June 28, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast June 27, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast June 27, 2019

Video of the week:
Dr. Stephen Phinney and Dr. Jeff Volek are basically the modern leaders in the low-carb diet field, or “keto” as it has become known as. I’ve been reading their work and following them for several years now. Here is a good primer on nutritional ketosis.

I’ve eaten what would be considered a very low carb diet for several years now. I haven’t had a weight loss goal at all during that time. I’ve stayed pretty much the same weight and body composition, and anything physically I set out to do I can usually accomplish. I do know that if I add back more than about 50grams of carbs per day, the body composition starts to suffer.

Think of our July Challenge nutrition guidelines as the “anti-processed food” diet. Good reasons to adopt that strategy full-time:

As it says on my business cards, form follows function. Train for performance and the aesthetics will follow.

We were talking about this just the other day. The benefit of concentric training is that you can do a bunch of it and recover fast.

If you really want to go with no processed food, here is an option. The only downside I’ve found is it is sometimes hard to get in enough calories. I am carnivore about 5 days of the week, with a few meals of some starches, fermented foods, and limited vegetables. Been that way for about the past year.

Loaded carries. Can’t get enough.

Bonus video. Short, and a few years old, but still dead-on. The idea that dietary fat and cholesterol is a problem within itself is a lie:

Photos this week: The people who carved these drawings didn’t eat processed food. They are near a site likely used to harvest wild game by some primitive people, an estimated 5,000-6,000 years ago:



May 23, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast May 23, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast May 23, 2019

We do “abs” every day. It’s just that we do exercises that make your abs work with the rest of your body at the same time (like they’re supposed to work).

Good article on post-partum body image:

This is the reason I recommend a diet that is ancestrally based, which includes no processed foods.

Exercise technique is slightly different for everyone depending on lots of things. A good coach can see what is safe and optimal for the individual, depending on their level of development.

One of my favorite articles by Steve Maxwell. IKSC’s training philosophy closely resembles this perspective:

Video of the week. This is a few years old, but it one of the best breakdowns of what goes on when you switch from using carbs for fuel and transition to using fat, or “go keto” as everyone likes to say now. It is also a reason why using things like urine strips are not that reliable. With all the faddish ketogenic diet stuff out there now, I try to think those of you at IKSC are at a little higher level of understanding on this topic. This is worth taking the time to sit down and watch.

May 9, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast May 9, 2019

IKSC Weekly Link Blast May 9, 2019

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Knowledge is increasing fast about the connection between the gut biome and mental health. Here is video from a lecture I was fortunate to attend last summer on this topic. NOTE: It is a far cry from the idiotic and insulting marketing campaign Burger King is doing right now exploiting the food/brain connection by packaging foods that are specifically noted to CONTRIBUTE to poor gut health.

Sleep. Here’s a good article from a few years back on ways to optimize your sleep time. We’ll do another class on it sometime.

Is breakfast important? Who said it was the most important meal of the day? I haven’t eaten a “breakfast” in a long time, but if you are going eat early, skip the carbs. That means no cereals, muffins, etc.

A good article on insulin’s role.

What media articles don’t point out about the studies relating meat and cancer.

The conversation around stretching changes every few years, but a constant is that stretching immediately prior to training is mostly useless and just makes you weak and even prone to injury. What is more important is to have strength throughout your full range.

Don’t throw away the salt shaker if you’re worried about high blood pressure. Cut the carbs and sugar.

July 30, 2012

Five Guaranteed Ways to Sabotage Your Strength and Fitness Goals…

Five Guaranteed Ways to Sabotage Your Strength and Fitness Goals…

1. Unrealistic Goals:

If your goal is to look like a model on the cover of a fitness magazine, but you are only willing to exercise 2-3 times per week, you have an unrealistic goal. Perfect physiques take years of work and lives that revolve around training. Unless you are willing to make training and nutrient timing a 24/7 job, you will not attain that physique. Get that image out of your head unless you are willing to make that type of commitment for several years to come.

