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Kettlebells have become more popular today than ever before. A 'kettlebell' or girya is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle.

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Training the Olympians

We had the honor of training Emily Batty this pre-season for the 2016 games.. Here is a commercial featuring Evolution Fitness. Unfortunately it will only air on the CBC in Canada.. But you can watch it right here!! Best of Luck this year Emily!

Strong & Healthy Woman Program

Women's Fitness programs tucson

Strong & Healthy Woman's Program Checkout the new production of our Strong & Healthy Woman's Program!How many cameos can you name?New registration link is in the comments below.

Posted by Evolution Fitness on Monday, April 11, 2016

This is an amazing 6 week journey in learning the fundamentals of strength training, nutrition, and fitness. There is no where else you will receive the hands on and detailed instruction. 6 weeks of group training 3 x per week and nutritional coaching and goal setting is all included with this program!

 NEXT KICKOFF October 8, 2016 10:30am

  This is the last Kickoff of 2016!


 Contact Us if you would like to start sooner!!

For More Information Please Visit our SHWP Webpage!

Why Women Should Strength Train!

I’ve always been a relatively active person. I danced (ballet and modern) from 8 to 20, starting practicing yoga in 2006 (starting teaching yoga in 2014) and generally enjoy running around and climbing trees and jumping off rocks. I am not someone who grew up in a gym. In fact, I didn’t go into a ‘regular’ gym until I was 25 or so.

I first started strength training when I was working at a little boutique gym downtown. They had Yoga and Indoor Cycling classes and soon introduced Kettlebell and Bootcamp classes into the mix. This was my first experience with swinging a kettlebell and trying stuff like flipping tires and doing pullups. My time there was an amazing opportunity to see what my body could do in a way that I hadn’t experienced through yoga or dance.


A couple years later I started working at Evolution Fitness. I kept working with kettlebells, earned my StrongFirst cert, and started learning more about Powerlifting. Both Kettlebells and Powerlifting have changed me inside and out. Moving heavy (for me) weights makes me feel like nothing else. I’m not going to be setting any Powerlifting records (at least not anytime soon) but the work of training 3-4 times a week, through days that feel awesome and days that feel shitty has made me much more disciplined and confident and capable. This physical and mental strength transfers over to everything else I do. My yoga practice has changed dramatically from my increased body awareness and strength thanks to my work in the gym. Strength training connected so many dots for me and has helped me to move better with less imbalances and without low back pain. When I want to go rock climbing one weekend or help my friend move or try something I’ve never done before, I can do these things without a second thought.

Now I teach strength training in class and to personal training clients and I can see firsthand the difference it makes for many women of all ages and backgrounds

Why should Women Pursue Strength Training?

I know, I know, I know, it’s good for me. You have probably heard that strength training is good for women and can help prevent osteoporosis and do other good stuff for us, which is cool. However, I need more than just knowing something is good or healthy for me to incorporate it into my life. If all you need to know is that strength training is good for you, then awesome, you’re probably already doing it. But the benefits of strength training go way beyond simply being ‘good for us.’

Muscles Look Good

I know some women that workout because they want to look good and that’s totally cool. If that’s your thing, strength training is the answer for a lot of women who want to look better (whatever ‘better’ means for them in particular).  Lifting weights helps your body build lean muscle and lose fat in a way that just doing cardio won’t. That being said, I really believe in strength training but I also believe in doing what you love. If you love running, you shouldn’t give that up! However, if you’re killing yourself on the elliptical or treadmill and hating it, come on over to the other side of the gym, you know, the one with all the squat racks and dumbbells; we have food and other good stuff.

