The Toughest Strength Test? (w/ Kim Fox)

Today we’re talking to kettlebell sport champion Kim Fox, who holds multiple all-time world records in the sport. She’s also one of the most accomplished Americans to ever compete in the sport. If you’re not familiar with kettlebell sport, this conversation is a solid introduction to what it entails, the intense mental and physical challenge involved, how a world champion trains, and the small but growing community of athletes and coaches around the globe. Kim shares insights from early on in her career though to today. Whether you’re a die-hard kettlebell fan or just looking to learn more about the world of strength, this is an episode we hope you’ll enjoy.

Kim Fox BarBend Podcast

On this episode of The BarBend Podcast, host David Thomas Tao talks to Kim Fox about:

  • Kim’s impressive kettlebell sport accomplishments (1:55)
  • Finding kettlebell training after deployment (swings, push-presses, etc.) (6:11)
  • “Tired body, clear mind” (9:20)
  • Why women were only allowed to compete with one bell for so long (12:30)
  • Breaking barriers in women’s competition (20:00)
  • Kim’s remaining goals in the sport (23:22)
  • Setting an all-time world record in kettlebell sport long cycle (27:20)
  • How Kim paces competition off her breathing (33:10)

Relevant links and further reading:

Transcription

Kim FoxKim Fox

They were only allowed to do one bell-long cycle because the worry was that it might damage our breasts. You got to worry about the titties and that, may be, it would cause cancer. I’m not sure. There was a worry that our internal organs could be damaged [laughs] by these bells, and the weight sitting on us and our breasts might be hurt. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Welcome to the “BarBend Podcast,” where we talk to the smartest athletes, coaches, and minds from around the world of strength. I’m your host, David Thomas Tao, and this podcast is presented by barbend.com.

 

Today, I’m talking to Kettlebell Sport Champion, Kim Fox who holds multiple all-time world records in the sport. She’s also one of the most accomplished Americans to ever compete.

 

If you’re not familiar with Kettlebell Sport, this conversation is a solid introduction to what it entails. The intense mental and physical challenge involved how a world champion trains and the small but growing community of athletes and coaches around the globe.

 

Kim shares insights from early on in her career through to today. Whether you’re a diehard Kettlebell fan, or just looking to learn more about the world of strength, this is an episode we hope you’ll enjoy.

 

I do want to take a second to say we’re incredibly thankful that you listen to this podcast. If you haven’t already, be sure to leave a rating and review of the BarBend Podcast in your app of choice. Now, let’s get to it.

 

Kim Fox, thanks so much for joining us. We’re going to do something a little different because your list of accomplishments in Kettlebell Sport is so long, I couldn’t mention all of them in the intro.

 

I’m going to put you in a very awkward position of just listing off how big a deal you are in this sport. As far as what you’ve accomplished the records you’ve set just throw out some of your favorites here.

Kim FoxKim Fox

I wish I had known that so I hit a road like them down prior to. [laughs] Probably the one that people know me most well for is I’m the absolute world record holder for women’s Two-Arm Long Cycle in the professional division.

 

Basically, that means two 24 kilogram bells that I lifted 82 times in 10 minutes. That’s like the big one. I also hold a world record in Biathlon for the professional division with 115 jerks and 86 snatches or something, which is not impressive by any means. Don’t be impressed by the number of snatches. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s just a world record. Don’t be impressed, that’s all.

Kim FoxKim Fox

The only impressive part is the jerks.

 

 …women that do way more reps than that. I’m just good at [laughs] the super art of it. I have a world record with the 28-kilogram bow, doing a long cycle. That was at 42 reps. I did that again for a five-minute set and I got 42 reps. I’d be curious to see what I could get now if I did it again.

David TaoDavid Tao

What if you only got 42 in 10 minutes though? What if you had an extra five minutes?

 

…and you still only got 42 reps. That’d be messing with your mind.

Kim FoxKim Fox

I’d be pretty sad. The other day…Because I can hold two 24 kilogram balls overhead like I’ll do static holds and I can hold them for — on the first round — minute and 20, sometimes a minute 30 seconds.

 

I had part of my program was to hold a plate like a 45-pound plate overhead and I was like, “Oh my God” It’s going to go for five minutes. [laughs] I was like, “Wow, I wonder how long I can do it.”

