A couple of weeks ago I met a fellow RKC from San Diego, Cody Bramlett.
The thing that intrigued me the most about this guy was how passionate he was to speak to about training and kettlebells. His passion really carries through with the way he designs his programs and especially when he shoots his videos.
I managed to get Cody on the phone to talk about fat loss and his whole philosophy on life and training.
You'll really like how he “disses” me (do people still say that?) when I ask him about losing 15 pounds. He pretty much says (in his California-Surfer-Accent kind of way), “Yo Chris, you're a punk. Losing weight is whack, yo!”…or something like that.
Here's Part 1 of the interview…
Chris Lopez: Hello, it’s Chris Lopez from kettlebellworkouts.com. I hope everybody is having a wonderful day. I’m back with another kettle bell workout VIP interview. Today I’ve got on the line my good friend Cody Bramlett from San Diego, California. Cody, how are you sir?
Cody Bramlett: Good. How are you doing today?
Chris Lopez: I’m great. Well this is our first interview. This is the first time you and I are actually getting a chance to connect. So for all the listeners and the readers out there all of my subscribers why don’t you give us a brief introduction and tell us a little bit about yourself and what your experience is with training with kettlebells and fat loss and that kind of stuff.
Cody Bramlett: I own KettleBellXTraining.com. It is a local gym down here in San Diego. I have a wonderful online blog community as well.
I started out training in high school, I was a chubby kid and I never quite could figure out how to get in shape. I did everything under the sun and what happened was when I had come home from college, I went to San Diego State my brother was playing with kettlebells. He is my partner, he owns a bunch of boot camps as well. I was playing with the kettlebell and said this is fun. I really like it.
I graduated from what happened to be one of the first kettlebell gyms in America, it was in San Diego. I walked in and there was this trainer named Brett Jones, you have probably heard of him or talked to him before. He is an amazing, amazing smart guy. He was one of the lead trainers. I got to learn from one of the most experienced Russian Kettlebell certified instructors in the country starting now. And after that I got certified and eventually opened up my own boot camp and my own studio after that. I am loving it to death.
I am RKC certified. I have gone to back to the RKC Training Weekends multiple times whenever they do it in San Diego I am always there and hanging out. I love doing that and not only just the kettlebells I like a lot of the different exercises and different types of assessments. I do FMS screening. I have been involved in what is called the Z Health a movement therapy. It is a lot of fun. With kettlebells you get a lot of funky imbalances doing a lot of training and these drills I have been learning have been able to help my students and myself get over the pain and a lot of stresses and just keep going and get stronger and better results faster. It has been a lot of fun.
Chris Lopez: Cool. That’s great. Let’s talk a little bit about the RKC and your general training philosophy. What was it about the RKC that attracted you most to the way they teach strength as it pertains to kettlebells?
Cody Bramlett: I am with the RKC now because I learned from one of the best RKC’s in the country. It is just the type of training they do. It maximizes benefits in both strength and losing weight. There is also like American Kettle Bell Club and other organizations out there. They are great organizations too, but in my opinion they are not kind of a starting point though. They are not the lead point you want to start with when you are learning kettlebells. Nor are they necessarily for someone who wants to lose weight and kind of start getting ripped. They are a lot more for a sport.
I love the Russian Kettlebell Certification because the group, the community, the tightness everybody has they have there. A lot of support and you have multiple RKCs in town. We all do events together and know each other and it is a lot of fun. So it is just that tight knit group. The type of training I said it helps people lose a lot of weight fast. The results I see in my gym are just insane how fast people drop weight and start changing their bodys.
Chris Lopez: That’s great. It’s funny you mention that too because well, first off you mentioned Brett Jones. He was actually my team leader when I got certified back in Orlando. Incredible guy. So smart just like and ridiculously strong. The thing that I found most interesting about the RKC is that they don’t really even program you for weight loss. Weight loss almost seems to be like a byproduct of the type of training you are doing where you are really learning STRENGTH AS A SKILL and really focus on practicing and not necessarily training. As a result of that – not even with the full intention of it – you lose a lot of fat and you lose a lot of strength. Would you say that you find that same thing with your clients?
