TSC & Fall Challenge

Fall 1-2-3 Challenge

Kids are back to school and we’re ready to get back into the routine.

We like to kick off every fall with a Challenge.

This year is no different with the Fall 1-2-3 Challenge

How it works:

  1. Choose a Strength Goal
    • Deadlift, Pullups, Squat, Pistol Squat, Pushups, Press…
  2. Choose a Cardio Goal
    • # of swings or snatches in 5 min
  3. Choose a Body Composition Goal
    • inches, pounds, & bodyfat percentage

What you’ll get:

  • Initial Personal Session with one of us to measure & do goal setting
  • Class workouts designed to help you meet your goals
  • Homework to increase your chances of meeting your goals
  • Facebook Group Page for accountability
  • Nutrition Guidance
  • Weekly emails with recipes & tips
  • Final Session to measure



Tactical Strength Challenge


AKA the TSC. As promised, we’re doing it again! October 31st is the date of the official Challenge – check out the StrongFirst TSC page for official information.

What it is:

A competition that takes place every April & October with the worldwide StrongFirst community. The focus is on three types of training; max strength, bodyweight strength, and cardiovascular strength.

The lifts are:

  1. Max Barbell Deadlift
  2. Max Number of Kettlebell Snatches in 5min
  3. Max Number of Dead-hang Overhand Grip Pullups (or timed Flexed Arm Hang)

The challenge will take place at gyms around the world on October 31st, 2015.

We have a lot of people training for it. If you haven’t yet signed up… Click here to sign up for the training.

To compete on October and get your official TSC t-shirt,register with StrongFirst (but not today… we’re not an official host yet)

You’ll get homework & we’ll have times on the schedule set aside for you to come in to the gym to work on the lifts with me. We’ll go over Barbell Deadlift technique, snatch technique, and you’ll have planned training.

Email me at val@nbkettlebell.com with any questions about how to sign up and we’ll get started!



Want to do both?!

They compliment each other really well. And if you do both, you get everything above! TSC training plan, extra times on the schedule to train, nutrition guidance… everything described above!



News & Events – August 24, 2015

Summer’s Almost Over!

You’re taking those last couple days away… You’re heading to the beach… You’re enjoying time with family… But how do you get your training in?

Our Quickie Classes are perfect for those without a lot of time.

Finish the Summer Challenge strong by getting double points at our Quickie Classes & our Coach’s Workouts.


Fall Challenge

We’ll begin our fall challenge on September 14th so come in before then to get your measurements.

You’ll be choosing at least one cardio goal, one strength goal, and one body composition goal.

More details coming soon!


Tactical Strength Challenge

IMG_2033 IMG_2027 IMG_2008

It’s back! October 31st, 2015, we’ll be competing again with the StrongFirst community.

Sign up here to get your training plan started. It’s $149 for 8 weeks of training plans and special training times to get you ready for the Challenge. We need to start testing and training before September 14th. If you plan to also participate in the Fall Challenge, these two challenges compliment each other well and there will be a discounted rate for those of you doing both challenges.

Sample Quickie Class

Our Quickie Classes are so much fun! They are the epitome of practicing what we preach:

Maximum Results. Minimum Time. 

It’s a 30-min class that consists of 5-min warmup, 20-min work, 5-min cool down & stretch.

Here’s what we did the other night:

Warm-up with up & down dogs, hip flexor stretches, & a couple chest openers

20-min of 15-sec on/15-sec off:
Choose any of the following, as you see fit:

  • 2-Handed Swing
  • Single-Arm Swing
  • High Pull
  • Snatch
  • Windmill or SLDL (if you need more rest/recovery)

Cool down & Stretch


Three Strong Ladies

Thanks for coming and braving the quickie, ladies!

Try this one at home if you have bells and let me know how it goes!



Train Smart. Be Strong. Live Balanced.

News & Events – July 22, 2015

Kettlebell Quickie

If you haven’t been to a quickie class, you have to try it. It’s 30 minutes of butt-kicking fun with kettlebells every Tuesday & Thursday at 5:30pm. Get even more work done in less time with this evening class. Try this class & get 2 punches in your Summer Challenge card!

Come Sweat With Us!

Come Sweat With Us!

Summer Challenge

It’s here and if you’ve been coming to class, you’re participating! Come to 25 classes before September 15th and get a water bottle and a chance to win more!

Bonus classes: Coach’s Workout & Kettlebell Quickie both worth 2 classes on your punch cards

News & Events – July 6, 2015

Summer’s Here!

Which means it’s time for our Annual Summer Challenge!


Summer Swings!

Attend 25 classes between July 1 & September 15 and receive a free NBKB water bottle and be entered into a chance to win your choice of either 1 Month Unlimited (up to a $150 value) OR a Personalized Training Program for the Tactical Strength Challenge ($149 value).


Coach’s Workout

We’ve added a new class to the schedule and we hope you’ll join us! It’s called Coach’s Workout and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:30am, come train alongside your coaches in an open gym setting as they take you through their very own workout! Class will include swings, cleans, squats, snatches, presses, and the turkish getup. Students should be proficient in all of these lifts however, the training will be modified to suit all levels.


