9 Steps to Starting your own Fitness Program

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How to develop your own fitness program
I receive emails and messages daily in regards to kettlebell and body weight training. So, in my next few articles, I will try and cover the questions that I get the most.
“How do I create my own fitness system/program?” is one I was asked since the release of my first DVD Combat Kettlebell systems. Im actually surprised that I haven’t covered this topic already!
First of all, I never sought out to create my own kettlebell and body weight training system. This is the difference between me and all the other people trying to cash in on the fitness industry. I developed Kettle-Jitsu out of necessity.
In an effort to find a fitness program that fit with my gym at the time, one of my business partners suggested we get a kettlebell instructor. I heard great things about them and had no knowledge on how to use them. But I was smart enough to know that in needed some type of instruction to learn to use them properly. So, I agreed and was eager to learn!
My business partner Bill, found an instructor that was certified by the biggest kettlebell instructor at the time. So, we started a once a week kettlebell class with him at my gym SoCal MMA and fitness. We learned the basics. He covered the dead lift, swings, cleans, Turkish get ups and snatches. These were all new to me so, at first, I was really hooked! But, it didn’t really progress from there. It was the kettlebell basics over and over.
As a result, I got bored and so did my students. I really felt there was more kettlebell variety out there. So, I started researching it on the web. To my dismay, I saw very little variety.
Then one day, I was lying in my room, which was in the back of my gym, (yes, I lived in my gym in its early days!), I had an epiphany. I though, I bet you could combine some BJJ movements with the kettlebell. I jumped off my bed, and went into the main mat of my gym and grabbed a kettlebell. I was right! The kettlebell flowed so naturally with the BJJ movements.
So, every morning, I woke up extra early to put myself through a different kettlebell workout. I incorporated all of my innovations into each workout. Then I started integrating it into my boot camps with my students and fighters. They loved it! This is what separates my programs from others. Every single movement and workout I have developed has been a result of direct feedback from my students. Your pupils are your best critics! If your classes are growing and you are retaining students, then you’re doing something right!
Kettle-Jitsu has been 10 years in the making and is continuously evolving.
So, this is how I developed Kettle-jitsu. Not everyone has the convenience of owning their own gym and having students to test their workouts on. So, if you think that developing your own fitness program is something you want to do, then here are a few tips.
1. Master your basics. Online certs like NASM and what not in my opinion are scams. You cant learn fitness from a computer. You need an actual person to show you what and what not to do. So maybe you should do some sort of kettlebell and body weight certification. That way, you have something to build off. Its kind of the same process with martial arts. How do you think there are so many different styles of martial arts? One person becomes proficient in one style. Then he or she, starts to develop their own philosophies and adds their own twist or emphasis to it.
2. After you master your basics and start developing your own workouts, test them on yourself first! Every workout, every exercise I have ever developed, I tried myself before teaching it to my students.
3. Start a small boot camp. Think of it as a test group. Teach your new workouts on them and see how it goes. Ask opinions from your clients. If you have any intention of pursuing a career in fitness, you have to listen to your clients. They pay their hard-earned coin for you to train them. If they like you and the workouts, they will keep coming and are likely to bring friends.
4. Come up with a catchy name for your program. To be honest I’m not even sure how I came up with the name Kettle-Jitsu. But I do know that ever fitness program was fit, this and fit that. So, I didn’t want to jump on the band wagon and come up with an obvious name. Not my style😉
5. Next you should start a business page on Instagram and Facebook. We are in the age of social media and it helps tremendously. Social media is great for various different reasons. It gets your material out there and is a great way to promote your products. Facebook and Instagram now make it fairly easy to run ads all by yourself.
6. Start a website. People need a place where they can go and learn more about you and what you do.
7. If your small boot camp is doing well, you have the options of offering your services at some sort of fitness or martial arts gym. Or, your next option would be to open your own studio. Obviously, the latter is a bit more difficult because of the money factor. But, I know a lot of trainers that earn a living by teaching boot camps at various different gym.
8. Sell your programs online. This means, filming your workouts and putting them up on your website for sale. There are numerous ways to do it. You can do it digitally, or you can do a DVD. I could probably write a small book on this subject! Maybe in another article😉
9. If people are purchasing your programs online and your boot camps are doing well, people may ask you how to get certified in your methods. I never thought in a million years I would be doing a kettlebell DVD and certifying people. But after I released Combat Kettlebell Systems, I started receiving emails asking how to get certified in the CKS system. That’s how it

