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!

H2H Intermediate Kettlebell Flow

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H2H Intermediate Kettlebell Flow
This is part 2 of my 3 articles on kettlebell training for combat sports exclusively for my sponsors the Kettlebell kings. In this article, we are covering what I call an H2H or hand to hand kettlebell flow. This particular flow is for intermediate level KB practitioners for 2 reasons. 1. It involves the overhead squat and high pull which require a bit of practice. 2. H2H means we will be passing the kettlebell from our left hand to right hand for the duration of this flow. This requires focus, timing and coordination.
This kettlebell flow contains one of my favorite kettlebell exercises, the high pull. When I was first taught this exercise, I immediately thought to myself “this is like throwing a punch.” I immediately attributed it to a punch we call a overhand right in MMA or Boxing. But to my dismay, we only worked it a few times. Most traditional kettlebell trainers teach the high pull as a precursor to the snatch. Which for a lot of people, is the be all and end all of kettlebell training. Although I do enjoy snatches, I feel the high pull is equally important. Maybe even more so. Reason being, if you work the high pull the way I do, then your hinging, pushing and pulling all in one explosive movement. That means your working your core, chest, back, shoulders biceps, triceps and forearm at once. I am including a video tutorial of how I do a high pull. So check it out to see what im talking about. High pulls are also help with hand speed and punching power. Its like throwing punches with a kettlebell! Try shadow boxing after a few sets of high pulls and see how fast your hands are!
In the previous article I talked about the many attributes needed in combat sports and how kettlebell flows help. One I didn’t touch on is focus. Your mind has to be razor sharp in the ring or cage. Even when you are in the later rounds and you are exhausted you have to have the ability to keep your composure and focus. One mental lapse and it can cause you the fight. Kettlebell flows address this issue. After a few rounds of this flow you will tire and it will increasingly get difficult to keep the flow consistent. It forces you to focus.
Here is the workout. We will keep the protocol the same as the workout in the previous article. In all of my workouts protocol is as follows:
1. mobility and core warm up
2. Ab pyramid (abdominal work)
3. B.I.T. Body weight interval training
4. C.I.T. Compound body weight training.
5. K.I.T. Kettlebell interval training
6. Kettlebell circuit
The kettlebell circuit is as follows: 2-minute round. 1 minute kettlebell flow, 30 seconds of rows and 30 seconds of burpees. I would suggest practicing each exercise that makes up the flow individually. This is what I call K.I.T. or kettlebell interval training. I usually do 30 seconds of work with a 10 second break between each set. Example: 30 seconds of overhead squats on the left 30 seconds of overhead squats on the right, 30 seconds high pulls on the left and so forth. Then try the flow using a lighter bell until you get used to the sequence. You can upgrade the weight of your bell for however you see fit.
There you have it! Intermediate H2H Kettlebell flow for combat sports and fitness! Stay tuned for part 3 of this series!

What is a Kettlebell Flow? Free workout Sample!

tgu-flowtgu-15-dollar-discountkb-kings-banner-for-siteThe Ultimate TGU One month kettlebell and body weight digital download is on sale for only $15 for a limited time! 4 different workouts and 3 different Kettlebell flows! Click here to take advantage of this deal!  Ultimate TGU digital download

What is a Kettlebell flow
Kettlebell and body weight are the only two training methods where you can fuse one’s personality into. This is why I love them. So naturally when I immersed myself into kettlebell training, I started to combine principles and movements from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA with kettlebell and body weight. The flow is an underlying concept that I’ve used throughout my entire 30 year martial arts career. In a fight you need to be able to seamlessly flow from technique to technique. So I implemented this concept with kettlebells. Over 10 years ago I started using kettlebell flow with my students. Back then, people were afraid to think out of the box when it came to kettlebell training. But thanks to Mark de Grasse of My Mad Methods (bought out by onnit) and my first DVD, Combat Kettlebell Systems, I broke the mold of traditional kettlebell training and started the evolution.
Now countless people are taking a stab at what they think kettlebell flows are. But I see that they are missing some key elements. So I will break down the criteria that makes up a Kettlejitsu Kettlebell flow.
1. Kettlebell flows contain 3 or more movements into one seamless pattern.
2. Each flow should be balanced on both sides of your body.
3. I do not emphasize weight since flows are performed for time.
4. My kettlebell flows are developed so that they may be easily performed in a class format.
5. Continuous motion is a key factor in a kettlejitsu kettlebell flow
6. Only one to two hinging movements per flow.
7. Each flow should contain a pushing, pressing, hinging and sometimes pulling movement
8. In a kettlejitsu flow, there is no pause or stop
In my classes we will do a kettlebell flow for one to two minutes long. Since you do not put the bell down at all during that whole period, all of your muscles, including your forearms get taxed. If anyone has ever training in BJJ or MMA, they know that after a match, your whole body is tired. Your forearms are filled with lactic acid because of all of the grabbing. If your kettlebell flows are structured properly, this is how you should feel after a round. Enclosed are a few examples of kettlebell flows in action. Enjoy!

