Work It Out Wednesday

Keith here. Has everyone missed me? This is week 3 of our Kettlebell instructions. To see what you missed in Week 1 go here or Week 2 go here. This week we are moving on to Kettlebell Snatches.

The kettlebell snatch is a fluid in motion and vicious in the force it generates, even with a light bell.  The snatch will help you create a stronger back and hips that are resistant to injury. That sounds good right? Simply stated, a snatch is a swing that starts with a clean and ends with the end of a press (arm extended with the bell). BUT…you are not PRESSING it, you are not CLEANING it, and you are not SWINGING it. You are SNATCHING it. Ready to see?

1 Kettlebell Snatch

2 Kettlebell Snatch


In the beginning when you are learning kettlebell snatches, try doing sets of five or lower. This will allow you to improve your form before going all out with higher repetitions. Once you get the technique down try the following routines:


Day Exercise Sets Reps Break
Monday One-arm snatches 3 15 60
Wednesday One-arm snatches 1 25 90
Friday One-arm snatches 2 15 60


Day Exercise Sets Reps Break
Monday One-arm snatches 2 25 60
Wednesday One-arm snatches 5 10 30
Friday One-arm snatches 3 15 30

Challenge: Try incorporating kettlebell snatches into your workout this week. C’mon step out of that comfort zone!!!


Work It Out Wednesday

Keith here guys! Today I want to talk Kettlebells! Have you seen these lurking around your gym lately?    


Kettlebells have been around since the early 1700’s and started in Russia. Russians used these cannonball shaped weights to train their armed forces and their Olympians. Kettlebells made their debut in the United State in the early 1900’s especially after seeing the Russian success. Kettlebells have become more popular in recent years due to the resurgence of Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) training by Pavel Tsatsouline.    

Kettlebells can be used as a workout alone or substituted for dumbbells and barbells in traditional strength training workouts. To begin, just try adding in 1 or 2 movements into your already established strength circuit or using them as a cardio interval at the end of your circuit. Kettlebells force you to use your body’s momentum in a series of fast swings, jerks, and cleans. The core is always engaged and the workout is usually high repetition. This is ensures your strength training workout is also a cardio workout (second only to cross-country skiing in caloric burn according to recent studies) Kettlebell workouts have shown to be effective in burning fat, building muscle, and increasing strength and stamina. Sound like something you want to a part of? I would strongly suggest that if you are brand new to kettlebell you should meet with a trainer for the first few times to get comfortable with the movements and ensure proper form!    

The first basic kettlebell movement is called a Swing. It is the foundation for all other kettlebell movements. Here is how to do it:    

  • Step 1: Stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart.
  • Step 2: Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees so as to go into a semi-squat. Keep your back arched and head facing forward steadily.
  • Step 3: Let you arms hang loosely and raise the weight with both hands over your head and inhale. Then, swing the weight with both hands in between the legs towards the back of you while exhaling. Move the kettlebell using power thrusts from the hip, thigh, and lower back muscles. A powerful hip snap on every rep is a must.
  • Step 4: Complete 5 to 10 sets of 20 to 50 reps of kettlebell swings with a minute pause between each set of repetitions. With heavier weights, inhale on the swing between your legs and exhale when you raise it above your head.

For a visual here is my YouTube video:    


Once you have mastered the Basic Swing there are 2 progressions that you can try:    

Progression 1: A Two-Arm Swing. Here you do the same movement but with 2 lighter kettlebells. Make sure you hold the handle in the center and really focus on balancing your weight on both side. Need a visual? Okay.    


Progression 2: Alternating One-Arm Swing. Here you are using one kettlebell and switching hands mid-air at the top of the trust. In my video I switch on every 5th repetition but you can switch on every one or every other one…it is entirely up to you.   


As always shoot me an email (via Kelly) or leave a comment if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them for you! My last tip: REMEMBER TO BREATH! (exhale on the trust) See you next Wednesday!   

Challenge: Try the basic swing movements this week. Next week we will move on to cleans and jerks!   


Work It Out Wednesday

Hey everyone…Keith here. I thought this week I would put together a list of the most commonly asked exercise questions that I hear. I figured many of you might have these same questions yourself. If you have one that I didn’t address please feel free to ask in either the comments section or send Kelly an email I will get it back to you. So here goes:

I hear the term BMR all the time, but I don’t know what that is?

