Friday, November 22, 2013

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 4 (11/18/2013)

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 4

Spending as many hours in the gym as I do on a daily basis, I'm afforded no shortage in sights of things that just make you shake your head. Unfortunately, quite often these sights are complete with a fitness 'professional' standing right there supervising the whole ordeal. I've decided the instead of standing silent and shaking my head, it would be better to call attention to said sights in order to educate my peeps.

This Week's Winner: BS explanations and not taking responsibility and admitting you were wrong or at fault.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Special Edition: American Diabetes Association Expo 2013 Recap

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Special Edition: American Diabetes Association Expo 2013 Recap

Diabetes affects 24 million people in the U.S., but only 18 million know they have it. About 90% of those people have type 2 diabetes, a condition that can largely be controlled through diet and exercise.  Furthermore, a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine states a person with type 2 diabetes may spend an average of nearly $85,500 to treat the disease and its complications over his or her lifetime. Might be something we want to get a handle on.

Being diabetic myself, the cause is obviously near and dear to my heart.  As such, I try to get involved as much as possible in order to create awareness and make a difference in people's lives by teaching them how to successfully avoid and/or control this deadly disease which has become a global epidemic. I also tend to get a little fired up when I see it manipulated and/or pimped out for financial benefit as the expense of those suffering from it.

Cue Pittsburgh Kettlebell's participation in this past weekends American Diabetes Association Pittsburgh Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center......

WARNING: NSFW language ahead.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 2 11/4/13

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 2

Spending as many hours in the gym as I do on a daily basis, I'm afforded no shortage in sights of things that just make you shake your head. Unfortunately, quite often these sights are complete with a fitness 'professional' standing right there supervising the whole ordeal. I've decided the instead of standing silent and shaking my head, i...t would be better to call attention to said sights in order to educate my peeps.


No, I didn't make that up. I couldn't if I tried. Talk about multi-tasking. It started out ok with the overhead press, but what purpose did adding in the bicep curl AND leg extension serve? Someone's taking the term 'muscle confusion' WAY too far. For starters, those are both inefficient single-joint exercises which provide no metabolic challenge to your system. Second, they require the load to be reduced across the board by such a degree as to render all 3 exercises about useless.

If you can't succinctly explain the purpose of each and everything you are doing in the gym, it's time to re-examine what it is you are doing and make the necessary adjustments. Everything should have a specific purpose with measurable outcomes.

Successful exercises programs are based around 5-7 basic movements, and the variables manipulated are rest, volume, and load - NOT the # of exercises.

You can look 'cool', get 'tired'...or - you can get BETTER!

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 1 10/28/12

Monday (Fitness)Massacre - Trainers Behaving Badly Vol. 1

Spending as many hours in the gym as I do on a daily basis, I'm afforded no shortage in sights of things that just make you shake your head. Unfortunately, quite often these sights are complete with a fitness 'professional' standing right there supervising the whole ordeal. I've decided the instead of standing silent and shaking my head, i...t would be better to call attention to said sights in order to educate my peeps.

This weeks 'winner':


Here we've got an inefficient single-joint exercise, combined with an extremely unstable and dangerous training environment. A recipe for disaster if there ever was one. The gym should be a place to improve many things - strength, mobility, conditioning - what it should NOT be is an audition for Cirque de Soleil.

If you wish to use an exercise ball in an effective and efficient manner, come see us at Pittsburgh Kettlebells and learn exercises like ball roll-outs, stir-the-pot, and hip-bridge with leg curl that target your entire body all at once in order to make the most of your time and equipment investment!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Latest Post-Gazette Appearance

Checkout my latest appearance in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in response to THIS article:

Diabetes successes

Finally, a medical professional who "gets it." As a fitness professional of 12-plus years and a Type 1 diabetic myself, allow me to express my sincere gratitude for rare professionals like Dr. Swarna S. Varma who take the all-too-rare approach of focusing on prevention and the value of weaning people off of medications as opposed to the disturbingly common practice of treating symptoms and prescribing more medications ("Fencing in Diabetes: Endocrinologist Focuses on the Health Benefits of Preventing Disease's Complications," Oct. 21). The latter approach has been wholly ineffective, to be kind.

Through personal research and experimentation I, too, have developed my own methods, which are often contrary to "conventional wisdom," in order to achieve similar successes in both myself and clients. I look forward to sharing these strategies at the upcoming Diabetes Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Nov. 9. The dedication and passion demonstrated by Dr. Varma as illustrated by conducting her own research and compiling her own database and her willingness to meet patients at odd hours mirrors that of my own and others who are personally affected by this deadly disease, yet Dr. Varma is not. For this, she is to be applauded, commended and emulated.

