Basic Movements for Daily Life

Archive for July, 2012

I Don’t Want To Get Bulky

bulkyI have referenced Shawn Mozen on more than one occasion here.  He runs Agatsu where I received my latest kettlebell certification.  One of the things that bugs him, and me for that matter is the theory some people have (mostly women) that lifting heavy weights will make them bulky and all muscular ‘like a man.’

Read this from his blog:

“No Woman Should Lift More Than Three Pounds”

Thats right folks, you read the title right! “No woman should lift more than 3 pounds.” This pearl of wisdom came out of the mouth of Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer Tracey Anderson during an appearance on Oprah. (Ok before I get bombarded with questions about why I was watching Oprah I will include the usual excuses 1) I was flipping channels 2) someone else was watching it and I walked by)

The idea that women should stick to light weights and high reps isn’t a new one. Although there has been a recent radical shift in how women approach weight training many of the old ideas are still around. Every month I meet new trainers at my seminars  and many of the women still think they should be lifting pink 2lbs dumbbells. I used to be shocked by how seemingly otherwise intelligent trainers could have this backward idea. How could these trainers be so rational in other areas and so off base on this. After I really thought about it I realized that this idea is not based in logic but rather in fear. What is the number one fear of women who pick up a weight?


Thats right, women don’t want to look like men. Well ladies have no fear because the truth is that its hard for most men to look like men and unless you are taking a trip to the pharmacy on the way to the gym you aren’t going to look like a man from lifting well.

If looking like a man is something women don’t want then what is it that they do want? Most of my clients and students will tell me they want to tone up, lose weight, feel great, get more energy, etc. Well the road to those things is paved with heavy weight. Yes, heavy weight. Not convinced? Ok, think about the three pound weight that trainer is recommending to you and the rest of the women out there and lets also think about things that weigh more than three pounds. Lets make a list, come on, it will be fun.

Things that weight more than 3 pounds

  1. Your kids! Thats right, your kids weigh more than 3 pounds. Oh, but wait. A celebrity fitness trainer said that women should never lift more than 3 pounds. I guess you better hire someone with a strong back to help you carry these little bundles of joy around all day.
  2. Your groceries! Oh wait, are you Vegan? Well all those veg will still add up to more than 3 pounds and if you have never broken the coveted 5 lbs threshold you will find it quite a challenge walking home from the grocery store.

Are you starting to get the idea? Life will routinely demands that you carry and move things that weigh more than 3 lbs. Being strong makes it easier to move through this world with style and grace. Do you want to struggle as you hold your kids or do you want to be a super mom carrying two kids, groceries, a stroller, kicking the front door open as you blast up stairs with everything and everyone in tow?

Reasons Women Should Lift Heavy Weights

  1. Weight lifting increases bone density. You can spend less time popping calcium supplements and more time with your hands on some weights having a fun workout.
  2. Muscle burns fat! If you want to burn fat you have to build some muscle.
  3. Life is easier when you are strong. At the end of the day you can have a body that collapses in a heap or one that can rise to the physical and mental challenges life places on it.
  4. Stronger core. Core, core, core, core and yes, core. Look at any gym marketing fitness classes to women and you will see this word used over and over again. Well ladies if you want a strong core there is a better way to get one than lying on the floor and pulling on your head. Lift something heavy over your head and squat! Thats right squat heavy and maintain that mid line and you will develop an incredible core.
  5. Its fun. Meeting and obstacle, struggling with it and overcoming it comes with a sense of accomplishment. The same can be said when we train with weights and hit a new record. As you get stronger you feel a sense of accomplishment and reward for your hard work.

Everyone should lift more than 3 lbs. Weight training should be a common practice for both men and women. Every day I open my Facebook and see photos of women with captions like “Strong is the new Skinny.” Strong may be the new skinny but is heavy really heavy? If you want to get strong, and want to look fit don’t fear the weights. Lifting heavy won’t make you look like a man. Lifting heavy will get you a butt so tight that you can crack a coconut off of it and a core that superman would envy.