BMR stands for basal metabolic rate. This represents the amount of energy (calories) needed to keep the body functioning at its most basic level to keep the body alive. (Breathing, organ function, temperature regulation, etc.) It accounts for about 60-70% of our total daily energy expenditure but it does NOT include any energy (calories) used for physical exercise or digesting food. To find your BMR:

Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )

Which is better, free-weights or exercise machines?

Free weights, in my opinion, are better for you. Here’s why: free weights FORCE you to simulate real life lifting situations and promote whole body stabilization. They also allow for a greater range of motion and allow you build muscle more effectively by forcing you to control the path of the weight yourself; rather than having a machine do it for you. This is not to say that machines do not offer some benefit too. They can actually sometimes be better for beginners because the machines’ handles will only move in the direction they are supposed to, and they are typically accompanied by instructions and illustrations. My recommendation would be to do workouts that are 80% based on free weights and only 20% based on machines. If free weights intimidate you then start slowly and incorporate them more and more as you become comfortable.

What is a workout plateau and how do you avoid it?

If you have reached a halt in your weight loss despite continuing exercise or have noticed that your muscles have stopped growing despite continued training, you have reached a plateau. Our bodies are naturally programmed to adapt to repetitive training and stopping the progress of weight loss, strength and endurance. The best way to break out of a plateau is to mix it up. Try different forms of activities and different workout routines. If you typically cycle 3 days a week try changing one day of cycle to a day of swimming. If you always do the same pattern of weights try adding some different weight-bearing exercises into your routine. Also be sure to get enough sleep (at leat 7 to 8 hours a night) and evaluate your nutrition. Try some new foods and new ways of cooking. Breaking your routines is a sure-fire way to bust out of a plateau!

How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound of fat?
One  pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories. If you’re goal is to lose 1 pound of fat per week you will need to increase you activity levels by 500 calories per day, reduce you caloric intake by 500 calories per day or settle on a combination of the two.

 How often should I exercise?

I feel most people should participate in some physical activity for at least 30 minutes 6 days a week. I do understand how busy our lives get. That said, I typically recommend an absolute minimum of one hour, three days per week.

How accurate are the calorie-burning counters on cardio machines?

 The short answer: Not very. They tend to over-estimate calorie burn by a fair amount — up to 30 percent, depending on the machine. Stationary bikes, treadmills, and machines that allow you to enter your weight tend to be more accurate; but my recommendation would be to get a heart rate monitor where you can plug in your own body statistics and let that be your guide to your caloric burn.

Should I eat before or after a workout?

Ideally, both. Before you workout you want to eat something small that is higher in carbohydrates to fuel you with energy. A piece of toast or 1/2 banana with a small amount of jam or peanut butter (if you stomach can handle it) or a handful of raisins would be good. After a workout, you want to replace the carbohydrates and glycogen (stored glucose that’s used for energy) that were depleted or you’ll be more susceptible to injury and burnout. And the sooner you eat (ideally with 30 to 45 minutes) the more likely those nutrients will go to the place where they were expended and are needed most. Research suggests that a snack with a carb-to-protein ratio of four to one is the most beneficial.

How often do I need to buy new workout shoes?

The general rule is every 500 miles or every 6 months.

So there you have it! I am sure I missed some so please let me know if there is something specific you want to know! Challenge for this week: Break out of your routine and try one new form of exercise that you don’t normally do!

Work It Out Wednesday

Hey everyone…I’m baaaccckkk! It’s Keith again and I hope everyone is ready for Work It Out Wednesday. For anyone who missed it, I am Kelly’s better other half and every Wednesday afternoon I do a guest post on the importance of strength training. To read more about me and my qualifications go here.

Today, I want to focus on the importance of your core. When I say the word “core” what is the first thing you think of? I am betting that 90% of you instantly think abs! But really your core is so much more than just your abs and it is a lot more important than people give it credit. Your “core” are the muscles deep within the abs and back, attaching to the spine or pelvis. Some of these muscles include the abdominals, your pelvis, the lats and the obliques. All  movement originates from your core muscles and it is the body’s main source of stability. So whatever activity you are engaged in, be it running, lifting weights or picking up boxes, your “core” muscles help keep your body stable and balanced.

