Adventures in Kettlebell Training

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself lying around the apartment and moping about my eleven-pound weight gain – the thought of which still makes me cringe. I’m one of those people who, when they become depressed, glue themselves to the couch and alternate between watching reruns of Parks and Rec and taking naps. That day, it was hard for me to summon the motivation to peel myself off the sofa and go to the gym. But I had reached a point where I knew something *had* to be done, and soon I found myself putting on my Reeboks and heading out the door.

When I entered my University’s gym, I noticed signs advertising fitness programs. I decided to sign up for CrossFit. I had heard good things about the program, and I figured signing up for a class would be a good way to keep me motivated and accountable about working out. Well, when I went to the gym’s office to sign up, I found out that all the CrossFit classes were full (this was the very last day to sign up for classes, so it makes sense). I still wanted to sign up for something, so I looked over my options and decided to take my chances with kettlebell training.

What’s a kettlebell? You’d probably recognize one if you saw one. They look like this:

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Kettlebells are weights. Unlike dumbbells, the weight is not evenly distributed but rather concentrated at one point. This actually mimics real-life scenarios involving heavy objects better – our instructor compared picking up a kettlebell from the ground to picking up a heavy suitcase; and the comparisons are endless.

Kettlebells originated in Russia and are still lesser-known in America. Their weight is also measured in kilograms.

Obviously, we do many exercises with the kettlebells during my hour-long class. Many exercises can also be done with traditional dumbbells, such as lifts, presses, squats, etc. But when working out with a kettlebell you can do swings, which you generally can’t do with dumbbells. Variations of swings include two-handed, one-handed, the height your kettlebell reaches, etc.

Here’s a diagram (in Bulgarian) of some kettlebell workouts:

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This is a diagram of a guy performing a “Turkish get up.” This move is¬†incredibly difficult. In the beginning, I tried doing it with a (light) kettlebell and was struggling so much that the instructor made me do it sans kettlebell until I got the hang of it. I am proud to say that I can now handle doing a Turkish get up, albeit with a small kettlebell. But still ūüėČ

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^The guy in this pic is *clearly* a badass because he is using a huge kettlebell. Holy moly.

Up until two weeks ago, I had never touched a kettlebell in my life. But every Monday and Wednesday from 6:45 am to 7:45 am, I’ve been exercising with them. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the class at first, but I have been pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoy kettlebell training. The last two classes are next week. The semester is nearly over, so obviously the gym isn’t offering another class until the summer or fall. I will definitely be enrolling in this class again.

I’ll be spending the summer at home, so I won’t be able to take the class through school. But I did some research and found that a rec center near my house will be offering a kettlebell class this summer. I may do that, but I think I may finally be fitting my CrossFit in – I found a program in my hometown.

What are your thoughts on kettlebell training?

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

Fitness Update

The month of June was a delicious month. I celebrated my brother’s graduation, my birthday, and a trip to New Orleans. And with celebrations, good food usually follows.

And I discovered some delicious new restaurants. Such as Loco Cafe; where the coffee, migas, and biscuits are the bomb-dot-com.

And let’s not forget In-N-Out Burger’s new Frisco location. I went there with some friends last week.

So yes. I ate my way through the delicious month of June, and as a result of indulging AND not working out, I gained 7 pounds. Not *that* big of a deal; it just means I have some work to do.

Enter exercisetv.tv¬†– SUCH a good website. Today I started Chris Freytag’s 10-pound silm-down exercise plan. It feels good to be active again.

I don’t want to get obsessed with my weight or how I look. I’ve done that before and it left me pretty miserable – I was holding myself to unrealistic expectations, and just getting disappointed. It seems that my tendency is to go a couple weeks of being really good with working out, and then going straight into another couple weeks of not working out at all. Every time that happens, I feel so discouraged when I have to get back on the exercise train again. I feel like I’m back to square one.

I guess I’m blogging about it on here to hold myself accountable. I started this 30-day workout plan, and now I’m going to finish it. Maybe I’ll even do it again next month.

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Infinity Guitars by Sleigh Bells

What the Health?: Intro

I’ve been blogging for a while now (since I got a Xanga when I was 13), but only recently have I started reading other blogs on a regular basis. I love it! There is a blog out there for just about anything you could imagine, fashion, politics, travel, food, …I could go on.¬†One of my favorite types of blogs to read is health blogs! Health blogs, like Healthy Tipping Point and the “Does a Body Good” section of Rachel Wilkerson’s blog, provide me with a plethora of new information, ideas for¬†exercising/eating, inspiration, and motivation.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about health, it’s this: that health is a¬†journey, not necessarily a¬†destination. I have always known that health is important, but I haven’t always known what the best way is to go about pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

When I first realized my junior year of high school that: my metabolism was slowing down, that I needed to stop living off of Dr. Pepper and waffles, and that I had to get up from my seat at the computer and break a sweat for once, I found myself thinking…

“WHAT the health?”

Calories? Carbohydrates? Resting heart rate? Target heart rate? Body Mass Index? I heard all the fitness and¬†nutrition¬†jargon, but wasn’t really sure what to make of all of it. I knew that I was supposed to exercise, but wasn’t sure where to start. I wanted to eat right, but my diet consisted of mostly CARBS with the occasional fruit or vegetable (and sweets; lots and lots of sweets…).

Needless to say, changes were made. I learned the strange terms. I tried different forms of physical activity until I found something that worked for me; something that I enjoyed, even. I learned to incorporate plenty of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and other good things into my diet as well as carbs. I learned, but it didn’t happen all at once.

It’s overwhelming at first. I know, because I’ve been there. I figured it out eventually through trial and error, and I’m still learning more every day. I remember how much I valued hearing good, sound advice. I take in as much as I can!

“What the health” (WTHealth?) is going to be a “column” that I write on this blog about my experiences about pursuing a healthy lifestyle; such as: how I am working out, ¬†what I am eating, new things I’m trying, and how I’m managing (or not managing…) to do it all while living the life of a college student.

If you’re like me, you don’t want complicated jargon thrown at you. You don’t want a product or diet system to be pitched to you (hello, shake weights!). AND you don’t want erroneous details that are just going to confuse you even more. You want real, up-front advice. As in, this is what I’ve tried and here’s what you should know about it.

I’m thinking about doing the column every Wednesday, but I’m not sure yet. I want to do WTHealth? on a weekly basis, for sure.

Topics are going to include: healthy eating, exercise, sleep, cooking, healthy college lifestyle, motivation, and…

NOT HATING YOUR BODY!! ūüôā

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Trying to be more healthy can be a daunting task. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re doing it alone. Put on your sneakers and join me!

Peace and Love,

Ann