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3 Ways Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

I have trained with kettlebells for over 4 years now. Kettlebells improved my 5k race time, no doubt.

Running isn’t something I enjoy, but it is how I got back into an active lifestyle years ago. The running part made me want to die. All I wanted was for the training day to be OVER. That feeling at the end was awesome which is what kept me running, day in and day out.

Later, I learned a better way to get more powerful at running! In turn, I was faster. And, more importantly, I enjoyed training!

Live and learn, right?!

I created Simply Kettlebells as a way to share my love for kettlebell training with women who are intimidated to try kettlebells. I know I was at first! I’ve reaped many benefits from stepping out of my comfort zone and giving them a try. Below, I map out some of the benefits that kettlebells brought to my running game and how using kettlebells improved my 5k race time.

Note: Originally, the blog posted below was published as a guest post written by me on jillfit.com and includes a sample kettlebell workout!

By Jill Jacobs

In 2009, I was exclusively a runner. I ran anywhere from 3-6 times per week and I was constantly focused on my next 5k. My continuous goal was to beat my previous time. That was my motivation- beating myself! But honestly, my 5k time remained SLOW and I really didn’t understand why??? I seemed to be training and running ALL.THE.TIME.

Enter kettlebells.

I began training with kettlebells in 2011.

I also QUIT running.

I’m certainly not suggesting that you quit running. I think we all need to do the exercises that we enjoy and that we will ACTUALLY do! For me, I saw how kettlebells offered me a TWO-IN-ONE workout- both cardio and strength training, together in one package. As a busy mom that homeschools her two boys, this was a huge bonus that kettlebell training brought to the table for me. It was a no-brainer.

After training with kettlebells for 6 months, I decided to enter a 5k just for kicks and giggles. Surprisingly, I set a new PR with a crazy better time than before! I had decreased my time from 2009 of 32:21 to 25:32 just 2 short years later!!! Yeah! Who knew? I even won my age group against many other women who were “daily runners”. And who shaves nearly 7 minutes off of a short distance run like 5 kilometers? Truly, kettlebells improved my 5k race time!

THAT is what kettlebells can do for YOU, too!

This experience proved to me that kettlebell training truly “speaks for itself”.

Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

How can this happen? How does one quit running and yet improve their 5k time with a round ball of iron with a handle on top? Let me explain…

Here are the top 3 ways that Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time (and will yours too!):

1) Kettlebells increase your power.
Through ballistic movements like swings and snatches, kettlebell training can truly improve your power and explosiveness in running. The swing is a hip hinge, hip dominant movement. The Russian kettlebell swing is well known for building a nice posterior chain (hello glutes and hammies!) giving you the famous kettle “booty.” And who doesn’t want that!

Having increased power from a strong posterior chain will certainly increase your speed and endurance during your run!

2) Kettlebells increase your strength.
Kettlebells can be utilized for traditional movements like the squat and the deadlift. Because of the kettlebell’s unique shape and size, kettlebell trainees are required to use a lot of force, core strength, and coordinated movement which in turn increases overall body strength. The control needed throughout kettlebell exercises magnifies your core strength for what I call a kettle “CORE.” 🙂

Having a strong backside and a strong core is a great way to improve your performance and decrease your chances for injury in ANY sport!

3) Kettlebells increase your endurance.
Kettlebells have the unique ability to combine both cardio and strength training in one. Utilizing the same explosive movements that increase your power, your endurance will also increase as you advance with kettlebell training. Your ability to swing a higher number of reps, to swing heavier bells, and by tracking your 5-minute snatch test results (fun, fun!!) can all help to measure your endurance progress. Your progress will also be revealed through decreased race times!

Your Quickie KB Circuit:

Set your timer for 20 minutes and go through the circuit AMRAP (as many rounds as possible):

  • 5 Swing Cleans (right)
  • 5 Squat Presses (right)
  • 5 Swing Cleans (left)
  • 5 Squat Presses (left)
  • 5 Rows each, R then L arm
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings

Do this circuit 1-2x/week for best results!

