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Note: The fourth running of this popular Fitocracy program is open for signup here.

First of all, congratulations on making the choice to add kettlebell training to your life. Whether you are just starting out with exercise, returning to working out after a layoff, or are already a seasoned gym rat, kettlebells can be a valuable tool in increasing your strength, cardiovascular endurance, and even increasing mobility. Although they look a little odd, kettlebells are incredibly diverse in the types of movements you can do with them, and they work your muscles differently than traditional strength training tools like machines, dumbbells, or barbells. In one compact package, it’s like having an entire gym when you pair your own body with one of these strange little balls with a handle!

Here’s what you need to complete the program and some optional items:

Necessary:

  • One kettlebell at a weight you can comfortably hold in one hand above your head with your arm locked out for 10 seconds (usually around 10 to 15 lbs for a beginning female and 20 to 25 lbs for a beginner male)
  • You

Optional:

  • Exercise mat for extra cushioning during floor exercises (approximately $10)
  • Tabata timer for your mobile device, such as IntervalTimer for iPhone (FREE)
  • MyFitnessPal or other online food tracker account (FREE)
  • Food scale ($10 to $30)
  • Regular scale ($20 and up)
  • Measurement tape (approximately $5)

Even if you spring for the optional extras, it’s not a huge investment to take such a big step toward a healthier and leaner you! Here is what you get:

  • Customized kettlebell and bodyweight workouts
  • Dietary guidelines and advice
  • Access to pick my brain about any part of your program
  • Tweaks to your program as we go based on your weekly check-ins, so you can get the best results

Not to sound like a total salesperson, but that’s an incredible deal considering your monthly cost is less than two personal training sessions with me in the gym!

When it comes to your workouts, you will begin with easier-to-perform, staple movements that will provide a foundation for your future workouts. As you progress and gain confidence with using a kettlebell, I will add in new exercises. This prevents reaching a plateau and decreases your chance of burnout from doing the same old routine over and over. These workouts will use lots of different methods to keep it exciting, including but not limited to high-intensity intervals, supersets, and ladders. They are each designed to take about 30 minutes, but you will have the option to repeat portions or decrease rest periods to tailor the intensity to your current ability.

Before you begin your customized kettlebell and bodyweight workouts, you should take the time to warm up properly for three to five minutes. Here, you have some wiggle room and can choose whatever method works for you – provided it slowly brings your heart rate up and involves total body movement. If this means you want to tango across the room with your cat or just jog around the room moving your arms in the air, gradually picking up speed, then so be it. If, however, you need some ideas try one of these options:

  1. Five rounds of Sun Salutation A
  2. :30 March in Place/:30 March Legs Out and In/:30 Jumping Jacks/:30 Arm Circles/:30 Jog in Place/:30 Side Lunges/:30 Butt Kickers/:30 High Knees
  3. If you are using a gym, spend five minutes walking briskly on the treadmill or easy pedaling on a stationary bike

In regards to diet, I will introduce you to a different approach to choosing what you eat based on something called “macros” (short for macronutrients). Anyone from a beginner wanting to shed pounds to an elite athlete can benefit from using custom macros as a guide for daily food intake. This is not basic calorie-counting but a system to ensure your body gets not just the right amount of calories to achieve your goals but also the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to fuel your performance while losing weight and gaining strength. I’m not going to throw you into this all at once, however, because it takes practice. You will make gradual changes over the first two weeks to ease yourself into thinking about and monitoring what you eat in a fundamentally different way. For me to provide you with your custom macronutrient numbers, though, it is really important to fill out your entry questionnaire on Fitocracy that provides your current height and weight along with an idea of how active you are in your day-to-day activities. As with your workouts, we will make adjustments as necessary, based on weekly check-ins.

To clarify, for best results, there are no “cheat” days or meals built into the program. If you have a bad moment, however, don’t beat yourself up about it – accept there was a bad choice, and move on. This is just eight weeks, and I’ll be buckling down with you on the diet. With that said, that doesn’t mean you have to live on chicken breast and sweet potatoes 24/7. The If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) approach to diet does allow you to eat ANYTHING – provided it is within reason and IF it fits your macros. So, chocoholics, for instance, can still have a piece or two of divinity here and there. Also, if you know you will indulge in a cocktail or two on a Friday night, it’s okay if you have the extra wiggle room to fit that in.

Lastly, take your Before pictures wearing something in which you can see your figure – skivvies do just fine in the absence of anything else! You don’t have to send them to me, but you will want them for yourself to compare with your After pictures in eight weeks. If you follow the program – workouts and diet – you will SEE the difference. Take a front, side, and back view.

It’s the time of year for me to lean out for the summer and contest season, so I’ll be essentially shredding with you. As a trainer and instructor, I’ll likely have more activity going on outside of the kettlebells, but know that any roadblocks or challenges you encounter along the way are ones shared with me and the others in the program.

Thanks again for taking a step toward a fitter YOU and allowing me to help you on your journey!

Elan

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