Have you met Stephanie yet?

stephanieStephanie started training at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre last Spring. It has been almost a year since then and she has come a long way. She started with personal training, only once a week. Then slowly moved into group classes. She now regularly attends two Kettlebell classes a week, and is working on fitting in a third.

When we asked why she chose VMBC this is what she had to say: “I have three young kids and when I have time to myself I want to relax, not work out. In order to successfully integrate a workout routine into my life, I needed a gym that was easily accessible. VMBC is close to my house, the classes are affordable, offered around the clock, only 30 minutes long and I could bring my baby!”

Remember climbing ropes in gym class? Stephanie does, and she finally made it to the top. “Rope climbing was a part of fitness assessments in elementary school. It was something I always wanted to do, but always failed at doing. One evening, a couple of months ago, after receiving a great tip for rope climbing, I attempted to climb the rope. To my immense surprise, pleasure and pride I climbed quickly to the top. Reaching the top made me feel strong, fit and glad I’d made the commitment to work out.”

Training should not just be about what you can do in the gym but rather how it effects your quality of life outside of the gym. Stephanie knows this well.

“After three pregnancies and very little strength training my body felt weak and soft. Since I’ve started training at VMBC I’ve felt so much stronger in my body, especially through my core. I can now easily do multiple sit-ups, whereas a year ago I could barely do one. And more importantly, I can more easily meet the demands of my three kids. I can carry them for longer, chase them through the park and throw them up in the air.” Isn’t amazing how taking just a little extra time for yourself, even as little as 1 to 2 hours a week, can help you interact with those around you better.

We look forward to helping Stephanie continue to move forwards with her health and fitness, and if she keeps consistent we are sure she can only get better. Are you ready to get started on your health and fitness journey? If so why not try a FREE class? If you have already started you may like to forward this on to a friend who needs a little inspiration.

Have you met Stephanie yet?

How Anthony Bourdain lost 35lbs

anthony-bourdain-lost-35lbsHave you ever taken a trip and come back 10lbs heavier? Now imagine the weight you would put on if your full time job was traveling and eating all of the worlds best foods. That is exactly what Anthony Bourdain does. So how does he keep from becoming over weight? The answer: Jiu-Jitsu.

Bourdain told the New Yorker that “Since he started doing jujitsu, three years ago, he has lost thirty-five pounds.” Not an easy feat for a celebrity chief in his 60’s. Now it’s not only the exercise, it never is. Training Jiu Jitsu has also changed the way Bourdain thinks about food.

“Now that he trains nearly every day in jujitsu, he tries to eat and drink more selectively. “Off camera, I don’t go around getting drunk at night,” he said during the meals we shared when he wasn’t shooting, Bourdain didn’t so much gorge himself as graze. A big bowl of pasta is hard to enjoy if you know it will render you sluggish the next morning, when a crazy-eyed mixed martial artist is trying to ease you into a choke hold.” (Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker 2017)

If you want to eat like Anthony check out his Acai bowl recipe over at A.V. Club. If you want to train like him try one of our NEW Jiu Jitsu classes at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre.

How Anthony Bourdain lost 35lbs

The One Percent Change

one-percent-1Our life is like a heavy ocean liner; think the Titanic. We set a course quite early in our life and sail on it. Just as it was difficult to change the course of the Titanic quickly, so it is difficult to change the course of our life. If we are to avoid the proverbial iceberg in our life, we need to adjust our course early; the sooner the better.

The proverbial, unavoidable iceberg in our life is disease and aging. It is out there in front of us and mostly unknown. Will we age well? Will we avoid the big C? Diabetes? Heart disease? Alzheimer’s? Parkinson’s? The icebergs lurking in the water are many. We know they are out there. Some are lurking in our system due to genetic traits; some due to environmental factors.

In order to miss these icebergs, we need to make changes to the course of our life, but it is hard to do. It takes time to change course. This is where the 1% change comes into play.

A 1% change to the direction of a ship will not move it much off course at the beginning, but a few kilometres after the change is initiated, the ship will be at a substantially different place than it would have been if the change had not been made.

If we strive to make long-term and meaningful changes to our life, it is helpful to think in terms of 1% changes.

A simple example may be alcohol consumption. Most people enjoy a drink from time to time; some more than others. Reducing alcoholic consumption to zero is a huge change, but cutting one drink, or choosing to have one alcohol-free day, is a relatively small change that in the long-term will have a big effect.

Another good example  is the money saved by buying one less specialty coffee a day. An average latte or similar specialty drink at Starbucks or any other of the many coffee shops around, is about $4. This is not a big amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but 2 drinks a day, every day adds up to almost $3,000 a year. A small, “1 percent”, change of skipping one drink, twice a week would lead to a savings of over $400 over the year.

