skinny strong

Kettlebell Training EQUALS Strength Endurance NOT Bulk

Lately I have encountered a few people who have expressed to me that they purposely do not use heavier weights during their workouts because they believe they will bulk up if they do.

We, at Synergy, are not training for bulk. When I hear them say these things I then reciprocate with these questions:

Are you eating to bulk up? Nope probably not. If you are bulking because of your eating then you are not eating properly.

Do you have high testosterone to add bulk? No you definitely do not.

Is your workout program structured & designed for increasing muscle mass? No it is definitely not!

The way I design all Synergy Kettlebell Training workouts is with using submaximal weights for overall work capacity in a timed manner. If your program was designed to add bulk you would be performing sets of 2-5 reps with very maximal weights and take very long breaks between sets so you can muster up the renewed strength to do it again a few more times. This is the exact opposite of how I design our Synergy workouts. Additionally, Lisa, and SEVERAL other women who train in Kettlebell Sport, regularly train with very heavy bells for time. In fact, my wife Lisa just performed sets this week with the green (24kg/53lb) and black (26kg/57lb) and the day before that went 8 minutes in long cycle with the green bell without setting it down the entire time. She weighs 135lbs.

Our focus with Kettlebells is STRENGTH ENDURANCE- not bulk or mass building. We aim to build as much strength as we possibly can in a small, slender, and fit package. This is our ultimate goal and we define that simply as being "Skinny Strong".

No matter your fitness based workout program, if your goal is to lose fat and not build mass, then your daily nutritional habits must match your goals. If it does not then your desired outcome will not come to pass. I can tell you right now if you feel you are bulking then you are not practicing balanced nutrition or your body would reflect that.

Your habits must reflect your goals in and out of the gym. So pick up the heavier weight next time you workout and get Skinny Stronger!

Grocery Shopping For Meat: Paleo Style

  I had a few of my Synergy Kettlebell Training members email me and ask about where to buy grassfed, pasture raised, and wild caught meats. So I thought I'd share my response with you here so the masses can benefit.


WHAT STORES ARE RECOMMENDED: You can purchase your food at Trader Joe's, Fruitful Yield (Illinois only), Whole Foods, Woodman's, Fresh Market, Sprout's food co-ops (cheaper and typically best quality), etc.


LABELING: It depends on the store if the pasture raised or wild caught will be labeled on the package, but most do. Some stores, like Whole Foods, have the meat classified differently up at the meat counter, but you will be able to ask the butchers. All fish packages will say "wild caught or wild". It will most likely also say farm raised, but if not assume it is and avoid it. Trader Joes packages look very similar so ask if you don't know, but the beef does say "grassfed beef". Fruitful Yield is all labeled, but quality is not as high in my opinion.

KNOW YOUR FARMER AND PAY HIM FOR HIS HARD WORK: THE BEST is to get your meat and produce from food co-ops if you can because you will be buying straight from the farmer. We get our organic produce delivered from Timber Creek Farms ( They're in the Chicagoland area, but also in the states surrounding. There's also Door To Door Organics. It's free delivery right to your door and prices are actually cheaper for organic than conventionally grown produce purchased in stores. On top of that you don't need to venture out and do the shopping which is a time waster.

LET'S DO OUR PART TOGETHER TO HELP SUSTAIN: I know other states have their own food co-ops and organizations like Timber Creek Farm and Door To Door Organics if you're in Colorado, the Kansas City area, Michigan, New England area, and the Chicago area. There's also Wallace Farms in Iowa, Illinois, and surrounding areas. So definitely check out what's in your area. It's always great to get amazing quality food and contribute to the small farmer rather than the giant conglomerates who only want your money rather than your partnership to make this planet more sustainable for people in years to come.

What do you think? Where do you get your produce and pasture meats in your area?


15 Day "No More Red Eyes" Nutritional Challenge



RECOMMENDATION: My recommendation is to eat real food (aka nothing processed), not much, and mostly plants. Outside of that get as much green leafy veggies as you can into your diet & no more than 1 fruit per day. Eat a lot of fat such as nuts/seeds, 1-3+ tbspns of unrefined coconut oil a day, avocado, 85% or higher dark chocolate, whole pasture raised eggs, unpasteurized full-fat dairy if you consume dairy (it's best not to due to the acidic environment it immediately creates in the human body), omega 3 from fish and Grassfed meats, and monounsaturated fats like olive oil, etc.

There are so many grain-free and pasteurized dairy free alternatives that are far healthier as well. Homemade nut milks are amazing and do not replace dairy, but instead give you even more healthy fats as well as none of the dangerous side effects that dairy causes such as digestive inflammatory issues because it creates an acidic environment within our bodies, increased bodily mucous, calcium leeching from our bones, and the list goes on.

PERSPECTIVE: Go Grain-Free! Think logically for a moment, If eating low fat and grains was healthy or worked then no one would be fat, unhealthy, and sick (fluctuating seasonally chronic or acute).