If you are a runner, I can tell you from experience that cross training (with kettlebells) will not only build a toned, leaner physique, but it will improve your race times and performance. The kettlebell has proven to be the perfect tool for me. It completely changed my physique and my performance, I’ll never go back!

If you’ve been on the fence about trying kettlebell training, I highly recommend my signature program, Simply Kettlebells. It’s a super accessible program for beginners with progressions throughout the 8-week program as you improve.

Kettlebells Improved My 5k Race Time

xo -Jill

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This is How I Stay Motivated to Exercise

By Jill Jacobs

Lately, I’ve been contemplating why certain people can stay motivated to exercise regularly and eat healthily while other people’s motivation wanes easily. They exercise a week or two and just quit. They lack exercise motivation.

I see it in friends, family, and even feel a lack of motivation in myself sometimes.

I think it boils down to a couple of things.

First, if a person has a dieter’s mentality, they will always feel either ON a program or OFF a program. Adopting a LIFESTYLE mentality would make a huge difference in this group. If you know you are committed to something for the long haul, you are not likely to give up when you aren’t performing perfectly. (I mean, perfection is a myth anyway!)

Take parenting for example. What if the first time you make a mistake with your new baby, toddler, or teen, you just threw in the towel and gave up? Never! That’s not how it works when you have a long-term commitment to something. You’d never give up on parenting your child and just hand them over to someone else to raise because of a misstep in your parenting!

The same goes for our health. Taking ownership and having a lifestyle mentality will go a long way towards staying motivated. When you make the switch to the lifestyle mentality, you become committed for the long haul. (If the dieter’s mentality is a struggle for you, having a coach and some type of accountability system in place are 2 ways to overcome this type of thinking.)

The second reason I think people quit is not having a solid purpose for exercising. Purpose allows you to tap into your inner motivation which is the kind of motivation that stands the test of time! Digging deep is how you ultimately find lasting motivation.

I’d like to share a few of my reasons (or my deeper purposes) for exercising, hence how I stay motivated and on track. I share these with the hope that something here will resonate with you. 🙂

5 Reasons I Stay Motivated to Exercise:

1. I’m training for the sport called life. I need to feel good and be strong to be the best mom I can be. Motherhood requires athleticism. Have you ever lugged around a toddler and grocery bags at the same time while having to squat down to get the keys you just dropped on the ground? Have you ever played tag with your kids? Sprinted against your daughter? Played football with your son? Exercise allows me to stay in shape so I can enjoy life to its fullest!

Exercise Motivation

I found this funny mousepad on Amazon!

 

2. I value my health and the health of my family. I want to avoid certain diseases that run in my family. I want to be healthy in my old age. I want to pass a legacy of healthy living to my sons and their future families.

When I value health, my example trickles down to the entire family. My sons make sure to do their pull ups every day without being prompted. They just want to! (Daily pull ups was their idea back in the fall of last year. I promise I’m not being a drill sergeant! ha!) My sons ask me questions like, “What’s my protein going to be for dinner?” 🙂 They’ve learned balance around food, and when they make poor choices, they are able to recognize that their bodies feel different (i.e. not good, sluggish, nauseous). I know I didn’t have that type of awareness as a child!

Raising my kids to value health is important to me, and I must lead by example not just words.

3. I value hard work, strength, dedication, and meeting goals. Outer strength begets inner strength. I can tell you this because I’ve witnessed it in myself and so many other women. Putting in the hard work, discipline, and dedication to meet a strength, endurance, non-appearance-based goal will not only make you stronger on the outside; you will be stronger on the inside!

You do not have to be hardcore, “I train, eat, sleep, repeat,” to be consistent and dedicated. Set up some minimum standards for yourself. This could be something like never missing a Monday workout, working out 4 times per weeks minimum, or making sure to move in some way (even leisure walking) daily. This will build healthy habits and you will start to feel strong and confident! There’s nothing more motivating than getting a few “wins” under your belt.

4. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. What I do with my body, what I put into my body, and how I treat my body MATTERS. I truly believe that God wants both our hearts AND our bodies to be used for His glory. Not one or the other; BOTH. My body is a gift. I need to be a good steward with this gift, treat it well, nourish it, and avoid abusing it.