I know a big reason that some women don’t want to lift weights heavier than 5 lbs is fear of getting too muscular and bulky or (gasp) “masculine” looking. I could write a whole separate post on that but I’ll keep it short for now. If you want to get super buff and jacked, awesome! It’s going to take a lot of really hard work both in the gym and nutrition-wise. If you DON’T want to get super buff and jacked, that’s cool too, and you probably won’t. For the vast majority of women, looking like a body builder is a lot of really hard work and you definitely won’t be able to do it by accident. Try lifting heavy and see the awesome things it can do for your body! That being said, we are all entitled to our own opinion and the pursuit of looking however we want to look but luckily, constantly trying to lose weight and be skinnier doesn’t have to be the only option for a fitness goal. Don’t get me wrong, I spent many years being way too invested in being skinny even though I was already a healthy weight. Strength training has given me a whole new appreciation for what my body can do, not just how it looks. Since I’ve gotten more seriously into strength training I have a whole new appreciation for muscles on women. These muscles look like hours of hard work and the ability to do badass and powerful things.


If you want to look this great! If you absolutely don't want to look like this great. It won't happen by accident.

If you want to look this great! If you absolutely don’t want to look like this great. It won’t happen by accident.

Setting (and Hitting) Goals is Awesome

If your goal is simply to look good that’s cool, but strength training can add a whole new dimension to physical fitness goals. When my focus changed to the awesome things my body can do rather than only caring about how I look, my whole mindset shifted. Where ever you are starting from, the goal of getting stronger is very rewarding. Whether you want to do a body weight pushup or pullup or deadlift 300 pounds, positive strength goals give going to the gym a purpose and can make you feel awesome when you hit or surpass them.  That feeling of pushing myself to do something that is super challenging for me is priceless.

Granted, I needed some instruction before I was ready to start working toward a heavy deadlift (and I’m still working toward that 300). Finding a coach that knows their stuff is important. Most women that I know (myself included) didn’t get exposure to the gym at the young age like some guys do, so it’s no wonder we don’t know our way around a weight rack. Finding a good coach will help make you more comfortable in any gym you go to. When I started out I was pretty flexible (but with a lot of imbalances) from yoga and dance and needed a lot of work to get my muscles to engage in a way that could support weight during a squat or a deadlift. It’s important not to just jump into lifting heavy. At Evolution (and other places that know their stuff) we talk about building healthy movement first before adding weight.

Watching Other Women Get Strong

A huge part of why I love my job is seeing the difference that strength training makes for all different types of women. We have clients come in with little to no knowledge of strength training and get to watch their transformation as they feel and see the difference their hard work makes. Strength training is not the easy quick fix. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked for the quick fix too, I get it. However, this work is about the process of feeling your body change and get stronger and feel different (and better). I often hear comments from clients about how their back pain has gone away or they moved their couch by themselves or they can see that their posture is better or that they don’t get headaches anymore, all from learning to move better and getting stronger. Some clients will train with us and although the number on the scale might not change, the way they look and feel changes (muscle being denser than fat and all that cool stuff). I love seeing women embrace their strength and do things that they might have never considered before stepping into the gym.

A huge part of why I love my job is seeing the difference that strength training makes for all different types of women. We have clients come in with little to no knowledge of strength training and get to watch their transformation as they feel and see the difference their hard work makes. Strength training is not the easy quick fix. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve looked for the quick fix too, I get it. However, this work is about the process of feeling your body change and get stronger and feel different (and better). I often hear comments from clients about how their back pain has gone away or they moved their couch by themselves or they can see that their posture is better or that they don’t get headaches anymore, all from learning to move better and getting stronger. Some clients will train with us and although the number on the scale might not change, the way they look and feel changes (muscle being denser than fat and all that cool stuff). I love seeing women embrace their strength and do things that they might have never considered before stepping into the gym.


personal trainers tucson strength training for women

What strength training looks like…


Strength training will help you create a strong and capable body that does what you need it to. When I can lift heavy weight or do body weight exercises like pullups I feel f*%king badass. Strength training can give you very tangible proof of getting better at something when you see the weights go up or do something easily that used to be incredibly hard. And that’s an awesome feeling. When I’m strong, that confidence in my body and my abilities translates over to other areas of my life and makes me better at pretty much everything I do.  Again, what heavy means is going to be different for everyone. My goals will be different than your goals and that’s great. There is no one-size-fits-all.

