[Video] Eating Right While Training With Kettlebells
Now you know what kettlebells are all about and you know just why they’re so incredibly powerful.
Moreover though, you should also now understand your options when it actually to training with them. You now know how to work out using a kettlebell to replace regular equipment and you know how to use a kettlebell for its unique benefits as a tool for true functional strength and movement training.
This means you now have enough of a foundation for us to start putting all that into practice with some programs that will help you build strength, lose weight and gain more explosive power.
But before we get into that, let’s first look at the diet aspect. This is not a diet book but we will provide you with enough basic information that you can back up your training with the right diet to match your goals.
The Basics of Healthy Eating While Kettlebell Training
Food has two basic roles. It is at once a fuel source and a source of raw materials.
That is to say that you are going to use food in order to provide your body with energy so that you can go about your day, train and generally exert yourself. But you’re also going to provide your body with food so that it can use it to make repairs, help you grow and help you adapt. Proteins are used to create muscle tissue, neurotransmitters and enzymes. Vitamins and minerals help to support your immune system, strengthen your bones etc.
In terms of fuel, you need to identify your goals and then eat accordingly. If your aim is to lose weight, then you need to consume fewer calories than you are burning in a day. This will put you in a calorie deficit. So in other words, you can work out the number of calories you burn and then make sure that you’re not giving your body enough. Therefore, your body will need to turn to your fat stores in order to provide energy and this will lead to you losing fat.
However, this process can also lead to the breakdown of muscle. Muscle is highly energy demanding and if you have low blood sugar, then your body will recognize this as a sign that you need to reduce the energy cost of your body. You will thus release cortisol and myostatin and this will lead to the muscles being burned along with the fat.
If you want to gain wait however – whether that’s fat or muscle – then you need to maintain a calorie surplus. This means you need to consume more calories than you burn, which means you’ll have left over energy at the end of the day. This will prevent your body from going into that catabolic state where it conserves energy and breaks down muscle. Instead, you will be in a more anabolic state and this will help you to keep adding muscle.
If you’re an ectomorph who really wants to gain a ton of weight, then you should do a ‘dirty bulk’ meaning that you drastically increase your caloric intake while training with heavy weights.
If you’re a mesomorph though – someone with an average metabolism who is perhaps struggling with skinny arms and a flabby stomach – then you can try and keep your calories in and out at a rough equilibrium and instead focus on toning muscle. It’s all about finding that sweet spot for your goals.
Endomorphs meanwhile, who are large and who struggle to lose weight, will want to go as calorie low as possible in order to burn through lots of fat.
To work out how many calories you burn in any given day, you will need to calculate your ‘AMR’ or ‘Active Metabolic Rate’. You can find lots of online calculators that will do this for you and they only require that you enter your height, age, weight etc.
Another option is to wear a fitness tracker, which will also need that data and then use this in conjunction with your activity levels and heart rate throughout the day.
To measure the calories coming in meanwhile, you can either keep constant record by using an app like MyFitnessPal (or even just a notebook), or you can roughly work out the calories in your most regular meals and use this to generate a rough estimate.
Either way, increase the number to gain weight and lower it to lose it!
(To get a rough idea, the average AMR for men is 2500 and for women it is 2000. If you’re really unsure about calculating your AMR and calorie intake, just try and keep it below these figures to begin with and see if you progress.)
As well as monitoring your calories, you also need to think about where your calories are coming from. This is what we call ‘macros’ or ‘macronutrients’. Here, the goal is to make sure that you are getting your food from the right sources and there’s a lot of debate over how much this matters and what the correct course of action is.
One thing that is proven (although some people still don’t believe it), is that you need to be consuming 1 gram of protein for every 1lb of bodyfat. This is because our body gets its amino acids from proteins and amino acids are what it uses to create muscle tissue. You need protein because it literally serves as the ‘building block’ of your muscles. Otherwise, it’s like trying to build a Lego castle without Legos… So if you weight 170lbs, you need to be eating 170 grams of protein.
