Kettlebell Primal Flow w/ Eric Leija and Francheska Martinez
Connect w/ Eric: https://www.instagram.com/primal.swoledier/
Connect w/ Francheska: https://www.instagram.com/francheskafit/
Discount code for 8 Week Kettlebell Program: Miz10 http://bit.ly/3cn3HLr
Guys welcome back to the show. It's been a couple of years. And I remember the last time that you guys came on. I, it was so fresh to me seeing like the like animal flow, the mace war kettlebell stuff. And it's also interesting to think the perception that I had of you guys, like before we chatted, like I thought that you only used kettlebells and like that's how you got everything done. And as I've gotten to kind of learn from you guys from just watching over the years, it's like, okay, there's, there are some barbells involved. There's other stuff you guys mess around with. So I'm pumped to dive a little bit deeper into some of those methods today.
Sweet. Yeah. We definitely want to clear things up, let people know that we're not just the unconventional savages. We mix it up for sure. You know, you have to like, you know, use the right tools for, for what the goals are and our goals are constantly changing. So you gotta mix it up.
Yeah. Well, tell me about that because you did go through a bit of like you know, you were bulking for a little bit, right. And then now you're like super ripped. What was kinda how has the goal of all for you over the years?
Yeah, so, you know, starting out, I was, you know, fresh into coaching back in 2014, I'd always worked out. I was into MMA fighting. And so I was always pretty lean and ripped from working out all day, you know, two to three times a day, doing jujitsu, kickboxing conditioning, or workouts. And, you know, eventually, when I started coaching and I kind of maintain that same physique because I wanted to, you know, show people how to get lean. You know, most people would come into the gym, they want to get, get jacked, get shredded, solid, maintain that image. And, but I got to a point to where, you know, I was super lean, but you know, being in that caloric deficit all the time for, you know, years on end and not really giving my body like time to like recover and bounce back and kind of going on maintenance calories, I started losing muscle mass.
I started feeling like crap. And I just kinda, I flipped the switch to where I was just like, man, I'm tired of this. You know, I want to eat what I want to eat. I want to eat tacos. Like I'm Mexican. And like, I want to hang out with my grandma. I want to go do family stuff. I'll be that awkward person at the party who can't, you know, who has to say no to everything, you know, so that, you know, I had a problem on asleep, you know, but before I did that bulking, I had like a problem to all the super counting macros all the time and not giving myself, not really balancing it out to where I was still enjoying food. And so I ended up going in the opposite direction and going, I'm just going to bulk up and eat anything and everything and use this time to put on some more muscle mass since I was losing some muscle. So I did that and I just, I did it kinda like really bad to where I gained a ton of body fat.
I was just like, whatever like I haven't done this in years. I'm going to enjoy myself. And I got super fat again, it's on a muscle. But then by the time it came to, you know, I was like, Oh, I need to cut it down. Now I need to get lean again. It was just, it was a lot harder to lose all that body fat than it was to put it on. But since then, I've figured out a more balanced approach to, you know, body recomposition. And now I enjoy myself a lot more. I don't restrict myself from food. I don't count macros, you know, super like detailed as I used to now, I kind of have a more intuitive, you know, I did spend some time kind of relearning counting a little bit and then just kind of, you know, counting to where it finally became easier to just kind of eyeball things and I can fit in some more different types of foods. Like I eat carbs all the time now to help fuel my workouts. I used to try to be carbon-free that try to, you know, shred body fat, but that was dumb as a mistake I ever made because I was training so hard. I needed that fuel for my body. And now that I take a more balanced approach, I'm still lean, but I'm strong and I'm happy, you know, we still go out to eat. We go to parties now. So it's like, life's a lot more fun.
I love it. We're going to bookmark that because I want to hear a little bit more about what worked and then what really didn't because you have that insight, but how about you Francesca what's, how's your how have your goals, Walt, did you also jump on this bulking train or were you kind of a little bit different?
I was on the sidelines giving him the side-eye the whole time and nasty comments, but no, I think just from the time that I first stepped into the gym, I've gone from, you know, trying to focus on just like, you know, recompete my body to focusing on like mud races and always having like a, you know, a physical goal, like always trying to do a race or do this many miles running. So I think I've transitioned from having more like quantitative goals, goals to having more qualitative goals. So now I'm thinking less like, okay, how many miles can I do or less, so how much can I press? Or how much can I deadlift to how, how good I feel? So I think my biggest goal now is just to like, be in good health, to be, you know, a good functioning human, to be able to squat without pain and hinge without pain and, you know, just being able to move well. That's me, I think my new goal and I think I've been here for a little bit. I think the last time we talked I think I had a similar goal, but yeah, definitely not all about the aesthetic anymore. Aesthetics important, but I'm more about feeling good.
Yeah. I want to know like, cause I know we started this talking about like how, okay. I thought you guys did like Eric, you did kettlebells only, and Francesca, you did animal flow and that was like your jam. Right. and, and I, I want to hear more about the different things that you guys do, I guess, throughout the week and how these pieces fit in. But do you guys know anybody who is like a hundred percent all in, into one of these methods? Like let's say animal flow or mace work or kettlebells and like that's all they utilize?
No, not really. Yeah.
Toss it. I mean, it's really interesting. Cause it's like sometimes from like watching, you know Instagram or seeing feeds and how it's all like you know, focused around one methodology, you can kind of be like, okay, this is how this person did it, but it's, it's great to hear that there's a lot more behind the scenes going on. So what are you, what do you guys, what are you guys doing? Cause outside of just kettlebell flows and animal flow, what are some of the other, I guess training methodologies or, or pieces of equipment that you're kind of involving?
