Internationally certified as a Level 2 Instructor by the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (IKFF), Bea Rodriguez is the President of Chicago Kettlebell Club, LLC. As a competitor, she has achieved Rank 1 in the 5-minute Snatch Event and Rank 2 in the 10-minute Long Cycle (Clean & Jerk) Event, both in the Sporting Perfection Category. A blogger, grant writer, and higher education professional, Bea also teaches Grant Writing Basics through Dabble.

And we’re so honored to have her! Check out her refreshingly personal take on how she approaches the new year.


By Bea Rodriguez

Maybe 2013 was awesome for you, maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you can always make the next year the best yet. In creating my goals – a practice that I do throughout the year, not just on New Year’s – I thought of three areas I can focus on to continue living a healthy, happy life. In hopes of inspiring you to think of your own goals, I’d like to share mine with you. Here are my 3 K’s for a Kick-Ass 2014: Kettlebells, Kale, and Kedging.

Kettlebells. In 2013, I tried something I never expected I would do: at age 33, I started my journey as a kettlebell sport competitor, and it’s been a blast! I just keep getting stronger everyday, and I have now achieved Rank 1 in Sporting Perfection.

I’m excited about refining my technique, and continuing to grow as a competitor and coach in 2014. For those who have not discovered the badassery of kettlebells, you should give it a try. A kettlebell is a simple, portable workout tool designed to develop full-body conditioning and fitness. You can use kettlebells to compete in girevoy sport (GS) or kettlebell sport, or to perform various movements for general fitness.

Whether you want to compete or not, kettlebell training will make you stronger, conditioned, and more athletic. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. Check out my website to learn more about this passion of mine.

Better yet, take my Intro to Kettlebells Class through Dabble 🙂

My Goal: Kick ass in kettlebell sport.


Kale. During the last quarter of 2013, I discovered the power of kale. Filled with fiber and sulfur, it’s great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy. It has carotenoids and flavonoids that can help fight cancers, and has loads of vitamins (A, C, K, B6) and minerals (copper, calcium, manganese and potassium).

A cup of kale has 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. Eating more kale is just a representation of my quest to eating a more plant-based, whole foods diet, which I believe has given me more energy and is helping me lead a healthier life.

These days, one of my grocery staples is Trader Joe’s “Power to the Greens,” which is a mix of kale, spinach and swiss chard. I am not the best cook, but this year I will continue experimenting in the kitchen so I can enjoy my own kale chips, guacamole, salad dressings, quinoa and bean dishes, lentil soup — if you have any favorite recipes, please share them with me! I would love to try them.

My Goal: Kick ass in the kitchen.


Kedging. Okay, I don’t know much about sailing, but I like to think in metaphors. In the process of searching for the third perfect “k” word, I stumbled upon the word “kedge.” As a verb, kedging means “to pull (a ship) along by hauling on the cable of an anchor carried out from the ship and dropped.” As a noun, a kedge is a light anchor; the smaller the kedge the more manageable it will be in a dinghy. According to Sail Magazine, kedging is an art that requires practice; a combination of patience and smooth actions is the key.

So what does kedging have to do with my or your life? There’s a saying, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” Like any other year, 2014 will not promise to be smooth or as planned. I may find myself in tight harbors or tidal river entrances, and I will have to maneuver my ship as patiently and as smoothly as I can.

Just as setting a kedge anchor will help a ship shift direction so it can ultimately reach its final destination, I will be ready to take the steps necessary to learn from my mistakes, overcome difficult situations, and revise action steps in order to reach my goals.

I could fall short of my target numbers during training or competition. I could mess up a recipe, burn my kale chips, or create a big batch of inedible sweet potato and black bean chili. Haters may try to bring me down. I may lose a loved one, literally or figuratively. I may have sleepless nights, or days when I feel overwhelmed.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity and getting paralyzed, I will celebrate what I’ve accomplished thus far and then work hard to get even stronger. I will throw away the burned kale chips and make a note to take them out of the oven earlier next time. I will grieve any sense of loss, and then be resilient. I will make more of an effort to reach out to my loved ones who are still around.

At the end of the day, my goals are less about achieving, but more about being. These goals support my quest to enjoy my own journey; ultimately, to adopt an attitude that is healthier, more hopeful, and happier everyday.

My Goal: Be patient, graceful, healthy and happy while kicking ass.

Now go out there and kick some ass. Cheers to a healthy and happy 2014!