July 20 .2021
Aging Well: Iron-pumping grandmas say working out keeps them healthy, happy
Weight training helps people of all ages in Aging Well, but a group of Oahu grandmas is taking it to a new level with a Guinness World Record under their weight belt.
Tuesday, July 20th 2021, 5:10 PM HST by Diane Ako
Weight training helps people of all ages in Aging Well, but a group of Oahu grandmas is taking it to a new level with a Guinness World Record under their weight belt.
Three times a week, the ladies of Johnny’s Fitness Ohana start their day with a workout. The group may be made up of mostly seniors, but they are no slouches. Team member Dorothy Sunio describes, “We do kettlebells, core weights, dumbbells and ab work.”
They work out from 6 to 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Ala Moana Beach Park, and there is no rest for the weary. They do it online when coach John Sarich is out of town, or when COVID restrictions were in place.
They are known for their achievement with kettlebell weights. “Our kettlebell women’s group that achieved the Guinness Book of World Records title, lifting the heaviest weight in an hour,” recalls Sunio. “We lifted over 63,000 pounds. Twelve women; 11 of whom are in their 60s and 70s.”
It’s 63,365.9 pounds, to be exact. Breaking a world record was Coach Sarich’s idea.
Team coordinator Lorie Young backgrounds, “He wanted to challenge ourselves and maybe at the same time, break a world record. We did it for him.”
They won, and the record still stands. “We broke the record by 20,000 pounds. It’ll hold for a while,” smiles Young.
The women are proud of that achievement, but say the real reward is health and happiness. “The more you’re active, you feel better. Your energy level is greater, and you have better balance, better flexibility, strength. All of that, as you age as a senior,” testifies Young.
Sunio adds, “You get camaraderie and meet great friends. And it helps me keep up with my five-year-old grandson.”
It’s a free class and they say you’re welcome to join. Just don’t expect to take it easy.
JAN 1 2021
I would like to say thank you for your time, continued effort you put into the group and making us feel like individuals along the way.
It was very fortunate for me to meet you all that morning on Magic Island, the group has a strong bond which I feel.
Johnny’s Fit O’hana has been the catalyst for my continued fitness with the yearly catch up in Hawaii and then my workouts throughout the year. Having access to your website routines has been good.
COVID-19 has been devastating dictating a lot of change, one change for my benefit has been the ability to connect with you all by Zoom.
I enjoy participating (even at strange time I join) and have found a higher level of fitness. The 500 KB challenge was certainly a big challenge and for the individual challenge you had us set ourselves mid 2020, I am now confident completing the Dragon-flag. The variety of routines and working on different muscle groups adds to the interest and we benefit from your experience.
I have had an all round benefit: strength, balance, form/skill, muscle mass, definition, endurance, maintaining good health and socialisation.
In 2021 I would like to build and add a couple of kilograms.
The people who attend are amazing not only for their ability but for the commitment they have in attending and to themselves. I look forward to seeing everyone.
I truely appreciate you and KB family.
Peter From Australia
Thank you for keeping us all in tiptop shape this year. Your class has been one of the bright spots in 2020 for me. Wishing you happiness and good health in 2021.
DEC 10 2020
Lagoon Drive in the a.m. It may seem weird to be out there, but I actually enjoy the planes and little bit of activity around me. The challenge is always the floor work—no way am I putting towels on the ground out there, so I use the back of my car and its tailgate. Thanks John, for helping me stay fit for so many years! And thanks to the ohana for motivation and friendship! See my phone in the back of my car?
I lost one pound
Went from 29” to 28”
Other than that, everything stayed the same.
I am pleased with the result. Diets are not my thing. I eat healthy food, lots of it. Holidays are a time of weight gain. I am happy to have lost a pound instead of gaining a few pounds as I usually do during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Thank you for creating November’s interesting challenge. I await your next challenge to begin tomorrow.
NOV 30 2020
I was surprised at how soon we were all able to do the 500 swings. It sounded like an unbelievable challenge, but we were able to accomplish it successfully, maybe by the 2nd week. I enjoyed the challenge!
My clothes feel tighter in the shoulders and arms but I don’t know if it is because of the swings or because of swimming. I started to swim more recently so maybe those two things combined are building shoulder, back, and arm strength.
As you know I tend to strain my groin muscles easily so I may not be able to do all of the squats for our next challenge. But Looking forward to it anyway.
Thanks for all you do for us!
