I just came back inside after working out for 12 minutes with my 32kg kettlebell. Yes you read correctly. My explosive strength and conditioning workout took just 12 minutes. I’m such a twitching mess right now that I’m finding it difficult to type. Let alone wield a fork so I can shovel the tuna that is my post workout meal into my mouth.

If you haven’t discovered kettlebells yet and you are into being fit, healthy and strong (and that goes for the ladies not just men) then you are missing out. The kettlebell is the ultimate in Russian minimalism. I wouldn’t go so far to advocate kettlebells as the grand ultimate one and only apparatus for working out. However, I would say that you could exclusively use kettlebells and blow every gym junkie away for strength, conditioning, and lean toned physique. Not to mention overall health and wellbeing. If you’re after some specific information you can read my article – The Difference Between Kettlebells and Dumbells.

My workout is as minimalist as the kettlebell. I did 3 x clean and jerk with each arm, re-cleaning the kettlebell before each jerk. Then without stopping I completed 10 two-handed swings. The first two sets I did back to back without stopping. After that I had to rest briefly between sets. That is all I did for 12 minutes. When the time is up I walk around in a daze for a little while, drink some water and wait for my forearms to start working again. Now that I’ve sat down and had a small post workout meal of tuna and raw broccoli I’m almost 100% recovered. You can check out the results (photos) I’ve been getting from this workout.

Post workout meals also known as a recovery meal are very important. Post exercise is when your body is best able to make use of protein. We are after all made of protein and fatty acids. The body needs proteins and fats to repair itself and get stronger. Adding some good quality carbohydrates such as raw low GI vegetables (preferably organic) is a good way of giving your body back some of the energy it just used up. Replacing vital minerals is also important as your body draws on these when you work out. Which is again why I eat a good mix of protein and raw vegetables.

Why raw? Well everything that is alive has enzymes in it. Enzymes play many roles in health. For one thing enzymes help you break down your food. If you eat food that is dead, i.e. over cooked or microwaved then that food is devoid of enzymes. This means your body has to then produce the required enzymes so that it can digest and assimilate the food you ate. Producing enzymes takes energy and if your body is already stressed by work, family and bills then you are only adding to the problem.

You’ve probably heard of interval training. The above workout is (figuratively speaking) interval training on steroids. I feel that interval training is vital for a healthy heart. How many times have you heard of an elite long distance athlete who during competition or training suddenly has a heart attack and dies? Well you see, a healthy heart rhythm is one with the most variation in it.

Long distance exercise such as jogging or swimming is generally carried out at one pace. I used to be an avid fan of running. When I ran I would get into a rhythm and stay there. After a while the heart gets used to this. Such a heart is not well adapted to dealing with stress. So even though you have an elite athlete, who is considered the epitome of fitness and health, when their heart comes under significant stress, such as during a competitive event where they are trying to kick into a higher gear, there is a chance of catastrophic failure. Check out my article Is Cardio Necessary for Fat Loss to learn about the science behind interval training.

You probably associate all stress as bad. However there is good stress. In this case, in my workout, to begin with I went from a completely resting heart rate to all out effort. I maintained that for about a minute. At which point I took a short rest. During that rest my now racing heart begins to slow down as my body quickly recovers. Then I pick up the kettlebell and go again. This sends my heart rate soaring once again.

Of course you don’t need to go as intense as I do to reap great benefits from kettlebells. I’ve been using them for a while now so you should know that it wasn’t always like this. Gradually build up the weight and the intensity. Start out with a larger rest to work ratio and slowly reduce the amount of rest you take between intervals.

The benefits from focused and regular kettlebell training will astound you. I feel stronger and more conditioned each and every time I pick a kettlebell up and you will to. I personally recommend Pavel and Dragon Door for all your kettlebell needs:

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If this article interests you in buying a kettlebell but you don’t know where to start check out my Kettlebell Buyers Guide for Kettlebell Beginners.

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