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January is proving to be the perfect opportunity to rebound from all of the holiday craziness. No special occasions or distractions to prevent me from exercising on a regular basis. Nor are there any excuses for eating delicious but unhealthy junk food and sweets. At the very least, I’m happy that the pounds I put on from Thanksgiving to New Year’s have been erased. My stomach continues to shrink inward, but I’m doubtful that any major definition of the abs will be visible when this challenge is over.

I would say, what I’m doing is definitely working. It’s just that with my current routine more time is likely necessary. To be fair, I’ve really been winging it as far as kettlebell workouts go. Since my wife is still exercising with me a few times per week, we’ve been focusing on generalized workouts. Namely, following along with the various DVDs of the Skogg System.

Perhaps if I were following one of those Get Shredded in 30 days programs and exercising my ass off, results would be more prominent. Although, I think I’m already pushing myself pretty hard. Even switching between my 35 lb and 45 lb. kettlebells throughout the weekdays isn’t enough to alleviate any soreness and muscle fatigue. Ironically, doing the 50 ab wheel rolls before exercising is what I find most challenging. I’m sure if I were doing 300 swings or any kettlebell exercise in high reps and sets, my opinion would be different.

I’m not so dedicated to kettlebell training that I could do repetitive exercises for long durations day in and day out. Mixing things up keeps me motivated and interested while still offering very efficient workouts. I feel like many other people could probably relate to that too.

Helping and Inspiring Others to Try Kettlebells

Despite my own personal goals and accomplishments, spreading the word about all of the benefits that kettlebells offer is just as important. I’m at the point where I wouldn’t consider myself a novice but I’m also not a trainer. That may change very soon as I start to shift from weight loss to improving strength, mobility, and cardio. I want to be that guy where others think, “If he did it so can I”. Therefore it makes no sense to duplicate what other seasoned kettlebell trainers are doing where they demand a lot physically from their clients or students.

If what I’m trying to accomplish takes longer but is more sustainable for the average person, I’m fine with that. Balancing diet with exercise requires dedication and restraint but seems a lot more realistic than continually pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion. I still remember how difficult it was swinging a 15 lb. kettlebell when I first decided to seriously try them. However, the training and working out became a part of my life and I haven’t looked back since.

In all actuality, kettlebells are beneficial to anyone. Not just the average person. Those who are elderly, severely overweight, and even disabled would have an improved quality of life if committed to using a kettlebell for just 20 minutes a day. Whatever I can do to help make that a reality, I’m up for it. Kettlebell training isn’t a competition (unless it’s for sport), it’s about making small improvements each week, day, and month to be in the best shape possible.

Current Progress and Photos

So yes, the realization has sunk in that I won’t have a ripped physique at the end of this challenge. The huge jump I was hoping for from Day 1 to Day 30 for my abs and stomach might not amount to much. However, underneath the final layer of fat, it’s quite clear that my ab muscles have grown and become firm. I notice it when I place my hands in that area and so does my wife. Her support has been very encouraging throughout this challenge. She recommends that I continue to do everything I can to reach this goal even if it takes longer than expected. That’s a good mindset to have.

Since weight loss isn’t much of a concern these days, I think adjusting my diet and calorie intake won’t have much of an impact. I mentioned before that I probably will be adding weight as I build strength and muscles. That’s something I still need to wrap my head around as I’ve conditioned myself that I must continue to lose weight to be in the best shape.

Exercise & Caloric Intake Information

It was a heavy dose of the Skogg System this week for kettlebell workouts. Although I never broke the 180 bpm mark for peak heart during any of this week’s workouts, I probably averaged the highest peak combined this week compared to the previous two weeks. There was definitely a lot of catching my breath afterward that’s for sure!

The one area where I failed to consistently stay within my guidelines is calorie intake. I wouldn’t say it was a bad week when the highest day (1604 calories) was still well below the daily recommendation of 2,000 calories. Subway and an unexpected slice of cake for dessert were the main culprits for the higher calorie intake. I’m not stressing over it too much as my weight has continued to fluctuate throughout this entire month.

1/17/20

Weight: 167.8 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1518
Workout:Game of Bells + Random Stack 52 Exercises (20 min.), 35 lb., 25 lb., 15 lb.. kettlebell, Heart rate of 129 bpm average and 161 bpm peak.

1/18/20

Weight: 169 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1110
Workout: OFF

1/19/20

Weight: 168.6 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1390
Workout: OFF

1/20/20

Weight: 168.2 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1163
Workout:Skogg System – Intervals Level 2, 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 123 bpm average and 170 bpm peak.

1/21/20

Weight: 166.8 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1210
Workout: Skogg System – Roots Level 2, 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 135 bpm average and 172 bpm peak.

1/22/20

Weight: 166.8 lbs.
Calories Consumed: 1604
Workout:300 Swings + 100 push-ups + 100 sit-ups (20 min.), 45 lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 141 bpm average and 171 bpm peak.

1/23/20

Weight: 167.6 lbs
Calories Consumed: 1328
Workout:My Favorite Flow by Eric Leija (20 min.), 45 Lb. kettlebell, Heart rate of 156 bpm average and 172 bpm peak.

Other than my Game of Bells workout which utilizes 3 different weights of kettlebells, I pushed myself to go with the 45 lb. kettlebell. This tipped the scales in favor of strength rather than cardio. The question I ask myself (for the purpose of building abs); Is it better to get more reps in with a lower weight? Or should I go heavier with fewer reps? I may just put this theory to the test and go with my 35 lb. kettlebell for the majority of next week.

Physique After 3 Weeks

Day 23 - Looks can be deceiving
Day 23 – Looks can be deceiving

I figured I would do the arrest pose for the front and back shots in the hopes of providing a better picture of my progress. Maybe it’s the body hair or that final layer of fat still blocking the way, but I just can’t convey what I’m feeling in my mid-section to an appropriate photo. There is an improvement but the naked eye won’t see that. At certain angles, my abs are more noticeable. However, nothing “showcase” worthy so far.

I wish I had more exciting results, but that’s life. Things don’t always turn out as expected. I’ll finish this thing through and maybe down the road do a similar challenge. Whatever the outcome, I have no regrets and am happy that I gave it my all.

Ryan Faucher

I'm a web designer and kettlebell enthusiast on a quest to lose fat, build muscles and live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that exercising with kettlebells in conjunction with dieting is the most effective and efficient way to reach this goal. If you have the will and motivation, there is no reason you can't do the same.
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