The below video is an example of a TGU Flow taken directly from the Ultimate TGU one month Turkish Get up Program. For more on this topic, please check out How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow and How to do a basic Kettlebell Flow

This is a very popular video shot almost 4 years ago. It contains many different kettlebell flows I use in my group bootcamp classes.

This video was shot 4 years ago at the My Methods Booth at the LA fitness festival. Me, Mark de Grasse and John Wolfe shared a booth.  Pre Onnit academy.

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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.



Best Kettlebell Exercise for BJJ!

jiu jitsu magazine articletgu sale $17Get the Ultimate TGU on sale now for only $17! as seen in the latest issue of Jiu JItsu magazine! Click the above banner or this link!Ultimate Turkish Get Up Program download Or, get Save $$$$ and purchase the Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week program and Ultimate TGU together for only $47!!! Click the below banner or this link to save! Kj revolution/Ultimate TGU combo!New web banner package dealTurkish Get Ups are one of the initial exercises that I knew had a direct connection to MMA and Bjj. The mechanics of the TGU are almost identical to a movement in BJJ called, Standing up in base or the Technical lift. The TGU is the best kettlebell exercise for BJJ for 3 reasons. 1. You work your pushing, pulling, squatting/lunging movements all in one exercise. 2. it has numerous applications in actual BJJ techniques. 3. It works motor skills we are not accustomed to doing in every day life. Therefor it enhances your coordination. Most traditional Bjj dojos practice this via body weight on a daily basis. Standing up in base has many applications in jiu jitsu. It has also evolved into a movement necessary for the “scrambling aspect” of Mixed Martial Arts. Scrambling is the art of regaining the standing position in an MMA fight. If you are not good at scrambling, then you will have a shot career in MMA. So, drilling the mechanics of Standing up in base is a must. In the enclosed video, I have several variations of the TGU and Brazilian get up and some applications with a partner. Implement these into your mma and kb training and you will experience tremendous gains! Be sure to check out Joey Alvarado’s article on the Turkish Get Up in the latest issue of Jiu Jitsu Magazine!

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

7 MMA Specific Kettlebell Exercises for Hand Speed and Punching Power

KJ Combojiu jitsu magazine article  tgu banner kb punch7 MMA Specific Kettlebell Exercises for Punching Power and Hand Speed
Close to 7 years ago, I released my firs DVD Combat Kettlebell Systems. On this DVD I introduced combat specific kettlebell exercises to improve striking and ground work. Kettlejitsu is in a constant state of evolution. So, since then, I have developed more exercises. In this article I will briefly cover exercises to improve punching power and hand speed.
First and foremost, let’s talk about safety. If you do not a solid foundation in kettlebell training, you should not attempt to try these exercises. Second of all, you should warm up thoroughly. Third, start off with a light weight. I will cover all of these exercises in a future digital download. So keep an eye out!
Exercise 1. The pull and punch: This exercise has a bit of sleight of hand. It involves pulling with one hand and a punch press with the other. This movement addresses the pivot. Pivoting into your punches is essential for strikers.
Exercise 2. Combat Thrusters: This exercise is performed from a fighting stance. Some people refer to it as a stagger stance. Again, there is a pivot at the top of the punch press. You will definitely feel these in your core! Remember, power comes from your core.
Exercise 3. The Fighters Figure 8: Before you try this, you must master a regular figure 8 and a figure 8 to a hold. This one involves a hooking type motion with a pivot at the end.
Exercise 4. Bottoms up uppercuts: I have to give a shout out to my boy Rollie Robles of Fatx101.com He attended my very first certification years ago. We were working figure 8s and someone asked my about how to throw an upper cut with a kb. At that time, I was doing the ballistic version only. Then I saw Rollie doing the bottoms up version. I liked it. So I kept it!
Exercise 5. Ballistic uppercuts: This one involves a bit of hand 2 hand. Definitely not for beginners. This one will develop your focus and hand eye coordination as well.
Exercise 6. Combat cleans: If you do not know how to do a regular clean, then please do not attempt this. This involves the pulling and punching aspect of punching.
Exercise 7. Combat High Pulls: This exercise in my opinion is most specific to throwing straight punches. Even more so than the previous exercise. Use a light bell at first. Doing high pulls from a fighting stance can be a bit tricky. Plus, keeping the bell suspended in mid air can be challenging for your forearms.
I really feel that with kettlebells, you can get more specific to ground fighting and striking than any other training device. There is not a more versatile implement on the planet! Keep an open mind and evolve! To develop your foundation so that you will be able to execute these movements, check out my Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week kettlebell and body weight download!