You might resonate with Kettlebells or want to compete in a Powerlifting meet or do really cool body-weight tricks or any of the other options out there. Maybe you just want to feel better and move better. All of these are valid. Don’t worry about falling into a particular mold. Find something you like doing so that you can enjoy your journey. This doesn’t mean that every training session is going to feel amazing but when I do something that used to feel impossible, it’s all worth it. And when I see other women put in the work and feel powerful or even just a little bit more confident, I get inspired all over again.

I want to hear from you; if you’re already on this path, why did you start strength training?

If you’ve been on your strength journey for a while, why do you do it? What does it do for you?

If you’re just starting, why did you start? What things are changing for you?

The Parallels of Strength and Endurance Sports

Since making the switch from powerlifting to triathlons, the transition hasn’t been as hard as I originally thought. Ok well, learning to swim for distance was pretty rough, and running is ….running, but It really has been a blast. The ability to train the different sports has been a great experience and has completely opened my mind about the human body, my abilities, and realizing that there is more to life than just lifting heavy all the time.  The philosophies of the “how” to train for these sports are more similar than you would believe, and after thinking about things more deeply, these commonalities probably carry across most sports.


The biggest reason I fell in love with Powerlifting was that I have a purpose with each training session.  I mean a real purpose. Im not talking about the purpose of doing random acts of burpees and pull-ups until I’m tired. It is about being on a program that takes you to a goal. Each session progresses to the next one, and has a purpose. After weeks or months, each of those sessions take you to the day where you are ready to set a personal record and put your training to the test. Training for triathlons is identical in this manner. Sure, I could run, swim, and bike each week at random intensities and distances, but will that give me a specific outcome? As with both sports, it is easy to over do it. It isn’t rare to see a powerlifter tank an opener that they have hit in training.  That usually happens when there isn’t a purpose to the training plan and I am sure the same goes for the endurance athlete that shows up the day of the race producing slower times than they have seen in training. Which takes me to my next point.


In powerlifting  I can’t tell you the number of coaches I have had that have broken down my squat, deadlift, and bench press technique. Each coach I worked with helped me improve as a lifter. Without technical proficiency, the best program in the world isn’t going to help. I hired a swimming coach early on in my training and I am  grateful I did. I could swim in a pool and not drown, but having professional instruction was the difference between me surviving  and learning to be more confident and proficient in the water(still a work in progress). I see this all the time when people want to take on powerlifting or Olympic lifting and they say, well I squatted in high school, I don’t need coaching. Usually these are the guys that look jacked and crumble on the platform.

Having someone else to program for you is huge. I don’t care how awesome you think you are. Having someone that will get in your way to slow you down when you want to push when you shouldn’t, or help you push a little harder when your lazy is must.  I find myself always erring on the side of doing too much even when I think I am not, and having someone to regulate that for me is a game changer. Also, someone who can analyze the situation for what it is rather than what I think it should be. Being a noob in triathlons, I have to trust that I just don’t know, but even in Powerlifting I usually had someone design my peaking programs for my meets, and I always performed better when that happened.


This goes without saying and reiterates the last 2 points. As a powerlifting coach nothing upsets me more than to see someone fail a lift in training. It is the biggest sign of a novice lifter. It drives me nuts, ask my staff and athletes, and if it happens once in the gym it doesn’t happen a 2nd time. Training to failure in Powerlifting is a great way to tax the nervous system, increase the likelihood of injury, and get weaker. It is important to always leave something in the tank. Ninety Percent of my strength training was done between 70% and 80%, always keeping my reps low and  explosive, and my volume moderate. If things were slowing down, or reps were a grind I either dropped the weight or called it a day.