Health and Fitness Coach
Pittsburgh Kettlebells
Ohio Township

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Maximize Your Workout With Kettlebells

Check out Pittsburgh Kettlebell's 3rd appearance on Pittsburgh Today Live with Kristine Sorensen!

And if you don't have access to kettlebells or a gym - don't worry! Stop by and visit us at the studio and we'll be happy to show you how to maximize your time and results using not much more than you own body!

Maximize Your Workout With Kettlebells - KDKA

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume LII: More Is Not Better, Better Is Better

First, a bit of a milestone today as with volume LII, you now have one tip for each week of the entire year to implement in order in improve your quality of life!

It's often human nature, especially with Americans, that if some is good; more is better. The following link illustrates the error and dangerous repercussions that can arise from this misguided way of thinking.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume LI: Guard Your Goodies

While the possible negative side effects of cell-phone radiation are often discussed in terms of raising your risk of brain and other cancers, interestingly enough we often neglect to think of the negative impact those same emissions from our 'smart' devices can possibly have on other areas of the body they find themselves in close proximity to.

When we aren't talking on our phones, we can typically find them in our pockets; right next to..well I think you can see where this is going.

Having fertility issues?

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume L: Can The BPA (and cans)

BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a substance frequently used to harden plastics in such things as baby bottles, food storage containers, and water bottles. It is also found in the lining of many canned goods as an anti-corrosion agent.

So what's the big deal with BPA? Well, in just this year alone, BPA has been linked to the following:

Free-Tip Tuesday XLIV: What Gets Measured Gets Managed

Piggybacking off of last week's tip, 'Make it Better', the only way you can be certain you are - is to measure your progress. Progress in training. Progress with nutritional choices. Or simply progress in adherence to the plan you have set out for either.

So how do you go about this?

In terms of training, keep a training journal or log tracking your strength increases and volume on each of your exercises. We have so much going on in our lives we don't need anything else we have to remember right? Make it simple and write it down. It's hard to know where you are going if you don't know where you came from, not to mention the sense of accomplishment when you glance down and see how strong you have become over time!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLVIII: Make It Better

Far too often, myself included, we get caught up in searching for 'perfect'. The perfect diet. The perfect workout. Etc. While this is admirable on one level, it also often produces paralysis by analysis and frustration on another.

Sometimes....we just need to 'make it better.'

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLVII: PLAY

How many of us can remember how easy it was to keep a healthy weight when we were kids? While many things have changed since then, one of the big ones is that we no longer PLAY. This week's tip provides a number of ways to reintroduce this simple, but highly effective practice back into you life no matter your situation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLVI: Nutrition On a Budget (Time)

Just as it is with training, 'lack of time' is often cited as a major barrier as to why people are unable to prepare their own meals and end up eating out so often where they are no longer under control of what they are putting in their bodies. Here are a few ways to make 'time' much less of an issue:

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLV: Training On a Budget (Time)

Not having enough time is a common excuse many use as to why they can't 'workout'. Here a few strategies to deal with this supposed barrier....

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLIV: Do The Opposite (In the kitchen)

Over 2/3's of the population is considered overweight or obese. Approximately 26 MILLION adults and CHILDREN currently have diabetes. By 2030, these numbers are expected to DOUBLE. Clearly, the methods being used to counteract these epidemics aren't working. If you want to experience true success, do the OPPOSITE of what the majority doing.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volme XLIII: Do the Opposite

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLIII: Do The Opposite (In the Gym)

Over 2/3's of the population is considered overweight or obese. Approximately 26 MILLION adults and CHILDREN currently have diabetes. By 2030, these numbers are expected to DOUBLE. Clearly, the methods being used to counteract these epidemics aren't working. If you want to experience true success, do the OPPOSITE of what the majority is ...doing.

IF the majority of people spend all their time plodding along on treadmills, ellipticals, and other forms of 'cardio', try hill sprints, use battling ropes, or kettlebell swing intervals.

IF the majority completely shuns strength/resistance training, focus on getting strong in the four major movement patterns - hip-hinge, squat, upper-body push, upper-body pull.

IF the majority relies on Nautilus and weight stack machines isolating body-parts, utilize your own bodyweight, free-weights, and kettlebells to get strong in compound movements that challenge the entire body instead.