 

I put it overhead but the positioning to hold that plate overhead is so different from holding kettlebell ergonomically, it’s not good. I was about a minute in and my hands started to go numb [laughs] and then my arms started bouncing and jerking.

 

The guy that was there was working out was like, “What is wrong with you? Are you going to drop that?” I’m like, “No, but I can’t feel my arms anymore.” [laughs] I only made it a minute and 45 seconds. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Even though it was less than half weight.

Kim FoxKim Fox

 [laughs] It was a little humbling. He’s like, “Well that’s what you get.”

David TaoDavid Tao

 I’ve been training kettlebell sport a little bit. I’m still a newbie and one thing I’ve learned about it is that it is difficult and it is as mental as it is physical, at least for someone who’s not a particularly talented athlete like myself, every training session seems like a mental challenge as much as physical.

 

82 reps with the two bells long cycle in the professional division for women. That’s 24-kilo bells. Those are not like bells.

Kim FoxKim Fox

105 pounds.

David TaoDavid Tao

105 pounds total. You did in 10 minutes 82 reps of the clean and jerk with those bells, without putting it down. That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t realize about kettlebell sport when they hear these numbers.

 

You can’t set it down. There’s no resting on the floor, taking a few steps back and catching your breath. Under those bells, you’re swinging those bells for the entirety of those 10 minutes. That is a number that…If you were to take an untrained but very strong male, there’s no way in hell they would reach that if they do not have a lot of training in kettlebell sport.

 

The numbers you do are incredibly impressive. How did you get involved in this weird…? I don’t want to say little sport, but it is small in the US. It’s a small little community here. It’s so different than anything else we cover in strength. What attracted you to it? How did you even find out about it?

Kim FoxKim Fox

Honestly, it was a total accident. When I came back from deployment, I had met my husband. I was just training kettlebells like the normal things, push press, just doing normal kettle things.

David TaoDavid Tao

A couple Turkish get-ups here and there?

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah, I was just working out with them. I was like, “Oh, these are fun.” You get to swing them around. That’s cool. I feel bad because I realized on the BarBend interview that, the person who introduced this to me, I said the wrong name.

David TaoDavid Tao

We can cut out that. We can make an edit. We’ll have to retract part of the article, which will be the most awkward thing in the world. I don’t think anyone’s ever retracted part of the kettlebell article before.

Kim FoxKim Fox

After, I realized it because there’s another guy I know with a similar name. People were asking him if he trained me. He was like, “No.” [laughs] He’s like, “Thanks, but no.” I just forgot to say it’s just what happened last time because I’m so bad with names.

David TaoDavid Tao

Well, let’s start with this. Let’s say, you came back from deployment. You were in the military. You came back from deployment. About what year is this that you learned kettlebell sport is a thing?

Kim FoxKim Fox

2006.

David TaoDavid Tao

OK.

Kim FoxKim Fox

2006 of training kettlebells, my husband is going through an internship. The guy that he is working with does kettlebell sport. He just tells me like, “Hey, you like working with kettlebells? This is also like a competition.” Well, when I was in high school, I was super competitive. I played softball. I pretty much played every sport.

 

When you get older, there’s not really anything for you to compete in. I was training Jiu-jitsu. I was doing Muay Thai at the time, and I didn’t necessarily want to start fighting. I don’t know. I didn’t want to get my face pounded in. I think it’s quite worth the money, so it’s fine.

David TaoDavid Tao

Completely fair.

Kim FoxKim Fox

I mean training it. I didn’t have anything to compete in. I was playing adult slow-pitch. There’s competitive leagues, but normally what I was playing, I was way too competitive for what we were doing. Like they’re drinking in the parking lot, and I’m sliding into people. They’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s too intense.”

David TaoDavid Tao

You’re like, “Get Kim out of this beer league. We’re not enough.”

Kim FoxKim Fox

[laughs] He started showing me snatch, so I originally learned snatching. I’m not very good at snatch. I’m actually surprised that he tried to teach me snatch first, because I’m an explosive athlete. I can’t dance. I’m not Snoop, [laughs] so snatch is probably not what I should start with.

 

That’s when I first started learning, but I still really fell in love with the…We stay in the gym, tired body, clear mind. We get done with really hard training sets. You have a tired, body but your mind is clear.

 

You’re not worried about your day-to-day things because you’ve been so focused on this one task that you can’t even think about the bills that need to get paid, the stuff that’s going on at work. I liked that centering part of it where I could just space out and train and decompress under compression.