A few days ago I was feeling less than stellar and my coach Gail told me to pay attention to my Heart Rate on my run, usually around 70-75% of max…(see the similarities?) She said if it isn’t dropping fast enough to call it quits because it could be a sign my nervous system was getting trashed. About 15 minutes into my run I knew something was up, and I called it quits. Though I don’t get grindy reps and sore muscles from the endurance training the nervous system gave me feedback in other ways and I had to learn to listen.


When I was powerlifting my program would call to hit 405lbs for 6 reps and everything in me would want to go for 10 reps because it felt so good. Earlier in my powerlifting days I would push those limits. The funny things is when I would feel like a champion in a workout and do more than I was supposed to, it took me a really long time to realize why the following week the training sessions were not up to par. If the program called for 4 reps at 80% it means hit 4 reps at 80%. There is a plan, there is a reason, and pushing limits are a great way to make next weeks training not be so great or worse.

In my endurance training my coach has me focusing on my Heart Rate rather than speed. It is so hard some training sessions to say, “this feels awesome! I can go so much faster than this”! Doing this is a great way to not only train my HR to stay high, but also great way to burn out for the remainder of my sessions that week.

I had the privilege of being able to chat with Finnish Shot Putter and Gold Medalist in the 2000 Olympic Games, Arsi Harju, and he shared with me his only injuries came when he was feeling great and would have a great day of throwing. Instead of calling it quits when his training was done for the day if he would stay and push more to get some extra throws in because he felt great it, it would lead to an injury or a horrible rest of the week. He said “When you feel good save some for the next training session too.”  Always remember, the goal isn’t to win the workout.

Olympians Training in Tucson Arizona

Olympic Gold Medalist Arsi Harju

80/10/10 RULE

Paul Carter in his powerlifting book Base Building breaks down training sessions something like this. 80% of your workouts should feel normal, nothing awesome, nothing bad, just right. 10% of the sessions you may feel like dog shit, and the other 10% you may feel like King Kong. The exact  same can be said for my experience in with my swims, bikes and runs. Which leads me to the next point. If you are looking for an awesome book on strength training fundamentals you should get it..


Powerlifting is 3 lifts, Triathlons are 3 different sports. It is easy to get sucked into the mentality of wanting to see improvement week in and week out on every single aspect of your training. I remember for the longest time my Deadlift was stuck, it was actually stuck for over 1 year. In that time time frame I added nearly 90lbs to my squat. It was easy for me to be focused and pissed about my deadlift being stuck rather than realizing I put 90lbs on my squat!   I am realizing the same goes for my current training regiment. There is only so much energy in each week and thinking all 3 sports will progress evenly on a linear path is unrealistic.


Nothing irritates me more than to see people showing up to a powerlifting meet with complete disrespect for the sport. What is disrespect? The person who shows up and decides to do a half squat on the platform, because they failed to know the actual requirements of the sport, or the person who doesn’t know how to stay with a lift and decides to ditch the weight on the spotters. It is the person that decides they are going to show up with no coaching and think that they got this. There are certain aspects of etiquette and knowing the rules that show that you have prepared and have respect for the sport you are undertaking. It has nothing to do with how strong or fast  someone is when they show up for a competition, its that they prepared adequately for the event at hand. I tell my Powerlifters I don’t care if you are benching 125lbs or 425lbs, have you prepared appropriately with the intention of doing your best.

Respect the sport

This is a showing up unprepared and a lack of respect for the sport.

Do You Train with Purpose or Follow Wishful Thinking?


Here at Evolution, our motto is “Train with Purpose”.

Our GM recently wrote a blog on how this idea was shaped for him and how it helped him accomplish goals.

Here’s an excerpt:

My coach use to say, “Few things are an absolute. There are two things I can promise you in this life. One is that you will pay taxes, the second is that you will die.  Anything else that you want, you have to work for.”

Read more here: Do You Train with Purpose or Follow Wishful Thinking?

Is Quitting Your Jam?


