Q1: Can Form is Function help me lose fat?

A: Yes. We make good use of correct, fast kettlebell lift intervals, an extremely safe and effective tool for burning fat. There are a number of fast moving, full-body drills that you will find simple technically, but have an incredibly high metabolic cost. Your metabolism is forced to speed up, and this is the main hurdle in accomplishing fat loss. In  2010 fast kettlebell lifts were lab tested, and burned 20.2 calories per minute. More importantly, calories continued to burn substantially faster than basal metabolic rate for 48 hours after the session. The only common exercise that compared at all to kettlebell lifting in this area was XC skiing uphill, or running at a 6 minute mile pace on the ground, not a treadmill. We also use metabolic typing to match your food choices to what your body actually needs to be maximally healthy.

Here is a list of common exercises and their number of calories burned per minute: Kettlebell Snatches 20.2 Boot Camp 9.8 Aerobic Dance 9.7 Spinning 9.6 Jogging 8.5 Cardio Kick-Boxing 8.1 Curves 6.4 Power Yoga 5.9 Advanced Pilates 5.6

Read about the study in the January/February 2010 ACE FitnessMatters – ACEkettlebellArticle012010.

Q2: Won’t lifting heavy weight make me “muscle bound” and less flexible?

A: No, only incorrect training can make you less mobile. Well designed strength training will increase your speed, agility, and  flexibility.

Q3: Anyone who generally knows what they are doing in the gym can train safely and effectively with kettlebells, true?

A: False. The problem is that most people, trainers included, do not train safely or effectively with regular gym equipment. Factor in the off-center balance of kettelbells and the fast, dynamic movements involved, and kettlebells become more dangerous to the uninformed than more conventional exercise tools. FYI, even “expert trainer” Jillian Michaels teaches incorrect, ineffective, and unsafe kettlebell exercises.

Q4: Kettlebell lifting looks dangerous, can you hurt your back?

A: At Form is Function we design our small group classes, private training and workshops to be the safest hours in your life. We do that by controlling all aspects of what our students are doing. The rest of your life has no such control. Our success in this endeavor is borne out by a superior safety record, and by the number of local clinicians that send their patients to train with us while in treatment.  If you use your kettlebells correctly there is very little chance of injury to the lower back. By “correctly”, we mean: as taught by an instructor certified by our teacher Pavel Tsatsouline, Chief instructor of SFG and originator of the RKC.

Q5: Can I do intense exercise with my bad knees and injured shoulder?

A: Most likely yes. Remember intensity is infinitely adjustable from way too high down to zero intensity. At Form is Function we design the work we do with our students to be the safest hours in your life. We do that by conducting a thorough interview with every new student where we discuss in detail their injury history and any relevant restrictions recommended by clinicians that have treated the student. We then conduct a Functional Movement Screen to determine any movement dysfunction. Every student does a beginner’s introductory course designed precisely for that person’s goals and limitations. The course takes at least two months and involves at least 3 private sessions of training with chief instructor Eric Kenyon. If necessary the intro may be longer and involve more individual training if needed.  We control all aspects of what our students are doing.  The rest of your life has no such control. Our success in this endeavor is borne out by a superior safety record, and by the number of local clinicians that send their patients to train with us while in treatment.

Q6: I’m interested in trying kettlebell lifitng, but what will I do for cardio?

A: Certain kettlebell drills and other modes we use put a very high demand on the heart and lungs. That said, don’t worry about what you will do for cardio. Together we will plan exactly what you need to reach your goals  most safely and quickly. Your program of training at FIF is complete in all aspects of exercise health and athletics. You will receive exercise guidance to support all your goals to the degree you need it and can handle it safely. We also design detailed, ongoing diet guidance for our students who wish to lose fat.  How’s this for a cardio workout?

Q7: Can’t you do any kettlebell exercise just as well with a dumbbell?

A: Unfortunately, no. Because of the difference in shape and balance of the two implements, certain key drills in kettlebell training can not be done with a dumbbell. Drills that look somewhat similar have very different training effects.  Athletes in the countries of the former Soviet Union use their dumbbells and barbells very differently and much more effectively than we typically do in the West. So you can actually make huge gains merely by studying the way the Soviets use those more familiar tools. We at Form is Function can teach you how to correctly and effectively use your barbells and dumbbells also. Certainly there is no advantage to using a kettelbell in the same uninformed and inefficient way most people use dumbbells in the United States.