5. I love endorphins! Heavy strength training is one sure-fire way that I use to feel better and more energized.  This is because of the endorphin production that comes with heavy lifting.  It makes me feel happy and alive. Even when I dread the workout and am completely unmotivated, within a few of minutes of starting my workout, I’m already feeling so much better. And then when I hit a PR, I’m on top of the world, smiling, confident, and feeling accomplished. Plus, when I have those endorphins flowing through my body, my husband is completely safe from harm. 😉

I’ve listed several reasons why I exercise. These reasons keep me motivated to stick with it for the long haul! Before I sign off, though, I’d like to leave you with a list of a few things that are NOT reasons I’m motivated to exercise:

  • I don’t exercise to be skinny.
  • I don’t exercise to achieve a certain number on the scale.
  • I don’t exercise to punish myself for eating “bad.”
  • I don’t exercise in order to earn food.
  • I don’t exercise to wear a certain size of jeans.
  • I don’t exercise to be a hardcore, “no excuses” #fitmom. 
  • And most of all, I don’t exercise because I hate my body. I do it because I love and appreciate my body and all that it does for me!

Exercise Motivation

One thing is certain, maintaining exercise motivation is more difficult when you don’t enjoy the type of exercise that you do. Finding a way to move your body in a way that you LOVE and enjoy is so important! My love is for strength training, preferably with kettlebells (like the workouts found here). I keep my workouts short and intense. This way, they don’t take my day away from me AND they are still effective!

What are some of the reasons YOU exercise? How do you maintain exercise motivation? Or do you? I’d love to know! Comment below and let me know. 🙂

Oh, and join my 14-day e-course called Motivation Makeover for some additional support!

 xo ~Jill

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you purchase through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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New to Kettlebell Swings? Read This First!

Just over 6 years ago, I decided it was time to venture into fitness after my childbearing days had come to a close. (Why I waited until then is a completely different blog post!) My first attempt to “get fit” was to pick up running. I didn’t know the extensive benefits of strength training for women, and I certainly had never heard of kettlebells, so running it was.

 

As soon as the weather cooled off, I jumped on the chance to try an indoor program- not for the benefits of said program, but to get away from running, especially running in the COLD! No thank you!

 

I purchased and went through P90X a few times that fall and winter. I saw results that running didn’t offer me and was prompted me to research more and more about strength training.

 

That’s how I discovered kettlebells!

 

This one simple tool can make you stronger, faster, and leaner, in LESS TIME than any other piece of fitness equipment. I don’t know about you, but I love ANY thing that is time efficient PLUS superior! #SCORE

 

The very foundation of a great kettlebell program is the Russian kettlebell swing. I get a lot of questions from readers and facebook followers about how to swing, what weight to swing, and what are the benefits to the swing.

 

Kettlebell swings are known as the “mother of all kettlebell exercises” and for good reason. They give birth to many of the other kettlebells exercises. In other words, the kettlebell swing is a foundational exercise AND has some major fitness and fat loss benefits!

 

Here are a few of the benefits of the kettlebell swing. If you incorporate swings in your workout regimen, you will:

 

  • Get stronger
  • Get faster (hello better 5k time!)
  • Become more powerful
  • Perform better in other sports with increased endurance
  • Get Leaner
  • Develop a the infamous “kettlebooty” and who doesn’t want that?!!
With all of these benefits, I know you’re really wanting to add kettlebell swings to your life! The problem is that many people perform the swing incorrectly. This diminishes the benefits and increases the risk of injury. *sad face*

 

Because I don’t want that to happen to any of you, I asked my friend and colleague, Kristy Agan, who is a Level II RKC Instructor to lay out exactly how to progress into being able to perform the swing. She was kind enough to include some video demonstrations as well as a couple of bonus workouts for you to try! Take it away, Kristy….
Kristy Agan, RKCII

Kristy Agan, RKC Level II Instructor

Swing Tutorial for Beginners

By Kristy Agan

Kettlebell swings are a fundamental exercise when training with kettlebells. It is a very effective and explosive movement that burns fat and develops power. But before you can safely perform a swing, you must first learn how to correctly do a hip hinge, and from there, a deadlift.

