KB Lifts

Why We Do What We Do

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I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently:

Why does this gym exist? When it would be much easier and far less time to focus on personal training out of homes & online training…

Why do we focus on strength? When weight-loss is an easier sell…

Why do we want people to be strong for life? When competing every day and posting pictures of students falling over due to fatigue seems to create attention…

Well for one, if you know me, you’ll know that I’ve never been one to take the easy road. 😉

But also, I want to do what I KNOW is right for our students. What I KNOW will bring them long-term, sustainable results. And although I want to make a living doing what I’m doing, I wouldn’t be able to put my head on my pillow at night if I were charging money for a service in which I’m tricking people into thinking they’re making progress when they’re only spinning their wheels.


Here’s our philosophy:

Why do we have a gym?

We truly believe in personal connection. That’s why our studio is small. We don’t want classes of 30 or more. We want fewer than 12 people in each class and we want to make sure everyone is getting the most out of their training session, getting the personal attention they need, and staying safe and injury free.

We also know that by building a community, we’re stronger together. We’ve hiked, collected gifts for families for the holidays, and done fundraisers for friends in need. In this ever-growing virtual world, there’s still nothing like connections with real humans.

Why do we focus on strength?

I KNOW that life is better when you’re stronger. Everything is easier: from childbirth, to running a 5k, cleaning the garage, gardening, travel, getting up off the floor, the list goes on…

And what I’ve found with many students is they either believe they’re strong or they think they’re not. And a lot of times, those ideas are based on the presidential fitness test they performed in middle & high school. The problem is, no one ever took the time to TEACH them how to be strong. The test was… can you do a pullup or a pushup? The answer was: Yes or no.

The truth is, strength is a skill that can be taught to everyone! Yes, some people have more natural ability in the area of strength, but EVERYONE can build strength. And when you build strength, doors start opening to things you never thought you’d be able to do, physically (and mentally for that matter… but that’s a whole other blog).

Why do we want to be strong for life?

It’s popular now to be strong for a day – to push yourself to exhaustion and post on facebook about how you’re “so sore” you can’t train for another week. But when you think about that – you just lost a week of training!

I think we get that because we watch athletes on TV who are pushing themselves in professional sports games, the olympics, marathons, etc. We see people falling at the finish line or pushing themselves to the brink and either winning the gold or getting injured. We want to be like them!

But real athletes may push themselves to the brink once, MAYBE twice a year. And the stakes are high – they make their living competing in the sport or off endorsements from winning. They spend the majority of their time training moderately and pushing themselves every so often, in a very calculated way.

Most of us will never be in a situation where we’re being paid for a sport. But we can learn something from these athletes – to be in the best shape YOU can be in, train moderately most of the time, push yourself every so often, and train for something & challenge yourself once a year if you feel up to it.

That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. Come try a class and see for yourself. It just means we’re smart about the way we design and implement our sessions. We want you to feel BETTER when you leave than when you came in, NOT beat down & exhausted.

We train the way athletes REALLY train, not how we see athletes compete.


Want to try a class?

Our TRX & Foundational Strength Classes are a good starting point. Come to these classes to sweat, stretch and learn the foundations of building strength. If you’ve never done kettlebells before, the TRX is a great place to start.
If you’d like to try kettlebells, email me at & we’ll set up a time to get you to the gym to learn the kb basics!

Brett Jones on The Swing

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I swear I was just talking about this TODAY! And then his blog post came out.

Brett was my team leader at my first kettlebell certification and he’s now the Chief Kettlebell instructor for the StrongFirst. He told the story then and I’ve retold it a ton of times: that he had been teaching kettlebells and swinging with them for 10 years (now 15 or so…) and he’s still hoping to one day, preform the perfect kettlebell swing.

The point he was trying to make is that there’s always something to work on. There’s always something that could be better. You can root more, you can squeeze your glutes more, you can tighten your stomach more, you can use more weight…

We all want a perfect swing and we’re all searching for it. But does it exist?

Brett wrote a post about that and it came out today. Read about the quest for the perfect swing here.


Happy Swinging!

Why We Swing

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Oh, the swing…

If you’ve been to my classes, you know I love the kettlebell swing. You sweat, you feel strong, you throw heavy weight around. What’s not to love?

Still, you may be asking what’s so spectacular about the swing. The swing is an efficient movement for burning fat, strengthening your back, and tightening your abs. If you can get all of that done with one movement, why would you do anything else? When it’s done correctly, the swing is one of the most efficient full-body exercises there is.

I like to use words of wisdom from people smarter than me and people who’ve been doing this longer than I have. Mark Reifkind, Master SFG is one of those people. He is a gymnast and a guru in this field. According to Mark, the swing is “the center of the kettlebell universe”. He wrote:

It’s been said that a properly executed kettlebell swing is better than 99% of all strength and conditioning exercises. I respectfully disagree. I believe it’s better than 100% of all strength and conditioning exercises – at least for 99% of all people. I challenge anyone to find a better movement. Something that provides the same level of muscular, cardiovascular, and endurance conditioning, all at the same time. An exercise that simultaneously challenges the posterior AND anterior muscular chains and everything else in between while being about as safe an exercise as you can find. One that increases your base flexibility and mobility in the hips, lower back, shoulders, without doing any specialized work. One that is as scalable to the 70-year-old grandmother, as it is the 20-year-old super athlete.

Yes, we love the swing because of all of those things he said right there. We also love the swing because it feels good. You feel like you’re working. You sweat. You can feel your body get stronger. You feel everything in your body get tighter with every swing.

And for me, it’s the closest thing, output-wise, to running that I can find. My body won’t let me run as much as I would like, yet I still crave that intense exertion. I tried spinning, I tried cycling, I tried swimming, I tried elliptical, I tried the stairmaster… I always felt like I needed to go for a run after. With the kettlebell swing, you get your butt kicked, you sweat, and actually, I dare you to go for a run after class.

In short, the swing is a head to toe fat incinerating exercise that provides both strength and cardiovascular gains. Come swing with us.


– Val


Train Smart. Be Strong. Live Balanced.