How To Stop Being The Average American!
Dr. Wendy Schauer, DC, RKC
Break Out of Your Box!
The average American lifestyle goes something like this: We drive to work in a box, we sit for 8 hours inside a box (affectionately referred to by some as a cubicle), we drive home in a box, then we sit in front of our box TV (and if weíre really doing well in life itís actually more of a flat rectangle), we throw a box dinner in the microwave and then go hop in our box bed for sleep. This cycle continues day after day, week after week.
Some may try to vary the routine or change their state of mind by drinking an alcoholic beverage or eating tons of sugar, but this will never give them the feeling of well-being that good health and fitness can provide. There is just no way that an overweight body which is oxygen-deprived can be happy. No wonder we are a country of fat, exhausted, and depressed people. WE HAVE TO BREAK OUT OF OUR BOXES!
Oh I have had my own moments of being fat, exhausted, or depressed. At times I would be out of breath just going up 14 stairs to the second floor of my home. How depressing is that? Well, I didnít remain in that condition forever, and I much prefer my life now - fit, energized, and happy. Believe it or not, a large part of the answer to my troubles was discovered with kettlebells and the multiple health benefits they provide.
Not Your Average Exercise
There is no other exercise out there that tones your body like kettlebells do. They provide a unique combination of strength and cardio exercise to build endurance and stamina like no other workout. It is hard not to feel good when your body is being pumped full of oxygen and you are using muscles like they were meant to be used. I dare you to come to one of my classes and then tell me youíre depressed afterwards - itís simply not possible! I have exercised my entire life but I have never felt so fully alive until I started working out with kettlebells.
I tried the gym, but I didnít find what I was looking for. The treadmill did nothing for me and was boring. I lifted weights but noticed no change in my muscles. I began lifting more but my muscles were still nowhere to be found, and it certainly was not helping my back pain or energy level. Now understand, Iím not trying to knock the gymÖ but for me it just wasnít the right answer, and I know I am not the only one out there with the same story.
I started working with the kettlebell in November and by December my back pain was gone and I felt more energetic than I had in years. I continued my routine and soon I was getting muscles all over. My abdominals were stronger than I could ever imagine. I could see and feel the fat melting away. My body became strong, supported, and erect Ė not the floppy mess that it was. I am now able to use my body to the fullest, and my energy is through the roof. This allows me to see my chiropractic patients until 6:15 at night and then I teach a kettlebell class for an hour, four nights a week. I have more energy now at 40 than when I was in my twenties.
Results in the Real World
Tiffany is my 20-year-old receptionist and is very fit. She usually goes to the gym five nights a week and works out for two or more hours. She heard the buzz about kettlebells and their butt-kicking potential but was very skeptical -- they looked too simple and unassuming. After all, she had a trainer at her gym who would put her through what was supposed to be a gut-wrenching workout Ė one that would leave her Ďfeeling the burní. But afterwards she felt no increase in energy and wasnít even sore. She then took my hour-long kettlebell class and said she had never worked out so hard in her life. She realized that she had used muscles for the first time that she never even knew existed.
Putting a load on your muscles over time builds stamina and endurance. The body is now able to tolerate activities of daily living with ease. Instead of lumbering up the stairs and being out of breath you will be able to run up them with energy to spare. The ballistic nature of kettlebells is what gives you the power, strength, and stamina to get through your day. To raise the kettlebell over your head repeatedly you have to use all your muscles and cardiovascular endurance. 15-20 minutes a day is all you need to give your body an amazing workout. Even if you begin with five minutes of swings a day you will start to feel changes in your body.
I have a woman in my class in her early 60ís named Connie. She has never been able to do a sit-up. Never, not even as a child. She is now able to do sit-ups because she has strengthened her abs and entire body doing nothing more than swings and snatches. Pretty powerful! It was after one of my classes she got pulled over by the police for speeding. She was so excited that she could do a sit-up that she didnít realize how fast she was going. Itís energizing to have Connie in class because she keeps challenging her body to improve. She will line up three different sizes of kettlebells and will start with the heaviest one. If her form wavers she moves to the next smaller size. She is now using her body as it was meant to be used. As she keeps up the work she will be stronger and more fit than she has ever been.