NOV 30 2020
wants to give you feedback on our workouts and what has improved in my life. I have lost 6-7 lbs this past month. I have been limiting my carbs to 200 grams per day – cutting out sugars and white bread (cheated on Thanksgiving) ha! My recent Dr visit showed that my thyroid was low functioning so Dr bumped up my thyroid meds (maybe the reason why I am not losing more weight). My Dr was really happy that I am doing weight training. As I mentioned to you earlier this month the “facia clinic Dr” told me I was very flexible….all of the above are due to our consistent training with you. Thank you, thank you. No one ever believes that I am 74 yrs old. I tell folks that it is a lifestyle of working out to keep fit. I really like the variety that you do. The hour just flies by…..(except when we r doing the 500 swings) ugh! So let’s keep it up for the next 10 years. your faithful student Dottie
NOV 30 2020
November Kettlebell challenge PLUS++Improved cardio–I was out of breath at the beginning of the month and it was hard to complete the 500. I could handle 50 at a time and the 500 was much easier to do by the end of the month weight–I ate and drank whatever I wanted and didn’t gain any weight.I didn’t take measurements but overall am more toned. Several people mentioned I look thinner. Grace
NOV 30 2020
Good morning John La Lianne! 😋 I weigh EXACTLY the same as when I started! I didn’t measure anything- like waist, etc. The only thing I noticed was that the 70 push-ups (35×2) that I normally do was a lot easier! ALSO, my waist hurts today from doing the weights (20.5# x2): bicep curls/hammer curls! THAT was a surprise! Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️ for all your generosity in helping us be better day by day! My muscles and I thank you! 🏋️♀️ Fay
NOV 30 2020
Dear Papa John: I haven’t notice much physical difference but I love the challenge – 500 swings @ 16 times = 6,500 swings in the month of November. I increased my KB weight from 12 to 15# and finished 100%. Im feeling increased stamina, confidence, mentally toughness and injury free. Im pleased I was able to complete the swings in addition to enjoying my other activities: hiking @2 weekly; canoe paddling; pickle ball and aqua jogging too.
I do appreciate your coaching, mentorship, time and effort in whipping me to my BEST shape ever. Who knew retirement was a good time to dedicate to my well being?? Love the Johnnys fit Ohana boot camp as indicative of my attendance since Sept 2013.
With much gratitude and appreciation!
Look forward to the NEXT challenge – Bring IT ON!!
NOV 29 2020
Aloha John, I wanted to share with you my results on completing (almost) the KB Challenge you gave us for November. I have noticed more muscle definition in my arms and back muscles (Conrad and Donna who I run with have mentioned this to me as well). I haven’t lost weight, but my measurements are the same and my clothes fit as normal.
And since the workouts have gotten more challenging, since last November 2019 I have noticed I have better balance plus good muscle definition all over including my stomach muscles which I’ve never seen before in my entire life. Over the year I have gained 2 lbs but my clothes are still loose on me and I feel I look slimmer. You’ve made me rethink the old age thing for good – I look at you and think I can be ageless too.
I can’t thank you enough for making me feel good about myself.
NOV 20. 2020
John,, Thank you. I lost about 7 pounds since we started doing the kettlebell swings. Aloha, Sharon
NOV 6 2020
Thank you, Johnny. I strained my back surfing and the kettlebell swings really help build up the core muscles to support my back. I really appreciate your generosity and coaching. Hawaii. Love, Alia
So hey…..have to share my day today. Happy moments in this time of Covid…I owe them all to you!!
I went to the PO and there were a couple of packages for me, both large boxes…..one was my protein drinks that I order online and the other was from Amazon…..the guy dropped them both on the counter and said, “wow!!! this one is really heavy, what’s in it, bricks???” And I said, “no, it’s my new kettle bell, 25 pounds!!!” When we finished the transaction, he started to say, “do you need help with these boxes?” and then stopped and said, “Nah, I can see you’ve got this…” I would have done my happy dance except my arms were full of boxes.
Then I went to the grocer and since I had wine in my basket, the guy came over to ask for my ID…..instead he said, “I’m just gonna put in the birth year I think…” and he put in 1975!!! I told him he had made my day!!!! Some days are just better than others!!!! I will be 74 next month
I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Thank you for the gift of health. I am so inspired by your strength and dedication. I appreciate how generous you are with your time. I love how carefully you plan each workout.
Denby and I talk about our favorite things that you say. I love how you say, “Mountain Climbers” because it sounds like “mutton climbers” and I think of sheep climbing up a mountain. Denby loves how you say “grab a drink.” I would be so out of shape if not for your classes. Thank you so much for moving to zoom and for making two start times. I also love hearing your stories about growing up in a Communist country.
Please continue to stay healthy and safe and we miss you and can’t wait to see you when you return to Hawaii.
