I’ve been sitting on this fitness DVD review for two months, dying to tell you about it. But I had to wait exactly 69 days.
Which, coincidentally, is the approximate amount of time (66 days, to be exact) it takes to form a new habit, recent studies conclude.
Hang on, you might be saying. That can’t be right. I’d always heard it was much less. WAY less. Like maybe three weeks.
Yes, we all did. According to a recent Huffington Post piece, a plastic surgeon published a book in 1960 citing observations that it took his patients a minimum of 21 days for an “old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.” The book, Psycho-Cybernetics, went on to sell more than 30 million copies. The “21 days to form a habit” adage spread like wildfire.
Leaving the “a minimum of” in the dust.
Folks continued quoting out of context. Other self-help gurus ran with it. Soon all are convinced that everything from their smoking habit to that extra 30 pounds can be disappeared in a mere three weeks. And why wouldn’t we be? It sounds good. It sounds doable. And it feeds our insatiable appetite for quick-fix solutions.
Except it’s a lie. For most of us, anyway. Sure, you can white-knuckle your way to any result in 21 days. But once you get there your grasp on that shiny new state will be slippery at best, needing only the slightest provocation or setback to send you tumbling back to your old habits. It’s simply not enough time to lock in a new behavior. (We don’t need a scientist or researcher to tell us that, we’ve lived it. Time and time again.) Even the wildly popular 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, which I’ve blogged about obnoxiously, is meant only to disrupt food cravings, build quick momentum and kickstart a new healthier way of eating. Not solve all your weight issues overnight.
So why did I just take you through all that instead of jumping right into the review?
Because some of you, as soon as you hear that this Kettlebell Kickboxing Body Series is a 60-day exercise program, will groan and say Forget it; that’s too long of a workout commitment.
No. It’s not.
You want long? I’ll give you long. What do you think the “90” in P90X stands for? It delivers solid results, I’ll give it that. But I have to be honest…when I huffed and puffed my way to the 55-day mark and realized I still had more than a month to go before I could celebrate any sense of closure and accomplishment, I wanted to slit my wrists. (And then soothe it with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.)
At the one end, which no one denies, it’s hard to gain traction when you are on-again, off-again every other week. At the other extreme end, an overly ambitious fitness program for the deconditioned can seem like a prison sentence with no chance for parole.
My advice and unsolicited opinion: If you need and want to establish a lasting exercise habit to support your fitness goals, then this (or some other) predefined 60-day program may be your best shot. Not too short, not too long.
But why can’t I just wake up every day for the next 60 days and decide in the moment what exercise I’ll do? Please. Is that a joke? We’ve both been down that road before. And may I remind you that I practically invented the game of 99 Exercise Excuses. (Hint: it ends badly.)
Unless you’re already an Olympic or pro athlete, regularly train for marathons, or otherwise have the knowledge and track record to design a safe and successful DIY fitness program, then…reintroducing the discipline of regular exercise will not be easy, and could even be unsafe by increasing your chance for injury. This is where professional help can make a difference. One option is to hire a personal trainer, or join a gym where you’ll have regular access to one. Another option is to pair the best of both worlds – the convenience of an at-home fitness program, delivered by an expert trainer – and invest in a workout like Kettlebell Kickboxing Body Series.
Dasha Libin, the series creator, knows her stuff, and as a result her 11-DVD full-body workout disk set offers plenty of variety designed to keep you plugged in for the long haul: it’s incredibly fun to do; the cueing, proper form and instruction are best-in-class; and the attention to detail – like adequate focus on joint mobility training over flexibility – sets it apart from pretty much anything else I’ve seen or used on the market. Here’s what you get:
You can also see it in action in this 9-minute montage video clip:
Burn 500 calories in 30 minutes? Yes, please and thank you.
I’ve always loved the idea of training with kettlebells, but some of the instructional videos I remember from back in the day had a bit of a grim, labor camp vibe going on. No joy whatsoever. (And you guys know how I feel about joy.) As a result, I could never get a steady practice going and my interest faded as I moved on to other training techniques.
Kettlebell Kickboxing is a very different experience, and reminds me of my days working out in the boxing gym under the watchful eye of boxing coaches and MMA practitioners. Discipline. Motivation. Proper form. I wake up every day looking forward to that morning’s workout with Dasha, Jenel and crew, which is always different from the day before. The dedicated joint mobility workout alone is easily worth the price you’d pay just for a single session with a personal trainer or physical therapist. (That foam roller technique is everything.)
Plus, it’s just plain fun. Swinging a kettlebell allows me to tap into my inner Lagertha, in all her shieldmaiden bad-assery. (It’s a Vikings thing. Thursdays at 10 on The History Channel.) You can’t beat it for a complete range-of-motion, full body workout that simultaneously delivers strength training AND cardio, as well as balance. Today they’re so common you can pick one up at your local Target or Walmart. For this program, I started with a 10-lb kettle bell, and plan to move up to a 15-lb and 20-lb for my next repeat cycle. (There is a dumbbell modification offered, but it’s not the same. Invest in a kettlebell if you want to get the most out of this program.)
I’m very satisfied with my results. My primary goal, which I achieved, was to re-establish a daily fitness routine. I feel stronger, more limber, and have an increased range of motion overall. Owing to its martial arts influence, Kettlebell Kickboxing forces you to master getting up off the ground without the use of your limbs. Not normally something you think about, but it’s a key gauge of your overall fitness level. That’s just one of the functional fitness benefits you’re not likely to find elsewhere.
While it wasn’t my main focus, I also lost weight and inches. And was surprised by one added bonus: the tightest backside I can ever recall having since, well, whenever. And that includes all my years of yoga practice, P90X, etc. Dasha’s Perfect Butt workout is aptly named, but I also attribute it to her incredible cueing on form (Squeeze your glutes when you come up!) across all the workouts.
Speaking of cueing: I ignored the reviews on Amazon that griped about Dasha talking too much throughout the workouts, and suggest you do as well. Some people are born complainers (especially online), and others unfortunately can’t discern the difference between mindless chatter, and proper cueing and instruction from an expert with a Master’s degree in Sports Science. (Hint: you have a mute button. Use it.) All I can tell you is that as a result of all of Dasha’s motivational “chatting” I walked away with more knowledge about form, anatomy and physiology than in all past home fitness DVDs combined. More importantly, Dasha’s method gives you a clear path forward for maintenance: you can continue with a scaled back version of the Body Series, or for a change of pace move on to the core series that started it all, KB Kickboxing Scorcher (4-disk set). When you’re ready for an even bigger challenge, try Dasha’s Tabata-styled Advanced Scorcher 2.0 (2-disk set).
If we’re being honest, all of us – self included – understand that it took months and, in most cases, years to build up these sloth-like lifestyle tendencies and habits of ours. Years. So why on earth would we think all that can be reversed in 2 or 3 weeks? That’s ridiculous. You know it, and I know it. So let’s not waste another minute of our time in denial seeking quick fixes, because they simply don’t work.
All that said…you don’t have to choose this particular program (what worked for me may not work for you), but pick SOMETHING with a clearly defined 60-day path that will hold you accountable. Remember:
It takes about
21 66 days to develop a new habit.