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Fear Factor

Fear. What is exactly is it that we are scared of? When we were little we were scared of the dark, yet as adults we know there no such thing as monsters living in our closets . . . or is there?

Fear is not being scared of a certain object or thing something living in our closets, but it is the fear of the unknown.

There are many different types of fear. It may be that you are scared of pain, scared of failing or scared of success. Yet the future cannot be predicted. Despite the different types of fears, we all have fears to conquer.


If we don’t face these fears, it will slowly grow into monsters similar to the ones lurking in our childhood closets. Instead of living inside a closet it starts to live inside of us slowing take over who we are and robbing us from who we are meant be.


Many of us have a burning desire living in us, a childhood dream to climb Mt Rainer, or it may be to do a first triathlon or simply to be able to go up stairs without pain. Yet there is something that is all holding us back and that is fear. Fear of the “what if.” What if I fall and hurt myself climbing? What if I can’t finish the triathlon race? What if I will always have to live with pain?


The “what if” question is a true thought that has gone through each and every one of us in different aspects of our lives facing different fears. We are ultimately asking to know the unknown future.


The fears are real and there is good reason. Acknowledging this is the first step. The second step is giving it the respect the fear it deserves. Respect the fear by preparing and taking the right precautions for it.


Being a Personal Trainer, I enjoy the process of preparing myself and my clients to lift heavy or do a heavy kettlebell swing. Sometimes the weights can be intimating and the thought of “what if” starts to play and fear slowly takes over the mind, the fear monster robs you from your potential.


Just like the sound track of Jaws the fear of possible injuries plays as one beat, another beat fear of not being able to lift the weight plays, and the last beat fear of successfully lifting the weight. duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun


Instead of it being a fear factor let it turn into a fear focus. Focusing on the correct form and knowing you are properly prepared develops confidence. Believing in yourself is mentally training what I like to call developing your “Iron Will”. Once you have the confidence, you start to overtake all types of fears in your life.


As you develop an “Iron Will” as you train, use these tactics on focusing on the right precautions and the correct steps to chase your dreams while concurring your fears.


One of my goals is to learn how to do a correct handstand. Years I have had this dream and goal. But I realized how I have been scared of falling. Falling was one fear the other fear is I wouldn't have the strength to do it. The strength will come with the right training, nothing just happens we have to train for it to develop the strength and the courage to pursue our goals.

One of my goals is to learn how to do a correct handstand. Years I have had this dream and goal. But I realized how I have been scared of falling. Falling was one fear the other fear is I wouldn’t have the strength to do it. The strength will come with the right training, nothing just happens we have to train for it to develop the strength and the courage to pursue our goals.

True Iron

Iron is what they named their first-born. It started out as cool name stemming from the husband completing two Ironman’s, but eventually came to embody things they wanted for their son, whether he will be an athlete or something entirely different: strength, endurance, well rounded, strategic, self-challenging. Their son can be anything he wants, but Iron definitely is his name.


Shannon Mayo is the mother to Baby Iron, through our time working together I have had the privilege to watch her demonstrate True Iron. At first Shannon came to me two years ago with an injury from running. We focused on improving her hips while at the same time we focused on strengthening the hips to keep her pain free for her runs. We were able to maintain her healthy running habits and she started seeing the benefits from strength training. She soon wanted to increase her program from once a week to twice a week.


As a trainer this was music to my ears! I was so excited to help Shannon, as she was striving continually to improve her health. We were able to really focusing on her strength training to improve her optimum health. She did everything from front squats, dead lifts, SL RDL, renegade rows and her favorite Bulgarian splits squats. As we progressed her strength training, she started feeling the benefits in her runs, in her toned body, and in her energy.


One day as we where discussing her new goals for her training program, she told me in confident how she is ready to be a momma and her and her husband were tying to get pregnant. It took all my strength to hold my excitement hidden so others would not suspect anything. I was behold thrilled for Shannon! It was not much longer Shannon confirmed she was pregnant!


