 2018 World Championship, and he says one of his favorite parts of competing is convincing others to join because many SKC members who compete never thought they would. 

“The kettlebell community is such a beautiful community,” Cowens said.  “It’s such a sharing community. The true stars of this sport are so accessible.”

By accessible, Cowens means that when he goes to competitions, he gets the opportunity to converse with kettlebell world champions. 

He recalls that before going to his first meet, he and Puchlov would watch videos of some of the great kettlebell champions on YouTube, and he continues to be impressed with how open the community is and how willing even the most popular athletes are with helping others improve. 

“It’s not like you can go to a basketball camp or meet and get a chance to talk to Steph Curry or Lebron James, but in this sport, you can go to a meet and see Ivan Denisov and Denis Vasiliev, and they’ll talk to you and tell you how your technique is,” Cowens said. “That’s something that blew me away when Nikolai and I went to our first Cali open.”


“Once you see how open and accessible the stars are, competing just becomes something you want to do,” Cowens said. 

Without the social distractions of warm weather, Cowens says that he trains exceptionally hard in the winter. He loves coming to SKC for the strong community bond, and the regimented programs that helps him hit his goals for the next competition. Since starting the sport, he’s competed 9 times. 

“Being able to not just workout, but to train is what keeps me coming here,” Cowens said. “I’m going to train no matter what anyways.” 

Feeling motivated yet? Start your fitness journey today by visiting seattlekettlebellclub.com 

-Camille Borodey 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Life Float Offers Seattle a Wellness Experience

After giving floating a try myself, I sat down with James Kilgallon, manager at Life Float, to get some information on the company and how floating can be beneficial for the members at Seattle Kettlebell Club.

“If you are sore from working out, shifting into a parasympathetic state will help your body regenerate faster, and it will boost your immune system,” Kilgallon. “It can help with relaxing your muscles and lowering your inflammation by absorbing magnesium sulfate.”

If you are scientifically challenged like me, let me define some of these terms. Magnesium sulfate is a fancy term for Epson salt, and the float pool contains 1600 pounds of it, which is what keeps your body from sinking. Now, when your body is in flight or fight mode, it is in a systematic state which is beneficial for working out or focusing on intense task, but you’re also producing stress hormones. Floating is shown to shift the body into a parasympathetic state. In that state, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and brain waves are lowered while also relaxing your muscles.

“Some people are starting to use it for post-traumatic stress disorder, and it’s good for anxiety,” Kilgallon said.

To fully educate myself on the practice of floating, I went to Life Float last Saturday to give it a try. Compared to floating pods, which many people may find claustrophobic, the floating pool is quite spacious. When I arrived, an employee led me into one of the five float rooms and gave me detailed instructions on what to do. Each room has a toilet, sink, and shower, which leads to the pool. They want you to wash off anything that could affect the water before you float, and you’re able to wash the salt off your skin after the float.

I was given ten minutes to prepare before the lights went out, and the music changed to something more ambient. For those afraid of the dark, you do have the option to keep some pool lights on, but I think floating in darkness gives you the best results.

I have a pretty fast paced mind, so it did take me a few minutes to slow my brain down, but once I did, I began to feel relaxed as my mind and body began to decompress, and I forgot my stresses and felt at peace. Even though the pool is not huge, I did feel like I was floating in endless circles.  I also did start to see shapes (nothing scary, I promise) on the ceiling. After an hour, the lights, which are not too bright and didn't startle me, came back on. I showered, changed, and left feeling recharged, stress free, and mellow.

Kilgallon agrees with me that the post-float feeling could feel similar to how one would feel after a massage, and he also compares the feeling to receiving acupuncture.  While most people use floating as a form of relaxation or pain management, Kilgallon uses it to help with creativity to expand his mind.

“It’s a great environment for me to just have 'ah ha' moments,” Kilgallon said. “When I get out of the pool, I write everything down on my phone. Some of it is like ‘what was I thinking?’ and seemed so much cooler while I was in there, but I get some good ideas.”

Kilgallon has been with Life Float since summer of 2016, and he knew the owners from his previous job, where he used to develop online coaching programs, and he was asked to join the Life Float team to help with marketing.

Before starting at Life Float, Kilgallon has briefly heard of floating from celebrity Joe Rogan. 

“It sounded like the craziest thing ever,” Kilgallon said. “I started to hear more and more about it and started to learn about the health aspects, and that got me really interested.”

Given his career background in fitness, Kilgallon enjoys working at Life Float because it is a business that helps people achieve better wellness. He also discusses the recent clinical studies that show the health benefits of floating.

