Shrugged Collective

Real Chalk  — Expanding Mind and Body w/ Eric Leija, Primal Swoledier  — 22

Eric Leija, Senior Kettlebell Coach at Onnit Academy, a.k.a. the Primal Swoldier, is a kettlebell training specialist. Eric has been coaching for over three years, but has been working out and living a fit lifestyle for over 12 years.

Eric got into physical training at the age of 15 with the goal of becoming a mixed martial arts fighter. Struggling to make friends and find purpose in academia, he dropped out of the University of Texas, Austin, and turned to daily use of DMT and other plant medicines to gain some clarity and perspective.

Shortly after, Eric met Aubrey Marcus, the CEO of Onnit who mentored and helped get him started in the fitness industry. Eric has had the privilege of taking seminars with some of the top movement coaches in the industry such as, John Wolf, Dr. Mark Cheng, Mike Fitch, and Dr. Andreo Spina who opened his eyes to the importance of body weight movement and mobility to help improve performance and overall healthier fitness routine.

In this episode, Eric shares with us his past journey, how he builds workouts to create long lasting humans, why he is a kettlebells enthusiast, why his motto is “Money in the bank”, and more.


– Ryan and Yaya

Training for Durability

Eric Leija has grown into a social media superstar, famous for his kettlebell workouts and flows, which he shares daily on Instagram. Eric shares with us his movement methodologies, specifically when heavy lifting and the use of barbells.

Eric takes an approach that involves a wide range of unilateral work and conditioning, with an emphasis on longevity. He hosts regular classes at the Onnit Academy in Austin, TX and offers an online kettlebell course through his website — EricLeija.com.

“I am not just training for performance and getting your numbers up, getting faster, getting stronger, but being able to last.” — Eric Leija

Key Takeaways

  • Build it to Last  —  Durability is a high priority in for Eric both in his own training and his clients. He prefers using kettlebells for strength training as they don’t allow people to make large jumps in weight without developing the skill first. This dramatically reduces the risk of injury. Additionally, he takes his clients through a thorough warm up, cool down, and mobility sessions to make sure their bodies remain healthy.
  • Money in the bank  —  Is the motto Eric and co. use at Onnit. It’s a reminder to make sure people work small muscle groups and do mobility. That’s the “money in the bank” you would need for when you trip and tweak your knee down the road.
  • Kettlebells are great for conditioning  —  A new study shows that kettlebells are not only effective tools for strength and mobility work, but can have profound applications in conditioning. High intensity kettlebell swings have shown to have the same metabolic effect as running at a 6 minute mile pace.
  • Programming and Coaching  —  Having become the face of the kettlebell in 2018, Eric has put together a kettlebell academy you can take through his website. It includes over 150 instructional videos, exercises and everything to get started training with kettlebells.

“Shave away at those problem areas and put that money in the bank, you’re going to need it later.” — Eric Leija

Connect with Primal Swoledier

Connect on social: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

Resources: Eric Leija Website

Mike Bledsoe

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