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Interview with Forest Vance

January 30, 2010

The more you learn about him, the more you like.  In a potentially multi-part series, I’ll be providing my interview with Forest Vance, Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor.

Forest Vance, M.S., Certified Personal Trainer and RKC, is a Sacramento based trainer dedicated to utilizing his experience and knowledge to get his clients results! He holds a Master of Science in Human Movement from A.T. Still University in Mesa, Arizona, in addition to being a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and American College of Sports Medicine. He also is a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  He has about five years of experience as a personal trainer and fitness manager and has serviced more than five thousand career training sessions, successfully working with a wide variety of clientele.  He also has experience as a high school, college and pro athlete, being a three-time All-American football player at the University of California, Davis and being on the opening day training camp rosters of the Green Bay Packers (2004) and Kansas City Chiefs (2005).    Forest currently trains clients in group and one-on-one sessions in the Sacramento, CA area.

I first took notice of Vance during my ongoing research about kettlebells.  His site, recently kicked off and he has posted numerous videos to help people learn how to use kettlebells correctly.  Without further ado, here is my interview with Forest.

Forest, your site is new but extremely helpful for folks new to kettlebells and those still practicing.  How did your site come about?
I had been blogging away for about a year or so and was having some reasonable success, but my blog was really covering a more broad spectrum of fitness-related stuff.  I really like kettlebells and had gotten RKC certified earlier in the year and kept getting a lot of kettlebell-specific questions from readers, so I figured, hey, why not start a blog dedicated to kettlebells only?

The web is full of so-called fitness “experts,” so I’m glad to see you are RKC certified by the likes of the Kettlebell Godfather, Pavel Tsatsouline.  How did you first learn about kettlebells and who became your kettlebell mentor?
I  actually started experimenting with some of the WOD’s (Workout of the Day) from and a few of them included kettlebell swings – that was my initial experience with KB’s.  I picked up ‘Enter the Kettlebell’ by Pavel (who is my ‘KB Mentor’, by the way) and was totally hooked.  I actually switched to training exclusively with kettlebells and saw some of the best conditioning gains of my entire life, which is actually saying a lot because I trained in some pretty high tech facilities in my football days.  So I’m totally sold on the power of these simple tools.

I think this is great news because so many people think they have to go to a gym for a great workout, but I know from personal and limited experience a lone kettlebell can do wonders.   What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working with KB’s?
The RKC system and the focus on the basics really has taught me a lot.  I was one of those trainers that was guilty of trying to come up with really crazy exercises for my clients at one point – and I started to realize that whether you’re training with kettlebells or dumbells or barbells or whatever, that the focus on how you do the movements is really the most important thing.  Doing the basics 100% right combined with some smart programming is a sure-fire recipe for success.

I can relate to the crazy exercises.  I always am on the lookout for the next big thing but often find if you stick to the basics and perfect the form, the results will follow.  What’s your favorite routine/exercise with KB’s?
The swing has got to be the king of KB exercises.  It’s great because it works almost all of your major muscle groups at once, and you get a killer conditioning and strength training workout almost simultaneously.  The classic ‘Man Maker’ from Enter the Kettlebell is one of my favorites, where you just alternate swings with jogging or jumping rope for a continuous 12 minutes.  It’s so simple yet oh-so-brutal 🙂

I’m actually reading ‘Enter the Kettlebell’ in my off time and you’re right – it sounds pretty simple.  But we’re talking a kettlebell and looks can be deceiving.  It’s interesting how Pavel does not throw a bunch at you in his book, but does as you suggest, getting things right without the crazy exercises.  What would you recommend to someone just interested or starting out with KB’s?
Well, I wasted time when I first started and kept getting little injuries because I wasn’t doing the movements properly.  So I would recommend ponying up and paying for some good instruction first and foremost – there’s no replacement for it and it gets you where you want to be so much faster.  If that’s not possible for whatever reason, then getting a good guide to the basics and really studying closely would be the way to go.  Video is another really helpful way to learn.

In addition to KB’s, what other workouts do you incorporate into your weekly schedule?
At the moment I’m incorporating my KB training into a body part split – type workout, actually – which is working out pretty well.  So on a back and bicep day, for example, I do heavy double swings and renegade rows along with pull ups and curls, that kind of thing.  I’ve never structured my training this way but it’s a nice change of pace.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about various ways people can eat right for a healthier lifestyle.  Proper nutrition is ultimately very important for a great workout and overall health.  What guidelines do you follow regarding nutrition? I’m actually a big fan of the Zone diet – I follow that structure probably 90% of the time.  The block system works really well for keeping track of portions and making sure I’m balancing my meals properly.

What are your goals for 2010? I’m really focused on growing my business, so from a personal fitness standpoint, just to maintain where I’m at honestly.  I always wouldn’t mind losing a little body fat – but I’ve lost about 60 pounds since my football days, so I have to work pretty hard to just maintain where I’m at.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview, Forest.
You bet, Jeff, any time.

So, there you have a basic overview/interview with certified kettlebell instuctor, Forest Vance.  I plan to follow up with Forest in the next few days with some more questions.  So I would invite you to post your questions as well in the comment section for Forest so I can compile and pass them on.


Check out Forest’s Quick Start Guide if you want great instructional knowledge on using a kettlebell.  I’ll be posting a review of the guide in the days to come.  In the meantime, Vance is offering a special if you order in the next week.  The guide, normally $19.95, is now being sold for only $9.95 and he is including some mp3’s along with a bonus workout.  This is a great value and I encourage you to check it out.  My preliminary look at the Guide showed some great info.  Click HERE for more info.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 31, 2010 4:32 pm

    Great interview, Jeff! Keep ’em coming!

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