So many great student stories!

Power of Attorneys

Power of Attorneys

The stairs are your friends. Embrace them!
Month 1 in the books!
Just a quick shout-out to all my students. I’m always impressed with the dedication that you put toward your practice. Allowing me the honor to be your coach is very rewarding and it’s my aim to keep learning to make sure that we are all the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.

So many great stories are be written as I type this…

1) Ginny – hearing the pitty-patter of her feet coming down Linda Ave on Weds & Friday morning..farmer walking her kettlebells 2000ft to their final destination at Beach Field. She is down to 3 stops (from 5) in just a couples weeks time!

2) Angelica – SO proud of her first push-up this past Sunday. Even more impressive was her squatting with the 20kg for reps while facing the San Francisco skyline!

3) Quang muscling through the Racked Clean program and challenging himself to the 16kgs on the final round.

4) Andrew with his first time EVER deadlifting and pulling 190 lbs off the floor!

5) Jeannette feeling some muscles popping in on her biceps. She is now swinging the 24kg with authority!

6) Mike with his great time of 1:15 in the 20 swing/Rose Garden stairs sprint. I’m thinking he’s got a little left in the tank.

7) Gayathri starting to take command of the 12kg with her squats. She has come a long way and will continue to get stronger!

8) Jessica with her first of many 24kg swings!

I’m excited as this will be the first week we will be checking out Witter Field (Piedmont High School Football Field) on Thursday evening at 7pm. Expect lots of crawling, get-ups aplenty and 100 yard waiter walks! Oh yea, they have stairs there as well!

Next Saturday we will be at Joaquin Miller for a 9am start. Sunday we return to the Rose Garden (also at 9am).

I’m also having an unscheduled meet-up this Wednesday at 10am at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. Call me if you are interested in joining – (415)710-5918

I’ll be recertifying my kettlebell credentials with StrongFirst in a little over 2 months in Salt Lake City. I’ll be tested once again on all my skills, including the snatch test – 100 reps/5mi w/24kg. Good times! In preparation, I’ve just started a program call the “Secret Service Snatch Test Prep Workout” – Secret Service agents need to snatch the 24kg bell 200 times in 10min. It was the same program I completed before my initial certification almost 18 months ago.

Sincere apologies for my calendering SNAFU this past week. I’m hoping this is all cleared-up. In order to see the location of the class, you need to be logged-in to your account. You should then be able to see the CLASS NOTES for where we will be meeting.

Take time to enjoy some of this incredible weather we are having this week!

Laser Focus – The Key to Transformation

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser focus.” – Bruce Lee

Do you want to effect change in your appearance? Are you stuck on a hamster wheel of the “diet of the day?” Drowned out and confused by media messaging of eternal youth and the false promises of late night miracle pills, lotions and fitness gadgetry?

Shake, shake. shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty!

Shake, shake. shake. Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty!

Stop. Simplify. Focus. Better yet, laser focus!

If fat loss (or weight loss) is the goal, then here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Instead of focusing on a weight loss number, pick one or two strength goals and go for it. Need ideas? First concentrate on the basic human movements: hip hinge, squat, pushing, pulling and the loaded carry (waiter walks, suitcase, farmers, racked). The kettlebell is an excellent tool to get you better acquainted with these movements. You will feel the changes in your body after the first session.

2. Once you have the basics dialed-in, find a couple strength goals. Better yet..focus on the “King of Exercises,” – the deadlift.


A. You’ll burn a ton of calories and blast fat
B. Improves posture and builds total body strength
C. Hits all of the following muscles: hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads, abdominals, obliques, the entire back
D. Improves grip strength
E. It’s safe!

48kg Sumo Deadlift

48kg Sumo Deadlift

3. Contrary to popular opinion, variety and muscle confusion are not the magic formula. It’s consistency. Showing up when you don’t feel like showing up. Commit 3 days a week to your new craft. Surround yourself with folks that are striving for the same or similar goals. Always remember, if it’s not challenging you, then it’s not gonna change you! The 3 lbs pink dumbbells can be jettisoned.

