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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

 

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