Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

Kettlebells & The Skogg System!

March 7, 2011 Leave a comment

on the set...

It’s official! The DVD is complete and it’s shipping out as we speak!  If you are new to my blog and me; I am currently a full-time graduate student at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine as well as a Kettlebell coach at Skogg Gym in downtown Portland.

Now, add to that list; kettlebell fitness ‘talent’ in the new DVD series by Michael Skogg; former Navy Seal and face of Weider PowerBells:

The Skogg System!

This project has been in the works for some time now and is finally complete and ready to buy.  We’ve gotten it out there via the web; either on…

  • Skogg Gym’s website:  SKOGG Gym
  • Amazon
  • Or if you are in the Portland, OR area at our Gym (10th and Everett)!

Check it out and let me know what you think!  It’s been a crazy past 3 years for me with school and work but good things come to those who work hard and I’ve been workin’ hard!  Here’s a little teaser for you…


Need more proof?  Burn more calories in less time and get the best workout of your life 🙂 Check out this article by ACE Fitness:  Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time

Also, keep updated on the Skogg System DVD series, the gym and all things Kettlebell here on Sue Skogg’s (Michael’s other half; co-owner of the Skogg gym, and Executive Producer of the DVD) Blog:  Skogg Sytem: Sue’s Journey

Till next time, keep swingin!




September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Coming soon November 2010… a new kind of training system that will give you the body you’ve always wanted, the flexibility, the strength and the confidence you never knew you could have.  I know I sound like one of those cheesy infomercials… & wait for it… that is what I’ll be; however, it really is all it’s cracked up to be and truly something you will want to try out for yourself!  Health is not just about the mental, emotional & spiritual body, but the physical as well.  In training the physical body, we can improve our mood, improve memory & sleep, not to mention it further enhances our ability to maintain a healthy body, mind & spirit.  Many of us know this, but finding a way to exercise that is fun, gets results and is something you can do at home in a short amount of time without a whole bunch of equipment is a whole different thing; and Kettlebell *the SKOG system* defines that. 

As a part-time job while I’m not treating people in the clinic (with Acupuncture, chinese herbs and bodywork), I train people at Spinach Gym in downtown Portland.  We are a Kettlebell gym and coming soon in November 2010 we will be releasing the SKOG Kettlebell System; a set of workout DVD’s, and yes, that is me in the video. 

So ask yourself one thing… Do you want to get in the best shape of your life? 

I can honestly tell you that I have never been as fit as I am right now since starting Kettlebell training. In addition I also feel the best emotionally and mentally than I have since I can remember, and I owe it all to Kettlebell and the Skogg’s *Michael & Sue; the owner’s of SKOG and Spinach Gym*!

I have been an athlete all my life and a member of the US Freestyle Development Ski Team and I have never loved training as much or felt as fit as I do now with Kettlebells.  If you want to lose weight, improve your stamina, increase your performance for any sport, Kettlebell will do that for you.  It truly is all it’s talked up to be! 

If you are in the Portland area, try it for yourself; sign up for a Free Week at Spinach Gym on 11th & Everett, & ask about our new 60 day challenge, or just stop by to say hi.  I’m telling you, you won’t regret it… and if you do, I’ll personally buy you a cupcake from across the street.

For more personal testimony, please check out this blog, written by one of our members; Lisa Collins LMT:  How To Get in the Best Shape of Your Life

