Let’s hear it for kettlebells!

Let’s hear it for kettlebells!


It’s that absolutely horrible time of year again, here in Delhi, where I live.

The pollution gets so bad, with the AQI plunging to dangerous levels, that it is just too damned dangerous to run outside.

It was so bad today that we even wondered whether or nor to go for our regular 3km evening walk in our local biodiversity park. We did go, but I suspect it may well be the last walk for a few weeks, unless the pollution mysteriously disappears.

Which it won’t.

Because it’s the same sorry story, year after year after bl***y year.

I’m sitting now, writing this, in my home office.

Windows closed.

Door closed.

Air purifier on.

And even so, my eyes are smarting from the toxic fug that we are condemned to breathe here, whilst our political leaders do SFA.

Year after year the images do the rounds all over the world – of Delhi swathed in grey, people like ghosts, barely visible through the smog.

And every year nothing happens.

Everyone blames the farmers in the surrounding states for burning their stubble, but no-one does a thing to sort out the farmers’ issues.

Year after year, our Delhi government talks about the dust. And yes, you’ve guessed, nothing ever happens.

It’s the winter. It’s cold. This is a poor country. So people burn whatever they can to stay warm, including plastic. And that sad reality doesn’t change either, from one year to the next.

It is Diwali next week, which is when people set off fireworks and crackers, and the pollution reaches the epic levels that make headlines around the world.

Yesterday the Delhi government banned the use of firecrackers this Diwali – thank the good Lord. We should all be grateful for small mercies, especially in these dreadful Covid times. Let’s hope the states that surround us follow suit & ban them, too.

All of which is to say that running outside in Delhi is counter-intuitive these days.

Which is where the kettlebells come in.

(“Finally!!! Get to the point!!”, do I hear you cry?!!)

So, as those of you who follow me on Instagram know, I’ve restarted in-person training sessions at my absolutely brilliant gym.

I have NEVER been keen on the idea of gym, and the thought of tread-mill-ing away with rows of other sweaty people always sounded like hell on earth.

So I simply avoided the whole issue, by not going to gym, and – guess what – my running suffered as a result, because I did no strength training, no stretching, nothing.


Finally, just before lockdown I was advised by my young friend Chetan Sehgal to try Decode, a gym in my neighbourhood.

I did.

And was immediately hooked.

After just a few sessions, lockdown happened and the whole format switched to online, which was obviously better than nothing, but thank goodness in person sessions have resumed.

2 weeks ago, Vijay, my trainer, introduced me to kettlebells and we haven’t looked back since :)

From 12 kg 2 weeks ago, I have progressed to deadlifting 28kg this morning, and I absolutely love it!

So, yeah, I realise that kettlebells ain’t gonna sort out the pollution, nor stop my frustration at not being able to run – BUT they are an active enticement to hit the gym.

And I can vent my irritation with our toxic air on the poor weights.

Plus, I might even get fitter and less flabby in the process.

I’ll try not to become a weight-lifting bore, the way I apparently became a running bore a few years ago, but I’m not promising anything :P

To all my friends and readers in north India – please be careful in this terrible pollution. Don’t risk your health unnecessarily.

Stay safe and stay home, to protect yourself from both Covid and the filthy air.


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