Put the kettle on

Every Monday (and by every, I mean the first two Mondays that have elapsed this year so far), I go to a room with twenty other women to sweat and groan.

In hoodie and leggings, I make my way to the second floor of a terrace in central Manchester, above a Thai boxing studio.  I think they do Thai boxing; the door is always closed and the smell can only be described as ‘well used terry towelling’, but there are plenty of yelps and the sound of skin hitting boxing mitt, so yes, thai boxing.  I continue up the stairs and join the throng there to worship 6 kgs of metal for 45 minutes.  I’m there for the kettle bells.

Kettle bells are the maiden aunts of the gymfloor.  No-one really knows what to do with them, so they perch at he back behind the freeweights and the gymmats and the yoga balls, waiting for a date with a firm grip and a 6 pack stomach.  But in kettlercise, they are queen.


Here’s how it goes: you follow a 45 minute plan of exercises, alternating between arms and legs, finishing off (thankfully) on the floor for a series of stomach exercises.  The bell doesn’t leave your hand for the duration.  Each exercise is repeated for 1 minute at a time.  This is perfect for me, because I normally limit myself by the number of reps, with 15 being the golden number.  But in Kettlercise, you keep going for a minute, partly through dogged spirit and partly because you can’t remember what exercise comes next, so you have no choice.


This week we worked out to a soundtrack of deep house and acid rave – so most of the time I was blissfully off in a field somewhere in Hertfordshire, mentally at least, getting a solid groove on.  Most of the exercises would look ridiculous without a bell in the hand.  There’s lots of squatting and grabbing which would otherwise look like you were having a tough time sorting your Tesco shop, but with the bell, any movement has purpose.


It’s one of the hardest hours to commit to in my entire week, but I never regret it at the end.  Especially the next day, as I hover than collapse on to the toilet seat, I imagine my kindred kettlers doing the same in lavatories all over the North West, desperately clinging to the toilet roll holder for balance and company.  The quad burn is incredible!  I imagine a kind of alternative Half Nelson, where a student would walk in to find me collapsed on the floor, pitifully crying out for the loo roll.  Fortunately, this hasn’t happened, because I don’t know whether my headteacher would understand that my weakened state comes from exercise rather than sustained drug use.  If only, they kettled, they’d understand …. 

Bring me sunshine

What's their secret?

An avid reader of my blog (me) recently pointed out to me that the agenda set out in ‘A Call to Positivity’ (Date 28/08/09) has not been honoured in subsequent posts. Briefly, for those of you who are (understandably) too lazy to read it, in this post I promised to be more postive about things and point out alternative ways to maintain personal happiness in this crazy crazy world.

And I concur with avid reader – on the surface, it seems that I’m the fickle sort, promising the world but offering up nothing but sour grapes. But allow me to explain. All subsequent posts have shown, (albeit laterally) how I try to inject optimism into my day-to-day. They may lack the boldness of my first missives on Kurt Russell and cheap food, but my ideas on how to be happy linger on in more recent postings. So…for any of you who may care, here are my ideas on developing one’s own sanguinity, extrapolated from my blog and reformulated in a handy ‘chicken soup for the soul’ type list.

1 Watch Kurt Russell films.
2 Eat cheap filthy food often and in secret.
3 Write/draw abundantly, and publish the consequences on a blog that no one reads.
4 Only watch football matches where you are not attached to either team.
5 Run as slowly or as fast as you like. Outdoors.
6 Always have a book as well as your mp3 for the commute.  Otherwise you will end up playing the lousy games that I suggested in a previous post.
7 Reject all free newspapers, along with any Murdoch/Northcliffe owned national media. They will make you angry regardless of your politics.
8 There is nothing cool or ironic about watching junk television like Loose Women. Turn it off.

I assure – they’re all in my posts in one way or another.