IF the majority does the same workouts, with the same weights, in the same order everyday, track your training to ensure you are making progressions in weight, reps, frequency, or some other variable.

IF the majority wonder around aimlessly performing exercises incorrectly and unsafely, obtain coaching from a QUALIFIED professional to prevent injury and ensure you get the most of your time investment.

When it comes to what you do in the gym, this is one case where the majority DOESN'T rule!

What other habits in the gym do the majority have that we would be best to avoid?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XLII: TRAINING vs. 'Working out'

The same exercises. In the same order. Using the same weights. Undergoing this practice, as so many do, should leave no wonder why body composition also remains the same. You get out what you put in.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting Away From It All Without Getting Off Your Diet

Guest post by Cole Millen
You have worked hard to lose weight and get fit in time for summer. However, you may find that the vacation you anticipated threatens to sabotage your efforts. Here are some principles to help you maintain a healthy eating plan:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXXI: Wanna lose weight?

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXXI: Wanna lose weight?

No you don't.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXX: NOT So Good Health/Fitness Resources

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXX: NOT So Good Health/Fitness Resources

Up first: mainstream media headlines/articles


As the following article states, "...the media oversimplified things; to the point of not even being accurate. And yes, that’s why most media headlines are not very trustworthy."


This can happen when the writer, having no formal education or experience in the area, simply glances over the abstract instead of reading the entire study. Additionally, sometimes the researchers themselves often misinterpret their own data - an occurrence that happens far more often than most people realize!

As a bonus, the article also explains why, despite popular opinion and practice, cardio is inferior to resistance/strength training when it comes to FAT loss and therefore lies at the BOTTOM of the fat-loss hierarchy we utilize with our clients here at Pittsburgh Kettlebells.

Have a health/fitness related question? Shoot us an email, or stop by and say hello during our Open House Saturday, April 27th from 1:00pm-5:00pm!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pittsburgh Today Live!

Check out our appearance from today's episode of Pittsburgh Today Live!

What do you did Jon and Kristine do for their first time?!?!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXVIV: Nutrition Resources

Last week we gave you some of our top strength training resources, this week we'll shift the focus to nutrition. Without further adieu:

Girth Control - Alan Aragon

Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson

The Schwarzbein Principle - Diana Schwarzbein

While similar to last week's resources these 3 books may seem very different on the surface - in actuality the principles which guide them all are quite similar. Last week's strength training examples all championed using compound movements and the principle of progressive overload despite the 'tool' being used to accomplish it.

This week, despite the minor differences in application, the bottom line is all three authors advocate:

1. Eating Real Food and NOT "Food Products"
2. Ensuring Adequate Protein Intake
3. Combining #1's & 2 in order to create a REASONABLE caloric deficit

We understand there is a bunch of conflicting and confusing advice out there as it pertains to fitness and nutrition, and that's why at PGH KB it's our mission to teach and educate you how to sift through the BS and look for the similarities as opposed to trivial differences.

As the saying goes: METHODS are many, PRINCIPLES are few.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXVIII: Strength Training Resources

As we've mentioned before, after practicing sound nutrition principles, resistance/strength training is the most effective and efficent way to both how you look AND feel. Mastering your own bodyweight, kettlebells, and free-weights are the 3 main ways to strength train. For those looking to get started, and even those who 'already know what they are doing', the following resources are some of the best in explaining the finer points of performing exercises CORRECTLY.

They also serve as a great head start or introduction before attending your first class at Pittsburgh Kettlebells.

Bodyweight: Convict Conditioning - Paul Wade

Free Weights: Starting Strength - Mark Rippetoe

Kettlebells: Enter The Kettlebell - Pavel Tsatsouline



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXVII: Guide to Not Becoming a P.I.T.A.

Whether it’s a bum knee, a wrecked back, or a cranky shoulder; as we’ve discussed all month long more and more people’s bodies are just falling apart.  Long-term daily aches and pains have become ‘normal’.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Regardless of the site of your grief, make use of the following R.U.L.E.’s in order to prevent yourself from becoming - or developing - a PITA (or anywhere else!).


1.     Recover – Put as much effort into your recovery as you do your training. Focus on consistently getting enough sleep, managing stress, and eating well to fuel your efforts. These things are just as – if not more – important than the training itself.


2.      Utilize– Proper progressions and sound exercise programming.  Check your ego and take into account your mobility deficiencies, experience, and skill level when deciding which exercises to perform, how much, and how often to do them.