People often say: Oh just eat rice cakes, popcorn, or think eating organic gluten free grains are okay, but that cannot be further from the truth and keep you further and further from your desired results. The research is that any grain is ultimately unhealthy. (Source:

FINAL THOUGHTS: Essentially Coconut Oil is a Medium-chain triglyceride or MCT. It is used immediately for great energy and not stored as fat on your body. An MCT is a fat that acts like a carb, but doesn't stick around to be stored by directly igniting one's metabolism. It also maintains muscle mass. Coconut Oil is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic too. Make sure you only get the unrefined version and you'll even lower your cholesterol. You don't get much better than coconut oil! The key is to not simply insert coconut into one's diet, but rather use it in place of any other fat or oil as well as take it as a regular daily supplement. I recommend Nutiva(sold in stores) or Tropical Traditions(sold online only) brands. Definitely make sure it's unrefined and organic. I recommend 1 tablespoon in the morning and 2 in the evening. Take straight or in a smoothie.

RECOMMENDATION: I recommend you read the book "The Coconut Oil Miracle" and you will be amazed at what you find. It's a VERY good and enlightening read. Too many people fear Cocounut Oil because it is high in fat- mainly saturated fat- which by the way is needed for many bodily processed to be efficiently working. It's not fat that's the negative or the enemy... it is grains, yes absolutely even whole grains, my friend. Cut those out and most all health advertises would greatly diminish and many be eliminated. In fact, saturated fat is needed for efficient protein synthesis (amino acid turnover aka building muscles).

TAKE AWAY: Give it a shot for 2 weeks, heck even 1 week, and you will very, very clearly see and moreover feel the difference.

YOUR EXPERIENCE: What have you personally experienced by going grain free? If you have never tried this lifestyle yet, what questions do you have? What do you think?

WOW! "Bells Gone Wild 2011" TRASH TALKING- CRAZY!

I first posted this on Facebook and it got some great attention. Boy is this event gonna be seriously the most talked about Kettlebell Sport event of the year!


Register for the event if you'd like to compete and get more information about it here:

Never Be Tired During The Day Again

Since I began Intermediate Fasting, I eat very little to nothing during the day, almost 4 years ago I sometimes get asked a lot of questions regarding how I can do this, how it makes me feel, is it actually healthy, do I really never get tired during the day, and how to begin something like this to reap the benefits. First of all I'd like to mention that if you are used to eating during the day and spiking your blood glucose levels then I highly recommend not jumping right into a fasting protocol. Your body would not be able to handle it. This needs to be gradual and you should listen to your body's needs in a mature healthy manner.

As long as you are well hydrated you can go many hours without eating and that is quite healthy for you as well as will facilitate fat loss. Most people are actually thirsty every before being hungry. The signals the brain sends for hunger and thirst are quite difficult to distinguish so people usually just eat. This leads to overheading and ongoing insulin spiking which directly stores fat depending on what one consumes.

If you constantly eat, your body is changing its acid/alkaline balance constantly, and isn't allowed to return to its natural pH.  A proper pH balance everywhere from saliva, to the stomach, to the blood is needed for a strong immune system. For example, if you are too acidic, your body leeches calcium from your bones to bring pH up. Conversely, if blood is too alkaline, calcium deposits may form. A good hi-fat diet, which will produce ketones (acidic), is easily compensated for by increased oxygen levels in the blood unless one is in a state of diabetic keto-acidosis which is an entirely different condition altogether and produces much higher levels of ketones.

The more you eat, and the more often you eat, the more you gain fat. Insulin spikes for about 3 hours post eating. Insulin is the hormone our pancreas produces and releases when we consume food. It shuttles nutrients (glucose) into cells. When there is excess in the blood, such as in eating every couple hours, glucose is then stored as fat on our bodies. Any carbohydrate, simple or complex, we eat is broken down into glucose and yes even protein can be stored as fat.

When you eat every couple hours during the day- depending on what you eat- your blood sugar will go up really high and then drop really low which makes you even more hungry and is very hazardous to the body when this cycle is done day in, day out for years on end.


Additionally a normal insulin spike stays up for about 3 hours post meal. So your body will be storing fat during that time.Going 6-8+ hours between meals is the best you can do to drop fat, maintain leanness, have increased energy as well as tremendously better concentration. Remember though you NEED to be well hydrated ongoing. Drink at least 10-12oz of water every couple hours. If you don't then your energy may suffer and you will feel weaker as well as have hunger.

It is much better to have about 6-8+ hours between meals so your body has time to use glucagon (fat burning or consuming) hormone when insulin is not spiked. This happens during a fasted (when we are not eating) state. As long as you drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated, and maintain healthy blood sugar levels, you will not get too hungry, light headed, dizzy, and whatnot. Most of the time people are really thirsty when they think they are hungry.

My recommendation to you, to anyone, is to learn to eat and enjoy clean natural organic foods such as dark greens such as kale, chard, arugula, collards, & spinach, healthy fats in nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and if you do eat meat only consume pasture raised, wild caught, organic meats. This makes a HUGE difference.