Cody Bramlett: Exactly. That’s the thing with the RKC is that they teach you how to do the move perfectly and they just beat it into the ground. That is good but it is not necessarily what you want for weight results. My brother and I helped develop a program that takes it to the next step. You can start with your fat loss faster and your strength gains faster. It is a total byproduct. If I had someone and I can only spend 10 or 15 minutes with them I would teach them three drills and it is a really short program and just by focusing on those three simple drills and doing the correct amount of reps in the correct form you see crazy changes in results and most people have written books about it just because it is a simple two handed swing and how wonderful it can change you.
Chris Lopez: You mentioned three drills let’s kind of go on that then. If you had 10 minutes and you could only teach one person like somebody something what would those three drills be and how would you program?
Cody Bramlett: Simple. The three drills the first is the two-handed swing. Second the Turkish Getup and third is the Thruster. And I prefer the double kettlebell thruster we will just say one assuming most people have one kettlebell at home.
The two-handed swing I have been working with people forever so I can literally teach that drill within three or four minutes. Almost a complete novice with no clue what is going on. That is one of the most powerful and important drills in the world. It is full body. Every single rep is a full body explosion of power. You are not just isolating the muscle and focusing on one little component of your body. It is just everything at once. It is cardiovascular, it is strength, it is endurance, everything.
The Thruster is just a wind sucker. It takes the air right out of your lungs. It is working your legs and your core a lot and you do a lot of overhead push pressing too. That drill allows you to lift heavier weights which refer to pressing because you have to use your hips to pop the weight off of your body. So if the build is not just the strength but build the confidence internally to pick something up. A lot of people don’t realize how strong they actually are and a lot of times it takes a few tweaks to put them in the right position so they can find that strength. But most of it really is just intimidation. They are used to lifting the big weights in the gym and I have to tell them to ignore the number on the kettlebells I show them because kettlebells are different. They are different than how you lift them because you don’t pick up a five pound kettle bell. That doesn’t do anything for you or anybody.
The third drill – The Get-Up – I love to use because that puts your shoulder and your arm at different angles under a load . When you can actually get to a more challenging weight on that drill doing two or three reps on each side is a smoker. I mean if I do that with my 32k or my 40kg bell one or two reps and I work out quite literally. It is that intense and that much tension and strength you have to have while doing the Getup.
For training the Getup I do the “balance the shoe in your fist trick” so that way you are always keeping your arms straight in the air when you are first practicing it. It is a lot of fun and a different way of practicing it.
Chris Lopez: And just to for those of us that don’t know what a Thruster is that is just a squat press. So, squat down as deep as you can and then just explode up as high as you can punching that weight towards the sky or the ceiling.
Cody Bramlett: It is important to use that hip extension to push the weight up you are trying to make it a fast, smooth drill. At the same time like I said it builds that confidence because you are able to push more up in the air.
Chris Lopez: That is a good segue into what I wanted to talk about first which was strength and you had mentioned if someone has only got one kettlebell at home would that person still be able to gain an appreciable amount of strength just using one kettlebell. Obviously, I am not talking about a powerlifter or people that are trying to lift like maximum weight. But maybe like a stay at home mom or like a dad who works maybe 8 to 10 hour days and just wants some energy or just wants to be able to be healthy and be able to lift up his kids and throw them up in the air and catch them. How would you program someone like that who just had one kettlebell and they needed to get stronger and be able to deal with everyday life. Would it pretty much be the same three drills that you had mentioned would there be any changes or anything like that?
Cody Bramlett: There would be more drills than that. Those are just my three favorites in my opinion a lot of the drills there kind of make they break up the mental boringness of working out. So those three cover like almost every aspect of movement and if you want to change that there is like 15 different swings you can do and different presses and different squats and they are still using the same muscle groups and still getting the same results but you are not getting bored doing the exact same drills. And some are different, little tweaks, little changes, but you get the majority of everything you want from those three drills. What my brother and I did is when we both started up boot camps about two years is we didn’t have a lot of equipment. So we had our 10 or 15 students we were able to give them all one or two different kettlebells in the whole class. So we had to create a lot of different programs that help people grow from starting at completely basic with one kettlebell and then doing a more advanced drill.
