My Kettlebell Journey
Have you ever heard the story about the Russian pencil?
Back in the 1960's the US and Russia were in the depths of the space race trying to one-up each other. They were going back in forth with satellite launches, putting monkeys into space, and ultimately landing people on the moon. The US was technically superior to the Russians but not necessarily as resourceful. What the Russians lacked in technology they made up for with brute determination.
Operating in space offers a whole other level of complexity compared to working in the cozy confines of our atmosphere - Even the simplest of things like pens will not work in zero gravity. In fact, the US poured thousands of dollars and many hours into devising a pen that would work in space and had many failures. The Russians, on the other hand, simply chose to use a pencil. It's a classic example how simple solutions based on fundamentals often win-out over fancy technologies or the latest trends, and it relates to fitness as much as space travel.
I've never been one to buy into the latest fitness trends followed by the masses because the "m" is usually silent. I find the best exercise to stay fit is the one I'll actually do. However, one fitness trend that recently caught my interest is kettlebell workouts and it's because they're not so much a trend as they are an old school Russian device from the 1800's that have only recently caught on in Canada. As mentioned above, Russians have a reputation for being no-nonsense and resourceful, so I figured there must be something to these cannonballs with a handle.
I've exercised on and off over the years but would never consider myself of athletic build. Although I'm in decent shape for my age (5'9', 180 lb, 40 y/o male), muscle tone and endurance have never come easily for me. That is until I discovered kettlebell workouts - Unique exercises that produce results without spending a bunch of money or investing a ton of time. They're the Russian pencil of exercise equipment - Simple devices that can be used anywhere while addressing cardio, strength, and flexibility in one workout. Previously my workout routines consisted of jogging and calisthenics, and though they helped my endurance they were not producing noticeable results to my physique. My goal was to become more toned and fit as opposed to building muscle bulk.
The guys at Flaman Fitness in Saskatoon helped me select the proper weight and type of kettlebell for my needs, explained their benefits, and pointed me in the direction of a few YouTube video workouts. Within three months of working out three times a week with kettlebells for 30 minute sessions I saw more results than the previous two years of my jogging/calisthenics routine. My workouts have produced visible results that encourage me to keep up with the routine. I now feel stronger throughout my whole body, my muscles are firmer, belly fat has reduced, and my cardio endurance has been maintained. Kettlebells can be tricky to use because of their odd shape and proper technique is key to prevent injury, but once you get the hang of things they become fun to use and there are many different workouts to choose from.
I likely could have produced similar results going to a fitness club, using fancy machines and lifting free weights, but I don't have time for that. I did not want to become a gym rat nor did I want to build muscle for the sake of bulk. I've arguably reached the mid point of my life and for me being healthy means being functionally fit - I want to feel good, easily lift things around the house, confidently climb ladders, swing an ax with authority, climb a hill without panting, and look good for my family. Kettlebell workouts have helped me achieve this, and I have Russian resourcefulness and Flaman Fitness expertise to thank.
About Harley Rivét: In the interest of full disclosure I work with Flaman Fitness as a digital marketing consultant, so if you're thinking this post was solicited then you'd be right. That said, my experience with using kettlebells is real and so are the results which I owe partly to the staff at Saskatoon Flaman Fitness for pointing me in the right direction and offering workout advice.