 

 I fell in love with that part of it. It felt like rhythmic. It’s probably the same way people feel about running. I flipping hate running. Running is the fucking devil’s work.

David TaoDavid Tao

The Venn diagram of people we talked to on this podcast and who like running, the middle of that diagram is very small. I’m going to put it out. I’m going to put it that way.

 

There’s very little…I did talk to Dr. Daniel Lieberman, who’s the biomechanical and human performance and biology researcher. He was the only one I’ve talked to on the podcast in the past probably year who styles himself a runner. Everyone else, if you mentioned running…You’re in good company and that kind of thing, don’t worry about it.

Kim FoxKim Fox

It’s good to know. I’ve never understood that well. I know based on kettlebell, how people can get in that zone and be like, I’m just loving the movement. I enjoy trying to figure out hikes. How I can speed up the rep, do less work to get more reps. How I can change my breathing to accomplish all those things.

 

Trying to figure out each part of that piece of the puzzle is what makes it fun. How am I going to make my workout a little bit harder this week, so I can edge over that line a little bit more. That’s what I fell in love doing that. I did snatch for probably two years, working with him.

 

I got to a point that I wasn’t making progress. Then I stopped working with a coach and I started training on my own. That also wasn’t that great. As anybody knows even if you are a coach, you need a coach. That’s where I started working with my current coach who I’ve had for the last seven years. I don’t know, I had him for a long time.

 

Then that’s when we started working on long cycle. I was way better at that.

David TaoDavid Tao

Now, who is your coach?

Kim FoxKim Fox

Arseny Zhernakovis my coach.

David TaoDavid Tao

Is he based in Russia or the United States?

Kim FoxKim Fox

He’s in St. Petersburg.

David TaoDavid Tao

OK.

 

…met him in Russia.

Kim FoxKim Fox

[laughs] Yeah, I met him at a seminar. We hit it off. Then, two years probably after that seminar, I hit him up. I was like, “Hey, I really need a coach. I want to work on 24-kilogram long cycle.” This is single bell. Back when I started, women could only do one bell long cycle.

David TaoDavid Tao

They were only allowed to do one bell long cycle.

Kim FoxKim Fox

They were only allowed to do one bell long cycle. The worry was that it might damage our breasts. You got to worry about the titties. That maybe it would cause cancer, I’m not sure. There was a worry that our internal organs could be damaged by these bells, and the weight sitting on us, and our breasts might be hurt. [laughs]

 

You weren’t allowed to do it. It was ridiculous. When I approached him about this, was like, “He wanted single arm long cycle.” He was like, “OK, OK.” Somebody’s going to listen to this my Russian and be like, “Oh, my gosh, that’s so offensive.” He was like, “How about, instead of one arm, we do two arm long cycle.”

 

I was like, “Well, where am I going to do that?” He said, “I don’t know. We’ll find a place.” [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

He saw something in you early on then. He also trusted that the sport might evolve.

Kim FoxKim Fox

I think he had been trying to find somebody, a girl to do this. He had been thinking about it for a while. I probably happened to contact him in like at the right time. He’s like, “Oh, girl, big shoulders. She got it.”

David TaoDavid Tao

He’s like, you’re his perfect guinea pig for this experiment.

 

Kim FoxKim Fox

I was like, “OK, well, let’s do it. That’s where the whole process started. When I got into this sport, I was very new to it. I wasn’t in the whole competition circuit. I didn’t know a lot of people. When I started doing, or people started realizing that I wanted to do two arm long cycle, I got a lot of negative feedback.

 

It was surprising. There was a lot of negative feedback from women too. I guess never directly to me, but about me. It was interesting. It was an interesting experience to see how people reacted to their sport potentially evolving or changing. People that are — I don’t want to say it was bad — because they’re reacting that way because they love it not because they hate me.

 

They might hate me but…Not because they hate me particularly. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

They may have unless you’ve talked to all of them. I’m kidding, I’m sure they didn’t.

Kim FoxKim Fox

No, but their natural human reaction to potentially seeing something that they love changing and their particular part that they like about it maybe going away, which it never has. There’s still single arm long cycle that men and women do at competitions but it was interesting.

