I apologize for the misleading title. After all, If I did put on more weight while working out with kettlebells, I must have developed some seriously bad eating habits. Please, allow me to clarify.
My name is Ryan Faucher. I’m just your average guy who spends the majority of his workday sitting in a chair doing web design. When I was younger, I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted in large quantities without any consequences. Then, as I got older, my metabolism slowed and I quickly packed on the pounds.
You’d think that after realizing this I would have had a wake-up call that a lifestyle change was in order. Unfortunately, my stubbornness and arrogance did me no favors. “Everything is fine”, I kept telling myself. There’s no need for change.
At this point in my life, I’d met someone who loved me and wasn’t bothered by my obesity. There was never any pressure to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. So I continued to eat junk food and really didn’t do much in the way of physical activities.
From the time I started gaining weight until the moment I finally committed to making a change to this lifestyle was probably within the span of 4-5 years. I had ballooned to 265 pounds – 100 pounds over my ideal body weight.
Because of this, complications such as snoring and sleep apnea grew increasingly problematic. I was getting dangerously close to 300 pounds and at risk for even greater health problems.
The defining moment that forced me to admit I had a problem
Usually, people need to hit rock bottom in order to seriously commit to change. For me, one particular moment in my life was an eye-opener. It still sticks with me to this day. Even though it didn’t prompt an immediate change, it forced me to come to terms with the situation.
What was it that finally changed my mindset? Moving furniture. Particularly, a king-sized mattress up two flight of stairs. Honestly, that doesn’t sound as enduring as it was.
Of course, it wasn’t just myself lifting, maneuvering, and carrying this mattress up the stairs. Two other guys were also helping. It was a challenge for sure, but for me a moment of embarrassment and utter exhaustion.
Although we completed the task of getting it up the stairs, it was me who was left winded for several minutes. I literally couldn’t catch my breath. At that moment, it felt like I needed an oxygen mask to stabilize myself.
Aside from the breathing, the amount of sweat I produced seemed like it could’ve filled a bucket. My heart was racing and I thought to myself, “This is terrible. If I continue down this path, I won’t be around much longer”.
Over-dramatic? Perhaps. The sad part is that it probably took a year or so of this festering in my head before I started putting an exercising and dieting plan into action.
The event that became the ultimate motivator
That person I mentioned before who loved me for me? We got engaged. A wedding date was set and we both wanted to look our best for the big day.
She too wanted to lose weight and live healthier. So beginning in 2018, just a month over becoming engaged, our weight loss journey began. The wedding date was already decided to fall on our relationship anniversary – November 23rd. Plenty of time to make a positive impact.
The diet plan
The first couple of months of 2018 were spent focusing on changing our eating habits. Instead of ordering or going out to dinner all the time, we figured the paleo diet is one we could realistically follow.
This meant giving up bread and grains (among other things), but we could still consume meats. Meals had to be prepared and planned in advance, which took a lot more effort than spur-of-the-moment dinners.
It wasn’t easy, and we did allow ourselves a cheat day or two a month. However, once we got comfortable with the diet, it was time to move on to the next phase. That step was a consistent exercise and workout regimen.
The exercise plan
I had done research before on kettlebells. Specifically, the number of calories that can be burned in a short amount of time. Given the fact that studies have shown you can burn 400 or so calories in 20 minutes made them an appealing choice for a workout tool.
It was this benchmark that would serve as the basis for our workout routine. The plan was to exercise each workday (5 days a week) for 20 minutes doing various kettlebell exercises. This plan, in conjunction with eliminating our awful eating habits, helped us achieve some amazing results for our wedding day.
I dropped 70 pounds in 10 months with dieting and kettlebells
When we started working out with kettlebells in March of 2018, my weight was recorded at 265 lbs. On our wedding day (November 23rd) I weighed 195 lbs. My wife lost over 80 pounds in that time! While we hadn’t reached our target weight, we were both ecstatic about these results.
There’s a certain level of excitement experienced when putting on old clothes that haven’t fit in years. Both she and I were digging deep into our wardrobes putting on old t-shirts, jeans, you name it.
Throughout the entire process, major alterations were necessary for my wife’s wedding dress resulting in hundreds of dollars spent. A small price to pay for making such progress.
The funny part is, for me, it could’ve been more weight loss. There have been a few plateaus throughout this journey. Undoubtedly from not being strict as possible with the dieting.
Although I’ve been consistently exercising with kettlebells, food is my weakness. I’m finding that these last 30 pounds to go are the most difficult. However, those gains I referred to in the title, have never been more apparent.
The unintended benefits from my kettlebell workouts
Obviously, my primary reason for exercising with kettlebells was to shed the weight. Little did I realize that I would gain so many more benefits than just that.
Sure, dieting has played a part in that. However, I believe that had I chosen another piece of workout equipment, I would’ve given up in frustration.
