Kettlebellin’

I’ve rekindled with an old flame: kettlebells. Aren’t they pretty?!

FullSizeRender(22)Made of iron or steel, kettlebells are (literally) full of potential for anyone, from professional athletes to first-time exercisers who are looking to gain strength and burn fat. Kettlebells combine the benefits of heart-pumping cardio endurance with weight-lifting in a dynamic, full-body workout. It’s like fusing a killer spin class or an energized run with intense strength-training session. Instead of choosing cardio or weight-training, kettlebells are a double whammy.

Kettlebell training builds muscle, increases endurance, strengthens balance, burns fat, and, in-turn, boosts metabolism too! Another added bonus is that kettlebells can be incorporated into your existing routine or utilized as the primary workout, in which case, it only takes about 20-30 minutes to reach exhaustion and reap the benefits. There have been many times where I’ve only had 10-15 minutes to spare and I turn to kettlebells for a quick full-body burn. Although they can be used to target certain muscle groups and body parts, pretty much all kettlebell exercises engage and strengthen the core. Due to the handle, the center of gravity of the weight is constantly changing, teaching your body to adapt by turning on a range of muscles.

KBThere is definitely a technique to training with kettlebells and proper form is highly important to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness. I would suggest taking a class or consulting an expert if you’ve never used a kettlebell or aren’t confident you have it down. Fortunately, the Hamptons has some great kettlebell experts. Try a Kettlebell class at Sag Harbor Gym with Sara (pictured above) and/or a class at Truth Training in East Hampton. You’ll get a kick-ass workout and eventually, you’ll learn to love yourself some kettlebells too! Once you’ve got your form down, you may just want to invest in one of these bad boys for yourself.

Sara explains: kettlebells can be used as a full body integrative movement, strength isolation, cardio drill, or all of the above. I’ve kept a kettlebelll in my workout routine for years and with all of the types of exercise equipment out there, kettlebells remain my favorite. The range of resistance, exercises, and challenges using a kettlebell makes it absolutely impossible for one to plateau. Besides the fact that everyone looks badass flinging iron, kettlebells build muscle and increase exertion, which burns more calories throughout the day, long after your workout. Who doesn’t want that?!

8309043682_cff4e10768_zOne Healthy Breakdown: why choose between weight-lifting and cardio when you can do both with kettlebells?

Bootcamping with Trainer Vanacker

People are always asking: what are the best summer workouts in the Hamptons? There’s no question that Sander Vanacker’s Bootcamp in the Vines at Wolffer Estate Vineyard is one of the best kept secrets. If you’re new to Trainer Vanacker’s workouts, it’ll take you all of four minutes to realize that you’re going to get a high-intensity full-body workout with some friendly competition, laughs, and a serious burst of endorphins…in that absolutely irreplaceable setting we all know and love.

image010If you’re in the Hamptons, you should know Sander. Maybe it’s his out-of-the box approach, depth of knowledge about fitness, sense of humor, or all of the above, that sets him apart from the rest. For Sander, it’s not about a trendy reputation or a luxurious experience. It’s about efficiency, getting outside of your comfort zone, and doing your personal best, even if that means grass stains, groans, and lots of sweat. Sander lives and breathes fitness and it’s contagious during his classes.

“I see fitness as a tool to improve someone’s mood, health, performance and quality of life. It’s not just about the workout itself, but also about the experience and how it fits into your lifestyle. If you learn to love the activity, then you will look forward to doing….and you’ll do it more. That’s how I approach fitness. I want clients to enjoy it while getting a good workout. There’s no reason that challenging exercise can’t be fun,” Sander says.

IMG_2007The class is broken up into drills that incorporate high-intensity cardio intervals, strength training, partner exercises, games, and more…starting right away with the warm-up. That’s another thing about Sander, he won’t waste your time…or his. Every single exercise has a purpose and he won’t ask anyone to do anything that he wouldn’t do himself. You bet Sander sure does sweat right along with the rest of the class, partner for the drills, participate in the games, and get his sweat on.

As a former physical education teacher, Sander embraces the benefit of fun and games. Instead of “sprints,” we play tag. Instead of “intervals,” we use a deck of cards. Instead of equipment, we use the body. Instead of holding a plank, we play a game to make the time pass. Sander makes even the worst exercises (burpees, I’m talking ‘bout you) seem fun somewhat fun. He adds just enough distraction to make it doable…and addicting. The beautiful surrounding vines don’t hurt either.

IMG_3940Sander affirms that he “implements partner drills, games, and mental activities into the workout to keep the mind preoccupied and make the time move faster. It’s about creativity and flexibility in the moment, knowing when to change the plan to suit the needs of the class. I also attempt to show people new exercises or new ways to do the same things to prevent boredom. Possibilities are endless; in addition to new exercises to incorporate into their own fitness routine, I also aim to teach people the why behind it. Don’t just do it because I said so, do it because it’s effective.”

Want to learn something new, get a kick-ass workout, and have a little fun? Try Sander’s weekly Bootcamp, 8:30am every Saturday morning at the Wolffer winery. Click here for the full Yoga in the Vines schedule and we’ll surely see you there! In the meantime, click here for more about Trainer Vanacker, who also offers cycling coaching, personal training in the Hamptons, and online training programs for people all over the world. Guess the secret’s out…

One Healthy Breakdown: you won’t regret a Vanacker workout, that’s for sure!