Kettlebell Workout for MMA/BJJ and Fitness using Nontraditional Exercises

kb kings article 3Kettlebell Workout using nontraditional exercises
The Kettlebell is the most diverse training tool in existence in my opinion. I always tell people the only limit is your imagination when it comes to kettlebell training. When I started my KB training close to 10 years ago, I was really excited about these new movements that I was learning. I had never done a kettlebell swing, snatch or Turkish Get Up before then. But to my dismay, after learning the KB basics, the exercises did not expand past that. I wanted more. I researched KB training and could not find anything other than the same exercises rehashed over and over. Then one day, when I was living in my gym. A light bulb popped up in my head. I thought to myself, I bet I could incorporate KB with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. So, I jumped on the mat, grabbed a kettlebell and the first move I worked on is the rocking chair! That was the beginnings of Kettlejitsu. Since then, I have continuously developed a lot of other nontraditional exercises and workouts using Kettlebell.
In my previous 2 articles that I have written for the Kettlebell Kings Blog, I used kettlebell flows using more or less traditional exercises. In this one we will be using mostly sports specific MMA/BJJ inspired exercises. Keep in mind, that just because these exercises are influenced by Martial Arts, does not mean that they are inclusive to combat athletes. Anyone can enjoy these exercises. But they are a bit advanced so be sure to have your KB basics down. In this workout, we will be using what I call Anaerobic Pyramid Conditioning (APC). This means it’s a series of movements combined to create an anaerobic breathing effect which is what you will experience if you were in an MMA or BJJ fight. These exercises are combined in what I call a pyramid. So we will perform 5 reps of each exercise, 10 reps and then back down to 5 to complete the pyramid. This is the protocol that I focus on in my new KB Strength and Conditioning download. Let me break down the exercises for you.
1. The KB rocking chair to a press. Like I said this is the first exercise that I developed. This was taught to me by my BJJ Master Roger Machado. It is a movement found in a lot of different BJJ techniques and transitions. It can be performed using body weight only or with KB. Excellent movement for hip/ knee mobility and core strength. By adding a kettlebell and a press, you are incorporating multiple muscles at once. You will be working your upper chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and your core simultaneously. Plus, you will feel like a ninja afterwards!
2. Deck squats. These are like squats on steroids. By rolling from your back all the way to your feet, you incorporate a lot of different muscles. Particularly, your core. There is a lot of getting up off your back to your feet in MMA and BJJ so this one helps tremendously.
3. Corner to corner rows. In BJJ we do a lot of pulling from this position. So, I feel it’s important to incorporate a lot of different row variations in my workouts.
4. The fighters figure 8. This was also one of the first exercises I developed when embarking on my Kettlejitsu journey. I wanted to incorporate punching to the best of my ability. This one mimics the punching movement of a hooking type punch. It also addresses pivoting and torque. You will feel this exercise in your upper body and your core simultaneously.
So please keep in mind. Before getting to the main workout, you must warm up first! The way I teach, that means plenty of body weight first. Then, we practice each individual kettlebell exercise for 30 second intervals with a 10 second rest. Once you drill each exercise for several rounds, then you can wrap it up with the final kettlebell pyramid.
-rocking chair 5x
-deck squats 5x
-corner to corner rows 5x
-fighters figure 8 5x
-burpees 5x
Repeat each exercise for 10 repetitions then back down to 5 to complete the pyramid.
Check out the video include in this article to get a better idea of the movements in this workout. I also include some footage of me using this workout with my Kettlejitsu boot camp at Legacy Los Angeles. Have fun and train safe!

Body weight flows and practicality

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body weight flows and practicality

Body Weight Flows:

Which type is right for you?

Body weight flow training is all the rave right now. There are so many fitness gurus developing their own styles nowadays. But before you jump on the bandwagon of some of these trends, ask yourself, “Is this practical for me?”  There are many different types of body weight flows. The two I’ll talk about here are class format flows and open space flows.

Since I teach boot camps on a regular basis, space is always an issue. This is why a spend more time developing class format flows. That way you can teach these movements in large group classes and require minimal space.  The first video below is an example of class format flows.  As you can see in the video, me and my student are performing various different types of flows side by side. These are movements I teach daily and work great in large class format.

Open space flows are when you have enough space to perform more intricate flows. Maybe you own a gym and you have a large mat space to yourself. You could be at a park or a beach. In the second video, me and long time student Oscar are doing some free style MMA flowing. As you can see with all of the Kicking, punching and random rolling around, these types of flows would not be ideal, in a large class. Even though I have access to a really big gym, I rarely have the time to do these types of flows. I work out with my classes, so on free time, the last thing I want to do is extracurricular training.

So if you are a trainer and you teach group classes on a regular basis, class format flows may be what you want to spend your time learning or developing. If space is not an option, you can partake in open space flows.