Till next time…

~be well~


Exercise Tolerance, Acupuncture & the Heart

July 31, 2010 1 comment

By, kyuen13

Part of the purpose of this blog is to share with you all the bits of information I come across during my studies in Acupuncture & Oriental Medical School.  Personally, I love the medicine and have seen and learned its value in treating diseases of all kinds.  One of the most popular (in the news) uses of Acupuncture right now is in the treatment of pain; there are many positive studies coming out currently promoting its success in pain management & bringing to light (to you, the public) the benefits we may receive from Acupuncture treatments.  From my point of view, pain management is just touching the surface… YES, Acupuncture is wonderful for this; but it can do SO many other things especially when used as an adjunctive therapy with other modalities like chiropractic, body work, herbs, changes in lifestyle etc…. Acupuncture is used to treat a plethora of common ailments as well as rare diseases; a short list includes; allergies, asthma,  adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, auto-immune diseases including various forms of arthritis, the common cold, eczema, pain, it’s even been incredibly useful for post-trauma and drug rehab.  In addition, it can shorten post-surgery healing time, improve your immune function, lessen the amount of time you spend with a cold or flu & assist in balancing hormones…  I think I could go on and on all day, but I will get back to my point.   

I was just perusing this website while I’m finishing up work here at the gym (I work at a Kettlebell gym called Spinach, in downtown Portland as a trainer/coach), and looking up news regarding exercise etc… My initial intention was to find something about Exercise and improving our ability to adapt through movement with the help of Acupuncture as an adjunct and possible performance enhancer, which is a topic I will write about sometime soon I promise…     

So, I found this article Exercise Improves Exercise Tolerance in Heart Patients.   They point out an important idea that we can translate into our lives no matter what our condition.  In this particular study, however, the patients had Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), a disease where the heart as a muscle essentially starts to lose its ability to pump blood properly throughout the body.  This leads to a decrease in cardiac output and a general decline in oxygenation to the rest of the body as well as fluid imbalance in the peripheral body (edema), & a back-up of blood in the heart and pulmonary system (pulmonary edema, or hypertension).  Another aspect that plays a large part in the progression of the disease is the nervous system; ultimately, neurotransmitters released by the nervous system regulate the blood pumping effectiveness of the heart and patients with CHF may have an imbalance or miscommunication going on here.     

Participants in the study were broken up into two groups, one group received 10 sessions of Acupuncture and were treated on a individual basis according to a particular TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis.  The other group was given ‘placebo acupuncture’.     

They found that participants who received Acupuncture   

“could cover a greater walk distance in the time allowed than the placebo patients. They recovered more quickly and tended to feel subjectively less exhausted” (ScienceDaily, 2010).   

Well, we know that Acupuncture has the ability to release endorphins, regulate inflammatory markers, neurotransmitters & balance hormones; we aren’t sure how, but really… does it matter?  When we achieve the desired effect (or a positive effect that we didn’t know we needed)  do we need to understand the exact biochemical pathway from needle insertion to neurotransmitter/hormone release?  The desired effect here seems to be working for these patients!    

Furthermore, the scientists in this study theorize that Acupuncture had an effect on the skeletal muscle, and not necessarily on the cardiac output of the patient; either way, it seems the body became more effective at utilizes the blood that was pumped from the heart.  So, what does this tell us?  Well, good news,  Acupuncture could definitely be helpful with CHF patients, it could help shorten the length of time spent recovering post-surgery (particularly heart surgery), enabling patients to get more out of their rehab and be able to do the things they want to do more easily and in less time…   

In addition, if you wanted to think of this in terms of an otherwise healthy individual who is getting regular Acupuncture, they may be improving neurotransmitter function, regulating imbalances within the nervous system and possibly improving their ability to oxygenate the tissues (ever heard of blood doping?)… Which brings me to another good point I should make regarding Acupuncture.  As far as blood goes, it has been shown to increase white blood cell counts and therefore improve immune function, so why couldn’t it improve the function of our red blood cells, those cells that deliver oxygen to the tissues?!  Sounds good to me… I wouldn’t mind capitalizing on a few more red blood cells to help me chase my boyfriend around on a mountain bike at altitude!  It’s almost like cheating, but not!  You’re just optimizing your body in its most natural state.    

So, take what you will from this, but, Acupuncture is a wonderful tool for the sick and the healthy, and when used in addition to other modalities could increase the quality of your life exponentially!    



University Hospital Heidelberg (2010, July 1). Acupuncture improves exercise tolerance in heart patients, German study finds. ScienceDaily.   

