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We Tried It: KettleWorx Cardio Ignite

"The class definitely got me sweating, but I also wasn't behind. It was encouraging and challenging, which was a pleasant surprise as I'll admit to being a bit intimidated by the idea of kettlebells."
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What We Tried: KettleWorx's 20-minute Cardio Ignite, part of the upcoming 8-Week Rapid Evolution DVD set

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Where: We were treated to this sweat session at a local gym for a media event, but KettleWorx is available in select gyms in LA and Chicago and coming soon to DVD.

What We Did: We alternated between plyometrics moves like high knees, running in place and shuffling and kettlebells moves like tactical lunges, figure eights, kettlebell swings and squat presses.

For How Long: It's designed to last just 20 minutes. Now that's a program we can get behind.

How'd It Feel:
Meredith's Take: One of the metrics I use to determine the quality of a fitness class is how it affects Sarah and me differently. She's in much better shape than I am, so if, at some point during the 30- or 45-minute period, I don't lose my form to exhaustion while she moves brightly beside me, I really dock a point. If it can't separate the truly fit from the weekend warriors, is a class really strenuous enough?

By that measure, KettleWorx passed with flying colors. As we ran in place, our knees meant to reach parallel with our hips, I found myself drooping. This was good. The class definitely got me sweating, but I also wasn't behind. It was encouraging and challenging, which was a pleasant surprise as I'll admit to being a bit intimidated by the idea of kettlebells.

Perhaps it was my relief in not encountering a CrossFit-style frenzy, but I really enjoyed this one.

Sarah's Take: Previously, when I thought kettlebells, I imagined a whole lot of grunting and huffing and swinging, like prehistoric creatures preparing for battle. We jumped into a spirited and lively routine that felt more like the seven-minute workout with weights than like a workout for elite athletes only. I broke a sweat -- fast! -- and my heart was pounding by the end. I probably should have challenged myself to try more of the moves with a heavier kettlebell, as I didn't feel sore the next day -- but that's what next time is for!

What It Helps With: Strength and cardio. You'll get the benefits of a resistance workout at the same time as your heart gets pumping.

What Fitness Level Is Required: Although it can be, working out with kettlebells doesn't have to be scary-intense or dangerous. The 20-minute routine is easily modifiable for all fitness levels -- especially when you take into account that even a five-pound kettlebell will do.

What It Costs: For $99, you'll get seven DVDs, a fitness guide, a meal plan, a training calendar and your very own 5- to 15-pound kettlebell.

Would We Do It Again:
Meredith's Take: Yes, please! Not only would I attend another gym class that combined plyometrics and kettleballs, I'd happily try some of their routines at home.

Sarah's Take: Definitely. Now that some of the mystery has been dispelled, I feel more comfortable pulling a kettlebell from the rack at my gym. I would also try the DVD. Maybe not in a strict eight-week schedule, but as a complement to my regular routine.

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Images courtesy of KettleWorx

For more from our We Tried It series, click here.

Follow Meredith Melnick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/meredithcm