No Mirrors. No Fancy Gadgets.

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We’re a bit old-school here, but we really really love that about our space.

I don’t know about you, but with social media and all the techy-gadgets that do everything from telling you how many steps you took to reminding you to breathe at your desk at work, I am up to my ears in technology.

What happened to listening to how you feel and getting feedback from your body? What about having a relationship with a real human and allowing that real human to help you through something?

Now, I know fitbits and apple watches and the like are useful and can be really good tools. I have seen them be really helpful when trying to get over a hump: if you haven’t been diligent with exercise or food, tracking it and setting goals is a wonderful way to keep yourself accountable. Setting goals for yourself as well as creating a little challenge with friends is a great way to get the ball rolling. Tracking metrics definitely has its place. But ultimately, are you a metric? Or are you a human?

You don’t have to have your heart rate advertised on the gym wall to push yourself and get a good workout. We may have a little friendly competition in class, but when it comes down to it, you are training for you. Doing what you can do, based on how you feel that day. We don’t want you concerned with what your neighbor is doing… because guess what? It doesn’t matter. Maybe they got a full night’s sleep & you’ve been waking up every night at midnight to take your toddler to the bathroom so that you don’t have to wash the sheets AGAIN. (Ok, maybe that’s just me). But if that’s you too and you’re gauging your effort (or heaven forbid your worth) based on your ranking in a class, well then, you’re doing more harm than good.

The way I see it, exercise is meant to help you feel better and enjoy life more. I want that for each one of my students. We’re here to help you be your best and some days that means pushing harder, some days it means holding back. We will do that. That’s why you train with somebody who has the experience and the mindset to tailor your training to your personal fitness goals.
We are here for you. If you want to be healthy, if you want to be fit, if you want to be the strongest version of yourself there is, come train with us. We will celebrate victories with you, but we don’t care about the weight on the scale, the weight you lift, or the latest gear: we just want to help you be better every day.
The days are long and the years are short: use your days to get stronger so that the years can be filled with adventure.

Referral Challenge 2018

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The fall is the perfect time to bring a friend who’s been meaning to try kettlebells for a while.

Even if you don’t have kids or yours are grown and out of the house, September always feels like a fresh start. And you may have friends who are looking to try something new to shake up their training routine and start seeing some results.

Here’s how to get your friends started:

  1. Have them come to any TRX & Foundational Strength Class
    • the FREE one this month is September 15th at 9am
    • the drop-in for all other classes is $25 or they can purchase a shirt
  2. Have them send me an email and be sure to mention your name
    • we can do a one-on-one or small group session to get them started with kettlebell classes
    • they can start with personal training
  3. Check out our 10-Week Kickstart Challenge
    • this is for friends
      • who want to start making positive changes when it comes to food and exercise
      • willing to commit to 45-min sessions, 3 days/week
        • 10:30am MWF
        • 5pm MW & 8am or 9am Sat
      • 30-55 years old
      • want to feel better & get leaner
      • have 5+lbs of fat to lose
      • would like to build strength and confidence
      • are stressed and busy
      • have trouble with restrictive dieting
      • are goal driven

If you know someone who wants to start, NOW is the time to give them that friendly nudge to get in here (or blindfold them and throw them in your car… whatever works).

Referral Bonus:

August 15th – October 15th 2018

When your friend comes to class:

  • you get a $10 gift card to Ellie’s Table – take your friend to coffee after class – ON US!
  • if your friend stays for 3 months, YOU get $50 credit on your account (our regular referral thank you gift)
  • if your friend stays for 3 months, THEY get $50 credit too
  • you get entered in a drawing to win $100 CASH!

The 10-Week Kickstart Challenge

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The “Focus on Moving More & Enjoying Training so that we can actually Make Positive Changes in our lives rather than focusing on Weight Loss Every Time” Challenge

If you know me, you know I love transformation/weight loss challenges (not really).

I know that other people love them and it’s good to have a goal and all…

BUT, what I REALLY LOVE doing is helping people feel good about themselves, their bodies, and about what they’re able to do.

I REALLY LOVE when my students stop caring about a number on a scale and focusing more on how they FEEL and what they CAN DO!

