2013 10-Week Challenge Rosie

In just 10-weeks Rosie lost 12.2 inches off her body, which is outstanding! That is more than an inch an week! Not only did she drop many dress sizes (time for a new wardrobe) she also became much stronger and significantly increased her stamina!  Below is Rosie’s CKO 10-challenge experience.
Testimonial by Rosie Boelens:
The CKO 10-Week Challenge was nothing short of an awesome experience. I started coming to CKO because I bought a living social deal with a friend who really wanted to try out a kickboxing gym, and from the first class I was hooked. 
Hard Work pays off! Click for a High Resolution picture

Hard Work pays off!

As a law student I haven’t had much time to get to the gym recently, so when I came to CKO I would not have described myself as physically fit or in shape at all. In fact, I couldn’t do a single push-up, nor could I run an entire mile without walking. I was looking for a way to get healthier, but nothing I had tried was working for me. What drew me to CKO was the promotion of sustainable healthy habits and the supportive atmosphere. Participating in the 10-Week Challenge taught me about healthy eating habits, goal setting, and most importantly showed me that I really CAN do this. Being healthy and fit doesn’t come from some secret that I had yet to be told; it comes from dedication and conscious decision making. 
My goals when I started the challenge were to lose 2 dress sizes, increase my fitness level, and just generally stay accountable to a fitness plan. I not only met these goals, but I surpassed my expectations in all fields. I went from a size 12 to a size 8, I essentially doubled all of my reps/times in the fitness test, and I went to at least 2 classes every week. 
Great improvement in just 10-weeks

Great improvement in just 10-weeks. 

I started seeing the inches and pounds come off after only a couple of weeks, and each small success motivated me to keep going. I stayed accountable to myself and made fitness and eating well a priority in my life. It was hard to adjust at first because it took time to think critically about what I was eating and even harder to take time out of a busy day to drive to the gym for a class. But, when things were difficult the constant support from CKO and from other challengers who I knew were going through the same thing really helped keep me going. Ultimately, it was worth so much more than any inconvenience I felt at the time. 
I lost inches and pounds, but at the risk of sounding like a Special K commercial, what I gained is more important to me. I gained healthy habits, self-confidence, and the knowledge that I am stronger than I think I am. I am really excited to continue on my fitness journey with the healthy habits I have developed and the awesome classes at CKO! 

10-Week Challenge Jon “Bacon” Rogers Numero Dos!

Jon “Bacon” Rogers has literally become the “life” of the CKO party! His positive outlook on life and the energy he brings to class is contagious! Jon just finished his second 10-week challenge and he has had one of the best transformations I have seen both aesthetically and in strength and stamina. As Jon will tell you himself what help him achieve that “next level” of health and fitness was removing all sugar from his diet! Sugar is one of the worst things we consume and yet sadly we now consume more sugar than ever before, we as a society are literally addicted! Below is Jon’s testimonial about his CKO 10-week experience!

Written by Jon “Bacon” Rogers: I went into CKO’s 10 week challenge with very concrete goals in mind. First and foremost I have struggled with both my unhealthy eating habits and my weight my entire life. I needed to affect positive changes, lest I contract diabetes as it is prevalent in my family. Early in the challenge, I took it upon myself to seek Garett’s counsel regarding proper nutrition and addressing “and I quote” my literal sugar addiction. Garett spoke with me for over forty-five minutes straight. I was most attentive to his suggestions and even purchased a book entitled Good Calories, Bad Calories upon his recommendation. Within this challenge I succeeded in over thirty days with having absolutely no sugar. This simple change gave me awesome results. For the first time in my life I have visible abdominal muscles- YES! Six pack abs taste far sweeter than sugar ever could. I’m far from perfect; but when I had small set-backs (pizza, yogurt, the occasional light beer), I didn’t give up and hit the gym harder and with more intensity than ever. I averaged at minimum 4 trips to CKO per week and some weeks I went 5 or more time, sometimes even pulling the infamous “double” workout.

Talk about a transformation!

Talk about a transformation! Click for High Resolution photo!