With Love, Alia
AUG 23 2020
Aloha John, just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the workouts you have been giving us. They are fun and very challenging. The hour just flies by. I really feel much stronger now-I have a lot more muscle (my running friends tell me my back muscles are really getting defined-1st time they’ve ever said that). I like how you encourage us to keep a good pace-get our heart rate up but still maintain our form. I know this is a lot of work for you and I really do appreciate it. From talking to the others, they feel the same way. Everyone is very grateful for the time you give us and the coaching to help us get it right. And even though we all feel tired at the end, its a good healthy tiredness-very satisfying.
MAY 11 2020
Thank you, John. Now for some unknown reason. My computer is functioning again. I thought it was a battery problem but the battery is up again, fully charged. To finish your workout, I did 100 kettlebell swings. Thank you again for the season and the fun distance birthday party for Dottie. I second what she said. Without your training, I would not have the muscle tone and excellent balance I have today. Best wishes to Diane.
MAY 1 2020
March 6, 2019
Sharing a Success Story of Our Dottie
I saw Dr Nakasone this morning and had both knees x-rayed for my 5 yr follow-up from knee replacement. I made appt a month early because the pain I had in right knee when running two wks ago. Dr said my replacements look brand new and he expects them to last 20 years! The pain I had was my IT band. My cartilage looks good on right side of both knees. He said the partial-knee replacements are really successful. (he started to ask me what kinds of things I was able to do…I showed him my squat and he didn’t need to ask me anything else – he was impressed). I have no restrictions…” keep doing what you are doing.”,the ,my of . I told him what an impact he has made on my life. He gave me a big hug and said he would see me in 5 years!
Feb 4, 2019
APRIL 17 .18
1. What made you join Johnny’s Fit O’hana?
The opportunity to join an enjoyable group of friends while training to become fit.
2. What did you get from joining the group?
Valuable knowledge of kettlebell and other useful workout resources for strength, cardio and nutrition.
A fantastic Ohana and social atmosphere full of music and humour surrounded by the midst of beautiful outdoor Hawaii.
3. Do you enjoy the workouts?
4. Will you recommend the KB workouts to your friends?
5. How did the group & KB help you in your fitness?
Helped in learning correct and incorrect ways to use KB, dumbell and other exercise techniques. Positive, encouraging energy in our Ohana begins the day on an inspirational note.
6. How satisfied are you with the coaching?
APRIL 10 .181. What made you join Johnny Fit O’hana
Very much-I hate to even miss one. Its not a competitive atmosphere, you are encouraged to try your hardest and do your best. You feel great at the end of each session-tired like a good workout will make you feel but strong. John has a great sense of humor. He’ll work you hard but also make you laugh and relax.2. What did you get from joining the group?
Absolutely! His classes are for everyone. I wasn’t in good condition when I started-couldn’t do a proper sit-up or a pushup for the 1st 4 months, but over time like the others, I did improve a lot.3. Do you enjoy the workouts?
Very much-I hate to even miss one. Its not a competitive atmosphere, you are encouraged to try your hardest and do your best. You feel great at the end of each session-tired like a good workout will make you feel but strong. John has a great sense of humor. He’ll work you hard but also make you laugh and relax.4. Will you recommend the KB workouts to your friends?
Absolutely! His classes are for everyone. I wasn’t in good condition when I started-couldn’t do a proper sit-up or a pushup for the 1st 4 months, but over time like the others, I did improve a lot.5. How did the group & KB help you in your fitness?We have a very supportive group-there are times I’m tired, but their energy lifts me up and their camaraderie keeps me coming back for more. KB is a very good workout for the entire body-John makes up a series of exercises using the KB and/or DB and/or our body weight that utilizes every muscle. As a result, I have less injuries. I also am running a lot faster and longer-its become much easier.6. How satisfied are you with the coaching?
I couldn’t ask for a better coach. He gets to know each of us personally and knows how to bring out the best effort from everyone without making them feel pressured or discouraged. John gives a detailed explanation of how to properly do each exercise and the muscle group we are targeting and watches us as we are doing them. He gently corrects us with humor and dignity. No one is singled out and made to feel unworthy. He focuses on good form and on safety-getting the most out of a exercise without getting injured. That is top priority with him. I can ask him any question on fitness, nutrition, equipment, muscles-you name it and he’ll either give me a qualified answer or will research it and send me the information. We get daily fitness information in his emails. If he tries a new product and he likes it or feels it may help some of us, he’ll share that information. He is truly focused on our well being and staying healthy and fit. He is very honest and forthright – and compassionate.
APRIL 3 .18
1. What made you join Johnny Fit O’hana? In the end of 2013, I finished a Winter Training Boot Camp and was looking for a group workout. Petula and Brian ( from Yama’s ) were in the boot camp as well. I asked, now what are we going to do? They said kettlebells. I had heard about kettlebells from Dottie for a couple of years so decided to try it out. And I have been a part of the group ever since ( 2014).2. What did you get from joining the group? I had been doing a lot of triathlon training. John’s training was strength training, which I really needed. The people in the group are amazing, supportive, and fun. John is a wonderful coach. In addition to being welcoming to everyone, he takes the time to make sure everyone knows how to do each exercise. Plus he always has different exercise routines, so the workouts are never the same..