Being her trainer, I knew I had to change some of her program as her body started to change. At first, we kept everything the photosame. Since her body was already accustomed to the program I knew it would be safe to continue with it until her baby started growing more. A lot of the changes where just the type of exercises. Instead of doing planks we did standing or kneeling core exercise. As the baby grew we shorted the range of motion with most of the exercises but where able to keep to a similar routine. The main thing we focused on was her lower body strength, squat particularly. I knew she would need her strength during childbirth. Squats are the perfect exercise during pregnancy opening up the hips, decreasing back tightness, and developing leg strength. This was Shannon’s response after giving birth to her son.

Lower body strength training kept me strong and ready to handle and recover from childbirth. Although not intuitive at first squats felt great and relieved pressure., the more pregnant I became squats helped me cope with contractions. It feels awesome to know I could train right up through my entire pregnancy and kept running through 6 ½ months.  I loved the words of encouragement from my trainer and other women at the gym that cheered me on. Body is already bouncing back faster than I expected.”



Shannon is a strong workingwoman demonstrating pure iron as she defined it: strength, endurance, well rounded, strategic, self-challenging. She is able to balance a demanding job with her strength training and her long runs (injury free). As her life has significantly changed with Baby Iron, she will be an amazing mom as she teaches her son how to live up to his name in every way even if he is an athlete or something completely different. This concept of True Iron is some thing we can all adapt to our lives. Strength. Endurance. Well rounded. Strategic. Self-challenging.


Thank you Shannon for your dedication to your health and your True Iron! I can’t wait to start working with you again!

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Core Strength

This format may not fit with everyone’s schedule, the goal of this template is simply to give you an idea of what type of off-season training should look like. As the water ski season come closer, decrease the strength days to 2x a week and increase the interval training to 2x week with one steady state cardio.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Strength:Lower Body Push


Upper Body Pull

Intervals:Rower Sprints 500 meters 3xBattle Ropes Strength:Lower Body Pull 

Upper Body Push

Steady State Cardio:Bike RideRun


Full Body Strength:Kettlebell Swing 


Leave Saturday or Sunday do to something active that you enjoy like yoga or long walks. Let these be your active recovery days, continue to move.



I love questions! Please leave your questions below.

For now enjoy these core exercises

Core is more than just our abs, it shoulders and hips as well. Here are two core exercises that target all aspects of our true core.

Plank Shoulder Taps

  • Elbows are stacked under the shoulders. Spine is a neutral position.
  • To make sure hips are in the correct position think if you had a tail you are the “shameful dog” hiding your tail. So you are tucking your hips under turning on your pelvic floor.
  • Once in the correct position, shifting all your weight to one arm as you lift the opposite arm tapping the shoulder.


Benefits: Shoulder stabilization, deep core activation, and hip stabilizers.


Pillar Crunch

  • Placing the Elastic Band around the middle of your feet extend one leg driving through the heel. With the opposite leg, pull your knee toward your shoulders.
  • As you lift the shoulders off the ground think of lifting your chest toward the sky.

Benefits: Turns on your glutes of the extended leg and works your hip flexor correctly in conjunction to your abs.

The Fresh Start


“New Year New You” or “This will be the Year” are very common sayings you will hear around this time of year. These sayings are filled with resolutions hoping from something better. Usually we tend to think we need to give up something for these resolutions to become real. Having this mindset of “giving up” is a negative thought even though it may be a good thing to give up it still rings negativity in our minds. With the negativity ringing as we ring in the New Year, we tend to focus on the item or object we are giving up. Instead I challenge you to think of what you can give yourself for the year 2015. Creating a positive mind set is seeing what you will gain and how you will transform into what you have always hoped to be.


How you view your New Year resolutions and how you view yourself is how you will predict the outcome. Part of making resolutions is reviewing the previous year and understanding the areas for improvement. Personally, 2014 was a year I learned how to forgive myself with my “overweight” bank account. Being involved with a very expensive sport sometimes I let my passion override reason and unfortunately I created a fat account. I felt stupid, embarrassed and unaccomplished.


