Monday, June 18, 2018

Four Things SKC Member Kylo McNeal Has Learned About Kettlebell Sport

#1) Not All Fitness Classes Are Corny

After dropping 30 pounds by changing up his diet and walking, Kylo McNeal found himself walking through the doors of Seattle Kettlebell Club in search of a strength-heavy workout. Always being more of a lone wolf in the gym, McNeal admits that he initially thought group fitness was corny but is glad he kept an open mind and encourages others to do the same. 

“Everyone on the staff is friendly,” McNeal said. “Everyone seemed to be friends. It just had a good vibe and seemed very supportive.”

McNeal has been with SKC since their previous location on Hiawatha but admits to not coming consistently until the new club.  

“I really had to challenge myself to be open to a new thing. This is a really specialty sport; granted you only need a weight,” McNeal said. “If you’re kind of feeling judgy [about group classes], do it once and see how you feel afterwards. If you like it, which you probably will, you’ll keep coming back.”

#2) Kettlebell Sport Training Makes You Strong

When he first started training, McNeal says he could barely lift an 8-kilogram (18 pound) kettlebell, but this June 30th he’ll be competing with a pair of 16-kilogram kettlebells (70 pounds) at the Crazy Monkey USA Kettlebell Sport Championship at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA.

“People were encouraging me to compete at the Pro-Am, but I felt too intimidated still,” McNeal said. “Then I went and cheered people on, and I realized I could have totally done it.”

#3) Kettlebell Sport Is Neither CrossFit Nor “KettleBALL”

Like many members of Seattle Kettlebell Club, McNeal finds that although there is a ton of information about kettlebell training online, a lot of his friends have little knowledge of the niche kettlebell sport. He joked that he never thought he would have to pretentiously correct his friends when they say “kettleball.” 

“I think the main misconception is that they associate it with CrossFit, so they think I’m doing CrossFit, but I’m like, ‘No, I think they may get offended if you said that,’” McNeal said. 

#4) You Should Be Prepared to Buy Smaller Shorts

Since starting at SKC, McNeal has noticed that smaller tasks such as taking the stairs or carrying groceries have become easier. He even helped a friend move recently.

“I know I’m strong in general, but to be considered strong by somebody else because they’ve noticed some changes and can physically see it is great,” McNeal said. 

One downfall of his training (and improved diet inspired by SKC’s 21 Day Challenge) is that McNeal says his gym clothes don’t fit anymore because of all the pounds he has lost.

“They keep getting looser and looser, and they’re kind of getting in my way when doing the low swing,” McNeal said. “I don’t want to buy new workout clothes just yet, but now it’s getting to the point where I have to.” 

Seattle Kettlebell Club offers a huge calendar of freestyle kettlebell classes for both fitness and sport.  Learn all about it and try it hands-on at a Core-6 Fundamentals Workshop, included with any intro package or membership.  Click Here for Details

-Camille Borodey and Amber Puchlov 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Father’s Day: Father and Son Bond at SKC

Back in April, Ken Zick saw the 21 Day Challenge as an excellent way to push himself to consistently work out and to focus on improving his conditioning, joint injuries, flexibility, and strength. Now for the June challenge, Ken’s 14 year old son, Bodhi, is joining him for some serious father/son kettle-bonding.

During the snowboard season, Ken and Bodhi try to hit the slopes every weekend, and Ken just ran his first half marathon last Sunday with his dad. He recalls being nervous when his father called him asking to do the Rock N Roll Marathon, but thanks to kettlebells, he got into fighting shape!

“There was no way I was in condition. I figured if I did the challenge, it would provide a base,” Ken said. “I remember when I first came in, Nikolai told me that after the challenge, respiratory wise, I would be ready for the half marathon, and it worked. Now, I’ll probably run it again next year.”

Question: What was your first impression after taking the Core-6 Workshop?

Bodhi: “Oh man, it was so much fun. I’ve taken a lot of fitness classes, and a lot of times you need to be able to build up enough stamina to move up, but with kettlebell it’s cool because you’re using variable weight. You know all the moves from the very beginning, and you can build up as you go along.”

Ken adds that he was impressed by the sport's emphasis on form and personal achievement, and since he’s been recovering from some joint injuries, he says “It was nice to be able to show up and go at my own pace.”

Question: Bodhi, your dad has been coming to SKC a little longer than you. What peaked your interest?

Bodhi: “He initially was talking about how much fun it was. I got to eat the 21 Day Challenge diet with him, which was fun. The way that he described it sounded fun, and I’ve been interested in kettlebells for a while.”

Question: What is your favorite part of coming to KettleFit?

Ken: “I don’t feel like I’m repeating myself every time, so it doesn’t get boring, but I can see progress every week.”

Bodhi agrees, adding “every day I’m learning new exercises. It’s cool because I can take those and do them at home.”

Question: Do you feel like working out together has strengthened your family bond?

