Train Smart & Kettlebells
A 'kettlebell' (KB) or girya (Russ.) (not a kettle ball, cattle bell, cattle ball or even kettle bell - and certainly not a 'cloche de bouilloire') is a traditional Russian cast iron weight that looks like a cannonball or bowling ball with a handle. The kettlebell goes way back, first appearing in a Russian dictionary in 1704 (Cherkikh, 1994). So popular were kettlebells in Tsarist Russia that any strongman or weightlifter was referred to as a girevik, or 'a kettlebell man'. "Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics," reported Russian magazine Hercules in 1913.

The kettlebell is undeniably an awesome strength and conditioning tool. However, in itself it holds no magic powers - you will not get fit simply by owning one (just like those countless treadmills that are currently substituting as clothing racks or dumbbells used as convenient door stops). You need to do the work. But the work is oh so very effective, efficient and fun.
Because kettlebell athletics deliver extreme all-round fitness, working several muscle groups simultaneously - both prime movers and stabilizers - in different movement planes, combining strength and cardio into one workout. That not only makes them effective, it makes them very efficient. Regardless of your goals, kettlebell training can be programmed to deliver results - from burning fat, to building strength, to improving mobility, to gaining muscle. But be warned - kettlebell training is addictive. What other piece of exercise equipment can boast that its owners name it? Paint it? Get tattoos of it? It's the Harley-Davidson of strength hardware.
Exercise in all its forms delivers benefits to those who practice consistently. And even some of the following can be attributed to forms other than kettlebells. It's the compound benefits that make KB training so attractive to professional athletes, law enforcement, actors, fitness enthusiasts and even the newbie exerciser.
  • The right kettlebell exercises can burn between 10-20 calories per minute.
  • They work all your muscle groups in a single workout, tapping into significant stabilizers that often go underutilized at the gym, while they simultaneously build your cardiovascular strength...a recipe or efficient and effective workouts.
  • They train your muscles to work together as a unit, greatly increasing your functional strength.
  • They help you get lean and strong muscles.
  • They increase your mobility and flexibility.
  • They strengthen your bones, joints and muscles.
  • They challenge you mentally as you concentrate and focus on your body movements.
Because mastering your own bodyweight should come before picking up any external load. If you cannot air squat, plank or pushup with good form, then you have no business picking up a weight. Plus, you body easily travels with you so there really are no excuses not to exercise. And as for tools like bands, rollers, TRX, steps, boxes, indian clubs, stability balls, pull up bars, etc…sometimes it's just fun to mix things up a little. It's about how your body can use the tools, not about the tools themselves.
I am not a doctor so you need to seek medical clearance for your particular situation. Ideally, your doctor or physical therapist will provide clear instructions on what movements you need to avoid and those you need to train, and that you have been consistently following their instructions. That said, once you are medically cleared for exercise, the FMS screen will guide any recommended correctives and alternatives you need. Provided specific moves are not contraindicated at the moment for you, kettlebell exercises executed with mindfulness and proper form are very safe. We have witnessed the rehabilitation of many 'old back' and shoulder injuries by undoing the effects of too much sitting through re-awakening the posterior chain, improving motor control patterning, enhancing reflex stabilization of the core, mobilizing the thoracic spine, developing scapular control and even breathing effectively.
You don't need to be an athlete or even avid fitness enthusiast to use kettlebells. What you do need is the willingness to learn and practice proper techniques, focus on your movement quality versus just doing the exercises and sufficient common sense to put the KB down before your form deteriorates. Kettlebells are awesome tools that have transformative powers in the right hands. You'll need to challenge your muscles and cardiovascular endurance if you want to get the results that they can provide. In other words, if you're into reading the paper, watching TV or chatting away while doing your 'cardio', or taking long breaks between weight sets, then KBs are likely not for you...just yet. But if you like to be challenged when you work out and appreciate efficient exercising, then get ready for a fun, effective and different workout.
A KB's handle and offset center of gravity are much different from those of a dumbbell or barbell. Because its design makes it easier to move dynamically and safely around your body, your body has to work constantly during both the acceleration and deceleration of any given movement to control and stabilize the weight. And you have to use most of your muscle groups to do that...especially your core muscles. The weight of the KB makes it a resistance training tool. The fact that you have to continuously control the KB's shifting center of gravity makes it a tough and challenging cardiovascular and core-strengthening workout that can incinerate body fat.
FITCamp Kettlebells (KB) group training sessions are holistic - so they will always include joint mobility for healthy joints, strength for toning muscles and/or building them if that is your goal, cardio and aerobic conditioning, every system training, core coordination, motor control and stability work.

With ever changing class formats - intervals, ladders, pyramids, bento, swing-fest, I go you go, partnered, timed circuits, short-burst resistance, metabolic, complexes, circuits, hit the deck, deep skills, etc. - and combining kettlebells with body weight and primal move exercises (and quite possibly a few other tools like a TRX, step, evil wheel, pull up bar or bands), we keep training sessions varied to challenge your body and your brain while keeping you focused on proper form and movement quality.