Yes, you may spend more money on organic food today, but your payoff of good health should more than make up for it –and reduce your health care costs in the future. -Dr. Mercola

Studies show that in a fasted, but well hydrated state, one has much better cognitive function, more nuerotransmitters fire, energy levels are higher, concentration more focused and clear, and hormones are both regulated and balanced. It is VERY important to follow the trail to whom is funding, researching, and claiming certain studies in order to know the overall agenda. The best studies are usually those conducted by independent third parties rather than the same organization that has to gain by skewing the results. Most of the time it is not with the public's best interest in mind, but rather the bottom line of certain lobbying food industry corporations. Lastly the worst thing you can do for your body, besides pumping it full of drugs, is feed it grains and dairy.


References: Janssen I, et al. Effects of an energy-restrictive diet with or without exercise on abdominal fat, intermuscular fat, and metabolic risk factors in obese women. Diabetes Care 2002; 25:431-438

Green MW, Rogers PJ, Elliman NA, Gatenby SJ. Impairment of cognitive performance associated with dieting and high levels of dietary restraint. Physiology and Behavior. 1994;55(3):447-52.

Knapik JJ, Meredith CN, Jones LS, Young VR, Evans WJ. Influence of fasting on carbohydrate and fat metabolism during rest and exercise in men. Journal of Applied Physiology 1998; 64(5): 1923-1929

Harvard Study:

Weston A. Price Foundation:

New Englad Journal Of Medicine:

How Often Should I Train Kettlebells?

Kettlebell WorkoutPeople always ask me, and we've been discussing this A LOT lately at Synergy Kettlebell Training, how often it is recommended to come- to exercise- each week for good results. What we HIGHLY recommend is, IF you're schedule allows, to come 3-4 days a week and you will reap the full benefit. 2 days on and 1 off, and no more than 2 days off in a row or you can possibly regress ever so slightly.

If your schedule doesn't allow that then definitely come as often as you can, but just no more than 2 days in a row and no more than 2 days off in a row. Ex. If you can only come Monday, Wed, & Friday that will be 1 day on and 1 day off with only 2 days off (the weekend) before you come back again on Monday. That's perfectly fine.

Remember that what I have seen as one of the BEST schedules is 2 days on and 1 off with no more than 2 days off in a row. What I personally do is this: Mondays & Tuesdays are always Kettlebell days, Wednesdays are yoga and/or cardio days, Thursdays & Fridays are always Kettlebell days, and weekends are misc days where I go on walks, bike rides, or whatever.

Your recovery is when you see results. What you do in the gym is preparing your body for that recovery. When you recover you are dropping fat, getting stronger, healing micro-trauma, etc. So it is not recommended to keep compounding workout on top of workout on top of workout for better results. You want to be effective and efficient in each one and set your body up for good recovery. Enjoy your recovery days too!

Do that each and every week- rain or shine, come hell or high water- and you will experience amazing results the rest of your life. Sound good? Good! :)


Also after every workouts and before you go to bed every night make sure you spray on your Magnesium Oil for faster recovery and energy levels. Here's what I personally use and have seen the best results:

Mahler's Aggressive Strength - Free Shipping On All Orders (US only)

Why Take Magnesium Oil? It directly helps support hormone production, increase energy, reduce muscle soreness, lose stomach fat, helps you sleep better at night, and ramp up heart health! Transdermal is the best. Get Your Magnesium Oil HERE.

Perspective of the Skinny Strong

A strong person must be someone who is coordinated, agile, accurate, and have good balance or else their strength cannot be maximized to accomplish a lift or even a simple everyday task. Many of workouts in which we train at Synergy Kettlebell Training are meant to be done as fast as possible. To do them in that fashion, you'd ideally take no breaks. But let's be serious; 90% of people need to take breaks in some shape or form.

That being said, take breaks if they're needed, but just keep in mind that you are striving to get the best time in completing the workout. Take your quick drink break to maintain hydration, but this is not to catch your breath or recover beyond 10-20 seconds. That's it and then seriously get back to it!

That's called a "Recovery Break". Training in this style is both very intense and highly metabolic. The body will respond in such a way that it will give you physical adaptations to continually improve with consistency. You will not die just because you are gasping for breath. If you can talk you are good to continue on.

Don't worry about lifting heavy weights. If you want to do that then come talk to me about learning and practicing Kettlebell Sport. Synergy Kettlebell Training fitness kettlebell classes are mostly about quick short bursts with lighter weights to get the job done quick. This is how we achieve such great results.

Anyone can use a machine and any trainer can simply pull the pin out and put it back in again for you. What is offered to you as Synergy Kettlebell Training members is functional training through higher intensity and greater work capacity. When you train functionally, with great intensity, you are in a training environment that not only brings you an overall well-being much quicker, but also prepares you for anything and everything that life may throw at you be it physically or mentally.

Keep This In Mind: Consistency is 100% key for you to see results.

Be consistent in your training- no more than 2 kettlebell days in a row and definitely no more than 2 off in a row for best results. I go 2 on and 1 off myself. This will keep your body progressing and recovering efficiently.

Consistency in your eating habits- always be working toward becoming cleaner, simpler, *healthier, more plant based, and eliminating processed foods every day.

Have an awesome day!