The already huge hit Pokémon Go, was finally released July 7, 2016 and with already thousands of downloads and counting, this highly anticipated game is sure to blow your mind. This game is perfect for children and parents who grew up watching, playing, and collecting Pokémon and for so many amazing reasons.

This is the first app game that gets up up and moving and motivates you to actually burn some calories while in the mindset of a Pokémon trainer. Do you remember as a kid when you would throw your plastic Poke-ball at the wall because you and ONLY you saw that creature there just asking for it? This game brings that very inspiration to life by using your location and GPS to send you on adventures around your town or home to catch that same Pokémon. It motivates you to walk by withholding certain levels until you made it a certain amount of steps. It also pinpoints certain parks and businesses as battle gyms and PokeStops so you can meet new people and explore new places in your city.

We can’t forget that this app has another really cool feature called the Pokémon Go Plus, a wearable device that lets you know about events happening within the game even when you’re not looking or playing on your phone or tablet. It connects to a smart phone through bluetooth and says the details of things like the description of a Pokémon nearby. They then press a button to catch that Pokémon. It is that simple and quite frankly makes a lot of Poke Parents jealous this wasn’t around when they were younger. Kids love this little accessory.

With obesity in children (and adults) rising every day, it is about time someone figured out how to combine so much greatness into one thing. There really is an app for everything these days isn’t there? Allowing just 20 minutes a day to get up and move around enough to feel like you did something to help your body thrive is what our kids need to know. If they see their parents involved in the same practices, then is is more than likely they will continue those with their own children.

Pokémon Go is a game that can truly bring everyone together for more than the health benefits and fun. As technology continues to grow better every year, this type of game technology will too. Pokémon Go was a perfect start with in that world because for us super geeks and those hidden nerds that loved and still do love this show, card game, toys and collectors’ items, the game makers are surely only going to expand on this game and make it better just as Apple did with its iPhones.

Another great thing about this game is the social aspect. If your child has a hard time getting social, this is perfect for getting to know people that enjoy something they do too. At each PokeStop or Gym, they meet up with the people playing the game and can either have a match or collect items for the game. When my son went on his first Pokémon adventure, he ended up at a park close by where there were 12 people just for that alone plus those showing up as he left. Normally there is no one at this park but I say that is quite the social circle of Poke players.

Yoga, and the benefit of yoga, is generically defined as a Hindu discipline that helps unite the body and mind. Aimed at achieving a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility, it is practiced in the West most commonly as physical exercise practiced as part of the discipline.

The benefit of yoga practice is nothing new.  It has been recognized for many years as the perfect discipline to help one achieve tranquility, better health, and longer life.

Many people view the benefit of yoga as some weird discipline that involves yogi’s contorted in unnatural positions, doing strange acts of the body, and living on a mountaintop somewhere in India.  I personally remember a television documentary many years ago featuring a yogi that had his tongue split, using it to clean his sinus cavities!  Anyone interested in yoga has probably also seen images of yogi’s supporting great weight with their genitals.

In this modern age, much has been learned about the benefit of yoga. Yoga practitioners achieve greater mobility, longer life, and internal happiness through their practice of the art. Yoga as we know it today is aimed at uniting the mind, body,and spirit.  The mysticism of the Hindu discipline is no longer a myth, and is reachable by all willing to learn.

Yoga practice is roughly grouped into three categories – the Yoga Postures (Asanas), Yoga Breathing (Pranayama) and Meditation. These categories embrace physiological, psychological, and biochemical effects.  In addition, clinicians have compared these results against the Western practices of jogging, aerobic exercise, and weight training, and find results comparable.

The most popular style of Yoga in the West today is Hatha Yoga.  It is designed to focuses on the physical well-being of a person and believers in the practice consider the body as the vehicle of the spirit.

Ananda Yoga, a classical style of Hatha Yoga, uses Asana and Pranayama to awaken, experience, and take control of the subtle energies within the body, and focuses on the energies of the seven Chakras.

Anusara (a-nu-SAR-a)yoga is defined as “stepping into the current of Divine Will”, “following your heart”, and “moving with the current of divine will.” This new style, which was developed by John Friend, is defined as “yoga positions that flow from the heart.” It is heart-oriented, spiritually inspiring, and is based on a deep knowledge of outer and inner body alignment. It is based on the principles of Hatha Yoga and biochemical practices.  Students of this discipline base their practice on attitude, action, and alignment.

