Archive for June, 2011

Manduka Lyrics cork yoga block

I’ve just discovered that if you stand a yoga block up on its end, it’s the same height as a kettlebell.  This is great news for doing push-ups using kettlebells, because you can match the height of one of your kettlebells to the block, and then use them both to stabilize yourself when going down.  This won’t help you if you’re going to alternate push ups with rows, but it is useful if you only have one or two kettlebells at your disposal that are different heights.  In fact, I’ve seen some kettlebell push ups done with one hand on the floor and the other on a bell, and I would advice against that, especially if your shoulders give you any trouble, that’s a recipe for disaster because it puts your body out of alignment.

Try the block, and get it ready for my new workout coming soon… Yoga and Kettlebells together.  (I’ve been promising it for a while, but i think it just needs a few more tweaks…!)

I tried my first “Pilates Mat” class the other day.  I’ve done GTS in the past, which is kick ass… but I had no idea what to expect from a mat class.  Do you ever have days when things just seem doomed from the start?

As I was walking to class, I almost got run over by a little Prius going way too fast.  A few minutes later I discovered it was my Pilates instructor.  Wow, welcome to Pilates!  She smiled and apologized, but all I could think about was how I had to spend the next hour taking instructions from this idiot who forced me to leap out of a crosswalk to save myself.


Yes, some things are just doomed from the start.

But here’s the real downer: the class was easy as hell.

The 60 minutes I spent on the mat would have been much better served swinging kettlebells.  In fact, if you add up the time spent getting to and from class, I easily wasted 90 minutes and I could have spent a fraction of that time getting a better workout in my basement with my kettlebells.

Here’s the deal:  Kettlebells work your core on every exercise.  It’s the design of the bell, coupled with the dynamic and ballistic movements and the sheer power behind every swing… it’s a full body workout you just can’t replicate.  Your core has to work hard on every exercise in order to stay balanced and stabilize yourself.  There’s no way you can swing a 16KG kettlebell around (35 pounds) without a developing a tremendous amount of core strength.  And again, I have to say that I spend less time getting a better workout with kettlebells.  If you’re not sweating in the first 5 minutes, give me a call!  After 20 minutes of kettlebells you’ll be fully into an amazing strength and cardio workout.

I don’t think I’ll be going back to Pilates anytime soon… especially from the speed demon, but I am about to put on some Fatboy Slim and do 200 Figure 8’s to a hold.  Time me… it will be faster than a mat class!

Peace Out,


*Update on the 200 reps:  It took me 15 minutes (or 3 Fatboy Slim tracks) and 1/6 of the time I wasted the other day.  Here’s the workout:

Kettlebells used: 8KG, 12KG, 16KG (yellow, green and red)

Music: Wonderful Night, Right Here Right Now, The Rockafeller Skank

The Movement: Figure 8’s to a hold on each rotation

20 reps warm up: 8 KG

200 Reps: 5 sets of 20 reps, start with 12KG

water break

5 sets of 20 reps, again alternating between heavier kettlebells

20 reps cool down: 8KG

240 reps total, 15 minutes

Two days later you will still feel all the muscles in your core (in a good way!)

For years my husband has been telling me that it’s impossible to spot-reduce.  He tells me this as I’m trying to knock out bunches of sit-ups before bikini season.  But we’ve had this same debate since 1995.  True that.  1995 this debate started… and here we are 16 years later: Me, still doing sit-ups.  Him, still going on about the so-called myth of “spot-reducing”.

For me, there’s always been a shred of doubt as to whether this was, in fact, “a myth”.  So I keep on keeping on.  Recently, there have been some studies that have shown that one can, in fact, spot-reduce despite years of research to the contrary.  So I open this debate on my kettlebell blog because we are all fitness fanatics here and great minds have valuable input.  So I’d like to start this debate with one simple question:

“What is your goal?”

If you tell me your goal is to reduce some belly fat by summer, then I would suggest doing some abdominal work.  “WAIT!”, you say…”I’ve heard you can’t spot-reduce!”

My response: “It’s a question of semantics.”  My suggestion was to “spot-train” a particular area of your body vs. attempting to “spot-reduce” your belly fat.

The good news is, you absolutely can spot-train a particular area of your body to build muscle.  No controversy over this statement.  You want big biceps, do bicep curls everyday.  6 months later take a tape measure to your bicep.

But here’s the thing:  The more muscle you gain, the faster your body burns fat.  Building muscle in a particular “trouble-area” will burn overall fat, but it will also improve the look of that particular area.  When the fat burns off from increased exercise and increased muscle gain, then we will be able to see your 6-pack abs.

So call it what you will, but if you have a desire to spot-reduce, then spot-train.  Now go do some kettlebell sit-ups… Summer is just days away!


In my last post I introduced the Vegas Workout.  Whew! … that took a lot of time, so today I am going to suggest a quickie:

10 Burpees

10 Kettlebell Situps

20 Burpees

20 Kettlebell Situps

30 Burpees (you can do it!)

30 Kettlebell Situps

Then work your way back down… we’re still pyramiding here.

Beat me!  If your abs aren’t screaming, do it again and let me hear about it!

Music this evening… a little vintage Keith Urban from 2002, turned up loud.

Keith Urban in concert, 2007

Image via Wikipedia