EP 23 – The One About Kettlebells With Haley Shevener


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Quite possibly our sauciest show ever, this episode gets real about what it’s like to crank out kettlebell exercises with prolapse. As you know training with a bell can be super strenuous, and the breathing mechanics can be tricksy. Haley has solid, authentic insights for you, and she says it like it is. She and Beth both enjoy thinking outside the traditional movement box, redeeming “bad” body parts, and coming up with interesting hashtags.

You can follow Haley on Instagram @haleyshevener and visit her website or checkout her female-specific kettlebell program here

Fit2B Radio Cam

Show Transcript

Chris Behnke: Hey everybody, welcome to Fit 2 B Radio. My name is Chris Behnke. I’ll be your host today. I’m here with Beth Learn. She’s the CEO and Founder of Fit2B Studio. As always, she’s happy and smiling and ready. We also have with us Haley Shevener as our guest. Very excited to talk to you. Haley, where are you? I think you mentioned you’re east coast? Where are you?

Haley Shevener: The opposite. I’m in San Francisco, California.

Chris Behnke: Okay, okay. I thought I heard a New York in there in the pre-show, but the husband is for New York.

Beth Learn: No, she was talking about the states.

Chris Behnke: The states.

Beth Learn: Okay, now we have to say why we were talking about that.

Chris Behnke: Okay, okay. So to tell us how we got into this.

Beth Learn: Yes, it’s because of her last name.

Haley Shevener: Oh, right, yes. We were talking about how my husband and I, when we got married we decided to combine the letters of our last name to become Shevener, and that the states of California, New York, and I believe there’s one other state allows for this process to happen without having to pay extra and put an ad in the paper kind of a thing when you get married.

Chris Behnke: Got it.

Beth Learn: There we go.

Chris Behnke: But you’re not in New York.

Haley Shevener: Not in New York, California.

Chris Behnke: Whereabout in California?

Haley Shevener: San Francisco.

Beth Learn: Yes.

Chris Behnke: How long have you been there? Do you like it there?

Haley Shevener: My whole life. I have never lived anywhere else.

Chris Behnke: Wow. So you must like it.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, I mean I think I do. The thought of leaving is more overwhelming than considering whether or not I’d live somewhere else, but my parents are here. I’m really comfortable here. I don’t drive so that really limits my choices.

Chris Behnke: Yeah, yeah.

Haley Shevener: And this is just a really nice … I mean, of all the places to call home if you don’t have a car and you move out here, this is a great place.

Chris Behnke: So has it changed? I mean you’ve been there your whole life. Has it changed a lot?

Haley Shevener: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I mean, just the area where I grew up is dramatically different. My dad bought the house in 1972 for $20,000.

Chris Behnke: Wow.

Haley Shevener: It’s about $3 million piece of land at this point. It’s just ridiculous and going down to the places where I used to go growing up, it’s completely changed. Everything’s different.

Chris Behnke: Yeah. Well, it’s a fun place.

Haley Shevener: Yeah.

Chris Behnke: Cool. Well, thanks for spending time with us today.

Haley Shevener: Absolutely.

Chris Behnke: We’re excited to talk with you. So how did you and Beth connect? I always like asking that question to kind of figure where the connection is.

Beth Learn: I think I found her. I think I found you. Sometimes it’s the other way around where people find me, but I think I started by stalking you and I think I connected with you through Brianna.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, or Jen or we’ve got that pre- post- natal fitness pro group on Facebook which is where I definitely connected with a lot of people initially.

Beth Learn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Haley Shevener: It’s such a nice little, I don’t know, I feel like such a tight knit community even though we’re spread out so far and it’s a nice supportive system.

Beth Learn: It is, and I like that it is supportive and it’s not competitive per se. Like it’s a place where we can post if you have questions and things.

Haley Shevener: Yeah.

Beth Learn: I know I follow you on Instagram. You all have to follow her on Instagram. What’s your Instagram account? What’s it called?

Haley Shevener: Haley Shevener.

Beth Learn: Okay. I should know that, but you know I wasn’t sure if it was something like kettlebell mojo. I couldn’t remember at the moment. So I just love following you because we think alike when it comes to being really creative with fitness and doing it in strange places with strange things sometimes, and getting out of the box of fitness.

Haley Shevener: Yes.

Beth Learn: And not getting trapped by do these moves in these ways.

Haley Shevener: Totally. Yeah, and that’s so important for the population that we’re working with. They don’t necessarily have the ability to spend two hours at the gym where everything is super regimented.

Beth Learn: No.

Haley Shevener: And so to have the flexibility and to have the understanding that movement is really everywhere, and not confined to a specific, you know, designated place where we go to do movement, I think is so empowering to people.

