THE KETTLEBOWL: BLENDING FITNESS & FOOD
Founders aka Granola Guardians and avid crossfitters, Nick and Nell are passionate about bringing together Malaysia’s fitness community through their health snack brand, The Kettlebowl in hopes of building a #fitterfasterstronger Malaysia.
GET TO KNOW THE KETTLEBOWL
The Kettlebowl was founded by Nick and Nell, a pair of avid Crossfitters who sought to promote a healthy yet sustainable way of life. The name Kettlebowl came about when Nick & Nell were trying to come up with a name that would represent both Food & Fitness, hence the play of words, changing up Kettlebell to Kettlebowl.
Today, The Kettlebowl consists of 3 partners, who have embarked on a journey to change the typical “Malaysian Lifestyle” on three aspects – FOOD, FITNESS & COMMUNITY. With over 2 years of market presence, they have built a reputation of being a pioneer in combining homegrown food & fitness brands as a community. Simultaneously, they have established themselves to be MORE than just a healthy snack brand. The Kettlebowl is home to a strong community of brand partners and consumers within the fitness scene.
1. What inspired you to start a health snack business?
When we first started The Kettlebowl, it was never meant to be a healthy snack brand. If you google ‘The Kettlebowl Tumblr’, you’d find a very amateur-ish blog containing journals of Nick & Nell’s workouts, recipes etc. It was meant to be a platform for us to share our experiences in hopes of inspiring others to start leading healthier lifestyles. It only turned into a business when we made our first batch of granolas. And we realized that we had a product that could potentially change up the way Malaysians view healthy eating. That was when it dawned upon us that the first step into Malaysian’s hearts would be through their tummies. Hence, the journey to build a #fitterfasterstronger Malaysia began, by ways of our favourite past-time – FOOD.
2. What are the challenges you faced in starting a start up?
Neither of us had any experience in the food industry. So everything in regards to product development, packaging, streamlining our production SOPs, all came as a challenge for us. As we bootstrapped our way into starting The Kettlebowl, funds management was definitely a challenge as we learnt to slowly expand our business operations without bleeding through our pockets. Of course, we learnt along the way, but until today, everyday serves as a new challenge as we strive to continue the growth of our business.
3. What makes you stand out from other health food companies?
As mentioned above, we have established ourselves to be MORE than just a healthy snack brand. The Kettlebowl is home to a strong community of brand partners and consumers within the fitness scene. While the first year was mainly focused on getting our products out there, we were also very much passionate about bringing communities together. Fairly often, we would host community workouts, working alongside different gyms and brands around KL, with the intention of providing our followers the opportunity to try out different workouts and experience new things within the fitness scene. The strength in the community we’ve built as The Kettlebowl is what makes us stand out.
4. What advice do you have for those who want to start a startup?
PLAN PLAN PLAN. Having an idea is great, having the passion for it is a must. But all of that can only really take off with the right backing. Do your due diligence and invest as much time and effort needed to learn all about running a business – research, market study, brand building strategies, finance & accounting, administrative duties, SOPs, logistics, operations, the list goes on and on. It will be a never-ending journey of trial and error, but the idea is to always be as prepared as possible.
4. What inspired to create the concept of fitness + food?
When we came up with the concept, it was a no-brainer. We have a strong love for fitness and food. Workout to eat, eat to workout, whichever way the saying goes, we relate to it. As a brand, our motto revolves around the idea of keeping yourself #fuelledbyTheKettlebowl – it’s not about eating less or more, but more about eating right. And this basic concept falls through with all our marketing content, and of course, all the events that we host.
5. You recently celebrated your Kettlebowl 2nd birthday which featuring a fitness community of all backgrounds. Why is it important for you to collaborate with Malaysia’s fitness community?
Like that Malay saying goes: ‘sedikit-sedikit, lama lama jadi bukit’. Our power of influence can only do so much. But in order to actually build a #fitterfasterstronger Malaysia, it’ll require a whole lot of tenacity, and meaningful collaborations in order to make an impact on society. We are not in the market to monopolise the industry, but rather, to contribute and do our part, alongside the rest of the industry professionals, with a strong hope in helping Malaysia do away with our current reputation as one of South East Asia’s fattest nations.