2. Missed Training:

This should be obvious, but allowing yourself to miss training times is unacceptable if you plan to progress. To make progress beyond a bare beginner level, expect to spend a minimum of 5 days per week training.

3. Fail to Maintain Strict Nutritional Guidelines:

Consuming junk – in any amount – such as: pop, cookies, candy, bread, chips, beer, cereals, anything that comes from a drive-thru window, sugary coffee drinks, etc..

One planned cheat meal per week is fine, but beyond that don’t expect results. “Just a handful” of this and that does nothing but preserve a nice layer of fat.

4. Fail to Make Yourself Accountable:

Keep a detailed training and nutrition log. If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen. Unless you are logging nutrition, you really don’t know what you are taking in.

5. Focus on new movements/routines, rather than on weight, reps and rest intervals:

Sometimes the answer is simple: It is hard to understand this when so much marketing is done to make it seem as though every training method is the best thing out there.

Want to build muscle and to burn fat? Move more weight. Rest less.

Do not get sidetracked by 100 different exercises and new fitness gadgets that claim to work wonders.

Focus on moving a prescribed weight in a mechanically sound manner for prescribed rest/work intervals.

November 16, 2010

Barbell Deadlifts + Kettlebell Presses + Weighted Pullups = Max Strength Work

Recently, someone asked a question regarding my choice of exercises for heavy strength work.

Jim, In your training logs I notice that you only use barbells for deadlifts, but use kettlebells and bodyweight for most other things. Why is that?

There really is no implement besides the barbell that enables one to progressively load as much weight, so they are necessary for building maximal strength. I find that I can get most of what I need with heavy kettlebell presses and weighted pullups for maximal strength work, but to really load up the lower body I need something more.

The reason I choose the deadlift for my “big lift” is because it carries over into so many other activities and puts a huge demand on your system. This is necessary to get stronger. Since heavy deadlifts will help me run faster, jump higher and punch harder, it is on my list.

I have recently added double kettlebell front squats more for flexibility and core stabilization than for added strength work.

I do not want to start a squat -v- dead debate, but I personally do the deadlift instead for the following reasons:

* I don’t need a spotter or to use the squat rack. I can just drop it if I need to.

* The deadlift works more muscles than the squat (i.e. forearms, traps, etc.).

* The deadlift is all concentric, which is important in avoiding hypertrophy and soreness. My legs are big enough already, and I don’t like being so sore that it affects my martial art or other training. If I was looking to add 20lbs of muscle, I would definitely hit the heavy squats.

* Lifting is an activity people do every single day. One of my main reasons for including this is to prevent injury. The better I am at picking heavy things up, the less likely I am to get hurt doing so.

I do not specialize in this type of training, but add it in a few days per week for balance, and because it carries over into every other type of activity. This is really a “bare minimum” selection of max strength exercises, meaning they cover most of the bases with only a few exercises. I should also add that I rest from 3-5 minutes between each set of each exercise on these days.


October 26, 2010

Super Simple Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss:

Super Simple Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss:
Here are a few quick nutritional tips. I am a kettlebell strength and conditioning coach, kettlebell instructor and licensed fitness trainer, not a nutritionist.

These are just a few suggestions for those looking to lose weight through exercise. Any weight loss goal is at least 80% nutrition. You can’t out-train the dinner table.

I know there are other things that could be included, but these are a few that I know that people routinely struggle with. They are presented in no particular order.

You have to be accountable for everything that goes in your mouth.
Most people have no idea what “one serving” of anything is. I know I didn’t at one point. Studies have shown that people underestimate portion sizes by up to 40%. Whatever the actual amount of underestimation, the fact is you will de-rail your weight loss goals if you don’t measure everything accurately. This includes drinks. Drinking calories destroys a weight-loss goal. This includes alcohol. Alcohol is guaranteed to sabotage you.

Get a food scale and measure everything. Don’t make excuses.