In the past, I’ve done the treadmill and elliptical machines. Don’t get me wrong, they are also great pieces of equipment. The problem is that I would get bored, even if I was watching a TV show while using them.
Kettlebell workouts, on the other hand, require more effort and concentration, but can also entail many different movements. The pay off is that you can accomplish more in less time. It’s hard work but absolutely worth the effort.
Some of the positive benefits of my kettlebell workouts include:
1) Mental clarity
I now realize just how much of an emotional sloth I was when I was sedentary and eating like crap. Irritability, tiredness, and laziness were common traits of mine. I just didn’t have any energy.
Today, I feel more focused than ever. My attitude has changed for the better. This mental clarity has drastically altered my outlook on life. Whereas I used to look at things glass half-empty, I find myself on the other side (half-full).
Because of this, I’m doing things I would’ve never had the confidence to do. I’m not just talking about physical activities. Personal stuff like even writing this article and sharing my story, for instance. It’s things like these that I would’ve never felt comfortable doing before I started my lifestyle change.
2) Improved health
Gone are the sleep apnea and snoring. My wife is certainly happy about that. It got so bad that there was talk of getting treatment which would’ve been a financial and personal inconvenience.
I feel like a completely different guy than the one who huffed and puffed a mattress up the stairs. Before, even while sleeping I would sweat like a pig. Although I still do sweat, it’s not nearly as bad.
Truth be told, I haven’t been to the doctor’s office in over a decade. I actually have an appointment very soon as my wife has been adamant about that. While I’m a little nervous, there is quite the relief knowing that I’m in much better shape and will likely avoid some scrutiny from the doctor.
3) Better physique and more strength
I have to stress that I didn’t start using kettlebells to build muscles. I was solely concerned with losing weight. During some of the plateaus I mentioned, I would feel a little dejected. That was until my wife mentioned how defined my body started to become.
It’s clear to me now that replacing fat with muscles may result in slowing the process of weight loss. To me, that’s an acceptable trade-off. No, I’m not all of a sudden Hercules, but when physical chores or activities do arise, they require a significant amount of less effort. I no longer feel like I’m out of breath and on death’s door after as well.
Since I began using kettlebells about a year ago, I’ve progressed from a 15 lb. kettlebell to a 35 lb. kettlebell. All the experts say that the average man should start off with a 35 lb. kettlebell. I was far from the average man and had I set that unrealistic bar of using the heavier weight, I probably would’ve thrown in the towel.
So I eventually worked my way up to 20 lbs. A few months later, 25 lbs. I could’ve progressed faster and waited longer than I should have, however, I wanted my next kettlebell to be top-of-the-line. That’s when I bought my current 35 lb. Kettlebell.
The 35 lb. kettlebell felt like starting all over again. The exercises I breezed through before became tough again. In the couple months of using this current kettlebell, I’ve now reached the point where it won’t be too long before moving on to the next size up.
It’s an incredible feeling to know that with hard work, you can achieve more than you set out to do. Had I pushed myself too hard in the beginning, I don’t think I’d be sharing this story.
Combining my web design experience with my kettlebell enthusiasm
I’m proud to call myself a kettlebell enthusiast. I’m not a trainer or a professional athlete. There is still much I need to learn when it comes to technique and movements as it concerns kettlebells. Although, it’s my passion for both web design and kettlebells which lead me to create Kettlebell Krusher. I’ll tell you why.
In my brief experience with kettlebells, I’ve discovered a community that is embracing and encouraging. There really is no hint of elitism. Rather, experienced trainers and athletes all seem to want to help kettlebell newcomers with questions and problems they might have. There’s nothing quite like it.
My perception of gyms was that they were reserved for the strong and able-bodied. God forbid if I showed up to one, overweight and in sweat pants. I know that is most likely just in my head and not reality, but it’s one I harbored for the longest time.
Even though I do my kettlebell workouts alone, I would definitely feel comfortable working out in a kettlebell class. Why? Because you have people from all walks of life trying to reach their own goals.
There are elderly men who might use kettlebells to rehab an injury. Stay-at-home moms who want to improve their tone and shape. Overweight folks like myself who want to become fit. Athlete’s and runners who want to bulk up or become faster.
Kettlebells are the one tool to rule them all in the fitness world
Kettlebells allow so many different people to accomplish different goals. The one common theme is self-improvement. The fact that these goals can be done in a realistic time frame is one reason that I think the kettlebell community is so respectful to one another.
Upon this realization is when I decided to build Kettlebell Krusher. Part personal blog about my journey and part resource website, I’m fascinated with all the facets of kettlebell training. Whether that be with custom workout routines, professional competitions, or even cultural things like celebrities using kettlebells. I believe that more awareness needs to be made about the positive impact they can have on a person’s life.
If you have yet to use a kettlebell, I implore you, give it a chance. Try exercising with them consistently for a month. I guarantee whatever personal self-improvement goal you’re trying to reach, you’ll begin to notice within that time.
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