Combat Thruster Kettlebell Circuit

tgu banner combat thruster pic for article new years adCombat Thruster Kettlebell Circuit This is our Kettlejitsu, “workout of the week” at Legacy BJJ Burbank. All of the exercises in this workout are performed in a fighting or “stagger” stance.  This adds and entirely different aspect to the workout. Since we are working from a fighting stance, all of your muscles are working from a different angle. Pivot and torque are also addressed in these exercises. Combat thrusters, and combat high pulls add a pivoting aspect to the exercises.  These two exercises are very specific to striking since it is imperative to pivot into your punches for maximum power. Check out the enclosed video to see the Combat Thruster Circuit in action

The Kettle-Jitsu Difference: Why this Kettlebell and Body weight Program Stands out

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the kettlejitsu difference
The Kettle-Jitsu Difference: Why this Kettlebell and Body weight program stands out.
The fitness industry is more popular than ever. Combat sports like MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are now household names. Because of this we are having a lot of people coming out with different fitness programs. All of them claiming to be effect for combat sports. So naturally people will ask why my system is any different than the others.
The number one reason I feel my Kettlejitsu Program stands out from other kettlebell and body weight programs is that it was developed by me teaching group and private classes, 6 days a week, for the last 7 years at my previous gym SoCal mma and for the last year at Legacy BJJ Burbank. Since I have taught Kettlejitsu so much, I have developed an efficient formula for creating effective kettlebell and body weight routines. When teaching on a regular everyday basis, you have to keep your clients attention. Retention of your students is key to running a gym. Since Kettlejitsu is constantly in evolution, I have developed tons of routines so that my clients never get bored. On my Kettlejitsu71 youtube channel, I have a ton of videos of my bootcamps with me teaching packed classes. On my dvds, I use actual students who take my classes on a daily. I do not hire professional fitness models in my videos. Since I teach daily, I get direct feedback from my students. I can have 15 to 20 people show up to my 5:30am bootcamp. This tells me that im doing something right. When I see a new fitness program come out claiming to do this and that, I google it and the instructor. If there is little info of them on the internet and only videos of them training themselves in their basement, then there isn’t much merit to their claim. Who is actually doing their workouts? In my videos I post on my facebook, web site and youtube, you can see exactly the people I train in my Kettlejitsu bootcamps.
Another reason why Kettlejitsu stands out, is that it contains actual sports specific MMA and BJJ movements. I have fused combat specific movements with traditional kettlebell and body weight exercises. I have seen people claiming to do the same thing, but they are just rehashing the same traditional kettlebell movements that have been around forever.
So Kettle-Jitsu stands out because: 1. Its routines were developed by teaching it extensively for close to a decade. 2. The variety keeps your student’s attention and helps with retention. 3. Because it contains combat specific movements, it engages the practitioner like no other program. 4. I have videos and dvds containing actual students (and combat athletes) who train in my programs to back my claims. 5. I am the only BJJ black belt/BJJ/MMA champion to develop a Kettlebell and body weigh system. Check out this link for my credentials About Joey Alvarado. 6. I actually do the workouts myself. I train with my students 4 days a week. These workouts that Ive developed are like second nature to me. So, I can train and teach simultaneously with my students.
Check out the enclosed video. In this clip, you can see 2 BJJ world champions on the mat. Alberto Crane and Jessica Oliveira. There are also Muay Thai fighter and regular every day people in the video. Remember, you don’t have to be a combat athlete to train like one!