Posts made in November 13th, 2012

try it out tuesday: killer kettlebell workout


Posted on Nov 13, 2012 in Fitness

You know that big ole stack of fitness magazines that are collecting dust in your living room? And inside those magazines, you know those dozens of dog-eared workouts that looked totally awesome at the time but never made their way into your actual workout routine? Yeah, well, I’m sick of that. So I decided that every-other-Tuesday, I’m going to test one of those workouts and share my review with you guys. Sound like fun? Let’s do it!

The Basics

  • The Workout: Killer Kettlebell Workout from Shape Magazine
  • Type of Workout: Strength and cardio circuit
  • Muscle Groups Worked: Full-body
  • Equipment Required: Kettlebells, yoga mat or soft surface
  • The Nitty-Gritty: Six kettlebell moves are done for a certain rep or time each. The whole circuit is then repeated for a total of 12 moves. This 15 minutes worth of activity is supposed to work all your muscle groups, give you a hefty cardio workout and burn around 300 calories.

The Results

I headed to the gym and did this workout on a morning when I was particularly crunched for time. My “usual” gym routine can take upwards of 90 minutes from warm-up to cool-down and I just didn’t have that kind of time. The pull of getting a full body cardio and strength workout in just a few minutes definitely sucked me in.

At the gym, I set myself up with an open area and three kettlebells (15, 20 and 25 pounds) and, after a 5 minute walking warmup, cycled through the moves in the order given. I was skeptical about the “torch 300 calories in 15 minutes” headline, but by the time I finished the first set of the first move, I knew I was definitely on track to hit a hefty calorie burn.

  • Calories Burned: 362 calories*
  • Total Time: 42 minutes*
  • Next Day Soreness: 3/5 (0=no soreness, 5=holy crap nuggets, I can’t walk)
* Includes five minutes each of a walking warm-up and cool-down.

The Pros

  • Speed, speed, speed. While I couldn’t quite power through the moves in the 15 minutes advertised, I did get through them all in about 30 minutes and felt like I got a really great strength and cardio workout. I do think I’ll get faster at them as I learn the circuit by heart and don’t need to consult a guide.
  • Full body strength and cardio. I’m a big fan of splitting up muscle groups and focusing on strength and cardio separately, but some days just don’t allow for that kind of committment and I think this workout is a great option for when that happens. My heart was racing, I was sweating and the next morning, almost all my major muscle groups were sore.
  • Adaptability to different fitness levels. The great thing about kettlebells? They come in different weights. Just starting out, you can use a 5-pounder. If you’re more advanced, try a 20+ pounder.
  • Combo of modern and traditional. I loved that these moves weren’t “typical” kettlebell moves, but didn’t 100% depart from the traditional moves either. It was a nice combo of both. I especially loved the Spider Drags. Big fan!

The Cons

  • Not a targeted workout. This con is also a pro. Each move gives you just a brief touch on the surface of each of the major muscle groups. If you want to get into some serious weight training, you’ll need to expand beyond just this routine.
  • Ketllebells are still scarce. Not everyone has access to kettlebells and these moves would be very difficult to do with other equipment.
  • Risk of injury. Like most workout equipment, when used improperly, kettlebells can cause serious (and not so serious) injury. If you have any questions about how to perform a move, consult with a personal trainer or kettlebell expert.
  • The burpees. Burpees always suck, but they especially suck when you add a kettlebell to them.
  • No guidance on weight. Kettlebells are funny little things. When you are swing and using momentum, you need a heavier weight than when you are doing just strict lifting. I would have liked to see the workout give more suggestions on how to figure out what weight is right for you. All they said about weight was to use one kettlebell, 5-15 pounds depending on your level. I used a variety of weights and my lowest was 15 pounds.

The Final Word

I was really impressed with this workout. From the “outside” it doesn’t appear like much—just 6 moves–but when put together back-to-back, with a heavy set of kettlebells, it was a good solid workout. It doesn’t replace heavy training of the major muscle groups or cardio-only exercise. But it is a great quick option when I’m running low on time. I’ll be adding this one to my repertoire.

Have you tried out any new workouts lately? How’d they go?



Posted on Nov 13, 2012 in Lifestyle

1. I really want goats. And chickens. And bees. I want a whole damn farm.

2. I was doing really well with my All About the Numbers challenge. And then I reviewed our budget and decided I couldn’t justify spending $200 on a reward. And then…motivation gone. Ugh. I haven’t totally imploded with the actual challenge tasks, I’ve just stopped being really vigilant with keeping track of it. I’m disappointed in myself, but I’m trying not to feel guilty about it. After all, the point was to keep healthy (which I am!) not ticking boxes off a chart.

3. I wear makeup so rarely that it actually all lives in a box in the closet. It’s not because I don’t like it (I do!) but because I am (a) painfully lazy and (b) my eyes are allergic to pretty much all makeup ever. The not-seen-in-public-without-40-pounds-of-eyeliner 16-year-old me would be totally horrified. I did put makeup on this weekend for our Christmas card photo and it felt so, so strange.

4. I think I’m turning way crunchy granola. Or at least, way crazy country. And I think I’m okay with it. Books in my library queue supporting this observation: Backyard Sugarin’, Back to basics : how to learn and enjoy traditional American skills, The encyclopedia of country living : an old fashioned recipe book, The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home, The Solar Food Dryer: How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator.

5. I procrastinate every, single weekend. On Thursday nights, I make to do lists for Friday, Saturday and Sunday thinking how this weekend is going to be different and I’m going to do a little bit on each day. Then, every weekend, by the time Sunday comes around, I’ve barely even touched my lists from Friday and Saturday. Which makes Sunday super crazy. It’s not very efficient. I call dibs on the first human trial for a drug that eliminates procrastination, k?

Do you have any confessions to share?