CKO has quite literally changed my life and for the better. Since joining August 2012, I have lost over 40-lbs, and in this my second challenge I have lost 26-lbs. My body fat percentage has decreased by 6 percent and I have lost six inches off my waist. My biggest accomplishment aside from the healthy eating has to be my increased physical strength. When I first started CKO pull-ups were a “no go!” I couldn’t even do a single pull-up. Now I am a proud member of the pull-up club where I bang out pull-ups left and right during my break time. I average over 25 pull ups per class now and can do seven excellent pull ups (from a dead hang) in a row no sweat! Here are the results of this challenge and they speak volumes to what I have accomplished:

  • Wall Sit Initial: 54 seconds Wall Sit Final: 1 minute +6 seconds “This is an area I must improve on!”
  • Standing Long Jump Initial: 88 inches (7 ft. 4 inches) Standing Long Jump Final: (7 ft. 7 inches) +3 inches
  • Kettle Bell Initial: 63 swings w/ 53 lb. bell Kettle Bell Final: 100 swings w/ 53 lb. bell +37 reps
  • Initial Plank: 2 minutes 5 seconds Final Plank: 5 minutes flat +2 minutes 55 seconds
  • Initial Sprint: 2 minutes 22 seconds Final Sprint: 2 minutes 9 seconds -13 seconds (faster time)
  • Initial Medicine ball Chest Pass (20 lb. ball): 146 chest passes Final Medicine Ball Chest Pass (20 lb. ball): 300 passes +154 more chest passes
  • Initial 1 mile run time: 7 minutes Final 1 mile run time: 6 minutes 30 seconds -30 seconds (faster) “I reached my goal here I had set for myself.”


Initial Measurements/Final Measurements

  • Right Arm 13 1/4 Right Arm 13 1/4 No change
  • Left Arm 13 1/8 Left Arm 13 1/4 + 1/4 inch growth “nice and even”
  • Waist 35 inches Waist 32.5 inches “WOW” -2.5 inches lost
  • Right Leg 23 3/4 Right Leg 22 1/2 -1 1/4 inch lost
  • Left Leg 23 3/4 Left Leg 22 1/2 -1 1/4 inch lost “NICE” “nice and even”
  • Chest 42 1/4 Chest 43 1/2 +1 1/4 inch gain YEAH MONEY!!! Bigger Chest!
Got to get hot to be hot! Click for High Resolution.

Got to get hot to be hot! Click for High Resolution.

Without a doubt if you want to make serious positive changes to your health and fitness you must show up and do the work. The only easy day was yesterday. The work-outs never get any easier. Once you accept that and “put out” you’ll see immediate results. I recommend attending classes four times per week and meeting with Garett for personal training and advice on nutrition. He is a great support system and all the trainers at CKO are there to help you succeed. The atmosphere is electric and it’s down right fun to sweat with my closest friends. Jessica and Garett Renon- You are my heroes and you have changed my life. Thank you CKO! What are you waiting for? Get your butt to CKO Kickboxing and remember “You’ve got to get hot to be hot!”

Sincerely, Jon Rogers

No Sugar does a body good!

No Sugar does a body good!

Self-Sabotage Part 1 – Injury

I have recently read an outstanding and very inspirational book titled the “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. The theme of this book is to help identify resistance, teach you to overcome resistance, and then inspire you to reach your full creative potential. While this is a book on writing, if you think about it, we all experience resistance on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is a never ending battle but definitely a battle we can win if we know the rules of the game! Resistance is the force that tells you to watch Jersey Shore Marathons on a Saturday afternoon instead of finishing that basement remodel you started last year or why you would rather look at people’s random photos on Facebook instead of going to the gym. Resistance is a powerful force, so therefore, it is as equally important to be able to clearly identify resistance, because you must first be able to recognize your enemies before you can defeat them!

Don't be this guy!

Don’t be this guy!