Deck Squat Tutorial

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The Deck Squat
I recently had a buddy of mine from Sweden ask me about the deck squat. He wanted to know how to go about teaching it and what not. It’s a great question because teaching a deck squat can be a bit tricky. You have to remember that people who come to you for training will vary in athleticism and fitness. So as simple as a deck squat may seem, not everyone can perform it equally. But, if you follow the tips I cover in this article, you will have your students reaping the benefits of this awesome exercise in no time!
In the enclosed video I cover various different variations of the deck squat. Not to be confused with “Death squat.” I had a student that confused the name until I corrected her. Lol Anyways, first and foremost, please warm up your clients thoroughly! The deck squat involves rolling off of our back all the way up into a full squat position. You work a lot more muscles in this variation than a traditional squat. Next make sure you have a comfortable surface to work on. At Legacy BJJ Burbank, we typically work on tatami mats. But, not all people have access to tatami. So in this video, you can see in our Kettlebell and conditioning room, we have these individual mats made by perform better. They add a sufficient amount of padding to perform this exercise.
Next lets get into the execution of this exercise. Start on you matted surface from the sitting position. Rock backwards to create momentum. Make sure you come up with both feet planted evenly on the ground. Then, use that momentum to squat up into the standing position. In my experience, this can often be difficult for people to do. People vary in fitness levels, flexibility and may have injuries and what not. So, if they cannot do the standard version, I tell them that it is ok to use their hands. You can use one hand at a time or 2 hands at a time. Ive had students use the hand assisted versions until they worked up to the regular version.
Last but not least is the rocking chair variation. Now if the aforementioned variation does not work for your clients, the rocking chair variation does the trick. This method involves tucking one leg in and rolling up on the side of your shin. Again, you can use a one handed assisted variation if need be. I want to thank Bjorn from Sweden for this question. Please feel free to ask me any questions kettlebell, body weight, BJJ or MMA related. I will try my best to answer it!

The first Kettle-Jitsu Coach certification of 2016 is set for April! Get certified and learn to teach exercises like the deck squat! Learn more here! Kettle-JItsu Coach Certification 2016

Important Kettlebell Safety Tip!

This video talks about the importance of seeking out a qualified kettlebell coach. To learn how to warm up properly and use proper kettlebell technique, purchase the Kettlejitsu Revolution 8 week kettlebell and body weight training program now! Click here! Kettlejitsu Revolution Kj rev banner

 

 

Animal Style Workout Variations for BJJ

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Animal style movement training seems to be pretty popular nowadays. Its hardly anything new. Animal style training can date back to the monks of the Shaolin temple. They used many different animal movements in their Kung fu.  I first was introduced to animal style workouts back in about 1994 when I Trained at Romero Calvacanti’s(jacare) Master BJJ gym in Atlanta.  Animal movements are one of the standard warm ups used in a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms world wide.  Now animal movements have caught on to the mainstream. Since functional training is so popular now, animal style workouts fit right in. They are full body movements that can be performed almost anywhere.  In this video I am doing some variations that I have developed my self. The movements in the video will help with your conditioning, agility, mobility and coordination.  Stay tuned for my upcoming Body Weight 4 BJJ programs! It will contain and encyclopedia of BJJ/MMA specific movements and workouts!. Enjoy! 

To Purchase Joey’s Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week Kettlebell and body weight workout dvd, click here!! http://kjrevolution.com/?page_id=19

Sensei Joey Receives Black Belt from BJJ Legend!

Breaking News! Sensei Joey Receives BJJ Black Belt!

A milestone was reached yesterday in the career of SoCal mma and Kettlejitsu founder Joey Alvarado! Professor Joey was promoted to Black belt by BJJ legend Roger Machado! Here is a personal note from Sensei Joey himself!

“I started training in BJJ back in 94. I was living in South Carolina and I would drive up to Virginia to get privates with Frank Cucci who was a blue belt under Pedro Sauer at the time. I was in awe of him. A year or so later, Romero Jacare Cavalcanti opened Master Bjj in Atlanta. I had the pleasure of doing some training with him as well. Amazing! I moved to L.A. and was poor. So I just trained to box under the tutelage of my father. I started with Rigan Machado and Roger Machado a couple of years later. Then I caught the mma bug and embarked on a 7 year career. I had to stop training with gi, so I wasnt eligible for promotion. throughout those years, i had many people tell me that I should be a black belt and ask me when I was going to get it. I always said, i dont know and I dont care. When my master gives it to me, then it is so. I could have easily switched gyms to get promoted but I refrained because im just loyal like that. I stuck it out and endured what I had to. 16 tournaments as a brown belt, including10 gold medals, 3 silver, 2 bronze medals later it happened. I would like to thank everyone who helped me through this 20 year journery. To my grandmaster Shelton R. Moreland you instilled something in me that I carry to this day. Training with you gave me the discipline to train in other arts and sports. Gamsamnida! I love you. To my team SoCal Mma I could not have done it with out you. To my special friends who have been my training partners for over ten years Albert Rios and Giovanni Vasquez, thank you and i love you both! Rigan Machado Thank you for the inspiration. To my master Roger, obrigando and im honored to represent you! Special shout out to my good friend Alberto Crane and his team for opening his gym for me to train. You guys are a big part of this and im very appreciative of you pushing me and the techniques I have learned from you! Oss! thank you Michael Perez and Rocky Morales two of SoCals finest for showing up to my special day. ! Oss!”1015963_10204243232618886_4217420290211919861_o

