Let me begin with the most important thing I can tell you: Mandla Nkosi is a world-class fitness professional, and if you have the opportunity to work with him you should jump at the chance! I have known Mandla for many years and he is one of the best trainers I have ever had the opportunity to work with. His passion for improving the human body is second to none and he is on an ever-evolving path to improve his ability to deliver life-changing results for his clients. On top of this, Mandla also exemplifies “walking the talk” as an athlete himself. I believe that the best coaches are those who apply what they teach intentionally in their own lives and Mandla does this as well as anyone. So if you are looking for a highly skilled, dedicated, passionate and talented fitness professional, Mandla is an obvious choice.
Dr. Eric Cobb, Founder, Z-Health Performance Solutions, LLC
Mandla understands how bodies work better than anyone else I've ever come across. He will see what's wrong with you in an instant, then figure out precisely how to fix it. His work is transformative, and absolutely unique. I came to him a gimpy mid-40-something. Many years of both playing sports and sitting at a desk had left me with a bad knee, a chronically sore back, and an essentially useless shoulder (and these were just the things I knew about). All of them are better now. Mandla is undoing years of bad movement and incorrect training; he's making my body younger as I age. He's studied deeply and practiced just about every kind of movement himself, so he knows how things work. His work is based on science and vast experience, not mumbo-jumbo. The routines he devises for your will keep you healthy, and his enthusiasm will keep you motivated. Make an appointment to see him; it's the best thing you could do for your health.
Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, MIT
Earlier in the year when I was thinking of my upcoming birthday, I decided it was now or never to try to qualify for the Boston Marathon. While I had run marathons previously, I had not been able to break the four-hour mark. I needed to improve by more than 15 minutes to qualify, and while this might not seem like much, it felt insurmountable to me. Putting my doubts aside, I took the plunge and signed up for the Chicago Marathon.
To get serious for this effort, I knew I needed to enlist serious help. So I reached out to Mandla for kettlebell training to augment my running routine. I knew long-distance running would take a toll on my body and without a strength-training program, my muscles would abrade from the constant, repetitive motion. Over the course of five months, we worked so I could master correct kettlebell form doing swings, suitcase deadlifts and rows, presses, windmills, and, still my favorite, Turkish getups.
Mandla gave me a new appreciation for the interconnectivity of the body and how a weakness in one area (i.e. leg weakness) could be due to tightness in another (i.e. neck). I had been plagued by chronic Achilles tendonitis which would flair up whenever my running mileage increased. Mandla’s approach was to recommend a series of mobility exercises to increase overall foot strength and the ankle’s range of motion so force and load would transfer correctly when striking the ground. Even more unexpected, Mandla introduced me to a whole array of new exercises to address imbalances that were limiting my range of motion, balance, posture, alignment, and even visual acuity.
He also played a critical role in my running training. He stressed taking time off for recovery and body adaptation. He did not recommend active recovery (i.e. cardio, slow runs or jogging on off days) but passive recovery which meant getting lots and lots of sleep, taking naps, eating with gusto, and just plain old resting. At first I felt guilty for slacking off since my running group’s training consisted of 5-6 days of running per week but I eventually settled into a routine of three key runs with the other days of the week spent on mobility work, kettlebells, and resting (which meant sneaking in more naps, of course). On average, I ran about 30 miles a week which was significantly lower than my running group’s peak of 45-50 miles. I eventually embraced Mandla’s motto of applying the minimum amount of effort needed to reach your goals. It no longer felt like cheating when I wasn’t running every day, instead it seemed to epitomize working smarter, not harder.
Optimistic but still unsure, I decided to run a September marathon prior to Chicago in October. It would be a good gauge for Chicago, I thought, and if I was running well during the race, I could give it my all and try to secure a spot for Boston in the upcoming year. If I wasn’t having a good day, I promised myself I would bail out early from the race without being disappointed. Race day came and brought a beautiful, crisp, fall morning. Absolutely perfect running weather. Once the clock started, my body took over and 3 hours and 52 minutes later, I qualified for Boston! Compared to my other marathons, it was the easiest of efforts. I came into the race stronger and more flexible than I had ever been and with greater awareness and connectedness to my body I had never had before.