Recently I've been biking a lot. I have a gravel bike, so I go off-roading and on the trails, I rode a bike. That's been one of my main sources of cardio in the mornings cycling a lot of fun. You know, I used to run a lot. I still run, you know, once or twice a week, but cycling right now is my jam. It's a lot easier on the joints and it's a lot more fun, you know, feeling the breeze while you're riding through the streets. Super dope. But besides that, I also do, you know, barbell training two or three times a week, and we, I do kettlebells and animal flow, the same thing two or three times a week, mixing that in. So, you know, it's a pretty, pretty good balance. The only thing I want to get back into that I haven't been doing is martial arts training. Yeah. For me, that's like the best, most like the best way to stay athletic and get really jacked. Right. Super shredded. When I do martial arts classes.
Is there an animal flow, right? Is there something where I don't know the name of the move that you were doing, but it was like, kind of like like you were bringing the knee up as if you were kind of hitting like a pad? Right. So it's like a, I dunno, a knee kick or a crunch or something like that. You did a burpee and then you went into like a high knee kick and it looked like you were kind of doing some type of kickboxing.
That's where we totally create like a little, like, we don't know what to call it yet. So we'll just call it like a primal movement hybrid. Cause there is an animal flow move at the bottom. Like you're doing like a kind of like a sprawled position come up, but that's kind of, we've totally jagged it or call it a knee strike. You know, we don't really give it a fancy name. We just combine, you know, some combat moves some punches. We would do some like punches in our new program. Some me some kicks. I love that, man. Just because you know, doing striking is for me is super fun. You know, I feel like you're fighting and you also you're moving in different ranges. So it's adding to what you're already doing with the animal flow and with the kettlebells, just not under load, you know, you don't have to be on the ground on your, on your wrists. You don't have to have a kettlebell. You're just moving around super dynamically. So it's a good way to Jack your heart rate up while moving like a Ninja. I don't mean this in any pompous way at all. This is totally coating another person, but someone messaged me the other day. And they said that they think that like Eric and I are like the Bruce Lee of fitness, just because we were like, there's no line in between one discipline and another, you know, you mix martial fitness.
That's a great place to be, you know? Cause I think like that's where there's a lot of learning that happens too because traditionally it's like you have one discipline that people mastered and they taught and it got passed on. And sometimes, you know, mentally, you can also gravitate towards that. Like I love kettlebells, that's my jam. Right. But then when you explore barbell training and then you do a little bit of animal flow, there's probably a cool transfer. That happens. Have you guys noticed that at all, like from doing martial arts to maybe animal flow to mace work, do they, do they kind of meet in the middle in some way? Like if you notice that?
I think so. Yeah, for sure. I feel like, you know, using kettlebells and unconventional training, helps you become more aware of your body. And if we talked about this last time, but you work, you know, different, you know, grips and ready positions that work different muscles that you probably wouldn't normally feel when you're using questionable equipment. So this helps you kind of become stronger in different ranges, different positions. And so that way, when you pick up a barbell, you feel a lot stronger because you're more aware of all those little muscles that you wouldn't normally feel if you were only doing conventional training. So it translates super well. Actually, you know, I took a couple of years where I was doing mostly kettlebells and hardly touched a barbell and I was just focusing on just kettlebell training and my martial arts. And I was able to give my joints a break.
My back used to hurt a lot from doing heavy squats and heavy deadlifts. And so after I came back to incorporating barbells more regularly, I felt a lot stronger in my lifts is because I was more aware of my posture muscles, meaning my posterior all, all muscles that were, I felt like I activated more when I was using unconventional tools. And so, yeah, I think it has a huge carryover to making you stronger all around instead of just, and you know, single ranges of motion, you know, going, pressing up and down, pulling, you know, vertically horizontally, you know, pulling from different angles can help you, you know, make your fundamentals lot stronger as well.
So you know how, like if you do, let's say a 15-minute flow of some sort, kind of a flow, you like your breath will get going. It'll feel like a bit of a cardio-type stimulus. Right. but I guess if you go, you know, you go heavy enough and it will also you'll get kind of a strength stimulus there too. How have you guys viewed it in terms of when you're doing a kettlebell flow in the rest of your session or the rest of your training, where does it traditionally fit in? Are you, is the flow the warmup? Is that your conditioning?
Exactly. Yeah, for me, I cuddle flows. If I'm doing like a strength training session, you know, obviously the main part of the meat of my meat and potatoes of my workout that day is probably going to be, you know, squats, deadlifts or a bench press, you know, the primary lifts or traditional stuff to help me, Matt go maximally heavy and focus on maximum strength, but for the warm-ups I to get dynamic, to get everything firing on all cylinders before I get under the bar. So for me doing the kettlebell flows a good way to get the full-body juiced up and yeah, I'll use it for warmup or I'll even use it as a conditioning finisher, you know, cause for my, my straight workouts and, you know, high-intensity barbell sessions where I do all those conventional lists, I like to kick it off with a solid, full-body warmup and a full-body conditioning finisher. So that's usually where a kettle Buffalo fits in. Otherwise, I'll do a full workout. That's just conditioning-based, all kettlebell flows, animal flow, and body-making kettlebells. So that's how I tease it.
