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How 10,000 Kettlebell Swings Helped Me Transform My Body

From Men’s Health

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working out five days a week. I ate relatively healthy, too. While I was never exactly shredded, I was making good progress on the big lifts and felt comfortable taking off my shirt in public. But when lockdown started, all of that changed.

I was still eating like a person with an active lifestyle, but the most movement I was getting was walking from my bed to the couch. My gym closed. My office closed. The natural routine of my day-to-day life crawled to a near stop. That, coupled with the new existential threats of daily existence under the pandemic, meant I was eating a lot of take out, and food became a distraction from the casual terror of everyday life.

When I stepped on the scale last month, I discovered I’d packed on about 21 pounds. It wasn’t a surprise that I’d gained weight. With all the changes over the last few months, of course I was going to put on weight. The question now was what did I want to do about it?

Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men’s Health

Dan John‘s 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Workout has earned a reputation as a simple, brutal fitness challenge. The breakdown of the program uncomplicated, but daunting: you’ll perform 500 kettlebell swings, five days a week for a total of 20 workouts over four or five weeks. The swings are supplemented with squats, presses, or dips for four of the weekly training sessions. John claims that people who have taken on the challenge dropped fat while adding muscle, saw noticeable improvements in posture and body composition, and made significant gains in overall strength.

I wanted a program that didn’t require regular gym access while still offering big results to combat my pandemic pounds and general malaise. Swinging a kettlebell 10,000 times seemed like the best available option.

By the time the challenge was finished four weeks later, I had dropped nearly all the pandemic weight and a quarter of my body fat. The change was not subtle, and the work was not easy. This is what it was like for me to swing a kettlebell 10,000 times in a month.

Week 1 of the 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge

There are thousands of trainers on the internet insisting their programs are the absolute best way for people to lose weight. What those people often leave out is that the equation is often even simpler than following their plan. You need to expel more energy than you’re putting in (this is called a caloric deficit). That can happen through careful focus on diet, exercise, or most effectively, some combination of the two.

When people don’t get the results they want it is usually because they didn’t actually follow the program. They don’t do all the workouts. They eat food they’re not supposed to. If you want to achieve your goals, the key is consistency and tracking. Unfortunately, I am terrible at consistency and

How many organs are in the human body?

Since ancient times, humankind has sought to understand the guts inside us. Ancient Egyptians handled human organs as they removed them for embalming. Medical manuscripts found in an ancient Chinese tomb may be the earliest-known anatomical writing about the human body. Thousands of years later, do we know how many organs are in the human body?

Organs are collections of tissues that work together for a common goal, explained Lisa M.J. Lee, an associate professor in the Department of Cell & Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Every organ provides a function for human performance or survival,” she told Live Science.

But not every organ is necessary for survival. Only five organs — the brain, heart, liver, at least one kidney, and at least one lung are absolutely essential for living. Losing total function of any one of these vital organs spells death. Remarkably, the human body can survive without a lot of other organs, or by replacing a non-functioning organ with a medical device. 

Related: Why do we have an appendix?

As for counting organs in the human body, it depends on whom you ask and how you count, Lee said. Although no one knows where the number originates, the general count is 78 organs, she said. This list includes the vital organs: the tongue, stomach, thyroid, urethra, pancreas, plus many other single or pairs of organs. Bones and teeth are each counted only once.

Among anatomists, viewpoints differ on what counts as an organ. A histologist like Lee, who studies tissue at the microscopic level, may have a longer list of organs than a gross anatomist, who studies what’s visible to the unaided eye. For example, scientists made headlines in 2017 for labeling the mesentery, which attaches the intestines to the abdominal wall, as an organ. Even though the scientists provided new evidence to call it an organ, it was not controversial, as many histologists and anatomists agreed, Lee explained. But there’s no group charged with keeping an official count of the organs or deciding what qualifies as an organ. 

Thinking microscopically, when multiple types of tissues join together and function together, the unit is an organ, she said. Lee could call a nail, or structures that support the nail, an organ, and count each tooth as an individual organ. “I would consider each bone an organ, and all 206 bones collectively together, is considered an organ system.” Because bones are already listed once on the list of 78, to get a tally of the total number of organs using this definition, just add 205, for a total of 284 organs.

Counting each tooth separately brings the list to 315 organs. Many other organs are listed only once, even though there are many of them throughout the body. For instance, ligaments and tendons could dramatically increase the total number of organs when counted individually. This game is endless. The list of 78 counts the nerves just once, but

Kamala Harris’s and Mike Pence’s Debate Body Language, Decoded by an Expert

In Salt Lake City on Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris sat approximately six feet away from each other, behind plexiglass shields, and had a battle of crooked brows, smirks, and head shakes.

There were fewer interruptions — though Pence still managed cut off Harris enough times to get at least one good meme out of the moment — but more rogue flies than last week’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. However, it was those in-between moments that caught our attention.

Body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma, spoke with InStyle late Wednesday evening after the debate to discuss those cocked heads, the smug smiles, and what it all means.

The Smirks

Both Senator Harris and Vice President Pence smirked plenty while the other was talking during the debate — but not all smirks are equal.

“It’s fascinating that Kamala uses smiles to respond to Pence when he is giving false information,” Wood says. “Smiling and shaking her head in disbelief are the softest ways for her to respond. For those viewers who were expecting her to look angry, they are seeing her maintain her calm.”

Pence’s smirks, too, communicated a sense of control. “I coach executives who are going to be interviewed by the media and we work on their talking points,” Wood tells InStyle. “I can tell when a candidate has had a media coach school them on a talking point.  Pence was coached on the packing the court statement — I can tell because he not only repeated it, it was one of the rare instances where he increased his volume, and when he said it he smirked with ‘gotcha’ delight.”

Harris’s Smile and Head Tilt

It was a matter of seconds after Harris told Pence, “I’m speaking” — her version of, “Will you please shut up, man?” — before the phrase began trending on Twitter. Moms tweeted that the smile, the head tilt, and the terse tone of voice, was a familiar one.

Wood agrees that the movement was motherly. “When Senator Harris was interrupted again and again, her big smile, tilted head, and firm, low volume voice was that of a mother correcting her toddler,” she says. “She could have gotten angry; we have seen her really angry in congressional hearings. Instead, she was controlled and measured.”

She adds that Harris’s warmth and sincerity play well for her, making her message more memorable in the long run. “Research shows that we love candidates with a broad emotional range,” Wood notes. “We love someone who laughs and smiles big and warmly. We tend to like to know what someone is really feeling, and 4.3 times the message’s impact is sent nonverbally. We remember what people say when