Mandla is a secret weapon in many regards since his remarkable teaching runs counter to most of the popular approaches and attitudes in today’s running and fitness communities. I only hope he finds a way to share his knowledge with a wider audience so many more people can achieve their potential and free themselves from pain, frustration, and injury. Without his partnership, I couldn’t have reached my long sought after goal or received an earlier than expected birthday present. So with Mandla in our back pockets, happy birthday to me and good health to all of us!
Janet Chien, Marathon runner, Boston
Mandla helped me with one very important thing: my back. When I approached him, my back felt as if it was shaped like a question mark, and it limited my mobility and specifically my ability to stand for long periods of time. Mandla improved it dramatically by doing two things. First, he materially improved my diet which, it turns out, reduced my weight and reduced inflammation which helped my back. Second, he gave me a series of counter-intuitive exercises that you'd never get from the fitness instructor at your gym. Those two things worked. I'm straight as an exclamation point these days.
Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot
I first worked with Mandla in 2008, and we made a lot of progress in a very short time. It was just about this time that my business really started to take off, which was great for my financial health but it meant that I was on the road and unable to work with him. During that time I worked out at several different gyms and crossfit boxes but failed to gain any momentum.
Fast forward to 2014 and I was lucky enough to start working with Mandla again at the time I wasturning 50. I saw that he had continued to refine his approach and develop new and innovative training methods. By that time I had developed a number of chronic painful injuries that limited my ability to exercise, as well as arthritis, sleep apnea, and metabolic disorder. Mandla took a patient approach, was great about working within my hectic schedule, never pushed me beyond what I could do, and slowly but surely addressed all these issues.
In less than a year of working with Mandla again, I have resolved all the painful injuries I was suffering from, have no symptoms of arthritis, sleep great, and have lost more than thirty pounds – while building new muscle. I am able to enjoy activities with my family that I thought were beyond me. I now enjoy exercising, have gotten much stronger, and have improved my body composition, posture, mobility and physical appearance. It has not been all positive working with Mandla: I’ve had to buy new pants several sizes smaller than the old ones; new belts; and all my suit pants have been tailored. But this is a (very) small price to pay for looking and feeling better than I have in years. Probably the most effective testimonial I can give Mandla is that my wife now has started to work with him, hoping for the same results.
Joe Murphy, Executive Vice President, TLM LLC
Mandla’s masterful training technique is ahead of any training I have ever done. His method of movement analysis and core training has a science behind it that is unparalleled. His background is extensively varied and his knowledge of his craft is impressive. Not only is he a brilliant and thoughtful human being, he is a positive and effective motivator on my path to live a healthy lifestyle.
Greg Selkoe, Founder, Karmaloop
Mandla has a unique skill set in that he is able to understand people's motivations and match them with the right exercises. He is also a reliable and pleasant person to work with.
Mandla introduced me to a new type of exercise. It is one that looks at the body as a whole and not as “parts” to be trained. He has a fantastic understanding of the biomechanics of the human body. Through the work with him I have learned to move better and train more safely. My posture has improved and I do not get tightness of the neck or back anymore. He is an enthusiastic individual, with a very pleasant personality. He is a very good motivator. I would recommend him to anyone looking to improve general fitness, health and function.
Luis Navas, CEO, Conexia
I started training with Mandla a little more than two years ago. I came to him with the goal of learning how to use kettlebells. My primary goal was to lose weight. I was 45 years old and was starting to develop some health problems. I’d had several injuries from sports and some falls and I was starting to have limited mobility due to stiffness in my hips and back.
I had been very active when I was younger, participating extensively in team sports in elementary school, high school and college. After college,my primary physical activity came from the gym with elliptical trainers, free-weight training and cardio kick-boxing. But every time I got into a rhythm at the gym, I would get sick. I developed pneumonia and frequently had bronchitis. I would rest up, recover and start the process over again, which became mentally taxing.
I started hearing about Russian kettlebells and how they gave you a great workout and helped you lose weight and build muscle. So I Googled "Kettlebells in the Boston area" and Boston Kettlebell appeared. I spoke with Mandla about his training. He has an extensive martial arts background and I saw that many of his clients did as well. That was a concern for me initially, because I didn’t have a martial arts background, and I wondered if this was going to be a good fit. Mandla assured me that he had trained people with all sorts of backgrounds. We set up an appointment where he did an assessment of my mobility and abilities. He is very understanding and encouraging. During that assessment I realized how stiff I had become over the years, and that I had very little flexibility.