This book inspired me to look at the reasons why people self-sabotage (resistance) their health and fitness goals! Being the head trainer of CKO Seattle, I have had the privilege of having hundreds of conversations about peoples fitness goals. The flip side is I have also seen many of the same people make very good progress in the short term, only to come up with some reason (excuse) as to why they have stopped coming in on a regular basis. So why talk/blog about a negative force like self-sabotage instead of a positive  “you can do this” type talk/blog? Well because everyone knows how to achieve great results in the health and fitness world, take a second to think about it… yes that’s right, workout and eat healthy on a consistent basis. It is really that simple, however, very few individuals are able to keep this pattern going for any significant amount of time. For the majority, resistance will eventually win the battle of wills. I would like to discuss the most common self-sabotaging behaviors I see in the fitness world with the hope that once you are able to recognize these behaviors you will eventually be able to overcome resistance!

Which path? That is up to you!

Which path? That is up to you!

Before you read any further I want to be 100% clear that if you have, or have had, a serious injury, you should always seek a doctor’s approval before participating in our kickboxing classes or any other physical activity for that matter.

Part 1 Injuries:

Injuries can be annoying if minor and devastating if serious but just about any injury can be overcome and even healed completely with smart exercise!  But unfortunately too many people like to play the “victim” card and are “defined” by their injury. A very common example of this is a client telling their trainer that they tore their ACL 3 years ago playing soccer and they haven’t worked out since the injury. While the different types of injuries you can experience is nearly limitless, lets discuss an ACL tear because it is very common, fairly severe (requires surgery), but absolutely 100% recoverable.  I personally know many people that have made 100% full recoveries in 7-months to 1-year and similarly I know just about as many people still using their ACL injury as an excuse for being inactive 3- 4 years later. Let me be clear, I am not judging anyone who has or has had an injury, I am just making the point that with just about any injury, you either find people who naturally healed themselves through smart exercise or you find people that use the injury as a crutch and an excuse as to why they are no longer active.

An injury becomes a form of self sabotage when you forgo all physical activity exercise because you are “injured”. With the exception of being in a full body cast, having a broken arm does not prevent you from walking/running and or doing leg exercises. In fact we recently had a member that broke his ankle rollerblading, and instead of feeling sorry for himself, he was back in the gym a couple days later in an ankle boot and all. (That’s a real trooper!)! Again the point is that life will always throw you curve balls and it is up to you to take those curves in stride and continue to move forward regardless of the situation.

How does exercise help you overcome and injury? Exercise is a form of physical therapy and speaking in a very non-scientific terms exercise helps speed up the healing process as a result of muscle/body part stimulation and the old “if you don’t use it, you lose it” motto that we all know is true. Think about this; for most of human history, humans did some sort of physical labor nearly every day, be it stalking big game, fishing, gathering fruits, nuts, veggies and/or moving “camp” to a different location. While this work may not be as hard a running a marathon, it can be easily assumed that our ancestors were in some sort of constant movement for multiple hours a day. Fast forward to today’s society and now you don’t even have to get out of your car to obtain our species most precious commodity, food. No wonder many have become fat, dumb and happy.  Zombies anyone?

No comment!

No comment!

When we are fat, dumb, and happy or bodies literately goes into a “relaxed” state, we have a constant food supply, we have shelter, we have access to clean water, our daily lives require very little if any physical activity, so on a cellular level there is no sense of urgency to repair these nagging/serious injuries. Our body literately becomes lazy all the way down to our cells. Our body is a product of our environment and it makes small adaptations (Epigenetics) based on the environmental input received. When we exercise we break our body down, then our body responds/adapts by repairing itself slightly stronger so it will be able to handle a similar work load in the future. The same goes for an injured area, if you continue to use the injured area (smartly), your body will make repairing the injury a high priority!

Remember to start out slow

Remember to start out slow

How to smartly overcome an injury:

  • Step 1 – Stop feeling sorry for yourself – Obviously you know your body better than anyone else but it is never a good idea to play the “victim card”. Why? Because odds are very high that there is someone out there that has overcome a very similar injury despite being given worse circumstances.  While cancer is probably not considered an injury and Lance Armstrong is probably not the most popular person today, cheating or not (everybody was “cheating”), he is a great example of overcoming a major setback. You sit home feeling sorry for yourself or get back on that “horse” and win the Tour 7-times in a row.
  • Step 2 – Learn the difference between discomfort and pain – This is probably the most important step. We can easily push through discomfort, that’s how you get stronger and that’s how you heal injuries. If you really think about it, experiencing some discomfort no matter the circumstances always results in personal growth. Unfortunately, many people have become so sedentary and so out of touch with their own body that they can no longer tell the difference between pain and discomfort. The second they feel discomfort they freak out and immediately stop. Yes if you feel pain you should stop but discomfort is that environmental input/stimulus telling your body that it needs to get stronger.  There is a very fine line between discomfort and pain but if you have great body awareness (it still boggles my mind that people are unaware of their own bodies) you should know the difference between the two.
  • Step 3-Start out slow (don’t expect to pick up right where you left off).
  • Step 4– Gradually increase the resistance and intensity.
  • Step 5 – Continue to eat healthy! One of the worst mistakes people make is letting an injury propel them into a downward spiral that ends with eating so called comfort foods such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, pizza, cookies, etc. Re-read step 1!
  • Step 6 – Stay positive and keep pressing forward!

Injuries can and will happen but they are never an excuse to stop exercising completely. You should always get clearance from a doctor but at the end of the day an injury is just a road bump at the very least or a detour at the very worst on our continuous health and fitness journey.

Primal Lasagna! A not so guilty pleasure!

Cheese and dairy? Yes these are in the “grey zone” of the primal and paleo world but if you choose high quality cheese, it is far from the worst thing in the world you can eat. The best suggestion is to remove dairy from your diet for 2 weeks to a month and then reintroduce it into your diet and see how your body reacts. So my personal stance on dairy is absolutely no milk (unless it is raw), but high quality cheeses, and yogurts are fine. So now that I plead my case to the radical paleo fundamentalist let’s move on with this delicious recipe:

Homemade meat sauce

Homemade meat sauce

Meat Sauce – Most people know how to make a good spaghetti sauce so I won’t go over how to make this but I will mention that we like our protein so we put at least 5-lbs of meat (sometimes beef, sometimes pork, sometimes a combo) in our sauce. Sometimes we add extra veggies such as carrots, celery, mushrooms, etc. Like I said have fun with the sauce as this is a fairly easy thing to make. If you are really in a pinch buy 4 jars of pre-made sauce, add ground beef and voila you just made meat sauce 🙂 .

Fresh ingredients

Fresh ingredients

Lasagna ingredients:

  • 5 to 6 Zucchinis
  • 1-lb to 2-lbs of ricotta cheese (depending on how much you like)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 to 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 cups Fresh Parmesan cheese  (Trader Joe’s Raw Milk Parmesan is the best!!!)
  • 2 cups of good quality mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then either thinly slice the zucchini or use a julienne peeler. We like the julienne peeler because it is a little faster but thinly slicing gives you a think lasagna noodle feel, try both, see what you prefer.

Zucchini sliced thinly with a knife

Zucchini sliced thinly with a knife

Zucchini shredded using a julleane peeler

Zucchini shredded using a julleane peeler

In a large bowl combine the ricotta cheese, the 4 eggs, the baby spinach, and the 1.5 cups of Parmesan cheese and using an electric mixers, mix all ingredients

Mix it up good :)

Mix it up good 🙂

Then layer the bottom of a pan first with a little sauce (to prevent sticking), then the zucchini, then the cheese mixture. Repeat process, try to get at least 3 layers of zucchini.

Sauce and noodles

Sauce and zucchini first

Then cheese mixture

Then spread a good amount of cheese mixture

Then more sauce, more noodles, etc

Then add more sauce, more zucchini, cheese mixture, etc

Final layer - Zuchinni, sauce, motarella cheese, and remaing parasagn cheese

Final layer – Zucchini, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and remaining parmesan cheese.

Then bake for 1-hr and enjoy. Trust me, you won’t even miss the noodles!

The Clothes are Coming off part 3 (Does your gym want you to fail?)

You may not realize this but there is a very good chance that your gym wants you to fail!

Think about most of your major purchases, very rarely is the cheapest option the highest quality product. Do you know anyone who has bought the cheapest house or car they could possibly find? Or what about something as simple as a phone, most everyone has a high-end smart phone which is much more expensive compared to a basic flip phone. What’s the difference, they both make calls right? Well, if you have ever used a smart phone you quickly realize that it is a superior product and suddenly the cost of a smart phone is not even a consideration when compared to a standard flip phone because they are not even in the same league.