It took me an entire year to realize how (even though hard) it created an opportunity for me to learn. I learned how I could be emotional spender. If I felt alone I would fill the void with shopping or eating out (yes, I even can be an emotional eater too). Instead of dealing with the emotion right then and there, I put the dollar bill band-aid over it not realizing it was not doing me any good.


As I was trying to get my bank account back to a healthy state, I focused on what I was giving up and the lack of the instance gratification. For 2015, I am going to have a positive mindset focusing on the long -term reward. To get a healthy bank account I know it will take time and many sacrifices. The “giving up” is the sacrifice. The sacrifice is letting go of old habits. The old habits are the things holding us back to be transformed into the best version!


We all have these “unhealthy” accounts in our life areas whether it is relationships, money, food, etc.


To move forward we must be able to learn from the past letting go of the mistakes but embracing the lessons. Life is full of lessons coming in different areas of our life. With this being the New Year let us look back on the year 2014 remembering the lessons and focusing on our goals with positivity as we move forward in 2015.

What will you give in 2015?



A Joyful Strength

This past week being Thanksgiving I have been reminded to be thankful for the simple things in life. I want to use this weekend Saturday Shout Out to a very special woman in my life, my mom. She has taught me so many things about the beautiful life.   One lesson she has taught me is how powerful having a positive and strong mind can be during difficult times.


The beginning of September I was talking on the phone with my parents when they announce how my mother has a brain tumor. Devastated with the fact and trying to wrap my knowledge to what this could mean I feel asleep to my puddle of tears. The following morning I woke up saying to myself glad that was only a nightmare. As I was leaving for work, the thought of this only being a dream left and reality started to sink in like a heavy weight. Not knowing what to do, the tears started to flow again. Once I arrived at work, I allowed this heavy weight to build up a wall to hide my tears.  I continued my day as if nothing had happened, trying to paint a happy smile over this weighted wall.


These days turn into weeks and weeks to month. The day had come for my mom’s surgery.  I found myself helping my mother prepare the night before.


In the surgery room helping her into her gown I saw pure joy on her face. “How can she be so positive during this fearful time of the unknown?” I continued to watch her demonstrate pure joy and excitement. She was able to see the good through this difficult time. She had full faith the surgeon would do his job to the best of his ability. Then she was wheeled away.


Finally the tears crushed through the wall like uncontrollable water breaking through a dam. I cried out to the unknown future “Please do not take my Mom.” During this out break of tears, I started to find the same joy my mother had right before she went into surgery. This joy comforted me as I continued to cry.


I am so thankful to say the surgery was successful.  Even though she is not 100% she is recovery well. She is in the best care with two amazing nurses, my sisters. They have given sacrificially love and care to my mother during this healing process.


Through these past two month I have learned the joy of the struggle. Similar to exercise there will always be a struggle, a struggle to lift heavier, a struggle to run faster, a struggle to become better.


Summer 2009 - Mom Visits me in Maine

Summer 2009 – Mom Visits me in Maine

I know no matter what the future holds I will have the strength to continue life’s journey. For the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

Power and Strength

While listening the Coach Glass’s Podcast (episode #43 Season Training Pt1) he posed a question “What are the power/strength requirements of your sport?” As he started to go into details of the importance of understanding this, I asked myself this question toward water skiing.  With water skiing being a very skilled sport I wondered, “Can I really answer this question to help develop the right off season training without getting out on the water?”  So I reached out to the water ski community to ask their thoughts with this question on Facebook.  Here are the main things people replied:


Leg strength


Mental Awareness

Tension and Relaxation



I have been told water skiing is similar to golf simply because it is such a mental sport.  With golf and water skiing being both more of a mental sports, I have found there are many other similarities. Even though I do not play golf as a movement coach I can see the similar movement patterns between both sports which are rotation and power.