Ashtanga yoga could possibly be the perfect Yoga for those looking for a serious workout. Ashtanga was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, and is very physically demanding. A series of flows, moving quickly from one posture to another, is utilized to build strength, flexibility and stamina. This style is not good for the beginning practitioner, as it requires 6 series of difficulty.  The physical demands of Ashtanga are not for the casual practitioner beginning the journey of yoga fitness.

Bikram Yoga, named for its founder Bikram Choudhury, is practiced in a room with a temperature of up to 100 degrees. Twenty six Asanas are performed in a typical session, and focus is on warming and stretching muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Each pose is accompanied by Kapalabhati Breath, the “breath of fire.”  Practice of this style promotes cleansing of the body, the release of toxins, and ultimate flexibility. One must be in very good physical shape to practice Bikram Yoga.

These basic definitions will give the person seeking the benefit of yoga a clear-cut understanding of what is to be expected, and will help them make the proper decision to find the discipline that best suits their needs.  More information is posted on a regular basis at  Visit today to learn about the practice of yoga to meet your exercise needs.

For a lot of people, being able to look good seems to be the primary item on their list. Especially when it comes to people who thrive in the world of professional sports, modelling, muscle building seems to be a very important goal to accomplish. However, being able to do this and see results is not really that easy. Being able to get a nice set of muscle packs and that lean body is not something that comes in a quick period of time. It also involves a lot of motivation and set of exercise routines done in a period of time on the part of anyone who would want to achieve this. A lot of people seem to have preconceived notions and make mistakes along the way, with them searching for that ultimate guide in the end. Fortunately, people who dreams to have that ultimate buff body would not have to search no more as this reading is designed to enlighten guide hopefuls when it comes to important things about the process of muscle building.

People who have just started the process of muscle building tend to fast track the way they work their muscles by engaging in too strenuous set of weight building activities early on. In the end this just brings damage and serious injury to the body contrary to the original goal. It is important to consult a fitness expert first or start with a low impact set of exercises and then eventually move on to harder and heavier training exercises. Gradual increase and consistency is the key in order to help orient the body to work.

It also must be understood by everyone that in order to start packing on muscles, they should consider first how they would adjust and modify their nutritional intake. A high protein and caloric diet is in fact recommended when it comes to muscle building for it allows the body to have the essential energy it needs while it grows muscles. Experts claim that the daily surplus of 250 to 500 calories is ideal and going beyond it will only end up with gaining a lot of fat. It is also important for them to step up their calcium intake so as to make the bones stronger when it comes to supporting the weight of the muscles being built.

In some cases, people who deal with this process take into consideration including supplements in their diet. Examples of these supplements are the famous protein powder, multivitamins, fish oil, creatine, etc. It is however important that these supplements be taken as recommended by the specialist. Though it does not help in the building of muscles, these supplements help give that extra boost of energy to keep up with the strenuous routines.

Lastly, it is very important that the body is able to rest well. It is wrong to have strenuous weight training for two days in a row. Give the body sufficient time to recover for the next muscle building session.

Thousands of beginners ask themselves this question when they decide to take their health and fitness seriously. It’s tough to make a decision because many commercial gyms offer both, Pilates and yoga classes. Oftentimes, these classes are very popular.

So which is better?

The answer is… neither is better than the other. You need to choose one that is better FOR YOU. That’s what really matters. Comparing the two is akin to comparing karate and kung fu… neither is better and there are people who are experts at each art… and there are those who are beginners at each.

There is no right or wrong answer here because both yoga and Pilates have their own unique benefits. You can even do both on alternate training sessions and get the best of both worlds. They’re not mutually exclusive.

To the layman, both seem very similar and there is little difference between Pilates and yoga. However, the truth is that both have very different objectives. To make things more confusing, there are several types of yoga and Pilates too.

Making a comparison is not an easy task… but this article shall try to highlight the differences between the two.

For starters, yoga is a much more ancient training style and it originated in India about 50,000 years ago. In comparison, Pilates is a lot more recent even though it was created in the 1920s. Yoga doesn’t really credit any one person as a creator. There are many gurus… but no founder.

Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates to help people rehabilitate from illness and injury. What that means is that yoga has evolved a lot over time and there are many more variations and styles when it comes to yoga. Pilates does have variations, just not as many.

If you decide to choose yoga, you will always have new yoga techniques to learn. Hot yoga, Ananda yoga, Ashtanga yoga, etc. are some of the many types being taught till today. So, if variety is your thing, perhaps you may wish to try yoga first.

Secondly, yoga is more spiritual. It focuses on making a mind, body and spirit connection. On the other hand, since Pilates is more about rehabilitation, it concerns itself with strengthening the body, with special focus given to the powerhouse area.

People who are more spiritual and looking for inner peace and serenity would do well to take up yoga. Whereas younger people who want to get stronger or wish to get rehabilitation from sports injuries, etc. will benefit from Pilates. Different courses for different horses.

Another difference between the two is that since yoga has evolved more, it is more fluid in the sense that there are modified poses that can cater to people with different needs. If you need healing, there is one type of yoga. For strengthening, there’s another type of yoga. Focus on flexibility, breathing, spirituality, etc. are highlights of the different types of yoga.

On the other hand, Pilates is more structured and the classes similar to a large extent. While there is some variation, it doesn’t come close to the degree of variation that yoga has.

Other differences would be that yoga uses the body’s own weight as a form of resistance whereas Pilates workouts employ both bodyweight training techniques and machines.

Deep breathing known as pranayama is a yoga trademark. Yoga places a lot of emphasis on correct breathing. There is some core training in yoga but the focus is on the breathing to achieve the meditative state that is part of yoga. Pilates doesn’t have meditation as part of the training.

There are certification and accreditation boards for both Pilates and yoga. Always check that your instructor is properly certified before joining any class. It’s important that they know what they’re doing if they’re going to guide you. There are many self-taught individuals who are conducting classes for unaware participants.

If you can’t decide on one yet, go ahead and attend 3 classes of each style and see which one you like more. Stick with that. At the end of the day, as long as you choose one and do it consistently, you will see benefits in your life.

General fitness and heart health are closely linked. Just like your other muscles, the heart is a very important muscle that also needs regular exercise to stay healthy. You may think that its regular function is exercise enough, but, when you don’t exercise regularly the heart can begin to accumulate high levels of bad cholesterol and eventually become diseased.

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is an intense exercise that helps whip the body into shape while also promoting optimal heart health. Heart health is just as important as general fitness because the heart is responsible for regulating all systems and providing oxygenated blood throughout the entire body.

The average adult is 5’7 or taller, meaning that the blood has to travel a long way to reach the extremities and back.

With proper heart health, however, the body will function at its best and facilitate the prevention of early death through heart disease and heart attack.

With the help of CrossFit, you’ll be able to get into shape and reach peak fitness levels.

Origins Of The CrossFit Exercise Program

CrossFit is a recent fitness craze that has taken the nation by storm in just a few years. It was created by Greg Glassman, a coach and former gymnast in Santa Cruz, California, over many decades. The ball began rolling when Glassman developed his own website where he would post daily workout routines or what he called, “the workout of the day.”

Initially, his first following consisted of firefighters, police offers, and military types and members, but, from this original group the popularity of his workout routines began to grow.

Devoted followers of CrossFit are now so numerous that they’re called CrossFitters, and gyms all across the United States have incorporated this amazing and intense workout program as part of their services.

Glassman’s goal with the CrossFit program is to present total body fitness in a meaningful and assessable way. This means that one’s work capacity will increase across a long range of time.

The CrossFit programs offered are often very diverse. The locations, routines, and even trainers take the program and, using the same principals, create a workout that works for them and their clients. Many people enjoy CrossFit on the beach, in the gym, and other places where one can get the most out of the environment while rigorously training their bodies.

How It Works

One of the main points of a CrossFit program is that there is no set routine. This simply means that each time you engage in a workout, you’ll be trying new moves to keep things interesting and get your body to try a wide range of exercises.

There are at least 50 basic exercises that are used to create every “workout of the day.” With so any options, the routines never become complacent and you will always be engaged and ready to see what the CrossFit workout will throw at you next.

This elite program is defined as a workout routine that will optimize fitness. Due to the ever-changing routines and movements performed at high intensity, your body will receive a total workout while facing new physical challenges every time you exercise.

