Kick-in-the-Butt Workout

Like many of my faithful readers, I've been stuck inside the house for almost a full week. Cabin fever has set in. Bigtime. My teenaged daughter has become permanently embedded into the couch cushions. We may need to rent some type of crane to remove her. If they ever open the schools again, that is. My hubby left (for the first time since Snowpocalipse began) this evening, taking the Subaru down to DC to teach aikido. I've heard from friends on Facebook that the roads are not superb, and downright dangerous in places due to piled up snowbanks and lack visibility, so I'm praying that everyone out there is driving intelligently. (ACK! Who am I kidding!!??)

Luckily, I have a large studio in my home where I choreograph my Fit Jam routines, practice yoga or Pilates, and hold private personal training sessions with clients. So I've been able to keep up with my own practice. But dancing all alone lacks the excitement of teaching a class full of enthusiastic participants.

Today I decided to switch things up.

This is always a good idea. Our bodies quickly acclimate to our workouts of choice, reducing our calorie burn and heart rate during exertion. And it is very typical for us to choose the type of workout that feels the most comfortable for our bodies. Those who are very flexible tend to enjoy yoga. Those who love to dance will select aerobics. Those who are strong and muscular will enjoy lifting weights. This is natural. But this also means that those with muscular bodies tend to be strong, but tight and lacking flexibility. Those who are very flexible love to stretch, but are often too loose at the joints and lack stability and strength. Both these states are a prescription for injury. Mrs. Loosey Goosey will be more likely to fall down and break bones because of her unstable joints. Mr. Tighty Mighty is likely to experience a tear by straining an overly tight and inflexible muscle. Switching up your workouts can help you avoid these pitfalls.

Here's how to kick your own butt today:

1) Begin with a warm-up. If you are a young child, you might be able to skip this step. But if you are a fully grown adult person, I suggest you always warm up your muscles before exerting yourself. This is just common sense. You need to get the blood flowing, your heart rate slightly elevated, and begin to sweat BEFORE picking up any heavy weights. I used our 45 minute walk (through the DEEP snow!) with the dogs as my warm up. I was sweating before I began lifting. You can use marching or jogging in place, jumping jacks, power walking, stair climbing, etc.

2) Grab a kettlebell. If you don't have a kettlebell, order one from While you're at it, you can also order a book called Kettlebell RX by Jeff Martone. (Find it here:
This book will teach you absolutely everything you need to know about kettlebell safety.) Or find some heavy dumbbells. My kettlebell is about 35 pounds. This is the perfect size for kettlebell swings.

3) Deadlift the kettlebell at least 10 times. This will fully warm up your legs and back muscles, as well as your abs. To perform the deadlift, position the kettlebell between your feet. Hinge forward from the hips, keeping your back flat and your knees slightly bent. Tighten your abs, then grab the handle and lift with your legs, standing up straight. Squeeze your butt as you lift, allowing the kettlebell to hang. Keeping your back flat, lower the kettlebell back to the floor. That was one rep. Repeat 10 times. If your low back hurts, engage your abs MORE. If your back still hurts, go take a warm bath instead of moving to step 4.

4) Learn to swing the kettlebell. Watch this video for some tips: Try a short set of swings to begin with, maybe 5-10. Stop if anything hurts. If you think you might be doing it wrong, take a kettlebell class or find a trainer who can observe your technique and make corrections.

Kettlebell swings provide very intense exercise, combining aerobics and strength training. The movement works your glutes, hamstrings, back, and abs. Your heart rate will soar during your swings. Rest between sets, working your way up to 100 swings per workout. I like to do sets of 20 or 25. This is not something you need to do every day. Allow your body to recover between sessions.

Mix up your workouts and try something new! This will liven up your snow days. Really!