Hip Hinge

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Push your hips back and allow your torso to move forward
  • Lengthen your spine and open up your chest
  • Your shins should remain as close to vertical as possible

Deadlift

  • Stand over the kettlebell
  • Perform a hip hinge until your hands are touching the bell (Refer back to the steps for performing a Hip Hinge)
  • Before you lift the bell, pull shoulders back/down and engage your lats (do not round your shoulders)
  • Brace your abs
  • As you lift the bell, think about pressing your weight into the floor and keep the weight on your heels
  • Stand up tall and squeeze your glutes
  • Repeat hip hinge pattern until bell is back on the floor

Russian Kettlebell Swings – Demo of the hinge and deadlift

Next: Transition to the Kettlebell Swing

Hike

  • Step back from the bell
  • Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart
  • Perform a hip hinge until your hands are touching the bell
  • Tilt the bell towards you
  • Before you hike the bell, pull your shoulders back/down and engage your lats (do not round your shoulders)
  • Brace your abs
  • Hike the bell between your legs. Your arms should come in contact with your ribcage and your forearms should come in contact with your upper thighs.
  • Return the bell softly back to the floor in front of you

 

kettlebellswing

Swing

  • Hike the bell between your legs
  • Stand up explosively, snap your hips and squeeze your glutes
  • The bell should float up into the air after your hips snap forward
  • Then hold your hips forward and maintain tight glutes until your arms come in contact with your ribcage as the bell begins to drop.
  • Then push your hips back quickly out of the way allowing the bell to go between your legs. (see video below of kettlebell swings)

Russian Kettlebell Swings – Demo of the hike and swing

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For more information and fitness tips from Kristy Agan, subscribe at www.kristyagan.com and receive a FREE copy of her Healthy Living Guide.

 

You can also follow Kristy on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!readerschoice

 

More about Kristy:  After the birth of her first child at the age of 27 Kristy realized her desire to pursue fitness as a career and not just a part-time gig. Kristy began her career as a  group fitness instructor certified through AFAA . Through training clients with multiple tools, Kristy quickly discovered her passion….kettlebells. Kristy self- taught her way into the kettlebell world where she eventually earned her HKC, RKC, and RKCII. Kristy is also a certified personal trainer through the American Council of Exercise (ACE) and TRX qualified. This wife and mother of two kids maintains a large following of faithful clients in Rome, GA where she trains at Pro Performance with Tim Vicchrilli and Mike Sarver. A big congrats to Kristy is in order! She was recently awarded the Readers Choice Award from Rome News Tribune as Best Personal Trainer for 2014.

 

p.s. (from Jill) Looking for more swing practice? Use my beginner’s kettlebell program, Simply Kettlebells!

 

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5 Reasons Kettlebells are Great for Women {Bonus: New Workout}

Everyone who knows me either online or in real life KNOWS my love affair with kettlebells!

 

This affair started back in early 2010. Once I was introduced to kettlebells and all the many benefits of utilizing them, there was no turning back! I practiced and practiced at the gym, and I studied everything I could get my hands on. I watched countless Youtube videos on how to use kettlebells with proper form.

 

During one of my internet study sessions, I happened upon Neghar Fonooni’s Youtube channel and literally watched every video she had on there. I saw a strong woman with lots of kettlebell skills. I saw a woman that I’d like to learn from and emulate. She was the REAL DEAL! Needless to say, I’ve continued to learn from Neghar through all these years in various ways (thank you internet!) including her latest 12-week kettlebell program appropriately titled “Lean and Lovely.”

 

Since Neghar is an elite kettlebell instructor, fitness and lifestyle coach, mom, and a mentor of mine, I asked her if she’d do me the honor of sharing with my readers some of the reasons why the kettlebell is a FABULOUS tool for women. She agreed! Take it away, Neghar…. 🙂
Neghar Fonooni Headshot 33 Web

Neghar Fonooni, Creator of Lean & Lovely

A few years ago, I was a single mom, full-time trainer, and full-time student. It was not uncommon to find me training clients as early as 6 am and as late as 8 pm, then coming home to blog, and after my son’s bedtime, studying until 2 am. These were some of the most demanding and character building years of my life, and while I was often challenged, they led me to learn how to find success through struggle. In fact, I often look back on these years with great fondness, as they taught me so much about myself as a mother, trainer, and entrepreneur.

