I have exercised regularly since high school. It was always an important part of my life. It allowed me to release excess energy and frustration, it made me feel better physically and emotionally, and it helped me to feel strong.
When my divorce occurred, exercise gained an even greater importance in my life. It allowed me to reconnect with my body on those days when I was drifting. When anger was the driving force, the heavy bag contained the essence of my ex. I would go on long runs to wear out the demons of anxiety that had taken up residence in my brain. I took spin classes, riding through the discomfort, proving to myself that I could endure. I lifted weights to build muscle, trying to convince myself that made me strong. I did yoga, exploring my edge and going beyond what I thought I could accomplish.
In all of that, my favorite exercise was the kettlebell. It became my therapist and my coach. The kettlebell forced me to integrate my movements. It required I find a rhythm. It showed me that I had power hidden within me that I could tap in to. It showed me that simplicity can be beautiful and momentum can be harnessed. It integrated the mindfulness of yoga with the power of lifting and the endurance of running.
On a practical note, the kettlebell took little space, made no noise to wake the neighbors, and could be done in a short amount of time. All of which have been requirements in the last few years at some point.
Those thrice weekly appointments with my iron therapist have not only soothed my ind they have also helped to sculpt my body. Kettlebells are amazing for their ability to build muscle and shred fat at once. I tend to mix it up, but here is an example of a common workout for me:
Note: I use a Gymboss timer to make this easy!
Choose a weight that is easy to move for a few reps but that becomes challenging, but not impossible, over the duration of the interval.
Set the timer for 20 1-minute work sessions with 30 seconds of rest between each interval. Each exercise is to be completed for the 1 minute duration.
one-armed kettlebell swings – right
one-armed kettlebell swings – left
one-armed snatch – right
one-armed snatch – left
around the world – right
around the world – left
farmer’s walk – right
farmer’s walk – left
Turkish get-up (alternate sides)
Repeat circuit. This usually has me so wiped that it is difficult to get up the stairs.
Videos of all of these exercises and more can be found here.