When I work with my clients, I like to train the body as a whole and engage the core muscles in all aspects of exercise. For example, replacing stable surfaces with unstable surfaces like using a Stability Ball instead of a Workout Bench, or standing on one leg versus two, requires the body to stabilize itself and engages the core in the activity. The basic idea is to get some abdominal and low back exercise in every time you work out. Think about your core as a muscle group that should always been engaged in every activity.

Here are some ways to incorporate functional core training into an already established workout routine:

  • Like I mentioned above, replace a flat bench with a Stability Ball when doing chest press or skull crushers
  • Try one arm bicep curls or over head press while balancing on one leg
  • Do stationary front lunges onto the round side of a Bosu Ball
  • Sit on a Stability Ball with one leg raised while doing bicep curls, overhead presses, or lateral or front raises (for more of a challenge do one arm at a time)
  • Supermans (do low-back extensions on the Stability Ball)
  • Front or Side Planks (holding for at least increments of 30 seconds up to 90 seconds)

Most gyms have a Stability Ball and you need to become friends with it! It is easily one of the most important items a gym can offer you. Or if you don’t have a gym membership purchase one for home use!

Challenge: Try switching things up and using the Stability Ball at your gym this week!


Hey everyone…it’s Keith (Kelly’s husband) and as she mentioned earlier I will be taking over every Wednesday afternoon for “Work It Out Wednesdays!” So let’s get started:

The boring (but important) stuff first: I need to start out by saying that you should always consult with your doctor before starting any workout program or regime. Also, I do plan on having video demonstration posts in the future, but if in the meantime you need help with an exercise don’t be afraid to ask a trainer at your gym for clarification. Or shoot me and email ( and I will assist you in any way that I can. This is super important to ensure proper form and to avoid injury! Safety is always the first and foremost concern because let’s face it an active lifestyle is a whole lot easier injury-free!

Okay…onto the exciting information! I don’t know exactly where this audience is in terms of workout knowledge and/or experience. I would suspect that some of you are true beginners and other are experts. And then the whole gamut in-between. So in an effort to just start from the top, we are going to take it from the beginning and over the course of the weeks work our way up to some really exciting (Kelly says “sick”) exercises!

For Aerobic power and cardiovascular endurance  it would be ideal to get in at least 3 days a week of 30-60 minutes of work with your maximum heart rate hitting somewhere between 60-85% (depending on your fitness level) To find your maximum heart rate (at the most generic and basic level) simply take 220 minus your age. Then you can figure out what the ranges of 60 to 85% would be based on your specific needs. When doing cardiovascular activities we really want to focus on large muscle movement to engage the most power. Ideal exercises would be running, walking, elliptical, stair climbers, bike, aerobics classes or any combination of your choosing.

For strength training it would be ideal to get in at least 2 days of weights with at least a day of rest in-between. This allows your muscles to heal and recharge after being worked. When you build muscle you are actually causing little micro tears (that are harmless, but tiny tears nonetheless) and you need a day to let the muscles refuel and recharge. But don’t just sit around or else lactic acid will fill those muscle cracks and really make you sore. Definitely plan a cardio day in-between to keep the muscles loose and to work that lactic acid out. A basic weight starting point would be somewhere between 8 and 10 repetitions per exercise and somewhere between 1 and 3 sets (again depending on your own fitness level and comfort)

Are you ready for a sample workout? Let’s go! Depending on your workout and fitness level, gender and age please make the appropriate weight selections. If you need specific guidance please email me and I will gladly help you. I have this workout program designed to be high repetition and lighter weight…so keep that in mind.

  • Warm Up: at least 10 minutes followed by active stretching (holding the stretch only for 1 to 2 seconds to continue loosening the muscles
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell (DB) Chest Press (20-25 reps)
  • Lat Pull Down (20-25 reps)
  • Leg Press or Standing DB Squats (20-25 reps)
  • Overhead DB Press (20-25 reps)
  • Biceps DB Curls (20-25 reps)
  • Triceps Rope Extensions (20-25)
  • 2 sets of 25 Crunches
  • 2 minute interval on cardio equipment of your choice (bike, treadmill, elliptical) keeping the heart rate up
  • Cool down: let the heart rate come down and  then engage in static stretching (holding the stretch for 15-20 seconds)

My Week 1 Challenge:

 If you haven’t been working out at all, then I challenge you to get at least 2 active days in this week. If you a regular exerciser then push yourself to do an exercise that you typically skip. (i.e. weight lifting, cardio, track work, etc.) Keep me posted with your progress and I will see everyone next week!