Beth Learn: Yeah. I love your porch sessions. You put that camera up-

Haley Shevener: Very, very popular.

Beth Learn: Yes. I wish I was your neighbor. I know that sounds very stalker.

Haley Shevener: It’s actually funny because I met my neighbor who lives in that building that you’ll see. I bought tickets to go see Hamilton from a guy that was like, “you look familiar.” I was like, “Yes, I think you’ve seen me.”

Beth Learn: On my porch.

Haley Shevener: “You may recognize me from such sessions as kettlebell on my deck.” Yeah, so they seem to enjoy being my neighbors too.

Beth Learn: Yeah. Well you’ve really dialed in your kettlebell strategy in terms of pelvic organ issues, and it’s been so great to just watch you over the last couple of years and learn from you, but I am not a kettlebell expert. Fit2B we have a couple of basic kettlebell, like here’s how you pick it up, here’s how you do a very basic swing, mostly about the breasts. I tell them, look, if you like this you need to go learn from someone else because this is just the basics.

Haley Shevener: Yeah.

Beth Learn: And you’re coming out with a program.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, i am. I’m super excited about it. It’s going to be a comprehensive course that walks women through not just kettlebell movements but the why behind the movements themselves, and then the strategy. So touching a lot on women’s health, pelvic floor function, diastasis recti, menopause. Issues that I think we don’t always consider when we’re thinking about a high intensity training, but that need to live in the same wheelhouse, that there are women going to kettlebell classes that want to use kettle bells that are leaking or that are managing pelvic organ prolapse like myself and we need more coaches who understand that and we need more women who understand that they can participate to a certain extent for most people as long as they’re monitoring their strategy and they’re monitoring their symptoms and they’re working with professionals that can help them, like a pelvic floor PT, like a qualified kettle bell instructor who understands women’s health.

Beth Learn: Yeah.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Beth Learn: Preach.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, hoping to blend both of those world’s together a little bit more.

Beth Learn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Behnke: I’d like to step back just a little bit and kind of get more of an overview for those that don’t necessarily know all about what you do. On your website, it says unconventional training using kettlebells, bar bells, and one’s own body weight. I really want you to expand on unconventional training. That sounds-

Haley Shevener: Yeah. I think we have a set idea of what one can do with a barbell, for instance. We can squat with it, we can deadlift it, we can press it. And we can do so much more than that, because the barbell itself is just an object. The kettlebell is just an object, and so we’re not confined by this system or these ideas of what that tool is good for. When we really understand just movement, or what we’re interested in, or our creative process, I think we can get a little bit more unconventional and start playing around with yes, I could press the barbell and that’s an excellent option but what else could I do with it? What other purpose could it serve? That’s, for me, when movement gets really interesting and when I start to feel my own light bulbs go off. Then when I’m working with clients, when they tart to see well what if we did this, what about that? It just becomes this really flexible learning process instead of just reps and sets and reps and sets.

Beth Learn: Because that gets boring and that’s when people start dreading their workout.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: Totally, and like there’s a purpose, there’s a point to very simple training that is five sets of five reps, and that absolutely has value and I incorporate that into my basic strength programs for myself and for my clients, but I love getting to a place where we can see that is the tool to be able to do all these other options.

Beth Learn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Behnke: Right. What is an unconventional movement that you do with the barbell? What’s-

Haley Shevener: You can pick it up with one hand. You can rotate with it. You could drag it around. You’re really only limited by what you can come up with and environment, which makes it really fun. Every place that you’re in is going to have a different setup, and I train at a couple different gyms that one has a ton of floor space, one doesn’t really have any and so my workout becomes well how can I move with this barbell in this confined space, in as many ways as possible. I like taking a piece of equipment, like a medicine ball or like a viper trainer or kettlebell or barbell, and my entire workout becomes well, how many different things can I do with this? Sometimes it gets really weird, and sometimes it doesn’t workout, but you find those really magical moments where you’re like oh right, I see so much more than what this tool is actually maybe designed to do [inaudible 00:10:19].

Beth Learn: And for women with prolapse and diastasis, that’s huge because so much of early rehab is about careful, oops, step back, avoid, and that’s important for a few weeks.

Haley Shevener: Yep.

Beth Learn: But it quickly needs to become about do things. Expand. Bring the breath, bring the alignment, bring the things that, even as you’ve been pointing out though lately, we don’t always have to be aligned.

