Hi everyone! I admit it. It’s been way too long since my last post, and I’ve missed being away. This does not mean that I’ve given up. Far from it.

Life has this strange way of getting in the way of the sights that you set for yourself, meaning that it sometimes takes a lot longer to make any sort of meaningful progress than you’d like. Like many this includes things like work, finances, family, and even laziness at times.

At any rate, I’m back at it!

The kettlebell routine is working reasonably well so far. I’m beginning to notice my chest and abs beginning to firm up, though nothing dramatic or photo worthy. The exercises that I outlined in my previous post are what I have been doing three days a week with a 20 lb bell. The diet that I have been maintaining has been fairly reasonable, meaning that it is not loaded with sugar, salt, fats, or super-sized serving portions of food.

In addition, I’ve been looking at the kettlebell training books and fitness magazine articles for ideas, general discussion, and motivation about the topic. The Dragon Door products are probably the best known right now, when it comes to kettlebell training. There is also a series of informercials currently running on television promoting a kettlebell product line of sport equipment and program routines.

The particular product, Kettle Worx, mentions a 6 week period of time where training is supposed to yield visible results. The fine print on the screen mentions that this is so when the exercise and diet recommendations are followed, but this is the case for other exercise products and routines as well. As with any other product that is being considered for purchase, it is necessary to carefully study the claims being made, weighing them against the actual use, and any pluses and minuses associated with the item.

The literature that I have been reading does not state a definite set period of time, though there are charts that list a weekly progression of increased sets and repetitions of kettlebell exercises. It is not unreasonable to use six weeks as a starting point, especially if you are somewhat new to a training or conditioning program. However, it will take more than six weeks of hard and consistent lifting, as well as paying attention to the diet, to begin to build and display the muscled “hardbody” look.

I’m almost at this halfway point, three weeks, and in the next post I’ll list my body weight and measurements.

Here we are in a new month, actually almost at the midway point of the year. I'm happy to report to you that my training has resumed, although slowly. This is not because of being overly cautious, just that things at work have been very much different from what was anticipated a few weeks ago. Budget cuts and staff resignations have a way of upsetting the most carefully crafted plans and schedules. As a result, I have been a lot busier and, at times, much more stressed, each day.

To make up for the changes that I was faced with, I have also started a kettlebell training routine. Given the way things have been recently, I’m not sure which program would be the better choice in terms of my available time and energy, P90X or Insanity.  

Actually, kettlebell training  is a return for me to part of the conditioning program that I used a couple of years ago. The reason that I stopped was because the class that I was taking ended at my gym. At the time, kettlebells were not as easy (inexpensive) to purchase, or as available in the stores as they are now.

The routine that I am starting out with a 20 lb kettlebell is:

Upright Presses

One arm swings

Two arm swings (alternating}

Turkish get-ups


To start with, I am doing three sets of each exercise, three times a week. Normally, I train in the morning after getting out of bed, only because it is easier for me to do this than at any other time of the day. There are no major changes planned for my current diet, as I am not trying to lose weight or fat. However, firming up and getting a cut physique (concentrating on the upper body) is something that I am working toward, so there may be some additions or deletions in the future to my eating menus.

My starting weight is around 160 lbs, at a height of 5′ 10″. As the weeks go by, I’ll report the changes that are being observed. You can also see what I am doing in the way of muscle training and conditioning at my web site Muscle Conditioning for Men.

It has been a few weeks since my last post. During this time, I’ve been under the weather and have not done much in the way of training. I am glad to report that things are much better for me, healthwise, now. My posts about the P90X training program will resume in the next few days, after I am back into a regular workout routine schedule. See you then!

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The hardest part of any exercise program or routine is the temptation to slack off. I have not reached that point, but knowing that it is there is something that motivates me to try and keep trying.

This past Sunday was the day that everyone was watching the Super Bowl, according to news reports. It was also the day that everyone went wild with snack foods, and I am among the guilty. I am more than sure that the P90X nutrition guide frowns on such things – the fitness instructor in one of my classes certainly did.

