What do you do to stay fit? For years, I didn’t have an answer to that question. And little did I know that once I had an answer, I’d still be looking for new things to try. Though I love my daily hiking and weekly yoga classes, I find myself wanting to ramp things up a bit – especially on the strength training front.
But how to fit it in? My life is pretty packed, so whatever I add has to be a when-I-can, where-I-can proposition.
Renee Woods and Kill Knipp, the “Kettlebell Moms,” say they’ve got my answer: a Russian cannonball with a handle.
Woods and Knipp are best friends and proprietors of a kettlebell training program that they say can improve my flexibility, strength and cardio fitness – and even my yoga! “It really serves to enhance your physicality in almost anything you want to do,” says Knipp.
The only equipment required is the kettlebell itself, plus comfortable clothes you can move in, and bare feet. For people who do want to wear shoes, Woods says to stick with something nice and flat. No running shoes or other shoes that elevate the heel.
In choosing a kettlebell, Knipp and Woods recommend the no-frills variety and advise against those with odd shapes and adjustable weight. “It really interferes with your true, basic use of the kettlebell,” says Knipp. Handle size, shape and thickness are important so that the bell sits the right way on your wrist and arm as you lift and swing it, she explains.
The Kettlebell Moms sell kettlebells on their site – no frills, all iron (They say plastic bells eventually show wear and tear.) with the proper shape. Their 18-pound bell, which they say is a good starter size for the average woman in average shape, runs $81.95 by the time you pay for shipping. But they say that Go Fit kettlebells, available at Target and many sporting goods stores, are also OK. I found a 15-pound Go Fit bell for $39.99 at Dick’s Sporting Goods and saved myself some shipping.
Woods and Knipp tell me I can work out with my new kettlebell in pretty small spaces. If there is enough open floor space for you to lie down on, plus a foot or two of extra space, you’re probably set. Knipp has a 5×7-foot rug in her bedroom and she works out on that – sometimes in her jammies! I probably have enough room to work out this way at home and at the office. “Just close your door and get your sweat on,” Knipp and Woods agreed.
These workouts are also supposed to be an easy squeeze time-wise. Because kettlebells involve cardio and strength together, they allow you to compress your workout. “You can really do yourself in in 20 minutes,” says Knipp.
In fact, it was their perpetual time crunch as busy moms that attracted the pair to kettlebell training. Woods and Knipp love to work out together, but found themselves often derailed by their children’s schedules and the demands of parenting. Kettlebells solved their problem, and they eventually both became certified as Russian Kettlebell Instructors.
The Kettlebell Moms
Woods and Knipp have offered me a 12-week beginner kettlebell program through Kettlebell Moms that they say will improve my fitness as I learn this new way to work out.
The program begins with a warmup video, and continues with weekly video tutorials every Sunday evening featuring the “exercise of the week,” plus a written description of the exercise and three written workouts for the week.
There’s also a personal “common-sense” nutrition program, a private online forum where women in the Kettlebell Moms Club can share their experiences, and a monthly e-newsletter with additional information, tips and encouragement.
Kettlebell Moms Club membership costs $19 per month, which blows most gym memberships out of the water. My first workout should arrive Sunday night, and I’ll check in next week to talk about it.
Feel like tagging along on this workout adventure? Find out more at www.kettlebellmoms.com.