Why This Exercise-Averse Mom is Trying Kettlebell Workouts

3 Reasons to Try a Kettlebell (Even if you hate exercise)

I hate to exercise and so I never do it.

(When I say “exercise” I’m referring to “working out,” i.e. exercising for exercising’s sake. I.e., running in one spot, lifting the same heavy piece of equipment over and over again, etc. It’s not that I hate all physical exertion. I’m happy to ride my bike long distances if I have a destination in mind, or lifting and carrying things to improve our back yard. I love to swim and dance and take long walks. I just hate any of the stuff that goes on in a gym.)

There are two major factors that contribute to my exercise aversion:

1. It feels so pointless.

Obviously people exercise for a reason (i.e. the goal is weight loss, increased strength and endurance, etc). But I have never derived any satisfaction out of physical exertion without an immediate purpose or goal. Like I said — if I need to get somewhere, I get a thrill out of biking there. I don’t mind “feeling the burn” while toiling in the garden.

But if, at the end of the session, all I’ve done is gotten myself sweaty, I kind of feel like I’ve wasted my time.

I’m a naturally thin person. (I’m sorry.*) I have no interest in losing weight. I’m happy with my body shape. So it’s hard to set achievable goals, aside from being able to do X number of reps. Which isn’t particularly inspiring to me.

*(If it helps, I started getting acne at eleven — a full four years before I hit puberty — and it doesn’t seem to be letting up now that I’m thirty. My boobs are about the size of an eleven-year-old’s too, but saggy now, because I breastfed for over two years. So we all have our aesthetic crosses to bear.)

2. I have two kids who don’t sleep.

In spite of trying every trick on the Internet, our four-year-old doesn’t seem to need more than about nine hours of sleep. Which is exactly the same amount of sleep I need. Plus my one-year-old likes to have a two-hour play session every night around 2am.

I’m a stay-at-home mom who works hard to cook from scratch, educate my children, and save every dollar I can by doing things myself. So I don’t have a ton of time or energy (or money) for working out at the gym. Or even running on a treadmill at home. Even if I wanted to (which I don’t. See #1.)

At the end of the day I just want to squeeze in a little sleep before my littlest monkey decides it’s party time.

 Kettlebells: The Answer?

kettlebell swing(Image courtesy of wellnuff.)

I do, however, want to take care of my body. I need it in order to care for my family. My health is important to me. I work hard to eat healthy, and I know exercise is also important to my well-being.

During the summer I can take long walks outside with the kids, but winter is particularly challenging. (Especially this year where we’ve had to stay isolated for Felix’s safety.)

A couple of years ago I came across some interesting articles on kettlebells. These articles claimed you could do a workout in just ten minutes a day.

I created a “Maybe I Will Exercise” pin board on Pinterest, and pinned these articles to it.

That pin board remained that way, untouched, for a couple of years while I sat on the idea.

This year, with another winter of isolation upon me, I decided to ask for a kettlebell for Christmas and take the plunge.

Why Kettlebells Appeal to Me

1. You only need to work out about ten minutes at a time, three times a week, to see results.

At least, that’s what Tim Ferriss and Wellness Mama tell me.

It supposedly works as strength and cardio training in one. It’s a workout for your entire body, developing all-purpose strength and flexibility.

I can fit that into my schedule! Even someone as exercise-averse as me can stand to pant and sweat for ten minutes.

2. It only requires one piece of (relatively inexpensive) equipment, which takes up almost no space.

3 reasons to try a kettlebell

One kettlebell. That’s all you need to get started. Mine cost about $58. (You can get one at just about any sports store). And it takes up as much space as a decorative vase.

Once you get the hang of it, you don’t even need to watch or own any videos. (I get so sick of workout videos.)

And unlike a (huge, ugly, expensive, cumbersome) treadmill, it uses no electricity, making it an environmentally-friendly choice. (That matters to me.)

I know there are workouts you can do that don’t require any equipment (like pushups, burpees, etc), but honestly, I felt like I needed something physical to remind me and motivate me to do my work. Something to hold in my hands and make me feel like an Amazon warrior princess.

3. You don’t even need to change your clothes.

At least, that’s the impression I get from all the online videos I’ve seen. Everyone seems to do their kettlebell workouts in jeans. Which is what I’m always already wearing. Perfect.

I don’t know why this was such a big draw to me. One less step to keep me from ever actually getting around to it.

You don’t have to go anywhere, you don’t have to shower afterwards . . . all you have to do is try to find ten minutes out of your day.

My Experience So Far

Granted, I’ve only been trying this for a few weeks myself. So I can’t say much from personal experience.

I start with a bit of easy yoga to stretch and warm up, and maybe do a few practice swings without the kettlebell just to warm up. Then I’ll do ten dead-lifts to get started. (I learned from Tim Ferriss.)

So far, I’m only doing very short sessions, just to get the hang of it — twenty swings, followed by a ten-second rest, repeated five times. Even that is enough to turn my legs to jelly!

I plan on working up to Wellness Mama’s workout in the next few weeks.

But I’m enjoying the mild soreness in my legs afterward, letting me know it’s working.

I love how quick it is — in just ten minutes I’m back to my old routine. It doesn’t eat up Felix’s entire nap time.

Hopefully I’ll be able to update you with success news in the upcoming months!

*Important Note: I totally expect to give up in the summer when I have real-life exercise happening. Can’t wait to pull my kids all over town in the bike trailer! The kettlebell is just to hold me over during these awful winter months.

What do you think? Do you hate exercise, too? Have you tried kettlebells? What was your experience?

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  1. I love using kb. I think your plan is a winner for your goals.

  2. I totally get the clothes thing! And I dislike changing. And if I’m not dressed in something really flexible I just won’t move enough or play or do anything active because I’m not dressed for it. I’m not sure why I have this weird mindset but it’s true! I sometimes wish I would wear skirts more often or jewelry or even my wedding rings but I think ‘what if I want to hang upside down at the park or climb bars or practice handstands?’ and so I wear my trusty I can move however I want style :)

  3. I received a set of kettlebells for Christmas. I am going to check out the links in your post. Thanks for aharing!

  4. I am like you when it comes to working out…I hate it! I have also been interested in trying a kettle bell for several years. What brand did you try and do you find that the 25 lb is a good fit for you?

    • Solidarity! Mine is an Energetics, but I don’t think brand matters too much. I think the 25lb is perfect for me — challenging, but not straining. I think that’s the weight most recommended for women (particularly beginners).

  5. Those are some of the great points you brought to light why one should love the kettlebell. This is really an inspiring post. Going to get one and will start my workout journey.

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