Happy #WorkoutWednesday, everyone! Today I’m putting in some time on the treadmill before a quick 30-minute version of Cardio Sculpt at Crunch.

My best fitness friend Coley, a yoga teacher in Minneapolis who is celebrating her birthday today, suggested I try kettlebells. She said she was amazed at how quickly she saw results. No bulking up, as is the fear for many women, just nice all-over toning. She said her waist was noticeably slimmer.

She had me at “quick results.” How many of us have spent hours working on cardio equipment never to see a change in our bodies? Sometimes I’m tempted to spit on the ellipticals as I walk past. In my opinion, they’re the most worthless piece of equipment, but I admit I could have been using them wrong. I have seen results from treadmill runs, but it has to be a challenging run. That means elevation + speed + 45 minutes.

Anyway, at Coley’s suggestion, I took a kettlebell class with Cindy Lai Fitness. It was an awesome small-group training session. And it was so hard! Cindy had us run laps carrying our kettlebells. I wanted to cry. By the end of class, I put my kettlebell down and ran the laps sans extra weight. For a while after that, I continued working out in Cindy’s small group boot camp classes. Then I took a couple more kettlebell sessions. Nicole was right, you really do see results in a jiffy.

When I joined a gym, I had to stop working out with Cindy. I just couldn’t afford both, and I liked the variety and schedule the gym offered.

At Crunch, I found Super Sculpt. Once again, after about three straight classes with Carol, I noticed my waist was noticeably nipped in. Awesome! She’s no longer teaching my class, which makes me wonder how I’ll be aloha-ready by mid-January. Luckily, my gym still offers Super Sculpt and its cousin, Cardio Sculpt, which adds cardio intervals to the strength moves.

I wondered why strength training works better than cardio, so I did some research.

  1. Though you burn more calories per hour doing cardio, people who lift weights continue to burn more calories following their workouts, which adds up.
  2. You can target your trouble spots with weights. Need to trim your waist? Cool, work on those abs. When you do cardio, you don’t get to pick.
  3. Weight training allows you to double down. You can work two or more areas at once.

If/when you add weights to your routine, please, please, please take a couple sessions with a trainer (group is fine) who can double check your form. If you just buy a kettlebell and go to town at home, I fear you will hurt yourself. There’s a difference between hurts-so-good exhausted muscles and agh-my-back-hurts soreness. Form first. Always.

Happy birthday, Coley! Don’t forget to step 10,000 times.

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