Me, My Kettlebell And I
I try my best to lead a healthy lifestyle (without depriving myself of treats, of course) and I find that when I'm good to my body, my body's good to me.
When it comes to working out, I love exercising but I don't believe in spending hours stuck in the gym if you don't enjoy it. When the enjoyment is removed, exercise becomes a chore and motivation gets lost. Then you're back to square one, feeling deflated (and probably waisting a lot of money on a gym membership that is gathering dust in your purse).
I believe in listening to your own body and working out a fitness routine that's right for you, whether that's lifting weights, practicing yoga, busting out some Zumba moves or just taking a short walk around the block to get your heart rate up. Exercise isn't just about seeing the physical results; it's about how it makes you feel - before, during and after. If it's making you feel anything but happy, content and the kind of tired where you want to do it all again, be true to your body and re-evaluate what;s best for you.
I like my exercise regime to be varied but one of my favourite workouts is my kettlebell routine. Kettlebell exercises are so special because they offer a total body workout, with the benefits of resistance training and cardiovascular conditioning. This short series of kettlebell movements gets me lovely and sweaty in minutes. It's quick, tiring and I get exactly what I want from it; strong, lean muscles that improve my day-to-day mobility.
So, here's a breakdown of a few of my favourite kettlebell movements and how to perform them correctly.
This is a great move for your core, glutes, hips, legs and shoulders. Start with your feet hip width apart and hold the kettlebell with both hands between your legs - arms straight. Lower yourself into a squat position. As you exhale, press your weight into your heels and swing the kettlebell up to eye level.
This move targets your flutes, hamstrings and quads. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your toes slightly pointed out and hold the kettlebell by the horns (where the handle meets the bell). Sit down between your knees, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Go down as low as you can while keeping your feet flat on the floor. If your heels come up, widen your stance. At the bottom, push your knees out with your elbows then push back up through your heels and stand tall.
This squat works wonders for your inner thighs and glutes! Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders with your toes pointed out. Hold the kettlebell in two hands so it hangs between your legs. Keeping your pelvis and upper body straight, lower your body until your tights are parallel to the floor. Don't worry if you can't get there - work towards it!
This is the perfect exercise for your abs. Sit with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold the kettlebell with both hand close to the chest. Lean back to a 45 degree angle and rotate the torso from left to right, twisting at the waist. If you want to increase the difficultly level, lift your feet off the floor.
This move is a fantastic total-body move and great for targeting the obliques and sculpting the waist. Stand with feet slightly wider than your hips, left foot pointing straight and right foot pointing out. Press the kettlebell overhead with your left arm with your palm facing upwards. Keeping your left arm straight at all times (I keep my right arm straight too facing down towards the floor), push your hip out to the left and slowly lean to the right until your right hand brushes the floor, making sure that you look up to the kettlebell. Pause for a moment then return back to your starting position.
This movement targets your arms, shoulders, back and core. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and in a squat position. Keeping your back straight and your glutes engaged, hold the kettlebell in your right hand and swing it back between your legs, switching hands. With the kettlebell now in your left hand, swing it around the outside of your left leg and bring it back through your legs, switching back to your right hand.
Lunges are great for working your core, glutes and legs. Stand upright with your right foot forward in a wide stance, making sure that your knee does not extend past your toes. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand with your arm close to your side. If you prefer, you can hold the kettlebell in two hands against your core, keeping your elbows in at the waist. Lower your left knee until it almost touches the floor, then slowly straighten it again to complete the rep.
What are your favourite exercises?