This morning has been one of the best weekday mornings in a long time. Why hadn’t I thought of taking two morning off from work every week before now??
I took my time getting up, journaled, then decided on a morning run (I really love morning workouts!). My horrendous blisters are still healing from this past Sunday’s 4-miler in my Vibram FiveFingers, so I figured I’d put some bandages on ‘em and be running in my Asics this week.
[Yowzahs! Keep in mind it’s been three whole days since I got these bad boys!]
When it came time to lace up the sneaks, however, everything in me said I don’t wanna!!. My Vibrams were calling me (truth be told, I’m not sure I’ll ever want to run in traditional “shoes” again). I placed bandages on my blisters and then moleskined the bejeezus out of my foot where all the seams are [I’m seriously bummed about how badly the Sprints suck for blistering around the seams after about 2 miles], and then I took off.
Unfortunately, the moleskin and bandaids on my blisters didn’t last long and I had to call it quits about two miles in, but it was a great morning run nonetheless! I can’t explain how good it feels to run in these Vibrams – how much more I enjoy the experience of running and how much easier it all seems (maybe that has to do with my experience with running in general?). I don’t know what I’m going to do while my Vibrams are being fixed soon (I have to send them back because one of my top seams is coming apart – BOO!).
But I digress
I got home and decided that I wanted to try Shred It with Weights with my new kettlebell again so that I could do a review for you all.
[Either they seriously Photoshop-ed Jillian or she really looks like a cartoon character in real life.]
I first heard about kettlebells in the SparkPeople community, and then the Wellness Center I teach TurboKick at found an instructor for the unique fitness technique. I’ve heard amazing things about the ways in which a kettlebell routine works your muscles and helps tone many parts of your body (just what I need). I also really like the thought of a single piece of equipment changing one’s physique, so last week I got my very own kettlebell.
I did a bit of research and found that 15lbs would be a good – challenging – starting weight for someone like me, who has experience with weights and is generally fit. I got mine from Sports Authority on sale for about $30 and then decided that I needed a video to help me learn some moves and keep me motivated. Enter Jillian Michaels: Expert at kicking my ass with her at-home workouts. I originally wanted Bob Harper’s kettlebell DVD (because I’ve heard great things from SP members about it), but this was the only kettlebell-related DVD they had at Costco, so I snatched it for $8!
I’m so glad I did.
The DVD is meant for kettlebells, but if you don’t have one, they show you how to do all the moves with a regular dumbbell as well. As always, Jillian is backed up by one person who modifies moves for beginners (or those who want to take it easier), and one person who does all the ridiculously challenging options (sometimes I’m rendered inactive simply watching her). There are two twenty-five minute workouts included in the DVD: Level One and Level Two. I’ve only done Level One as of now, but I took a sneak peek at Level Two and it looks insane! I can’t wait til I’m strong enough from Level One to move on .
So, my review of Level One?
The Pros: It’s challenging, for sure, but totally do-able. I really appreciate the way Jillian breaks it down into circuits (three moves are repeated twice and then we move on to a different circuit) as well as her positive commentary (I know some people hate Jillian’s commentary, but I find it encouraging!). It makes the time pass quickly.
Because I had never worked with kettlebells before, the first thing I did was check out her “kettlebell tutorial”, which was informative and necessary for me. The way in which the kettlebell is handled is much different than, say, a dumbbell or a medicine ball. A lot of the moves ask you to lock your knees and omit sheer core strength, and connecting with the breath is essential for this workout.
I definitely think Level One works for beginners–even if you’re not used to weight training–, but you’ll want a lighter kettlebell (they use 10lbs in the DVD and they’re
crazy experts!) and you’ll also want to pay close attention to what Jillian’s comments on form to avoid injury. To me, the workout doesn’t feel so much like a weight training workout as it does a core workout. But the way I feel the next few days definitely
make me believe that it’s a weight workout.
The cons: A lot of the exercises focus on the core and lower back (which is a very sensitive area for me). I definitely don’t want another lower back injury, so I focus on listening to my body and not overdoing it (which everyone should do always). I have high hopes that eventually these routines will help strengthen my back, but until then I’ll take it easy with the twisting and jerking movements.
Secondly, since I’m still not totally used to it, I worry that the bell will go flying out of my hands and crashing through the window (which I hear is a common concern that typically doesn’t come to fruition, so I’m not too worried about it ). And lastly, the tops of my forearms are really tender (I bet they’d be bruised if I ever bruised) as the weight falls on that area quite a bit. I think I just have to get accustomed to that.
Regardless of your ability level, be prepared to be sore the next few days – I found that simply walking felt like a workout yesterday. And also prepare to feel strong –my quads feel powerful, my core feels strong… it’s a great feeling!
Overall, I love the workout! It works me in places I never thought possible (and I’ve been weight training for years) and leaves me wanting more! The twenty-five minutes fly by but not in the aw man, I didn’t even get a workout kind of way (trust me, I sweat with this workout).
I can’t wait to get Bob’s DVD and expand my kettlebell routine! It’s already one of my favorite pieces of equipment.
Morning workout : CHECK
Now I’m off to eat my sweet potato oats – Mmm…
[In the mix: 1/4 c steel cut oats, 2 tsp chia seeds, 1/2 c water, 1/4 almond milk, 1 tiny Okinawan sweet potato (cooked and mashed), 1 Tsbp coconut butter, and a dash of cinnamon. Topped with almonds and coconut flakes]
…then put in half a day at the office, teach a TurboKick class, and finish with a few hours of Human Behavior in the Social Environment!
Happy Hump Day, friends!
What’s your favorite at-home workout? Have you tried kettlebells yet?