3.       Learn – Get coached up on HOW to perform said exercises. Learn neutral spine, vertical shin, packed shoulders, etc. Just as importantly, learn NOT to flare elbows or allow your ribs to flare out.


4.      Enhance – MOBILITY. Foam Rolling and massage combined with mobility drills to target your specific deficiencies well help ensure you are moving WELL before you move OFTEN.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXVI: Plantar Faciitis/-osis and Achilles Tendonitis/-osis

I’ve grouped these two painful conditions together because the both occur across the same joint – the ankle – and therefore the causes and treatments of each are very similar.

To begin, let’s first define a few terms. The suffix –ITIS simply refers to inflammation of the affected tissue. –OTIS on the other hand, refers to a situation where said inflammation has been allowed to propagate long enough that the condition has now become degenerative in nature. Yes, that is as bad as it sounds.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXV: Shoulder Pain

Continuing this week with the aches and pains we see on an all too regular basis - shoulder pain. Here are a few common causes of things like shoulder impingement, rotator cuff injuries, etc.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXIV: Knee Pain

Continuing with the pain theme this week as it's become ever increasingly common with more and more people that we work with, today we'll discuss common causes of knee pain.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Random Thoughts....

Regarding THIS new study published by The New England Journal of Medicine and reported HERE discussing the positive effects of the Mediterranean Diet. 

Cliff notes version: "About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet.."

1. If the participants experienced an almost 30 percent reduction in risk by simply changing their diet DESPITE "already taking statins or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk", while according to THIS article should only expect LESS THAN 1% change in A1C and a measley -2.6 mmHg to -4.4 mmHg change in blood pressure due to of these aforementioned might be tempted to ask themselves:


2. Maybe things like cholesterol levels and blood pressure in and of themselves aren't all that great predictors of heart disease risk in the first place?!?!

3. "And the really important thing, the coolest thing, is that they used very meaningful end points. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters."

Seems logical to me. If only more 'scientists' did this we might actually get somewhere. Results matter - not personal bias and the opportunity to obtain grant funding.

4. "Low-fat diets have not been shown in any rigorous way to be helpful, and they are also very hard for patients to maintain."

Duh. Clearly.

5. A Mediterranean diet is "rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables."

READ: REAL FOOD. Un-processed. No laundry list of ingredients one can't spell or pronounce.

Who would of thought such a thing would have a positive impact on your health?!?!



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXIII: Lower Back Pain

Some reports suggest that as much as 80% of the population will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives.


So what can you do to avoid becoming part of this statistic? Here are our top 5 tips for avoiding lower back pain:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXXII: DIE-ts

Diets don't work, simple as that. If there was one that worked, everybody would be doing it.

Anything that villifies an entire nutrient group (fat, carbohydrate, protein), is nothing more than a gimmick which simply tricks you into eating less in the short-term. The problem is two-fold:
1. it's not sustainable

2. you will create nutrient dificiencies.

The only thing that works long-term is making sound choices on a consistent basis.

Eat real food - not food products.

Consume reasonable quantities of said real food.

Rinse. Repeat.

For more on how diets can cause harm, even when short-term weight-loss is achieved, check the following link:

How Dieting Causes Metabolic Syndrome - 180Degree Health

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVVI: Fat Facts

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVVI: Fat Facts

This week we'll wrap up coverage of the meal time quiz by discussing question #5 - "Are you including enough healthy fats?"

First, what are health fats? Sometimes it is easier to define what is NOT. Healthy fats, just like all other food sources, are NOT PROCESSED. So butter, lard, beef tallow, coconut oil, etc. are all good choices. Bad choices include industrial seed and vegetable oils: safflower, sunflower, etc.

While we have been told for decades that saturated fats increase risk of heart disease and turn mogwai into gremlins, the fact is no evidence to suggest either is true actually exists. One of the great crimes against the American food supply.

Evidence does exist, however, that replacing those un-processed and natural saturated fats with the aforementioned industrial seed oil high in omega-6 fat content DOES INCREASE ALL DEATH MORTALITY. Check the following link for a recently released study:

Beyond that, sufficient healthy fat intake is necessary for good health. In fact, a healthy brain contains greater than 60% fat. Fat is also essential for maintaining optimal hormone production, healthy skin, hair, joints, and energy.

Bottom line: Don't go out of your way to either avoid or add extra fat to your diet. The amounts found naturally in animal products generally will be enough to maintain healthy function. Todays' information is not license to abitrarily add bacon and butter to every dish.

