Silver Bells

While December is a month for indulgences, January tends to be a month for regrets, or as we like to label them, resolutions. Gyms, fitness stores, and recreational sports leagues all see an upswing in popularity come January, and there’s no reason to expect this year to be any different.

On that note, if a fitness-minded friend or family member is interested in getting a jump start on their post-holiday workout, and they’re a little sick of yoga, zumba, or pilates, consider introducing them to the kettlebell.

If you’re not familiar (as I wasn’t a mere few months ago), a kettlebell is a cast-iron weight that somewhat resembles a cannonball. The difference between a regular weight and a kettlebell is the fact the centre of weight extends beyond your hand, making many of the moves performed with a kettlebell more cardiovascular in nature, with moves like ‘swings’ and ‘snatches’ as opposed to holding static poses or limited movement with other fitness regimes. Many of the moves performed in kettlebell routines actually mimic real-world, hard labour activities (such as working on a farm) and focus on the core, shoulders, and legs to help build long, lean muscles much like yoga and pilates.

Explanation over, onto the gift idea. If you want to introduce a total noob to the world of the kettlebell, consider picking up the Slim & Tone Kettlenetic Set for just $50 at Featuring a 4 lb kettlebell, 2 dvds with 3 dance-inspired workouts, and a fitness guide, the set provides all the basics at a reasonable price to test the waters of this relatively newly popular activity.

Once your pal has mastered the art of the kettlebell, there are other ways to expand their repertoire. Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels released a kettlebell workout earlier in 2010 called ‘Shred It With Weights’, which can be found for $10-$15 at most DVD retailers that makes a great stocking stuffer.

You can also take a look at your local gym and see if they offer any kettlebell classes. Sign your giftee up (and perhaps yourself too!) for a few sessions to give them some professional training and a chance to show off their in-home skills.

If your friend is really feeling it, in future years you can also help them invest in an adjustable kettlebell as they get stronger and stronger, or simply pick up a couple of different sizes – many of which come in fun vinyl colours. has a bunch of kettlebells, accessories, dvds, and adjustable weights to complete your pal’s kettlebell collection.

As always with fitness-oriented gifts, make sure the person you’re buying for isn’t going to take things too personally! Also note that in general, kettlebells are suitable for both men and women’s fitness routines, making it a great, versatile gift option.

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