Monday 4 March 2019

March & April: Kettlercise & Core de Force

   March, and so ends 4 months of strength training (3 months of this, and 1 month of this). As usual, I'm sad to see the back of it - especially knowing that there are 2 months of cardio and HIIT ahead of me which...just...doesn't bear thinking about...
   I've mentioned time and time again about a calorie experiment I'm doing - for which I'm hoping to finally talk about with solid figures in two months' time - and now I'm moving into the final stage. If it's going to work, now is the time I'll know.
   I've been trying to shift stubborn fat for years now - and I've done well, dropping from a (UK) size 16 to a size 8 - and while I've turned my attention over the past 12 months towards muscle-building instead, which has been infinitely more enjoyable and subsequently both easier to stick to and more rewarding, my shame and hate over squidgy arms and tummy has gone nowhere.
   Part of what has made strength and muscle building so much better for me, personally, is that I'm not running on steam. After hovering around 1350 calories a day for a few years and seeing zero change in my body, I gave up and finally dared to eat more. I was at my wit's end. I raised it to 1600, and, to balance it, in March last year I decided to turn towards lifting heavy weights so that the excess calories (and the fat I was terrified of gaining back) would be put to use repairing my body. And it has done exactly that. For the past month I've been eating 2100 calories a day, I feel so energetic and happy (despite a few loathsome trouble zones) and I'm still a size 8.

   But, while the first stage of this experiment involved increasing my daily calorie intake by 100 every 4 weeks (from 1600 to 2100), my body has given me the sign I've been waiting for that it's time to move on to the second stage.
   And that involves calorie cutting, and cardio. Turning away from resistance training - and the need for higher calories along with it - and towards cardio and HIIT instead with fewer calories.
   But I'm not talking about 1350 a day. I'm talking about 1700, 50 either side. This gives me an effective and safe calorie deficit (my calorie experiment has yielded my maintenance calorie level), which grows a little broader when coupled with high-intensity workouts (I'm opting for a rotation between Core de Force and Kettlercise, both of which have proven to be the most personally effective cardio & HIIT workouts I've ever seen). The original plan was to use just Core de Force for a month, but I really want this to work, so I've doubled the time and added Kettlercise in to stretch it out and make it more bearable. We all need change.

   So, for the next two months, I will have my fingers and toes tightly crossed, very sweaty kit, and hopefully only a vaguely rumbling but flattening tummy.
   Whether it works or not, I'll blog this whole 7-month experiment when it's finished in May.
   I'm terrified of failure. It feels like, if this doesn't work, nothing will.

   I have 8x 20-40 minute Core de Force videos, and 8x 20-30 minute Kettlercise workouts. I'm considering adding a little extra Core de Force on after Kettlercise, but I shouldn't have to repeat any full workouts for a month.
   Kickboxing and kettlebell workouts are some of the best fat-burning workouts you can do because they are total-body workouts that involve a lot of power driven out from your muscles. Aerobics, dance, things like that don't recruit as much power though they still burn fat, but because of this, muscle mass can be lost. I've worked my ass off to build my ass up, and I have no intention of letting it go. I want to lose fat, not weight. This doesn't mean that kettlebell and kickboxing workouts build muscle, at least not to the extent that a barbell circuit would, but it does mean that what muscle you have built up will still be put to explosive use, which in turn means it won't be lost, and that you'll burn more calories.
   This is because muscle is calorifically expensive, and that also means that if you don't use muscle, you lose it. Your body sees no reason to carry it around any more. This in turn means that you need to eat less - which is also the root of the 'muscle turns into fat' myth. If you don't use your muscle, you lose it; if you don't reduce the amount you eat along with that loss, the excess that would have gone on to feeding and maintaining the muscle will be stored as fat instead.

   After that little science lesson, loooook, I have a new kettlebell! This gorgeous and motivational kettlebell is cast iron (heavy and compact, which means it's a space-saver) and 10kg, so it should be pretty effective. I've had my eye on it for months, but Kettleboobs sell out pretty quick, so I had been watching their website since early December for the 10kg of this beauty to come back. I finally got it mid-February.

   I'll update in April, once I'm about half way through. Scientifically speaking, there's no reason this shouldn't work. But I'm extremely dubious. You only get out of it what you put in, so I also know that, if I fail, it's my fault.
   And I'll just have to make do with the skin I'm in.
   And, if I'm honest, upon typing that line, it struck me that my skin really isn't so body can do pretty amazing things. And I am currently the healthiest I have ever been in my life.


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