The best part of CrossFit for most people is that it promotes community. Gyms often offer these classes to groups of people at one time so that individuals come together and have a common goal and activity in mind. Many have agreed that this is one of the reasons CrossFit so effective and enjoyable.

Basic Routines

The basic routines of CrossFit include Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and track and field. The goal is to increase core strength and conditioning through the mentioned exercises and the other basic moves that create the different routines every day.

To really engage in the CrossFit experience, the workouts are created for full-body functional movements. These include movements such as:

•    Lifting
•    Pulling
•    Pushing
•    Crawling
•    Running
•    Twisting

While these may sound simple, the other trademark of a CrossFit workout is its intensity. One of the positives of CrossFit is that because the workout is inclusive of the whole body, it can be accomplished in an intense but efficient 15-20 minute session. Many CrossFit trainers want their clients to be moving as quickly as they can as they go throughout the workout. It is meant to be a like a short but powerful burst of exercise that will provide the body and your heart with the regular exercise needed to stay strong.

CrossFit Program Benefits

There are many benefits to the CrossFit program. While some people may get carried away and push themselves much too hard, those who take things day by day and pace themselves will soon experience excellent benefits.

A stronger, more toned body is the first and most noticeable benefit of engaging in the CrossFit program.

When you take the time to focus on the whole body rather than just a few section, you can begin to tone, strengthen, and work even the hard to reach places while working out others.

Heart health is another huge benefit of CrossFit.

As long as you are not overworking yourself and pushing far beyond the limit, you will be able to healthfully increase your heart rate during your exercise which can get the blood flowing almost effortlessly.

CrossFit may be intense but it is designed to give you general fitness for the entire body. When paired with a healthy diet, plenty of rest, and emotional and spiritual wellbeing, CrossFit can do wonders for your body and your life.

There are so many different workouts and structured exercise plans to choose from that it can make a newcomer to fitness want to give up before they even start. Where to begin? Which to choose? These are just some of the questions asked.

Two popular workout programs are Crossfit and Kettlebells. Both have their advantages, similarities and differences. Let’s see how they compare.

What Is Crossfit?

The best way to describe CrossFit is high volume training with equally as high intensity.  In a perfect world, high-intensity is a good thing and probably the best way to approach exercise when you want to get in shape fast and melt away adipose tissue.  However, there is always an ugly side to everything.

The fast-paced nature of CrossFit and the expectancy of you to do lots of reps in as little time as possible have raised a lot of concerns and eyebrows.  In reality, a novice has no business attempting workouts of this magnitude.  You need to earn you way up to this level.  And even then, once you are fully taxed and your form starts breaking down, it is in your best interest to stop and rest, instead of pushing onward.

Kettlebells Versus Crossfit

When it comes to comparing kettlebells to CrossFit it’s a bit of a grey area because kettlebells are often used in CrossFit workouts.  By themselves, kettlebells are some of the greatest tools the fitness industry has to offer.  But if used with high-volume and sloppy form, they’re no better than any other equipment that is used the same way.

Getting good with kettlebells alone takes hours and hours of practice.  If you do not take the time to learn proper mechanics, you will suffer the consequences, regardless if you do a CrossFit class or strictly do kettlebell workouts.

The bottom line is, both forms of exercise can be safe or dangerous, and both have similar attributes to the body.

Working Multiple Muscle Groups And Burning Calories

For example, one of the main benefits of kettlebell workouts is that you can do them in a short amount of time and accomplish a whole body workout.  The same can be said about CrossFit.  In fact, rarely does a CrossFit class last more than 20 minutes.

With both programs, you can work all of your major muscle groups and improve strength levels, muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.  Additionally, you can produce quite a high caloric burn from both protocols.

Along the lines of the high caloric expenditure is a boost in resting metabolism.  Any time you get to a point of hyperventilation while training, you’re exercising anaerobically.  This simply means you are in a state without oxygen and your main source of fuel is stored carbohydrates.

Once you get to this point, especially while doing intervals, you end up cranking your metabolism through the roof.  This effect is greatest for the first few hours after you have finished working out, but it can literally last for 24 to 36 hours afterward.  When weight loss is a pressing concern, this is one of the best ways to make it happen.