Grossman, S., M.D, M.S., & Brown, D., M.D. (2010). Congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema.  Retrieved from   


Myofascial Meridians, Trigger Points & Mobility

June 2, 2010 Leave a comment

By, aibres @ flickr

I recently have been reading a lot about fascia, stretching, exercise and trigger points… As a side job while I’m in school I’ve taken up personal training at a Kettle-Bell Gym here in Portland and Tigard Oregon. (It’s called Spinach if you want to check it out!) I figure training and athletics are as much a part of my life as Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine will be and why not integrate the two! As a practitioner, what better way to reach out to a certain population of people than to put yourself right in the mix and learn the facets of exercise, diet & nutrition as well as Acupuncture, body work and other training & treating modalities for healthy living.

It’s taught me a lot more about how the body works and has led me to start researching some pretty cool stuff. Lately I’ve been having some shoulder issues, to which I contribute structural misalignment, tense muscles, stress (liver qi stagnation), and sitting in a chair hunched over a notebook most hours of the day; not to mention throwing around heavy kettlebells almost every day. At the same time I’ve been really into this book one of my clients lent me, Stretch To Win by Ann & Chris Frederick. It’s a super awesome book about flexibility assessment and stretching techniques based on the fascial lines and your movement (i.e. the sport you play). As an acupuncturist, we treat the body as a whole system interconnected by meridians or channels, which correspond to different systems in the body, by using needles, moxa (mugwort) and other modalities. Part of this interconnectedness is seen in the way the muscles and the fascia is connected as a whole system, which is what this book is all about… and which led me to another book, Anatomy Trains, that is surely going to be one of my favorites… if I ever find the extra time in my schedule to read it. This book immediately drew me in as on the cover it conveys a body with the myofascial meridians drawn upon it… very similar to the Acupuncture meridians. Though I know I still have so much to learn, I love that these two have so much overlap. As far as I know this system of working with the fascia using manipulations and massage is what we term Structural Integration or Rolfing.  Just today I had an appointment with a Neuromuscular LMT, which was a similar technique.   The most useful treatments (which includes the one I had this morning) incorporate a wide array of different techniques intermixed into one treatment depending on the client, the problem and how the patient responds to different techniques.  What works wonders for one person isn’t necessarily going to help everyone.  If there is one thing I take away from school it’s that there is no one way to do anything, it’s always best to have a whole bag of tricks to draw from.  To me this is what Integrative Medicine is all about, combining a plethora of treatment techniques and working together to do what’s best for the patient.  Every body is different and therefore every treatment shoudl be different.

Back to the point I was getting at about mobility and in particular shoulder mobility.   I just did a bunch of range of motion tests on my own shoulder mobility and failed close to all of them. For whole body health, our bodies need movement and more importantly, movement without pain. Mark’s Daily Apple has started a new series of articles on mobility of certain joints in the body and they are worth checking into.  This is where I found my exercises; he has some great links on there for shoulder exercises and stretches for improving flexibility and mobility.

In addition to my realization that I have crappy alignment in my shoulder, upper back and neck, it helps me to realize that I have to be just as cognizant of my own body health, alignment, flexibility, mobility and strength as I “preach to my clients”.  It also gets me to research more treatment protocols from all angles of health care, using Acupuncture, herbs (ointments & plasters), massage etc. to rehab a somewhat dysfunctional aspect of my body before it becomes a real problem down the road. The good thing is, is there is always something to learn more than you already know and usually we learn the most from our own idiosyncracies; and in this particular case I’m learning a whole lot about muscular interactions, sports injuries, shoulder mobility and stretching just to name a few.

In addition to my new stretching techniques I’m learning from the Stretch to Win system, I’ve also just been introduced to another form of stretching that’s working wonders on my shoulder, traps and neck.  It’s called AIS; Active Isolated Stretching and works on actively lengthening the muscle and releasing the fascial tissues.

Well enough out of me… until next time…  stay limber, be mobile, pain-free and well!


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