Book Review From Russia with Tough Love

My fascination with Kettlebell’s continues with this book by Pavel Tsatsouline. In fact, I’m ready for a 35 pound (funnily referred to as a “1-pood” in the book) Kettlebell! (hurry up tax return!) The exercises that I am currently using it for include the 2 arm swing, the 1 arm swing, squats, side squats, and lateral lunges. I found this book on Amazon for $23 and I am so glad I bought it. Not only is Pavel funny- he’s blunt about what kettlebells can do for you. But there is a step by step guide to the proper technique for each and every exercise that he recommends for women (like 4 pages per exercise!!)
Love this quote: “Shed cellulite, get a hard butt, and enjoy the cardio workout of a lifetime with the SNATCH!” What I’m finding with the k-bell is that I can jack my heart rate to 170 just by swinging it around! For me, the options to build muscular strength and get a heart busting cardio workout in a short amount of time is really WHY I LOVE IT. I believe once you master the basics, you can totally design your own workout.
Pavel’s philosophy about lifting is completely opposite of what every personal trainer has ever told me or that I’ve read. He believes in “greasing the groove”. That is you work out 6 days a week but you alternate your hard and easy days- but he does NOT believe that you can’t work the same muscle on back to back days. He is from Russia and uses lots of Russian analogies about how the successful weight lifters and gymnasts worked the same muscles day in and day out. The difference is that on Monday you do two sets of your repetition maximum and on Tuesday you do two sets of half that number. Honestly, this sits well with me. I’m happier if I do something almost daily- I just don’t go hard everyday. And kettlebells are fun to play around with and on the easy days– it’s fun to experiment with the harder techniques so that I can go hard when it’s TIME.
The Plan:
It is very well thought out and easy to follow. I also like that he starts you off on week 1 with 2 exercises to do. Box Squats and Power Breathing daily. Week 2, he adds one exercise; the one -legged deadlift. Week 3, there is nothing new added except the number of sets or repetitions changes. And, week 4 is a “rest week” and the workouts are scaled back to Box Squats and Angled Power Breathing Crunches. From week 5-8, things get noticeably harder. But, there is still only 4 exercises to do!
As for the food?
He says “yours truly does not have the knowledge to write on the subject!” And, he says as long as you follow a reasonable diet, you will lose plenty of fat! For added testimony, he interviewed the two women who are featured in the book D.C. and Andrea. Andrea (dark haired model) takes a bazillian supplements and focuses on protein and a healthy dinner. D.C. on the other hand offers her advice from the perspective of the mother who is always carrying a 10 pound load in a 5 pound bag. She works out HARD 2-3 times a week and is cut like a body builder and she says nothing about her diet!
I highly recommend this book. His no nonsense approach is hilarious. He doesn’t make any crazy statements like eating 2 egg whites for breakfast and a protein shake for dinner. The plan is simple and it’s very achievable for a woman to start a program with just one kettlebell. In fact, it’s taken me weeks to read and reread/highlight.  I love the detailed descriptions of each exercise. Man or woman, this book will take you where you want to go- low body fat, fast effective workouts, ability for TONS of choices..the list goes on and on…
On a side note:
There are two types of kettlebells- the kind GO FIT makes and the REAL THING offered by Russian Dragon Door. The difference is in the slick handle that the Russian Dragon Door bells have. They are a little more expensive which is why I don’t have one (yet). The problem with my Go Fit bell is that it has a rough handle that is causing some ugly blister like calluses on my hands. But, for $30 to start, I’m okay with that!

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