Workout Space

When it comes to space, kettlebell workouts beat out CrossFit.  All you need is one or two bells and an open space that you can swing a kettlebell forward and raise it above your head.  CrossFit workouts often require barbells, boxes, rings, walls, pull-up bars, weight plates and wide open space to move from one station to the next. These are set up in what are often referred to as “boxes.”  That’s slang for an open gym.

If you are on the fence between doing kettlebell workouts or CrossFit, just remember that movement always presides over load.  If you are unable to move through a full range of motion with little to no weight, then you shouldn’t be doing kettlebell workouts or CrossFit.

Master the basics first and then move on with confidence.  In both cases, it’s always a good idea to get expert instruction to avoid possible injury.

The Russian kettlebell is well known for its ability to whip the body into shape and often mesmerize onlookers watching a workout in progress.  In stark contrast, there’s nothing really interesting about watching someone run—be it on a treadmill or outdoors.

When you compare these two forms of exercise, they actually have about an even number of similarities and differences.  Let’s go a little deeper and flesh out the intel.

Weight loss ranks high on the list of key motivators for a lot of people that start running.  It’s no secret that you can experience a high caloric expenditure by moving your legs quickly in an upright, scissor-like fashion, but the burn you get from kettlebells should not be overlooked.

Calories Burned

On average, you can burn between 250 to 270 calories, running at 6 miles per hour for 20 minutes.  That sounds pretty good, but not when compared to a 20-minute kettlebell interval workout.  Given the same time frame, you can expect to burn nearly 400 calories.  The work might be more intense, but the effect is far greater.

As an added bonus with kettlebells, you can burn more calories without suffering a pounding on your joints.  This is very beneficial for people who cannot experience impact from past injuries or current joint conditions.

The repetitive stress of running causes your ankles, knees and hips to continually endure shock.  Since your feet stay rooted to the ground with most kettlebell exercises, you feel zero impact.  The only exceptions are exercises that involve stepping, like lunges and Turkish get-ups.  However, this isn’t considered impact.  It’s just transitional movement.

Muscle Engagement

Muscular strength is another area where kettlebells win out.  While you run, it’s true you are incorporating your glutes, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps, but you are really just improving muscular endurance in these areas.  That’s because running is primarily a cardiovascular exercise.

With kettlebell workouts, you get the best of both worlds at all times.  Not only do they improve muscular strength, but they also improve muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance.  Even if you run up hills, the amount of strength you build in your lower body will be minimal.  By doing double kettlebell squats, on the other hand, you will develop strength, bulk and power in one motion.

Additionally, due to the large recruitment of the major muscles in the legs, as well as the fact that you have to balance the bells in a rack position, your caloric expenditure will be extremely high.

And the strength gains don’t end with legs.  When you run, you might get a little bit of core recruitment, and your arms swing back and forth, but the overall upper-body work you get is minute.  With kettlebells, you can target your shoulders, abs, arms and back in one workout with exercises like cleans, presses, snatches, bent presses, renegade rows and high pulls.

Workout Space

Lastly, kettlebell workouts can be performed in very little space.  In fact, you can target your entire body in as little as a 10 x 10 room.  At the bare minimum, you need a treadmill to run on, which takes up a lot more space than a kettlebell.  You do not even need to go outside to work out either.

If you don’t own a treadmill or belong to a gym, you might have to fight inclement weather to get in your workout.  That’s not the case with kettlebells.

On the flipside, you can still go out to your backyard or a local park and do a kettlebell workout when the weather is nice.  You would still get the same environmental chi hit as well.

Final Thoughts

All and all, both kettlebell training and running are great forms of exercise.  Just know the facts about both and choose the one that best fits your needs and requirements.

For those of you who are unaware, the acronym “HIIT” stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  Simply put, this is a method where you alternate back and forth between a high and low intensity while you work out.

Over the course of time, this training style has gained popularity with all age groups and demographics for its effects on the body and for the fact that it burns more fat than any other workout.

Not only does it cause a high caloric expenditure, but it also cranks up your resting metabolic rate, and boosts your body’s natural production of human growth hormone and testosterone.  This translates to a leaner, more defined body with a low amount of body fat.

It’s hard to argue that this is one of the best ways to get fit and lose unwanted weight fast.  When you compare kettlebell workouts to HIIT, they can actually go hand in hand.  This really depends on how you structure your training.