“I like that it helps people; I believe in the product, and there’s actually proof out there that it works, Kilgallon said. “So, it’s not just hocus pocus stuff.”

As far as Life Float’s future goes, Kilgallon hopes to continue to grow and build more of a wellness community. Many of their employees are involved in other wellness practices, so he hopes to attract clients who are involved with fitness, massage therapy, and naturopathic and chiropractic treatments.  

“One of the reasons we make relationships with other businesses is because there are a lot of positive health benefits to floating,” Kilgallon said.  

Book your float today at lifefloat.com! Use the promo code "kettlebell" at checkout to get your first float for only $25 ($89 value).

-Camille Borodey

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Transformation Tuesday: Patchen Noelke

Patchen Noelke admits to not exercising much since college, and once he hit his mid-40s with his wife starting a new journey by going to grad school, certain parts of his life were starting to feel stagnant. Before starting at Seattle Kettlebell Club, Noelke was purchasing new clothes for a back-packing trip, when realized he wanted to slim down versus buying bigger sized clothing.

“From the dressing room, I called Nikolai to schedule some personal training,” Noelke said. “He just happened to be doing kettlebells.”

When he first started at SKC, his main goal was to get in better shape, but now he loves the club and usually comes to SKC five times a week.

“I was willing to do the work, but I really needed the structure,” Noelke said. “I needed someone to tell me what to do.”

“The mindset of the people is right. Everyone seems down to earth. Everyone’s kind of an analytics nerds, so there is this whole math part of the workout that you get to track.” -Patchen Noelke

Noelke works at the software company Apptio, and compares his job to kettlebell training because it’s intense, goal oriented, and there is always room for improvement. He even believes that kettlebell training has contributed greatly to his work performance.

“I’ve been doing kettlebells for not even three years; I’ve been promoted twice, and I would directly attribute it to getting a cleaner and healthier mindset that has made me more confident and relaxed at work,” Noelke said.

Born in California, Noelke has lived in Seattle since 1995, and he enjoys backpacking, hiking, and having game nights with friends. He also wants to set a good fitness example for his 12 and 15-year-old sons who enjoy soccer and hip-hop dance.

“As they’ve grown and gotten bigger, it’s been important that I can keep up with them,” Noelke said.

Noelke said he has stayed with the club because he loves the social aspects of the classes and how the trainers use kettlebells as a fitness tool. He’s even the president of SKC’s Sport team, The Kettlebears.

“I wouldn’t have picked it as a sport to do. I kind of picked it as a last-ditch effort to get in shape and not die,” Noelke said. “Nikolai’s style just sucks you into it. Right now, I’m clearly addicted. I love the club.”

In the last year Noelke has really cleaned up his diet, and he’s mostly cut out added sugars, wheat and dairy, and he tries get a lot of protein in his diet. He’s lost 15 pounds and is down a pant size since training at SKC.

“A lot of the weight sort of just moved around,” Noelke said.  “My shoulders got big, and my legs got stronger,” Noelke said.

He also comments on how he works with a lot of people he sees only a couple of times a year because they work all over the country and when he sees them, they comment on his noticeable physical changes. He too is often sent to travel for work as well, and he enjoys checking out different kettlebell gyms around the world.

As for SKC, Noelke loves the community of the club, and the accessibility of kettlebell training.

“You don’t always know who’s going to show up. There are so many classes, and so many cool people,” Noelke said. “You get to see people have little breakthroughs all the time.”

-Camille Borodey

Friday, January 5, 2018

Meet Our Kettlecoaches: Paul

Paul Klein has a history with the owners of Seattle Kettlebell Club that dates back to when he met co-owner Amber Puchlov 20 years ago when they were both in a production at the Village Theatre. The two reconnected again ten years later when they did readings together at a retirement home.

When Klein hit 30, he realized that he wanted to make some major lifestyle changes, which included quitting smoking and drinking. He also wanted to get back into ice hockey, which he played as a teen. Along with playing, he also began refereeing and coaching goaltenders, where he found that he really enjoyed working with athletes. Klein also runs, lifts, teaches spinning at the YMCA, is a certified health coach, and has a pilot’s license.

“If I wanted to be around to be a performer, I was going to have to take better care of myself,” Klein said. “I recall my mother saying ‘you only go around once.’”

While he liked the idea of kettlebell training, Klein found that he was struggling with form, so before SKC opened, Klein attended one of Nikolai Puchlov’s (SKC’s Owner & Head Coach) classes in the park.

“It was really an important moment,” Klein said. “I realized I could do this; I really liked Nikolai’s teaching style, and I really liked how I felt afterwards.”

