Meet and learn from Saiko Shima, who will be teaching Mobility for Kettlebell Sport at the Women’s International Kettlebell Sport Summit 2016.
Saiko Shima​
Everett, WA USA​
​Owner, Coach, Yoga Teacher at ​
​Crazy Monkey USA​
Home of Yin Yoga Method
Crazy Monkey USA Kettlebell Club
Coach: Ken Blackburn​

1. How did you find out about GS/kettlebell sport?
I was introduced to weight lifting(barbell) after the car accident which caused injury on my low back. My husband suggested deadlift with barbell to strengthen my back muscle and as much as I was skeptical about that idea,​ ​there was a benefit right away. Before the car accident, I was a yoga practitioner 7 days a week, so my spine was so flexible but almost too flexible that there was no support around the low back. Soon enough I got sucked into Crossfit, which lead me into getting certified as a Crossfit Trainer, and then I narrowed my focus to kettlebell lifting after that. I found Steve Cotter’s videos to study by myself until I took the IKFF CKT 1 trainer course. Then I found out that people lift competitively, so I hired a personal coach to train for the competitions.

2. Describe what it was like to step on the platform for the first time.
It was a local IKFF meet in Seattle, and I was so nervous with flight #1 with my 5-minute snatch set. In a way I am still feeling traumatized by that whole experience. I am not used to being watched or being spotlighted at all. I could not finish the time and felt a little bit disappointed with the results but it didn’t make me quit.​

3. When did you start lifting kettlebells?
​About 4 years ago.

​4. What motivated you to become a girevik? Why do you lift?
​To improve myself. Plus it is fun. The sky is the limit.  I feel more balanced by incorporating lifting in my life now. I am guessing this is partly because I do so much yoga (professionally) and flexibility and strength balance is very important for me mentally and physically. I also like that this sport is all about “self”. You can only get better by improving yourself and that is the win; instead of beating someone else.

 5. What is your athletic background?

​I didn’t grow up doing sports at all. My younger years were more decadent and sort of unhealthy (lol).​

But I grew up doing classical ballet and have been practicing and teaching yoga in the last 15 years, and yoga is the tool to keep me sane and healthy.

6. What is your nutrition like?
​I don’t measure my nutrition at all. I eat frequent meals throughout the day (4-5 times). My body craves what I need; so usually I make sure I get enough protein, carb, vitamins. And lots of herb tea and hydration throughout day.​ With stress I can easily lose weight, so I have to watch and discipline myself I eat enough to keep me energized throughout the day. I think some people are surprised how much I can eat…
7. Can you share your favorite healthy recipe?

Quinoa Hand-Roll Sushi: Mix cooked quinoa with small chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, cilantro, mushroom, carrots (and what ever other veggies you like) and mix with sauce of (lemon, bit of soy and or salt, and vinegar), put on the Nori (seaweed), roll and eat . So delicious!

I also do juicing everyday: Cucumber, celery, beets, apple, orange, lemon, ginger — I rarely get sick thanks to the juicing.​
8. Who is your GS hero or heroine?
​Maybe some anonymous lifters who lifts in their basement and no one knows about it. To me those lifters are true heroes.​
9. What is life like outside of kettlebell sport? What are your hobbies? How do you balance these with training for the sport?
​Yoga, which is my hobby and profession at the same time, running family-owned Martial Art/Kettlebells/yoga business, my two teenage stepsons, and my 6-year-old daughter, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training with my husband.  I can find training time during the week but since I started competing I have to say I lost some friends who liked to have lunches and socializing. My weekend is a family time so I can balance out with gym time and everything else. I want to take up the vocal (singing) lessons for quite some time now, and that is my goal to create time for it in the near future on top of all those things.
10. What is the most challenging aspect of being a lifter?
To me, stay injury free and patient with the progress. Since I started this journey later in the age, I am cautious about joint health and over training. I have no problem with keeping the motivation. Also being a lightweight can be challenging in this sport. After all this is “weightlifting” and I feel that certain bell weight seems impossible for me but you never say never…..!
11. What is the most rewarding aspect of being a lifter?
​This is the flip side of coin of the previous question. Even with the physical size being small and petite, I can lift and I can make results. And there is a recognition for that. That is very rewarding and welcoming. I think because I am so small, I get certain attention too and it can be fun and motivating for other small lifters. It is all about technique, knowing your own body, and more time with the bells.
12. What is one of your greatest accomplishments in the sport? In life?
​In the sport: Recently I finished my 10 minute TALC 12kg set with 60 reps with body weight 46kg. It was a big accomplishment for me.
In life: ​​I feel that where I am right now in my life is the biggest accomplishment so far. I survived so many obstacles and challenges, and I am at the most content stage of my life.​ Getting into mid 40s this year, I feel that I am best shape in my life.
13. Can you share your favorite quote/motivational thought?
​Hmmmm. I always believed “Where there is a will, there is a way.”  I go get things. Life is short otherwise.
14. What is one thing about you that most people would be surprised to know?
​LOL. When I say I do kettlebell lifting and compete,  most people say “No, you don’t.”
15. Quick – if there is one person you would like to interview, who would it be? What question would you ask them?
I want to ask all the kettlebell communities about drug testing in the future. People don’t talk about it, and it costs money. But as much popularity this sport is getting these days, I think it is about the time, especially at the World Championship competitions.
 16. Do you have a next goal? What keeps you going?
Next I want to increase the reps to 80 in my TALC with 12kg, and then move the bell up next year. The kettlebell friends all over the world keep me motivated and keep me going. They are very inspiring regardless of gender and age.

 17. Any advice or message for the community of kettlebell sport lifters and coaches?

​Let’s lift and have fun doing it whether its done in your garage or big competition venue! Leave ego or politics behind!

For coaches, it is the same in yoga teaching as well but “they don’t listen to you; they watch you.”  I cannot coach people if I don’t train myself to improve. So keep your own training and continue inspiring your athletes, not in the way of showing the results or reps, but the spirit of effort towards self improvement.
Three lucky #WIKSummit attendees will win a customized 3-month yoga/mobility coaching program with Saiko. Learn more here:
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