I was a cardio addict! Most of us have a love/hate relationship with cardio training, but for me, it’s always been LOVE. In primary and high school, I was heavily involved in sports, mainly 100m and 200m dash. I won school championships and represented my school in inter-school competitions. I was really good at it and so obviously I was prioritising training my cardiovascular system. I loved the sweat, the adrenalin rush and the feeling of lactic acid in my system.
Cardio training was my go-to exercise to stay active. My favourite gym classes were Pure Bounce (jumping on a trampoline for 45 mins), running (of course), HIIT (high intensity interval training) and step. All these classes were great and made me sweat, got my heart rate up and left me exhausted at the end of the workout. They certainly kept my heart happy and gave me that feeling of having completed a kick-ass workout.
I was pro-cardio and advocated it to my clients. Some of my clients, unlike me, hated cardio, but they were convinced (also, they had no choice) that they had to do it because it was the best option for weight loss. So, during classes I hovered over them with high energy, shouting “Push yourself,” “GO hard or GO home,” but my clients hated the workouts and didn’t enjoy the process at all. Some of them I only saw once because they never came a second time (damn!).
In 2015, I was introduced to the world of kettlebells (KB) and strength training when I was working (6 months) for a company in India called The Quad. It was an enlightening and inspirational experience; my training and my body transformed. Strength training improved my alignment and my movements. I was stronger and I felt empowered. I felt GREAT!
The purpose of training is not about “getting your sweat on” but rather learning and mastering the four basic movements that humans need to move well: squat, hinge, push and pull. I started training with purpose towards gaining strength and improving skill. I was surprised how versatile kettlebells were and how much my strength improved with consistent training in a short time. I started to get compliments for my strength and my guns…BONUS!
I got stronger with KB training. I went from merely squatting and pressing 24kgs to squatting 40kgs for 9 reps and pressing 14kgs (one arm) for 5 reps, 9 strict full pushups and swinging 20kgs (one arm) for 178 reps in 10 minutes. These are not big numbers for many, but it definitely was a massive jump in strength for me. Most importantly, it didn’t stop there. I am getting stronger. This is what I love about practicing and teaching kettlebells. It was not about showing up and cranking a few reps but working towards a goal to better ourselves. It feels great to say, “I am strong.” I can still carry both my kids (7 and 4) together at the same time. I can do most heavy lifting stuff around home myself and I can help my hubby, which makes me feel good about myself.
“Strong is the new skinny/sexy.” Apart from the feeling “I can lift heavy shit,” strength training improved my alignment and core strength. After the birth of my kids, my pelvic floor was quite weak and I had to keep away from certain exercises. But strength training has been a life saver: I am able to perform most exercises symptom-free and the movement enhances my life. I love KB training so much that I am looking to get certified as an SFG I (Strong First Girya Level 1) trainer.
I am a convert and proud to now share this with my clients, who by the way are totally in love with the training and they are noticing big benefits to their bodies and health. Of course I still love cardio, but it is no longer my only type of training.