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You Have To Make It A Priority

By Sara Cheatham

When people ask me what I “do” and I tell them that I am a personal trainer, they automatically start spewing excuses as to why they are out of shape and unhappy with their bodies. I don’t have to ask a thing. I am suddenly a shrink. Personal facts surface quickly and without reserve. Mind you, all I have said is that I am a personal trainer. Suddenly I’m their life long best friend. “I don’t have time… I have kids… I go to school… my job wears me out… I just have no energy… I used to workout…” I’ve heard every excuse in the book.

One day I was talking with my neighbor, and like many conversations that seem to find me, she starts to go on and on about how she is overweight, out of shape, unhappy, etcetera, etcetera. After about ten minutes of attempting to justify her lifestyle, I simply say, “You have to make it a priority.” Something clicked. She was silent, (which is rare for this woman). We have lived next door to each other for about a year now. Not even two hours after I said those words, she was making her first of many appointments with me.

She made it a priority. Like taking care of her children, her husband, her job…Finally, she made her health a priority. She didn’t just make a time to workout, she was suddenly empowered. Her voice automatically had more confidence. She made a healthy lifestyle choice for herself, and it’s like the world was completely different, just like that.

After one month of dedication, her body fat dropped 7%, her strength significantly increased, and her energy skyrocketed. She had more to contribute to life; more energy and strength to play with her children, more confidence in anything she attempted, she controlled stress better, and her husband even told her she looked skinny. She made it a priority, and the payoff was more than she bargained for.

Her program was inspired by Pavel Tsatouline’s book, From Russia with Tough Love, Kettlebell Workout for the Femme Fatale. She met with me three times a week for a program based on two basics of lifts: squats and dead lifts. All additional lifts introduced into her program were based on the mechanics of these fundamental drills. My client was new to this hard-style of training, so we focused on total body tension and moving the weight safely from start to finish. This is personally important to me, because as a trainer I want the reassurance that my client can safely and effectively workout by themselves.

In addition to basic drills, I would throw in a modified Department of Energy “Man-Maker,” every now and then for a good “cardio session.” The DOE Man-Maker consists of a series of Kettlebell snatches alternated with running. I modified the snatches to swings and the run to either rowing or some type of walk with the bells. The Kettlebell walks included anything from farmer’s walks to double overhead walks.

This client, like many, wanted more “ab work.” So, we worked on things like get up sit-ups, circle sit-ups, and power breathing crunches at both the beginning and end of our sessions. If a lift is a priority, it should be done first in the series. To further drive home the fact that I acknowledge her requests, we added the ab drills to the end of her workouts, as well. (Needless to say, she has not made any more personal requests.)

In the end, it was the client’s dedication to, and commitment at each session that improved her overall quality of life. She made her health a priority, and it ultimately paid off in all other aspects of her life. If it’s important to you, you have to make it a priority. It’s your choice.

About The Author

Sara Cheatham, M.S., is the only active certified Kettlebell instructor based on Nellis AFB, in Las Vegas, NV. Sara is available for workshops, consultations, military PT, and personal training. Contact her at


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