David TaoDavid Tao

When did two arm long cycles start to become something a little bit more…Two arm long cycle and also two arm jerk as part of the biathlon as well.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Technically, we should call it long cycle. There’s only long cycle which is with two bells and then single arm long cycle. That’s an interesting, so when you say two arm long cycle. They’ve never called it two arm long cycle until women started to do long cycle.

 

Then all of a sudden there was this delineation between we need to call it two arm long cycle because we know it’s a woman doing it versus it’s…

David TaoDavid Tao

It is a little bit of an interesting technicality. There was never a squat snatch. It was always the snatch or a power snatch. Then, CrossFit comes along. For some reason they start specifying, “OK, this is a squat snatch versus a power snatch.” Suddenly that became a thing whereas weightlifters were always like, “It was always just a snatch, what are you talking about?”

 

These terms do change. When did the two arm long cycle or long cycle with two bells, whatever you want to call it, when did that start becoming something that women could actually compete in? Up until we’re at 2013, 2014, and it still seems the standard is one arm long cycle for women? What do we start to see that change?

Kim FoxKim Fox

In the United States, and in some other countries and various organizations…I started doing two arm long cycle, when right after my son was born. It would have been 2014. Now I’m a bad mom, because I’m like, “When was he born?” 2014. [laughs]

 

It probably would have been because he’s born in March. I started with Arseny in October because I was out of school, a military school when I started with him. We’re talking about 2014. Then I had a whole six months before I did my first little competition. 2015 is when you started seeing some girls in competition.

 

The OKC, or Orange Kettlebell Club, with the IKO, they had their first world competition, I’m going to say, 2017, but it might have been ’16. 2016, 2017, they had the first competition where we had a platform of women doing long cycle with professional weight.

David TaoDavid Tao

Which is 24 kilos?

Kim FoxKim Fox

Correct. I’m so bad with names. It’s horrible. Being in the Army, everybody’s got a name tag on. I literally don’t have to memorize anybody’s name.

 

It really transitions over to my civilian life. My husband’s so good at remembering names. I’d be like, “Who’s that person? I know them, but I can’t remember their name.”

 

There was a platform of six girls that we had up there doing 24-kilogram long cycle in 2016. Then 2017, IKO organized a huge competition. I think they had 230 people competing, which in the US is quite large. It was so amazing to see.

 

We had women from all over the world come in. They had 12 platforms. We had 12 women up there doing long cycle. Somebody took a picture of this long row of all these women doing long cycle. It was pretty cool.

 

Beate came, and she’s from Norway. Abigail was there, and she’s from Scotland. There was women from all over the world. That was the very first time that you saw more than me [laughs] there, or more than one or two. There was a whole platform of women competing.

 

There was a couple of different organizations within the Kettlebell sport world, just like there is for wrestling, anything else.

David TaoDavid Tao

Powerlifting we see that.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

Most strength sports. The exceptions being weightlifting and CrossFit basically.

Kim FoxKim Fox

 Hopefully, within all those organizations, they don’t get along either. But everybody’s vying for, athletes’ money, spectators’ money. I get why they don’t, but now, the…

David TaoDavid Tao

Let me ask one different question here while you’re thinking of that. What are some of the places you have been able to compete?

 

You talk about this competition with a lot of international lifters coming to the US, 230 lifters in 2017. What are some places that you’ve been able to compete overseas?

Kim FoxKim Fox

I was in Korea in Seoul in 2019. I was in Denmark. I did a competition over there. I’ve been to Russia and trained but I didn’t compete there. I had a competition in Canada. Where else have we been? Scotland.

David TaoDavid Tao

Your coach is still in, in Russia. Do you train virtually or do you film yourself and then send him the sets or do it over Zoom or something like that?

Kim FoxKim Fox

No. We don’t do anything over Zoom, but usually he progressed already now at the beginning of my training, when I first started, I would send him videos, just clips and he’d tell me, I looked awful or whatever [laughs] .

 

I’m sure you’ve had dealings with Russians and they are very direct, and…

David TaoDavid Tao

My grandmother extremely Russian and I can attest to that.

Kim FoxKim Fox

…Arseny has his own sense of humor. But I remember one time, I had sent him some stuff and I was sending him my weight, what weight I was going to compete at. And he had said something about my weight.

 

“Are you saying I’m fat?” And he’s like, “no”, “Your lights like led feather.” [laughs] . I think that’s pretty much it, I’m trying to think we’ve been to Belgium, but I just trained people there. I didn’t compete there.