Mandla explained to me that my limited mobility was something that we’d have to work on first, before we could start training with kettlebells. If I strengthened my body with kettlebells without improving my mobility and ranges of motion, I would just be adding muscle on top of the limited mobility. That would make the problem worse and I would injure myself and repeat the cycle of getting sick, recovering and starting over again. I had never had it explained to me that way before. It made total sense to me. At that moment I knew this was going to be different and it was what I needed to do. I knew he had a lot more to offer than someone who would simply stand next to you in a gym counting reps and pushing you until you collapsed. To put it simply, I knew I could trust him to teach me to do what I needed to do, so I signed up.
I began a fascinating journey of self discovery. Mandla didn’t let me touch a kettlebell for 3 months. I worked with him to regain joint mobility and function and we have worked the kettlebells and other exercises and activities in gradually, as my health and fitness have improved. He even has me doing some martial arts and I am enjoying it and want to do more. I have increased my ranges of motion in all my joints. I have reversed the pain and stiffness in virtually all my joints. If an old injury flares up, I have learned techniques to take care of it without having to stop training, and without having to visit the doctor or chiropractor. I haven’t had a cold in more than two years.
I am now doing so many things I haven’t been able to do for more than 20 years. I have more energy. My posture has improved dramatically. I am stronger and leaner and I can work out for longer periods of time with increasing complexity. Mandla has taught me how to reduce the inflammation in my body through diet and exercise. If you are reading this, all I can tell you is to trust Mandla. He knows what you NEED to do in order for you to be able to do what you WANT to do. What he asks you to do at times may seem a bit strange, but he has his client’s best interests at heart and you will get results. He really wants you to do well and achieve higher levels of health. I think that’s his primary goal; he wants you to become a healthier person and you achieve that through joint mobility, diet and exercise. The leaner, more athletic body you are looking for will come as a result of all that.
Rule Number One in his training: Never move into pain. You will enjoy learning and training with Mandla, and you will feel healthier and stronger if you set aside any preconceptions and trust that his process and knowledge will help you get you to where you want to be.
John Melley, Production Director, CBS Radio Boston, WBMX-FM (Mix 104.1). Owner: John Melley Voice Overs & Production
Mandla will take your movement, strength, and endurance to the next level. Whether you are engaged in a sport, martial art, dance, or any other movement modality, you will surely benefit from his professional outlook, knowledge and coaching.
Brian Muccio, Owner, Rehabilitative Coach, Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor at Body Movement Solutions
Mandla Nkosi is one of the hardest working people and coaches I've met. He is constantly striving to learn more about his field, which translates to the best results for his clients.
The first time I worked with Mandla was to prepare for the RKC certification; the result, he got me into the best physical condition of my life. As a pleasant side effect the chronic sciatic and lower back pain I had experienced for years disappeared. As a 38-year-old martial artist I came to Mandla to help increase my speed, power and endurance in preparation for a competition. In eight weeks his knowledge of body mechanics, explosive movement, joint mobility and athletic performance brought me to a new level in my training. I took second place behind a competitor 15 years younger than me with five more years of experience.
As an instructor of adults I need to be at my best to be an effective teacher. As a kids instructor I can't let my energy drop without losing control of 20 youngsters. Mandla's training has given me valuable tools to manage my busy and taxing lifestyle. If you want to free yourself from pain, improve your athletic performance, or learn to design a healthy lifestyle, you need look no further.
Ben Warner, Instructor at Yang's Martial Arts, Boston; Certified RKC instructor 2006; Publisher, Kung-Fu for Kids DVD
I began training with Mandla in the spring of 2013. At the time I had been in constant and severe pain for months due to a lower back injury (two herniated disks) that I sustained while golfing in the summer of 2012. Within a few months, by helping me to increase both my strength and my mobility and by instructing me in the value of nutrition, Mandla eliminated my pain to the point where I could get back to engaging in my favorite activities. Yet, in addition to his understanding of proper body functionality, what sets Mandla even further apart is that he truly cares about his clients and often goes above and beyond the call of duty. I still train with Mandla, and there have been countless times where I have received a call or a text completely out of the blue, just checking in to see how I was doing. That sort of attention and care is why I consider Mandla not only my trainer, but also my friend.