Training Tip

Feeling stiff or achy during class? Feel like you need a massage? Ever tried the yamuna ball or foam roller? Come to class a little early & get some tips from your teacher on how to roll out some of those knots.

Better yet, try a YBR (Yamuna Ball Rolling) class with Kim, Thursdays at 10am. It’s a 1-hour guided full body massage. Best thing you’ll do all week.

Tactical Strength Challenge

What it is:

A competition that takes place every April & October with the worldwide StrongFirst community. The focus is on three types of training; max strength, bodyweight strength, and cardiovascular strength.

The lifts are:

Max Barbell Deadlift, Max Number of Kettlebell Snatches in 5min, and Max Number of Dead-hang Overhand Grip Pullups (or Flexed Arm Hang)

The challenge will take place at gyms around the world on April 11th, 2015.

We have a lot of people training for it. If you haven’t yet signed up… Click here to sign up for the training.

To compete on April 11th and get your official TSC t-shirt, go to StrongFirst’s Official TSC Website.

You’ll get homework & we’ll have times on the schedule set aside for you to come in to the gym to work on the lifts with me. We’ll go over Barbell Deadlift technique, snatch technique, and you’ll have planned training.

Email me at val@nbkettlebell.com with any questions about how to sign up and we’ll get started!



Train Smart. Be Strong. Live Balanced.


Why We Do What We Do

Kettlebells. Strength. Cardio. Running. Yoga. Barre. Spin. Barbells. Pilates.

What do you do to round out your routine?

Last post was about why you do what you do. And this one will talk about why we do what we do here at NBKB.


Why do we use kettlebells?

Gabby and I both found kettlebells in 2008 when we went to a workshop taught by Pavel (read more about him here). We fell in love with this kick-butt workout and wanted to learn more, so we got certified in 2009.


Why are classes 45-minutes?

Gabby & I both came from a traditional fitness world. Gabby more from group-exercise and bootcamps and myself from more strength training, Olympic lifting, and running. The funny thing is, we both had the same basic “workout routine” and it looked like this:
(1) get to the gym, (2) get on an elliptical, bike, treadmill, or stepmill for 20-min, (3) do your 60-min strength training routine, (4) walk on the treadmill for at least 10-min, (5) stretch for at least 10-min, (6) leave the gym after 90+min of training. And it worked! It got us the results we wanted.

But I was a trainer who basically lived in the gym, and some days it was tough for ME to get my full 90-minutes in. And I was hard-pressed to find a working person with a family and a life, who was able to spend 90-minutes in the gym 4-5 times every week. It’s just not all that feasible.

After Gabby & I found kettlebells, we trained with kettlebells the same way we were used to: 20-min warmup, 60-min kettlebells, 10-min walk, 10-min stretch. We were exhausted. And we were overtraining.

I know I wasn’t sleeping, I was gaining weight, and I was getting aches and pains everywhere from not recovering.

Then it hit me:

Try shorter workouts!


In the last 5 years, here’s what we’ve figured out (through trial and lots of error with our own training… you’re welcome!)

  • Warmup
    1. 5-10-min
    2. If your training is set up well, and you get your heartrate up in a smart way with your workout, your warmup doesn’t have to get your heartrate up
    3. Instead, you can focus on opening up your stiff joints and getting your body ready for the work that’s ahead
  • Workout
    1. 25-35min
    2. With kettlebells, and performing the dynamic moves dynamically (i.e. plank at the top of every swing or snatch, explosively driving hips back, quickly snapping forward and down through the floor with every rep, etc), and weaving these dynamic moves into your training, allows you to get the cardio you need, the rest you need, and get you in and out of here in under an hour.
    3. Focusing on form with every movement and really driving all of those ideas home will not only help you get a better workout, it’ll help you ‘stretch’ while you ‘strength train’. It’ll help you find your full range of motion and you’ll be working through that instead of just doing what ‘feels good’ to your body and what your body is used to. Forcing your body to find it’s end rages of motion and pushing through those barriers will help you get a more well-rounded fitness routine.
    4. A little secret… In our own training, a lot of times Gabby & I only train for 10-20-min. If you’re doing the right stuff, we’ve found that’s all we need to maintain! But we know you all want more. If you want less… ask us how!
  • Cooldown
    1. 5-10min
    2. We’re going to stretch while we bring our heart rate down.
    3. The beginning of our after-training stretches will be active. You will continue to move and slow your breathing and therefore your heart rate.
    4. We will finish with some traditional stretches to get deep into those warm muscles.


My apologies for the long explanation, but I feel it’s necessary.

We want you to know that we didn’t pick 45-minutes because we don’t want to work for a full hour. We picked 45-minutes because that’s what’s best for YOU! That will get you all the work you need without over-training.

The things we do in class have a reason.

Please ask us if we’re doing something that you don’t like or don’t understand why we’re doing it! (or fill out this survey here) Most of the time, we have a reason but if we don’t, your question will make us think and might make us re-consider what we’re doing.

It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.