Bodhi: “It’s quite literally going to strengthen us especially as I go into my teens years with brain development and feeling angry or emo and whatever. It’s something I can go out and do with my dad and still have a connection. It’s also nice that we both do it because it gives me more incentive.”

Ken: “I would add that it’s different when we share an activity. When he was on the swim team, it was a kid’s swim team, so we could go and support with the other parents on the sidelines, but it’s nice when I can go to the same classes. He keeps track of me all the time for the diet and the menu. He’s got an older brother who is out with a back injury right now, but he’d be down here with us too if he wasn’t injured. We are trying to talk his mom into coming too.”

Question: Bodhi, you’re one of our younger members. What’s it like working out with people significantly older than you?

Bodhi: “I find that it makes me want to work harder. I’m like ‘that guy over there is old, and he can do this, so that means I should be able to do better than him because I’m younger.’ I’ll see people using the really heavy weights, and so I keep trying to build up every week.”

Question: On days when you just don’t feel like working out, how do you motivate yourself?

Bodhi: “I’ll be like ‘I don’t know if I want to go in today” and my dad will say ‘well, I’m going in, so you can get a ride’ or vice versa.”’

Question: What advice would you give to someone who is giving kettlebells a swing for the first time?

Bodhi: Even if you can do it, always start out with the lowest weights. It’s really important to be able to get your form down and understand the motions and movement.”

Ken: “After the first three sessions I came to, I was having trouble getting in and out of the car because I was so sore and using 6-kilogram bells. One of the things that has been helpful for me has been to start with a lighter weight than I think I can do until I can do the full set. If I’m done with a set and I don’t feel worn out, I know next time I can go harder, but I’ve never regretted going lighter.”

Question: Is there anything else you want to add?

Bodhi: “I truly appreciate how nice all the instructors are. The air here is very friendly, and people just want you to do your personal best, and I appreciate that.”

-Camille Borodey

Friday, June 8, 2018

Chronic Pain No Match for Kettlebells - Meet Our Members: Christine Bishop

Christine Bishop describes her job as a dental hygienist as being extremely physically demanding, so for the past 15 years, she has suffered chronic pain. However, since joining Seattle Kettlebell Club back in October, she's seen a significant decrease in her pain levels.

"By the first hour and fifteen minutes of the introduction workshop, I was out of pain, and I’m never out of pain,” Bishop said. “I just realized that my body needed strength.” 
Bishop has dabbled with free weights, yoga, and other fitness classes, and before joining SKC says her fitness level was average. However, upon turning 40 she realized she wanted to make some major changes in order to up her fitness game.

One piece of advice Bishop has for new members of SKC is to not overthink the practice.
“Your brain gets in the way,” Bishop said. “You really have to set your previous experience with fitness aside. Tell your brain to chill out, and trust the process because Nikolai totally knows how to teach it. Just trust that this does work.” 

Outside of SKC, Bishop enjoys jogging, hiking, biking, and rowing. She credits kettlebell training for improving her other physical hobbies, and now that she sees running as less of a chore, she does it more consistently. Bishop notes her diet has improved as well since joining SKC.

Bishop has participated in past 21 Day Challenges and claims that even though she was working a bunch during the challenge, she still found herself to be pain free.

“I felt really good and really energized. I definitely was able to put on jeans that didn’t fit before,” Bishop said. 

Bishop also praises SKC for its variety of class times noting that most gyms do not offer classes throughout the day. 

“The fact that you can completely change your mental attitude in your day in 45 minutes is the coolest thing,” Bishop said. “It’s the same length as a Netflix episode.” 

Unfortunately, this month Bishop and her family will be leaving Seattle and returning to her hometown of Bend, Oregon. Although the city is very fitness-centric, she’s going to miss SKC like crazy.
“I’ve done a lot of gym memberships, and I’ve done a lot of classes. This is by far my favorite, and I’ve been going to gyms for 20 plus years," Bishop said.
One thing she’ll miss the most about SKC is the constant coaching and encouragement from the instructors. At other gyms, Bishop notices that instructors will often perform the moves with the class where at SKC, the instructors monitor the trainees. 

“These instructors are by far the best. I like that they’re not taking the class, so they watch you to make sure you’re doing it correctly,” Bishop said. “I have been corrected in the middle of something, which is what you want because the last thing you want is to hurt yourself.” 

Bishop has been hard at work researching gyms in Bend, and she’s optimistic that she’ll find something to match her physical needs; however, she fears there’s truly no workout as beneficial for her body as kettlebell. Even though there’s not a kettlebell gym in Bend, she’s hoping to at least find a gym with kettlebells. 

“The problem is I feel like if there’s not kettlebells, I’m not going to get the body correction because what the kettlebells does is like what a chiropractor would do for me. Something about swinging combined with the weight gives me some sort of chiropractic adjustment,” Bishop said.

We’ll miss you Christine! Good luck with your future fitness endeavors!

-Camille Borodey