As you can imagine, though, I was physically and mentally exhausted a great deal of the time. Much to my dismay, I spent so much time writing programs for clients and keeping up with my blog, that my own workouts would often suffer. This was problematic, not just because of the physical implications, but because exercise is what keeps me sane. Movement is a significant part of what keeps me balanced—and going even one day without really moving leaves me feeling not-so-much like myself.

Yet somehow, even with all the craziness of these trying times, I was able to regularly get my sweaty, and in turn, keep my sanity and sense of balance. Somehow, amidst the studying, training, writing, and mothering, I was able to stay fit. My secret weapon?

The kettlebells in my living room. 

They may be but oddly shaped hunks of iron, but they saved me during a time of extreme overload. Little by little, my small family of kettlebells grew, until I owned at least one of each size from 12kg-28kg, ensuring a solid home workout no matter how bust things became. Just having a few pieces of equipment at home, simple tools that would help me sweat even if I couldn’t get to the gym, are what kept me consistent despite the constant tug of responsibility.

While I used kettlebells with my clients regularly at the gym (in conjunction with barbells, dumbbells, bands, etc.) I never truly appreciated their versatility and worth until I was often relegated to working out with kettlebells alone. These little hunks of iron have so many benefits, especially for women, which is why I chose to center my Lean & Lovely program completely around them. Now, you can certainly use any equipment for the program, and there’s nothing inherently magical about the kettlebell itself—but its benefits are so extensive, that I recommend every woman get her hands on one.

What makes these ancient tools, once only used my Russian special forces, so fabulous for women? Let’s take a look.

Total Body

Unlike many workouts that have you training one body part at a time, most kettlebell movements engage your entire body at once. Kettlebell movements are dynamic and multi-joint, allowing for total recruitment of the body.

Take the kettlebell swing, for example: With just one move you’re working your glutes, quads, abs, lats, and shoulders, all while burning fat and revving your metabolism. Kettlebell training combines stability, flexibility, strength, and cardio, allowing you to simultaneously build muscle and burn body fat.

What’s especially unique to the kettlebell is its handle, which creates an offset center of gravity. This makes it ideal for dynamic movements like swings and snatches and causes your stabilizing muscles to have to work over time, particularly in exercises like presses and Turkish Get Ups.

Being able to use your entire body with a handful of exercises is a huge benefit, which leads me to the next reason why kettlebells are awesome for women.

Kettlebells Save Time

We all know that exercise is important, right? Yet that doesn’t always prompt us to grab our sneakers and hit the gym. In fact, when I ask women why they don’t currently exercise, the number one reason I hear is that they don’t have time. Trust me, I get that. Human-mom, dog-mom, entrepreneur, coach, wife, writer, chef—these are all hats I wear at intervals on a daily basis. I know what it’s like to be busy and to feel like there’s no possible way I can fit exercise into the rest of my hustle.

However, with just a few minutes of exercise each day, you’ll actually be more capable of completing all of these day-to-day activities. Exercise increases energy and immunity, not to mention the requisite physical strength to tackle daily tasks like hauling groceries, moving furniture, and playing with our kids.

I remember the day I realized my son had outgrown his toddler bed, and it was time to invest in a twin. It was an emotional day to say the least! But, as was necessary, I drove to Ikea, picked out a suitable bed, and loaded it into my crossover. When I got home, I realized that I didn’t have anyone to help me bring it inside: such is the life of a single mom. So, with no other options readily available, I proceeded to hoist and haul the bed on my own—up the stairs, down the stairs, with a few breaks in between, until I finally reached my son’s bedroom. I don’t think I’d ever been so aware of the practical benefits of exercise and weightlifting until that moment.

Bottom line: exercise needs to be a priority. And strength needs to be an even bigger priority at that. Time or no time, we have to make it happen.