And to be honest… if you actually NEED to lose weight, THAT is when it happens – when you STOP FOCUSING ON IT!


So, instead of having ANOTHER weight-loss challenge, let us instead focus on:







And let’s do it together!

Challenge Begins Monday, September 17th

  • Sign up & get your Kick-Start Goal-Setting Session before that!
  • 10-weeks takes you up to Thanksgiving
  • $600 for 10 weeks (2 payments of $300)
    • goal setting & fitness assessment session
    • 3 classes/week
    • 10-weeks of classes to help you meet your goals
    • nutrition guidance
  • $550 if you sign up before September 10th
  • $525 each if you get a buddy to sign up with you
    • email me for promo codes!


Who is the challenge for?

Women, ages 30-55, who answer YES to the following:

  • you want to start making positive changes when it comes to food and exercise
  • you are willing to commit to 45-min sessions, 3 days/week
    • 9:30am MWF
    • 5pm MW & 8am or 9am Sat
  • you want to feel better & get leaner
  • you have 5+lbs of fat to lose
  • you would like to build strength and confidence
  • you are stressed and busy
  • you have trouble with restrictive dieting
  • you are goal driven


Why We Do What We Do

By | KB Lifts, News & Events, Pacific Strength | No Comments

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!

Swings & Getups

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Those of you who know StrongFirst & who’ve read books by Pavel Tsatsouline, know that Pavel is someone who can get deep into the research side of strength training. He is also brilliant at simplifying that information so that we (the average Joe), can use that research to get stronger.

In a world where everything seems to be getting more complicated, this type simplification is a breath of fresh air.

Just for fun, let’s play “ask Pavel”:

Q: Hey Pavel, I want to get stronger. What do you recommend?
A: Swings & Getups.

Q: Hey Pavel, I want to lose weight. What do you recommend?
A: Swings & Getups.

Q: Hey Pavel, I need to increase my range of motion & joint mobility. What do you recommend?
A: See an FMS specialist. Then start Swings & Getups.

Q: Hey Pavel, I want to tone. What do you recommend?
A: Toning is stupid. But if you want that, do Swings & Getups.

The joke is that “Swings & Getups” are Pavel’s answer to every fitness question.

Although it’s funny. & simple. It really does work for all of those things. Changing the intensity, the duration, the weight can achieve the desired results for anything you want to accomplish.


Have a goal?


Come talk to me or send me an email & I’ll give you a Swing & Getup plan to meet your needs!


Better yet?… come to class all month – we’ll be breaking the turkish getup into parts so that by the end of the month, you’ll be an old pro!

TSC Training Starts February 19th!

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Seems so far away but it’s time to start training!

The Tactical Strength Challenge tests:

  • Max Strength with the Deadlift
  • Bodyweight Strength with the Pull-ups and Flexed-Arm Hang
  • Strength Endurance with 5-minutes of Snatching

There’s no better way to reach an all-around fitness goal than to train for these three events.

First, if you’re planning to compete, SIGN UP NOW through StrongFirst & get your official tshirt!

February 17th is 8-weeks away. I’d like to know who’s competing and who needs a program by February 12th so that I have time to write your programs!

Training Plan Options:
(1) Use one of your previous plans & train on your own or during regular class times ($0)
(2) Use one of your previous plans, I will change the numbers to reflect your current goals, adjust what didn’t work, & you can work it into your schedule ($50)
(3) Totally Personalized New Plan – An 8-week program training program that includes everything you plan to do for your training (including surfing, running, yoga, pilates, hula-hoop classes, etc)   ($100)

plus… Marilyn’s 79th birthday is the day after the TSC this year. Come see her compete in the deadlift & stay for a celebration!

2018 Challenge – Simple & Sinister

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For the 2018 Challenge, we’re adding Swings & Getups to your regular routing, a la Pavel’s Simple & Sinister.

I have a couple extra copies of the book at the gym you can pick up for $20 if you’d like to have one on hand. But I’m going to break down the routine for you here:



I’m making it even simpler than Pavel’s simple, because Pavel doesn’t really do simple =)

So our “Simple” version is for you to add this to any day you wouldn’t normally train:

  1. 100 Total Swings, any style (2-hand, one-hand, alternating), any weight
  2. 10 Total Getups, any weight, even no weight or a shoe

It’s really that simple. No time limit. Just go with how you feel.