So what we have done with our kettlebell training body transformation is we create a drill that starts you out on the most basic, simple drill and once you achieve your certain level based on your size and your goals then you move to the next workout.
So, for example, you start out doing a swing and then by the 10th or 12th exercise program that is on the DVDs you would be on snatch. So you would take a drill for a smaller weight. Swinging it first would be the challenging part. And you move the kettlebell so that way each time it gets easier you increase the intensity and you increase the difficulty of the drill. So that way you are challenging yourself, you are not having to get a different size weight. Literally, I can take one kettlebell and I take them on vacation. I was visiting my parents out camping for four days over the holiday two weeks ago. And I brought one kettlebell with me, 24 kilogram. I know it is kind of big for some people, but it is perfect for my size. I am a big, 200 pound guy. And I use that for everything for my work outs. I take it with me whenever I go anywhere for a vacation.
Chris Lopez: Just one kettlebell and you were able to use it probably the most versatile tool that you can get out there right now. Let’s talk about fat loss right now. First off, let’s talk about somebody who needs to lose 15 or 20 pounds in fat. What type of programming considerations would you take to help them achieve their goals. You could even get into nutrition and lifestyle and that kind of stuff. Let’s talk about the person who needs to change some habits and lose that 15 or 20 pounds that has just been nagging them for like say five or six years.
Cody Bramlett: Not a problem. The first thing I will say to you is I want you to get that number of 15 to 20 pounds out of your head.
Guess what? Weight really does not matter.
If I told you to be the same exact weight but look totally better would you say yes? Of course! That's because it’s more about your body fat percentage and your muscle tone and that is what we are looking to do.
So everybody that does my program we do the full measurements top to bottom that is the changes that happen the most. For example, take my best friend. I finally convinced her to start training with me. She never worked out in her whole life.
After six months she came out in class and was just all depressed and upset. And I’m like what’s going on? She was like I haven’t lost a pound. Look at the scale. It is the same way it was three or four months ago.
I measured her, she had lost almost an inch and a half on every limb. She could do two strict pull-ups, pushups on her toes, she could snatch 30 pounds in the air and she had almost an ab popping out of her shirt. I’m like “you understand that you are stronger now so you replaced that muscle with your fat”.
So what I’m trying to get at is that you need to get that thing out of your head first because otherwise it will plague you forever and it just kind of be a little devil on your shoulder and you will never have success. That is number one.
Number two, kettlebells exercise program is the easiest thing to do. Doing a kettlebells training program or any type of real focus program where you have measurable results where you can see yourself growing week over week.
[text_bar_2_left + width=”100%”]”Just saying I’m going to work out, that won’t help you at all.” -Cody Bramlett, RKC[/text_bar_2_left]
Actually going through a program that actually takes you step by step by step you will see results faster. Doing swings of course, all the different drills will help you as we talked about earlier. You just get better and get in better shape. So by taking the program like Kettlebell training or something else and really focusing on it, doing it as it says and exercising you can see the changes. It is a no-brainer. You can lose the weight without even trying.
Nutrition that is the second biggest part. I have my whole philosophies on nutrition.
I don’t believe anything USDA says and the government says. It is a complete crock in my opinion.
That is really important and that is how you see the fat loss happen. With kettlebells you will lose weight initially. You will lose weight initially because you are burning more calories than you might be taking in.
If you don’t continue to eat right, eat whole foods and eat the right types of foods at the right times of day you won’t see your body start to shrink a lot. If you are down to that last 15 pounds that you need to get rid of, nutrition will be the key as well as exercise.
If you actually follow a good nutrition program and follow a proper exercise program you will see those 15 pounds shed away in two or three months without even stressing about it.
Tomorrow in Part 2, we'll go a little more in-depth with Nutrition, Advanced Fat Loss and whether or not you may be over-training.