In fact when we purchase anything that has the possibility to enhance our lives we tend to purchase as much quality as we can afford. The only time we really don’t care about quality is when we buy relativity meaningless items such as wood glue, bleach (any cleaning product for that matter), batteries, and breakfast cereal (not a problem because we don’t eat that garbage anyway). So why – when it comes to health and fitness– which has the power to significantly enhance our life much more than our house, expensive car, $50 t-shirts, and even our precious iPhones–why do so many people choose the cheapest option available?

Look at you with your fancy iPhone. I got this Bad Boy at the thrift shop for $5

Let me tell you something that most “cheap” gym owners do not want you to know – they hope you sign up for a membership and then hope to never see you again. Wait, did I just read that right? Unfortunately, you did, and I wish I was lying, but when you look at the business model of these $10 -$24 gyms (I actually saw a sign for a gym that was $8.50 per month the other day!) the amount of members they need to just break even is far more than their facility can support. They are betting their life savings on your laziness, hoping that 80% of their members never walk through the doors, but at only $10 per month they also hope that it is so cheap that you will never cancel because “hey, it is only $10”. Still don’t believe me? Let’s look at some general numbers. The average “cheap gym” is 15,000 square feet and the going rate for commercial real-estate is $1 -$3.50 per square foot. So being ultra conservative let’s assume they are paying $1 per square foot (no way in hell anyone is getting that price btw) and let’s also assume they are charging $10 per-month, at 15,000 square feet the rent alone is $15,000 per month. Divide $15,000/$10 that is 1,500 members just to pay rent!

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We haven’t even calculated the $500,000 to 1-million dollars worth of equipment, utilities, insurance, employees, corrupt city government officials, taxes, etc. It is not a far off estimate to assume they need 6,000 members just to pay the bills!  These gyms can not even support 6,000 members, hell there max occupancy is probably not much more than 300 people at a time. What would happen if all 6,000 members showed up at one time and demanded a treadmill?

Let’s not forget that when you attend a gym with 6,000+ members you are nothing more than member #3,457, the front desk person doesn’t know you, the trainers (if they even have them) don’t know you, the other members don’t know you and to top it all off these gyms may have thousands of members, but ironically they tend to be a very cold and lonely places. Why would you pay for a membership at a gym where you are just a number and they are literally betting on you rarely, if ever, showing up? And don’t even get me started on pizza night!

So I just found the cheapest tattoo artist in town...

So I just found the cheapest tattoo artist in town…

The business/fitness model of the gym I own is based on small group classes and we pride ourselves in knowing  members by name. We are in the business of results and we are NOT betting on your laziness, we want each and every member to walk through our doors and get their desired results! Personally, I get a little bummed when a member stops coming (for no real reason) for an extended period of time.

Life does happen but we always encourage our members to keep moving forward even if it is 2-steps forward and 1-step back and I feel very bad when a member chooses to take 2-steps forward and 3-steps back. OK no more negative talk, the point being is that our gym is set up to give our members every opportunity to succeed and achieve the body and lifestyle of their dreams! Each class is taught by a professional trainer! When the classes get too big, we add more classes and hire more trainers, and when our membership grows beyond our current location capabilities we will either expand or open another location. We are small for one reason, we care about our members and we truly want our members to become healthy, achieve their fitness goals, and become sexy beasts!


Here is a fun exercise to do – We all know someone who goes to one of these “cheap” gyms. Your exercise is to ask them about their gym experience, most likely the first thing they will say is how cheap it is, the second thing they will tell you (if they even go to the gym anymore) is about how they have lots of treadmills (boring) and non-fitness related amenities such as mouth wash and hair dryers in the bathroom. But the one thing I almost guarantee they will never talk about is RESULTS (isn’t that why we go to gyms in the first place?). You tend to get what you pay for and when you pay for a gym that hopes you never show up, the results are usually few and far between! With 3-months until summer can you really afford to choose the cheapest option available?