Training sessions or classes are approximately 50 minutes long. However, depending on the skill building sections, workout focus, intensity and weather, some classes will run a little longer (60 minutes) or shorter (40 minutes). FITCamp KB classes have a maximum of 16 participants.
Because everyone's circumstances, motivation, likes, dislikes and fitness goals are different, no fitness class is a one size fits all. FITCamp KB is no exception. But I'd say that people who are interested in a shorter, efficient workout, are ready to work hard, are happy without choreographed sequences to music, like smaller groups and are willing to give it a real go for at least four weeks will likely enjoy it and see and feel results. Flatter tummies, lost centimeters, shapelier arms, more defined abs, tighter buns, increased strength, more confidence…are all real results experienced from our students. Contact me for a free consultation so we can discuss what whether group or individual training would suit you better. You are always welcome to drop-in for a peek at a regularly scheduled group session - you'll get a sense of my training style and the group dynamics.
Having studied a significant amount of research on this subject, ladies should know and appreciate that most of us just don't have sufficient amounts of testosterone to become bulky with general fitness training. Yes, some women train to develop specific physiques and achieve great success with proper exercise and nutrition programs and this is possible with the right kettlebell exercises. However, unless you are eating sufficient calories to promote muscle gain (more calories than you burn) and are using heavier weight with fewer repetitions and long rest periods, the likelihood of you gaining any significant 'bulk' is very, very low. Is it impossible to gain a little muscle? Not at all - in fact, that's a good thing because muscle is your fat burning machine. It's metabolically active which means it burns calories just to stay alive. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn and muscle is what gives your body parts nice shape. One of the leading causes of weight gain in aging is metabolic decline in which loss of lean muscle mass plays a large part.

The objective of FITCamp KB classes is generally to maintain your lean mass - with a few tweaks for those looking to build some and/or increase strength while melting body fat. That formula gives you a double kick at improving your body composition, or body fat %. If you are one of the rare few who feel that they are getting "too big," lets have a chat to see how we can tweak workouts. But we need to be honest - if you truly like the look of very think fashion models, then my training and style is not a good match for you.
Is your goal truly to get in shape or is it to lose body fat? When faced with a tight deadline, we need to take a more intense approach with regard to nutrition and exercise. I seldom seek out clients who aren't seriously interested in making a life change. But that said, I have helped clients needing to prepare for photographs, weddings, special parties, graduations, vacations, etc. If your objectives are clear then I can likely help. Between kettlebell training and clean eating, we can create some beautiful changes in as little as four weeks.
With the training area is completely shaded, two large outdoor fans and class formats modified for heat and humidity, the short answer is no. For example, after mid-May, workouts tend to be 5-10 minutes shorter than in the winter months, and most of the swinging or kettlebell ballistic moves are front loaded. If we ever get a super humid day, I will modify exercises and add more rest as needed. With that said, you need to be aware of how your body feels throughout the sessions and manage your fatigue accordingly with either different exercises, lighter weights, smaller movements or taking more rest. Most people who begin training between October and February have adapted very well to spring and summer weather.
Long duration cardio can have a place in a fitness plan. Distance runners, cyclists, etc. benefit from the sustained effort in longer training session that approach competitive durations and distances. Some people thoroughly enjoy this often meditative break from life's other responsibilities. And while I won't argue with any type of exercise that a person enjoys and does regularly, for me it always boils down to the goals: what are you trying to achieve and is your current exercise helping you get there? For some goals, there are faster and more effective ways to get there: Interval training. Note that I say faster, not easier.

Interval workouts alternate high intensity periods of exercise with active recovery periods, where you slow down (not stop) your pace just long enough to catch your breath before you repeat. To reshape your body through fat loss, high intensity cardio intervals are much more effective than ‘normal’ lower intensity, long duration cardiovascular exercises. For other goals like sports performance, intervals help to train your energy systems resulting in better acceleration, endurance & stamina. Studies show time and time again that in comparison to steady state, long duration cardio, high intensity cardio intervals burn more calories by dramatically boosting your metabolism during AND after your workout; burn more fat by increasing your rate of body fat-to-energy conversion; preserve lean muscle (muscle is your metabolism) and increase aerobic capacity (Max VO2).

So are they really better for me? Well, that depends on your personality and your goals because 'better' is relative. If you absolutely hate the feeling of utter fatigue, or you love working out to dance music and choreography, then likely interval style workouts won't become your favorite. Or if you're training for an endurance type activity...then you need to be sure to train specifically for that as well, though intervals will benefit your performance greatly. But if you workout with a purpose, prefer effectiveness to duration and you want more time to pursue other activities, then I'd say you're a great candidate. You may never 'love' intervals, but you'll love what they do for your body.

