Ring My Bell

For those that have been following my blog and/or my workout journey, you’ll know that I’m quite fond of kettlebells. I get a fantastic total body workout that encompasses everything I need to strength train each muscle group and to provide intense cardio without having to spend too much time in the gym. Saturday was my first day getting back into my routine since I broke my ankle in August and it hurt so good! I worked my arms, legs, back, chest, trunk/core and heart in 30 minutes and didn’t stop sweating till long afterward. Knowing that my body kept burning calories like a furnace throughout the day as a result was an added bonus.

A few months ago, I recorded my entire kettlebell routine, but never posted it. I’ve been asked by several people to do so and I promise I will in the very near future. In the meantime, here’s a small clip of two ab exercises I did on Saturday, using an 8kg kettlebell to engage my arms and back in order to make each move a compound exercise.

By keeping my legs flat on the ground as dead weight the entire time, my abs stay engaged for each exercise and makes my abs work harder. The first part of the video clip, you see that I’m starting with the weight above my body, bringing it overhead to navel-level, then raising the weight over my head again before I repeat the compound movement on the  way back to my starting position. In the approximate two seconds it took for me to lift my upper body up and go back down to resting position, I engaged my arm/shoulder, back, and ab muscles together. In the second part, I keep the weight over my head the entire time and only use one arm, keeping my entire upper body engaged in the movement the entire time; I repeated this move with the other arm as well by doing 20 reps on each side. Since it was my first day back, I completed 3 sets of 20 reps of both exercises (among others) after finishing my total body routine. These are two efficient core exercises that are very effective yet simple and I highly recommend that you give them a try, using a weight that is suitable for your strength/fitness level.

Let me know how you like them and share your exercise tips and workouts with me! It’s always nice to have company on a journey.

Taming the Beast…the BEAST?!

Women of every ethnicity under the sun ask me how I straighten my hair and how long it takes to get the job done. “All of those curls! It must take forEVER to straighten them.” “Can you even COMB your hair?” “You must have some strong arms to deal with all of THAT hair…” (Don’t you just LOVE all of the emphatics?) I have strong arms because I lift weights, not because my hair is tumbleweed (my hair isn’t even close to being such a thing). Trust and know there’s a lot less to straightening my hair than meets the eye, as I will describe herein.

Since I don’t have video capabilities set up yet, the following pics and my deft use of the English language will have to suffice for the time being.

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Firstly, I always straighten my hair a day after I wash it; for some reason, flatirons are more effective on [at least] day-old hair, in my experience. The process starts by gently using a wide-tooth comb to address any tangles. Next, I mist heat protectant all over my hair and run the comb through it one more time to make sure the spray has been evenly distributed and not one strand has been missed. I have very fine hair that is quite damage-prone without proper care.
After separating my hair into four quarters, I begin the straightening process on a small section of the first quarter with my pre-heated flatiron, placing my comb underneath it as a guide and to keep my strands in place; the smaller the section of hair, the easier and quicker the task becomes because the heat penetrates the hair shaft more effectively and thoroughly.  I repeat this step until one half of my head is completed, usually about 10-12 minutes, then mist the straightened hair with shine spray while the strands are still warm. I repeat these steps with the other half, making the entire process clock in at less than 25 minutes. To finish it all off, I slap on a headband to tame any fly-aways; I don’t want to look like I stuck my finger into an electric socket, I mean c’mon. I might be crazy, but I don’t have to look crazy!

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…And then I make myself look crazy anyway.