K-Bell Total Body Blast – Review

As noted previously, I purchased the latest trendy exercise program, K-bells (with “Master Instructor” Michelle Khai) and actually liked it.

I had worked through the introductory package, which has a lot of good instructional material as well as one decent cardio workout and one 50 minute circuit training DVD.

Despite that I liked the idea of a k-bell exercise program, the flowing movements, the knowledge that I was working out micro-muscles, the workout itself, and the instructor, I realized that I just wasn’t doing this workout. Whenever I made a decision about what type of exercise I was going to do, I would go to the gym and hit the Step Mill (which my massage therapist lovingly calls “The Gauntlet”), the Tread Climber, Spinning, or if I stayed at home, I’d more often than not jump on the Nordic Track or do Yoga. So what was going on? If I liked the program, why wasn’t I doing it?

It boiled down to this — the premise of the workout is that you get your heart rate up and you do the bell work and this combination “blasts” the fat from your body!!! Sound good? Sure it does. But there’s only one problem: it was physically impossible for me to get my heart rate up into my fat burning zone doing this workout alone. Thus, I wasn’t burning any calories. It’s not Michelle’s fault, nor is it the fault of the k-bell program. In fact, I have the exact same problem with all of Jillian Michael’s home workout DVDs. I also have the same problem with Tony Horton’s Kenpo X (the kickboxing segment of P90X) and Cardio X. And, for that matter, Billy Blanks Tae-Bo the last time I did it. Essentially, it’s not them; it’s me. They may actually work in terms of toning and building muscle, but psychologically, I feel like I’m wasting my time.

And it’s not that I’m not trying, it’s just that after teaching spinning for 4 years, I have a super low resting heart rate: it’s about 42 first thing in the morning and around 56-60 after I’ve been up a while. It takes a lot of umph to get from 60 to 130 (which is the low end of my target training zone) in a 30 – 45 minute work out tape.

However, I really wanted to do the KB Total Body Blast and I really want to be able to incorporate it into my summer routine without feeling like I’m wasting time. It’s fun; she’s doing a lot of really interesting moves. I can feel the little micro-muscles doing their thing. I feel like my balance will improve if I keep it up. I like the momentum generated by the bell as I swing it across my body. And unlike a lot of newer cardio blast programs, there isn’t a lot of jumping. There is hopping, but that doesn’t bother my knee the way that other more plyo-centric programs do.

So, determined to get a good workout and do KB Total Body Blast, I got up this morning, put on U2’s, “No Line on the Horizon” and jumped on the Nordic Track. This album is a good choice for getting into and staying right in my target zone (between 130-145 beats per minutes) as it has a good mix of fast and slow songs. Also, there is a good mix of tight (or short) notes and loose (or long) notes, lending itself to intervals. It’s also relatively short, clocking in at only 54 minutes. That’s 15 warm-up, 30 minutes in the zone, and the last two songs are slow, which starts a pseudo-cooling off period.

Then, with my heart rate at 100 (instead of 58!) I immediately jumped into KB Total Body Blast — which is only 30 minutes — and it was perfect. I stayed in the zone almost the entire time. I was tired when I was done. I actually worked up a sweat! I only burned 204 calories doing it, but it was only 30 minutes (and when I’d done it without raising my heart rate first, I had only burned 157)!

However, add that to the cardio that I’d done on the Nordic Track (400!), I burned 604 calories. Not to shabby for a leisurely Sunday morning at home. Especially since 1 hour out of that 1 hour and 24 minutes was in my target training zone!

So, bottom line: if you are already fit and you find home workouts to be a waste of time, do something else first to get your heart rate up. I really think that KB Total Body Blast is going to be worth it. Besides that, it’s a lot of fun! This is also going to encourage me to shake the dust off of some of my other programs and give them another go!



2 comments so far

  1. sci on

    You have some good points there. P90x does have some great warmups and stretches before and after the workouts.s

    • KJ on

      There is a lot about P90X that I really like; I really liked the stretching. And I love the Yoga X, even I *hated* it when I first started. My goal this season is to counter balance the big muscle-group work I have been doing with the tiny muscle-group work that I’m more likely to get with Yoga (maybe as frequently as every other day) and k-bells. Thanks for commenting!

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