Kettlebell Kickboxing Review Wrap-up: How Did I Do?
After some delay, I am ready to wrap up my review of Dasha Libin’s Kettlebell Kickboxing DVD. This kettlebell exercise series certainly kicked my butt in more ways than one! However, I do have some good news to report: My personal stats changed as a result of doing these exercises. I didn’t achieve everything I initially set out to do, but there was significant improvement. Without further delay, here are my “before” and “after” results:
Right and left arm: Before: 11 in., 11 in.; After: 11.5 in., 11.5 in.
Chest: Before: 29 in.; After: 29 in.
Waist: Before: 30 in.; After: 28.5 in.
Hips: Before: 37.5 in.; After: 37 in.
Right and left thigh: Before: 22 in., 22 in.; After: 21.5 in., 21.75 in.
BMI: Before: 21.5; After: 21.1
Fat: Before: 26.5%; After: 22%
Weight: Before: 141.6 lbs.; After: 139 lbs
My goals: Less gut, smaller thighs, decrease 15 lbs.; Achieved: Much less gut, thighs about the same, decrease of about 2.5 lbs.
Also, here are my “after” shots, showing my slightly leaner and less pudgy physique:
What I learned with Dasha Libin’s Kettlebell Kickboxing:
It’s hard work: Picking up and handling kettlebells 3-4 days each week is hard work. Sure, that kettlebell itself may weigh “only” 10 or 15 lbs…but when you’re performing 20 repetitions with that weight in a single minute, and over the course of 30-45 minutes per workout, it does add up. Even the warm-up exercises, with their emphasis on kicking and punching, had me sweating before I had lifted my kettlebell even once. In other words, these workout DVDs are not for wimps.
Maintaining proper form while lifting and swinging the kettlebell is crucial if you’re going to see any results. In fact, I may have cheated myself out of seeing better results because I sometimes got lazy and let my back do the heavy lifting instead of my legs or arms or stomach. And improper form leads only to one thing: a sore back the next day.
It takes discipline: I had to actively plan out my days to include kettlebell exercising instead of just taking it easy and dozing off in my office chair by 9 PM. My real scheduling challenge came while I was traveling on business for a few days- I couldn’t exactly pack my 15 lb. kettlebell into my suitcase and take it with me. And my hotel had no workout center either.
However, I was able to at least do the basic exercises in my hotel room while running the DVDs on my laptop- not the ideal situation, but tenable. It did occur to me later on that, had I brought an empty plastic gallon container, I could’ve filled it with water and used that as a handy 10 lb. “kettlebell.”
I also had to be more careful with what I ate: Subsisting on a diet of beer and potato chips wasn’t going to cut it anymore because these kettlebell kickboxing exercises required stamina. Over the course of time, I switched to a diet containing more fruit, eggs and meat. And the occasional beer.
It’s not an immediate change: Maybe because I was new to kettlebell exercising and/or maybe because I initially performed the exercises incorrectly, I didn’t notice my body changing until well after the third or fourth week of working out- and most of that change occurred around my stomach. My arms filled out- but only a little. Meanwhile, my thighs never decreased that much in size. However, most of the fat that I was packing was centered in my gut. Therefore, regarding what I’d mentioned in my last post about how aerobic exercise reduces fat, I wasn’t surprised to see my gut take the biggest hit.
It’s a great cross-trainer: I (try to) run fairly regularly, but in the last two years I’ve been riddled with all kinds of odd injuries. I’ve suffered at least three times from plantar fasciitis or bruised heel, and the last injury took me away from running for at least two months. I’ve also experienced ankle tenderness; at one point, I suspected I had sprained my left ankle.
Dasha’s Kettlebell Kickboxing DVDs had me kicking my legs out, which initially worried me as far as my left ankle was concerned. However, I never felt any adverse effects after the fact, so I kept on kicking. I also noticed that Dasha focused rather heavily on the legs and feet during her exercise warm-ups and cool-downs. This focus was no doubt intended to prevent injury and soreness; however, one of the side benefits for me was that I could now run longer and faster distances without suffering from foot/ankle injuries.
It’s humbling: Even after several weeks of exercising to Dasha’s Kettlebell Kickboxing DVDs, there were still some exercises that I couldn’t perform to save my life. Burpees were a constant battle for me and I couldn’t do more than five or six of them in a row before feeling ready to pass out. The KB Deck Squat that I described in my Week 2 post was never fully mastered because I ended up with odd bruising/scratching on my spine after “rolling” to stand up.
Obviously, some of these inabilities stemmed from me having a less-than-ideal distribution of fat and weight around my midsection (i.e., burpees were never an issue for me when I was a much thinner kid). To some extent, Dasha’s Kettlebell Kickboxing DVDs do portray individuals in peak or near-peak physical form performing exercises that they have been training to do for years (or at least, way longer than you). Even though I realized all this while working out, sometimes it was hard not getting discouraged.
The end result
Would I recommend Dasha Libin’s Kettlebell Kickboxing to someone just starting out with kettlebells? Yes. However, the caveat here is that these DVDs will kick your butt. You’ll be working, and working hard. Although one of the kettlebell exercise DVDs barely exceeds 30 minutes, that doesn’t mean you get to coast your way through it.
All this surprised me because I’m not exactly new to working out- I do run, after all. Still, these kettlebell exercises had me puffing and sweating.
The bottom line here is that, if you want to invest both your money and your time in a worthwhile kettlebell workout program that will test your limits, then Dasha’s Kettlebell Kickboxing is a good choice. However, if you’re looking for an easy exercise program that you can goof off to, then move right along…because this ain’t one of them.