Right now, I’m glad that I haven’t said anything  about my starting up  the program… maybe in a month or so. My fitness instructor tends to notice, always notices, when students are improving in their technique and endurance during class sessions. Aerobic, plyometric, and weight resistance exercises are what our class trains in, and sweats to.

But then again, that is what I am doing at home in front of a DVD playing on the television set.

It’s February 2. So far, nothing dramatic has happened, although being flexible and limber are goals to work toward. Starting up again after being out of regular training has not been so bad, but it has not been easy either. I’ll write more about the first week in my new training program in a few days.

There was something quite interesting that appeared on television this afternoon, an untypically rainy Sunday afternoon in Southern California. The P90X fitness program is running an updated presentation for the product. This is the program length commercial that appears at all hours, mainly late at night during the work week, and throughout the day and night on weekends. What is interesting, to me at least, is that there are people shown in the ad that are not all twentysomethings. There was a man profiled who was billed to be 56 years old, and from the before and after pictures, worked hard to success with the product.

That anyone is 56 is hardly groundbreaking, except that the oldest subject featured in previous spots was in his late 40s. I believe he was 49, which is my age. Now, of course, I know that you cannot believe everything that you see shown on television. What I do know is that this exercise and conditioning program is not something that can be done, with the expectation of results, unless a lot of hard work is put into it.

I have purchased the program myself, and have gone through some of the routines, both at home and at the gym where I train. It happens that many of the individual exercises that are included in the program are the same ones that many trainers and endurance athletes use in working toward peak fitness, strength, and performance. Would this have made a difference in paying the money to buy this product? Probably not. Call me crazy, but having an instructor, whether live or on DVD, push you to and past the limit is what I need in order to properly train.

It has been a little over a year since I purchased the P90X program, but this is not to say that it has been gathering dust. True, I have not watched and trained with it each day, fitness classes notwithstanding, but it has been a resource to fall back on. I think that at the beginning of February, I’ll see what progress I can make in 90 days with it, according to the guide and accompanying nutrition guide.

Now that the holidays are past, the return to “normal” is here. For many, this means going back to the routines and habits that were wearing on us at the end of the year. Some of these things could be helped, others could not. Such are the makings for what we know as New Year Resolutions.

For the record, I have not made any formal committments to drastically change anything, although there are some things that I do want to see happen in my life on a fairly regular basis. First, I want to learn to say no without feeling guilty, especially when it comes to being pressed at the last minute to do something. The reason for this is that there were more than a few times last year when my training time was pre-empted by requests and pleas from others at the last minute.

To be sure, some of these were legitimate and somewhat reasonable, but in hindsight it is hard not to think of myself now as a card carrying pushover. My training partners seem to think this already, as they seem surprised on nights when I arrive at the dojo early from work . Being firm enough in the first place, with others and self is the major (continuing) project to work on.

The second thing is to make it a priority to eat during the day, at work, even when things have completly gone awry on the posted schedule. We tend to behave at work in a manner similar to in training, functioning on adrenaline. This is fine when putting out the extra effort to outdo the last set, within reason, of course. The problem at work is that at present, employees are expected to go from zero to sixty at the beginning of the work shift, continuing at this pace until the end of the work day.

The analogy of a car and fuel seems to apply here. It may seem corny, but taking a sandwich and a thermos of protein drink to work, even if stored in the car during the day is not so silly when you regularly have to miss any part of the time that is set aside for a break such as lunch. This is a start, and it might get to the point where ordering out to a place that delivers to your work site may be what needs to be done. Now, it may be a challenge to actually eat the meal after having secured it.

The third thing is the hardest. This is simply holding one’s self to any stated goal. I think of something that a physical education teacher once said to the class back in junior high school: “Just tell yourself that you ARE going to do it!” After all these years, the lesson still rings true.