This is an industry that is constantly changing and evolving and even though we do continuing education, we know that you have great ideas! One of our students is a massage therapist and former pilates instructor – I’ve stolen a lot of cues from her that work really well for our students. Another one of our students is our chiropractor and she’ll give us insight into the spine and cues to use to help people understand how they more a little more. Others just tell us what they like and don’t like and we make changes based on that! (ps- don’t tell us you don’t like plank… we’ll make you do more!)

We love to learn and we’re learning all the time.

Ultimately YOU are in charge of YOUR training and you should know why you’re training the way you are.

Thank you for trusting us with your fitness and your health. And if there’s anything we can do to make it better, please let us know!

Val & Gabby

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Have you thought about your fitness routine?

Ok, if you work out, you’ve probably thought about what class you’re going to next or when you’re going to get your next run in. But have you REALLY thought about WHY you’re going to that class or on that run?

Does it fit into your schedule?

Are you really good at that particular form of exercise?

Did someone tell you to do it?

why question abstract

I think about this a lot, especially when planning workouts and programs, but I came across a Facebook post the other day that really made me think more and get a little deeper.


Dr. Kathy Dooley is a chiropractor in New York City in a gym she co-owns called Catalyst SPORT. She is an anatomy instructor at two NYC medical schools. Her resume is absurd (you can see it here: www.drdooleynoted.com), but it also includes an SFG and a CKFMS. She knows her stuff, she’s smart, and she has a really clever blog that always makes me think.

Enough about my lady-crush on Dr. Dooley =)


Anyway, her most recent post was about who she sees as patients and this is what she said:

“Fitness is about moving well and then building stability and strength on a solid foundation.
But I rarely see this in a group fitness class.
I see people setting themselves up for discomfort.
I see people who are too flexible going to more yoga classes to stretch even more.
I see people who usually carry around a 20-lb handbag or 30-lb toddler, now lifting a 2-lb pink dumbbell as they sweat to some hip-hop music.
I see people who sit on the transit, just to sit at work all day, to sit on the train to the gym – to take a spin class – where they are sitting again.
I see faulty pushups, lazy crunches, and overhead pressing with immobile shoulders.
But I’m not watching their classes.
I see them in my office, getting treatment for their pain.
The problem with the class is that it’s not individualized for the needs of the client.”

She goes on to talk about how people do what they’re best at and end up getting better at those things, worse at the things they avoid, and more often than not, injured due to the lack of balance in their training. And she talks about personal and semi-personal training and how those two methods might be better for you.

We run group fitness classes, so why promoting a blog that’s criticizing the very thing we promote?

Well, for one, we do offer small group personal training as well, if that’s something you’re interested in.

But I’m also bringing this us because I think our group fitness classes different.

For one, our classes are small (up to 12 people, max) and we focus on FORM!

I know that is sometimes frustrating to people first trying us out.

Why do they care if I squeeze my glutes when I swing? I just want to sweat?!

We care because we want you to continue to train! We want you to get the most from your training session. And if you’re not squeezing your glutes at the top of the swing, you’re not protecting your back, your glutes aren’t getting the workout they could get, you’re not getting the power and therefore the cardio from the swing you should, and you’re going to leave without getting the most out of your training.

Our classes are great overall fitness for everyone. We have strength-based classes, cardio-based classes and we hit all body parts. And we cycle these classes around so no matter what days you decide to come, if you come for a month, you get a really great balance in your training.

In a later post, I’m going to talk more about why WE do what we do, so for now, take a couple days to think about your training regimen and why you make the choices you’re making with your training.


Train Smart. Be Strong. Live Balanced.

2015 Goals

We’re already into February so we’re checking in on your goals!

How are you doing with the goals you set for yourself in January? Have you written them down? Have you committed them to anyone? Have you committed them to yourself? Are you taking the necessary steps to reach your goal?


Let us help you!

I came up with a goal worksheet that’s been working for people who’ve put it to use.

Here it is:

SMART Goals Worksheet

Print it out. Fill it out. And ask us for help if you need it!

We’re here!



ps- I had some difficulty uploading the goal worksheet. So if you have trouble downloading…. please email me at trainwithval@mac.com and I’ll send you a copy of the goal worksheet!

January 7, 2015 – News & Events

Open House: Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Bring a friend and swing by the studio on Saturday night!

Share some wine, appetizers, and enter for a chance to win some really great prizes!

*** one free month of classes, personal training, t-shirts, & more! ***

It’s a post-holiday-party night to hang out, socialize, and we’ll do a little demo for your friends who haven’t yet tried kettlebells with us.

Some come by and kick off your Saturday night with us at the gym!


2015 Reset Challenge: Six weeks Starts January 12, 2015

Need a little reset after the holidays? Join the challenge!

  • One hour personal training session to work toward your specific goals
  • Measurements, weigh-in, & goal-setting/testing weeks 1 & 6
  • Nutrition guidance & support for the 6 weeks using the Whole30 program
  • Private Facebook group page for accountability, encouragement, and sharing in the journey
  • End of Challenge potluck to celebrate & swap healthy recipes
  • Cost: $129