Triple and Quad Planks at Synergy Kettlebell Training St. Charles

BAM! Look at Jill, Alicia, Amy, & Joanne go!! Amy held that foundation for their planks so strong the whole time! WOW!!

Here's an outtake of when the quad plank crumbled. Joanne's face is priceless with that smile as she's falling from the top of the plank onto all of the other women. That is so awesome and such perfect timing for the shot. LOL!

Those girls are so cute standing there watching their mom's be strong women! See them all in action here:

Going Past 10: It's Been A Year In The Making

Here is a guest blog from my Kettlebell Sport student, Laura Machuca. I think she did a fabulous job expressing her experience with Kettlebells as her love for lifting the bells have taken her cross-country. Share in her experience and read what she has to say. I think you will gain a new perspective on this rewarding form of fitness. -Bob Garon

Going Past 10: It's Been A Year In The Making


“Kettle-balls? What are those?”

“I didn't know that kettlebell was a sport.”

“Wow! You have to do that for 10 minutes without stopping?”

“That judge was really mean. He should be more understanding of the people who compete with the 8 kg and 12 kg bells.”

These are things people say when they learn that I am a kettlebell athlete. I’ve competed four times now, and at the age of 50 I am getting ready for my fifth competition, all in a little less than a year. Some of what I’ve learned:

1. There’s a lot more to it than simply lasting 10 minutes.

Let’s not kid ourselves; kettlebell or girevoy sport (GS), as it’s sometimes called, is pretty darn tough. Many GS athletes say it’s the toughest sport in the world. In my first three competitions, I worried about lasting the entire 10 minutes, common for beginners. Yet, I now think that worrying about finishing means I doubt my abilities, which just undercuts all the time I spend training. I’m also disrespecting the work my coach and I do to improve my technique. Technique is so important—I can’t just get up on the platform and simply swing the kettlebells around for 10 minutes. I have to do the repetitions correctly, or they don’t count! Proper technique also helps me perform most efficiently, which also means less fatigue.

Laura Machuca

However, if you go to IKFF Nationals in Novi, MI to watch the competitions—and you should do this—you’ll see seasoned GS athletes lifting freaking heavy bells who don’t always finish their 10 minutes. But you know what? They get up there and do it anyway. When I competed in May 2012, a man only did one minute of the jerk with two bells that weighed 32 kg (~70 pounds) apiece. Did he look upset afterward? Not in the least. He wanted to prove to himself that he could get up there and do it for one minute, and he did. Next time, he plans to go for two minutes.

Laura Machuca

2. It’s not just about the numbers.

Depending on the event, your weight, the weight of the bell, and how many repetitions (reps) you do correctly, you can achieve a rank of 3, 2, 1, Candidate Master of Sport (CMS), Master of Sport (MS), and Master of Sport International Class (MSIC). When I began competing, I reached a rank of three, which is the lowest. I haven’t achieved a rank of two yet. However, rank isn’t the most important thing to me anymore. Why not? During the first few minutes of my last competition in May 2012, I saw I wasn’t going to make the number of reps I had as a goal. Instead of getting upset, I decided to relax—to experience the flow of doing the long cycle (clean & jerk) for 10 minutes while striving for my personal best technique. Afterward, I received compliments from the judges, with zero no-counts, which was quite opposite from my prior competition, I also won first place in my weight class in my event! If I had tensed up about making rank, I would have enjoyed myself far less—and shouldn’t I have fun while I’m lifting the bells? This is something I want to truly enjoy while I am doing it for as long as I can. It is about the experience of the moment.

Laura Machuca

3. The only competitor you should worry about is yourself.

It’s normal to want to be like the amazing GS athletes I see. However, if I compare myself to others, I limit things and miss out on so much more! That mindset also makes it easier for me to watch and learn ways to improve my technique. One example is Nathan. In May, Nathan performed the long cycle with astonishing precision. He reminded me of a clock, as his movements were very regular and accurate. When I told him this, he thanked me and revealed that he is a classically trained pianist. He thinks of Mozart playing in his head while he competes, and adjusts his rhythm to match. While I don’t know if I will adopt his method, he certainly helped me stretch my mind to consider new ways of practicing and competing. An analogy to the movie, “Field of Dreams” comes to mind—if I build and improve my technique, the rank will come!

Laura Machuca

4. The judges are there to help you get better at it.

Sometimes judges can intimidate, but only if you let them. Don’t let them! Judges often ask you to demonstrate a few reps so that they can see if you have any physical irregularities. Maybe you can’t bend your knees as far or straighten your arm. You want the judges to know ahead of time so they don’t count it against you while you compete. The first time I had to demonstrate, the judge made a comment about “not letting the bell spin around my hand” that rattled me. I now know that she was only trying to warn me so I wouldn’t get any no-counts. In my competition in March 2012, the judge at the IKSFA New York Open asked me not to make the same mistake as several other people that day. I started to worry about looking bad and not finishing. My focus was wrong and I violated a rule seven minutes into the set. The judge told me I had to stop and put the bell down. Later, two ladies approached me and said that they thought he was too strict, and that “he should be more understanding of the people who compete with the 8 kg and 12 kg bells.