Eric Kramer, Vice President / Research & Development, B&L Associates
Though I had no real desire to be removed from my comfort zone of cardio work on a bike and weight training in the gym, I received word in early January that I would have little choice in the matter if I wanted to be considered for a tactical position within the federal law enforcement agency for which I was employed.
Fearing the potential of injury and embarrassment, I sought out Mandla at Boston Kettlebell prior to reporting for the two-month selection school in February. I was looking for something of a miracle in learning the intricacies of kettlebells in under a month - and Mandla Nkosi delivered. In only three weeks, he was able to bring me from a point of complete ignorance to having the confidence to snatch a 54lb kettlebell. With his guidance and instruction, I was able to accomplish all of my goals during the two-month school, including the completion of a 10-minute 54lb kettlebell snatch test, as well as the ability to perform multiple weighted pull-ups with a 40lb vest.
Furthermore, his focus on flexibility and mobility have not only allowed me to make the gains I desired with kettlebells, but they have also helped me with the rehabilitation and strengthening of both my knee and shoulders areas with which I had multiple problems due to sports injuries prior to beginning my work with him.
As an instructor, Mandla's attention to students and ability to convey the training concepts goes far beyond any coaching I received even as a Division I athlete in college and as an Ironman level triathlete over the past two years. I would recommend Mandla to anyone looking to increase their fitness or to accomplish personal strength-training goals.
J.D., Special Agent with an undisclosed federal law enforcement agency
I loved my kettlebell training with Mandla! He started with my foundations, how I moved and held myself, and worked all the way up, making sure that I did every swing, lift and squat to my maximum efficiency. Not only did I see improvements in my body and emotions, but I still use his mobility drills today when I feel aches in my joints and muscles. He trained me how to work out and also how to carry myself through all of my activities. I was lucky enough to have had Mandla as my first trainer, because even when I moved and had to train with other people, I remembered to apply what Mandla taught me to their less detailed training, improving my results in everything that I do."
Carrie S., Dancer
Mandla is an amazing, knowledgeable, motivating trainer.
My name is Sharon Mastrogiacomo. I am 52 years old and a professional personal trainer. I teach spin and weight-loss programs, group fitness strength classes and corporate wellness programs. About four years ago I was diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon with moderate degenerative arthritis in both of my knees. At that time my knees were hurting most, if not all, of the time, and my mobility was becoming more and more impaired because of the pain. This was a huge problem as movement is my profession. Running had been a life-long passion of mine; my psychotherapy, so to speak. I had to give up something that I loved to do because my knees bothered me so much. My personal range of motion in my own classes was also compromised as I was no longer squatting and lunging properly, throwing other parts of my body off balance. I was also starting to develop some tendinitis in my left elbow and some intermittent shoulder pain. I have an extremely competitive personality and don't give up easily. I was searching for more holistic avenues for healing.
I started with physical therapy at Mike Boyle's facility in Woburn, Mass. Though the therapy would help, it proved temporary and the pain associated with movement would resume. It was a Band-aid that didn't get at the root of the problem. When I first started working with Mandla, I was extremely skeptical, but open minded. As a trainer myself, I had never heard of Z-Health, Dr. Cobb or his joint mobility work. In one of our first sessions, Mandla had me order a non-stabilizer shoe two sizes bigger than my foot and come out of my custom orthotics, and my foot may grow up to four sizes! What?! Really four sizes?!! It went against what every running store, podiatrist, orthopedic had ever told me. However, Mandla was spot-on in his evaluation of my mobility issues, as well as his treatment plan for me. His knowledge of the body (anatomy, muscles, joints, ligaments, nervous system, vestibular system, visual perceptual system, etc.) is commendable. As our training progressed and I began to implement the mobility drills Mandla was teaching me, my knees began to hurt less and less and my mobility and range of motion became better and better. I will admit that during some of our workouts, I had fear. My joints were making audible popping sounds which were unfamiliar to me and Mandla began having me move correctly in ways that I had not done for quite some time. I can't say this enough: Mandla is extremely knowledgeable in the field of mobility and pain-free movement. His caring and compassionate personality always made me feel comfortable and motivated. Without Mandla's personal training, I would not be where I am today: running, squatting, lunging and moving pain-free. I am so thankful for his knowledge and services. I would recommend Mandla to anyone in need of personal training/mobility work. He has set me on a life long path of moving pain-free.
Sharon Mastrogiacomo, Fit4Life, Personal Trainer Certified by the American Council on Exercise