Author of the above is Shawn Mozen.

Interesting, huh?  Kinda throws that whole ‘like a man’ myth out of the window, eh?

Still don’t believe this?  Take a look see at this gal.

Her name is Ksenia Dedyukhina.  She’s 22 years old.  Cute gal, unassuming looking young lady.  She started kettlebell training at the age of 15.  I’m pretty sure you would agree she’s not built ‘like a man.’

“So?” you say.  “Big deal.  She must just be using little weights and about 15 or 20 reps.”  Well, you stand corrected.

Look at the picture below.







That, my friend, is 22 year old gal snatching a 24kg kettlebell.  Her personal achievements with that movement include 222 reps with a 16kg bell and 124 reps with a 24kg bell.  However, I just read she did 178 reps with the 24kg.

Again, I ask, does she look ‘like a man?’

Didn’t think so.

Wanna See What Kettlebells Are?

Chances are pretty good if you’re reading this, you know what kettlebells are and I may be preaching to the choir, so to speak.  But, here’s a chance for you to grab someone you know and get them to experience what kettlebells are all about and why many choose them for their health and well-being.

On August 11th I’ll have a booth set up at the Impressions Country Living Fair.  It’s during the Bentley Rodeo weekend and this is a new event to promote health and wellness.  Yoga, bootcamps, Zumba and of course, kettlebells.  There will be an opportunity for you to try each and experience a new type of fitness activity.  If you book online you can save some bucks, too.  The charge is $5 for preregistering or $10 if you drop in.  Save some bucks, book it on line.  🙂

All the activities take place in the Bentley High School Gym with some outside, assuming the weather is cooperative.

I will also be taking orders for kettlebells and may even have some stuff to give away!  Some videos will be playing so you can see what they are all about if you aren’t able to take part.

I can talk your face off all day about these things, the right way of using them, the unsafe way of using, where they came from, why they work and why YOU should be doing them.

So, come join the fun, bring someone who has been hesitant about them.  Let them see what they’ve been missing.

Why Do I Train?

Someone asked a while back about why I train.  I dunno.  I don’t really have an answer for that.  I suppose, in a nutshell, the standard stuff; live well, be able to move around, not be a burden on the already over burdened health care system.

What A Bowl Of Ice Cream Looks Like the Next Day

Probably not the answer this person was looking for, I think they wanted to hear something like some sort of competition.  That has crossed my mind (not the one with the skimpy shorts, though, a kettlebell competition), but injuries and such have plagued me that last while.

At this point I don’t really have an end to the means.  I have a few ideas in mind, but nothing written in stone. More on those another time when there is something a bit more concrete.

I guess why I train, as I sit in 30 degree weather, is to be able to eat ice cream.  Sounds weird, but lets say a bowl of ice cream with some goodies on top is 400 calories.  I dunno, might be more, might be less, but whatever.  Knocking out a kettlebell workout that burns about that much lets me get away with it.  So, for the most part, I can enjoy that bowl of ice cream virtually guilt free.  Now, if I had some sort of competition or goal in mind, it might a different story.

But, for where I am in my life right now, I train to eat ice cream.

Surround Yourself Accordingly

Had a great discussion recently with a friend.  The theme or basis of the discussion was ensuring you are achieving your goals in a more efficient way.

These goals could be anything in life, work, health and fitness, a hobby, anything.  Whatever it is, it seems there are certain steps or rungs on a ladder one needs to follow to achieve their goal. To become physically active, you need to get off the couch.  Rung One.  And this can be a challenging step if you aren’t surrounded by the right people.

Now, once you’re up onto the first rung, you need to get to the second rung.  You may need to look around and see if those on the first rung are able to help you get to the second rung.  If not, look for the right people.  There’s nothing wrong with the people on the first rung, they just can’t get you to rung number two.  And the same can be said for each subsequent rung after till you get to your final rung and goal.

It may require a lot of looking around and researching things out to get to where you want to go, but if the goal you desire is really something you’re after, you’ll do it, no matter how many rungs you need to climb.

Random Saturday Park Bells