3 Minute Total Body Weight Circuit

When developing workouts for my classes and dvd’s, one of the main concepts I use is what I call the “balance principle.” This basically means, I try to hit all of your major muscle groups evenly. So after a Kettle-Jitsu workout, you should never feel like you just got a leg workout, or just a core workout. By combining as many muscle groups into your workouts, you will get that metabolic effect. I use this principle with both body weight and kettlebell training.

For this particular body weight workout, I combine dynamic exercises that hit multiple muscles simultaneously to give the circuit an anaerobic effect. I call this the Lunge/Touch and kick circuit. This is a 3 minute nonstop circuit in which you change exercises every 30 seconds. There are 4 exercises.  1. The lunge/touch and kick 2. Walk out to a push up 3. Mountain climbers 4. Burpees.  In my classes, before any workout, we start off with joint mobility and some light body weight movements. I cant stress enough how important this is. This prepares your body for rigorous training and helps to prevent injuries. We do an ab pyramid, then break down each movement in the circuit for 30 seconds with a 15 second rest in between. To have a better understanding of this formula, check out my Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd.  It follows the same aforementioned format.  After this, you should be ready to start the Lung/Touch and kick circuit!

Instructions:  Set your timers to 3 minutes with 30 second intervals.  We rest for 30 seconds in between rounds. I use a ringside mma timer.  These are great because you can set it to ring every 30 seconds. This lets you know when to change exercises.  To perform the circuit, start with lunge/touch and kick(right leg back, kick w left) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, lunge/touch kick(left leg back, kick w right) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, mountain climbers for 30 seconds followed by burpees for the final 30 seconds.  Repeat as many times as you like. At my gym SoCal mma, we do 3 rounds and follow it up with our kettlebell workout.

You will feel this circuit everywhere! Enjoy!

Featured Bodyweight Exercise: The K-Town Burpee

ShadowJitsuLogo-3Recently I posted a video of some variations of burpees that I have developed over the years.  I received a lot of great feed back about the K-Town Burpee variation I demonstrated.  The K town burpee was developed by accident!  One of my students did a burpee variation where she would go down one leg at a time and come up the same way.  I was like wow! Thats an interesting variation! So i played with it and came up with the K Town burpee.  The name comes from my beloved student, Angela Correa.  Everyone pronounces her name like the word Korea.  Which is where she came up with the name Korea Town for her band.

Doing this variation adds an entirely different dynamic to a burpee.  In this burpee variation, you come up one leg at a time.  So it becomes like adding a one legged squat to a burpee.  You can also add a jump at the top to give it that plyometric effect.  This exercise is ideal for anyone looking to liven up your training.  Perfect for crossfitters who are always doing the same traditional burpee.  It will add more life to your workout!

Improve your punches with high pulls!

highpullcurvekbImprove your punches with high pulls!

One of the most common questions that I am asked is, “can you use kettlebells to improve your punches?” the answer is yes!  The high pull is the first kettlebell exercise that showed me that kb’s could be used to aid with striking.

The kettlebell high pull contains almost identical mechanics as punches do. When throwing a punch, you are using your core, chest, back, shoulders and arms.  When doing the high pull you are hitting all of the same muscles.  The traditional high pull is used more or less as a precursor to the snatch. Ive adjusted the technique into what I call a combat high pull. I also have other kettlebell exercises that come even closer to throwing actual punches. You can find these movements on my combat kettlebell systems dvd on my mad methods.

With the combat high pull we address the punching and retracting motions found in a real punch.  So, when performing the combat high pull, you start the same way you would a swing. Once you pop your hips and propel the bell up to where it is parallel to the floor, you drive your elbow back as far as possible and then immediately punch it back out.  This add that explosive element you need when throwing punches.  You can see the exact mechanics in the enclosed video.

Since I am constantly teaching, I do not get to train my striking at all.  But, I always do my kettle-jitsu training.  Periodically I will spar with my students and they are surprised at how fast my hands are! Try out the combat high pulls for yourself and see the difference.