Haley Shevener: Right, totally, because we’re not always aligned and aligned can mean so many things. We are always aligned. We’re aligned in some way. Whether or not it’s optimal for every single thing is, you have to consider well what does optimal mean? It’s optimal for me to pickup my son in this way in this moment because that’s the only way I’m going to get him off the ground.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: It might not look like a textbook optimal description, but can I do it as optimally as possible with my core pelvic floor health in mind, and be able to execute the movement, and just move on with my life without dwelling on did I do it right, am I doing everything that I need to be doing? I think that the women that I work with often get really worked up about information that can feel really restrictive and so I try to give them a little bit more parameters to work with so that they don’t have to obsess about it.

Beth Learn: Yeah.

Haley Shevener: They can still focus on healing and restoring their function and strength without getting down on themselves.

Beth Learn: Because they do that on their own, I’ve discovered. On Fit2B, we’re constantly, I’m constantly preaching be nice to yourself, have grace, don’t be hard on yourself. This is not about getting everything perfect and even then, and I think part of that is we are working with this particular demographic that already feels like they’re falling apart and they’re already over analyzing themselves.

Haley Shevener: Yep.

Beth Learn: Yes, we’re asking them to analyze but to not over analyze and finding that balance is really precarious.

Haley Shevener: It’s really tricky, oh yeah. It’s so hard and I’m someone that does tend to be a black and white thinker. I’ve often been a person where it was not good enough.

Beth Learn: Me too.

Haley Shevener: And I bring all of that, too, and I did bring all of that to my movement. Especially when I discovered I had prolapse, I felt as if I suddenly had no idea what I was doing and I couldn’t reconcile that this had happened to me when I was trying to do everything right. And understanding that you can do everything right and still have issues or vice versa.

Beth Learn: Yeah.

Haley Shevener: It just, it’s become so powerful to me to be able to start letting that go one step at a time, one movement at a time. Exercise just becomes a tool for me to be able to express that.

Beth Learn: I can see that in your movement. You know, talking to you about unconventional stuff makes me really want to go back to my gym this next Monday and grab a barbell and just drag it between the machines.

Haley Shevener: Totally.

Beth Learn: One thing that frustrates me about this particular facility is that they have good equipment but there’s so much of it. There’s barely enough room to walk. I’m like how is this not a fire hazard?

Chris Behnke: Yeah. It probably is a fire hazard.

Beth Learn: The one time I tried to move the box jump to where I could actually jump on it and then grab the pull up and do a pull up, so jump, pull, then step down kind of a more complicata ted, hey let’s actually do complex motion, the guy in the red shirt comes over. “Hey, where are you going with that?” I’m like, I’m moving it to where I can actually use it. I’ll put it back. “Okay, well just be careful.” God forbid that we actually move a piece of equipment.

Chris Behnke: I know.

Haley Shevener: Or see the environment as somewhere to play, which it is. People get so serious in gyms and it’s so funny to catch eyes sometimes with people who are watching me do sometimes totally absurd things.

Beth Learn: I love watching the people in the background of your videos.

Haley Shevener: Totally. Sometimes I’ll start taking videos and I’m like but I got you first. But we get so bogged down by the system of the gym, and like well this machine does this and I have to do this on it. But what if you could do something else on it? But that’s not what it’s for. But like, we made all of this stuff up anyway. Like, we literally made the stuff up so we could use it, so why don’t we use it in a way that we want to use it?

Chris Behnke: Right.

Beth Learn: Yeah. Why don’t we have fun with it?

Haley Shevener: Totally.

Chris Behnke: I like that. I like that. How have you interacted, like when you start doing this in the gym, what do people do or are they kind of used to you doing-

Haley Shevener: I think at this point they’re mostly used to my shenanigans. I get some weird looks. I’ve had some people come over to me and tell me that well that’s not how you actually do that movement.

Beth Learn: Oh, I like when you said “mansplain”. Please. Mansplain me how to do kettlebell. Please.

Haley Shevener: I had a guy, I was riffing off of a Turkish get up. So it was the foundation was a Turkish get up which is a series of movements to get up and down off the ground with a kettlebell overhead, and I was making stuff up because it was what spoke to me in the moment and this guy comes over and he’s like, “So actually, when you put your leg down, you want to make sure that it’s … ” I’m like, but I’m not doing that movement. It just, it brought up a whole host of ideas of mine and that we’re, a lot of times I think we’re really afraid of creativity and we’re really afraid of letting go and as adults we don’t play and we don’t, I think a lot of my clients who have children, they understand the concept of play as children and how valuable that is. When I ask them to play or we play a game, they’re like, “What is the purpose of this game?” It’s so, like, it’s so stuck in that world that everything has to be the way that it’s set out to be and it has to be … It’s not helpful.

Beth Learn: Well and … Oh, go ahead Chris.

