Fitness Matters: A total body workout that won't bulk you up

A referral from a friend two years ago brought Suzanne Segovis to a level of fitness, weight loss, and energy that she never expected. She had spent years doing aerobics and step classes, but never really attained the level of tone she wanted. Although she was experiencing back pain due to arthritis, she was willing to try this new type of training.

What is kettlebell training? It is a total-body workout for people who are looking to improve athletic performance, lose weight, change body composition, non-impact cardiovascular training, gain strength without bulking up, and in many cases like Segovis, strengthen weak areas that cause daily discomfort.

An iron kettlebell is used in functional training moves with power coming from the hips, and breathing techniques that help with natural movements that protect the back, hips and knees. A good workout will burn about 22 calories per minute, and is much gentler on the body than running.

Also, since kettlebell training is interval training, you also get the extra calorie burn of an interval workout for several hours after the workout! This workout takes care of cardio, resistance and flexibility training all at the same time!

Suzanne began attending KB class three times per week two years ago with instructor Tim McPhee, RKC certified instructor. Within a very short period of time, (three months or less), she experienced a noticeable increase in energy and stamina, and her back pain was completely gone. With her progressive levels of fitness, she began to see definition in her upper body, her clothes were fitting differently, and this new vitality began to transfer to other areas of her life. She began making better choices with her nutrition, running on her off days, and was motivated to be better in all areas of her life.


Two years later, at age 43, Segovis is as committed as ever. "It's all about attitude and discipline," she says. "Tim is a role model, and has taught me patience, and you will see results. If you are willing to work and give it your all, he is there 110 percent to encourage you, assist you in form, and motivate you to do your best."

Working out via Skype

The interesting part of this training is that Segovis moved to North Carolina six months ago, where she and her friend Anne Henry continue to train three times per week with McPhee, via Skype. They can still be a part of the group on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, watch the other students in motion, have their form corrected as needed, and be challenged with new workouts. McPhee has other students in northern Minnesota who also Skype in for training.

McPhee was originally interested in this type of training because of its compact form, not requiring a lot of space or equipment, but also because of its required concentration on form and technique.

"Staying in control, maintaining focus with the proper technique does take continuous concentration," McPhee said.

His students will attest to his diligence to proper form and gradual load increases. With gradual progression, there is no soreness and less chance of injury, which is a standard he stands by. This type of progression also allows for men and women to become more toned and stronger, without getting bigger and thicker.

McPhee stresses that three times per week is best for KB training, and without soreness, students are excited to come back and challenge themselves each time. McPhee is available for consultation and classes at or 507-261-5400. His studio is located at 1623 North Broadway, in the Northbrook Plaza.

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