Kettlebells: How Do I Get Started?

10 Jan

FC2FC_kettlebells-6 (1)

It is time for part 2 of my kettlebell post.  I hope everyone found something interesting and informative in part one.  I just want to preface this post by saying that I think that all things fitness and nutrition have implied asterisks on them.  What works for me, may not work for you.  What you like, I might hate.  I love using kettlebells as my strength training, and I double love that it also is a form of cardio.  I am not diminishing any other form of exercise.  If it gets you off your tush and gets your heart rate up then it is a okay in my book.  In general, women do not do strength training enough, so my goal is to de-stigmatize this.  If you get your strength training on a machine, with a kettlebell, or other free weights then BAM I am happy!  If you are only chugging away at cardio…I want to convert you!

Without further adieu….

Part 2 of 3:

How do I get started using kettlebells?

  • Get a kettlebell.  Start with one that is heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you risk injury or that you simply can’t use to get through 1 round of short reps.
  • Read up, watch videos, get a dvd something to introduce you to the world of kb’s and the various exercises (part 3 will be about various exercises).
  • Get in front of a full length mirror and work on the various exercise forms.  This is extremely important.  How we feel we are moving, is often not how we are actually moving.  Spend the time getting comfortable with the correct form and how to do the exercises correctly.
  • Master one move, such as a full swing.  Start doing some reps with this move, and get comfortable with handling the kettlebell.
  • Once you get one move down, branch out and start to increase your arsenal of killer kettlebell exercises.
  • Once you get going, you may want to get lifting gloves.  My hands get really sweaty by the end of my workout, and it gets nerve wracking to hang on the kb with sweaty hands.
  • Spot check yourself from time to time with that mirror.  I still do this, because poor posture and such will creep into your form.  This helps you make corrections before you cause an injury.
  • Talk it up.  Talk with me and any other resource your can find online if you have questions.  I am by no means an expert, but I Google the crap out of something, and have done a decent amount of research on the topic.

Strength Training Myths (re-purposed from an earlier post)

  1. Muscles does NOT weigh more than fat.  Think about that common incorrect saying.  How would a pound of muscle weigh more than a pound of fat?  A pound is a pound is a pound.  One benefit to muscle over fat is that muscle is more dense, which means that a pound of muscle takes up a lot less space on your body than a pound of fat.
  2. Weight/Strength training will NOT necessarily cause you to bulk up.  If you are not training to be a body builder, you are not going to bulk up to look like one.  They put in an insane amount of work and effort to look they way they do.  They eat very specific diets and workout like mad to achieve that level of muscle mass.  Swinging your 10 or 15lb kettlebell 3 or 4 times a week is not going to make you ready to compete for the cover of Muscle & Fitness.  Women, especially, do not have the testosterone levels needed to “bulk up”.  Incorporating weights into your exercise arsenal will, however, begin to increase your muscle mass, which will help you speed up your metabolism.  Also, why would you not want to look strong and healthy when the fat melts off?
  3. Weight/Strength training will NOT necessarily cause you to gain weight.  It can, but not in a bad way.  When I added kettlebell to my weekly exercise regime, I did see a slow down in my weight loss.  That was primarily due to the fact that I was slowing/stopping the loss of muscle mass that I was losing with my fat.  Stick with the strength training regardless of what the scales say.  I promise if you are eating healthy and working out regularly the scale will catch up to your efforts.  Notice during the time when the scale stops moving or even goes up a little, how your body feels.  I imagine you will start to feel leaner and stronger.  Let your body be the guide and the scale will follow.

Do you currently strength train?  What do you do if you are?  What is stopping you from picking up that weight if you are not?

Stay Strong and Keep Moving,


14 Responses to “Kettlebells: How Do I Get Started?”

  1. Jan in SoDak January 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks for the strength training posts! It’s the one area that I always skip and your post(s) just reinforce what I know to be true, but choose to ignore! Thanks for the motivation and information!

  2. Nicole January 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    YESSS!! I hear the same thing from the women at the gym…”Aren’t you afraid of bulking up?” How I wish people would do research before they step into a gym. That myth is the #1 reason why you do not see women in the weight room!

    But, I love it because I AM the only woman in the weight room. I’ve gained much rapport with the men. Don’t become a slave to the treadmill!!!

    My current plan is a 4 day work week. Monday is Chest&Triceps, Tuesday is Back&Biceps, Wednesday is Rest, Thursday is Legs, Friday is Shoulders (sometimes Friday is a rest day, depending on what I have on my plate that week.) I have a list of 20-25 exercises for each muscle group. I choose 6-10 to do that day (i.e. 4 exercises for chest and 4 for triceps for a total of 8 exercises.) It will take me about an hour to do 10-12 reps in 3 sets for each exercise with about 45 seconds of rest in between.

    Then I do about 30 minutes of cardio, usually the Couch 2 5K program. I’m on Week 2. I spent 4 weeks on Week 1 to build up my cardiovascular strength. I’ve been on Week 2 for 2 weeks now. I probably won’t go to Week 3 until mid-January.

    It has been 220 days since I started and I’ve lost 68 pounds.

    Whatever we are doing, keep it up! It seems to be paying off, whether kettlebells or barbells.

    • fatchicktofitchick January 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Awesome plan! Thanks for sharing your workout tips and keep it up chick! that is great results!

  3. dantecarterfitness January 10, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    It’s true. Lifting weights will not cause you to “bulk” up; many people spend years and years training that way to get that way. To be specific some women that look like men in that case, take steroids to get that way. Now what I love most about your post is that you’re challenging women to get moving! THANK YOU! WE share the same vision and I hope many women come across your blog in order to get moving and lifting!

  4. transformationpics January 11, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    Let the pics reflect, my wife has not “bulked up” from strength training, & she has been tearing it up in the gym 🙂 Good post

    • fatchicktofitchick January 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks! Your wife is gorgeous. She is most definitely not “bulky” 😉

  5. Angela @ Honey, I Shrunk the Mom January 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Great advice! Have you read the book called “The Swing”?
    It gives great information and excellent illustration for teaching you “form”. I also have the Jillian Michaels kettlebell DVD and there is a section on the DVD where she goes over form. I haven’t done a lot of kettlebell workouts, but I’m learning. From what I understand, a person can seriously injure themselves if they aren’t using proper form (like you mentioned). I know the visual of the book and DVD were really helpful for me so I wanted to mention them in case there are any other beginners, like me, out there. 🙂

    • fatchicktofitchick January 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Awesome Angela! I am so getting that book. Thank you for sharing with us! Extremely helpful.

  6. Silly Girl's Momma January 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    Thanks again for all of the information. I feel that posts come when I need them the most and your posts are helping me find the motivation to lift. I just posted in my blog how not lifting has left me with lots of skin! I gave you a shout out for your motivation. Now on to another round of kettlebells. Can’t wait to read part 3!

    • fatchicktofitchick January 15, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks again chick for spreading the word. I am so glad you are finding the posts useful!

  7. Bri January 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I have seen the picture of 5 lbs of fat versus 5 lbs of muscle hundreds of times & it never ceases to amaze me. I know that my scale isn’t moving very fast right now but I can feel my body getting stronger & my clothes fitting better. That’s what really counts.

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