Q8: Can women do the kind of training Form is Function teaches?

A: There is no difference in adaptive response to exercise between the genders. There is, however, often a difference in training goals for non-athletes: Men usually want to get bigger and stronger, women usually want to get thinner. Women who are not involved in athletics typically start an exercise program with only weight loss in mind. At Form is Function, our female students often discover a strong athletic inner spirit when exposed to effective training. As they see possibilities opening up before them, our women tend to set progressively more ambitious and adventurous goals for themselves.

Q9: Aren’t exercise machines safer than free-weights, especially for beginners?

A: No, actually machines are more dangerous than free-weights. Machines force your body into unnatural movement tracks that put harmful stress on your joints. By holding your body stable, machines prevent the synchronous firing of stabilizer muscles, especially the inner units close to the spine, and thereby leave those muscles dormant and untrained. This detrimental effect is noticed when someone who trains mostly on machines attempts to express strength in the real world; the stabilizers do not fire, the damaged joints are stressed in an unaccustomed way, and you cannot produce force or stability and you end up injured. Free weights promote movement that is natural and inherently correct, resulting in a strengthening of ALL muscles, including the small stabilizers, and of the joints.

Q10: Form is Function seems great, your athletes are amazing! But I just can’t afford private training or group classes…

A:  If you compare results per dollar, training with Form is Function is a much better value than other apparently similar choices. Can you afford to spend your valuable time and money on exercise that does not bring you closer to your goals? Or that brings you only minimum progress? Can you afford to be injured, again, doing poorly designed exercise? Can you afford to eat the dust of Form is Function trained athletes any longer? How would you like to make faster progress in less time?

Q11: That kettlebell training doesn’t work. I went down to Big 5 and bought a 5 pound kettlebell. It came with DVD of instructions. I did the exercises exactly as shown in the DVD but it just kind of hurt my back and shoulders.

A: Sorry to hear that. Realize that what you did in no way resembles what we do. It is the opposite of what we do. There is no magic in a kettlebell, it’s just a tool. You can use it well, or badly. The magic is in the Soviet/Russian sports science we practice and more simply, what we are doing with our bodies. The instructional DVD you got at Big 5 was most likely pure BS, made up in some American or Chinese marketing department. At FIF we guarantee results you can not even imagine, and no pain in the joints.

Q12: I was talking with a Form is Function instructor and the coach asked me about my goals first thing. For some reason that question made me feel really intimidated. Now I feel silly. “What are your goals?” Makes so much sense, of course!

A; I’ve seen and heard this a surprising number of times since 1999.  I know that very few trainers in the mainstream “fitness” culture ever talk about goals with their customers. That is because the culture is so unsuccessful, that a discussion of goals is a often a depressing list of failures. People who have been paying for private and group exercise, or even advanced instructor training for many years, have often heard very little or no mention of goals. The sudden movement of goals discussion to the forefront where it belongs, can be shocking. At Form is Function the goals of our students are first, last, and always in our minds. Everything we do is goal focused. This is what drives our success.

Q13: I know a lot about working out. I’ve played sports all  my life. I’ve looked at FIF’s website, Instagram, Youtube and facebook pages. It was not what I expected. I’ve never seen or heard of any of the things I saw there. It all seemed to go against everything we’ve been taught about fitness.

A: Good! Get used to it if you train with us. Different outcomes require different actions. You may have noticed how incredibly strong, fast, flexible, agile, and tireless FIF students are, how our athletes win often and get injured almost never. If the process confuses you, look at results instead. At Form is Function we have exactly zero interest in serving up the same old fitness garbage that most businesses serve their unfortunate customers. If we were presenting nice, comfortable exercise classes no different from every other exercise class, I think I would have to kill myself. We are destroying the exercise and athletic status quo. We do that by presenting uniquely effective and innovative physical training. And we have fun doing it! The methods we use are practiced by thousands of coaches and their students worldwide in the SFG, RKC, and FMS communities. These methods are also proven over decades and even millennia of Eurasian athletic history. Have a look at our testimonials page. Our results speak for themselves.