What is a Russian Kettlebell?

imagesThrough my school years, I was an athlete in various sports that worked hard off the field to improve my game in each sport. This ‘off the field’ work included weight training, running, and other skill work.  However, I hardly noticed how much the traditional weight training had bulked me up and tightened me up, making me less functional over time. I was perhaps stronger, but my faulty training approach led to a less agile and deconditioned body. My career as an athlete ended with a slew of injuries due in large part to the dysfunctional body that my dysfunctional training had created. Although, at the time, I chalked it up to bad luck. As my disappointment and frustration persisted, I wondered, ‘What can I do to efficiently improve strength, conditioning, and mobility so that I can function better for sports and the real world?’

Eventually, I ran across an article by an interesting Russian fellow named Pavel Tsatouline. I remember being challenged in my thinking to the very principles that I had been using for years in my training. Could he be telling the truth? But everyone seemed to be training the same way I was….surely, we all couldn’t be using the wrong approach. Is there really a better way to train that would incorporate strength, conditioning, and mobility all in one package?

Seven years ago, I began lugging in this strange contraption to various gyms in Raleigh getting the strangest looks and comments from people like ‘you’re going to hurt yourself with that thing.’

What is a ‘kettlebell’?

‘A cannon ball with a handle’  is the often used description of the now popular Russian Kettlebell. They certainly are not so strange anym0re, as they are seemingly popping up in every gym in America. The kettlebell goes way back, it first appeared in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or ‘a kettlebell man’. They are now considered by many professional trainers and coaches to be the ultimate tool for extreme all-round fitness. “Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,” reported Russian magazine Hercules in 1913.

What makes a Russian Kettlebell so special? Some may say it is the kettlebell design that inherently makes it better than other free weight and machine training, but I say it is also the quality of the teacher and the training system that is equally as important and beneficial to the kettlebell trainees success.

 Join me in my next blog as I discuss ‘the whos’ and ‘the whys’ of Russian Kettlebell training.

What does flossing your teeth have to do with losing weight?

flossingNo one enjoys flossing their teeth.  The first time you  did it you probably had a mouth full of blood and perhaps swollen gums for a few days.  Some people stop flossing after the first few days because it’s downright painful.  But those who floss consistently can attest that it gets easier.  In fact, if you do it everyday for a few months, you might just get a compliment from your dentist instead of a second appointment  to fill those cavities between your teeth.
The same is true with exercise.  After your first few workouts you might be so sore that you wonder why you ever wanted to get in shape in the first place.  This kind of soreness can’t possibly be good for you, can it?  YES IT IS!  It’s exactly like flossing your teeth.  The first few times most likely will be uncomfortable.  But if you stick with it and do it on a regular basis, you might just find that it is no longer as painful as it once was.  In fact, you might even enjoy sweating!   OK, not everyone will get to this point, but it’s important to have a goal in mind so all that hard work will be worth it.  Perhaps your goal is to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol.   Or maybe it’s being able to fit into a pair of pants that you haven’t worn since high school.   Whatever your motivation, remember that reaching your goal probably won’t be easy.  Just continue to exercise on a regular basis, eat well and keep a positive attitude.  And don’t forget to floss!

Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

To Have a Healthy Mindset, Stop Focusing on the Problem

 

Don't focus on the problem, just focus on the solution.

Don’t focus on the problem, just focus on the solution.

There was once a young lady who stepped on a small piece of glass. The small chard of glass became imbedded into her foot. She said to herself “that really hurts” and she kept walking. The next day she got up in the morning and said “this hurts even worse” and looked down at her foot, it was very sore, red, and swollen around the piece of glass. As she was going through her day she couldn’t get her mind off of the pain. She said to herself “I hope this does not turn into anything serious because it keeps hurting more.”

Weeks passed and the pain was persistent. One evening at home she noticed   that her foot began to bleed and the pain became unbearable. She spent the entire night sleepless worrying about how she may lose her foot if it got any worse. She went to work the next day and her friend notice that she could barely walk and looked extremely tired and distressed. He asked her what was wrong. She said “I stepped on a piece of glass and it hurts so bad…and keeps hurting worse…and I might lose my foot if it gets to bad…and I just can’t take it anymore!” He asked her to take her shoe off and she did. Her friend asked her if she had tried to take it out. She said “well no…it really hurts!” He gave her a pair of tweezers and she pulled it out. The pain soon subsided.

Focusing on your problems and worrying yourself sick about them will not change a thing. It will just make it hurt even more. Here’s what the Bible says: “And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one inch to his stature or to the span of his life.” Mathew 6:27. We must learn to trust God and reach for Him even when the pain is unbearable. He is the only one that can give us the strength we need to face our problems. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. We may feel that the task at hand is daunting but to God it’s as simple as a pair of tweezers. All we need to do is trust in Him and take a step of action. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5.