Chris Behnke: I think it’s super interesting too because a lot of people will go on and on about, “Well you need to do it this certain way because this is the safe way,” but the irony is most people are doing most exercises incorrectly anyway so they’re already not safe, so it just becomes a silly, irrelevant point but it’s still the one that’s going to make a point. Usually, the guy that’s probably coming up to you and telling you that probably doesn’t know how to do the Turkish get up anyway.

Haley Shevener: Oh totally, right. Then the people that are really concerned about safety, sometimes my question is well what happens when we get outside of the gym and you see someone pick up their three suitcases on one leg, rotated around. They’re not thinking about those movements, so why don’t we train a little bit more awkwardness, why don’t we train something that is a little bit more unconventional, because that’s what real life is? You know, I’ve seen you with your goats and with your vacuum and whatever else , all kind of fun things. Maybe the vacuum has a handle, but they don’t have … there’s no goat with a kettlebell handle.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: Which is a product that I should probably invent.

Beth Learn: They’re more like a sandbag. Picking up the goat is more like sandbag training.

Haley Shevener: Exactly.

Chris Behnke: That squirms. A sandbag that squirms.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, and has hooves.

Beth Learn: Yeah, that can kick you. You know, when kettlebell training first came out, I remember the moment when I first heard about it. It was from the weird guy at the gym. This is like 20 year sago, okay, and he was the weird guy that was always trying different things. He was an ultra marathoner. He was always a little bit stinky because he was constantly working out. And he was like, “Hey, I want to show you something.” The lights were kind of dim and I felt a little bit uncomfortable there in the gym, because he pulled me into the aerobics studio by myself. Then he has this kettlebell. He’s like, “These are kettlebells. These are from,” wherever they’re from. Look at how uneducated I sound right now. But in the moment, I was like what? They’re from where? And he was swinging them and I’m like whoa, that’s not linear. All of my training up until that point had been we’re going to do a basic curl. We’re going to keep all the joints in line. Yes, there’s a time and place for that.

Beth Learn: He’s doing all these crazy things and I’m like, “Hey, Jim. Wow. That’s interesting. Okay, well, alright. Good luck with that. Don’t kill yourself.”

Haley Shevener: Then did you investigate further or were you kind of put off?

Beth Learn: I was so like this is way out of my comfort zone and I don’t even know what to think right now. I didn’t even look it up and it seriously was not until maybe five or six years ago that it really came across my radar in a coherent way that made me go, “Oh, wait a second. Maybe there’s something to this.”

Haley Shevener: Totally.

Beth Learn: Because kettlebells themselves, they are very creative.

Haley Shevener: Oh, absolutely.

Beth Learn: All on their own.

Haley Shevener: Yes. They lend themselves to so much movement and different planes and working different areas of the ground and your body and they’re super dynamic, which is why they’ve really resonated with me. I haven’t found that kind of fluidity with just solid object ever.

Beth Learn: Here’s the biggest kettlebell I have, a 20 pounder.

Haley Shevener: Oh wow.

Beth Learn: So far.

Haley Shevener: Yeah.

Beth Learn: Growth mindset right there. Growth mindset.

Haley Shevener: Oh yeah, always.

Beth Learn: And I’m really proud of it. This is one of the ones I’ve used in Fit2B routines. Like I said, keep it very very basic.

Haley Shevener: That’s okay.

Beth Learn: And my dream is actually to get one of your routines on Fit2B one of these days.

Haley Shevener: Absolutely.

Beth Learn: We’ll just showcase a Haley Shevener workout.

Haley Shevener: I love it.

Beth Learn: you already did contribute to our pubic synthesis disfunction routine.

Haley Shevener: I did, I did.

Beth Learn: I gathered information from you and several others on good movements to use and that has been an amazing routine. But tell me, here’s my question for you. The breast during the swing, the basic swing.

Haley Shevener: Totally.

Beth Learn: In traditional kettlebell swings, I feel like it’s, and it’s happening quick. When people are doing real [inaudible 00:21:10] and for the video that I made for Fit2B, I really slowed it down and I like to do the exhale when there’s the down swing happen.

Haley Shevener: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Beth Learn: You’re going down. Your face is down, and then you’re grabbing the inhale at the top. Is that, because I don’t know how you cue that. Is that similar to what you do at that stage as well?

Haley Shevener: So, it depends. I think that you can do anything to be quite frank, in terms of making it work for someone. There are styles which will prioritize an exhale on the back swing and an inhale as the hips extend. What I typically cue is this. From the setup, I have that blow before you go, exhale starts into the high, and the first exhale continues from the hike to the lockout to the top, and then quick inhale starts and you get that exhale right before you come from changing the direction of the bell, so it’s coming back into your hike, exhale starts here to bring you back up. Generally, that’s the concept or most challenging movement for people to get. You’re having to switch directions, you’re being pulled back and so for me, that’s what’s felt most supportive to my pelvic floor.

