First ever 10-week Challenge Results!

First ever CKO Seattle Bootcamp “after” photo.

We just finished our first ever 10-week challenge  (September 2012- November 2012) at CKO Seattle and the results were phenomenal! We had a group of 8 extremely dedicated participants and all participants lost weight but most importantly they all lost inches and greatly improved their strength and overall stamina. As part of the 10-week challenge we tracked progress both aesthetically (inches lost) and athletically. Strength and stamina was measured using a Military inspired fitness test which included max number of push-ups, max number of  body-weight squats, and max number of sit-ups in a minuet respectively and this fitness test was conducted both on day one of the challenge and then on the last day of the challenge.

The results of the entire group were:

  • Total inches lost = 65.84 inches. That just about 5 1/2 feet of fat lost!
  • Average total inches lost per challenge member = 8.23 inches, that is almost an inch a week! Can someone say new wardrobe…
  • Total push-ups gained = 100!
  • Average push-ups gained in a minuet per challenge member = 12.5 push-ups
  • Total squats gained = 89
  • Average squats gained in a minuet per challenge member = 11
  • Total sit-ups gained = 90
  • Average sit-up gained in a minuet per challenge member = 11.2
  • Weight loss = Weight was not a mandatory measurement because I don’t believe that is the best measurement of success, however many of the participants did keep track of their weight and I will post the amount of weight lost when I post some of the individual success stories!

These results are nothing short of outstanding! But despite all the inches lost (even weight) and the major overall fitness improvement, the biggest success experienced from these challenge participants was learning that health and fitness is a lifestyle! I have been in the fitness business for many years and I can always tell the difference between people looking for a quick fix and people who are now willing to dedicate their life to being healthy and active! I can honestly say that over the 10-weeks each and every challenge participant changed their mindset, and they have all begun their own personal journey to becoming healthier and more active. Making this transition to a healthy lifestyle is extremely import as this the only path to achieve sustainable results. Sustainable results are the only results that matter, I am not impressed if you lose 30-lbs in two months only to put on 40-lbs the three months after that. Once this is realized the sky is the limit when it comes to reaching your full human potential!

It is safe to say these results ARE TYPICAL. No disclaimer here. The members of this CKO Challenge are real people. Each person has a job, some of them have kids and family commitments. They were all pressed for time. The cost of the challenge was a consideration for some. At least one of the challenge members drove 30 minutes to get to the gym! They felt run down and tired at times. They didn’t have the luxury of living on a Ranch (Biggest Loser style) , or forgetting about real life as they changed their own life for the better. A healthy lifestyle is attainable. Lose your excuse, and lose the weight!

I felt extremely grateful to work with such a dedicated group of people! It is extremely rewarding when people start seeing results and it make me realize how lucky I am to have a job that helps people take charge of their life and inspires them become healthier, more active, and eat clean healthy food!

Over the next few weeks I will post some personal testimonials and success stories from some of the participants. The next 10-week challenge is scheduled for January 13 2013, who’s in? Let’s start the year off right!


Fountain of Youth Part 1 (Beauty)

Whether you are a man or a women, once you reach about the age of 30, it is very flattering when people think you are in your early to mid-twenties, and the older you get, the more flattering it is when people genuinely believe you are at least 5 to 10-years younger than you really are! It is very possible to look 10-years younger and the best part is anybody can achieve these results and you don’t need to be rich, get plastic surgery, or have access to some super secret diet that only celebrities use, all you need to do is workout and eat healthy on a consistent basis. I know, there are those two dreaded words, work and consistency. I can guess what you are all thinking at this point, “this post is dumb, I don’t want to work for it, that is way too hard, isn’t there a pill or some face cream I can buy?” It is somewhat ironic because deep down inside we all know what works but we have become extremely lazy as a society and we are more than willing to invest much of our time and money into “quick fixes” that don’t work instead of just doing what we all know works.


Take care of your body and your body will take care of you

While both men and women are guilty of trying to take the ineffective easy path, women take it to a whole new level. Trust me I am not just picking on women, men are just as guilty although men typically spend very little money on cosmetic products. Yes, cosmetics – the promise of firm, healthy, youthful looking skin in a bottle, our prayers have been answered! Except cosmetics don’t really work very well and they can be extremely expensive. Women spend money (and time) on: nails, hair, make-up, spa treatments, red light therapy, tanning, numerous face cleansers, face lotions, anti-wrinkle face creams, skin tightening face creams, body lotions, face masks, chemical peels, health shakes, juice diets, diet pills, and abs rollers all in an effort to look ten years younger. But guess what? If you are not exercising and eating healthy on a consistent basis you are wasting your time and money on all these beauty products/services. In fact in 2010 Americans spent $33.3 billion on cosmetics and never mind the fact that these make-ups, creams, and lotions are very ineffective they also may not even be safe. So here is the million dollar question – why can women easily spend $100 – $300 a month on cosmetics and beauty services (which don’t work) but think $89 per month for a gym membership (which produces phenomenal results) is highway robbery?