I honestly did not feel the same way as they did. Instead, I saw myself at a fork in the road: I could point fingers, blame others, and complain about the judging; or I could work on improving my technique. Even though I felt a bit confused, did I want to be one who blames others when I don’t perform well? Was blaming the judge going to help me do better next time? I didn’t think so.

Kettlebell sport is a huge passion in my life, changing my life tremendously during the past year. My nutrition and my physique have improved because of my desire to be a better GS athlete. I’d love you to experience the joy of GS for yourself. Join me for my next competition at the “Bells Gone Wild” Kettlebell Sport competition on July 14 at Synergy Kettlebell Training in St. Charles!

Happy Birthday To Synergy Kettlebell Training!!! Numero 2!!

Today marks the 2 Year Anniversary that Synergy Kettlebell Training has been in business in IL. Yeaaaaa!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SYNERGY!!! :) :) :)

===> To celebrate our 2nd Birthday we are actually giving YOU a gift!!! October 1st thru October 31st whenever you refer a friend who joins you get an entire month's dues completely waived! This is my way of saying thank you and I appreciate you for helping us grow Synergy by spreading the word of how awesome your Kettlebell results are. :) To qualify you friend simply needs to start their trial during the month of October and then stay on as a full member.

Thank you sooooo much for your loyalty, commitment, and friendship. YOU are all the reason why we are doing what we do and able to reach out to more and more people every day. It is a HUGE honor to work with each and every one of you to help you get fit, stay fit, and live longer, healthier lives. I truly, truly love you all and always hope the absolute best from the very bottom of my heart.

Here's to next year and beyond!

kettlebell family

Brayden Garon Teaches Kids Kettlebell Kamp


I was finishing my workout while Brayden had a couple business neighbor friends over to play in our Synergy kids area. Suddenly I just turned around, they were on the mats, and he was teaching them the basics. LOL Isn't this just so precious?

Christina & Gina- Team Jiiina Power!!

  Synergy Kettlebell InstructorsI just want to highlight a couple of ladies who I really feel deserve recognition for their hard work. Christina Totten & Gina Schowalter have impressed me so much. Gina told me today that she's dropped a total of 60lbs since starting at Synergy and that she's now in a size that she never thought possible. Christina told me the other day that she's down 50lbs recently and that she's now at a weight that she only dreamed about.

Christina, Kettlebell Instructor

This didn't happen by accident. Both these ladies have worked super hard from the very first day they both, together, ever stepped foot in my gym. If you watch any of the Kettlebell workout videos I have on Youtube you will see at least one or both of them waiting patiently in the background ready to get their fat blaster on! They have each come at least 3, but mostly 4, days a weeks without wavering one bit. I applaud you both Christina and Gina!! Before she was an instructor, Christina actually opted not to pay her cable bill one month so she had enough money to pay her Synergy dues. Now that's commitment!!Gina, Kettlebell InstructorThey have such big hearts and such an amazing attitude on life for helping others. Theyloved their results and our Synergy Kettlebell Training program so much that each decided they wanted to become a certified Synergy Kettlebell Instructor to give back to everyone they can. That's the awesome part! They found something so great that literally changed their lives and they don't want to keep it to themselves.

Thank YOU Gina and Christina for your hard work, your loyalty to me & Synergy, to your commitment to being the best that you can be no matter what, for being determined to help others change as you have changed, and for your friendship. You are both treasures and I hope our relationship continues forever.

When you see these ladies around give them each a BIG Double High Five!!!


Christina Totten, Synergy kettlebell instructor

Bells Gone Wild

Kettlebell Sport Competition

I've got some super, super, super awesome news to share with you, but before I do let me mention our upcoming Synergy "Bells Gone Wild" kettlebell sport competition and partaaaaaay on Saturday, August 20th.

Last weekend we had soooo much fun at our Summerbell meet and I have got to say never before have I seen so many newbies stepping up on the platform. I think 3/4's were first-timers and what inspired me most was how many people came out to show their support for everyone who worked hard to get there. Check it out, our "Bells Gone Wild" event is gonna be even bigger and better than EVER!!!

Check this out and Register for free here:

Lisa Garon Is An Outlaw Kettlebell Lifter

Lisa Garon was highlighted as a top U.S. Kettlebell sportsman, sportsperson, sportswoman (not sure which is appropriate LOL). Check out the featured article Ken Whetham put up on his North American Outlaw Kettlebell Club blog and show Lisa some love & support with a nice comment: Lisa Garon Outlaw Article HERE. Lisa really inspires me with how far she's come in such a short dedicated time. Her commitment to herself and her weekly routine is how this is all possible. When I first met her she didn't even go to the gym and to think about her eating anything healthy was like asking a horse to moo. LOL

She smoked, drank and partied here and there, but one day just decided it was time to get away from that life wrecking habit and create better ones. So she dropped over 30lbs and hasn't look back since. Who would have thought this little bowling ball with a handle on it would change her, and the lives of others, so much.

Watch the video below of her 20kg (44lb) One Arm Long Cycle set at the IKFF Kettlebell Lifting Invitational 2011. VERY solid set!

Great write up honey! You're lookin more amazing every day and every day you amaze me more.