The Kitchen to the Kettlebell

The Kitchen to the Kettlebell

3 Six-Pack Hacks for Mindful Nutrition and Movement Health

It all starts with purpose: develop healthy and sustainable eating habits while building the body of your dreams. Our purpose-driven goals seem simple enough: stick to a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, and stay consistent in our movement efforts. As a strength & conditioning coach for the past 10 years, I have realized a sticking point in this duality. How can we encourage disciplined and mindful eating, with the extra time, effort, and discipline required to develop and sustain our movement health? And let’s be real – how do we develop tight, toned, six-pack abs?

Becoming the best version of ourselves is often a balancing act of motivation, stick-to-itiveness, accountability, and hard fought discipline. Most of my personal training clients’ goals involve fat loss and attainment of the elusive six-pack musculature. These stubborn muscles begin their pronounced appearance when males have below 10% body fat, and females below 15%. The war on body fat is hard fought – requiring daily exercise with deliberate, disciplined eating.

This conscious lifestyle is approached with trial and error and painstaking practice.

This conscious lifestyle is approached with trial and error and painstaking practice. It seems simple enough to journal, take notes, and plan movement each day, but why do we still falter? The temptation of happy hour, sleeping in, and wanting to treat yourself is relentless. The good news is, we don’t need to be perfect. By devising a game plan oriented toward achieving 90% of our goals, while allowing the remaining 10% to buffer mistakes we know we will make, we can create a foundation for sustainable success habits.

I give my clients a template for success. The template is composed of two mandatory actions: follow a whole foods diet, and achieve sustainable exercise habits. If you’re reading this article, you’ve already begun your path to success in learning how and why to eat health-promoting foods. What you may not know is that we can apply simple methods to maximize our health. These “hacks” promote mindfulness in our commitment to healthy eating and exercise.

To develop a six-pack, study what those with six-packs do consistently. How do these people eliminate the temptation to arouse their sugar cravings while still fitting in time for their daily movement practice? When approached with mindfulness, there are 3 easy strategies that we can harness to improve our body composition and remain successful in our nutrition habits.

Harness the Home Gym

I get it. Going to the gym takes time, planning, and effort. Instead of packing clothes, shower sandals, and towers of tupperware, why not clear a space at home to streamline your training?

Remember, there are two types of personal training clients: those who train before work, and those who train after work. Do I even have to tell you which group is more successful over time? Think of it this way, the fewer the impediments keeping you from training, the higher your chances are of melting body fat and looking the part.

I suggest exercising first thing in the morning. The likelihood by day’s end of you feeling tired, unmotivated, or interrupted by FOMO (fear of missing out), are high. Wouldn’t it be nice to be proactive in your goals, and gain the inspiration of an early-morning “win” and check off the to-do list?

The beauty of home workouts is the immediate proximity to the things you need: workout clothes, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the morning routine.

The beauty of home workouts is the immediate proximity to the things you need: workout clothes, the kitchen, the bathroom, and the morning routine. After a solid 30 minutes of movement, you can immediately fuel your body, jump in the shower, and be ready to move on with your day. All this can be completed in 60 minutes or less – a fraction of the time it would take if having gone to the gym and back.

It’s really quite easy: to build an adequate training area, all you need is an open space of about 4’ x 4,’ a program, and motivation. You can make your home workout YOUR time. Turn on your favorite music, podcast, or television program, practice deep and mindful breathing, and create and environment of self-love. It’s not hard. You just have to do it.

This brings us to our next question:  what is the best way to maximize home workouts, eliminate excessive decision making, and accomplish our movement goals without taking up precious time?

Consider the Kettlebell

Home training is a financial investment. But don’t shy away – how much money is your gym membership costing? Are you using all the gym’s amenities and programs? Chances are, you’re not. For the price of one month’s gym membership, you can invest in one tool that produces the highest yield results to your fat loss and six-pack efforts: the kettlebell

The kettlebell is the most powerful tool for gains in power, strength, aesthetics, and longevity. Keeping these training attributes in mind, the kettlebell allows us to develop a system of daily, functional movement. Trainees that learn the proper skill set around kettlebell training develop an urgency in sticking to their program. They see the fruits of their labor, develop skills that promote mind/body health, and reinforce self-discipline and accountability.

