Frequently new fitness training methods appear on the scene promising to be the best at burning calories or producing faster body slimming results. The latest such training program, however is a centuries-old one — using Russian kettlebells to tone the body and burn calories.
Kettlebells are round pieces of solid cast iron with a handle; they come in various sizes tailored to the user. Locally, Nick Perretta trains students in Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) at Transcendent Fitness facility in Naples.
RKC was developed by a fitness and martial arts instructor for the Russian Special Forces and United States Marine Corps. Pavel Tsatsouline reverse-engineered the movements of the world’s greatest athletes and those practicing the sport of Russian kettlebell lifting. He then developed a fitness program he called RKC, in 2000.
“The RKC is based on ‘Hardstyle’ technique, which engages the entire body for strong, solid muscle contractions. Understanding which muscles engage, why and when creates a more efficient training outcome. Each movement is refined to make it most effective without wasting energy or time,” said Perretta, of kettlebell conditioning.
He has seen clients improve their posture and move more efficiently after a one-hour training session — and drop a pants size in two weeks, through extremely fast fat loss.
“The American Council of Exercise found that using a specific RKC-based kettlebell protocol, you burned up to 20 calories a minute — that’s 1,200 calories an hour. Your gluts will get firm while your legs become toned, and you will firm up your core to a rock-solid state,” he said of RKC benefits.
Students gain strength without bulking up muscle and they develop more power in movement, have better flexibility and longer endurance, Perretta explained. Users have reported faster results than traditional weight training, and the benefits cross over to any other sports in which students participate.
“I am motivated to come to class. It’s quick and challenging and you get a thorough workout,” said kettlebell student Nicole Solo.
Another student, Janis Anderson, says she has already seen results after only three weeks.
“After suffering a broken wrist a year ago, I had no strength in my wrist. Now, I can already do so much more with my wrist and am able to swing the kettlebells. I now have more power,” she said of her progress. “Another benefit is that this type of exercise burns more calories than swimming.”
Perretta said that an average male can start with a 35-pound kettlebell and eventually progress to using a 53-pound bell. A woman usually starts with an 18-pound kettlebell and progresses to a 26-pound weight.
Perretta cautioned against buying kettlebells from a television infomercial or department store because the buyer can’t see the quality of the weights. Solid, cast iron kettlebells with handles thicker than dumbbell handles are best, he suggested; better ones also are cast as one piece, not with handles welded on.
A training schedule of two to three times a week with a proper diet will enable a student to see results in a month, its advocates say. The team approach, which includes precision nutrition counseling of Transcendent Fitness head trainer Micah West, shows the best results for students, Perretta says.
Classes are at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Perretta cautions that gym instructors who teach the method should have proper certification. Perretta, who is a National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association-certified personal trainer, earned a Hardstyle Kettlebell certification in 2010 from Russian Kettlebell Challenge and has become a certified RKC instructor since.
Kettlebell isn’t the only training offered at Transcendent Fitness. West leads the Naples Beach Body Boot Camp.
Boot Camp consists of metabolic conditioning, resistance training, core strengthening and mobility and flexibility training. Body weight, ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls and a other equipment are used to keep classes fun and challenging.
“Our goal is to get students moving, to elevate their heart rate and to build lean muscle, so that their bodies burn twice as much fat,” said Jen Chadwick.
New students receive a complimentary “Functional Movement Screen,” a 12-week nutrition and exercise journal, introductory kettlebell instruction course and nutrition coaching. The facility is now offering a free one week trial to first-time participants.
“The facility is phenomenal and the services touch (on) more than a traditional gym and (goes) into the ideals needed for a better quality of life and fitness,” said Nick Troemner, National Association of Sports Medicine certified instructor, who trains private clients at the facility.