Coach Jason Glass is one of the world’s top Golf Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and he uses the kettlebell swing for many of his golfer’s exercise programing.   Both golf and water ski are very skilled and technical sports demanding a lot of mental strength while at the same time can be very taxing physically (at least water skiing sorry golfers). Learning the kettlebell swing is a very technical skilled and strength exercise.  The basic movement of the kettlebell swing requires the same aspects of water skiing.

It is all about  improving your mental awareness, producing the right body position and finding the correct timing for tension and relaxation.

When I was first learning the proper way to swing a kettlebell, all three aspects I had to own.  The skill has to be learned in order to build strength from the swing. Training a skilled exercise like the Kettlebell swing can only produced a larger mental awareness to be able to own the skill of any sport. If we can’t learn how to develop mental awareness on land how are we suppose to develop this on water?

As I learned the (and still learn) the correct position to swing, I started to see and feel how position is key to produce the power from a swing.  Similar to water skiing, if not in the right position we will not be able to generate the power from the boat through our body to the ski (still learning the correct position for water skiing as well).  While at the same time the position of the swing requires different movement (bottom of the swing and top of the swing) and timing starts to take a major aspect to the skill.

Like April Coble has said water skiing is like a dance, it is rhythmic. Part the swing and water skiing is understanding the timing. When is the perfect time is to create the tension and relaxation?  How to manage both is key.  Whitney McClintock says “You don’t have to be the strongest person, you just need to have the right power at the right hand gate ball…” I enjoy the kettlebell swing simply because it forces me to create the right tension at the right time.  When you don’t the kettlebell is out of control doing it’s own dance.

From my experience when creating to much tension at the wrong time while water skiing, I have find myself in the water verses on top of the water.  I hope one day to be able to learn from Whitney how to create the right power at the right time.

For now I will continue to practice my swing this winter and listen to Coach Glass for more tips.  As Coach Glass would say Dream Big and Over Deliver and as I like to say live with passion!


Snatch test 16kg 100 in 5:22

Ist Snatch test 16kg 100 in 5:22 July 2013

There are many physical benefits from the Kettlebell Swing

Core Strength

Leg power and strength

Grip Strength and endurance

See my previous post Kettlebell Quickie for more benefits of the Kettlebell Swing!

Pink n Powerful

Sue-5202A year and half ago, I started working with Sue McConnaha training one on one three times a week.  When she started working with me she was 60 years old weighed 195 lb with 49.3 % body fat.  Sue soon became every trainers dream.  She had the determination and the dedication to reach her goal.  She had many set back throughout our time working together but she did not let these life events set her off track.  Now I am happy to report Sue is now 61 years old and feels ten years younger weighing 125 lbs with  21.1 % body fat.

It wasn’t always fun and games.  It was a struggle at first for Sue.  For someone one who has not exercised on a regular basis since ever. Sue learned the art of  struggling well.  Every kind if exercise program there is going to be a struggle.  This struggle I like to describe a processes of shedding the old self in hopes for a new. This “new” can be a new strength, a new weight lost, a new body.

Through her struggle of continuos exercising, she rediscover her  new body as a magnificent machine.  She now loves to dead lift (PR 95 lbs) and kettlebell swing.  She now finds joy through movement and exercise.  Instead of working one on one, Sue has been able to join a Kettlebell class and do partner training improving her technique of working with the kettlebell.

As a her trainer, it has been amazing to watch her transformation. This transformation didn’t just happen through her body but her mind.  One of the reasons why she has been able to keep the weight of is simply her mind set.  She has told me “I know that this time, the weight loss is for life.  Making this mental decision, her action will follow.  Having this mind set is the game changer.

Sue’s story has been such an inspiration to so many. Her life testimony of health reaches many more people than those with weight lost goals. Knowing she had to overcome many challenges, she inspires me to maintain my health as I recover from my foot surgery.  I understand how easy it is to give up when facing challenges, let Sue’s story be an inspiration to not give up and chase your fitness goals.  Below is an interview I had with Sue discussing her story about her transformation.