Spending money on cosmetics when you’re overweight is like paying for a new paint job on your broken down “beater” of a car that leaks oil, has lots of dents, a cracked windshield, and a filthy interior. A new paint job should only be considered once you fix all the other problems with your car. Likewise, before you get another mani/pedi or get that chemical peel you should first commit to a healthy lifestyle! The “beauty” results of a healthy lifestyle are:

  • Skin – becomes much more firm (reducing wrinkles) and will also have a beautiful radiating glow
  • Lose fat and build lean muscle – your clothes will fit better (accentuating your curves instead of hiding “problem’ areas)
  • Hair and Nails –  become stronger and healthier
  • Improved attitude – your stress level will decrease (stress does more harm than you will believe)
  • More energy – What fun is looking 10-years younger if you don’t feel like you are 10-years younger!
  • Improved confidence

These results are extremely common however they are only possible with a lifestyle commitment and it could take anywhere from a month to 3-months to start seeing noticeable results depending on your health and fitness level. Overnight success is not possible but let’s be honest the worst case scenario of 3-months is not a long time.


Certain beauty products and services can and do work but they are icing on the cake. You must first treat and respect your body like the beautiful machine that it is. We have all met someone who looked at least 10-years younger, but the opposite is also true, we have all met someone who treated their body like crap and looked 5-7 years older. I am a firm believer in investing in yourself but let’s make smart investments and start with a gym membership. But don’t invest in any old gym, a $10 gym will give you $10 results! Invest in a gym that motivates, has lots of energy, and specializes in results! Don’t wait, the sooner the better!

Jab Cross Parkinson’s in the Face

Press Release written about CKO Seattle’s oldest and most inspirational member Alan Hemmen:

Is being too old to work out considered a legitimate excuse? What about being diagnosed with a degenerative disease that affects motor skills, where the most common symptoms are shaking, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking. Surely that is a legitimate excuse to not work out? The oldest member of CKO Kickboxing’s Seattle location, Alan Hemmen, does not believe in excuses. Alan is 67 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease on June 15, 2012. Alan went to the doctor because he started experiencing tremors in his right hand; however, the doctor concluded that Alan most likely began experiencing the first symptoms of the disease around Christmas 2007. Alan’s health issues don’t stop there; Alan’s thyroid basically shut down over a year and a half ago and he has also been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Despite all these health issues Alan is determined to remain active! “I will not use my age or Parkinson’s Disease as an excuse! I will not give in to PD without a fight, which is why I am here, I will just keep throwing punches”, says Alan boldly.

67 years young and still punching

Alan has been active his entire life, if fact in his 30’s he was ranked number 2 in the state of Oregon for white water canoe racing while competing in the pro class. Later in his 30’s Alan moved to Alaska and became the number 2 ranked racquetball player in the state! Today Alan can be found at CKO Seattle having a blast keeping pace with members half his age.

On a warm August afternoon Alan drives to CKO Kickboxing in a brand new shiny Red VW Beatle, walks through the door and tells Garett Renon CKO’s owner, “Isaw your video and you’re right, I am tired of running on a treadmill”. He then goes on to explain how he is looking for a place to hit the bag. Once it was confirmed he could hit the bag 6 days a week, whenever he wanted, and he could go at his own pace, he signed up on the spot without ever trying a class or actually touching the bags. Garett Renon says of Alan, “It is funny because Alan wanted to make sure that I knew he was only going to strike the bag with his hands, he had absolutely zero interest in kicking the bag. Fast forward two months later he is now doing round houses, front kicks, flying knees, flying elbows, and running sprints”! “I haven’t done a wind sprint since I was in grade school, and now I can’t get enough of them” says Alan visibly excited.

Alan is not only the oldest member of the Seattle location he just may be the most dedicated member as well. He arrives exactly 30-mins before class, 6 days a week. His early arrival is part of a methodical pre-class routine that takes about 20-minutes which includes putting on thin leather weight lifting gloves with wrist support, taping his knuckles and fingers, wrapping his hands and then finally putting on his MMA style gloves. “His hands are definitely well protected”, says Garett with a smile on his face.

Flying Knee

Within his first 8-weeks at CKO Alan lost 16 pounds and has since reduced his medications. He no longer needs his high blood pressure and thyroid medication! The results do not stop there, Alan is visibly more energetic and much happier, he no longer gets dizzy spells, his arms are noticeably firmer, and his motor skills have significantly improved! “Alan has definitely become a huge inspiration to not only me but too many of the CKO members. Alan is a perfect reminder that we must continue to remain active and live life to the fullest no matter our circumstances”, says Garett!

The Best Green Smoothie

As promised here is one of my green smoothie recipe. It may look scary and even taste a bit weird (I think they taste great) but it is extremely healthy and a great way to get some extra protein and veggies! I am always slightly changing the recipe depending on what I have available but I will give you the basics and also let you know of some of the other items I have added! Don’t be scared! Let’s take our nutrition to the NEXT LEVEL!

Garett’s Life Changing Smoothie (lol)

Green is good!

Green is good!