Seriously Stop it already. Stop quitting.  Stop telling yourself the story of why you can’t achieve your goals or why this is too hard, or why this isn’t for you. You know that voice that takes over when you start that new exercise program and it says, “This isn’t for me, (after the first week) I just need to walk a little more first or maybe start riding my bike.” The truth is we all know that won’t happen. Sure you will quit, because quitting is what you do, but that walking thing you are going to start doing instead, that isn’t going to happen, well at least not for long. You have made quitting your habit. As my 6 year old daughter says when she does something she is good at.. “This is my jam.” You have made quitting your jam and you are exceptional at it. You can be reading this and saying, this guy is an   A—hole. That could be very true, but if it pisses you off then I encourage you to take a deeper look as to why. STOP creating that same pattern so your story can be, “I have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING EVER worked!” Yep, keep quitting, keep making that story true so you can sit with it and be the victim of how workouts, coaches, trainers, doctors, and nutrition programs have all failed you. Lets get real here… I am sure you have “tried” lots of things, but have you mastered anything? Have you really put your entire being into something with the attitude of conquering it? I am sure you have credit card receipts to show for all the money you have spent on just about everything that didn’t work, but that is about it. If totaled credit card receipts and unused supplement bottles,  dusty treadmills in your garage, and unused memberships aren’t proof,  you don’t know what else is. I mean you really have tried everything, but have you persevered?

Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Read it again. Seriously, read it 4 times.

Steadfast: Firm in Purpose, Unwavering faith, Adherence, Firmly established

Purpose: The reason for which something exists Determination, resoluteness,

Adherence: Steady Devotion

This could go on and on, but the point is, quitting after 1 week or 6 weeks of something that you really never gave your entire focus to really doesn’t count in the field of persevering or having a purpose.  Really it doesn’t even count because you quit before it began. You went through the motions to see if something would happen to you rather than making your entire being, be completely about going after your goal with purpose and steadfast focus(see definitions above). It’s like purchasing that membership or hiring that trainer and not showing up consistently was magically going to transform you. I mean really showing up consistently with a positive mental attitude, doing all the required outside work recommended. Following the nutritional guidelines and getting clarity when you had questions rather than making up your own rules. I mean going after it like you needed this to survive. Becoming a student of the process you are undertaking as if you are going to have to teach the subject as an expert. Are you owning your experience or are you a bystander letting the process kind of happen to you. There is a big difference in the mental approach.

Shit gets hard sometimes, that is the truth, but quitting every time things become difficult is a sure way to keep your story true. You know that one that says I have tried everything and I can’t get results.  The cliché of get comfortable with being uncomfortable is the truth if you really want to see results in life. It goes for fitness, weight loss, career growth, being a better spouse, parent, or whatever your goal is. All of the awesome success stories we admire in history and all the great movies have the common theme of persevering and overcoming the odds. Think about every awesome movie that inspires. I think about movies that have inspired me over the years from Rocky, The Karate Kid, The Pursuit of Happyness, and dozens more, add your favorite to the list. Each one is a story of the internal battle of persistence and dedication. We all see it on the screen, yet can’t see that each of us are capable of making the decision not to quit and persevere. That is really the difference. Quitting is a sure way of making sure success will not happen.  Yet somewhere there is a part of brain that will make you believe that you will find an easier softer way, where magically quitting will make everything better, or it will just make everyone else wrong, and you justified.

Fitness Tucson Personal Trainers

When it comes to fitness, I have seen programs that are really not all that great, and yet yield amazing results because they stuck with a plan consistently. They focused on it and gave their full attention to being committed to the process and the goal. It just takes a singleness of purpose and the belief that there is no other option except to be All IN. As the saying goes, if you want to take the island, burn your ships at the shore, there is no going back. It just takes the wake up call to feel the realization that you haven’t seen your goals because you are quitter. If you are OK with that then cool, own it and don’t stress yourself out with not achieving something you won’t put the work in to receive. If you are looking to change this pattern, get to that point where you know you need to quit because it sucks so bad, and then do the what you haven’t done before… Don’t quit. It’s like the Seinfeld Episode where George’s life became amazing because he decides to act in complete opposite of what he would normally do. IF you want a quick reference or a laugh, or if your a Millennial that doesn’’t know what Seinfeld is watch the video.