How long do you, not that there's a hard line obviously, but like, do you do 15-minute flows, five-minute flows, like one flow of X amount of movements. What's your sweet spot that you find where you can kind of maybe get into a flow state. You can also like reading and all that good stuff.
Yeah. It depends on how I'm feeling, but usually, you know, I used to keep it super structured. I'll do conditioning, like a protocol to where I'll do 60 seconds work, 60 seconds rest or 90 seconds work, 60 seconds fresh and a little bit less rest or really challenged myself. But that's not where I'm trying to reach that full state. That's what I'm just trying to do a full-body movement with the kettlebell flow and I'll keep it structured to those, those segmented times, all the, if I'd really go for those longer five-minute flows to where I'm just kind of fooling around doing all kinds of moves and not really focusing on, you know, keeping even reps on both sides and just looking for that flow stage on a, get in the zone, all I'll do like five minutes up to 10 minutes where I'm just moving around. I even put the kettlebell down and do some bodyweight moves and find that flow state. But usually, I'll do 30 max 92nd intervals.
In between, or if I'm doing like the 32nd intervals, incorporate some bodyweight moves in there, as animal flow moves like a little circuit and so different methods, but just depends on how I'm feeling that day.
Totally. And is it the same for you Francesca? Do you kind of follow a similar protocol or do you, you know, does it fit differently into your whole schedule?
I think it fits a little bit differently for me. Eric is just built differently and he can just start going hard at the beginning of the workout, to him it's easy. And to me, I'm like
I got a warm-up
Person, so I, you will never see me doing a cut of all flu as a warmup usually. But I like to, I usually, I like to put them in, in my strength workouts when I'm feeling crunched for time. That's one of my favorite ways. So I think a lot of times I catch myself thinking like, man, I want to add in a push and pull and a little bit of leg work, but I don't have enough time. So I'm like, all right, strength, keto, Buffalo. So I'll do maybe like a clean and a row to some presses and maybe add in like a deadlift or some swings to like hit the posterior chain. But that's usually how I like to program mine. I do add them in as like the, into like the last quarter of my workout, like right before I'm about to decompress.
I'll do a strength flow for everything that I felt like I was missing in my workout. And then I'm Mo my mobility days, especially if I want a little bit of extra aspect of strength as well. I'll just like to add on a kettlebell and do some, my mobility moves. Maybe even I like to do recently, I've been doing a lot of like the ground to standing type of work. So just like any type of movement flow to get you to know, from the ground up with some resistance has been a fun one. Yeah. So more goal-oriented, I think is usually my thing. Like for usually strength or mobility.
That's pretty cool. And, and do you find that when you, cause obviously when you push heavy on a barbell movement, like you can drift into the fives and the threes and the ones, how do you guys, what's a heavy rep range for you guys when it comes to kettlebells? If you're going for kind of a strong effect?
Yeah. Like three knives. Yeah. It's hard to find, you know, something that's going to challenge you for one rep unless you're doing single-leg movements. But for Mo like you can do like a one-arm press. It's really heavy Bulgarian, but
It's like, you also got to figure out a way to get it up.
A little more complex. The three to five rep range is a great power for me when I do, or if it were going to be in the one rep range. I think what would be good is an ISO. Cause I know sometimes I'll like challenge myself with like a bottoms-up hold and like, that's, that's all I can do. All I can do is hold it. So let's count Turkish, get up, you know, stuff that's super challenging for one rep, you know? So stuff like that. It's funny.
Yeah. It's funny you guys bring up ISO work cause I'm curious about kettlebells and even animal flow, sometimes it can, there's a lot of it looks dynamic, right. There's a lot of bending. There's a lot of jump in or move in and you know to, to counterbalance that I'm sure ISO work is awesome. How much of it do you guys traditionally do? And are you using kettlebells with it too? Like you're doing kettlebell as you said, bottoms uphold and things like that.
I don't think I do enough isometric work honestly, but I do try to do it with like the bottoms upholds and more so with like traditional, like kinesthetics moves more so than the animal flow, but yeah, I'm trying to think of something. I think we, I focus more on tempo than I do isometrics.
Got it. Yeah. So, and by that, do you mean like doing like your, you get your ISO by doing pauses and the bottom of a squat or something? That's smart. Okay. You're killing two birds with one stone there.
Isometric stuff a lot. I like doing isometric rows or inverted rows on a barbell or TRX like isometric pull-ups. But with the cuddle belt, the only isometrics to really do, or like if I'm doing progressive progressions on a Turkish, get upholding, you know, all the various positions for holds and bottoms up holes that we're talking about. But yeah, you know, I, I like to mix them in, into my conditioning days or, or my warmups when I'm doing, you know, warming up for a lift. But yeah, they definitely have a place in my programming depending on the goal for the day.
I want to talk a little bit about animal flow because that one really fascinated me. The last time we talked, I was really you know, the sidekicks the ruse, the lateral apes. Like I got some of the movements down, got to explore them. How has that, let's say discipline evolve over the years. Like, are there new movements you guys are playing around with and coming up with that you would consider animal flow movements, or has your mindset change in terms of how you incorporate it into what you're doing at all?