Because kettlebells engage the entire body in a unique way, lack of time is no longer a relevant issue. Rather than spending hours at the gym, you can complete a full-body kettlebell workout in as little as 10-20 minutes. Surprisingly, when I tell women that all they need to initially get results is 10 minutes, they don’t seem to want to believe me. And, it’s not hard to understand why.

For years we’ve been told that we need to spend absurd amounts of time in order to see results, and in turn, short workouts just seemed ineffective and too good to be true. I’ve seen training programs that call for 2 hours in the gym, and on the flip side, I’ve seen short workouts that don’t seem very effective at all. The great thing about kettlebells is that you can actually utilize them to get an intense, fat-burning, strength-building workout in very little time. Now, of course, you’ll want to take a little more time on some workouts than others, but isn’t a 10-minute workout better than no workout at all?

My philosophy on exercise is that more isn’t better–BETTER is better. So, spending more time working out is not necessarily better than being more efficient while working out. As you’ll see with the sample workout below, sometimes all you need is one kettlebell and a few basic exercises to complete a total body metabolic resistance workout.

Kettlebell Workouts are Fun

This is really the thing that keeps me exercising. Honestly, if it isn’t fun, why even do it?! As a coach, I recognize this often with my clients. If they aren’t enjoying the workouts, then they fail to be consistent—and why should they be? If they’re not enjoying themselves, then what’s the point?

I didn’t use to have this philosophy. Years ago I would grind away at the gym, often getting frustrated with myself for not performing how I thought I should. I’d beat myself up if I missed a lift or if I had to take it easy for whatever reason. Lifting weights was a means to an end for me, not an experience in and of itself. Then one day, as I watched my son play, I was reminded of a line from the romantic comedy Knocked Up.  Paul Rudd’s character, Pete, is watching his daughters play with bubbles on the playground, running around and laughing in the carefree way that children do. He ponders their play by saying:

“That’s an incredible thing about a child. I mean, what’s so great about bubbles…I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles…they’re smiling faces just point out your inability to enjoy anything.”

All jokes aside, this really hit me. Hard. Why was I grinding away at the gym again? Why wasn’t I actually enjoying this very integral part of my life?

These days I make exercise fun by incorporating yoga, bike rides on the beach, trampoline jumping with my family, stand up paddle boarding, and of course, kettlebell training. Kettlebells are especially fun as there’s just something so gratifying about tossing around a hunk of iron. And because they are so different than what we’re used to, we gain pleasure from the much-needed change of pace. Most women I speak to have a hard time sticking with an exercise routine because it bores them, but once they start using kettlebells, they experience a rush of childish play.

Kettlebells are Versatile and Travel-Friendly

It’s pretty incredible what you can do with just one kettlebell (as you’ll see in the attached beginner workout). All you need is just one moderately sized kettlebell in order to achieve an effective, total body, fat-burning workout. This makes kettlebells especially appealing to busy moms and career women, given that you can transport your kettlebell wherever you need it to go.

I’ve taken kettlebells on road trips, to the beach, to the park, and even to my girlfriend’s homes for buddy workouts (just make sure to buckle them in with seatbelts!). They’re so easy to keep at home and store out of sight when not in use. This kind of versatility makes it more likely that you’ll stay consistent as well, considering that you may not always have access to a gym.

Kettlebells are a Safe Introduction to Weightlifting

Stepping into the weight room can be intimidating at first. I know this from my own experience, and I hear it constantly from readers and clients.

I remember my first trip to the YMCA weight room. I was 17 and had just started working there as an administrative assistant. I was one of the only girls, and I had NO IDEA what I was doing. So, I just started picking up things and putting them down, messing about with no real plan or purpose. It was a little nerve-wracking, and it’s actually quite amazing that I escaped injury-free. These days I have a love affair with lifting weights, but it took years to cultivate.

As a coach, I often meet women who are afraid to either lift weights for fear of injury or are intimidated by the male-dominant weight room. I get that because I’ve been there myself. While I eventually get all of my clients to fall in love with lifting weights, I often start with kettlebells to simplify and safety-proof their workouts. You can deadlift a kettlebell far more easily than you can a barbell, and a swing is certainly more accessible to most than a barbell clean or snatch. Essentially, kettlebells offer a safe gateway to the versatile and varied world of weight lifting.

