Fitness is a vital part of any overall Wellness regimen, though it should follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, rather than take the place of it.
There are hundreds of options for fitness, from gyms to marathons, weights to swimming.
Sine I have approximately zero hours of free time to drive to a gym, get dressed, work out, take shower, get dressed again and drive home, I had to find a fitness routine that could be done easily from home and didn’t require a lot of specific equipment.
Enter the Kettlebell…
In my opinion, the kettlebell is the best all-around option for fitness from home as it requires minimal equipment (a kettlebell), minimal space, and can be considered both strength and cardiovascular exercise.
A ‘Kettlebell’ or girya, as it is called in Russian, is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball with a handle. It is the ultimate tool for extreme all-around fitness.
The kettlebell has been used for hundreds of years. It first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). Kettlebells were so popular in Tsarist Russia, that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or ‘a kettlebell man.’
Some of the specific benefits to kettlebells are:
- The kettlebell develops all purpose strength
- Blends strength with flexibility
- Hacks the fat off
- Improves physique
- Makes strong anywhere, anytime–an extreme hand held gym
In the name of full disclosure… kettlebell workouts are HARD, but that is why they are so effective. Because of the combination of strength and high intensity cardio, even the most seasoned athletes have trouble lasting five minutes when switching to kettlebells.
If you don’t mind a challenge and want maximum results with minimum time, I highly recommend kettlebells. I don’t encourage doing any activity just because other are doing it, but a number of celebrities have spoken publicly about their use of kettlebells… you judge the results:
- Grey’s Anatomy star: Katherine Heigl
- Sex in the City Star: Kim Cattrall
- Jennifer Lopez
- Penelope Cruz
- Lance Armstrong
- Mariska Hargitay
- Sylvester Stallone, Claire Danes
- Ethan Hawke
- Matthew McConaughey
- Most of the cast from the movie “300?.
For women especially, kettlebells give strength and tone without adding bulk. men typically see rapid strength improvements.
The American Council on Exercise did an independent study on kettlebell workouts that found that:
During the 20-minute workout, the average calorie burn was 272 calories, not counting additional calorie burn due to the substantial anaerobic effort.
“We estimated oxygen consumption and how many calories
they were burning aerobically, and it was 13.6 calories per minute.
But we also measured the blood lactate, so anaerobically they were
burning another 6.6 calories per minute,” explains Porcari. “So
they were burning at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off
the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace. The
only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is crosscountry
skiing up hill at a fast pace.”
The mini-challenge for September is to get some kind of fitness every day. My favorite is the kettlebell, but I challenge you to get out there and move! (preferably fast or with weights)
If you decide to give kettlebells a try, here is a video demonstrating the basic kettlebell movement, the swing:
Time Ferris also explains how to do kettlebell swings in video and written format. In his research, it only takes 75 swings 2-3 times a week to achieve optimal results (less than 30 minutes a week total!).
Do you have time for that?
The best kettlebells I have found are from Dragon Door, though they can usually be found in most fitness type stores (though I haven’t seen the big weights in most places). Kettlebell workouts are even safe for pregnant women in most cases, and make delivery easier, in my experience.
I have the 12 kg (26 lb) and 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebells. I typically use the 16kg for swings and the 12 kg for snatches and Turkish get ups (more info soon!). I either do Ferris’ 75 swings in one set or do Tabata “sprints” with the 16 kg bell.
For Tabata sprints with the bell:
- Do swings at maximum speed with good form for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat 8 times
- Rest 2 minutes between sets and do 3+ sets
What do you think? Ever tried kettlebells? Are you up for it? Tell me below!
image credit: double your gains