The Short Story
Who: King Kohn
Quote: “What else in this life is there to do if not to follow your screaming heart?”
Why he’s awesome: A body builder in his past life, King manages to instill all the expertise of a true muscle making expert, but with the grace of a holistic healer.
Specialties: Motivating & educating clients for lifelong health & fitness; Free Weights (any application); Aerobic Conditioning; Competitive Athletes (any sport); Actors, Models and Laypeople alike. All ages.
Background: 25 years experience with free weights: Power Lifting, Bodybuilding and Strength Training. Other endeavors include: fencing, cycling, backpacking/hiking, mountain climbing, soccer, baseball, golf and swimming. Competed for 8 years in bodybuilding as a nationally ranked amateur winning a national championship, and competed for 4 years in national Martial Arts tournaments.
Fun fact: While working with King I broke my all time push-up record.
The Long Story
To start our session off right, King sent me a questionnaire ahead of time to fill out via email so that he understood exactly what type of shape I was in, and what my goals were. I appreciated the detail in his questions—not just how often I work out, but how often in the last three weeks specifically. Made me do a reality check that my “five times a week” hadn’t really been true lately… so I was glad that he kept me honest. We also spoke on the phone, and he told me that his goal is to get people in shape, and then send them off into the world after six months to learn how to maintain their own health. He used the “teach a man to fish…” saying to describe it. I like that. It’s not all about making money with him—it’s truly about getting people set on a healthy life path.
A week later, when the morning of our session rolled around, I found myself scrambling to get out the apartment on time. I threw my hair in a ponytail, barely looked at the clothes I put on, and jumped in the car to drive my boyfriend to work before hitting the gym. I checked myself in the rearview mirror while stopped at a red light and said to him, “Wow, I look horrendous. I cannot look horrendous when I’m working out with a body builder.” Dave told me that was a ridiculous statement, but none the less, after I dropped him off, I found myself speeding to a CVS to buy some mascara and eye liner. I know, I know—why do girls wear makeup to the gym? Because we want to look somewhat decent when we’re sweating our asses off, people! Eyeliner went on in a stealth CVS parking lot and I sped to the gym.
I pulled up to the Hyde Park Gym in Austin just in time for our session. Upon walking in, I was totally taken aback. The gym looked like a scene from “The Fighter” sans the boxing ring, or like it was a straight out of being the best gym in town in the 70’s when body building was huge. In other words—no shiny 24 Hour Fitness here. This gym was real deal. And King was going to show me how to handle it. I was pretty excited. I immediately wished I was wearing my Rocky sweats and bandana.
When King walked in he was not nearly as intimidating as I expected. In fact, he was super inviting! And he was wearing a peace sign necklace around his neck. Ahh, let the good times roll. He immediately started off by handing me a copy of his book, along with two tank tops to wear. The book, he told me, would be a tool to guide me through how to train and maintain my health when we weren’t training together. Bonus! Turns out everyone who trains with King gets a copy of his book “The King’s Kode. A Holistic Approach to Healthy Living”—this could be YOU my friends.
Unlike most trainers who typically start their clients off on a treadmill or elliptical to warm up, King had me start with abs first. His philosophy is that staring with abs warms the body up from the core out. ‘You’re from New York, right?” he said, “So you know that when your core is warm, your arms and legs take care of themselves.” Hmm.. good point.. I thought. This is also great for a whole different reason—I always save abs for last, and therefore end up skipping them because I’m just too beat from my workout. I might adopt King’s philosophy . Before each exercise, King did the exercises himself and talked me through it. He treated me as if I knew nothing about fitness or form, which was great. It really showed me that if he was training a Mel Runs reader, they would learn a ton.
After five minutes of (burning) core work on the mat, moved on to lower body. I happened to be sore in my legs due to doing a ton of squats two days prior, so I told King we might want to take it easy there. Then he shared a pretty interesting fact with me. Apparently, men have about 40% more upper body muscle mass than women on average, but pound for pound in lower body, men and women are basically the same. So when training women, the real game changers come from building upper body strength—it balances out the body, and gives women both the shape and metabolic effects their looking for. SWEET DEAL. After dropping that knowledge on me, he had me do three different types of squats.
After lower body, we went over to the bench press. Now, I’ve only done bench press once in my life, and that was back in college when I took a strength training class just to get my physical education requirement done–and I had no idea what I was doing. This time around, King showed me exactly how to position my body in order to maximize the chest workout and minimize any chance for shoulder strain. With my back arched, and my heels off the ground a bit at first, I pulled the bar out. Then King told me to plant my heels down, and bring the bar slowly down in an arc to the middle of my chest—then explode up. Coming down slowly in an arc allowed me to work both the upper and lower portion of my chest effectively. We did three sets, and the last set I was up to 50 pounds. For all you big men out there, that might sound light, but for this chick, that. Is. Amazing. I felt SO COOL pumping iron like that. And this is where King’s experience as a body builder really began to shine. In between each set, he had me get up and stretch out my chest. “Do you do this yourself in between every exercise set also?” I asked him. “Every time,” he said. He explained that when you work out a muscle, lactic acid tends to build up in concentrated pockets. By stretching out that muscle, it allows your muscle to recover faster by thinning out the lactic acid build up, and in turn allows you to work the muscle harder and feel stronger during the next set. It also helps prevent injury. All you muscle makers out there—take note. This is a good one!
The end of the hour was comprised of assisted pull-ups—another awesome new exercise for me that focused on my back—and then rounded out with some hardcore time on the elliptical. King says he likes to keep it efficient and intense throughout. A philosophy I can live by, my friends.
And just when I thought our session was over, we walked past a board up in Hyde Park Gym that held “best of” records. There was one slot empty–max amt of push ups that could be done in one minute by someone under 123 pounds. King looked at me. I looked at King. The men around us looked at us.
I was scared.
It was on.
The count began, and I managed to get to 18, with King coaching me through it–”One more!”. That would be my own personal record. Excellent .
An awesome ending to an awesome workout. Overall, I was impressed by King’s pleasant demeanor, and wise outlook on health and fitness. After he stopped competing in body building competitions 4 years ago, he has been focusing on living a healthy life—not even protein shakes are included in his diet. Right on.
Did I mention that when I got home, I had an email from him detailing what I should eat post workout? Talk about a holistic trainer.
King is offering Mel Runs readers a training session for only $25. Wahoo!
You can actually purchase your session right now
Also, if you have any particular questions you’d like him to answer, feel free to leave a comment!