Losing fat is a complicated process, but simple at its root: energy in versus energy out. Yes, because we are individual humans it’s more complex than that, but for the sake of taking action, it’s an almost foolproof place to start.
How will kettlebell training help you lose fat?
So how does kettlebell training fit into this? Energy out, that’s how. Once you’ve learned the basics of safety and technique, which can take less time than you think, kettlebell training delivers one of the most powerful energy output workout you can get. It’s important to note that we’re talking not just about a tool, but a system for training that uses that tool to deliver awesome results. Here are five ways kettlebells training helps you lose fat by boosting energy output.
- Big muscles, more muscles means more energy
- Cardio and resistance training in one session is efficient and effective
- Burn calories after you finish your training
- Variety of moves and combinations help increase your volume
- Supports metabolism and your lean body mass
- Fun boosts commitment and consistency
Use more muscles, use big muscles: burn more calories
It is really hard to waste a small amount of energy with a kettlebell – especially with hardstyle training – because you have to use your entire body to lift them and to stabilize yourself. Not only do kettlebell exercises fire up your big energy eating muscles, they also recruit tons of subtle but important stabilizers that keep you moving well. That’s the kettlebell’s secret (apparently not secret any longer): use as much of your body as possible instead of one individual muscle, because you burn more energy. And as we’ve said, fat loss is about burning more calories than you are eating.
Faster fat burning: resistance and cardio all in one
A commonly stated obstacle for getting fit is a lack of time. Kettlebell training is perfect for high intensity interval training (HIIT) since we can focus on maximal power production with perfect form for shorter work intervals interspersed with fast and loose active rest to rid the body of nervous tension. It’s a completely different kettle of fish going into a long endurance set knowing you have to conserve energy versus a shorter power set that stops before form gets compromised. What does that mean? Firstly, you’re working hard getting your heart rate and muscles working. Next you are recovering just enough to ensure good form on your next set. Plus, you get your training done in less time. Finally, HIIT boosts EPOC.
Burn more calories while you sleep
I’m going to get fancy here. EPOC stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. In English, that means that when you train hard, for about six hours afterwards (some studies have quoted up to 38 hours), your body burns more calories than normal. Why? Because it is trying to recover from that exercise by repairing all that muscle tissue that was broken down. Remember that when you exercise, you aren’t building muscle, you are actually destroying it… when you rest, your body repairs itself to be stronger than before so it doesn’t get destroyed again. That costs you energy in the form of calories…EPOC!)EPOC, helps to increase the calories you burn just by living – and sleeping! So while you might not think that an extra 20-50 calories per day sounds like a lot, it can be the difference between gaining and losing over 2.5 kg per year.
Variety as a means to increase volume
Using creative combinations of kettlebell movements can boost your calorie burn by keeping you somewhat distracted with regard to your training time. From swing progressions, complexes, ladders and pyramids to double kettlebell work and interspersing bodyweight exercises between sets, set a 30 minute timer and go. Rest just as needed. As you get fitter, your rest will naturally reduce. Go hard but stop before anything gets ugly. Use different moves to rest parts while you work other ones.
Supports your lean body mass and metabolism
Maintaining lean body mass is critical to your longevity since without mindful exercise we start to lose muscle every year after about 40. This is the leading cause of middle age weight gain since muscle is your fat burning machine. Add to that our decreasing ability to deal with stress due to fluctuating hormones and we’ve got a recipe for expanding waistlines. Training with kettlebells supports your lean muscle mass and metabolism and is a great antidote to what people think is the inevitable spread. It isn’t. Boost your metabolism, use more calories to keep your metabolically active tissues functioning – even while you sit on the sofa or drive in your car – and melt some fat in the process since fat, as a source of energy, is preferentially burned when you are at rest!
Fun so you can go longer, or more frequently
My one regret since I decided to specialize in kettlebell training some 7 years ago is that I didn’t record every new student’s reaction to their first set of kettlebell swings. The rest as we say is history. Nothing beats the amazing feeling of a ball of iron swinging through your legs with a powerful hip extension and full tension standing plank. It’s just plain fun! Since it doesn’t require any type of special coordination, it also appeals to the dance-challenged. Plus programs can be tailored for strength without size, fat burning, sports performance and for all ages and fitness levels. And because they are so fun, we want to train more – either longer or more frequently. Consistency is the key to sustainable fat loss. Now you know. Kettlebells make you lose weight because they make you burn more calories. They make you burn more calories because they require you to use your whole body, thereby supporting your metabolism. So more energy leave your body than if you just did an isolated exercise or steady state cardio that only uses part of your body. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if it is a kettlebell or burpee or pushup. What matters is that you’re burning more calories than you’re eating on a consistent basis. But kettlebells’ cardio and resistance training combo blasts fat faster, encourage you to combine moves for variety which help you go longer. Plus they are fun! Remember you need to eat a minimum amount of food each day to be healthy, and that means you need to find a way to burn more energy than that minimum amount of food you should be eating if you want to lose fat. Kettlebells will do just that because they will burn the most amount of energy in the least amount of time. Want to get started with kettlebell training? KULT Fitness offers several ways for you to learn the fundamental skills and start burning fat.