 

Those are the main ones. I’ve only been traveling internationally for a long cycle form because I’ve only been able to do it since 2017. It hasn’t been that many years.

David TaoDavid Tao

Do you have any particular marks in your head that you want to shoot for in your competitive career? I know that most lifters have…If it’s powerlifting, it’s 1,000-pound squat or an 800-pound squat. If it’s weightlifting, it’s snatching or clean and jerking this much. We know you have the all-time world record. Is there a mark that you are aiming to push that to during your career?

Kim FoxKim Fox

You know, I am getting older, so…

David TaoDavid Tao

That is how it works over time.

Kim FoxKim Fox

[laughs] I hit my prime a couple of years ago. Right now, I’ve been working on biathlon, which is jerks and then snatch. I would like to hit 200 points in biathlon.

 

How they figure out the points for biathlon, it’s the number of jerks that you do in a 10-minute set. Then you usually rest, maybe an hour or whatever, depending on how well it falls in the competition. Then you snatch. The snatch is only half a point. Basically, I need to work up to where I can do…Now I can snatch about 105 reps, which is so well still. It’s so embarrassing.

David TaoDavid Tao

But combined, you still have the world record.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

I just want to put out, if you combine the jerk and the snatch, which is what matters, you don’t get an award for the individual ones…

Kim FoxKim Fox

You don’t. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

 …you still have the world record. Here you are. Sure. You know what, we’ll lean in. You’re terrible at snatch. You absolutely must…

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah, it’s bad.

David TaoDavid Tao

..or the world will end. What are you aiming for?

Kim FoxKim Fox

200 points for that. That would be 150 jerks and 100 snatches. I haven’t done a 10-minute set for jerk and a little bit because I never do test sets. I’m probably somewhere around the 120 mark right now. My last competition, I did 113, so I’m probably close to 120 right now.

David TaoDavid Tao

That makes sense. Snatches are half a point. Jerks are full point, which also makes sense because…

Kim FoxKim Fox

Because of the one bell, two bells, yeah.

David TaoDavid Tao

That does make sense, but it’s a little demoralizing. It’s not like you can do two at once in competition, right? You’re getting half a point. That seems like you’re not doing enough work almost.

Kim FoxKim Fox

There is…I’m going to mess up his name, Stéphane Dogman. I bet that’s not how you say his name. I know it isn’t. He’s trying to start doing double snatching. I have a competition in May. It’s a virtual competition against a girl. It’s double snatch. It’s two 20 kilogram bells double snatching. Now I’m shooting for 100 reps.

David TaoDavid Tao

In 10 minutes?

Kim FoxKim Fox

In 10 minutes, yeah. Still, you can’t put it down, but that’s an interesting challenge. For biathlon…Eventually because I stopped doing long cycle because I started to have knee issues, just age. [laughs]

 

David TaoDavid Tao

I was going to say long cycle is something you would consider pursuing again, but it seems like you had a legit reason to tone that back a little bit.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah. I love long cycle so much. It’s been really hard not getting to do it. I love doing it. I hate snatching so much. Snatching is like running to me. I like jerks. It’s fine. The rhythmic part of cleaning the bells and jerking and the movement, I really like it.

 

Not being able to do it sucks. I do plan to go back. My knee is better now. I’m probably going to go back to it. I set a goal to do 200 points with biathlon. I want to try and finish that before I jump back over to long cycle.

David TaoDavid Tao

For those who might not know, we’re coming up toward the interview. I should have asked this early on. You have the all-time world record. The most any woman at any bodyweight class has ever done in 10-minute long cycle is 82 reps with a 24 kilo bells. What is the next best mark that has been done by a lifter not named Kim Fox?

Kim FoxKim Fox

There is a Russian girl that did 81 at this last World Cup.

David TaoDavid Tao

Oh, OK, fairly close.

Kim FoxKim Fox

They’re getting close. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

I see. For a while there, because if I remember correctly, I was doing some research and looking back into some of the archives, I didn’t realize anyone had gotten that close.

 

There was a point where there was a pretty big margin between you and everyone else. It was a bit like Jerry Rice’s touchdown record. It’s like him. Then you dropped 30 percent, and it’s like the next person. For a while, there was a pretty big gap.