“Too busy” is not acceptable.
I know that measuring, planning and accounting for every food and drink item takes time and effort, just like any other worthwhile accomplishment. Everyone has other commitments, such as work, family or school. You just have to find a way. Period.

Poor eating is usually a factor of poor planning.
Take time to plan your meals. I loosely follow The Warrior Diet, in which I starve myself most of the day, and then pig out at night. This is my personal choice, and I do not have a weight loss goal. This is not for everyone.

Plan your meals based around a lean protein source and some fruits and vegetables. This protein source could be as simple as whey protein mixed in water.

Along with poor planning, comes eating out. Let us just be safe and assume that everything you eat at a restaurant is horrible for you, even if it is presented as something healthy. This means you have to pack things with you. Go get a small cooler and get ready to pack things that do not need to be cooked.

Yes, once per week or so you can have a cheat meal that you indulge yourself with. This should only be once per week. Go ahead and plan your cheat meal and enjoy it!

If you can’t eat it raw, don’t eat it.
This obviously does not include meat, fish or eggs. You have to cook these things or you will get sick and die (or wish you did).

This includes things like any vegetable, nut or fruit. Eat only whole, raw nuts. No roasted nuts.

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat things that are cooked. It just means that you should be able to eat it raw if you had to. Take potatoes, for example: You could eat a raw potato. It would taste terrible, but it wouldn’t kill you.

No processed grains.
Consume nothing containing any form of wheat. No bread. No bagels. No pasta. None. These things are all horrible for you. Get your carbohydrates from things that grow straight from the ground, like vegetables and fruits.

Drink lots of water.Keep a water bottle near you at all times. Try to drink at least 3-4 litres of water per day. Everyday. Don’t be afraid to drink more.

Keep a food log that you can track portion sizes and calories consumed with.
This is extremely important. Write down everything you eat and the amount immediately. Don’t wait an hour or until the end of the day. Write it down as you eat it. You will forget otherwise, and you will take in more than you intend to.


July 6, 2010

Ugly Kettlebell/Bodyweight Workout…Guaranteed to give you a temporary case of Tourette’s Syndrome

Cheap Shipping on Kettlebells

32kg Kettlebell

Here is something I came up with the other day. Sorry, no video to go with it.

Yes, there is CrossFit’s Filthy 50, and Gym Jones’ “300.” There are 400 reps total here.

You call it what you want, but be sure to work within your abilities, and don’t be afraid to reduce the weight or reps. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Unless you are experienced with this type of workout you run the risk of injury, and above all I don’t recommend ANYONE try this without professional supervision and instruction.

50 BOX JUMPS (24″)
50 2-ARM SWINGS (32KG)
50 SNATCHES (25L/25R W/32KG)

May 14, 2010

Updates and new videos.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — @ 3:00 pm

Tires, kettlebells and a whole indoor soccer field.

Here are a few new videos that show some of the happenings at Idaho Kettlebells. We are in the process of upgrading the facility, and may soon be adding some flooring which will permit some martial art training. Standby on that one.

Also, since the weather is getting warmer the indoor soccer field (at Goalz indoor soccer) is free most of the time. That means a ton of room to play.

In cooperation with Goalz, we are in the developmental stages of creating a multi-use facility that will offer a wide variety of fitness options.

Remember, I have free introductory kettlebell classes Saturday and Sundays at 9 a.m.

Don’t forget to login at my interactive website:

Here are the new videos:

August 2, 2009

Are you getting quality kettlebell training?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — @ 2:44 pm

Kettlebell Training is much more than meets the (untrained) eye.
For the unfamiliar, even the simplest kettlebell exercises look like some sort of secretive, Super-Ninja exercise technique. Swinging an iron ball around for a workout – in any manner – is pretty cool.

When I first began working with kettlebells a few years ago, I thought the clean and the snatch were designed to toughen my forearms to compliment my martial arts training! Nothing could be further from the truth, but I was easily led astray.

