More than half of the UK population is currently on a diet and over three quarters of brides-to-be want to drop a dress size to get into their dream dress. So what’s the best way to shape up for the quickest results? Get into kettle bells says Features Editor Kate Thompson.
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I set out on a mission of discovery, having 2 kettle bell training sessions each week with a personal trainer plus a session at the gym on my own, to see if I could shift some pounds and see real results in record time.
Forget fad diets, the best way to look and feel great is to start exercising. Combining healthy eating with an expertly designed exercise plan is the fastest and safest way to lose weight. And, who knows, you might even enjoy it! So, why kettle bell training and not just gym membership? A kettle bell instructor will design a routine around your individual needs and teach you how to do it while motivating you to achieve your best. You can lose weight in record time using kettle bell weights so if you’re in a hurry to squeeze into your dream dress this could be the answer.
The ‘kettle bell king’
I turn up at TheFitness Hub, a funky new gymin Bristol’s fashionable Portishead, offering personal training, exclusive gym membership and cool sounding classes such as Zumba and even pole dancing.
I meet my new personal trainer, Pete Luffman who is also a kettle bell expert and co-owner of the gym. I don’t know what a kettle bell is but it sounds like a musical instrument (does it whistle or chime?) or a method of torture so I’m slightly apprehensive to say the least. My frame of reference is that they’re the secret to how the stars stay in shape. Actress Katherine Heigl regularly trains with them and she looks great so I’m feeling optimistic.
Kettle bell training is a form of resistance training that provides a strength, cardio and flexibility workout all in one. So forget going for a quick jog around the block, swing some kettle bells for the most effective workout of all time. The cliché of the personal trainer is the sadistic, boot camp type standing over you shouting ‘Just 10 more reps!’ as you slowly die. The reality was very, very different. Pete is a gentle giant, quietly spoken and impressively informed on his subject. He has a text book answer for every question I ask him and he clearly knows his stuff. It’s good to know I am in safe hands.
The snatch, the rack, the thrust…
He introduces me to the kettle bells: weights with handles, which look like a cross between an old fashioned kettle and a bell (hence the name methinks!) I’m more familiar with Kettle Chips but I’ll try anything once and I watch in awe as he effortlessly swings them about. I try to concentrate on what he’s telling me, aware that I need to have a go with the weights next. I learn the techniques, one by one and turn into a giggling teenager at some of the names – ‘the snatch’, ‘the rack’, ‘the thrust’… Need I say more? I laugh nervously but Pete doesn’t join in. I resolve to take it as seriously as he does and I soon find out what all the fuss is about.
Using kettle bell weights can burn an amazing 500 calories per half hour! You really can get twice the results in half the time. A study by the American Council of Exercise found that the kettle bell ‘snatch’ burns 20 calories per minute which is equivalent to a 6 minute mile pace.
I swing the smallest kettle bell down through my legs and up in front of me at chest height. It’s fun and feels like it’s really working my muscles. I learn how to change hands in mid-air and lift them to work different muscle groups.
Pete tells me, “Most gym goers are stuck in the rut of doing 30 minutes of cardio followed by 30 minutes of resistance training. With kettle bell training you are combining these two activities into one workout. This style of training can boost metabolism for up to 24 hours.”
I went on to learn a number of other kettle bell techniques and watched Pete demonstrate the ‘windmill’ which is a little more advanced. I’m not sure what it is about the kettle bells that makes them so addictive but it’s a fact that doing exercise can give you a natural high from the serotonin in your brain that naturally increases as your heart rate rises. I feel this buzz and it spurs me on to do more. I can think of worse things to be addicted to and I love the way it is noticeably sculpting my body in double quick time.
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Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.