Advantages of interval training over steady state cardio
  • Saves time. Most intervals last between 15 to 20 minutes in comparison to 45 to 60 minutes on the treadmill with old school cardio.
  • Stimulates a greater release of growth hormone. Studies have shown that intense interval training produces growth hormone which build lean muscle mass.
  • Better for your joints. The intervals should be preferably done on alternate days and I usually recommend for about 3-5 days out of the week. There is also less exposure on the joints because it takes less time to complete.
  • Metabolic disturbance. Interval training increases metabolism and post-exercise oxygen consumption which has been shown to burn fat for 24 hours after the interval bout.
  • Creates variety. Interval training can be done with body weight exercises, on exercise machines, with medicine balls, with weights, and outdoors. Interval training is an effective method that has many tools. It's portable and family friendly too.
Being nervous about starting anything new is not unreasonable. But you should also feel excited about making a positive change in your life. It's important for you to take the time to build the proper foundations in your fitness and that means making sure you move well first. It never ceases to amaze me how many people start to see results in how they stand and move after just a few weeks of foundational work. Like a house, everything is built in stages to ensure nothing topples down.
You need to make the choice on whether living a fitter life is important to you. If it truly is, then you must make the time. You only have one body, one life. Whether you chose to update Facebook, watch television or whatever instead of a quick, effective bout of exercise is just that - YOUR choice. Getting fit doesn't mean you need 5x 60 minute sessions per week. I've helped people change their bodies in as little as 2 sessions per week (admittedly with better eating) and I personally use shorter yet more frequent bouts of exercise while I travel - i.e. 15 minutes twice per day, 3x per week. What's important isn't how long we exercise but how effective it is. So if it's important for you, than you simply cannot do nothing.
Eat Well
Foods that we will want to minimize and those that we will emphasize will depend on your goals. You need to decide just how important changing your body is and whether it is worth making seemingly difficult tradeoffs and choices. But I'd prefer to look at it from a positive perspective - what is it that you WILL BE ABLE TO EAT. Real, minimally processed foods that are nutrient dense and high in vitamins and minerals are what we eat: vegetables, quality proteins, healthy fats and fruit are the basis of most Eating Well plans. It's not a diet. It's about creating life-long, sustainable, healthy eating habits.

What's your goal? Is it to improve your body, your health, your energy, your mood? Well then suck it up, buttercup. It's time for a little bit of tough love. Either stop whinging about body and eat the thing or take charge of your choices. Yes it can be hard, at least until we break the hold many tempting foods have on your emotional state (since many foods we crave are manufactured specifically for us to do so) and replace unhealthy eating habits with supportive ones. It doesn't mean you'll never be able to indulge - in fact, eating something deliciously sinful is one of life's pleasures. But it should be your mindful choice to do so.
It's time to learn to love them - well at least like them. Veggies are a critical part of Eating Well so you'll need to experiment with different varieties, ways to prepare and healthy toppings. Once you find a few favorites (or least repulsive), you can repeatedly cycle them to keep things simple.

So? What's your goal? Sculpted bodies are made in the kitchen, not the gym so if that's your goal, you'll need to make time to prepare some supportive meals at home and learn how to make better choices while out. It's about priorities. Decide what's more important, stop finding excuses why you can't do it and start making time to change your life. Take it one day at a time. You'll feel better and look better.

Fact: Alcohol provides 6 calories per gram, so is more energy dense than protein or carbs, but less than fat. It is devoid of any nutrition and is toxic to your cells. It provides calories with no nutrition. It can be habit forming so not psychologically healthy. It can negatively affect digestive health and fuel 'the munchies'. in other words it does not improve health or help with body composition so we look to minimize alcohol for health reasons. It doesn't mean forever. But keeping your goals in sight, limiting alcohol will get you there faster.

You cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Keeping a DETAILED food diary is one of the most powerful tools in body transformations. Whether it's on paper, computer or special App, journaling is the first step in identifying opportunities to improve eating habits. But it's important to record details - quantities, little BLTs (bites, licks and tastes), items used in preparation, etc. Yes, it's a pain. But worth every moment since many clients who think they eat very well are surprised at their lack of portion control or how much little BLTs add up. And when you are looking to shed body fat, those things are count. After a while, you'll get very good at knowing what a serving of chicken breast looks like and find easy ways to cut out extraneous calories without negatively impacting taste.

Again, what's your goal? A little bit of tough love here to say that it is your choice not to make time for food preparation. If you spend a few hours a week surfing emails and the internet, you've got plenty of time to prepare foods that will improve your health. Involve your family to help. Ask your housekeeper (if you have one) to help prepare salads and wash/cut vegetables. Make it fun - see how much you can get done in an hour. Play some music and dance around while you do your prep - you'll get additional health benefits from not sitting.

Teaching family members about healthy food choices is a gift you can give them. Yes, I agree that it is very challenging when faced with a fussy 6, 10 or 40 year old. Remember that your family loves you and wants you to be happy and around for a long time. At our house, we support the attitude that grow food comes first and the majority of our meals support this. Treats are mostly saved for 'special' occasions. By using positive language and being consistent, less healthful habits start to be replaced.

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Move better. Train smart. Eat well. Get lean. Be strong.