You certainly don't have to be an exerciser to know that fitness trends come and go. Late-night TV is full of infomercials demonstrating "cutting edge" equipment that "guarantees" fast results with little effort. Any regular exerciser knows that such promises are the first sign that the "trend" isn't worth a second look.

Not all movements in the fitness world are bad, however. In fact, every now and again a technique or workout strategy emerges that reflects growth and positive change for how we workout. And sometimes it takes getting back to the basics of movement to discover what truly works. Over the last five years, effective exercise programming has shifted away from fancy equipment, gadgets and fixed machines that isolate body parts. This outdated type of workout has been replaced by functional, real-life movements that build overall body strength, flexibility, balance and power. This new workout philosophy improves health, increases fitness and aids in weight loss. The biggest obstacle is often learning how to implement such a routine and getting the nerve to step outside the box.

A clear reflection that fitness is going back to the basics is the growth of kettlebell training programs in gyms across America. Just so we are all on the same page, a kettlebell is a cast-iron ball with a handle that has been around since the 1700s. Nothing fancy, no moving parts, no promises for an easy workout. Kettlebells are an integral part of all the training programs we have at The BAR Fitness. In fact, every exerciser at The BAR Fitness is introduced to kettlebell training from day one. No matter your fitness level or exercise experience, the basics of kettlebell training can be learned and incorporated as part of your fitness routine. A great thing about using kettlebells in your workouts is that you can continue to build on the movements, making them more advanced as you learn proper technique and build strength.

There are several reasons why I support and promote kettlebell training in programs at The BAR Fitness, the biggest of which is that it is fun. Kettlebell workouts bring a sense of athleticism and challenge to each and every workout, and success requires concentration and focus. These elements provide a rewarding experience that result in a huge sense of accomplishment. Additionally, and more scientifically, kettlebell training provides an efficient, full-body workout that combines cardiovascular and strength training. Research has shown that kettlebell training burns an average of more than 20 calories per minute, which is the equivalent to running at a six-minute mile pace. The effectiveness of kettlebell training stems from the fact that it is a full-body, intense, yet relatively quick workout, and the workouts not only build strength but aid in weight loss, as well.

Incorporating kettlebell training as part of your fitness routine is a great option, regardless of your experience with exercise or fitness level. Remember, however, that with kettlebells, technique is everything. Consult a professional to learn the basic movements and proper execution strategies. Don't put yourself in a situation that can lead to injury. Also, remember to have a little fun. Don't be afraid to change your body, increase your fitness, and to take your workout to a whole new level.

Brad Rogers is owner of The BAR Fitness in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at (480) 961-5411.


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