Bonus Tip: Restaurants most often cook with the aforementioned processed industrial seed oils. Limit eating out, or request your meals be prepared in butter, olive oil, and rendered pork fat to reduce your exposure.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVV: Veggie Tales

Most nutrition and weight-loss discussions center around what you CAN'T eat, or what you should eat LESS of. Today, we'll discuss what you probably need to eat MORE of - vegetables.

Based on a 3 meal per day plan, aim for 2-3 palm or fist-sized portions per meal. This will take up approximately half to two-thirds of your plate. Salads; or grilled, steam...ed, or sauteed vegetables are all great choices - choose the method you like best to assist with adherence.

Action plan: Simply start eating more vegetables than you are now.

Afterall, how many people have you heard comment that they struggle with their weight because the often eat too many vegetables?!?

Unless of course, you count pizza as a vegetable like the US Government does as part of your children's school lunch program.......

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVIV: Sugar & Starch Simplified

This weeks' tip tackles question #3 from the meal-time quiz - "Are you eating too many sugars and starches." In short - probably so. So how much is enough?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVIII: Practical Protein

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVIII: Practical Protein

This weeks' tip deals with question #2 from your meal-time quiz - "Are you eating enough protein?" So, how much is enough?

For women, shoot for 3 fist-sized portions per day. For men, 3-5 fist-sized portions per day. As a general rule of thumb a drug-free strength training individual would need anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 of their body weight in grams... of protein. So a 200 pound individual for example, would require anywhere from 100-150g in protein per day. In our experience any more than that doesn't add anything except excess fat gain.

Trained professionals use factors such as current weight & body-fat percentage, lifestyle, goals, and intensity and duration of exercise to determine a more precise amount on an individual basis.

Each first-sized portion correlates to approximately 3-6 oz. of food - equaling anywhere from 20-40g of protein per serving. Good choices include: chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, and other leaner game meats.

Protein supplements may be used as a last resort if you have difficulty obtaining enough protein through real food, or for situtations where you are rushed and don't have time to prepare a meal.

Many would have you believe that you need as much as 1-2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. It is our opinion that this is nothing more than marketing hype in order to convince the public to buy un-necessary and pricey protein supplements.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVII: Do You Eat Too Much?

If you'll recall, the first question from last weeks' meal time quiz was "Are you eating too much food?" Considering the staggering number of people worldwide now considered obese, diagnosed with diabetes, or in the midsts of yet another resolution - the answer is most likely yes. So, how to remedy this particular problem?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVI: Meal-time Quiz

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume XXVI: Meal-time Quiz

As mentioned before, research shows relying solely on exercise for fat loss results in a measely 1/2-1 pound of fat lost PER MONTH! Therefore, making better nutritional choices is where the difference is made. Courtesy of Dr. John Berardi, here are 5 questions to ask yourself the next time you sit down:

1. Are you eating too much food?
2. Are you eating enough protein?
3. Are you eating too man sugars or starches?
4. Are you eating enough vegetables?
5. Are you eating enough healthy fats?

Stay tuned over the next few weeks to find out what the answers should be, some of them might surprise you.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Common Kettlebell Swing Errors

The kettlebell swing trains one of the 4 major human movement patterns everyone should be proficient in – the hip-hinge. A soundly performed swing is a prerequisite for learning and performing more advanced kettlebell exercises such as cleans and snatches. It is an extremely versatile exercise which can be programmed for unparalleled fat-loss, developing explosive power of the hips and glutes(butt) for enhanced athletic performance, or in the words of world renowned kettlebell pioneer and former Russian Special Forces instructor Pavel Tsatsouline - “cardio without the dishonor of aerobics”. Feel free to add running on a treadmills and using an elliptical to the previous statement. Here are a few common mistakes seen when performing the kettlebell swing:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Free-Tip Tuesday Archive (Vol. I-XXV)

I've archived the first 25 volumes of Free-Tip Tuesday from the Pittsburgh Kettlebells Facebook page found here for reference purposes. Enjoy.

Free-Tip Tuesday Volume I: Get Some Shut Eye(7/17/12)

Get at least 7 hours of 'good' sleep each night. NO, you don't function better on less sleep, it just hasn't caught up to you yet. Sleep deprivation is linked to increased appetite and fat storage, compromised immune system function, as well as increased risk of diabetes and heart disease - which both make the top 5 leading causes of death list. Stay tuned throughout the week for strategies to help make sure you are getting enough shut eye......