Beth Learn: Right.

Haley Shevener: The biggest thing for me has always been that initial one because you’re taking the kettlebell from zero to moving and so that’s you’re biggest IAP potential increase there.

Beth Learn: Intra abdominal pressure, yeah.

Haley Shevener: Totally, so I want that exhale to help me relieve some of that inhalation generated pressure, but to give me that recoil from my pelvic floor, to give me a little bit more support when I hike it back and then to stand up.

Beth Learn: Yeah.

Haley Shevener: That’s generally what I coach for most people on most ballistic movements, but it gets more interesting when you get into movements like say a clean or a [inaudible 00:23:04] where then the direction and where the load is really occurring changes just a little bit, but I always want someone to be able to nail the swing down first. That can take someone, it takes as long as it takes, but to really develop what I would consider to be mastery of the kettlebell swing can take years.

Beth Learn: Oh yeah. I’ve been working on mine just on my own, and I feel like I have to rework it whenever I take the weight up.

Haley Shevener: Oh, for sure.

Beth Learn: It feels different.

Haley Shevener: Everyday. Every day for me, I mean I almost exclusively … No, not so much exclusively anymore, but I use kettlebells in my own training most days that I train and even still everyday is a little bit different, which is one of the things I love about them.

Beth Learn: Yeah.

Haley Shevener: They really lend themselves to forcing you to focus and my perspective shifted from always focusing on well how hard am I working or how many calories am I burning years ago, to how many skills am I acquiring and how invested am I in those particular skills. I think that’s such a nice focus, especially for adults or for moms who can, it becomes more like a hobby than just an I have to exercise now.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Beth Learn: Right, and some ways in that aspect it’s like yoga.

Haley Shevener: Totally, yeah.

Beth Learn: It becomes dextrous and it becomes about unifying your mind and body. I can nail that, what do you call it where your elbow stays relaxed through the swing.

Haley Shevener: Yes.

Beth Learn: The floppy arm, is that what you call it?

Haley Shevener: Depends. Most of the time, we cue a straighter arm, but there are elements of like the clean or the stash where you’re going to have more of a bent elbow. Some people swing with what I call T-Rex arms so their arms are here. Different swings or different strokes for different folks. Really, there are different styles of kettlebell training. What I think is really interesting is being able to step away from one particular style and say that we can use this in a variety of different ways for a variety of people who have a variety of needs. It can really be versatile and dynamic and scalable. For instance, your bell which I know you’re making fun of it because you think it’s not heavy, but for certain movements for me that would be way too heavy.

Beth Learn: Yeah, oh no. I have a 10 pounder too.

Haley Shevener: Totally. You can always phase. I tell people even if you go up a size in bell, keep your old bells because you can find so many different things to do with them.

Beth Learn: My 10 pound bell is what I use for my Turkish get ups still, because with my shoulder and my neck history, that is enough for me and it’s not about getting up to heavier stuff. Like you said, it’s about the skill. It’s about the coordination. I want to feel smooth. I want to feel comfortable.

Haley Shevener: Totally. The hardest kettlebell Turkish get up that I’ve ever done is with a glass of water so maybe weighs eight ounces, but trying not to let the water spill. Talk about a sense of urgency and stress in a good way. There you go.

Beth Learn: [inaudible 00:26:13]

Chris Behnke: Dump it on your head. [inaudible 00:26:16]

Haley Shevener: It makes you find balance because you know exactly when the water spills. People will get sloppy with the weight, they won’t look at it, but when you put a glass of water over them, oh okay well now I’m going to get wet. I don’t want to get wet.

Beth Learn: That makes for a good summer class right there. Summertime.

Haley Shevener: Totally.

Beth Learn: I guess it’s always sunny in San Francisco though.

Haley Shevener: No, it’s not at all. No, this is the part of California where people seem to not understand that it’s not just sunny LA California. You see the poor tourists who come in shorts and then they’re at like some store down in the tourist district buying every sweatshirt and pair of pants that they have because it’s actually quite chilly most days.

Beth Learn: Oh, hm. I didn’t know that.

Chris Behnke: Fog and clouds and moderate temperatures.

Haley Shevener: Yes.

Beth Learn: So really like where I live.

Chris Behnke: Except not as much rain.

Haley Shevener: Yes, not as much rain.

Beth Learn: I would share some of this rain.

Chris Behnke: So you were touching it a little bit at the beginning, but you’re in the middle of developing this kettlebell course and it sounds like it’s going to be extensive.

Beth Learn: I’m going to take it.

Haley Shevener: Extensive, not expensive.

Chris Behnke: Not expensive. Appropriately prices. Extensive in information.

Haley Shevener: Yes.