Yeah, I think the way that the system itself has evolved like I think things have become more sophisticated, you know, like there, I think people are realizing that you know like body types are different. So I think with the teaching system that there are different progressions and let's say like the crowd reach there are ways to make them crab each more and more progressive depending on whatever your fitness level is. But I think for me, I think I've just become more open-minded and realize that you know, how we were talking about in the beginning, you can actually add an animal flow with some kettlebell moves and add it in with some way time moves. So I think a lot of times when we learn animal flow, we become very rigid with our thought and we think like, okay, we can only match a sidekick through with like another movement similar, but in reality, you know, you can do like a jujitsu roll or you can get up and, you know, do like a plyometric exercise after.
So to me, I really just started to embrace it as movement and really just, you know, kind of being more open-minded and kind of just free-flowing with what I can combine it with. So instead of combining animal full with the animal flow, I'll combine animal flow with a little bit of modern dance, you know? Yeah. That's really cool. You know, animal flow is a system that has pretty rigidly defined, moves that the creator Mike Fitch kind of, he comes up with. And so out of respect, you know, we don't like try to make things up and call them animal flow right now because, you know, he has, he's super specific about what's animal flow. So we're doing is just kind of coming up with moves that we just called a movement, you know, it's, there's nothing fancy about it. It's just stuff that we like to do and things that make sense for our bodies and that feel good.
And for a while, a lot of people that aren't familiar with you know, like credible sports training, or aren't familiar with like unconventional tools or animal flow, they're like, what is it that you guys do? And for a while, we're like, you know, there's no name to it. And I think we've started leaning into that more because it's a super non-dogmatic way of looking at movement. You know, like it doesn't matter if you're a breakdancer, a soul, a surfer, a Yogi a CrossFitter, you know, everybody moves and I think leaning into it more from like a huge, like a human perspective of like, we need this for health, I think kind of invites more people to be more open-minded to movement. So I know some people that are strictly barbell lifters, they're like, ah, these people are break dancing, like monkeys. It's like, actually it's great for your body. And it feels good. And, you know, just try it.
I really like how you guys write your stuff too. Like when you guys put out videos and whatnot like I don't know. Did you, you normally don't have like names attached to them. It's kind of like move one. Okay.
That's what I do. I do move one too. It's so smart. Cause I'm tired of arguing with people what's Dan's role or this is a kickstand. [inaudible] Totally want to try it, try it out, man. You probably.
Get do you get a lot of that? Like people kind
Of fighting on my, in my comments section, I guess it's good for him, but I got tired of trying to argue with people. Right.
I feel like you can get more creative that way, because like, you don't have to lock yourself in to like, how do I articulate what this is? It's like, Hey, watch me and try to follow. And, and I'm sure you slow it down or whatever, and there are ways to regress it. But you can, like you were saying, you can mix things a little more interestingly, like, I didn't even think about what was the type of dance you just said, like a dance movie with modern dance. Okay. So w so there's Kickbox right now, there was like Moya Thai kickboxing that you guys have incorporated in their modern dance. What are some other things that you found that are starting to work well? Are you, are you, you said jujitsu. W what, like, I find that cool, because like, I may not go to a full-on jujitsu class, but like getting exposure through watching you do it is probably something I might do. Especially if it fits in and it gets my heart rate up and all those good things. So yeah. What are some of your favorites right now in terms of, unconventional?
I'm always inspired by, like, that's one of my cause I also used to breakdance. So for me, I feel like break dancing and Capoeira. I have an awesome spot in my heart. And I feel like that influences a lot of like, just the combinations that I do. I'm for sure. Influenced a lot by wrestling. There's a lot of stuff that I'll see wrestlers do, and I'm like, Oh, I want to do that. So wrestling for sure.
As in like professional wrestlers or are we talking like, [inaudible] I like to incorporate the rock bottom into my flow.
That's amazing. I do. I do also feel like when I, cause you guys to seem, you've been working out in, in your garage a little more and it looks like you've, you've hooked it up and you've got some new toys and stuff in there. But in the background, you have like your dragon ball Z posters and stuff. And it's so funny. Cause like dude, you actually, when you're like jacked and ripped, you actually look kind of like a dragon ball, Z character.
Hell yeah. You know, watching dragon balls because they don't want to look like that. Like a super sad. Right, right. That's amazing experimenting with putting on and get, you know, trying to get more muscle cause those guys are swole. But just taking my time now, I'm not rushing into trying to bulk up, put on 40 pounds in three months. Now I'm taking my time going with the seasons and enjoy my life and putting on a healthy amount of muscle, you know, in a healthy way. So it's been good, man. I feel strong, stronger, so Riverbed and getting lean again for the summer, you know, while maintaining size. So it's been great.
Yeah. You guys hit on that earlier. You, you, you use the term recomposition right. What is something like doing it the right way versus doing it in a way that was, you know, whatever it brought on some side effects or things that you didn't want to what have you found when just from experimentation there?
Just taking my time and, you know, playing with my macros, the amount of food that I'm eating, and trying different protocols like carb cycling. Like I've been trying that by doing five days of low carbs, but not like no carbs, just low carbs and eating my carbs around my training sessions and for breakfast. And that's been great. I've been doing five days, low carbs and two to the carb. Refeeds on the weekends on Saturday Sunday, and it's been amazing. You know, I've been able to slowly lose weight and lose body fat while maintaining muscle because I'm not depriving myself seven days a week of no like zero carbs all off all month long, every single day and getting into a bad mood, getting hangry, you know, more I can, you know, add those carbs back in on the weekend before my, my muscles started, you know, become catabolic and start wasting away, you know?
