By Ben Greenfield:
As the holiday season approaches, I’ve been on a new fat burning quest - a quest that basically consists of choosing exercises that get me the most bang for my calorie burning buck. In this article, you’re going to learn the two best methods I’ve been using to biohack fat loss – and you’re specifically going to discover how I achieve just that with my little friend called the kettlebell.
How to Biohack Fat Loss With a Kettlebell Swing
So what does the term “biohack fat loss” actually mean?
In short, biohacking is simply finding ways to accelerate the speed and efficiency of making your body or brain (that is, your biology) work better. Biohacking fat loss might include strategies such as skipping breakfast and drinking buttered coffee instead, spending all day long on a standing or treadmill workstation, or using only exercises that burn the most calories or give you the greatest boost of fitness in the shortest period of time.
And one of the best ways to achieve bang for the buck is to throw around a kettlebell. As a matter of fact, a recent study that just appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that the acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing exercise consisted of an extremely significant rise in growth hormone and testosterone, two potent fat-burning hormones in both men and women.
This is just one reason why I shot this video about how to do high intensity interval training with a mighty kettlebell. It burns as many calories as an all-out running sprint, and boosts your metabolism for hours after you’re finishing exercising. For example, one very simple beginner workout that takes advantage of these metabolic properties goes as follows:
Warm up for 5-10 minutes
- Do 10 kettlebell swings with your right hand.
- Perform 30 seconds of cardio as hard as you can. Jumping rope works well for this, or you can hop on a nearby stationary bike, do jumping jacks, or hop or step on and off a bench.
- Do 10 kettlebell swings with your left hand.
- Do the 30 seconds of cardio again.
- Perform 10 push-ups, then 10 pull-ups or pull-downs, rest for 1 minute, and then return back to step 1.
But the benefits of a kettlebell don’t stop with calorie burning. The kettlebell, and the kettlebell swing in particular, is a marvelous movement for firming up your butt, strengthening and giving more power to your hamstrings, and bulletproofing your low back. In other words, it provides the ultimate combination of cardio, power, flexibility, and injury prevention. Talk about biohacking fat loss and the rest of your fitness too!
Now let's look at another way to biohack fat loss with a kettlebell...the Get-Up.
How to Biohack Fat Loss With a Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up
In addition to kettlebell swings, my other go-to exercise lately has been the Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up. This exercise consists of lying on the ground holding a heavy object, attempting to stand up to your feet while holding that object overhead, then returning to your starting position. The Turkish Get-Up is an excellent way to work on focused breathing, concentration, balance, strength, mobility, and getting your heart rate elevated all in one fell swoop.
Since I often do a morning stretch routine, I’ve been getting my heart rate up and “loading” my stretch routine by including several Turkish Get-Ups (usually 5-10 repetitions) for each arm. For example, I’ll lie on my back on the ground holding a kettlebell in my left hand with an outstretched arm, stand up to my feet slowly and with good form, then return to my starting position (lying on the ground), then switch to my right hand and repeat – switching back and forth until I’ve completed 5-10 repetitions per side.
Of course, I realize that the Get-Up is a pretty complex exercise to try to describe in writing or audio format, so here’s a link to a helpful video and complete written instructions on how to do a Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up.
The 30-Day Fat Hacking Challenge
So let’s end this article with a special 30-day holiday challenge, a challenge that is guaranteed to get you lean, burn calories, tone your backside, and give you powerful hamstrings and a strong core all winter long:
Get yourself a kettlebell. I recommend men use a 45-55 lb weight and women use a 30-40 lb weight. A quick note: Kettlebells are sold in metric weights, so men should choose the 20-25 kg weight and ladies, choose the 15-20 kg kettlebell.
Do 5 Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups on each side every day. It’s a great way to top off a morning cold shower and stretch routine, so I suggest getting this out of the way in the morning (check out this little, handy book for my full daily routine).
By the end of each day, make it your goal to amass 100 kettlebell swings. You can either do 100 with both hands on the kettlebell, or 50 for each arm. It doesn’t matter. You can also split these up however you desire (for example, do 5 sets of 20 spread throughout the day or do them all at once). If you’re a complete animal, then you can do 300, but this is only for advanced fitness enthusiasts.
Try this challenge during the entire month of November or December if you’re reading this article when it’s first released. Alternatively, do it from mid-November to mid-December (or better yet, Thanksgiving to Christmas). Heck, do it for 60 days if you really want to be an overachiever. Or save it for summer swimsuit season.
Just do me one favor: if you decide you’re going to take on this challenge, use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or your own blog to document each day and use hashtag #hackingfat. Just post something simple like:
“Completed 1 more day of @bengreenfield’s #hackingfat @kettlebellking 30 day challenge: 10 kettlebell get-ups and 100 swings. Feels great!”
If you have more questions about how to biohack fat loss with a kettlebell, leave your comments below, along with your own tips if you have ‘em!