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Kettlebells: An Investment with Healthy Dividends

December 18, 2007 01:37 PM


Whether or not you're a Boomer like me, all of us get bombarded with scary headlines and seductive investment come-ons. But I've actually found the perfect investment for my retirement: Kettlebells! What else is 100% guaranteed to make you feel good, look better, and help turn back the clock?


I've always been a pretty active person, but as a wife, mom, and Pilates instructor, I've never had much time to worry whether or not I was getting a balanced work out. After all, I was teaching 9 Pilates classes a week and figured I should be in great shape, shouldn't I?

But something was missing: My back hurt; I was losing upper body strength and bone mass; I wasn't getting a cardio workout, and I was just plain tired. I had also been seeing a physical therapist for a couple of years, trying to correct some issues when I realized that something had to change. At 43, middle age was definitely rearing its ugly head. I needed something, but what? I wasn't at all motivated to go with traditional conditioning programs that would supposedly take care of my problems. Hanging out at a gym lifting weights, running, or aerobics was not my idea of fun, let alone a good use of my time. As a natural skeptic, I approached Kettlebells very cautiously. I started attending Andrea DuCane's classes, who introduced me to the magic of Kettlebells. Within weeks of using Kettlebells, the issues my physical therapist worked on for over two years were corrected!

As I progressed, I saw my strength, endurance and body change more than I had ever experienced. I was now heart and soul sold on the philosophy, mentality, and methods of Pavel and my little black bells. I felt like a changed person. So much so, that I received my RKC certification last year.


One of my students recently gave me the ultimate compliment when she said that I look like a "farm girl." What she meant was someone having functional strength, which is exactly what I want for my clients, many of whom are middle-aged women.

Strength is completely underrated in our society. Most people think their skeletal structure (i.e. bones) is the source of movement, and consequently the source of their aches and pains. We all have injuries from one thing or another, and they tend to start bothering us the older we get. That's because we are losing that all-important muscle mass! If they aren't cared for and developed, our bones are left to take on the strain. From training with Kettlebells, I've learned how our muscles are the real foundation for our bodies. And best of all, Kettlebells offers a balanced approach to putting on muscle mass that other workouts can't match:

    Kettlebell exercises are designed to develop functional strength. They work our 'non-mirror' muscles, the muscles we need to help us get through our days: the back of our legs, our buttocks, and our back muscles. They're called 'non-mirror' because most forms of exercise neglect them in favor of the muscles we can see, like abs and biceps. Fortunately, Kettlebells takes care of that!
    I am struck with how people carry themselves and what actually makes us look old. Our posture has a lot more to do with aging well than any amount of wrinkles. Again, strengthening our back and buttocks, helps us walk taller. One of my clients was ecstatic that after 3 weeks of Kettlebells, she grew three inches. She just learned to carry her body differently.
    Here's the real hook for me with Kettlebells: it's so efficient! My German heritage leaves me no choice but to be impatient with anything that wastes my time. I like efficiency! Lifting weights in a gym just isn't a good use of my precious time, but with the rapid results my student's and I get from Kettlebells, we can get in the best shape of our lives and still have a life left over. Effective and efficient: I'm in love!


But there have been some added benefits as well. I actually have some definition in my arms; my rear is looking better than it has for quite some time; and I actually have a waistline! I also have more endurance, and more energy to get through my day. So in addition to feeling great, I feel like I look great!


But I have to tell you about my husband. The only exercise he's ever been interested in is golf. He likes to work out the least of anyone I know and had gained about 20 pounds since we got married. Getting buff was definitely not something he was interested in. So I found something he was interested in. I bet him that if he could drop 15 pounds in 6 weeks, I'd finally concede to purchasing the big screen TV he has always wanted. (Women just don't understand the need for those things.) Anyway, much to my surprise, he did it! He started swinging KB's about 10-15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. He added in some presses after he felt like he had gained some strength. Since that time, he has lost an additional 5 lbs, and is looking quite nice! He seriously tells me every other day, "Kettlebells has changed my life." If that isn't a testimonial, I don't know what is!


My clientele is varied, but most are middle aged and finding they need to be proactive with their health. Their investment in Kettlebells is allowing them to take control of their health and live the kind of life they want to live, whether that means improving their golf game, running marathons, or just knowing that they will be able to pick up their grandchildren. Many are even starting to get their kids involved as they begin to recognize the benefits that Kettlebells can have with their favorite sports. By learning to engage the powerful hip flexors and glutes, these kids are not only competing at a higher level, they are establishing fantastic health habits that will last a lifetime.


Like my students are finding out, Kettlebells has helped me to better understand my body, how it functions, how it moves, and what it needs to operate. That knowledge is something I apply to every aspect of my life and it will only be more important the older I get. But the most gratifying thing, from a motivational level, is that I feel and look better than I did in my twenties! And that's just the kind of dividend that I need to keep me focused on making Kettlebells a regular investment in my health. Thank you Pavel!

Marty Larson