Chris Behnke: Tell us about that and creating it.

Haley Shevener: Yeah. So you’ll walk through the course. It’ll be held on a platform designated for teaching courses and you’ll initially walk through a little intro and then I launch into here’s why this course is relevant or here’s why we have to be discussing women’s health when we’re discussing any movement practice, but especially one that’s a high intensity skill set. We walk through anatomy basics and I try not to get … I could go really deep into, I made a 900 page Power Point last year so I’m trying not to go there.

Chris Behnke: 900-

Haley Shevener: So I could do that but I’m trying not to do that. So it’s maybe an hour of hey, here’s your deep core system. Let’s talk about your glottis. Let’s talk about your pelvic floor. Let’s talk about your diaphragm. Let’s talk about these things that most people don’t realize even exist and so we lay down the foundation of what we’re even discussing when we’re talking about the core. Then, I start to layer on okay, well here’s the situation that could potentially be happening if you’re pregnant, if you’re post partum, your bottom has gone through this incredibly transformative process and these things may not have rehabilitated properly and you might be experiencing something like leaking or pelvic organ prolapse, pain, anything like that where I really … I don’t know how many times I say it in this course, but I should be getting some like physical therapy association should be paying me every time I mention [inaudible 00:29:17] a pelvic floor PT.

Beth Learn: I feel like that too. I feel like there should be a gold star, ding.

Haley Shevener: [inaudible 00:29:24]

Beth Learn: Yes.

Haley Shevener: But I really try and like … I want, to some extent, I want someone who maybe just thinks it’s a kettlebell course to be lured in and have to understand the importance of women’s health, and vice versa. Someone who maybe is more inclined to just want to understand women’s health, I want them to see the value and how friendly kettlebell can be instead of just being intimidated by them. So we start there and then I start to dial in. See, it’s very friendly.

Beth Learn: Yes.

Haley Shevener: We start to dial in strategy and I talk about all the different cues from different people I’ve worked with and mentors and how we could start to think about it’s not just what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: And the importance of the practice really has to encompass how and why. So I really wanted to allow people to have the opportunity to understand the how and the why because for me, that makes the what so much easier. If you understand where you’re coming from and why you’re doing these things and how it supports the structures, it’s much easier for you to make autonomous choices instead of having me just dictate the [inaudible 00:30:33]. So I really want people to go through the first couple modules of this course and start to hae the light bulbs go off inside so [inaudible 00:30:41] for themselves, but if they start to piece together oh yeah, maybe the way that I’ve been doing this, I’ve been [inaudible 00:30:48] because of the symptoms I’m experiencing. Maybe there is a different way that I can do that.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: From there, I start to drill through six, seven fundamental kettlebell movements. Swing, [inaudible 00:30:59] swing, [inaudible 00:31:01], Turkish get up, wind mills, [inaudible 00:31:04]. We start to dial it or we start to add the strategy to just the basic learning process. For the swing, for instance, the first movement we start with is an isometric bridge. You’ve got to start simple and slow before we even think of getting close to complex and fast. We work through those progressions, and I always like to say I run a prolapse group on Facebook called Pop Fitness and there are a lot of people that are really concerned with getting back to high intensity or high skill activities.

Haley Shevener: I always remind them that we can change our mindset and think you might not be swinging a kettlebell today, but you’re training for that intention and training with that mindset and so it makes doing the more boring stuff so much more fulfilling when you’re using that intention. It’s a lot of coaching people through the mindset of how to look at this as practice and skill instead of just do 10 sets of 12 reps and then move on. Let’s move on when you actually can do an isometric bridge and feel the things we want to feel and be able to not have to think so much about it so really coaching people through owning each movement and making it theirs with the strategy that works for them, instead of dictating this is what we’re doing now and this [inaudible 00:32:24] and not going to tell you why.

Haley Shevener: I hope that someone can go through this process and really start to appreciate not just working with kettlebells, but how we can do this for any movement that they might want to do. Then, movement becomes much more available to them because a lot of people are asking is this safe, is that safe, is this safe.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: I want people to know my course is safe, because ultimately you are in charge. You get to decide what is appropriate for you. Here’s the blueprint for how we can start to progress, but I say it 17,000 times that you’re not ready if you’re still seeing symptoms, or if you haven’t met the prerequisites, if you don’t have the mobility yet or you don’t have the strength and there skill, that’s okay. We’re just going to keep working on that, and once we get there we’ll get there, but let’s just go with where we are and really honor and accept our bodies so we can really experience all the awesome things that they can do.

