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