A Meditative Workout
As demanding as it may be, a kettlebell workout has a meditative quality to it, allowing the mind to become quiet and calm. When I am snatching the 24 kg bell I am focusing on nothing other than doing it with proper form. I focus on my breathing, my core, and my squatting position. There are no thoughts about whatís for dinner, the dirty laundry, unopened mail or tomorrowís schedule. All of your attention is on the bell and your body. Your mind is clear and focused. Most of us have that awful monkey-chatter going on in our head. ďIím too fat, Iím ugly, I donít make enough money, my life sucks.Ē In a kettlebell class your mind is clear for at least 15-20 minutes as oxygen is pumping through your body, and you are feeling more powerful than you thought you could be. Can you remember the last time you felt that? It may seem minor as you sit there reading about it, but itís powerful to experience and begins paving a path that can quickly bring benefits to many aspects of your life.
Are Kettlebells For You?
You may be wondering if kettlebells can work for you. Start by thinking about exercise programs or products you have tried in the past. Now consider the characteristics and benefits of kettlebells and decide for yourself.
1. They are easy to use. You donít have to add weight onto a machine or change elastic bands. You donít have to know how to dance or have rhythm. Once you have learned the correct technique for two simple moves - the Ďsnatchí and the Ďswingí - you are ready to go. There is not a big learning curve.
2. They can be used anywhere. Kettlebell exercise requires very little space. I started working out in a hallway near my living room, which was a very small area. I have worked out in my garage, the parking lot at my office, in my yard, and in a hotel room. Kettlebells are small enough to take anywhere and you can store yours under your bed, under your desk, behind a door, or in your car.
3. They are effective. You will work on your cardio, strength, and flexibility in just 15-20 minutes a day. Most of us who worked out in the gym are used to isolating muscles. When doing a bicep curl you use the bicep only and no other muscle. Thatís why it takes so long to do all the exercises in a gym. With kettlebells you use all the muscles in your body to perform the exercises. There are no separate exercises because the butt, abs, legs, and arms all get worked at the same time.
4. They are challenging and fun. People stop going to the gym because it gets old. I usually will stop an exercise six months after I start because I get bored and I donít get the changes I expected. I have been doing kettlebells four times per week for a year and I havenít gotten bored yet. There are so many exercise choices that you never lose interest. Figure eights, cleans, clean and jerk, hot potato, lungesÖ the list goes on. If an exercise is fun, gives you results and isnít time consuming you will stick with it. That exercise is kettlebells.
5. They will strengthen your weak or strained areas. Iím a Chiropractor, and recognize that kettlebells strengthened my spine and core so that I no longer have back pain. I tried pilates, yoga, weight lifting, treadmill, elliptical, bicycle, walking and aerobics --all of them worsened my pain. With kettlebells I am now pain-free. I have clients with shoulder pain, hip pain, back pain, and neck pain. Many of my patients have been to multiple physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists some with minimal change in their pain. All have experienced improvement by using kettlebells. I got my Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC), not just to teach the average person, but to help my patients when they had no quality of life due to pain and weakness. It warms my heart when I see someoneís life start to change.
6. They will save you money. Iím not talking about the price of the kettlebell. I am talking about the money you will save on doctor bills. When I injured my back there was an entire year when I was being seen 3-4 times per week for chiropractic adjustments, 2-3 times a month for acupuncture and twice a month for massage. That sure adds up. The kettlebell price is also very reasonable considering it will last a lifetime Ė you canít wear them out!
7. They will help you break out of the box! They will prevent you from being a typical American. You will no longer be able to sit at your desk for longer than 20 minutes because you will notice how strange it feels not to move. You will begin to eat better because you will take more pride in your body. When you are pushing your body to new limits it begins to naturally crave different sources of fuel. You will be fit, energized and happy because your body will be functioning at a higher level.
The Power to Break Out of Your Box
How can kettlebells change your life? They will give you power. Physically you will be stronger than you ever imagined. But you will also be amazed at the other changes in your life. I have become more powerful in all areas of my life. My business is better, my interactions with others have improved, my whole outlook on life is better. I have a sense of confidence and know I can do anything I want to. Bring on whatever life has to offerÖbecause Iím ready. Kettlebells have given me this power. I want you to experience these same changes for yourself. Itís time to pick up your kettlebell now and stop being the average American!
Disclaimer: The above parties are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury or health condition that may occur through following the opinions expressed here. Consult with your physician before starting any exercise program.
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Dr. Wendy M. Schauer, DC, RKC, FICPA, is the President of Community Chiropractic, PS and Co-Founder of Abundant Fitness Center, PS in Olympia, Washington. Dr. Wendy is available for speaking engagements as well as radio and television interviews. She can be reached via her website
or by phone at 360.556.6633.
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