After all, in a country where everyone is blind, the one-eyed man is king. As related to kettlebell training, this means that since the general public is largely “blind” when it comes to kettlebell training, folks are easily led to believe whatever they are told by would-be instructors.
U.S. Cavalry

Basics, basics, basics…

The best instructors and athletes focus on the basics. For kettlebells, that means the 2-arm swing,the Turkish Getup, the military press and the snatch. There are many other great kettlebell exercises, but as Pavel Tsatsouline has said, they are all just “bells and whistles.”

Double-kettlebell exercises are nice, but a quality instructor should be able to build strength, endurance and explosive power with just one kettlebell.

This, of course, pre-supposes that the instructor has his or herself mastered the basics and can challenge themself and his or her students with these basics.

In the beginning, I was intrigued by many of the fancier kettlebell exercises such as the double-snatch, the two-hands anyhow, and of course many of the super-cool kettlebell juggling moves as demonstrated by Jeff Martone in his H2H DVDs.

But, when I went through Martone’s CrossFit Kettlebell Instructor course it was notably absent of any of those more advanced moves. Several hours were devoted to improving the swing alone, and instructor candidates were drilled and drilled on proper technique in the Turkish Getup, the clean, the press and the snatch.

In the final test, basics were drilled for 45 minutes straight. In my group nearly 25% of the candidates failed on the first attempt.

Even though I had done thousands upon thousands of swings prior to the cert, afterwards I’d felt like I’d only scratched the surface, and in the months since the course, I have done more swings than any other exercise, and still learn from it on each rep. Furthermore, I still get a smoking workout from it every time.
All Your Gear Needs at

As a further example, I once completed a 5,000-rep/5-week snatch challenge. I averaged 200 snatches per day (with a 16kg, 24kg or 32kg), five days per week and still felt as if my technique was getting better with each rep, but I still have a long way to go before I have any bragging rights in the kettlebell world.

The instructor should be physically competent.

Paper certifications are not the only proof of skill. The instructor should be a master (and permanent student of) the basic kettlebell exercises. To find out, ask the instructor to perform some basic movements, or ask to observe the instructor’s workout, or at least watch those he or she has taught. Ask if the instructor posts their training logs online on one of the many kettlebell websites, such as Kettlebell Inc. or Dragondoor.

A competent male instructor should be able to snatch a 24kg (53lb) kettlebell for at least 100 reps without setting the kettlebell down, and should be able to strict military press a kettlebell nearest to 1/3 their bodyweight for five continuous reps with zero hip drive to assist in fully locking out the kettlebell.

A competent female instructor should be able to snatch a 12kg (26lb) kettlebell for at least 100 reps without setting the kettlebell down if she weighs up to 125lbs, and a 16kg (35lb) kettlebell if she weighs more than 125lbs.

There are other standard guidelines, and any instructor should immediately be able to tell you what their Secret Service Snatch Test number is (max snatch reps in 10 minutes), unless they have firm justification for why they haven’t tested it.

100 continuous snatches with 53lbs will not happen unless the person has drilled the basics; strict presses with a heavy kettlebell only happen with practice, not just strength.

Are you being corrected? Are you sore or experiencing injuries?

A quality instructor should be giving constant feedback about form, making corrections, and demonstrating, as needed.

If you are having nagging, recurrent injuries or constant excessive soreness, chances are your instructor isn’t paying attention, or maybe doesn’t even know why they are occurring.

If you have questions, and the instructor isn’t able to give you satifactory answers, or give technical advice if you are having an issue, then you have an issue with him and her.

With kettlebell exercise, injury will result from improper guidance. It is not a question of if the injury will occur, but when and how serious will it be.

Are you getting stronger? How are you measuring it?

Numbers don’t lie with regards to strength gains. Are you able to do more swings or snatches in a given time? Press a heavier kettlebell? Are your deadlifts getting heavier? Can you do more pull-ups, or pull-ups with more resistance?
With proper kettlebell training, strength gains will accompany fat loss and gains in cardiovascular efficiency.

Any idiot trainer can make you tired or come up with a tough workout: Not any trainer can make you strong.

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