On Sunday, The Times ran a feature called Is Your Baby a Kettlebell? If Times readers are really confusing their kids with inanimate lumps of lead, they need to cut back on the acid trips before social services gets involved.
But of course: "Kettlebelling your kids or using your baby as a sort of dumbbell or resistance weight, is the latest yummy-mummy workout trend."
Of course it is. Brilliant. As a lapsed Personal Trainer and ardent fitness faddist, I've jumped on most band wagons. If there's a DVD, I'll do it. I've done the pony to the Pointer Sisters, I've tuck-jumped with Jet off Gladiators. I've grapevined with Nick Berry off '80s Eastenders. But using your baby as a dumbbell sounds like something Facebook dreamt up for the mum mafia who've turned maternity leave into one long photo opp.
Can you actually use a wriggling, crying baby as a piece of fitness equipment? And should you? They do a bit of sick on you at the best of times. It didn't seem like a brilliant idea to me, but I decided to find out.
I'm not a mum and I wouldn't take too well to a man "surprising" me with news I was pregnant. I struggle to commit to an Ocado delivery slot and I once had to sit by an open window when a woman I worked with talked about child birth.
But I needed a baby for the Yummy Mummy workout. Sports Direct may bulldoze the boundaries of humanity, but you can't actually buy a baby there, so I went round my sister's.
Me: "Is it OK if I do a workout with the children? Then I can tell you if your baby is a kettlebell."
Helen: "Err, are you going to spray tan them?"
Me: "No, I'm not entering them into a bodybuilding competition, I just want to try this workout for Yummy Mummies."
Helen: "You'd better ask Jon, I don't know if he'll want the kids on the internet."
Me: "Jon? I can like, black out the kids' faces or something?"
Jon: "What, like Al Jolson? Alright. Lucy, come and put some clothes on!"
Lucy doesn't want to put any clothes on. Lucy is running round with an undercooked sausage off the barbeque. She takes a dump by the trampoline then starts crying. "That's alright Lucy!" says my sister, "aw, she's so sweet!" Jon picks up the poo with a freezer bag and my sister coaxes Lucy into some clothes.
Inspired by The Times, I devise a circuit style routine and Jon brings out the bathroom scales, so I know what I'm working with. Lucy, who's two on Friday, weighs 13kg and Joel, who's three and a half, comes up as 18kg. I decide to warm-up with Lucy. She's happy at first, doing squats and lunges, because it's a bit like having cuddles, and Lucy likes having cuddles, when she's not shitting all over the lawn.
The tricep dips prove tricky, as we do these with Lucy on my lap facing outwards, which means she struggles to hold on. In retrospect, I'd probably turn her round, or suggest a baby sling for these.
Leg extensions are clearly a concussion-waiting-to-happen, so we move on to press-ups. I kneel down and Lucy gets on my back with her arms round my neck. I then get into three-quarter press-up position and manage about five before collapsing.
"Is it really that difficult?" asks my mother, from the picnic table. She's swilling a glass of something toxic Jon found in the shed. Blue Nun? Rat poison? Who knows? Not my mother. "Yes, doing press-ups with 13kg on my back is quite difficult, actually!" I say, not at all defensively.
Lucy and I do the plank next, which works well for ten seconds, 'til she rolls off my back and spots the lego. Lucy is lost to me now but Joel is waiting in the wings. Based on Joel's weight, I decide we'll do squats, piggy back style. We do about ten before Joel says his arms hurt and he wants me to chase him.
We've managed a twenty minute workout, which to be fair, was longer than I expected. I ask my sister if she'd do this workout with the kids everyday. She says, "no, they'd get bored. It was just the novelty, I don't think they'd do it again."
Having given it a bash, I feel I can confidently answer the question posed by The Times, and say no, my sister's kids are not kettlebells. And I doubt anyone else's are either. You're welcome, everyone: I spent the afternoon as Gwyneth Paltrow so you don't have to!
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