Soon Klein signed up for his first competition (he’s competed 8 times now), got certified in teaching kettlebell classes, and was hired at SKC where he’s been a kettle coach for 2.5 years. He even credits kettlebell training for improving his hockey game.

Klein received his undergraduate degree at Fresno state, and graduate degree at University of Arizona where he guest-starred in 3 episodes of the television show The Young Riders starring Stephen Baldwin and Josh Brolin; however, his most memorable role was playing Hamlet in a college production.

When he can, Klein still auditions for theatre parts, and he often sings the national anthem at sport’s stadiums. He sings for UW and SU, and for the last 25 years he has been a regular singer for the Seattle Thunderbirds.

One piece of advice Klein has for people new to kettlebell training or fitness in general is to be patient and consistent. He notices many people get motivated after New Year’s, but then quit after not seeing results right away.

“They’re kind of just dipping their toe in the water instead of getting knee deep into it,” Klein said. “One of my frustrations early on was not being able to get the jerk right away.”

Klein plans on participating in the 21 Day Challenge starting January 21st, and since he comes to the gym regularly, and eats a vegan diet, the challenge should not be too difficult for him.

Before going vegan, Klein and his wife of 15 years, Rebecca, decided to give a vegetarian diet a try. After developing arthritis, Klein decided to do a 30-day vegan challenge and loved the feeling, saying he had better workout recovery and more energy. Plus, he and Rebecca are not a fan of the ethics behind farming practices, but he understands that going vegan may not be for everyone.

“The thing you have to do with your body is make sure you get enough nutrients and calories to do the things you want to do,” Klein said.

Not only does Klein love seeing members consistently coming through the doors of SKC, but he also loves when people finally understand or master a move.

“I can’t think of a better place for me to be because I really dig the sport. I love the community and members here.” Klein said. “I love helping people get better, and it’s great to help people find their better selves. 

To see when Paul teaches classes, visit seattlekettlebellclub.com/calendar

-Camille Borodey 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Transformation Tuesday: Stefani Coverson

Since she started at Seattle Kettlebell Club back in July, Stefani Coverson has lost 25 pounds; however, she tries to focus less on the numbers on the scales and more on the inches lost, how her clothes fit, and how much stronger she’s become.

“I’ve done boot camp and CrossFit, and there’s just something different about kettlebell that I think is just great,” Coverson said. “It’s kinda empowering.”

About 8 years ago, Coverson picked up running, and started with doing a few 5Ks before training for a half marathon, which eventually led to a knee injury.

“I ran 16 miles, and the next day I couldn’t walk,” Coverson said.

Coverson had surgery on her knee, but found that she kept getting injured when she ran. She credits kettlebell training for improving her strength, endurance, and running time. She takes classes at SKC 3-4 days a week, and she runs on all the other days. In fact, since she started coming to SKC, Coverson has been able to run her first half marathon in five years.

Coverson has lost 25lbs since starting at SKC 
Originally from Seattle, Coverson received her Master’s degree in Political Science at WSU, and she really enjoys her job as an HR Director at Seattle University.

“It’s a mission driven community. I get to meet and talk to a lot of different people,” Coverson said. “The students keep me feeling young and in touch with life. I really vibe on their energy.”

Outside the kettlebell world, Coverson enjoys golfing, going to concerts, and traveling. She claims her coolest vacation has been to Jamaica, but she suspects that could change because she will be traveling to Rome and Paris in a few weeks.

Like many of her fellow SKC members, Coverson appreciates the club’s sense of community and welcoming atmosphere, and she praises the coaches’ encouragement.

“It’s obvious that they care about us,” Coverson said. “They want us to have great form and meet our goals.”

Many members at SKC enjoying competing in kettlebell sport because it gives them a goal to work towards. Coverson competed in her first competition at the pro-am last month doing the five-minute biathlon, and she does admit that walking into the club and seeing a stage was nerve-racking.

“It was fun and great watching other people and learning about the sport,” Coverson said.

Joining SKC has really helped Coverson get into a more consistent training routine and become more well rounded with her fitness. The 21 Day Challenge (SKC will be hosting another starting Jan. 21st) really helped her keep her diet on track.

Coverson says that she constantly encourages friends and coworkers to give SKC a try since she’s seen such great results.

“Strength training is a game changer, and I think for a lot of women, we’re into the cardio," Coverson said. "I think that many women are afraid of bulking up, and that hasn’t been the case for me at all.” 

To begin your own transformation visit www.seattlekettlebellclub.com/join

-Camille Borodey