4. Eat foods that your grandparents ate..better yet, make it your great grandparents.

A. Don’t drink your calories. Water, with a slice of lemon is all you need.
B. Don’t buy processed or packaged food. If it makes a health claim, then avoid it at all costs.
C. Support your local farmer markets

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s important to access your present condition. Knowing where you are in the present moment is just as important as having a goal.

Here is your “to-do,” list.

Check the vitals – Get a physical & blood work done. One company that has taken bio-metrics to the next level is WellnessFX in San Francisco. Here is what’s included in their thorough diagostic check-up. It’s not cheap, but then again, how can you really put a price tag on your health? Be wary of any doctor who prefers drugs and surgery over exercise and clean living.

Mirror-Assessment – Shed the clothes ad observe all features from head-to-toe, every angle. Note posture..are you slouching forward? Imagine how you want to look. This will provide incredible focus and motivation to improve. Psycho-Cybernetics is the classic book that delves into methods to dehypnotize yourself from false beliefs, and celebrate new freedom from fear and guilt. psychocyber

Weighing-in – The scale can keep you honest with your program. Weigh-in periodically, but realize that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. You can actually lose fat, gain muscle and weigh more!

Take pictures – One from the front and another from the side

Body Fat Test – It’s a good tool because it can show what is not visible in the mirror or on the scale. The hydrostatic method is the best way to go.

Use a Tape Measure – Measure your waistline. Large waistlines are a signal of overeating, not fully digesting food, underexercising and at a greater risk of heart disease. Too much fat in the bloodstream, around the waistline, clogged arteries, clogged intestines — ALL indicators of declining health. Measure right around your navel.

How do your clothes fit? -Are there old dresses, pants or a favorite articles of clothing that you’d like to wear again? Imagine how those items of clothing used to feel. Put those items in view, so help keep you focused. What you are wearing now is the current scoreboard.

Now. Go forth and forge your new path of strength. Because life isn’t about fading into the sunset, it’s about being in the best physical and mental state..for as long as possible!

The three C’s: Car, Cubicle & Couch

A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind – Morihei Ueshiba

The three C’s: Car, Cubicle & Couch. Sitting, the death knell of the human race – especially for Americans. As a 20 year corporate citizen, the effects of sitting were taking a toll on my body. Tight hip flexors, kyphosis (slouching posture), and poor food choices that left my belly hanging over my belt. The bottom line (including weak glutes & rhomboids) is that prolonged sitting is linked to increased mortality! I’m here to help you undo this unacceptable path and provide a plan on how you can reverse this pattern. Time has come today!

Cubicle Farm

Cubicle Farm

The Solution? A mixture of Kettlebells, bodyweight conditioning and (Z)en Circles!

Awakening and Enlightenment from an Iron Ball? Come again?

Looks scary!

It’s interesting, I hear this response frequently. It it just fear of the unknown or getting hurt? My system stresses safety at every point in the process.

I’ll get bulky, (HINT, you won’t)!

That looks hard! (that would be correct). If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

The Kettlebell Zen Mission? “Helping people forge undiscovered strength in mind and body.”

SFG (StrongFirst Girya) is a curriculum developed by Pavel Tsatsouline, who pioneered kettlebell training in the West and developed the gold-standard RKC program. When it comes to kettlebelling, you want to be with the cream of the crop…no skimping! I’m a “Permanent Beginner.” One who is always seeking new information to help people feel and move better.

You’ll be learning some of the basic human movements; pushing, pulling, squatting, hip hinge and one that you will grow to love..loaded carries. It’s fun. My clients will tell you, it feels like we are playing. In addition, we will employ an athletic performance system called Z-Health. “Z” drills target the nervous system and provide techniques to help us move better, move out of pain, move into efficient athletic performance, and ultimately improve that performance to achieve & surpass goals.

The magic lies within your mind. Be consistent with your practice and you will find results. Dig deep and become proficient with three or four kettlebell movements for 6-12 weeks and you will start to see your body take on the form of which you imagined. You need to lift heavy things up, put them over your head, and set them back down. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Just be consistent!

Beautiful Strength

Beautiful Strength

This is what Amelia S. had to say…

I really love the kettlebells, which I would never have thought were for me! They look so big and intimidating. However, under Tom’s wonderful guidance, I have quickly become much stronger and my technique is really improving. I love this class and it truly does not feel like you are working out because it is so fun and different. If it weren’t for my body being sore EVERYWHERE the next day, I wouldn’t believe I got such a great workout in. If you have ever wanted to try out a workout growing in popularity, give it a shot! Tom is great, the class is fun, and your body will thank you!

