I like to run. Don't hold it against me -- I'm not a masochist or a "running high addict" or anything, I just like to run. It's a convenient and interesting way for me to get a workout.
Admittedly I'm not really built for it (41 y.o., 6' 220#, shooting for < 200#), but that might work to my advantage since I get a good workout carrying my fat rear end on a short run :-).
As a sole form of exercise it is somewhat limited though, and I am constantly worried about injury (had a minor soft tissue injury a couple of years ago that sidelined me for about 6-8 weeks). I also find it hard to get a good run without eating carbs before and/or after, and I don't really like carbs.
I've been doing about 3.0-3.5 miles 3-4x per week, and really I don't have any interest in doing a lot more than that. Partly due to time constraints, and partly because it just gets boring after ~30 minutes, and partly due to concerns of injury.
So I have started on the kettlebells, both to get some strength training in, and to take care of my joints (hard to imagine how you might hurt yourself with a kettlebell unless you hit yourself in the head with it). I LOVE it, great full body workout and definitely gets the heart rate up, lots of variety and different body parts involved, and easy to do any time of the day.
So I am wondering, should I drop the running completely and replace it with kettlebells? I'd hate to lose the cardio fitness I've built up, I am not sure how effective kettlebells are for cardio. Or, alternate, one day running, and one day kettlebells? Will the two forms of exercise complement or cancel each other? Introduce something else? I am not a gym person so it would have to be something I can do at home, with minimal equipment. Anyone have any suggestions?
My fitness goal is to stay healthy and lose some fat (shooting for 20 lbs), not concerned about overall weight, don't want to bulk up but some more muscle would not be bad.
You should do what you like or it's hard to stay motivated. Keep the running!
I would probably alternate one week with 2 days running, 1 day kettlebells and the next with 2 days kettlebells and 1 day running.
You can hurt yourself with kettlebells without proper form, so if you can find a local kettlebell class and go once or twice it would probably really help you. If not, there are a million youtube videos.
If you have a local used sporting good store, I would look there for kettlebells. I saw a bunch the last time I was at mine.
Pavel Tsatsouline is the King of Kettlebells. His book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Kettlebell-Strength-Secret-Soviet-Supermen/dp/0938045695/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305036516&sr=8-1
Buy it! It's an entertaining read too!
Well, to be honest, my workouts consist completely of kettlebell swings and turkish getups. I've lost over 10 inches and 30 pounds with just that and paleo.
So first of all, I would recommend Pavel's book 'enter the kettlebell' @ http://www.dragondoor.com/dvs011/
I would also recommend going to dragon door and looking up and training with an rkc trainer in your area. I can not stress this enough! You run a high risk of injuring yourself, from tendonitis, pulling a muscle, or ruining your shoulders with improper form. It's worth the couple hundred of dollars...I know that I can actually move correctly now, and understand the way to breath. I do at least 2-3 sessions a year, and each time I learn something new and valuable to bring to my training.
There is a ton of stuff about kettlebells being a killer cardio workout if you do a couple google searches. I'd say do the program minimum from 'enter the kettlebell', but that's just me (combo of swings + jogging / turkish getups). Or a swing day alternating with running. I just pay attention to what my body is saying and do what I need to do. Lots of swings, bodyweight workouts, or just a lot of strength work with really heavy bells.
I don't really have an issue with the other bells, I simply worry about poor manufacturing and as such you might get some weird callouses, or issues/injury when cleaning/pressing/snatching a poorly manufactured bell overhead. I have several different dragon door bells, but with each running about a 100 bucks, it might be out of your price range. The recommendation is to start with the 32lb bell, but I have no idea what you have right now. Perhaps an upgrade is in order?
Oh, and this is what can happen when someone doesn't understand proper form...lol
Melissa hit the nail on the head: do what keeps you going. For your runs, consider some interval work. For other exercises, you can go a long way with your fitness with pushups, situps, planks, handstand holds against a wall, bodyweight squats. Anything that works your core will be good for you in the long run.
I would always advocate kettlebell training over and above running for your purposes (health, losing some weight, getting stronger without the bulk). So much can be achieved in such an effieicnt way, if done correctly. Running takes time, and is a long term issue for joint wear and mobility issues if not adequately strengthened by some form of resistance training, which KBs can provide.
Aerobic forms of exercise like running and cycling and swimming have their place, but more so for a mental, rather than physical boost. I cycle, because it gives me time to reflect on things, whilst moving. A good combination that works for me, maybe not others. I don't cycle necessarily for want of some physical gains I cannot get from KB training 3 or 4 times per week.
Stick with swings, cleans, snatches, deadlifts and turkish getups, and increase volume as you gain strength. Combine with bodyweight exercises in minute drills or tabata format circuits for all the conditioning you'll need, far and above what running gives. Plus you will look like you are performing, instead of looking like a desperate gazelle escaping from a predator.
If you like to run, then why don't you sprint, which is anabolic? Honestly I don't understand why you people waste your money on kettlebells. They're expensive when you think that you will need to add weight progressively. If you don't want to do regular weight training, then bodyweight exercises are indeed a good way to go. Hard to beat pull-ups, handstand push-ups, bridges, leg lifts, etc. I am not a big fan of those high-rep bodyweight squats though and one is hard-pressed to beat deadlifts and cleans with bodyweight exercises.
I think the combo of some heavy lifting (squat/dead) kbell snatch and swing is all you need.
Maybe squat , k bells alternated with deads and kbells 3x per week, say 5 sets with the bar then about 20 sets of kbells on the minute.
Chins and dips if you have the energy, maybe an ab wheel?
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