*One stipulation: the swings should be powerful (not necessarily heavy), so when performing the 100 swings, do 10 powerful swings at a time, & shake out/rest as needed.



Our version of “Sinister” will be to hold yourself to the time constraints.

  1. 10 Single Arm Swings every 30-seconds for 5-minutes, switching arms each round
  2. rest 1 min
  3. 1 Get-up every minute for 10-minutes, switching arms each round
  4. Get heavier as it gets easier


A Couple Caveats:

  1. If you’re going for Sinister & you don’t feel awesome one day, do a Simple day
    • no judgements
    • no time
    • something is better than nothing
    • a light day when needed is better than pushing through a hard day when your body is saying NO!
  2. If you’re going for Sinister & you want to move up in weight, do so slowly
    • move one round (each arm) of swings to the next heavier weight (preferably the 2nd or 3rd round)
    • add more rounds at the heavier weight until all rounds are with the heavier weight
    • same goes for Getup
  3. Getup & Swing weights DO NOT have to move up at the same time or at the same rate


Your Challenge will include:

  • a calendar to track your training (because you know you need one for 2018!)
  • measurements before, half way, & at the end
  • reassessment & progress check half way
  • FMS before & at the end
  • a facebook message group for those doing the challenge
  • guidance from me on how to progress/handle challenges you may face


Click here to JOIN the Challenge NOW


The Pacific Strength 2018 Challenge

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I considered calling this the “be nice to yourself” challenge. Or the “let’s get real with our goals & expectations” challenge. Or the “feel good, move more, and all is coming” challenge. But we’ll stick with the PS 2018 Challenge. Here’s how it works:

Step 1:

  • Write down your 2017 accomplishments
  • Write down positive changes you made in 2017

Step 2:

  • Write down how you want to feel in 2018
    • strong?
    • happy?
    • healthy?
  • Write down what you envision yourself doing so that you can feel how you want to feel.
    • focus on form & how you feel while you’re training
    • spend more time with people who make you smile
    • fuel your body with good & healthy food so that you feel your best

Step 3:

Join this challenge and focus on feeling good, doing more, and enjoying your training. See how that works for you! Below are the Important Dates & nitty-gritty of the Challenge:

Week of January 15th: Sign up for the Challenge (CLICK HERE) – $149
Week of January 22nd: 
  • 8-week Challenge Starts This Week!
  • Start your 2-3 extra days of swings & getups
    • Simple
      • 100 SA Swings (50 each arm)
      • 10 Getups (5 each arm)
    • Work toward Sinister
      • Swings in under 5-minutes
      • 1 minute rest
      • Getups in under 10-minutes
Week of February 12th:
Week of February 19th:
  • Get your halfway measurements & reassess
  • Want to work toward Sinister?
  • 8 weeks before TSC
  • Start TSC training
Week of March 26th
  • Final Measurements
  • Final Testing of SA Swing & Getup
Saturday, April 14th

This is just so me. I had to include it! You know I’m excited about the challenge & the TSC & the daily teachings. I’m excited about everything!


Happy 2018!

By | Pacific Strength | No Comments

The New Year is a great time to reflect: To look back on 2017 and give yourself a pat on the back for the many things you accomplished as well as look forward and consider what you’d like to come into your life in 2018.

I think we all get a little weird when talking about “Resolutions”. I hear things like, “Why wait for the calendar to turn to make a change for the better?” and “I don’t need a New Year’s Resolution: I try to be better every day” and while I agree with both of those things, I do like a communal opportunity for a new day. Another chance. Another opportunity to be better.

So maybe instead of thinking about your resolutions as goals, think about your 2018 resolutions as intentions. Don’t say “I’m going to swing kettlebells 3 x/week, every week, no matter what”. Make your intention to move deeper into your kettlebell practice. Learn more about what your body is doing while you’re training. Try to be better every day and learn as you go. Maybe you want to do a getup with a really heavy kettlebell. Cool! Have that in the back of your mind. But focus on your movement and on what you can do to improve your training every day, what you can do to learn more about that movement. Be less focused on the outcome and enjoy the journey a little more.

