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Dragon Door Interviews Internet Fitness Personality Zuzka Light, RKC

Zuzka Light Swings a Dragon Door Kettlebell

Dragon Door:  How did you get started with fitness?

Zuzka Light:  I was crazy about gymnastics when I was a kid. But my mom didn’t want me to do any sports. I had a rare kidney disease and doctors told her I shouldn’t do any kind of sports whatsoever. Because I just love sports and wanted to be a gymnast, I did it behind her back at school. After winning a little competition, I told her what I had been doing and showed her the trophy I won. Unfortunately, that was the end of gymnastics for me. I still wanted to be active with other kids, so I did a lot of bike riding and swimming. Being active was just something I always really liked. Years later—while I was a student still living in the Czech Republic—I got a certification in aerobics, but got bored with it and started teaching spinning classes. A little later, I tried martial arts, including a Korean martial art called Musado.

When I married and moved to Canada, I didn’t have many options to keep myself in shape other than working out at home. But, I started thinking that many people might also be in a similar situation—they might not have the option of working out in a gym or outdoors. This was when I decided to start a blog to help others work out at home. I started blogging about my own workouts and have been trying to improve ever since.

Dragon Door:  What are some of the other advantages you've experienced from working out at home?

Zuzka Light:  You know, I just don’t like going to the gym. I prefer to do my workout at home where I can keep myself in shape with just a 15-minute workout. I also go for bike rides and other activities just for fun, not as workouts.

Dragon Door:   What's the inspiration behind the workouts you design for your blog?

Zuzka Light:  I take a little bit from many different sports and training styles and put together full body routines. I really want the workouts to cover strength, cardio, flexibility, and mobility along with general conditioning in one short workout.

Dragon Door:  How did you first discover kettlebells?

Zuzka Light:  I discovered them through Dragon Door about five or six years ago. Soon after I started blogging, I was searching for fitness websites and found Dragon Door. I really fell in love with kettlebells because they were very "outside of the box" and really rough around the edges—which is something I really like. I ordered a medium-size kettlebell, and some DVDs including From Russia with Tough Love. And I really love the Power to the People book too.

But, even with plenty of practice at home I wasn't comfortable teaching the more difficult kettlebell exercises on my blog. While I was confident demonstrating the kettlebell deadlift and swing, I really wanted to get RKC certified. It took me many years but I finally did it!

Zuzka Light at the Los Angeles RKC August 2013

Dragon Door:   Congratulations on earning your RKC certification! How do you plan to use the knowledge from the workshop?

Zuzka Light:  I learned a lot from the workshop. I also realized that while I’ve been focusing on general conditioning, fat loss and building muscle, I had been neglecting mobility drills. I would like to add these drills and concepts along with kettlebells on my blog. I want to become more athletic, and help other people become more athletic as well.

Flexibility, being in control of your own body, and joint mobility are so important. I think people should realize that training isn't only for looks, it’s for functional strength and avoiding injury. For example, right now I can do a handstand but I can't control the movement beyond a few seconds when free from the wall. I would like to be able to do it, and present it to others so that they could also move freely and be in complete control. Handstands are hard, but it just takes practice. It’s so much fun, and brings a feeling of freedom. I think if you can do any kind of movement with your body it makes you feel confident and strong. I think it’s really important.

What I like about kettlebells is that you can get results so fast—you can get strong and flexible so fast with kettlebells, and that’s just awesome.

Dragon Door:  What's your advice for people who want to start training with kettlebells?

Zuzka Light:  Seek out education with an instructor, read a lot about kettlebell training, and just try to get as much information as possible. I think it's very important to really practice the technique first with a lighter weight. Kettlebells are awesome and can be really safe but only if you know exactly what you’re doing.

Dragon Door:  Are you working toward any kettlebell-specific goals right now?

Zuzka Light:  My goal is to implement more kettlebell techniques within my workouts, and to really start focusing on the RKC mobility drills. I’m really looking forward to seeing how people respond to it. I always like getting feedback, and hearing how people have improved because of the workouts on the blog. I think that kettlebells can really help people improve quickly.