Kettlebells will be one of the main tools in the practice, but I will also employ bodyweight exercises and other tools to keep things fresh and challenging. There will be certain strength and flexibility thresholds that we will continually strive to achieve. No longer will we say that we want to “lose 10 pounds,” or “finish a marathon.” Goals tied to strength measurements will help everything fall into place.

Enter the Kettlebell

Enter the Kettlebell

We live in such a beautiful part of the world. Classes will be held in a variety of inspiring places to take your training to the next level! New student will need general proficiency with basic bodyweight maneuvers before handling kettlebells. Safety is of paramount importance at all times.

Join our community of women and men dedicated to making strides on their road to a stronger life. For decades the world of advertising has promised us special lotions, pills, shakeweights, & kettlebells that weigh less than your purse. Truth be told, there is no quick fix.

Sign-up for your FREE 1 hour Assessment || CALL (510) 470-4430 or

Z-Health Joint Mobility diagnostic
Review/Discussion of Strength goals you’d like to achieve, challenges you face
A program to launch you on your way..a community of support

Mindful Practice at Work -- Impeccable form!

Mindful Practice at Work — Impeccable form!

What you can expect?

*Increased energy and strength
*A Posterior-Chain Extraordinaire (aka Buttisimo)
*Faster metabolism so you burn calories faster and more efficiently (Even when at rest)
*Trim your waist and blast your abs- swimsuit season is right around the corner
*Look Younger / Feel Younger!
*Builds confidence and wards off sickness and depression
*Sleep better and helps you deal better with stress and anxiety
*Combats the three C’s – Computer, Car & Couch..because we are all sitting TOO MUCH!

Strength ***************** Flexibility ****************** Peace

You Don’t Know Squat

Oh, here we go again. The New York Times coming out with another incomplete article on human movement. This time, the squat. That’s OK. It’s an opportunity to educate, as was the case with the “pull-up article,” that NYT published back in October 2012. Now, let’s forever dispel this notion that we shouldn’t squat below parallel!

OMG! Below Parallel!

OMG! Below Parallel!

For many Americans, the common refrain is that they can’t squat “because it makes their knees hurt.” Well isn’t that interesting? The reason why your knees hurt is because your can’t squat! You silly! We typically sit a majority of the day. We sit in the car, bus, train to and from work. We sit down to dinner. We sit to relax and watch “The Biggest Loser,” all the while our hip flexors get tighter and tighter, forcing a forward posture and tightening of the hamstrings. That’s why it’s hard for Americans to squat. My eldest son, almost 12 years old, squats on the dining room chair while eating dinner at night (much to my wife’s chagrin). Most people would gag at such manners, but I let him do it, because he sits in a chair most of the day.

My path to a deeper squat has taken considerable time and practice. As a 20 year old, I back-squatted 310 lbs. I then went on a 23 year hiatus from squatting and plunked my butt down on a chair for most of my work. Oh yes, there was plenty of leg extension, leg press and leg curls that were performed in this period of time, but now I know better. Machines have no place in the world of leg strength. I then started my squat journey by holding onto a pole in front of me and pulling myself down into the squatting position. You can initiate the movement by pushing your butt back and keeping your chest up. Equally important is developing better ankle joint mobility. My instructor, Cecilia Tom, showed me how to do Z-Health “toe-pulls” to facilitate greater range of movement. I think this was a key moment for me! After that, it was practice, practice, and more practice. It really needs to be worked on a couple times a day, even if only for a few minutes.

For many folks, I highly recommend the goblet squat.

There are many folks (ages 18-70) in my kettlebell classes that have made significant gains in their range of movement due to this one exercise alone. We always spend some time in the bottom of the goblet squat , driving our elbows into the sides of our knees. Prying our hips open. Experiment with elevating and descending at different points in the squat. Always remember to squeeze (make a grunt) your intra-abdominal cavity before launching upward. This will protect your back. As always, exhale sharply at the top of the movement.

32kgs Front Squat (140 pounds)

32kgs Front Squat (140 pounds)