So I've been able to maintain a lot of muscle while staying fueled and it's been awesome, you know before I would do no carbs, very little carbs to get in my car from vegetables. You know, now I eat carbs in the morning for breakfast and then carbs, post-workout, and a few carbs throughout the day with my other meals. And it's been awesome, man, you know, but that's, what's been working for me, you know, everybody's got different, you know, there's all types of diets that work for everybody, you know? So you just gotta see what works for you. And carb cycling has been working great for me because I get to kind of reward myself throughout the day and even on the weekends. So it's been awesome.
Yeah. And as somebody that's just watched him go through all of these transitions and just kind of like watching like a zoo animal go crazy, like in an experiment pretty much honestly way happier. I think just taking the approach of slow and steady and I think for anybody, I think that's great advice like slow and steady and just don't do anything extreme, you know, focus on sleep and like hydration and good foods. Cause I think, yeah, watching, watching people go through the like ebbs and flows of figuring out what works for them is very hard, but I think everybody ends up to the same conclusion of like slow and steady is usually the best.
Yeah. Setting realistic goals. You know, knowing that I can't put on 10, 15 pounds of, you know, healthy weight in a month or like pound to maybe a pound a week, you know, maybe even a month for me, I've been losing weight at about to two pounds a month, you know, two to three pounds a month. And that's, I feel amazing, you know, I'd rather take it too slow instead of crash dieting and feeling like crap. I've been taking my time and I'm a lot happier and I'm reaching my goals. It takes a little bit longer, but it's a lot more sustainable, you know, especially when I hit my goal. I know that I'm not just going to balance back.
Because I'll be able to maintain that for a little bit and then slowly, you know, add those calories back in, find my maintenance calories and just, you know, find a new, a new state of homeostasis to where I feel good. And no, it's just about taking it slow and that's been a hard lesson to learn, but I learned it. I feel like I'm still learning it and it's been good, man. Well, I slept better.
That's great, man. Did you, do you guys have you found any recipes or meals or shakes that you're like, this has made your life easier? As you've been the following kind of you know, this more intuitive style of eating.
I eat pasta like four times a week, but the trick is, is that I avoid it doesn't have anything that you're a taped me. So I'm like, I think like most people, I try to cut down how much meat and how much dairy I eat. So it's chickpea pasta. So it's packed with fiber-packed with complex carbs and fat and protein. And then any type of like lean meat for the most part. Or we eat a lot of red meat here too, but just any ground type of meat or for anybody that's vegetarian, you can do it like lentils or TOEFL or other beyond the type of meats. But yeah, essentially the bonds of pasta are what I've been eating. So the chickpea pasta with me and tomato sauce with a lot of veggies. So like jalapenos and garlic and onions and bell peppers, like lots and lots of veggies and usually with a salad on the side.
Fantastic. I can literally live off of that. I pretty much eat it for lunch and dinner too. It's kind of paramedic kinda stock up on that pasta and that meets the go-to quick recipe that has made life easier for me is tuna salad as classic, a couple 10 cans of tuna, some, a promo kitchen Chipola Mayo, I'll throw in some raisins in there, some chives jalapenos, all good stuff, onions, garlic. And you've been doing it on a lettuce wrap, right? Yeah. And I'll even do like little lettuce wraps or like a little like taco because the lettuce romaine lettuce, romaine lettuce, those really long ones, skinny ones. I'll go, I'll fill those up with tuna salad, like a tuna taco.
That's great, man. I love that. I wanna I forgot to ask you this, but when it comes to like the circle back kettlebell stuff, but do you guys have any testers that you look at either for yourselves or with people in terms of like, I know, I know there's like I dunno if it's the, like the kettlebell certifications or if it's just a, you know, there's like a challenge or something that everybody does and, and there's specific standards, a weight you use, how many swings you do, what are some of those things that you've evolved or you found for yourself that works well in terms of maybe gauging somebody's starting point and using it to kind of come back and see how you've grown?
Yeah, I think for us it's more so kind of going back to what we talked about in the beginning, I going less straying away from like repetitions and quality or quantifying something more to quality, like the quality of something. So instead of how many reps we could do is something we're more so looking at like the technique. So we're very, very big into movement technique all about like if you're doing a clean the clean is an amazing movement, just to tell it tells so much about a person, like it tells if they're creating the power from their legs, if they're actually using the technique to get the weight up. Right. So we could use the same movement over and just kind of like compare it to their last one. And I think that's a great way to kind of tell where somebody's zap, where their progress is going, and if they've actually mastered a movement correctly.
Yeah. It definitely depends on, you know, what the goal for the challenges, the client, you know, whether they're trying to lose weight or whether they're trying to get stronger done fully depends on that. And whether it's like they're looking for straight, obviously we'll test their strike doing something, you know, like a deadlift or how many pull-ups they can do. If it's a beginner client, how many goblets squats it can do with a certain kettlebell and then test them against those same criteria later on. But one that I really liked that we learned from Dr. John Russon is like how many goblets squats you can do with half your body weight without, yeah, that's super challenging myself, but I, I did it with a lot of my clients and they loved it and it worked really well to help test their strength, you know, starting, you know, the first week and then on week five, try it again. And it was a great, great test that people loved.
Yeah. I mean, it's simple and it gives you something that like, I'm sure six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks later, you come back to, and it gives you kind of a frame of reference for, you know, how things have kind of come along.
