Well Being

Gym Classy Lady: What Are These Kettlebells & Why Are They Trying To Kill Me?

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Gym Classy Lady at KettleX kettlebells workout class in NYCWhen it comes to exercise, I’m not quite lazy but I value efficiency. I want a class that works me from my blond roots to my red toenails, and if I’m not sore (see: Zumba), what's the point? Enter: kettlebells. These aren’t for lazy people, but they are for fans of the efficient workout.

If there’s one thing that drives me crazy in life, it’s inefficiency. Whether I’m at the Saks, the Post Office (ugh, devil’s playground) or the dentist (double ugh), if I see someone taking 11 steps to do something I could do in four, frustration abounds. This probably makes me more impatient than I have any right to be in certain situations, and it definitely is my most stereotypical New Yorker trait. But I like to think it’s not all bad. Basically, I'm always looking for the quickest way to do a given task—including working out—so I can return to my couch.

Enter: Kettlebell class. A few weeks ago, a reader contacted me and said I just had to try this class called KettleX, involving kettlebells.

Kettlebells are ancient torture devices brought to us from the Greco-Roman world—um, I mean, they’re round weights with handles, meant for swinging and doing different movements than with typical dumbbells. Prior to this class, I had never even lifted a kettlebell, but I instinctively knew to be afraid.

The class was taught by Kettlebell champion and all-around badass Lorna Kleidman. When I met her, I immediately said, “Hello, I’m afraid of you.” Maybe it was her 0.1% body fat.

Anyway, I was right to be afraid—because this KettleX class completely kicked my ass (in a really efficient way).

EFFECTIVENESS – Overall, was it a good workout? How sweaty was I at the end (from black tie ready to fat man in Texas July)? 

4 – If you’re really serious about changing your body, kettlebells are probably a fantastic tool for doing so. The KettleX class really was a full body workout, as evidenced by the full body soreness I experienced for the rest of the week. But the reason this is a 4 instead of a 5 is that it might have been a little too hard. There were moments in this class where I couldn’t even catch my breath. Exercise 101 says your activity should be intense enough to make you pant, but not so intense you're unable to carry on a conversation. This class marked the first time I’d seen Kendyl Wright in four months, and we were unable to catch up at all because we were both too out of breath!

AMENITIES – How posh was the gym/spa/studio? From lemon water to BYO.

3 – The class was at Fitness Cell Collective, a small boutique gym on the Upper East Side in New York City. It was a tiny, one-room gym with locker rooms and a small snack bar. In the picture above, you can see pretty much the entire gym (plus Lorna showing me how to properly hold a kettlebell, hello!).

STUDIO VIBE – Was the place full of lululemon or ratty old t-shirts? How awkward did I feel, from inner-Beyonce to sixth grade me?

2 – It was hard to get a feel for the other students because there were only four people in the class. This made for great corrections on Lorna’s behalf and great embarrassment on mine. Nothing makes you feel less coordinated and able than being one of four students, therefore unable to hide in the back. This is probably a good thing, really, as it was more like having a personal training session than attending a class—but still, I felt as awkward as Napoleon Dynamite, and I hated that movie.

TEACHERS – Did the teacher add to or detract from the experience? Did they put together a good playlist?

5 – As I said, Lorna obviously knows what she’s doing and she was great at correcting me in a way that was helpful and not embarrassing. She made us feel like we were pros, rather than the newbies struggling with 15 pound weights (and she was a walking commercial for personal fitness herself).

OVERALL EXPERIENCE – Would I go again? What else contributed to my experience?

3 – Overall, I certainly saw the benefit of KettleX class (and found new and exciting ways to be sore for several days afterwards). Usually when I find something very difficult, it inspires me to try harder and get better so I see results in my own abilities. But after attending the class, I looked into the pricing and class times and realized Lorna teaches three times a week: Mondays at 9 a.m., Wednesdays at 6 p.m. (both at Fitness Cell Collective), and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Equinox’s 50th and Broadway location. The prices for Fitness Cell Collective classes are $50/one class (the price per class goes down if you buy a package) or $300 for a monthly membership. While I really enjoyed Lorna and KettleX, the times and pricing have me hesitant to return regularly.


About “Gym Class Lady:” Inspired by my love of trying all things fitness, every other week I’ll be reviewing a workout class, fad or video. I try all these classes so you don’t have to! Have a class to recommend or a review you’d love to read? Leave me a comment or tweet me @lizlemonyall.

Note: KettleX comped my class, but all opinions are my own.