Since the kettlebell is very versatile and can be moved easily, you have the option of doing an entire HIIT workout with it.  For example, you can do 30 seconds of swings, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for 30 minutes.  That’s a standard 1-to-1ratio of high to low intensity.

You have multiple combinations to work with too.  In the end, it really all depends on how trained you currently are or how trained you become.  Following a 2-to-1 work to rest ratio, for example, is going to be quite challenging at first.  But over time, and after you have gotten into better shape, it might be the sweet spot for you.

On the other side of the coin, the kettlebell can be used just as resistance to build strength.  An example of this would be doing 5 sets of 5 reps of double presses with 60 seconds or more of rest between each set.

The HIIT model does not have to include kettlebells either.  People who like to run races often perform intervals in their training to boost their anaerobic capacity.  This comes in handy while running up hills or trying to outsprint someone at the finish line.

Instead of going with complete rest, like you would with kettlebells, they just lower their intensity between sprints, such as jogging lightly or walking briskly.  Then they speed back up to the point they are trying to reach.

Kettlebells can also be fused into a circuit-style HIIT program that involves multiple exercises, including running.  The high intensity point would be achieved during each exercise and the rest interval can be short or longer, depending on how fit you are or what you are looking to achieve.

For example, you can do swings, burpees, rope jumping, combat ropes, snatches and running in a workout.
Each one of the exercises can be performed for 30 to 60 seconds and the rest breaks can be the same as the work intervals or shorter.

There is also an option to interval between an intense movement that targets one part of the body and a movement that targets a completely different area.  If you go back to the circuit example, you could do a set of kettlebell presses, then immediately jump rope for 30 seconds and then do a set of kettlebell squats followed immediately by medicine ball slams on the floor.

Your heart rate will still be up, but while one part of your body is spent, another part is not.  It takes practice and mental strength to get proficient at this type of training.

Applying the rules of HIIT to your workouts is not really that complicated, regardless if they are with kettlebells or not.  Just pick a batch of exercises you want to do, determine your work to rest ratios and have at it.

When starting or following a regular exercise regimen it is important to understand the theory behind each type of exercise. Why? Because it helps you to plan a workout that is sound and will fit your goals and needs. A correct workout can mean the difference between gaining results or not, and also in how fast those results can be achieved.

Knowledge is power and king, and this applies to life and fitness. So, let’s consider the anatomies of two popular workouts carefully, here is a comparison of Kettlebell workouts versus good old calisthenics.

Kettlebell Workouts Versus Calisthenics

Kettlebell exercises involve a high amount of motor neurons firing at once to stay balanced and in good form.  Interestingly, the same can be said about calisthenic exercises.

When you look at each workout separately, they can both give you similar benefits.  Lean muscle mass ranks high on this list.  Every rep you do with a kettlebell causes you to work multiple muscle groups at the same time, such as with a clean and press.  The same can be said with a calisthenics exercise like a burpee.

Main Difference

The main difference here is you are only using the weight of your body as resistance with calisthenics.  In some cases, this can make the exercises harder and in others, it can make them easier.

Take pull-ups for example.  These require you to pull the entire weight of your body up to chin-level on a pull-up bar.  It takes a lot of strength to achieve this feat with proper form.

A kettlebell row, performed by pulling the weight up by your side from a half-bent position, works similar muscles, but is not nearly as hard.

On the other side of the coin, a ballistic kettlebell exercise like a snatch, gets your heart rate elevated really high, while also working muscles in your shoulders, butt, thighs and abdomen.  You rarely get this same type of effect from calisthenic exercises.

Combining Calisthenics With Kettlebells

Here’s where things get interesting. You can actually use kettlebells in conjunction with calisthenic exercises.
Let’s go back to the pull-up example. When you are able to do multiple reps with good form, it’s obvious that you have reached a pretty high level of strength.

Since the pull-up is a body weight driven exercise, you need to add resistance to your body to make it harder.  By wearing a dipping belt and strapping a kettlebell to it, you just found out how to do that.  This also applies with dips on dipping bars.

Total Body Workout

Kettlebells and calisthenics actually pair well to create a total body workout.  Since kettlebells are easy to maneuver and transport, you can combine specific kettlebell exercises with specific calisthenic exercises to build a complete, total-body workout.

For example, you can do pushups, renegade rows, presses, jumping jacks, squats, pull-ups and Turkish get-ups all in one workout.  The end result is full body recruitment that improves muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance and flexibility.