Exactly. Yeah. So stuff like that, like Jessica was saying, for the most part, you know, since we focus on a more holistic approach to training, we'd like to focus on the quality of movement and making sure they're actually doing quality reps because anybody can bang out a hundred snatches with really crappy form. If they're doing a really clean technique, that's what we're looking for. Like when I have my right now, I've been taking out a lot more new clients and, you know, things are easing enough and people are more comfortable with the training. So with my new clients, I always kind of just put them through a super, super basic protocol. So I have them do an isometric, which is a plank. I have them do push pool, squat, and hinge. And usually like super, very, very lightweight, but it's all about focusing on the movement. Like, are they creating the tension? Where should be, you know, are they radiating tension? How's their grip, what's their joint positioning. Like, you know, are they using their scaps to pool? What's their neutral spine looking like? So that's for sure what we're looking for.
Those are kind of the qual more of the qualitative things that you're looking at, you mentioned tension and creating tension. That feels really important like that. I know when it comes to like doing, you know, cars and things like that, shoulder cars, hip cars, it's, it's all dependent on how much tension you can create. And it's, it's almost something like, I guess you, you can, somebody, if you're watching, you can be like, all right, the person is doing it or not, but sometimes it's more like it could look okay on camera, but really that person might just be going through the motions and not creating tension. How, how do you maybe teach it or look for it in, in a way that gets across to somebody like, Hey, this is how you're supposed to create tension.
I think it's one of those things. That's very individualized and mostly just cause there are so many ways to teach somebody. Cause for a lot of people, sometimes you just got to teach them like some people are, they're very easy to communicate to. So some people would just tell them, make a fist and squeeze all your muscles. And they're radiating tension like crazy. Like they've done it a million times. And then there are some people that I feel like, especially people that have been working out for a very long time and have more of like a, a dance background for those people. It's so hard because they're able to disassociate one part of their body from the next. So it's hard to keep that full-body tension. So for some somebody that's having a hard time while even go down to like using an analogy with them, you know, that like if you have a guitar string that the tar string if it's loose, you don't hear it.
You know, the guitar string has to be taught. So really it's super individualized, but anywhere from, you know, the fist and just squeeze everything to kind of going more into visualizations of like a guitar string. Yeah. What about you, she's talking about like when you're using kettlebells, your innate intention, when you're squeezing the bell first, we teach them to grip the bells as hard as you can feel those forearms light up. And then we teach them after that to fuel the grip, light up the forearms, and then flection packs squeeze your lats. Then after that, you know, brace your core, squeeze your hips, tuck your pelvis, and then split the ground apart, activate your legs. Your quads, you know, are working your way from, you know, the center of the bell from where you start holding the weight to the rest of the body.
And, you know, muscle group by muscle group is a great way to learn to irradiate tension throughout the whole body and others, you know, the cue must like joint-specific cues, like, you know, trying to get them to activate the hips or the glutes around the hips, by, you know, learning to split the ground apart and, you know ripping the ground, you know, trying to, you know, as you said, it's very individualized and just kind of seeing where that person's at and what they need help with. But for the most part, I'm using that and breath breathing using your core, you know, starting from the sensor out is a great way to do it, you know, using the breath.
Yeah. It seems like with kettlebells it's a little bit easier maybe to learn how to create tension because it's an external object and it's like, it's something outside of you that you can like, you know, you can feel this object versus what I remember when you guys actually were in San Francisco and I was doing, you were Francesca, you were teaching me how to do like the claw quadrupedal crawl and the reverse quadrupedal crawl. And I had done it several times before you taught me. But the way you showed me was definitely different in the sense that it was very tight, very, very, like extremely small movements, like the tension that I could feel and like my quads and my hamstrings, even from being in a quadrupedal crawl because I'm talking like two-inch steps, but they're, everything is on. Like, I can feel my obliques firing and all that good stuff. So it seems like animal flow, it's even more important to know how to create tension because there's so much subtlety, I think.
Yeah. And especially the way that they designed the movement practice, a lot of the moves too. It's like, you're moving, but you're trying to create the illusion that you're not moving. So you're trying even harder to like, and squeeze, you know?
Yeah. That's, you're right. That's exactly what it is. It's like, you're trying to create the illusion that you're not moving. So, which is what makes it hard. Do you find that the obliques are, how, how, cause I noticed you got there's a lot of anti-rotational work and unilateral work that's going on across all of this stuff? Right. Mace work, animal flow kettlebells. How do you feel like the obliques for you kind of that, that body part, do you feel like they're pretty well-developed because you guys just are always doing that. And how do you see maybe with newer clients who come into your door? You know, does a lot of that cause obviously like having strong obliques will help you with you know, not getting injured and, and producing more force in certain areas. And that's just something, I guess for me personally, that is usually a little bit harder to engage or has been in the past. So I'm just more aware of it. And maybe that's why I'm asking the question. But do you, do you notice that at all, like oblique development or core development overall being kind of something that is one of the biggest benefits of the style of training guys do?
Yeah, I think so. I feel like, especially with all the Carling movements, like you were mentioning, like trying not to wobble to one side, do you feel a lot on that?
It's like a contralateral plank where you do like one, you know, one arm is up and the opposite leg is up and you're kind of trying to hold that position. That's how I felt when I think like they're called limb lifts, right? Quadrupedal limb lifts where you lift one hand or maybe I guess one arm and one leg off the floor, but you're just holding the position and trying not to like wobble or shake or up here like you're out of line in any way.