The age of women being relegated to the cardio machines is quickly coming to a close. More and more, we’re found lifting weights and accomplishing incredible feats of strength. This is an exciting time for women, and as a women’s coach, I couldn’t be more pumped. With the benefits of kettlebells in mind, I invite you to try this simple (but killer) beginner workout. I’m positive you’ll be hooked! ~Neghar

Kettlebell Workout

Ok Ladies!  Neghar’s Lean and Lovely Kettlebell Program is waiting for you to give it a try!

 

Lean & Lovely is a 12-week total transformation system, written by fitness and lifestyle expert Neghar Fonooni. It has amazing workouts, incredible nutrition information, and a tremendous focus on mindset shifting. Truly, kettlebells for women!

 

If you’re tired of living extremes, either on or off a diet or workout plan, Neghar’s Lean and Lovely program is for you! It cultivates and encourages a balanced lifestyle of fitness, fun, palatable foods, adventure, and joyful living. So not only does it utilize kettlebells (you can also do most of the program with other fitness tools like dumbbells!), but it’s completely in line with my message of balance and my core value, “Enjoy the journey!” With #LeanAndLovely, you will have everything you need to transform your body and mind- workouts, nutrition guidance, and mindset insights. If you’ve been considering trying out kettlebells, NOW is the time.

 

Find all the details HERE and grab your copy of Lean and Lovely today!

 

Enjoy the program! xo ~Jill

 

Some Tweetables!

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your program pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!
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New to Kettlebells? Here are the Top 7 Things You Need to Know

Kettlebell training changed my body. 

Even more, it changed my mind about how I should exercise for results AND how long I should exercise each day to get those results. But at one time, I was brand new to kettlebells.

Before I was introduced to kettlebells (and how to use them properly), they seemed scary and quite intimidating. I pictured some big ol’ Russian dude with a cartoon like weight lofted overhead! Ha!

Boy was I wrong! Once I used them successfully, I gained confidence that was previously lacking.

Just to clear up some of the confusion that I had in the beginning- I thought it beneficial to blog about some of the things I wish I had known from the beginning of my kettlebell journey. First of all- Starting something new doesn’t have to be scary! Because knowledge is POWER 🙂

New to Kettlebells? Here are the Top 7 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Kettlebell Training

  • What is a kettlebell?new to kettlebells

Kettlebells are essentially a “handheld gym.” It looks like a cannonball with a handle and is traditionally made from cast iron. According to Wikipedia, kettlebells have been around since the 1700’s. They were first used in Russia for weighing crops but were soon used as a strength training tool.

  • Why should I train with a kettlebell?

The kettlebell is a versatile tool! It can essentially replace nearly any other fitness tool. You no longer need dumbbells, barbells, cardio equipment, medicine balls, and more. You certainly can’t safely swing or snatch a dumbbell with the same effectiveness as a kettlebell! A dumbbell swing encourages you to raise your shoulders instead of keeping them down and back. No bueno!

This one simple tool can make you stronger, faster, and leaner, in LESS TIME than any other piece of fitness equipment. I don’t know about you, but I love ANY thing that is time efficient PLUS superior!

As a busy, homeschooling mom of 2 boys, a business owner, an involved church member, and a wife, I totally get that time is valuable! Kettlebell training allows me to workout no matter how tight my schedule gets. 🙂

It’s small enough to throw in the car and take anywhere- to the park, the beach, your friend’s house, or on vacation. I personally love the portability bonus!

Plus, you can NOT destroy the kettlebell. I can’t say the same for some of my other fitness equipment! Once you own a kettlebell, you’re good for life. In the beginning, you’ll really need just ONE. Having a variety of weights is nice, but you can get a super awesome workout with just one single bell. Down the road, you can decide whether or not to add to your kettlebell collection.

  • What size kettlebell should I purchase to start with?