3. Do you enjoy the workouts? Yes, both the workouts themselves and the people in the group.
4. Will you recommend the KB workouts to your friends? YES!
5. How did the group & KB help you in your fitness? I love going to the workout because it is an excellent all over workout, the people are great, and the coaching is excellent, whether it is John or Brenda or one of the other members of the group who coach the class.
6. How satisfied are you with the coaching? As mentioned above, the coaching is great. New exercises are always demonstrated, John is patient with some of us who like to joke and sometimes talk. Plus, unlike many workout classes, if you happen to be a little late, there is no fuss.
Thank you so much John and Brenda,, for making the workouts so fantastic and the group so welcoming.
To work on my fitness without this class. When I started with John I had just been diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease and recovered from double pneumonia,, and hadn’t even been going for walks. Totally out of shape and bloated from the drugs I have to take.
DONNA In May of this year, I was given the opportunity to join one of John's kettle bell classes at a local fitness centre here in London. To be honest, I did not know what a kettle bell was so thought it best to google the name before attending my first class. I did not want to look too silly in front of my new instructor. Working at a desk, predominately over the years, meant I had become out of shape and heavier than I had ever been. Shopping for clothes had become an unpleasant experience. My first classes with John were challenging. I immediately migrated to one of the lightest kettlebells in the gymn as I knew my fitness level was poor. As the days and weeks unfolded, I was able to increase my weights and began to feel stronger. Changes were beginning to take place not so much on my bathroom scale but in my measurements. My body was beginning to shed inches. With John's instruction, I was beginning to challenge myself to do more than I ever thought possible. My energy levels were dramatically improving and I was feeling so much better. My bouts with anxiety and depression were disappearing. John has been a wonderful teacher. Throughout this whole process, whenever I have had a question or challenge, John has been there to guide me and provide me with a wealth of information. I have learned so much from my experience and am deeply grateful for a teacher who is totally committed to the health and well-being of his students. I had an appointment with my family doctor this week and he is thrilled that I have committed to improving my fitness and loves the idea of the kettlebells.
Before surgery, the physical therapist told a group of us (about to have surgery that we needed to have a strong upper body because we would need to lift ourselves from a seated position using just our arms while our knees were healing. There were many groans from others in the room, but I just smiled – knowing that I was well conditioned to do so because of the kettlebell. I could have dropped to the floor then and done 20 pushups – but didn’t want to show off!!!
On May 5thI had a partial knee replacement on both knees. After surgery, I began physical therapy immediately. Upon discharge, I went right to Stay Fit Physical Therapy. The goal was to have a 120-degree range of motion in 6 weeks. Four days after surgery I had 90-degree range of motion and within 2 weeks I reached the goal of a 120-degree range of motion. This usually takes 6 weeks for most. I firmly believe this was due to the workouts, squats, etc. My legs were used to doing in KB. Other benchmarks included strength and balance. After one month in physical therapy, I had surpassed all of the goals they discharged me. I continue in KB and know that because of the fitness I had, my surgery and recovery was “a piece of cake.”
Went to my yearly doctor’s visit at the MS Clinic up at University Hospital yesterday. I told the doctor that for the past 9 months I had been exercising regularly ( 5-6 days a week at 6:45am). The last 6 months,.,. I had been exercising with the bike, treadmill and kettlebells along with squats, leg raises, and various other strengthening routines. I did have to explain what a kettlebell is and how it is used, as this was something foreign to him. Needless to say, he was very impressed!
Now to the good part. He tested my reflexes, my balance, walking and my leg and arm strength. He could not push my legs down from a raised position – last year I could hardly hold my legs in a raised position. My arms were even stronger than my legs! – (yeah kettlebells!) He couldn’t see any spasticity in my legs this year. He took me off my muscle relaxant drugs after telling him I had not taken any before this appointment. He thought I must have done so since my legs were so good. My balance was 150% better. Yeah, kettlebells again! And squats and leg raise, and mountain climbers, and all you encouraged to do!! He was blown away by my improvement! He said, and I quote,,,,, “Exercise is the cornerstone to good health.” ” You need motivation and a good support system to make it a success.”
You are my inspiration and my motivation!! The class has become a support system, not only for me but for everyone in it. We could not continue without that support from each other.
Thank you for telling me yes I could join your class and y,,, es I would become strong and keep going at my own pace. My own pace soon became even with everyone! I did become strong, and I am going to get stronger! Wait till next spring!
Thank you so much, John; you gave me my health and my life back.