What is your history with trying different diet and exercise routine been?
I started out as a chubbie kid….there in lies the problem!
My first diet success was when I was in high school…lost 30 lbs the
summer before my senior year. What a difference that made for me that
last year. So good memory of what the hard work and focus yielded…I
always remembered that.
Got married right out of high school and pregnant…gaining 50 lbs.
The next 40 years has been taking the weight off and gaining it back.
Have done Weight Watcher, LA weight loss, Bellevue weight loss clininc
using a diet pill and their specific liquids. Have been on 7 day a
week 75 minute work outs. Gave up red meat…then did the Atkins heavy
protein….brown rice diet, grapefruit diet…body flushes…I could
go on and on. Any and all of these were not sustainable for me because
it was so far from normal for me.

What made this program so different?
This program has been able to figure out a plan in the current
lifestyle that I have.

Was you mind set different from the rest attempts?
I honestly didn’t think I could or wanted to do it again. But I always
remember how good it would feel when I would be loosing and feeling
better about myself.

How much weight total did you lose? Start weight? Goal weight? Current Weight
I started last April 22nd at 193lbs with a goal of 150lb. That is
about the same start and goal I have had on all of my various diets.
Sometimes I got there and other times not. Seemed like the decision
point was when I would be close to the 200lbs on the scale..
I am happy to say I surpassed my goal and I weigh 120lbs and have been
at that weight for the last 3 months. I haven’t weigh’d 120 since I
was in the 6th grade.

What were some challenges?
Challenges were not as evident this go around because the formula was
working. My husband and I go out often so menu items were a struggle
at first. Then I figured out any resturant would prepare it how ever I
would ask. I just wish there was a diet wine…as that is one of my

Can you describe you job responsibilities and how this was a challenge?
So I am in charge of Bakery and Food Courts….all food related. WeSMcConnaha3
have cuttings all the time…it is not that appealing when I am trying
to spit out the sample in front of 12 people….but they are used to
it now. Even have 2 or 3 of them doing the same thing!

What about your work travel schedule?
Travel is always interesting….nothing nutritional offered on
commercial flights so I just get a salad to go before I get on and
don’t use the dressing. When on the company plane there is plenty to
pick from I am so lucky.

Was there anything hard to give up like certain foods, habits, etc
Limiting/eliminating wine big challenge?

I still think about it and work at it.SMcConnaha2

Since you have reached your goal weight what keeps you motivated now?
My motivation has been that  it keeps working…that never happened
with any diet because it wasn’t sustainable.

What motivated to lose so much weight?

The attention from the quality people at the pro club….You, Julie,
Ali, Dr Upton…the people at the desk’s…everyone. My husband has played a huge support role as he does most of the cooking .Also everyone’s
comments are very motivating puts a smile on my face every time.

Explain the need for back surgery during the program and how it could have created a set back, but you did not allow for it.  How did you not fall back into your past unhealthy routines?
When I found out that I had to surgery I thought this would be a
stopping point not knowing how it would set me back. Well it didn’t!I
It took about a week to get back to a soft routine and that was it. I
stayed the course with the nutritional part recording
everything….sometimes over estimation the amounts to keep in check.

What advice do you have for other who struggle with weight loss?
You have to keep trying…it took me until 60 years old to find the
program that fits my lifestyle.
I believe I have discovered the formula that works good for me.
Everything I do I feel is sustainable.

What advice do you have for people your age being active and exercising?
You must get up and move…5 minutes then 10 minutes…and more. Never
push yourself to make it hurt just feel good. If it hurts you won’t
want to continue.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The most satisfying thing to me is setting a good example with my
family, friends and people at work. I have explained my process to so
many people that it keeps me even more motivated.
My grandson is constantly inspecting what I have on my plate and
comparing to his…now he always orders a salad instead of french
fries…how can you beat that.



Here are some others reasons why kettlebells are so amazing! Thank IronBody for this great post!

Originally posted on IronBodyByArtemis:

3493lbs of Kettlebells

As a FitTag Ambassador, in honor of the #FitTag hashtag for the week of September 22, 2014 #Kettlebells, I put together this post. You can follow FitTag on twitter @FitTag, on Instagram @FitTag and on Facebook .