Absolutely. And it's funny that you mentioned the leaks because I have a little bit of scoliosis, so I'll just like naturally always have some imbalances at like, you know, there'll be there. You don't have much as I want them to be, you know, the same thought for sure what my right side will always be stronger. But my oblique on my left, man, I've been trying so hard to get that one stronger and it's like the stronger my left one gets the stronger my white, my right one gets I'll never catch up.
That's so funny. Yeah, I mean you know, what's crazy is like for me, because I had a hip and back injury before, that's something I'm just more aware of is because and then also doing a CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting for several years. It's a very, you know, there wasn't as much one-sided work that I did back in the day when I was doing it. So I definitely noticed it. And I'm just more aware of it and watch it when I view movement. So I'm a big fan of all the single arm and single leg stuff that you guys do. Not just because it can be done with like one kettlebell, but the fact that like, it just teaches you a different type of awareness, I think, than a double arm or double leg work sometimes does.
Yeah, I think you mentioned it before, but to everybody who's not super familiar with the term anti-rotation I feel like you completely hit it with anti-rotation because, and especially when we teach movement, you know, there's like counter-rotation, but then there's anti-rotation, which is a little bit different from the counter-rotation. So it's really trying to, I feel like counter-rotation, you're trying to create a force opposing the rotation, but then in the anti-rotation there's I don't, I don't even know what's the difference, but you feel the difference? I don't understand the difference, but I feel.
Right. Is it more like actual rotation versus resisting rotation? Is that, is that it so like, for example, like a Russian twist is like you're actually actively rotating versus you know, something like I guess a single-arm kettlebell, like bent-over row is more anti-rotational because you're not like actually twisting or anything like that.
Kind of completely fight that twist. Yeah.
Okay. Very cool. Awesome guys. We'll I have one more question before we, start to wrap up and I'm curious to somebody who likes is entering the world of what you would call, let's say unconventional training, they've done a lot of barbell work. They've done a lot of the traditional stuff, but they're now attracted to kettlebells and exploring this different style of movement. What's like what are some things you guys recommend to get your foot in the door? Because it is like a whole new world when you edit and you, when you learn about animal flow or kettlebell flow, there's a lot of videos, a lot of stuff out there that you can do. How do you kind of get your foot in the door and start to just utilize this in a way that will holistically fit into the rest of what you're doing?
I think the best way to do it is definitely, you know, it's a hire a coach, that's the best thing, you know, somebody who's experienced and they can keep an eye on you and really teach you the ins and outs. But if that's not accessible there are tons of sources online, free stuff on YouTube like you were saying, but we also have our own fundamentals courses. She has her bodyweight course, or she teaches you a lot of animal flow. And I have my kettlebell course where I teach you all the fundamentals of kettlebell training. So those are good entry points. You know, there are lower price points instead of having to pay a coach per hour, you can hit up our courses and learn pretty much all the ins and outs. And it's a good place to start for sure. Just because there's a lot of intricacies that go into the type of training that we do and you want to make sure you're doing it in the safest way possible. And I think we do a good job of teaching you that foundation and the fundamentals to get you to, you know, doing all that fancy stuff.
Yeah. Especially when there's like a lot of that work can be dynamic and fast-paced and moving. I always, I always think it's fascinating when I think of like I dunno, like my mom, or like my sister or somebody who like, doesn't do any of this at all, but like they were too. It's like how, you know, how would you ease them and progress them into being able to even let's say, do a swing, right? Let alone like a kettlebell clean or something like that. So I find the progression super interesting. And it seems like you, I mean, you guys teach it to live in your workshops and seminars and stuff, so that's really cool. So you guys have captured that online as well.
Yeah. I will teach you all the progressions that it takes to learn how to pick the belt from the floor up into your rack position, all the way to doing rotational stuff overhead. So we will break it all down for you really focusing on nailing down a strong foundation. As you said, we want, you know, grandmas and moms, sisters to do this stuff without hurting themselves.
Yeah. Amazing. And do you tell me about programs or what do you have where like, or do you have anything where you can jump in and there's like, Hey, do this, do that, move one, move to move five.
Yeah. We're actually launching our first program together, which is a little bit more intermediate and advanced, but it's going to have resources that breakdown some of those more difficult movements, teaching people the fundamentals so they can jump right in and do those, those fun workouts. But that's coming up March at T baby. By the time this podcast is out, our program's going to be available and it's going to be super fun, but we're also working on a beginner and a beginner entry-level program. So that'll be launching soon as well. And that's going to be for anyone and everybody who wants to start, you know, jumpstart their, their fitness using unconventional tools.
That's exciting. What, what, what would you say is the difference, or how will you maybe define intermediate and advanced versus beginner? Like.
Definitely less rotation on movements in the beginner because you know, we feel like you need to earn the right to rotate. So that's making sure you have a sound foundation, a good understanding, and awareness of your body before you started doing super dynamic stuff on the beginner program. Nothing will be fast-paced. There won't be any high-impact or won't be rotational, no power. It'll all be more, more controlled static movements, static and fluid. Not so much dynamic because we realize the thing that's like our, our criteria, or our spectrum.
I like that. Yes. You said static fluid.
