Kettlebell Workout Orange County | Athlete’s Choice Rancho Santa Margarita

Kettlebell Workout at Athlete’s Choice in Rancho Santa Margarita

I was intrigued by Athlete’s Choice in Rancho Santa Margarita and wanted to check out a class or two after reading up on their website. Their approach was different than any of the other gyms I had looked at in the fitted network. Athlete’s Choice, as suggested by the name, is geared toward athletes of all ages and abilities. I’ve never really been an athlete, but since I started running, it’s the closest I’ve ever come and so I wanted to see what the gym was all about.  I contacted the owner and asked him what class he would recommend me to try. He responded with two options: Grit Iron Circuit and Kettlebell. Since Grit Iron was a morning class and getting to RSM at 9:00am would be difficult with my schedule, I (semi grudgingly) said I would check out the Kettlebell class.



athletes-choice-rsm-kettlebellWorking Out With Kettlebells

I have nothing against kettlebells per se. I’ve used them in Bootcamp-type classes before, but they’d always made my lower back very sore and tense for over a week afterwards. So, to imagine an entire 45-60 minute class using only Kettlebells, well, I was mentally preparing to sit in Epsom Salt baths for the next month. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I arrived right as class was about to begin. When I walked in, there was no one in the lobby. I walked back to a very large, astroturfed room with equipment on all sides and a few people scattered about working out. Someone spotted me and came over to see if they could help me. I told him I was there to take the Kettlebell class and he walked me over and introduced me to Paul, the instructor.

The class met in a corner of the giant room. We each got a small square mat and we were barefoot. The first part of the class was warm up, as expected, but what was different was that the warm up stretches were very yoga-like and there were no instructions given. We just followed Paul in whatever movements he was doing. It was very, very quiet and everyone just followed along. Paul was a man of few words, I thought. After the warm up, Paul explained to me and my friend that the warmup was called (something I can’t remember the name of) and was deliberately done in silence so that he could evaluate how we moved and followed his movement. What?! If I’d known I’d be in a test, I would’ve tried harder (hehe).

Paul then took the class over to a whiteboard, which he flipped around to reveal a list of abbreviations and numbers. He quickly explained what exercises to do and how many of each. People nodded and began grabbing kettlebells. Paul pulled me and my friend aside and said he was going to work with us. I figured he would help us get started and then move back to the whole class, but he did not. The rest of the class was spent with Paul showing my friend and I exactly how to use a kettlebell.



The Right Way to Swing a Kettlebell

Turns out I’d been doing it wrong my whole life – swinging a Kettlebell that is. Paul first showed us how to bend so that we were not straining our backs and taught us how to utilize our hamstrings instead. Methodically going through every movement it took to actually pick up a Kettlebell and swing it – bend at the hips, open up the chest, pick up Kettlebell, swing back, push forward and thrust with power, bend down at the hips, knees slightly bent, and release the Kettlebell – and then practicing it took up the entire class time. Step by step, with practice in between, we spent the rest of the time working on that one fundamental move. Paul was patient and watchful, giving us pointers to improve. The rest of the class dutifully did their workout with Paul correcting and instructing them individually here and there.

It was not what I expected, but it was good. I learned the proper technique of how to swing a Kettlebell. I left without breaking a sweat, and I didn’t think I worked very hard, but I did notice that my back was looser and less tense. The next day, my hamstrings were sore, and then for the next four days, they were on fi-yah! It hurt to walk. I don’t think my hammies have ever been worked out with such focus. I guess I did get a good workout in after all.

I am excited to try the class again, now that I have some of the fundamentals down because I know that I’ll be getting a really great and intense workout at Athlete’s Choice.


Tips For Working Out at Athlete’s Choice in Rancho Santa Margarita

If you plan on checking out Athlete’s Choice for a workout, make sure you:

  • Call first to confirm the scheduled class and ask what you might need to bring
  • You’ll be barefoot, so flip flops are okay
  • Bring lots of water and a workout towel
  • Show up a bit early, so you can check in with your fitted app

Pros For Kettlebell Class at Athlete’s Choice

  • You’ll learn the fundamentals of how to swing a Kettlebell
  • You’ll work closely with a coach and focus on correct form and technique
  • Coach that knows exactly what he is doing
  • Patient and encouraging coach and members
  • You’ll learn the proper technique and practice it step by step

Cons For Kettlebell Class at Athlete’s Choice

  • Your hamstrings will be very, very, very sore for days afterward
  • The warm up may feel a bit awkward
  • You won’t feel like you’re doing anything strenuous for that first class, but oh my gosh, my poor legs.

Contact Info for Athlete’s Choice Rancho Santa Margarita

If you’re an athlete looking to improve your skills, performance and build your body to reduce injury OR is someone looking to reach your fitness goals in a more non-traditional workout in South Orange County, you should definitely check out Athlete’s Choice in Rancho Santa Margarita.


Address: 23252 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Phone: 949 888 2717

Hanssie is the Communications Director for fitted. In her free time, she runs marathons to get medals, counts the days until her next cheat meal (as well as her macros), rescues big dogs and blogs about the divorced life when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at and follow her on her various social media sites (below).

2 Responses

  1. Mary

    I have been in Paul Daniels’ classes for about 10 years. He has a fantastic knowledge of how the body works. Not only does he lead the class, he takes a personal interest in every participant, helping everyone get the most out of the class. Each class is constructed differently – not the same routine over and over. Yes, there are basic moves done every class, but the order will be different and not all moves are done every class. I know I have benefited greatly from knowing Paul.

    • Hanssie

      I agree! I’ve never had so much individual attention in a class before. He was very knowledgeable and very patient with my uncoordinated self. Great teacher – my hamstrings were screaming for days 🙂


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