Monday, August 29, 2011

Kettle bells & beans

16 KG Kettle Bell

Should someone ask what I use to stay healthy, that would be my answer - kettle bells & beans.

I've been doing the "slow carb" thing for over 6 months now, and it's going really well. Cut processed carbohydrates, sugars, and oils out of my diet, and I'm feeling great. I don't do a full-on "cheat day" as such, but rather I just relax my standards a bit on weekends. For example, I might eat "regular" meals on Saturday, and indulge in some cake, ice-cream, chocolate, or whatever else takes my fancy, but won't go out of my way to seek it out. I'll gain 1-1.5Kg in the process, mostly water retention. Then on Sunday I try to keep to slow carbs, but yesterday for example I had a couple of cupcakes, a little bit of chocolate, and 5 beers... this morning I'd lost 0.5Kg. So I'm not entirely convinced of the whole "don't drink carbs" thing, as personally I don't notice any observable weight gain from beer alone, but will see significant spikes from carbs & sugars.

Anyway, I've also been working on my kettle bell swings. I started out with a 20Kg unit, 75 reps broken up into multiple sets. At first the max. reps I'd do in a set was 20, giving a total of 4 sets: 20 + 20 + 20 + 15. I'd increase the number of reps in each set by 1 each time I did it, so the second day I'd do 21 + 21 + 21 + 12, the 3rd I'd do 22 + 22 + 22 + 9, etc until I finally made it all the way to 75 repetitions in a single set.

Here's a graph of my progress over 6 months or so:

In the beginning I was crazy keen, and would do my swings 3 times a week, sometimes twice a day, but now I just try to make sure I do it at least once a week, aiming to do it twice a week as often as possible. For some time now I've also been doing a range of different exercises using a 12Kg unit, including single snatches. I'm also doing myotatic crunches over a gym ball using the 12Kg unit (for the first few, the remainder without weights), and "cat vomit" breathing exercises after each workout.

I do my kettle bell swings on Mondays and Fridays, with a total exercise time around 30-45 minutes a time, once or twice a week, coming to 2-6 hours a month, probably averaging around 4 hours a month. I also do karate training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Tuesday & Sunday is for 1.5 hours, Thursday's session usually goes for 2-3 hours. So that's another 5-6 hours of training a week, or 20-24 hours a month.

Other than that, I spend most of my time sitting in front of a computer doing things like writing software, and blogging about kettle bells & beans :)