Kim FoxKim Fox

For a while, it was just me and Beate. We had gotten pretty close. There was actually one where she beat my record. My husband stayed up all night to check what her score was. I was just like, “I’m going to bed. I don’t want to know.”

 

She had beat my score by a point, and I was like, “Oh my Gosh!” Then it just lucked up. Two weeks later, I had a competition coming up. That’s when I jumped way ahead. I had been stuck in the 70s for a year or more. I was making no progress.

 

My numbers in training were going up, but I could not break 80 to save my life. It was getting really frustrating going to competition after competition. I only compete every quarter, so getting the same number, it sucked so bad.

 

It was demoralizing to want to be so stressed about it because, “Is this going to be the one? Is everything going to fall into place, and this is the one? It’s got to be getting close. My numbers are getting better.” Then, like I said, she beat me by a point.

 

I think I was at 76 or 77, and she got 78. Premier League doesn’t go normally for kettlebell gains, especially in that professional division after your winter condition and stuff. You usually see one or two reps over the course of six months. You’re not seeing these huge jumps. Then I came back, and I competed at a competition with Denis.

David TaoDavid Tao

 For those who don’t know Denis, this is Denis…Give a little background as to who that is.

Kim FoxKim Fox
  1. Denis, he owns multiple world records, a Russian lifter. He comes from a weightlifting background, like a bodybuilding background. He’s probably going to come out and be like, “That’s not true,” and, “No,” but I’m pretty sure that he comes from a bodybuilding background. Then he got started in kettlebell sport.

 

He teaches at the OKC gym in California near Berkeley, super nice guy. Someone told me once, he just gives the best hugs. I didn’t say that. That came from somebody else. He does give good hugs though, so if you ever see him and you need to get one. He’s amazing, just a machine.

David TaoDavid Tao

He’s probably one of the shortlisted for the one of the best male kettlebell sport athletes of all time.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yes, and he’s…I’m trying to think how old he is now.

David TaoDavid Tao

He’s like mid to late 30s?

Kim FoxKim Fox

Yeah, but if you see him, I always feel like he looks kind of like a cyclist body-wise, with the quad size. I just always feel like he looks a little bit like a cyclist. He’s like one of those people that…He’s just an endurance machine. He can do 100 dips without stopping. He can do 100 pull-ups without stopping, and not kipping pull-ups. He can do for real pull-ups. Sorry. [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

Sorry to all the CrossFitters listening here. This is where you turn off the podcast. You go leave a five-star review, and you stop listening. This is where.

Kim FoxKim Fox

He’s just an endurance machine. He’s just an amazing lifter. I’ve sat through some classes with him. We’ve talked about lifting protocols and how he trains. He trains so different to the way that I train. The volume that he does is different. He also runs a lot. I’m guessing he makes up his volume in running and in those other things.

 

He’s an amazing lifter. I don’t know if it’s still world record, but his record for two months ago, it was like 102 or 105 reps. It was something. It’s a lot. He’s not that big of a guy. He’s decently tall. He’s maybe 180 pounds, 190 pounds.

David TaoDavid Tao

Yeah, he’s an 85-kilo lifter. The two-arm long cycle for men, it’s two 32-kilo bells. If you’re in a normal gym, the big red bells, he’s just doing those nonstop for 10 minutes. He’s pretty darn good at it. Denis is often considered…He lives in the US now. He’s the best active male kettlebell sport athlete. You’re his counterpart on the women’s side basically.

Kim FoxKim Fox

[laughs] Yeah. I was at a competition with him. We were going to lift at the same time. He had somebody counting for him out loud. When I’m competing, I don’t use a clock. We have a clock in front of us that’s going, tells us the seconds, everything. I pace myself off my breathing. I know that three breaths and a rack is about 80 reps per minute.

David TaoDavid Tao

8 reps a minute, not 80.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Sorry, 8 reps, not 80 reps per minute. Yeah, that’d be really fast. 8 reps per minute, so I can complete 80 reps in 10 minutes. That’s all I do. I sit and rack. I do my little breathing pattern, and I say, “OK, that’s third breath. It’s time for a rep.”

 

I’m actually very bad at counting. Usually, I have to have my husband stand in front of me. He counts with his fingers about what breath I’m on so I don’t forget. [laughs] I just get in the zone, and I’ll just be breathing. Then he’ll be like, “OK, now it’s time for a rep,” so I do that.