Haley Shevener: I’m hoping that someone goes through this course and starts to really appreciate structuring their movement practice, whatever it is, as practice and having that mindfulness in it instead of just … I do all sorts of movements where I’m just trying to tune out maybe and there’s so much value to that, but I think we work up to that. First, that mindfulness is so out of there I think and it’s really successful to allow someone the freedom to eventually, sure you want to just zone out for a little bit and go for it, yeah. Well let’s earn the ability to do that.

Beth Learn: Yeah, yeah. You do have to earn it, too. You know, you and your husband did a workshop recently.

Haley Shevener: Yes, it was so amazing. It was called kettlebell passing, partner passing, and it’s basically flipping or tossing a kettlebell to your partner. I cried in the, in a good way, in like soul relieving way. The instructor, who’s this very in tune guy Michael, he was excellent and he picked up in three minutes of us just swinging to ourselves initially, he picked up everything that was going on in my head. He was like, “Hey, it looks like you’re having trouble letting go,” and I was just like, “Oh, yes.” My husband, he mentioned to my husband, “You might need to take some initiative sometimes,” and in our relationship I’m the assertive one. It’s challenging for my husband to step up and take initiative sometimes. He just picked up on that so quickly. But my favorite moment was when my husband and I were swinging to each other. We had progressed to that point, and I was just kind of dictating the session as I am prone to do.

Beth Learn: I cannot relate to that at all.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: None. Not at all. And Michael said to me, “Hey, if you’re going to take charge, you need to communicate what it is that you’re going to do.” It was such a, hm, this is not really about kettlebells, is it. This is about my, like a relationship moment. He was so supportive and so kind in his delivery and he really wanted us to be able to be with each other in that movement. If you’ve ever seen, look up kettlebell partner passing if you don’t know what it is, but everyone sees it and is like this is absolutely terrifying. I am terrified for my feet. I’m terrified for my hands. I’m terrified for my partner. Because it is truly throwing, these are 30 pound weights at each other, and hoping that we would catch them. But you become so in touch with your partner because you have to be making eye contact, you have to say, “Are you ready? Is this okay?” And you have to adapt to whatever your partner throws at you. It was such a … we decided that any time we’re having an argument, we’re going to go out in the back yard and pass to each other.

Beth Learn: And throw things at each other, yes.

Haley Shevener: Yes. Because it forces you to be present with your partner. Even if something’s not going well – and this is something that I’ve taken from my training – even if it’s not going well, if you’re present at least you have yourself in that moment. It was such a lovely life lesson which I just feel like movement is one big life lesson. Big metaphor but-

Beth Learn: I agree, I agree.

Haley Shevener: But that was such a fun, fun way and you know, i was just so proud to have been able to work up to something that was absolutely terrifying for me. When we first got there I was like I don’t know if I want to do this. Anytime I put my training in the hands of someone else, I think because of the issues that I’ve dealt with, with pelvic organ prolapse specifically, I do tend to become very guarded with well I know what to do with myself, but what if I go in a situation where someone else doesn’t really understand this and I get put in something that I’m uncomfortable with? But what I’ve learned is I’m always in charge and in terms of I get to decide if it feels appropriate for me because I’ve learned so much about my body through this experience that I’m able to challenge myself with things because I know that ultimately I can keep myself safe if I stay true to myself.

Beth Learn: Right, right. Now is your course going to include a kettlebell passing segment?

Haley Shevener: Absolutely not. I don’t have enough legal fees to throw out at that kind of waiver, but if you want to see some of it you can go to my Instagram and Michael teaches an excellent workshop.

Beth Learn: Yes, it’s beautiful. I remember when I saw that first come out on your feed and I was like oh, oo.

Haley Shevener: It attracts you and it makes … It’s also interesting to see what the reaction is. I think that it tells a lot about a person. There were some people who were just like they wanted to point out every potential injury that one could have. They wanted to really highlight, as if I didn’t know, that something could happen.

Beth Learn: Yes, I took this whole workshop but I’m not informed. Thanks.

Haley Shevener: Totally, and then there were people who saw the connection. It was very interesting for me just to see the response and it tells us so much about ourselves the things that we see first and that we’re willing to share with people. It’s such an opportunity for connection, or it’s an opportunity for you to see the inherent danger.

Beth Learn: Yeah. Well the first word I thought of was beauty when I saw it.

Haley Shevener: Yeah, it’s really lovely to watch. You just get kind of lulled into that rhythm that you have to have. It’s a dance and dance is beautiful, even if it’s a little scary sometimes.

Beth Learn: Yeah, it is. You’re good at taking the scary things about working out and motherhood and being raw and transparent and honest about them in a way that doesn’t offend me. There are some people who say the same things you do with similar wordings, and you’re a little saucy, but it doesn’t bother me and I think it’s because you’re authentic about it. The way that you splash in your accent words, per se. It comes across as this is just being real. You’re not doing it to get attention. You’re not doing it just to do it. It’s where you’re really at in the moment and like your birthday post about your son when he had this party and you’re like, this is messed up, this is f’ed up. I’m the worst mom ever right now, but I’m like oh my gosh, that’s exactly how I felt at my son’s second birthday.

