It is official. I am hooked on working out with kettlebells!
I have been having a blast with Sarah Lurie’s GoFit Kettlebells the Iron Core Way DVD Volume 1, 2, and 3 and I highly recommend checking them out.
(psst…did you know that Target sells the Gofit kettlebells? Put one on your shopping list!)
Not only has Sarah challenged my every muscle this week, she was also gracious enough to answer my questions about kettlebells, her training, and fitness in general.
She is currently 8 months pregnant with her first child and still works out with kettlebells and does yoga several times per week. Sarah is the owner/operator of Iron Core, a kettlebell only training facility in San Diego, California. Sarah is definitely “one fit mommy-to-be”!
Please read her interview below to find out why kettlebells are better than free weights and how they will help you get a heart-shaped booty!
Q: How did you start training with kettlebells?
I started training with kettlebells when I was competing in figure competitions about 6 years ago. No one knew what they were much less how to use them, but I found some information on the Internet about how to do the swing and the Turkish Get Up. I incorporated these two exercises into my traditional dumbbell/weightlifting routine and was amazed at the results I was getting. I really leaned out in my hips, thighs and abdominal area within a matter of weeks. And, I gained strength. To be able to be stronger without getting bulky muscles was a dream come true for me. That really intrigued me and I found the RKC or Russian Kettlebell Challenge certification. I signed up and when I came back (it is a 3 day physical and mental challenge) I couldn’t go back to a traditional weightlifting routine- dumbbells and machines no longer made any sense to my body!
Q: What sets them apart from training with traditional free weights and machines?
Unlike traditional methods of weightlifting, kettlebell exercises work all the major muscle groups simultaneously, so you get a full body workout with almost every exercise. In addition, the dynamic, ballistic movements are unlike the traditional isolated exercises, so your heart rate gets up and stays up throughout the workout., which means you are getting a cardio and strength training workout in one. Usually, with traditional methods of exercise, you need to get on the treadmill for 45 minutes, then go into the weight room for 45 minutes. Kettlebell workouts combine both, so you get better results in the half the time of a traditional free weight or machine workout- you really sweat during a kettlebell workout. And the heavier weight you use, the higher your heart rate will be, so you burn more fat. Women especially need to understand this concept. It is fine to begin with a 15 lb kettlebell until you master the basics, but if you want results you need to use more resistance. Most of my female clients use 25-35 lb kettlebells for their workouts and I use at least a 35 lb kettlebell, but most often 45 lbs and up. I promise, you won’t bulk up ladies!
Q: Now that you are pregnant (congratulations!), how have you had to adapt your training?
My pregnancy has been fantastic and I credit some of that to the fact that I was fit before getting pregnant. I am 37 years old and this will be our first child, but I have more energy than ever! I was able to do my regular workout routine up until about the 6 -month. Now at 8 months, I have had to drop down the size kettlebell I use and I am just sticking with the basics- swings, squats, cleans, presses, windmills, Turkish Get Ups and snatches and limit my kettlebell workouts to 3 half hour sessions per week with a Yoga class two other days per week. My goal is to begin walking with my baby in a carrier within the first week postpartum and build back up to kettlebell workouts by the 4th or 6th week postpartum. Walking with your baby in a carrier (if you can) will promote core strength and build up your cardiovascular health, so I have bought a bunch of the wrap styles and don’t plan on using the stroller too often.
Q: What advice do you have for those who say they do not have time for exercise?
I know how it feels to “not have time to exercise”. As a gym owner and fitness entrepreneur and soon to be mom, my days are filled. There actually was a period of about 6 months where I sporadically exercised, because I convinced myself I didn’t have time. Well, I figured out that I actually was filling that 30 or 45 minute exercise time slot with unimportant tasks- things that could wait. So, I started eliminating the unimportant things and tasks that could wait. If I have a training session planned, I don’t begin anything that will run into that time slot. If you can’t motivate yourself enough or be disciplined enough to do this, your health (mental and physical) will suffer. We are meant to be physical and our bodies need to be challenged – think about how women lived before the industrial revolution- their days were filled with physical tasks, not sitting on their butt’s answering emails, or talking on cell phones all day! All Mom’s are busy and I can imagine that once our baby is born, life will be turned upside down, but I made a promise to myself to carve out 30 minutes at least 3 times a week to workout. (I have a post-natal kettlebell workout DVD planned that includes your child. My goal is to show women, they can do more than walk with their baby).
Q:Tell us more about Iron Core Fitness. Where is it and what makes it different from a traditional gym?
Iron Core is located in San Diego, California. We started back in 2004 in a small 900 square foot space and in 2007 moved to a large 6,000 square foot facility. We only teach kettlebells, so you won’t come to our gym to learn Yoga or Pilates or use machines. In addition, the kettlebell workout is addicting because you are forced to focus on your form throughout the workout, which keeps you “present”. I also credit Iron Core instructors for making Iron Core the special place it is. All of our instructors were former students, which makes we very proud. They are a dedicated group of people who love kettlebells and are the best at what they do. They have a passion for the fitness modality, but also understand the needs of the beginning to advanced student, and above all they are all humble and patient. Their main focus is teaching our students how to get better, which you won’t find at most places.
Q: How many times per week should I workout with kettlebells?
Kettlebell workouts can be done everyday if you choose- before I opened Iron Core, I worked out with kettlebells 6 days a week. But, for most people 3 to 5 days a week is a good goal, with 3 days being the most realistic because of our busy lifestyles.
Q: Is working with a kettlebell safe for those who might suffer from wrist pain or injury?
I have seen almost every injury since opening my gym and working with the wide variety of people I do. One common injury I see is carpel tunnel. Working with these clients has been rewarding, because within the first week their pain began to subside and over time, they reported no pain. Holding on to the kettlebell while performing the movements makes your forearms and wrists super strong.
Q: What are your favorite exercises and why?
My favorite kettlebell exercises are mostly the basics, because I never get bored of them- the swing, clean and press, snatch and squats, but I love the single leg squat or pistol, overhead squats and single leg deadlifts. All these exercises really work your rear end, legs and abdominal muscles. My body is pretty lean on top, but if I don’t work the bottom half in each workout I don’t feel I get the results I desire. Plus, ask any woman what part of her body she wants to change and the most popular answer will be her butt. Almost every kettlebell exercise (especially the basics) work your hamstrings and glutes. The trim little heart shaped booty you get from swings is something that alluded me for years from traditional workouts.
A word about your pre-baby body- I am sure most women have watched their bodies change tremendously during pregnancy and wondered whether they would ever look like they did before the baby- I know I have. As the days progress, not only is my stomach getting bigger, but my hips are too! The most important thing I can do for myself and my body is eat really clean and exercise. I know I can get back into my pre-baby shape if I can keep my good habits now. Being pregnant is no excuse not to exercise or eat healthfully- in fact it should be a priority for you and your baby. And, the earlier you develop these habits, the quicker your body will “bounce” back after baby. By no means am I advocating a “diet” or extreme exercise of any sort, but I am recommending you pay attention to everything that goes into your mouth and make time to exercise at least 3 times a week.
Thank you again Sarah and congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family!
Now gang, as Sarah has just told us, it is time to “eat clean and exercise”.
No excuses, get moving!