 

It just makes it easy for me to keep a set tempo. Even though sometimes I might go seven reps, my body is always ready for the next rep because it’s just a set.

 

Anyway, so he had a lady counting for him out loud, “One, two.” Somewhere around minute five, she said, “Seven.” I thought I was at eight, but then I got confused. I didn’t know what number I was on, so then I just did another rep. Then I just like still not sure. There was time left on the clock for that minute, so I did another rep.

 

I think in that round, I did 10 reps, which is bad. You don’t ever want to speed up your reps in the middle of the set, especially when I was only halfway done.

 

Not that you’re going to go watch the video, but if you were watching the video, you would see there was a period where I did a bunch of reps, and then I really struggled for a second because then my heart rate kicked up because I had just done two extra reps in a minute. I was starting to get in like, “Oh, this is not going well. This isn’t going well at all.”

 

I just kept going. I was still doing my breathing great and counting my breaths. I got towards the end because I’m still not paying attention to my rep count. I don’t know how many reps I’m doing a minute. I just know I’m doing a rep every three breaths.

 

We get to the end. There’s a couple 10 or 15 seconds left on the clock, and I just hit 80, which is past my number. I’m like, “Oh shit, OK, I guess we need to get some more reps in here.”

 

I did two more reps, and then we put it down. The whole reason that I went over 80 was because I miscounted because she was counting out loud [laughs]

 

David TaoDavid Tao

I wonder if Denis…Denis seems like such a nice guy. I wonder if he did that purposefully. He’s like, “I have a strategy that’s going to help Kim break through her own barriers.”

 

From my experience on the kettlebell sports community so far, everyone’s super friendly. That seems like something someone might even do.

Kim FoxKim Fox

It’s very possible. He never said that, but I could claim that victory to Denis.

 

Honestly, he’s such a fun lifter, a fun person, that that day when we competed, it was an enjoyable lift, even though five minutes in I started to question my life choices.

 

When you have situations like that where you have a positive environment, you end up getting those really great lifting moment. The people around you make that positive environment and make you have that good day.

 

The nice thing about the organization that Denis runs, the IKO, is that his whole theory is to make the competition great for the lifter.

 

He’s like, “I don’t care about anything else. I want the lifters to enjoy it. I want the lifters to have fun. I want whatever we’re doing to be a benefit to the lifter. What can we do to make that positive experience so that every lifter up there has their PR?”

 

Most competitions are not like that. I always try to make it out to his competitions because they’re always very enjoyable. Almost always, that’s where I set my records are at his competitions. It’s one thing that a lot of organizations, not just kettlebell, that they miss.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

Is focusing on the lifter experience. Look, kettlebell sport is, surprise, surprise, not the biggest spectator sport in the world at this point. It’ll hopefully grow over the next few years.

Kim FoxKim Fox

 

Have you watched kettlebell sport? [laughs]

David TaoDavid Tao

It’s a little bit repetitive. Hopefully that grows over the next few years but focusing on the lifters. Hey, that’s what we can hope in all strength sports, making sure they have a fun and safe experience.

 

Kim, we’re coming to the end of the normal time here. I want folks to know where they can follow along with you, your training, your coaching, all that good stuff. What’s the best place to follow you?

Kim FoxKim Fox

 

On Instagram, I’m under kettlebellkimfox. Then on Facebook, I’m under Kimberly C Fox. On YouTube, I think it’s also under Kettlebell Kim Fox.

David TaoDavid Tao

Go to YouTube, look up Kettlebell Kim Fox.

Kim FoxKim Fox

If you type in Kim Fox Kettlebell, it’ll come up.

David TaoDavid Tao

Excellent. Kim, I really appreciate you taking the time to join us. It was awesome learning about your experience in the sport and some of the variations in training, and especially your experience with the broader kettlebell sport community.

 

I know a lot of folks in quarantine have gotten into kettlebell training at home. Who knows? If you’re enjoying it, maybe look into kettlebell sport. You could be the next Kim Fox. Hopefully the next Kim Fox is listening to this podcast right now. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Kim FoxKim Fox

 

 It would be.

I hope there’s another Kim Fox because I want to see other people doing this.

David TaoDavid Tao

 

You want to see your records broken, which is kind of…

Kim FoxKim Fox

 

I do.

David TaoDavid Tao

On that note, we will wrap things up. Thanks so much for joining us, Kim.

Kim FoxKim Fox

Thank you.