Connie & Me: A Kettlebell Love Story

20160928_165024I am the master of my own destiny, but John Tesh helps lead me there. John Tesh is the syndicated host of the radio show “Intelligence for Your Life”. In my days at the cupcake shop, John and I had daily meetings in which he taught me random facts, relationship tips, and healthy life choices. An unprecedented number of conversations with my roommate (who, ironically, worked at a competitor cupcake shop) and I  started with “Did you hear Jonh Tesh say… or John Tesh told me…” Although I no longer listen to his radio show, I still have access to all his great knowledge through Facebook.

Being the Teshie I am, you can imagine my excitement back in April when I learned that John Tesh was coming to Macon for Cinco De Mayo. I have no idea how we were so blessed to receive him on this joyous day, but he and his crew stopped off at the Cox Capitol Theater for a little meet and greet. I walked into the historic and dimly lit concert venue and there, tucked off to the side, under the glow of spotlights was my idol: John Tesh, himself. Standing at well over six feet with long blonde hair, he stuck out instantly from the crowd. He was chatting and taking pictures with other fans, clearly not as devoted as I. I had only seen images of him on Facebook, and admittedly, he aged quite a bit since those were shot. The guy can’t have it all. After awkwardly standing to the side with my friend, fidgeting and debating whether to approach this great man, I finally summoned the courage. I walked up to John and told him my little anecdote about my roommate and I got a picture.20160505_1841330

Following the photo-op. He revealed even more of his skillful arsenal by delivering a Macon rap along with his partner, Gib. Since Hip-Hop is all I listen to, I fell deeper in love with the man. Then he had a little staged “video chat” with his wife, Connie. Although it was clear her part was a recording and not a live video feed, they did a very good job playing along. Radio host, rapper, and actor, the man can do no wrong.

To engage the audience a final time before leaving, John and Gib had  a prize-winning opportunity. They asked little Macon related questions and handed out prizes to the first to answer correctly. The prizes were random and small like candy or a free shirt, but then they revealed a magnificent prize, a kettlebell. The two clearly had little Macon knowledge, so fumbling through their minds searching for another question, they asked, “What building are we in?” Fast as lightning I shot up my arm and screamed, “The Cox Capitol Theater!” I was victorious and the beautiful 35 pounder was mine.

John handed me the kettlebell, a little apprehensively, like I wouldn’t be able to handle the weight. So, naturally, I took it from his hand and pressed it directly overhead- awing the entire crowd. As I left the building with my cherished prize, many people asked if I was really going to use it. I even had one man offer to buy it. I told him he had no idea how much that kettlebell meant to me.

As I walked the kettlebell three blocks to my friends car, I was thankful for the farmer’s carries I had done the day before. This is what we train for.   

Connie the Kettlebell (named affectionately after John Tesh’s wife) now lives among her kettlebell friends at my gym. I share her with my boxmates, but I am a little bitter when someone snatches her up before me for a WOD. I think people chose her, because she clearly boasts 35 lbs, unlike the other kettlebells that have the weight marked in kilos.

You may find it strange that John Tesh hands out kettlebells as prizes, but he explained to me that he always brings them with him on the road. Kettlebells are a great tool for getting in a gymless workout. Here are some moves you can do to get the heart rate pumping and build strength :

  1.  Kettlebell swings. Crossfitters are no strangers to kettlebell swings. They pop up in tons of WODS. But, if you are unfamiliar, the movement is simple. Begin with your feet a little wider than hip distance. Grab the kettlebell with both hands. Swing the bell between your legs and then overhead, being sure to engage your hips and not your back. Extend at the top, pushing your head in between your arms. This movement builds the shoulders, back, quads, and gets the heart pumping. If you want a challenge, do what I did this morning: 200 kettlebell swings for time. I finished in 10 mins and 56 secs, let’s see what you got! 
  2. Kettlebell Figure 8. John said this move is his favorite. Again, begin with your legs wide, knees bent. Using one hand, swing the kettlebell in between your legs and grab it with the opposite hand. Bring the kettlebell around the outside of the leg and back through the middle, grabbing it with the first hand. Continue creating this figure eight, but be sure not to smack the kettlebell into your thighs; it will leave a mark.
  3. Kettlebell Goblet Squats. Grab the kettlebell with two hands and bring to your chest. With elbows in tight and chest high, perform a typical squat. Be sure to keep the chest high. No slouching! 
  4.  Russian Twists. This move is great for working the obliques. Sit on the ground with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Hold on to the top of the kettlebell with both hands and bring to the chest. Lean back and try to lift your feet slightly off the ground. Begin to twist from left to right, engaging your obliques. Tap the kettlebell on the ground each time, if possible. Watch for injuries on this one too, don’t ram the bell into your hip bones. 
  5. Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pull. Sumo deadlift highpulls are another great full body move. The name comes from the foot placement. Stand in a wide straddle, just like a sumo wrestler. Lower the butt, like you would for a deadlift and grasp the kettlebell in both hands. Using the hips, forcefully stand up, bringing the elbows high and the kettlebell to your chest.
  6. Single Legged Straight- Legged Deadlift. Stand with feet together and kettlebell in one hand. Bending at the hip, lower the kettlebell to the ground. While you lower, extend the opposite leg behind you. Return to a standing position. Perform on each side.
  7. Side Bends. Stand with the feet hip distance apart. One hand holds the kettlebell and the other hand goes to your hip. Bend towards the side with the kettlebell until you feel your oblique engage. Perform on each side.

All of these are basic moves that can be accomplished with one kettlebell. You can get more technical or add another kettlebell for an even wider range of options. The point is that kettlebells are a great, convenient tool for fitness. Sit one in the corner of your office, and get in a quick workout on your lunch break. Or, do like John, and bring one on a road trip so you can get a gym-free burn on. Go grab yourself a kettlebell and begin your own love story.

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