Do Kettlebells Help?

Everybody here comes from somewhere 
that they’d just as soon forget and disguise 
~Supernatural Superserious, by R.E.M. 

It’s a familiar tune, I imagine most of us have some era in our lives that we’d just as soon forget. My era started in grade school, and lasted well into my time in the Navy.

In High School, I remember getting picked on for being the worst kid in band. I couldn’t march, I struggled to hold my horn up, and coordination never really spent time with me. Maybe I was 140lbs when I graduated, but when you’re well over the 6′ range, people still call you runt (true story), scrawny (truer story), or they don’t call you at all (truest story).

None of this is meant to be a “Poor Lee” story, even if it does meet & exceed all the qualifications. No, what we have is a “This can be anyone’s story” story.

Years later i ended up puffing up, not nicely, but definitely puffy. I think I topped out over 260 just after my son was born, and my sweet sister was kind enough to take a picture of me at the pool . . . yeah, in swimming attire, the most unflattering kind imaginable. Who was this guy? Seriously, what happened to that scrawny l’il guy from the earlier pictures?

I had been in the Navy, so I knew I could do push-ups, and run. Neither could I do well, but I had to do something, and it seemed like a nice enough place to start. Then I got a bike, a nice road bike, and took off. Running & Cycling were fun, but I felt like I was always taking weeks off from being injured. I was always injured. Maybe I was Running & Cycling wrong? Eventually, I wasn’t really doing either, and I was back to puffing back up towards that guy at the pool I was trying to escape.

In 2013 I found Kettlebells. Someone was offering a cheap course in how to use these funny little balls with handles on them. I wasn’t looking for massive & profound changes, just something fun, easy & convenient. Oh, and not very time-consuming. It seems like when I ran or rode, even poorly, I’d be gone for hours . . . and with a young son & beautiful wife, I hated being gone for hours.

I went to Lynx Barbell and bought a Kettlebell. We had covered a whole lot of lifts in that inexpensive course, but all I could remember was the Swing, so I started practicing that. Pretty soon I had a pretty good handle on how to do Swings, and in the course of events, picked up a few other skills, such as rock-bottom Squats, Cleans & Presses, Get-ups, and even the Snatch. I was always finding someone who could teach me something else, but my consistency was lacking &  needed help.

No matter how skinny, scrawny & uncallable I was in high school (& beyond), if I could go back in time to reprimand myself, I’d go back to this period when I first started with the Kettlebell. “Dude, get a coach! Get some accountability! Develop some consistency!” I had plenty of chances & opportunities to do all these things, but I just refused to commit. Did I mention that I can be hard-headed?

In 2015 I decided to commit to a 30 Day Kettlebell Swing program. About a week into it, I noticed that I kept getting distracted by my tobacco cravings, and skimped on some of my Workouts just to get another dip. Oh, did I mention that I started using smokeless tobacco when I was 13 years old? It wasn’t terribly uncommon back then, but by the time you get to be 42, it’s a nearly impossible habit to break.

I had tried quitting hundreds of times before, each ending in a more pathetic failure than the last. Maybe if I had something to commit to in place of my nagging commitment to smokeless tobacco . . . it was worth a shot. The worst thing that could happen would be to fail again . . . and I already knew that failure was a song I couldn’t get out of my head.

Wait, was I really trying to develop a good habit to replace a bad habit? Do people do that? Yes, all the time. Anyway, long story made less long, I finished the 30 Day Swing Challenge and took a few minutes to look in the mirror . . . and not look away . . . I wasn’t ready for a Men’s Health cover shoot, but hey, I was much leaner, saw some muscle definition starting up, and woah, wait, what? I wasn’t dipping anymore!

Did Kettlebells really save my life? I wasn’t actually aware of any potential threats to me or my livelihood, but man, I was pretty tired of certain things in my life. I’d gone from scrawny to puffy, had an impossible-to-quit tobacco habit, and felt depressed more often than I felt happy . . . even though I had a good job & beautiful family.

Committing to Kettlebells certainly CHANGED my life, and who knows, maybe that change was enough to save me from unforeseeable tragedy involving chronic disease around the corner.

I know what Kettlebells did for me. Honestly, it could have been any tool, it didn’t have to be the Kettlebell, but it just so happened that it was . . . for me, anyway. Maybe it could be for you, too? Who knows? Maybe Kettlebells could be your much needed change, or maybe they could lead you down some new path towards success . . .

THAT is the reason I teach people how to use Kettlebells, and how to move & feel better. I know what it’s like to be so desperate for change that you’ll reach for a cold mold of icy Kettlebell iron in the middle of Winter, just to see if anything feels physically different. I’m not scared to sweat through the hottest months of Summer just to get my mind in a better place.

Do Kettlebells help? Whether you’re looking for physical transformation, mental well-being, or spiritual awareness, my experience is a complete & total YES!


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