The kettlebell makes training simple. Like successful dieting, simplicity is the name of the game. Not overthinking what we can, should, or want to eat, gives us mental freedom. Likewise, eliminating the distraction of “flavor of the week” type exercise, the kettlebell is consistent in its utility. Since the hallmark of the successful dieter is pre-planning their meals and forming templates to guide decision making, the successful exerciser chooses the same method. Follow the program template, see results. No excuses.

The kettlebell eliminates choice to maximize gains.

The kettlebell eliminates choice to maximize gains. Don’t overthink it, just do it. With one kettlebell, an individualized program, and 30 minutes, we have countless exercise combinations to choose from. After the workout, we’re done for the day, feel accomplished, and begin to look forward to our next training session.

As the saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.” This speaks volumes to the importance of proper nutrition and preparadness when it comes to healthy options to eat. After all, we all have to eat, every single day. With that said, if abs are made in the kitchen, abs are sculpted during kettlebell training. We can focus on our six-pack success by eating the right foods for our goals, and  by strategically timing our meals to take advantage of muscle building, fat loss, and hormonal benefits.

The Kettlebell to the Kitchen

So you just busted your ass in your home workout space. You’re sweaty and overcome with feel-good chemicals. You are empowered knowing that the today’s kettlebell training is complete and now you can tackle the day’s challenges. The next task it to fuel your body with high quality food.

When is it important to eat after a training session? Your best bet is to replenish broken-down muscle tissue within 60 minutes of finishing your training. Studies have shown that regular exercisers need to eat more protein than their sedentary counterparts and can benefit from the addition of starchy carbohydrates to their post-workout meal.

Keeping in mind our goal of simplifying our eating and exercising habits, if daily movement has been accomplished from home, we are literally footsteps away from the kitchen. This makes it simple to drop the weights, head to the kitchen, heat your pre-planned meal, and avoid the mental stress of excessive decision making or grabbing the nearest “carb bomb” at the office.

Although kettlebell to kitchen proximity is our ally in maintaining health, first we need to prioritize our weekly grocery shopping and food preparation. Step 1 is planning a weekly trip to your super market that includes purchasing baseline foods appropriate to your diet: animal protein, eggs, starchy vegetables, rice, green vegetables, healthy fats, and on-the-go snacks. It is prudent to do this shopping on the weekend to have a head start the new week.

Step 2 is food prep. Successful eaters know that weekly food prep is an action step. Food prep gives us ready-made options of the foods we know we should eat come mealtime. How often have you been so hungry that you reached for the easiest option? I know I have. Chances are, this impulsive eating didn’t reflect our overall goals of integrating mindful eating and six-pack abs.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

We are smarter than that. We have realized that a success template is built on easy steps; train from home, use the kettlebell, and fuel your body in the kitchen right after training.  Failing to plan is planning to fail. Meal prepping commonly eaten items like, rice, potatoes, animal protein, green veggies, and hard boiled eggs is utilitarian in nature and focuses on need over want. When our needs are met, we are more free to focus on what we find value in.

Developing a sculpted six-pack isn’t an easy goal – yet, this pursuit shapes how we approach new and sustainable habits. By analyzing how successful dieters and exercisers structure their goals, we develop streamlined strategies that bring us from point A to point B in the path of least resistance. My experience as a strength coach has produced a realization: we will never be perfect in sticking to our nutrition and exercise efforts. But, by structuring eating and exercise from the home setting, we create a framework of success in 90% of our efforts, while leaving 10% to the times we know we will deviate from our path.

I hope that these 3 Six-Pack Hacks have entered your consideration. Mindful nutrition and movement health is a goal of discipline and consistency. This conscious lifestyle is our foundation for success when approached with a deliberate mindset.

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