It’s typically suggested that women start with an 18-pound kettlebell (8 kg) and men a 35-pound kettlebell (16 kg). If you are really strong already, as a female you could potentially decide on a 20 or 26-pound bell.

  • Where is the best place to purchase a kettlebell?

The most important aspect about the kettlebell and deciding which one to purchase is the handle! You want a smooth-ish handle, but not TOO smooth! There is a fine line!

Dragon Door is known for the selling the highest quality kettlebells on the market, so that is my top recommendation. You will not be a disappointed!

This MDUSA kettlebell is one I’ve used as well. My opinion is that they are really close to Dragon Door quality and definitely have better handles than the ones I’ve seen at local Sporting Goods stores. This MDUSA kettlebell has been my favorite, budget-friendly bell by far! (As of this writing, the MDUSA kettlebell line is widely available in less expensive than other bells of its quality.)  I have two 30 lb kettlebells from this brand. My husband and I both love them!

I have a few Apollos that I’m happy with, and CAP is a brand that is easier on the budget. It’s coated and tends to chip, but it’s a decent choice for the money.

  • How do I hold the kettlebell?

There are several ways to hold the kettlebell and it is completely dependent on the exercise you are performing.

1. Overhead hold (1 hand): This hold is used whenever the bell is over your head. Your thumb is under the handle and your fist is as parallel as possible to the ceiling. The handle is placed between your thumb and pointer finger and lays diagonally down your hand toward your wrist on your pinky finger side. Here is a great video demo of this hold. You keep a straight wrist (don’t let the bell pull your wrist backward). The overhead hold is used for shoulder presses, the Turkish Get Up, push presses, and basically any exercise where the kettlebell is over your head.

2. Handle hold (1 or 2 hands): This is when 1 or 2 hands are holding the top of handle for an exercise such as the swing, deadlift, or to carry the bell. Your thumbs are wrapped under the bell’s handle.

3. By the horns (2 hands): When you goblet squat or goblet clean, your hand position begins on the top of the handle while the kettlebell is on the ground. As you pull the bell up to chest level, your hands move around to the SIDES of the handle. This is called grabbing the bell “by the horns.”

There are certainly more advanced ways to hold a kettlebell such as a bottoms-up hold and a waiter hold, but I’ve given you the basic ways you’ll need to know to begin using kettlebells in your workout routine.

  • What types of exercises are performed with a kettlebell?

There are basically 2 types of exercises performed with a kettlebell- ballistics and grinds. Ballistic exercises are dynamic, speed movements like swings, cleans, and snatches. During these dynamic exercises, the shape and size of the kettlebell REQUIRE you stabilize to your core. This is one of the ways kettlebells work your core without doing daily ab work! (Bonus!)

Grinds are slower (strength) movements like squats, deadlifts, military presses, and Turkish Get Ups (TGUs). This will also require core stability while building strength and muscle. Grinds require full body tension while completing the exercise.

  • Can kettlebell training be effective AND fun?

Because of the kettlebell’s unique ability to train the entire body (strength and cardio), tighten your core, and encourage stability and flexibility in a short workout session, training with them is not only time efficient- it’s effective!

But is it fun?

I guess I can’t speak for everyone, but I certainly find kettlebell training super fun or I wouldn’t do it! I think it’s important to find a way to exercise that is SUSTAINABLE. Kettlebells training has become just that for me! I actually can find time to fit it in without it taking up hours of my day.

I also enjoy the challenge of getting stronger with certain exercises (like shoulder pressing a higher weight, swinging a heavier bell, etc.). I love meeting new goals that I never thought possible (like completing multiple sets of pull ups for several reps!). For me, the challenge is the fun!

The only way you’ll know if it’s fun for you is to give it a try!

Ready to start using kettlebells in your exercise program? I created Simply Kettlebells  for busy women who are interested but somewhat intimidated by kettlebells. The 8 week, DIY training program takes you through 8 weeks of kettlebell and bodyweight exercises so that you can learn the basics of kettlebell training and reap the results! It’s a downloadable program so you will have access to it forever! Find out more HERE.

Questions? Email me at jill@jilljacobs.me 🙂


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