Kettlebell: The fast track to body transformation |

Kettlebell: The fast track to body transformation

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

“Health first, then athletics, then body transformation.”

That’s the approach Eric Kenyon, owner of Form is Function, said he takes into his kettlebell classes.

“That’s the healthiest and actually fastest way to transform yourself,” he said. “The unfortunate thing in mainstream fitness culture is that people try to do the body transformation first. It doesn’t work that way, not for most people.

“You have to do intense exercises to get body transformation, but you need to be athletic to do that, but you’re not going to be athletic if your not healthy.”

Kenyon offers kettlebell classes in several locations in Nevada County where he implements his theory on exercise. Kenyon’s kettlebell classes have recently gained popularity in the county, popping up in Lake Wildwood, Grass Valley and Nevada City.

As for the popularity of kettlebell training, Kenyon attributes it to word of mouth and the results his students reap.

“My advance students and my instructors are these awesome walking examples, basically walking advertisements for me,” Kenyon said.

Form is Function offers classes in Lake Wildwood on Wednesdays, classes at Pioneer Park in Nevada City three days a week, classes at Aikido’Ka in Grass Valley four days a week and classes at Peace. Love. Swap. Play. in Grass Valley twice a week.

The kettlebell classes I attended through the month of September where designed for those with family obligations. I attended classes twice a week at the Peace. Love. Swap. Play. center in Grass Valley where Form is Function offers day care for children while kettlebellers can take a class.

The facility provides a wonderful place for young children to play and meet others children of similar age.

Through the first nine months of my fitness odyssey, one problem has persisted each month: making time for my workouts. Working full time, often in the evenings, and being the father of two young daughters, I have had trouble finding time to get in workouts.

The kettlebell class for moms and dads is perfect for parents of young children because it allows participants to work out, all the while keeping an eye on their offspring.

Kettlebell student Alana Lucia has been attending classes for four months and said the results along with the ability to work out while her daughter is in her presence has been great.

“One of the things I love about this so much is your child gets to see you working out,” Lucia said, “which is important because I think parents skip over that. I think it’s really important to model self-care for your children, and it’s one of those things lots of people don’t think about.”

Another kettlebeller, Melissa Payne, said she has been training for three months and can see the results popping up in everyday life.

“There is a lot of attention on form,” Payne said, “and doing things safely with the weights and a big focus on complete engagement of the body, so you’re getting stronger everywhere rather than just lifting for a specific muscle group.”

I found the kettlebell workouts to be challenging and fun. It was also a bit of a throwback to weightlifting, which I haven’t encountered much along my year of workouts.

Kettlebell training may look a bit archaic to some, but Kenyon emphasizes safety, a tenant of fitness guru Pavel Tsatsouline.

“Safety and high performance must go together,” Kenyon said. “They are not opposites. If you look at them as opposites, that’s dysfunctional. You’ll end up hurt.

“The safer you make your exercise, the more high performance it can be. The more high performance you want it to be, the safer you must make it.”

Kenyon is an avid student of Tsatsouline, a fitness instructor who popularized kettlebells in the United States.

Overall, kettlebell training shaved four pounds off my frame and has me feeling stronger and more confident in my form and ability to perform a difficult lift.

To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email

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