How Not be Quitter

I wish I had the exact answer to this, but here are some things I know have helped me when I have wanted to quit.

Surround yourself with people that will call you out and hold you accountable. Let me be clear, make sure these friends aren’t in worse shape than you are. They won’t be able to help. Make sure the people you choose to have around you have a history of success with health and fitness if fitness is your struggle. Having your de-conditioned friends support you is like trying to quit drinking and expecting your drinking buddies to help you stay sober. It ain’t going to happen. You getting better while they are staying the same doesn’t do well for them, though they may not mean it, they will make sure you stay at the same level as them. Along the same theme, avoid joining a gym with a group of your friends that are in the same situation as you and have a history of quitting. Instead of motivating each other what ends up happening is the person that loses steam first will drag everyone else down with them. When one person misses everyone else has a reason to miss.

If you don’t have people in your life and you are training at a gym Ask the gym staff for accountability. If you are at a gym that is worthwhile the staff is there to help you through this, if they don’t help you, find another gym. Nowadays there are more than enough to choose from that will help. You aren’t paying for a gym membership, pay for structure and accountability and get the service you need.

Write out your goals in detail. Don’t just stop at listing out the goals, write out why you want to achieve the goals. Go  even further and write out the consequences of what will happen if don’t achieve them! Read my last  blog post on goals to get a deeper understanding of how to look at your goals and the questions to ask for more clarity. I promise going through this process will help!

Master Sleep. Yes this goes for just about everything in life. Poor sleep will make life suck in many ways, not just exercise. One of the ways that you can master sleep is to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time every morning. Yes, this includes the weekends. This habit has changed my life more than anything I have ever done. It takes commitment, because I don’t really stay out late on the weekends, but honestly the value of having consistency in my life out weighs staying up late. If there is a special event on the weekend and you stay up late, wake up at your normal time the next morning. This habit of consistent sleep patterns will carry over to being more consistent in other areas of your life. If you are saying to yourself, I won’t try that, then just stick to what has been working for you so well up to this point in achieving your goals(sarcasm).  It takes focus, but start with mastering sleep before making the effort to master exercise.

Wake up Early and Be Grateful. Ok, it sounds like I’ve gone off the deep end now. Waking up early and going to bed early are game changers, but the most important part of getting up early is take time to start your day with getting grounded. Many times goals fall by the wayside because we just aren’t set up for success. If there is disorganization going on internally, adding one more stressor or additional responsibility to your life isn’t going to work. Lots of times  those internal negative voices that are allowing you to quit are just noises that need to be shut off before they get started. Starting each day with feeling the emotion of gratitude is literally better than any drug you can take. I came across this 5 minute video on Youtube when I got started with this practice and it rocked my world (in a good way). It was short, it was energizing, and it got me to actually FEEL gratitude. I reflected on some amazing things in my life and I remember having one of the greatest days I had in awhile. I have continued to practice this and it has been amazing. Things I have struggled with for years have become effortless.  If this meditation doesn’t resonate with you, search for one that speaks to and gets you to feel gratitude.   YouTube, itunes, and Google are at the tip of your fingers ad I am sure you can find a meditation or guide if you are looking for it. Gratitude is more than a list, it really is getting in to the feeling and emotion of it. Don’t ask me exactly how this works with the brain, but it truly will make the things you have struggled a lot easier without trying.

I could go on longer than I already have, but focusing on the actions above can be such powerful tools in your war against mediocrity aka.. being a quitter.

If you liked this article share it! If you hated it and think I am an awful person for writing such things share it anyway and call me names..

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