Scenes from the recent #TheKettlebowlTurnsTWO event at APW. Image credit: The Kettlebowl Facebook Page
“Commit to what you can control. Let go of everything else.” – Ben Bergeron
GETTING TO KNOW NELL & NICK
1.Tell us abit about yourselves?
Nell: I was in Marketing for a multinational company, I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in various roles, exposed to projects related to branding, consumer insights, market research, HR and even legal. Outside of work, I’m an avid Crossfitter, part-time coach at District 13 Gym, indoor cycling and rowing instructor at Ministry of Burn. I love island holidays, have an extremely sweet tooth and I can’t go without working out for more than 2 days.
Nick: I am a PJ boy, born and bred. After graduating in mechanical engineering, I worked in an IT consulting firm for 2 years before making the switch to property development. I’m very fortunate because my current job as a project manager in this property development company allows me the flexibility to work on The Kettlebowl on the side. Outside of work, I am an avid Crossfitter and I coach classes every week at the Crossfit gym that Nell and I train in, District 13. I love food, be it eating or cooking. I love going to the movies and reading sci-fi books. And I love dancing. 😉
2. What is it that you love about crossfit?
The fact that it’s a never ending journey of self-discovery. There’s always something to get better at, the learning never ends. This is probably the one sport that we see ourselves doing til we’re gray and old.
3. Why did you choose crossfit and how long have you been practicing crossfit for?
Nell was first exposed to Crossfit by Nick in 2013 and Nick in 2008. But we only really started training seriously as competitive athletes in 2015 under District 13 Gym. We just fell in love with the sport the moment we joined our very first competition.
4. With your busy schedules in managing a business. How do you find the time to work out?
Priorities. Since day one, it was crystal clear to us that as a company with the mindset to make an impact in the health & fitness industry, we are to lead by example. And that means, practicing a healthy, balanced working environment. How are we expected to influence Malaysians to be healthy if we are not practicing it ourselves? With that in mind, it became easy to stick to our priorities. And that means being able to achieve work-life balance in the midst of building a business. Of course there are days where things get busy and sacrifices need to be made, but there’s always a way to work around it.
5. Do you do any other types of workout?
Of course! We just love to move. We rock climb, swim, go for dance classes, etc. Always up to try new activities!
6. Why is it great for people to learn crossfit? What are the benefits?
Similar reason as to why we love it so much, the unending learning journey makes Crossfit so difficult to get bored at. This means you’ll be working out alot more, because you have that hunger to learn and get better at something. Put that all together, you’ll soon realize that as each day passes, you’re discovering a better version of yourself on a daily basis.
7. What advice would you give someone who is keen on crossfit but feels he/she isn’t fit enough to handle/ or a girl who is afraid that it will “bulk you up”?
The common misconception about Crossfit is that it’s all heavy weights, loud grunting, ripped hands, and a whole lotta ‘bro-sweat’ in the gym. But the truth is, everything is scalable in Crossfit. A single workout can be scaled up or down to suit any fitness level. And to the ladies, NO, lifting weights does not make you bulky or manly. Being in a calorie surplus will make you bulky. Lifting weights makes you strong. And once you realise what your body is actually capable of, you will be proud of those muscles that you’ve worked so hard for.
8. What is your daily healthy diet like?
We practice flexible dieting (also known as If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)) and we also try to follow the 80/20 rule. Plainly put, the rule goes that you choose to eat healthy foods 80 per cent of the time, which then allows you to indulge in your favourite treats 20 per cent of the time. It’s more an approach to healthy eating than a diet. So our daily diet varies as we don’t really limit ourselves to the types of food that we eat.
Eat it on it’s own or create your own smoothie bowl (see recipe below). You can purchase a bag of KETTLEBOWL GRANOLA at a stockist near you or via their ONLINE STORE