For sedentary people, becoming more active may seem like a huge change. Adding a small amount of activity, perhaps one exercise class a week, may lead to a huge change to the course of one’s life. Adding exercise to our life is one of the most significant changes one can make to affect the course of life. The quality of one’s diet and eliminating smoking are the other two most significant factors.

If you think your life needs a change of course, don’t think of making huge changes. Make small, 1 percent adjustments. Over time, these will significantly change where you end up.

The One Percent Change

Have you met Tim yet?

timTim started training with Vancouver Mind-Body Centre (VMBC) in 2014. He is one of our most consistent kettlebell students and as a result, one of our strongest. It is a rare occasion that he misses our Tuesday/Thursday noon hour class, or a Sunday class. He was also one of our first members to participate in our popular Tabata Max program, and he is now a regular in our new Flexibility class.

The Snatch Test is one of the fundamental strength tests of kettlebell training. It involves completing 100 snatches within 5 minutes. Men are usually expected to use a 24 kg kettlebell, and women are to use a 16 kg kettlebell. This is a difficult test which requires consistent and diligent training to complete.

I remember the first time I was able to do 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a 24kg bell. I never thought I could do it and on the day it happened… well it was a huge boost to my confidence and the feeling of accomplishment was amazing.

What’s the kettlebell snatch? Click here find out

We asked Tim how his training has affected him outside of the gym and this is what he had to say:

I have been self-employed for 17 years. Training at VMBC has helped me ground my schedule in a way that gives me meaningful and rich touchstones in my days. It helps me get out of the office, which is always a victory, and has helped me to feel much more alive and vibrant. Even on days when I’m stiff and feeling yesterday’s workout, the rewards of getting more and more in touch with my somatic self has been enormously enriching to my life. I’ve experienced physical experiences I never thought would be possible and kettlebell training has played an important role in these experiences.

Tim is excited to continue his training throughout 2017. Here are just a few of his goals for this year:

  • To be able to keep going 🙂
  • Improve flexibility by 15-20%
  • Improve upper body strength (preferably without bulking up too much – I always prefer strength over size)
  • Do a bloody pistol squat!!!

As Tim continues to work on his goals this year, we will continue to periodically introduce you to our members and their stories. If you think there is someone we should feature, let us know and we will see if they would agree.

Have you met Tim yet?

Have you met Kar-Lai yet?

kar-lai-01Kar-Lai started personal training in 2014. Her 40th birthday was just around the corner and she had recently visited some childhood friends in Winnipeg. The voice of her friend Christina, a diet specialist, kept ringing in the back of her head saying, “At this age, you need to start eating to live, not living to eat.”

She started her training with Fitness Kickboxing and later dabbled in an all women’s Intro to MMA class. From there she began to explore Karate and started personal training regularly with our head Karate instructor Kyle Duske. She now trains up to 5 sessions a week at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre (VMBC).

Click on the image below to see Kar-Lai in action!

kar-lai-02

Kar-Lai enjoys the inclusive nature of the teaching at Vancouver Mind-Body Centre and has even brought her young cousins to join in on some of her personal training sessions.

I remember when I was at the former VMBC location, my young cousins from Ohio came to Vancouver for Christmas. I brought them, and my nephew Rowan, to my personal training session. Kyle taught Sophia and Rowan a little karate and a little grappling. We played a game that involved a lot of running around (kids chasing me… I was so out of breath), which they absolutely loved. Gavin was still very young so he vicariously had a great time watching everyone. When I asked Sophia what the best part of her visit was, she said that day at VMBC!

We asked Kar-Lai how her training has helped her outside of the gym and this is what she had to say:

My training and conditioning has made it a lot more fun (and easier) to go for longer and more challenging runs, hikes, and bike rides! Overall, I feel more energized. Training also constantly pushes me beyond my comfort zone. Being outside my comfort zone now feels like a new normal and a way of life; as a result, I am more likely to try new things outside of the gym too.

Kar-Lai is excited to continue her training throughout 2017. Here are just a few of her goals for this year:

  • To better my nutrition
  • To heal a herniated disc (caused by poor posture at work and when reading)
  • To improve my sparring
  • To grade for my blue belt in Karate

As Kar-Lai continues to work on her goals this year we will continue to periodically introduce you to our members and their stories. If you think there is someone we should feature, let us know and we will see if they would agree.

Already know what your goals are and just want to get started? Then sign-up for one of our NEW introductory offers including Fitness Kickboxing 101, Fighting Arts 101 or Kettlebells 101. Click here to learn more

Have you met Kar-Lai yet?