Seeing as a gram of protein is 4kcal, this will instantly have taken up a fair proportion of your allowance in terms of calorie. That is 680 calories and this is likely going to be higher seeing as few sources of protein are so lean that they don’t contain any additional calories. A piece of chicken for instance will also contain fat.
The good news is that protein doesn’t convert readily into fat, so whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain it, increasing your protein intake is a good option. Using protein shakes is fine but there’s actually no need if you can get the necessary amount from your diet. Eggs are a very health source, so is tuna and so is chicken.
Next up are your carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide us with the most readily available form of sugar and energy and this is slightly less likely to be stored as fat compared with actual fat. Meanwhile, carbohydrates are again 4kcal per gram and are handy for keeping yourself in an anabolic state.
The problem is that for weight loss, carbohydrates (and specifically ‘simple carbs’ like cake and bread) can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar that leads to a sudden spike in energy, followed by a trough and an intense hunger. Moreover, a spike in the blood sugar will lead to other problems like an increased likelihood of fat storage (lipogenesis). Basically, if the body gets a sudden ‘dump’ of sugar, then it will have nothing to do with it other than burn through it quickly, or store it as fat.
The problem here is that simple carbs are too quickly absorbed by the body and thus release all their sugar at once. Fat is superior in this regard, because it is more slowly digested and thus will release energy more slowly into the bloodstream. This steady trickle of energy means you can keep exerting yourself without tiring out and means you won’t be left with a sudden sugar surplus that needs to be stored as fat.
Fat is also useful for aiding with the absorption of nutrients and it’s actually what the body uses to make testosterone – so it’s a necessary inclusion in your diet as well. And contrary to believe, fat is not bad for your heart – this belief was based on old studies that have since been debunked and disproven.
The only problem with fat? It contains 9 calories per gram instead of 4, so you can afford to eat a lot less without breaking through your calorie goal. What’s more, is that the slow release is not as useful for providing immediate energy when you’re feeling low and it’s not as useful for keeping you in an anabolic state.
A half-way house are ‘complex carbs’. These are more natural carbohydrates that are starchy or filled with fiber and fat and generally take longer to digest. Examples include sweet potatoes and oats. This is why an oat porridge breakfast is excellent for supplying a steady stream of energy throughout your day.
Ultimately, we need both carbs and fats in our diet, so the best thing to do is to calculate how much protein you need and then divide the remainder of your calorie ‘budget’ across fats and carbs respectively.
Finally, you also need to make sure that you are getting plenty of nutrients. The nutrients found in natural foods are like performance enhancing drugs – in many cases they can increase muscle mass, improve brain power, give you more energy or help you to sleep better. Nutrients can increase testosterone, enhance mitochondrial function, provide more dopamine, increase brain plasticity…
And unfortunately, a lot of what we eat these days is processed to the point where all of those crucial nutrients are missing. These are what we call ‘empty calories’ and some prime examples are things like sausage rolls, Big Macs, chocolate bars, crisps and ready meals. If this is what you’re living off, then you’re supplying your body with huge sugar dumps and none of the goodness it craves – no decent protein, no vitamins, no minerals… as such, you will contain ‘craving’ foods because your body will know something is missing. And at the same time, you will feel tired and sluggish and be unable to put on muscle.
And most processed foods are simple carbs, precisely because they have had all the nutrients and fiber removed and so will digest much too quickly in the body.
Get rid of the junk food and seek out things that are wholesome, natural and full of goodness. You’ll feel 100 times better and reach your goals much more quickly.
With all this in mind, you should now know how to design your diet in order to get the best results. All that is left is the training!
- Why Functional Strength and Mobility Are So Important
- Getting Started With the Kettlebell
- Unique Kettlebell Exercises for Developing True Functional Strength
- How the Kettlebell Can Train Your Brain
- Eating Right While Training With Kettlebells
- Three Kettlebell Programs for Different Goals