Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hell's Bells

So I have been feeling pretty unsuccessful lately - too much work, too much stress - too many not so fantastic choices.  I have been trying to get back on track, but basically spiraling into a grumpy "I suck" kinda space.  Not good.

Today I felt the beginning of a real turnaround - a "maybe I can actually sustain this for longer than I think moment" - all because of what I have privately ( ok, publicly!) referred to for the last 9 months as "Hell's Bell's" - aka kettlebells.

Don't know what I am talking about?  Let me enlighten you.  Kettlebells are a special kind of torture used by BDHQ ( and other) trainers to work your abs until they scream and your arms and shoulders til you can't lift them anymore.  (For more history than you probably want or need - check out  They look like something the circus strongman would use - oh wait - they used to -I know I have seen that on Bugs Bunny cartoons!
I started the year with the pink kettlebell - it weighs 8kg/18 pounds.  I found it really challenging - who knew swinging and clean pressing ( I know, it even SOUNDS hardcore) only 18 pounds would be so hard.  My arms hurt, I tired easily, and it was work.  But I really hated using the pink.  It just seemed so, well, girly, which is dumb and also sexist, but hey, just keepin it real!   I  wanted to use the blue (12kg/26lbs) kettlebell, like some of the other women I had seen at the gym, ones who looked a hell of lot more fit than me.  Surely I could swing 26 pounds - it couldn't be that hard, right?
Wrong.  It took me about 6 months to even summon up the courage to TRY the blue bell.  It really was a LOT more work.  And I couldn't do it consistently - the last set of reps always ended up with me picking up those damn pink bells.  I was disappointed in myself, but I couldn't seem to get past that milestone.  I made it my goal to use the blue bell consistently, all the time, for all sets, by the end of the year. I figured I had a slight chance of doing that, and at least it wouldn't too disappointing if I didn't succeed.
Today I hit the gym, still feeling discouraged with my progress, with my commitment ( and how it has been faltering), and saw that kettlebells were a big part of the circuit.  James ( of West Coast Kettlebell Club fame!) my amazing trainer had pink and blue and yellow bells out to use.
In a moment of "screw this, I am going to prove myself today" also known as insanity, i picked up not the pink, and not the blue, but the yellow kettlebell.  After all, I could always drop down to the lighter weight if necessary.
But I surprised myself. And probably James.  And I know Lovisa will fall over when she reads this.  I used the yellow kettlebell for the entire circuit - every swing, every lift, every row.  3 sets of 20 and 30 and 20.  Me!  16kg!  35lbs!  The yellow bell!  Success!  Unbelievable.
It is amazing how good success feels.  And an important reminder to me about why I started this journey in the beginning.  It was never about a certain weight, although seeing the numbers go down is great.  One of my big goals was to build strength and feel strong.  Today I do - actually today I feel like this guy:

Not quite as buff, but a better fashion sense and a much happier face!  Thanks to James for encouraging me to feel and be strong, and for cheering me on and taking a pic of the event! 
I am SO done with pink.


SusieJ said...

Woohoo!! WTG Jacquelin! Blue is obviously not your colour.
You're making fantastic progress.'re looking good girl!
Hugs xx

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