Dragon Door:   How did you prepare for the RKC?

Zuzka Light:  I actually didn't prepare for it at all, but need to point out that I registered for the certification only one month before the event. I’ve also been really busy shooting workouts for my website and DVD’s. Just before that, I had been sick and hadn't had time to properly learn to snatch with a kettlebell. I was having problems with it and always banging the kettlebell on my wrist. I also didn't know exactly how to do the clean. I knew that they would teach me these techniques in detail at the certification, so I relied on that and it ended up working out ok. The Snatch Test was the most difficult part of the workshop, I think 100 reps in 5 minutes is horrible!

Dragon Door:   It also probably helped that your usual training assured a high level of general conditioning and strength too!

Zuzka Light:  I wasn’t worried about my strength, but I was worried about my technique. It was obvious that my technique wasn't as good as some of the other people who prepared for the workshop. Using correct technique makes a huge difference.

Dragon Door:  What was your favorite part of the RKC workshop?

Zuzka Light:   I really enjoyed the workshop because there was so much to learn. There was a lot of information. I had many "ah-ha moments" and was surprised by much of the information. I was very inspired by Master RKC Max Shank. He's a great athlete and is exactly where I want to be with my training one day. He’s really strong and flexible—basically like an acrobat! He can do freestanding handstand pushups—all that stuff! His knowledge is just incredible.

Zuzka Light at the Dragon Door RKC LosAngeles August 2013

Dragon Door:  What inspires you to keep working out and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Zuzka Light:  I just can't imagine not living a healthy lifestyle because it’s always helped me feel better and has helped me overcome difficult situations in all phases of my life. It’s just a habit that I would never abandon. I'm also inspired by skilled and knowledgeable fitness professionals and athletes. But, what really motivates me are the people who are getting great results because of my videos and blog.

Dragon Door:  It must be incredible to know you can positively impact so many lives from a distance with your blog and videos.

Zuzka Light:  It is amazing. But, it's totally different than teaching people one-on-one. I have a huge respect for people who train others one-on-one in person. It’s different to just train yourself and show people how you train. When working with someone in person, you have to correct their form and use many cues. I learned a lot about that at the RKC, and it was one of my biggest "ah-ha moment" of all. It made sense and now I can do it.

Dragon Door:  I heard a little bark in the background and sometimes see dogs in your videos can you tell us about them?

Zuzka Light:  We have seven dogs— two Cane Corso dogs, Charlie a half-size Doberman from the Czech Republic who has traveled with me everywhere, and Gypsy a dog we found running down the street. We also have two chiweenie brothers, which are a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund dogs. My boyfriend had been taking of them for about two years because they needed a safe place to live. Then there's one more dog who is 9 years old who never fully recovered from a broken back and uses wheels on his back legs—but now he's really fast because he’s got a lot of upper-body strength!

Dragon Door:  Besides bodyweight exercises and kettlebells, you've also trained with Josh Henkin’s Ultimate Sandbags?

Zuzka Light:  Yes, and we’ve been talking lately—I used to use the sandbags in my workouts a lot and want to bring them back. Sandbags are fun and add a different challenge with coordination and core stability. It's enjoyable to grab the sandbag off of your shoulder and slam it against the ground! They're fun to work with and just slamming them sometimes can make you immediately feel better!

Dragon Door:  You've maintained a great physique, and many people would love to work towards your look. How do aesthetics figure into your training?

Zuzka Light:  I try not to focus on looks because it’s really easy to fall into obsessing about the way you look. As a woman, of course I look at myself in the mirror every day and see things that might not even be there—but I really try not to do that. I really try to use my training to become stronger and to really feel good about myself, especially as I get older. We can always keep ourselves strong, healthy, and confident. If we continue to train as we get older our bodies can still be strong and we can still be happy about our athletic abilities. I think that’s important.


ZuzkaLightSwingsKettlebell thumbnailZuzka Light's website is ZuzkaLight.com and her workout videos can also be found on her Youtube channel.
 

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