My fitness hobby has bloomed into a full blown passion in the past year; I discovered kettlebells and completely changed my approach to exercise. I began watching videos on youtube around that time, especially ones featuring the snatch and swing. I was really interested by these movements that seemed so contrary to everything I’d been doing.
Believe it or not, I was actually on a Tracy Anderson kick at the time…I know, embarassing!! But I am a rabid reader of fitness reviews and her mat work dvd had a cult following that could hardly be ignored. It promised to rid me of my short, chunky legs and make my body “more feminine”. So I spent a few hours a week lifting my leg straight out behind me, a few inches, repeatedly, and waving around 3 pound weights. It actually did give me some desirable results, but her constant emphasis on femininity and sexiness, and her assertion that women should never lift more than 3 pounds was all wrong for me.
I became obsessed with watching videos of women performing olympic barbell lifts and kettlebell exercises. It looked fun. I talked about kettlebells so much that my dad bought me a set for my birthday last year. A former dvd workout junkie, I switched over to nothing but kettlebell and body weight interval workouts quickly and never looked back.
Lifting kettlebells made me stronger very quickly. I taught myself the major lifts by reading Enter the Kettlebell, by Pavel Tsatsouline. I watched tutorials on youtube and discovered myomytv.com. Marianne Kane has put together an awesome free website where she regularly posts hellish new kettlebell workouts. I have all her workouts copied into a little blue notebook that I keep in my gymbag, and pick one randomly when I’m in sore need of an asskicking.
I am happy to have found kettlebells, because they have made it easier to maintain the 80 pound weight loss I achieved in 2004. I went from 205 pounds to 140 in six months walking, doing Tae Bo, and eating a South Beach-inspired diet. I never would have pictured myself enjoying exercise. In school I played sports but when it came to running, I was so embarassed I would skip class regularly to avoid the humiliation. When I became larger I avoided exercise even more studiously, because I was avoiding the whole issue of my body for a while.
My family has a history of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. I made a decision that I wasn’t going to give up my youth to fate. Something the lady on the pilates video I started doing said stuck in my head: “if you do this everyday for a month, you will see a change in your body.” So I tried it, and it actually became a habit to my utter surprise. Suddenly I could shop wherever I wanted and could fit into anything.
Upon losing the weight, I promptly became pregnant with my daughter Celeste and I blame my new, healthy body! Unfortunately, I didn’t maintain a very healthy lifestyle during my pregnancy. I put on fifty pounds and was blissfully sedentary, save for long, quiet walks with my belly. After giving birth it was rather easy to take the weight off just doing a repeat of the South Beach induction phase and hitting the gym.
I became a devotee of exercise DVDs. I loved the really hard ones, like Jillian’s, Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo, and Bob Harper’s killer routines. I tried Amy Bento, Exhale Core Fusion, Crunch, Yoga Booty Ballet, and the 10 minute solution videos. I had quite a few in my arsenal and by rotating them, I rarely got bored. I got pretty strong doing the circuit style workouts in Jillian’s Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism, because she does plenty of squatting, jumping and holding plank position. I really do like her DVDs, and I owned almost all of them. I heard her kettlebell DVD is a travesty, and I haven’t ever seen it. I think it’s a shame because she is good at what she does.
I had a brief *ahem* fetish for Bodyrock.TV but I got over it pretty quickly. Like Tracy Anderson, Zuzana left me feeling slightly dirty, like I ought to have scrambled to minimize the window when my six-year-old wandered by. I love the style of her workouts, quick, challenging, strengthening, and fat burning. I blame Zu for my affinity for burpees and tabatas.
But I’ve now left Ms. Michaels, Ms. Anderson, and Ms. Light for my true fitness bliss, which is an eclectic blend of russian kettlebells, crossfit, and high intensity interval cardio. I love jump roping, running, hiking and rock climbing also. I think everyone should stay just as active as they were when they were children, jumping, hopping, and sometimes squatting like a duck.
When I’m not working out, I’m chasing after toddlers at my full time job or spending time with my daughter and husband. I take a two hour lunch break and spend around 45 minutes to an hour almost everyday playing with my kettlebells, sweating, and jumping up and down. When I can steal a few moments I love to read mysteries! My favorites are Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter, Robin Cook, J.A. Konrath, Lisa Gardner…I love to read a great, suspenseful novel!
My newest kick is paleo. I started a few weeks ago after reading “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain…Then submersing myself in the paleo/primal blogosphere for many long, quiet evenings. I love Nom Nom Paleo and theclothesmakethegirl (Melissa Joulwan) and all the great paleo cooking blogs out there. It makes the transition a breeze. I thought giving up grains, dairy and legumes might pose a problem, but I am feeling awesome and have lost five pounds.
This blog will detail my new fitness approach, documenting my progress and allowing me to see where I want to go with my diet and training. Right now I am having a blast punishing myself with cruel challenges then rewarding myself with delicious, guilt-free meals. I think the real reward will be my bikini body this summer! I hope to share the things I learn with my friends and family, to teach them what I learned 8 years ago…YOU CAN CHANGE. You’re not stuck where you are, with what you have. If you work hard enough, you can improve your whole quality of life in just hours per week!