Belly fat, a gentler term for abdominal fat, is perhaps the number one telltale sign of fitness decline and the subsequent deterioration of one’s general health. At some stage in life, abdominal fat becomes synonymous with Metabolic syndrome and is often associated with a decline in testosterone or the so called male menopause. Kettlebell training, when used within a complete fitness regime can help blast the fat away, improve cardiovascular fitness and improve overall hormonal levels.
At the bottom of this article I will share with you a fat blasting workout using a kettlebell and some basic calisthenics. But, first, here are some facts about weight loss:
- It is a $40 billion dollars a year industry fed by desperate, overweight folks who are digging their own grave with a fork and a knife.
- Diets don’t work.
- It is not all about genetics
- Fat is the second American killer next to smoking
- You have a choice! Exercise it!
In the past, obesity was thought of as a sign of affluence; and perhaps in some cultures this thought still prevails. Today, however, obesity is primarily linked to ignorance, poverty and a sedentary lifestyle and it is evident in all walks of life irrespective of socioeconomic status.
Defining our Terms
Body weight comes in many shapes and colors. Some shapes are “pleasantly plump”; others are chubby, heavy, chunky, big guy. These adjectives have one thing in common: they conjure images of weight above normal expressed in a tactful, perhaps humane, kind of way.
In the health care field, body weight is labeled as severely underweight, underweight, normal, overweight, obese and morbidly obese. There are several methods to assess an individual’s weight status including anthropometric and the bioelectrical impedance (BIA) methods. However, the method of choice is the Body Mass Index BMI The BMI uses bodyweight and divides it by the square of the height.
While the BMI method has its shortcomings, it does offer clinicians and fitness professional a way of screening potential risk factors such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke to name a few.. To find out your BMI, use this calculator..
To appreciate the meaning of caloric deficit, it is essential to consider the word “diet”; a heavy loaded word that immediately invokes thoughts of abstinence, restrictions, moderation and suffering. It should then be refreshing to learn that the word has its root in a Greek word which means “a way of life”. It offers by its own definition, a path towards a holistic approach to weight management and personal hygiene.
A pound of body fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. Thus if one is to lose a pound of fat, there needs to be a deficit on caloric intake equaling 3500 calories. As per the recomendation from ACSM, safe weight loss should fall within 1% of the individual’s body mass (total weight) per week which roughly equals 1 to 2 lbs per week depending on body size. Thus, a person who weights 110 lbs. should not lose more than 1.1 pounds per week. In contrast, a 300-pound man can safely lose 3 pounds in a week representing 1% of his total body weight.
To accomplish a weekly loss of 1 to 2 lbs, one would need a caloric deficit of around 500 to 1000 calories. However, while caloric restriction is an effective and safe weight loss method, sufficient data indicates that it is not the most successful approach. Most studies suggest that a comprehensive weight management protocol, one that includes caloric expenditure by way of exercise, and a sensible diet, have yielded the best results not only in losing weight but also in keeping it off.
The human body is constantly using energy. It ceases to do so, when one dies; becoming a source of energy for other organisms. The greatest amount of daily energy used by the body, around 60% to 75% is the RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). This is the amount of energy the body uses/needs just to keep all of its physiological and biological processes running while at rest such as respiration, heart function and temperature regulation. The bigger the person, the more energy needed. The RMR decreases as we age and accounts for one of several reasons for the difficulty of losing weight as we get older.
Our body also uses energy in the process of consuming and processing food; a process known as the Thermal Effect of Food, or TEF, and accounts to around 7% to 10% of the body’s total energy requirement. This expenditure of energy during digestion, is one of the reasons that individuals should eat small portions of foods such as snacks between meals in order to keep metabolism fired up. Next to RMR, the second largest use of energy is physical activity. For the purpose of weight loss, physical activity should include a daily regime of exercise such as walking. However, for faster results in one’s attempt to lose weight, resistance training should be considered. In other words, lifting weights.
The reason weight lifting helps to lose weight is that lean muscle tissue has high metabolic activity and burns calories even while one is at rest. Resistance work does not always have to be performed with weights or machines. A complete work out can be accomplished with calisthenics and using just one’s own bodyweight. For example, push ups, pull ups, sit ups, dips, squats, lunges and jumping are just but a few of many exercises utilizing only bodyweight.
There is, in my opinion, one important consideration to keep as a priority when attempting to lose weight: a vision. If there is a vision of how one wants to feel and look within a reasonable amount of time, then a logical step by step plan can be designed, implemented and maintained to fulfill one’s vision. The vision must go far beyond physical aesthetics. It must be all inclusive and address all components of physical fitness including strength, speed, power, anaerobic and aerobic endurance, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility and body composition. In other words, it must be holistic in nature.
Exercise should stimulate growth and strength to all major muscle groups: the chest, back, shoulders, forearms, triceps, biceps, traps, abs, low back, quads, hamstrings and lower leg muscles. It must also address functional strength and fundamental body movement patterns. It must prepare us to realize all activities of daily living and then some… It is never too late to start!
Kettlebell workout for fat burning*
The following workout is for clients who have at least completed level I of our kettlebells Workshops. The routine is performed with our GYMBOSS timer and will follow the Tabata Protocol. The entire program will last 16 minutes not including rest periods which will be around 12 to 15 minutes depending on your fitness level. Therefore, 30 minutes a day 3 to 5 days a week will get you back shape. Be sure to always do the joint mobility exercises taught during the workshop prior to the workout and do dynamic stretching first.
- One tabata set of unweighted squats (4 minutes) plus rest between sets
- One tabata set of Kettlebell Russian Swings (4 minutes) plus rest
- One split tabata of Hindu Push-ups (2 minutes) followed by mountain climbers (2 minutes) plus rest between sets
- One split tabata of Jumping Rope (2 minutes) followed by kettebell swing cleans (2 minutes) plus rest.