Yeah. That's how we like to teach, you know, and the certifications that I teach and in my, my, my kettlebell course, I teach you how to, you know, hold static positions only like if you're doing kettlebell cleans, what do you, what do you have to do before you start cleaning the belt into the ride? But they'll learn how to hold the bell in the rack position first. So we teach you to cheat, clean it with two hands, bring it into that rack position, hold a static rack, becoming aware of how to posture up with the bell in this position, learning to own, and fighting that rotation. Don't let the bell-pull you all over the place before you learn how to pull the belt up into the rack. There's a little bit more fluid. And then you become more dynamic where you use your full body to explosively, get it up. So, you know, it's all about taking people and owning the fundamentals. And that's what our beginner program is going to be like, you know, static and fluid. And then that way they can build that strong foundation to be able to do the more dynamic workouts in the more advanced programs.
Could you give me like for the fluid one, right? What what are some movements that might fit into that? If, whether it's an animal flow or catabolic flow, I think you mentioned like a row into a clean, that's not quite using your full body, that'd be fluid. Are there any other ones that come to mind for you?
I think like if we were going to break down like a credible swing first, you would learn how to like, hold the, hold the hand and hold the top of the position. And then for fluid, we would do like a, you can do like a deadlift to teach it or a chest loaded swing, which is, or like a chest loaded hinge. You take a kettlebell, hold it to your chest, into your sternum. And you pull the cowbell into your, your sternum as your hinges. And yeah, kind of like you're doing a good morning, that's a fluid hinge, you know, and then you become more dynamic by doing an explosive chess-loaded swing. Before we go to arms extended to do a four, four long slang, it's kind.
Of like an air squat versus jumps.
So an isometric squat holds at different levels. And then we'll teach you how to do for a range of motion squat while owning your posture, not losing your spine learning to hold the kettlebell in the rock. If you're loaded, you don't try to keep that neutral spine as best you can, you know, doing that in a fluid squat before doing like a squat jump or an explosive deadlift, you know, things that are a more dynamic movement that requires, you know, so they're more dynamic. So anything you can do with what are some other moves? Well, the snatch is kind of like the clean, the dynamic, even teach the rack position first. And then we would teach like a really solid press. Yeah. Well, that one's harder to teach, but.
Yeah, there's a lot going on in that To me. And it's like, okay, push up versus let's say, apply. I'll push up. Right. Or, or you can do that with any pattern, really. How do you, how, what can you expect in terms of, let's say if you sign up, how many sessions are in a week, and how long is each as each session?
Yeah. So most of our programs, our new promo full program is going to be five sessions a week, three high-intensity sessions where you're doing tons of, you know, dynamic kettlebell flows and bodyweight moves. And then two training sessions a week where it's mobility base. Some days you use a cuddle bell to do some low-intensity mobility drills that we liked with the kettlebell and some days bodyweight only. So you're going hard three days a week and two days a week, you're going low intensity focusing on moving, but you know, active recovery.
What do you think, like from start to finish? Is it like a 60-minute deal? 90 minutes.
35 to 60 minutes max? Most of, I think nice one is like 55 minutes.
Great. Okay. So it can go as low as like 35 minutes.
Yeah. For some of the mobility sessions, the low-intensity days are about 35 minutes long at the most. And is it all?
Is it all kettlebell or is it, what's the, what do you need in terms of equipment?
I just need a yoga mat, single kettlebell this time.
That's cool. I'm glad. Like, I liked that you did that because I don't know why for me, like I have dual and I'll do it and I like it in the mix, but the accessibility that's there. If you have one kettlebell having a whole program that you can do with this one thing that feels really freeing, you know, it's like yeah, you have a whole toolbox of movements available to you just from like the one piece of equipment. So that's really cool now, where can tell us where can people go to sign up? What's the deal? When does it go live and is there a deadline or anything like that?
So it starts on March 15th and for, it's also a challenge. So if anybody wants to qualify to win, we want to sign up for that date, but you could either just go to either of our Instagrams and it's on both of our links and dials. So there are no deadlines to do the program on your own, but if you want to qualify to win one of the prizes, you have to sign up before March 15th. And then at the end of the 30 days, we're going to have a winner, two winners, lifetime access. So people are interested that there's forever starting March 15th. You can just buy the program and do it at your own pace if you want.
Got it. And so tell, tell me, tell me about the challenge a little bit. What's the, like, how do you win and what are you, how are you judging people? People's performance.
Yeah, so we're basing it on before and after photos. That's one criterion, you know if you make a solid transformation, but also consistency and engagement in our private Facebook group, making sure you're active in the community, you're, you know, tagging yourself doing the workouts, you know, documenting that you're like on your social media, if you have social media, you're documenting yourself doing the workouts. And we're also planning on doing some small challenges week to week. You know the most active person on social media is going to get free supplements, you know, so we're blur playing that out, but for sure, consistency, engagement, and a transformation. So those are the three criteria right now that we're focused on.
I love it. I'm aware now just where's the main place that you'd like to send people to where they can kind of just keep up with your work. Did you say it was Instagram?
Yeah. You can check us out on our profile pages at Francesca fit and promise soldier, and you can stay up to date with all our information there. We'll be posting updates and we're doing live workouts pretty much. Every Saturday. It started on March six and March 13th. We got two free workouts on Instagram live, coming.
Up. Oh, cool. And
They're up to live for free too. We'll save them on our IGTV. So if you want to try out some of the workouts or like go to our Instagram TV and you'll see some free workouts on there and just follow along and try those, you jumped right into making a purchase if you want.
Well, dude, it was so great. Getting to catch up with you two again, and I'm excited for you guys to launch this thing. I know it's going to be fun to make it just more accessible to more people. So yeah, thanks again, for taking the time and coming on, this was fun.
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