In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why I love kettlebells:


Kettlebells promote symmetry. Since you have to train each side of your body separately when training with kettlebells, each side must build up its own strength and skill to work with a particular kettlebell weight.

For example, I am right side dominant and when I was training for my kung fu black belt, I would do all of my weapons forms with my right side. As a result, I was extremely asymmetrical as my right side was much stronger than my left side.

Now, we will never be perfectly symmetrical, but after working with kettlebells very regularly since receiving my kung fu…

View original 942 more words

Kettlebell Quickie

As a water skier,  I try to generate workouts that will transfer well to when I am on the water. One of my favorite exercise is the Kettlebell Swing.  It generates strength and power all at the same time.  Here are some of the benefits of the Swing:

  • Turns a person into a Fat Burning Machine
  • Improves Core Strength
  • Builds a Strong Back
  • Improve Breathing Patterns
  • Produces Power
  • Healthy on the Joints
  • Forces the Glutes to turn on
  • Strengthens the entire body
  • Creates Body awareness
  • Time Effecient

One of my favorite reasons why I love workout with Kettlebells is because it is very time efficient. Here is a video of one my routines.  It is 3 sets of 10 Double Kettlebell Swings then right into 5 Front Squats (video only shows one set).  If you are not familiar with the basics of the Swing I would not recommend you start with doubles.  If you are interested in learning more about the swing please leave your comments.  Enjoy



Next post I will be working a three basic core exercises that are simple and can be done any where.

Plus I will also be working on a little surprise for all the water skiers as we all enter into off season training.

I have been receiving many questions on how to project your hamstrings when water skiing.   Here are some very basic movements before hitting the water.  The key with these movements are to make sure you meet your body’s current range of motion (ROM).

There is always a progression that we  can work towards.  Do not force your body if it is not ready for the next level.  Just like we all want to cut rope and if we are not ready for the next rope length, it will not be beneficially for our skiing. Same thing with these movements, consistently work at the level you are at and then you will soon be able to move to the next level.  Enjoy!!! Happy Hamstrings make a Happy Skier.

Seated Ankle Circles:

  • Sitting nice and tall with legs straight, start pointing and pulling your toes  (plantar and dorisflexion).
  • Next draw circles one direction then the opposite direction
  • Avoid moving your thighs and hip, this is simply to create good range of motion for your ankles

No Progression with this movement

Benefits: passive stretch for hamstrings, improves ankle range of motion, creates lower body awareness between ankle and hip movements 

Active Leg Stretch:

  • Laying down on your back one foot on the floor other leg is straight up in the air
  • Note: It doe not matter how high your leg gets.  This is where you need to listen to your body.  If  your leg starts to bend when you raise it higher you have gone to far.  Bring it back down to where you feel the stretch but your leg is straight at the same time.  Switch back and forth about 4x.
  • When you find the magic spot for your stretch, begin the “ballerina toes” same movement that you did when sitting.  Continue to switch back and forth 4 x

Progression: Scissors with or without ballerina toes repeat 4x.  If you cannot keep your both legs straight, practice with the one foot on the ground.

Note: This progression may not be for you, at least not yet.  Practice with your foot on the ground and you will soon gain more flexibility with your hamstrings to be able to progress to straight legs.

Benefits:  Hip mobility and ankle mobility, hamstring stretch, and core stability. 

Single Leg RDL

  • As you lower your chest down kick through your heal creating a straight line from your head to heal
  • The stable leg will slightly bend, making your glutes activacte
  • Repeat 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps on each leg alternating back and forth

Progression: Raising the active leg to hip height as you return to standing position

Benefits: strengthens gluteus and hamstring , improves balance, core stability, and increase hip range of motion

Next week  I will be posting a Kettlebell routine I do when days are to busy for me to get up the lake.  It is quick, simple and challenging all at the same time.

Please leave your comments below of other exercises you would like to see in future post.  Thanks


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