Meet Ricky

meet-ricky-01Have you met Ricky yet? He started training with us in July 2015, and since then he’s made incredible improvements. To highlight all the great work he has done, we thought we would ask him to share his story with you:

Ricky attended his first Kettlebell class with our head instructor Natan Cheifetz in early July. Here is what Ricky had to say about his first class:  “I made a valiant effort to squat and then sit on my knees. I was really trying to fit in despite tremendous discomfort, I was totally faking it. If memory serves me correctly I couldn’t walk for the next three days but things gradually got better and easier.”  That was after just one 30 min class. Ricky now regularly attends three back to back classes every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

Click on the image below to see Ricky in action!

meet-ricky-02

Ricky hasn’t just improved in the gym – his training has improved life at home as well. Just ask him: “It’s so much easier to bend, lift and move around the house. I never think twice about getting up and doing things. I used to experience sciatic pain but I haven’t had an issue since I started going to the gym regularly. Pants fit better too!”

Ricky has come a long way, but as we all know, health and fitness is an on-going journey. We asked him about his goals for 2017 and here is what he had to say: “Despite good progress… I need to improve my general diet and find a time slot for a third major workout each week. I am committed to Kyle’s Tuesday and Thursday night classes so a Saturday or Sunday workout would be ideal. My secret goal (Shhhh!) is to have a very flat stomach, maybe even a hint of where my abs are situated. Also, would like to give grappling or some form of Martial Art a try. I played football & hockey growing up so the idea of wrestling around on a mats appeals to me.”

We look forward to helping Ricky find his abs in 2017, and hope that his story has inspired you to reinvigorate your health and fitness goals. Send us an email and let us know what your goals for 2017 are for a chance to win a FREE 1-on-1 Goal Setting Session ($85 value). In this session, you will learn to put your past, present and future relationship with health and fitness into perspective and start to create a concrete and accessible plan to keep you moving forwards.

Meet Ricky

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Communication.

communication

This week, I’ve been thinking about communication challenges.

My friend Brandon is a successful concept artist for the video gaming industry. In his off hours he works to create art that is detailed and technically innovative. He recently repositioned his career to  instructing, educating and motivating art students to improve their drawing skills & techniques.  Although the content that he teaches is very different from my work as a kettlebell instructor, a recent discussion revealed we share the same challenge as teachers & leaders: how to communicate with an individual to help them understand and achieve their goals.

I can snatch a 16kg kettlebell with excellent form, and Brandon can draw the human body beautifully in motion with correct proportions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily make us great teachers. Teaching is about identifying the correct style of communication each student or client needs.

When I teach a class, I’m managing a team of (let’s say) 10 people. I need to communicate with 10 people who have 10 different world-views and 10 different learning styles.

Some of them thrive when I give clear & precise directions. With them, I work hard to use technical language without jargon. Each muscle group is referenced by name, and each movement is quantified. Other folks need praise and attention to feel motivated, to reach them I need to watch carefully to see where they are working hardest and encourage those efforts.

In my class, a lot of students learn by watching the demonstration first, then physically mimicking my movements. To reach them, I demonstrate each move multiple times while speaking the directions through the motions. We may put our weights aside for more complex sequence to learn the safest way to lift, bend and stretch. My friend Megan (editor of this article) learns by asking endless questions, which is often disruptive to the class but has been proven useful for shyer students. Some people are hesitant to speaking up; for those folks I engage in one-on-one conversations after or before class. They can also benefit from private classes, where we can take the time to focus directly on their limitations, strengths and understanding of new movements.

Every now and then I run into a student who is motivated by what I can only call parental disapproval. Somehow the only thing that reaches them seems to be looks of disappointment and my mom voice…

Hey.  Just about whatever works right?  If you’re a manager anywhere you know you must approach communication in this manner.  Or maybe that’s why 90% of your staff look at you like you have a fish bowl over your head.

Some folks need precise and clear direction for holding a proper plank:

  • Wrists, under elbows, under shoulders.
  • Pull your lats down.
  • Send your belly button to your spine and up.
  • Keep your glutes tight, tight, TIGHT!
  • Hips remain parallel to the floor.
  • Pull your knee caps to the ceiling to engage your quads.
  • Pull your calfs tight.
  • Flex your toes.
  • Stay there.

Others need a different approach.

“Have you seen the movie Full Metal Jacket?” I asked.

“Yes…..” Was the response followed with a nervous sideways glance.

“Today I’m Senior Drill Instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and I just called you to attention for an inspection. How much tension do you need to keep your entire body under to keep from peeing out of fear?”

“ All of it.”

“ Perfect.”

The Confessionals of a Kettlebell Instructor. Communication.