What is a Russian Kettlebell?

imagesThrough my school years, I was an athlete in various sports that worked hard off the field to improve my game in each sport. This ‘off the field’ work included weight training, running, and other skill work.  However, I hardly noticed how much the traditional weight training had bulked me up and tightened me up, making me less functional over time. I was perhaps stronger, but my faulty training approach led to a less agile and deconditioned body. My career as an athlete ended with a slew of injuries due in large part to the dysfunctional body that my dysfunctional training had created. Although, at the time, I chalked it up to bad luck. As my disappointment and frustration persisted, I wondered, ‘What can I do to efficiently improve strength, conditioning, and mobility so that I can function better for sports and the real world?’

Eventually, I ran across an article by an interesting Russian fellow named Pavel Tsatouline. I remember being challenged in my thinking to the very principles that I had been using for years in my training. Could he be telling the truth? But everyone seemed to be training the same way I was….surely, we all couldn’t be using the wrong approach. Is there really a better way to train that would incorporate strength, conditioning, and mobility all in one package?

Seven years ago, I began lugging in this strange contraption to various gyms in Raleigh getting the strangest looks and comments from people like ‘you’re going to hurt yourself with that thing.’

What is a ‘kettlebell’?

‘A cannon ball with a handle’  is the often used description of the now popular Russian Kettlebell. They certainly are not so strange anym0re, as they are seemingly popping up in every gym in America. The kettlebell goes way back, it first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or ‘a kettlebell man’. They are now considered by many professional trainers and coaches to be the ultimate tool for extreme all-round fitness. “Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” reported Russian magazine Hercules in 1913.

What makes a Russian Kettlebell so special? Some may say it is the kettlebell design that inherently makes it better than other free weight and machine training, but I say it is also the quality of the teacher and the training system that is equally as important and beneficial to the kettlebell trainees success.

 Join me in my next blog as I discuss ‘the whos’ and ‘the whys’ of Russian Kettlebell training.

Transformation to Host Two-Day Nutrition & Kettlebell Workshop for Personal Trainers

Transformation, personal training, weight loss and nutrition workshop in Raleigh, NC

Barry Bragg, personal trainer and president of Raleigh fitness and wellness center, Transformation, LLC will host a two-day, continuing education workshop for Triangle-area fitness professionals. The workshop will be held March 21-22 at Transformation’s North Raleigh location.

“It’s essential that personal trainers continually educate themselves to set themselves apart from their competition,” says Bragg. “The goal for the workshop is to arm local fitness professionals with cutting-edge knowledge, skills, and tools to further their careers and help their clients achieve their best results.”

Day one will consist of a nutrition training workshop by the Transformation team from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a specially prepared organic dinner. During the training workshop, participants will be introduced to unique nutrition ideas such as:

  • Teaching clients to eat according to their body type and metabolism
  • How to properly assess a client’s lifestyle and nutritional status
  • How to read a label for chemicals and additives that cause fat-gain
  • Which foods will help burn body fat quickly
  • Which supplements can be safely introduced to maximize results

On day two, the Transformation team will conduct a technical workshop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Professionals will learn new training tips including:

  • Teaching and technical skills to help clients achieve their goals
  • Functional Exercises for maximum impact in minimum time
  • Knowledge and skills of training for clients at all levels
  • How to design and implement successful boot camp workouts that will keep clients energized
  • Cutting-edge kettlebell training techniques

Pricing for the workshop is $300 for a single day or $500 for both. For more information or to register, go to PT3.

Five Money-Saving Tips to Eat Healthy During a Tough Economy

Shopping and saving at the Organic Transformation, personal training, weight loss in Raleigh, NC

With food and energy costs on the rise and job losses mounting, many families are finding trips to the grocery store a bit more painful. With such a turbulent economy, any way to save a little is helpful. By making some minor changes, families can still eat nutritiously and cut expenses.

1. Plan out your meals.

Most people eat based solely on convenience. This carries a higher price tag and poorer nutrition. Simply buying more fresh foods and planning meals for the week will save a bundle and provide the nutrients needed to live healthier.

2. Substitute healthier protein sources.

Meat purchases are often significantly more expensive than good protein alternatives like beans, eggs, nuts and seeds. The protein found in eggs most closely matches that of human tissue, so the body uses it efficiently. Any type of bean – pinto, red, kidney or black – is an inexpensive, nutritional choice that can be added to soups, salads, stir-fries, rice or pasta dishes. Nuts and seeds are a healthy snack the entire family can enjoy.

3. Minimize the purchase of prepared foods.

Replace meals such as instant oatmeal and boxed rice meals with less-processed grains including brown rice, wild rice, barley and old-fashioned oatmeal. Most of these can be bought in bulk, improving savings.

4. Eat seasonally.

Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables can help consumers stretch their budgets while maintaining good nutrition. Apples and oranges are at their peak in the winter. Buy them by the bag and save even more.

5. Drink healthier.

Cutting out the morning trip to Starbucks, or sodas and bottled fruit juices, will not only save money, but will lower sugar and sugar substitute levels. Try clean water flavored with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Herbal teas with a touch of honey or Stevia are another good option.