  • 1-cup of cold Tea – Jessica really likes to make/drink “generic” iced tea so that is usually what I use but if you want to really be gangster I recommend cold Yerba Mate. I like the loose leaf and you can get it at Whole Food or Central Market. I will make a batch in the coffee press and then put in the fridge!!! Green tea is also a great choice.
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1/2 apple or pear – the apple and banana are necessary to help reduce the bitterness
  • Two big Kale leafs
  • Big Handful of Power Greens
  • Approximately 1-inch piece of fresh raw ginger – remove the outer layer with a potato peeler.
  • Table spoon of Coconut oil
  • Optional but recommended – 1 serving of both Upgraded Whey and Upgraded Collagen protein. Or Organic Hemp protein powder if you are vegetarian. Can be found at Whole foods or Central Market.
  • Optional – 2 or 3 frozen strawberries if you have a sweet tooth and the though of drinking green smoothies sounds disgusting it maybe necessary to include some strawberries in the beginning
  • 5-6 ice cubes – I like my smoothies cold.

In order to make really good smoothies I recommend you invest in a nice high end blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec comes in handy especially when dealing with kale!  This is where a powerful blender comes in handy!!!

Other ingredients I have used in my green smoothies are:

  • Cilantro
  • Raw Garlic
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery

There you have it, get creative and take charge of our health! I would love to hear from you on what you think about the recipe and also I would love for you to share your favorite recipe. Lastly stop going to generic smoothie shops such as Emerald Smoothie, Jamba Juice and Kiva Juice and start making your own smoothies!

Here is a video of another smoothie:

Three Delicious Smoothies You Should Be Making

This is an older post I wrote a few years back. I have had many people ask me about smoothies so I figured that this post is a good starting point to help you delve into the smoothie world! Today I drink vegetable heavy smoothies and I will post some recipes soon. I do realize that many people are not as “hardcore” as me, and my vegetable smoothies maybe a bit much in the beginning so below are some really delicious smoothies that are very easy to make and much healthier (and cheaper) than Kiva Juice or Emerald City Smoothie.

Remember fruit has a lot of sugar and carbs, while natural, eating too much makes fat loss really hard.

I always recommend that you get the majority of your calories from real food, not liquid but sometimes a quick delicious smoothie “hits the spot”, especially post workout, or even for breakfast (just don’t make this a habit), or a late afternoon snack. Smoothies are great tasting and can actually be very healthy when made properly. Also add some protein powder and you have yourself a really fulfilling, refreshing recovery drink! Let me give you 3 of my favorite smoothie recipes:

Chocolate Milk Smoothie – This is one of my favorites because it is really simple and it tastes just like chocolate milk and who does not like chocolate milk? Lately I have been adding a spoonful of raw almond butter (do not buy/consume roasted nut butters!) to the smoothie, the chocolate flavor combined with the almond butter is just amazing!


  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 whole large banana or 2 small bananas
  • Optional (but delicious) – Raw Almond Butter (can be found at most health food stores)
  • Optional – Unflavored Upgraded Whey protein powder or unflavored protein of your choice. If you really want to go next level I also add 1 serving of collagen protein. These proteins can be found at the gym along with other bulletproof products.
  • 5-6 ice cubes – I like my smoothies cold. This is where a powerful blender comes in handy!!!
  • Blend all ingredients, while items are blending, add Upgraded Chocolate powder or a unsweetened chocolate powder. Be careful a little goes a long way. Add slowly until the liquid turns light brown.
  • Enjoy!

Chocolate Milk Smoothie

Berry blast –  The creaminess of the coconut milk combined with the berries is delightful. There are many ways to make this smoothie but the berries I typically use are blue berries, strawberries, raspberries and/or blackberries. I typically buy frozen organic berries.


  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk*
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup blue berries and 2 whole strawberries (Remember this is where you can get creative I typically use 3/4 to 1 full cup of berries in any combo)
  • Optional – Banana
  • Optional – Unflavored Whey protein powder. If you really want to go next level I also add 1 serving of collagen protein.
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Blend all ingredients. If it becomes too thick to blend just add water slowly until it can blend nicely.

Berry Blast Smoothie

Orange-Berry – Orange, raspberries, coconut oil, it doesn’t get much more refreshing than this.


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 whole orange (pealed obviously)
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • small spoonful of unrefined coconut oil
  • Optional – Unflavored Whey protein powder. If you really want to go next level I also add 1 serving of collagen protein.
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Blend all ingredients. If it becomes too thick to blend just add water slowly until it can blend nicely.


* I recommend the coconut milk from the can. Do not buy the “light” version and do not buy the version sold in cartons, example the So Delicious brand ,it is watered down and overpriced. Coconut milk is high in fat but it is good fat (lots of health benefits!!!) and this natural fat not only tastes great it will satisfy your hunger for much longer.

Make sure to shake the can very well before you open it (you should be able to hear the milk moving) because the coconut cream can separate from the coconut water. You may have to put the can in some hot water for a few minuets to be able to hear the milk moving when you shake the can. Store the unused coconut milk in the fridge and try to use with in a few days.

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