Haley Shevener: Totally, yes. Yeah. And there’s so much, for me, beauty and opportunity in our struggles and that’s … writing is so cathartic to me. It was the first thing that I wanted to do as a three year old. I would write books about how I wanted to write books. The biggest tool for healing that I’ve ever found is just being able to vocalize what it is that I’m feeling, and it makes the scary things still scary, but it allows me to connect to them and to the people that I know are going through very similar things and we can make them less intimidating when we realize that yes, those things are scary but we’re also very powerful and we can use them to fuel things that do feel good.

Beth Learn: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Chris Behnke: I like that a lot. As you’re working with your clients and helping them kind of walk through whatever seasons of life they’re in and teaching them some of these new skills, what are the things that have surprised you over the years as you’ve kind of gotten into some of this stuff?

Haley Shevener: Hm, surprised. I would say I’m sometimes difficult to surprise.

Chris Behnke: Oh.

Haley Shevener: I think sometimes, I really enjoy, this is somewhat related, I really enjoy watching someone make a discovery for themself and sometimes I think that people come in and they expect, you know when you hear personal trainer you have a very-

Chris Behnke: Yeah.

Haley Shevener: Typical opinion of what that looks like.

Chris Behnke: There’s an image that pops into your head.

Haley Shevener: Absolutely and I don’t know that my training is that image.

Chris Behnke: Right.

Haley Shevener: And what’s fun is to see people become really receptive to that and to be willing to challenge the things that they’ve told themselves for years about their bodies or about their capabilities or about their interests and to watch someone kind of blossom into this new empowered version of who they actually are is really the gift of the work that I do and is so, I mean, it’s a gift to me. I guess the surprise is that people are willing to be vulnerable and willing to continue to show up even when it’s hard because there have been so many times in my life and I know so many other people’s lives when I just couldn’t show up. To be able to witness someone be willing to take that transformation with another person is really special.

Haley Shevener: Especially as a very classic introvert, despite my professional, forced extroversion, it’s especially cool to see that because my default is to process alone and so I force people to process with me and doing something that most people feel really awkward initially doing. When I’m first working with someone, I work with a lot of beginners who, you know, don’t know how to do or just haven’t had the opportunity to move in a particular way. So taking them through that process and being able to see those light bulbs kicking on is just, it is, even though I see it every day, it still surprises me that I’m so lucky to be able to do that.

Chris Behnke: Yeah, that’s amazing.

Beth Learn: I know. Isn’t what we do great?

Haley Shevener: It’s so great. I admit, I obviously can’t imagine doing anything else, but it’s so great. It’s so great I got my husband doing it [inaudible 00:43:39] careers. But he started once our son was born and he … that used to be the only thing we fought about was I would try and bring him through a workout which, if you ever want to get divorced that is a great way.

Beth Learn: Force your partner to do a workout with you that he doesn’t want to do.

Haley Shevener: Force your partner to do something that you’re really good at that makes them feel really incapable, and then put it in a way that’s not actually that nice. Yeah, just do that a couple times and see how much you learn about yourself. But he, that initially did not start well, but I realized I needed to leave Steven be and he wasn’t going to work out with me and that was going to be totally fine. But then he started to understand things about movement that he connected to. Watching him develop that interest has been also really cool, and I think helpful for him to have someone who’s kind of been around the block a little bit more. Yeah, I don’t know how we started talking about that, but yeah.

Beth Learn: Um, no, it’s all good. Yeah. My husband has worked out with me a few times but I can’t watch him.

Haley Shevener: Yeah. I mean, that’s funny how … but now it’s so lovely to watch him. I work out sometimes at Equinox which is where he works sometimes, and I see him working with his female clients and his male clients, and he talks about pelvic floor function. He has so frequently referred people to the pelvic floor physical therapist that I’ve seen, so I do feel like I have this, I’ve got this little mole that I’m planting for people. But it’s so nice to see men, personal trainers who are male who are working with female clients, and be able to say without fear, hey let’s talk about your pelvic floor function because it matters to the goal that you’re trying to achieve, and it matters to the work that we’re doing. It’s really been nice I think for the people that work with him to see a male doing that work.

Beth Learn: Well, I don’t know if I’ve seen any recent stats on this but I remember when I first got started, being a female personal trainer was not the norm.

Haley Shevener: Oh, no. I remember v

39 episodes available. A new episode about every 17 days averaging 44 mins duration .