With all the similarities, there is one major difference.  If you travel and are unable to bring a kettlebell with you, yet you rely on it for a workout, you are out of luck.  However, that’s certainly not the case with calisthenics.  All you need is the weight of your body and you can pretty much work any muscle group.

This is especially beneficial if you are confined to a hotel room and do not have access to a quality gym.

Aside from the obvious exercises like push-ups, squats and crunches, you can also do variations:

•    Alternating t-stands
•    Handstand push-ups with your feet on a wall
•    Pull-ups on the bathroom door with a towel draped over the top
•    Inverted push-ups under a sturdy desk
•    Dips on a desk chair and step-ups on a bed

Bottom Line

All and all, both kettlebell workouts and calisthenics are hard to beat for a one-size-fits-all approach.
Each can stand alone to tone and strengthen your entire body, or they can work in unison.  Just be aware that both forms of exercise take expertise, skill and practice to learn and master proper form and technique.

You are best served getting the basics down and then move forward from there.

Getting the heart pumping has many benefits for health and wellness.

First, there is heart health, which is imperative in this day and age since the numbers of death each year from lifestyle related heart disease has soared to epidemic levels.

Second, there is healthy weight management. Excess body fat leads to obesity, another condition at epidemic levels in the United States and across the world that causes various diseases, and early death from heart attacks, stroke, has been linked to several cancers and others.

Both of these reasons should be more than enough to convince any sensible person to engage in some type of cardio training at least 3 times per week. And, take note that this includes kids as well, since obesity rates have soared for the children of America to unprecedented levels.

Choosing the right form of cardiovascular exercise can be challenging. But in the big picture, it really all boils down to one thing. Well, maybe two things.

What do YOU like the best? And what is best for YOUR body?

Don’t just do a type of cardio because you think it’s fashionable. For example, if you are obese or have lower back or knee pain, do not run! Just because your friend is looking for a running partner doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. Always think in terms of safe or dangerous. In this case, running is dangerous. Kettlebell workouts, on the other hand are not.

It all boils down to impact. While doing what are known as ballistic kettlebell exercises, you burn a lot of calories, recruit a lot of muscle groups, and most importantly, endure very little impact on your joints. That can’t be said with running. You feel impact from your toes right on up to your cervical spine.

And kettlebell workouts are not the only forms of cardio that spare your joints from uncomfortable impact. Biking, elliptical training, stair climbing, arc training and compact climbing can also be included.

The difference between these forms of cardio compared to kettlebells though lies in the way they are performed. During kettlebell workouts, your body is not being led by mechanical apparatuses, such as those you would see on an elliptical or exercise bike. You are sort of just being guided along by these machines.

The second you remove a kettlebell from the ground to do an exercise, the fireworks begin. You have to control that ball of cast iron through the entire movement you put it through, and you always have to pay very strict attention to what you are doing.

This causes you to recruit a very high amount of muscle fiber, while always keeping your core tight.

You may get some core recruitment when sprinting or balancing your body on a bike, but it’s pale in comparison to that which you would experience in a kettlebell workout.

People who engage in regular bouts of cardio are always concerned about caloric expenditure too. A well-known fact about kettlebell workouts is they burn a ton of calories. It is not uncommon to burn over 1,000 calories in a one-hour kettlebell workout. Of course, this involves doing a high-intensity protocol and it takes a while to build up the physical stamina to get there.

The complexity of workouts is another factor you should take into consideration when comparing kettlebells to other cardio. A lot of people are turned off by the typical running and biking workouts because they seem brainless. You just keep doing the same thing over and over again for an extended period of time. There’s no versatility.

If you run or bike outside, you at least have a change of scenery, which can motivate you, but you’re still doing the same repetitive motion.

Kettlebell workouts give you metric tons of combinations and variations to choose from. Even if you did one exercise, like a swing, you can create variations that will never leave you bored.

For example, you have a basic two-hand swing, single arm swings, single arm alternating swings and double kettlebell swings. Once you get proficient, you can add more ballistic exercises to the mix like high pulls, cleans and snatches.

The bottom line is, choose wisely when you decide to do cardio. There is nothing wrong with running, biking, cross-country skiing or inline skating. But if you get bored easy, just know that kettlebells can add a whole new dimension to your training.


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