Which leads me to…

How I feel about Weight Loss Challenges


You know I hate them. They are anti-everything we do here. For many reasons.

  1. They don’t work.
    • well… maybe they do for a little bit. While you’re in the ‘challenge’. But then once the designated challenge is over, you’re back to your old routine.
    • and then the weight comes back.
  2. I hate the mindset of typical weight-loss challenges:
    • Lose that 10-lbs you packed on over the holidays
      • read: You are a horrible fat slob & shame on you for enjoying your time with your family and friends.
    • Get your beach body back before summer
      • read: You are only valuable if you can wear a bikini at the beach and you’re ready for the cover of sports illustrated.
    • New Year, New You!
      • read: The old you is no good.

I like the old you

Why can’t we be nicer to ourselves?

Enter the Pacific Strength 2018 Challenge


Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes – From Melissa!

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We all know we’re going to overeat on Thanksgiving. It’s inevitable. I love me some mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream & I make a mean Pecan Pie. But that doesn’t mean everything has to be unhealthy. Below are some great recipes from our friend and Registered Dietician, Melissa Mathes.


Pumpkin Soup

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 4 cups pumpkin purée (canned or fresh) (butternut squash may be substituted)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic


  1. In large pot over medium-high heat add 3 cups broth, pumpkin, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer uncovered, about 30 minutes.
  2. Purée mixture until smooth, in small batches, using blender or food processor. Return to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes. Add remaining broth as desired. (Optional, stir in cream.)
  3. Pour into bowls. Garnish with parsley (or sprinkle of nutmeg) and serve.
Per serving(6 servings): 71 calories, 1 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 0 g dietary fiber, 284 mg sodium


Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

  • 1 small sweet potato, about 8-oz, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (peeled parsnip may be substituted) 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium celery stalks, 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium beet, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1.5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In large bowl toss potatoes, carrot, onion, celery and beet with 1/2 tablespoon oil, coating well.
  3. Arrange vegetables in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast, stirring several times, until tender and beginning to brown, about 50 minutes.
  5. In mixing bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon with remaining oil and stir in parsley, cilantro and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and gently toss.
  6. Top with crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.Makes 4 servings. Per 3/4 cup serving: 156 calories, 9 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 3 protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 134 mg sodium.


Roasted Turkey Breast Porchetta-Style

  • 1 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (5-7 lb.) whole turkey breast, bone-in
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth*
  1. Combine coriander and fennel seeds in small, dry skillet and toast over medium-high heat until seeds are golden and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes, shaking and moving pan in circular motion occasionally at first, then constantly. Transfer seeds to plate to cool.
  2. Make seasoning mixture in food processor by pulsing toasted coriander and fennel seeds with herbs and garlic until finely chopped. Add salt and pepper and whirl until all ingredients are very finely chopped, 30 seconds. With motor running, drizzle in oil. Set seasoning mixture aside for 15 minutes.
  3. While seasoning sits, use your fingers to gently separate skin from turkey breast meat, taking care not to tear skin. Using your hand, rub one third of seasoning mixture under skin on each side of breast and coat inside of breast with remaining mixture. Rub your oily hands over skin, coating it lightly. Seal breast in plastic wrap and set on a plate. Marinate breast in refrigerator for 4 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in large roasting pan. While oven heats, unwrap turkey and let sit on counter.
  5. Pour chicken broth into roasting pan. Set turkey breast on rack. Roast turkey, turning pan in oven every 20 minutes to help it brown evenly. Breast is done when instant read thermometer inserted into thickest point reads 165 degrees F., about 2 hours for a 6 pound breast (allowing 20 minutes per pound). Skin can be dark without meat being dry, but tent foil over breast if skin is getting too dark. Because of brining effect of seasoning paste, skin near bone may look pale pink.

Let breast rest for 20 minutes before carving. Strain juices to serve on the side.

* May use 4 cup combination of low-sodium chicken broth and water.

Makes 8 servings (6 lbs.).

Per serving: 183 calories, 8 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 2 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein,<1 g dietary fiber, 316 mg sodium.