About Ana: Ana has the privilege of working along side Jeff Martone, a well-known leader in the Kettlebell industry. Ana works as Jeff's assistant when he is conducting his Kettlebell certifications. Through years of working with Jeff, Ana has gained an extensive knowledge of perfecting ones Kettlebell technique and form as well as being able to work around injuries. Through years of experience training herself and others to meet various fitness goals, Ana has become a diverse trainer with a complete understanding of the word DISCIPLINE.
Ana was kind enough to answer a few questions for us in the latest installment of our Featured Fitness Instructor series.
Tell us about your athletic background and how you became a kettlebell training teacher.
I've always loved playing sports. I was a huge tomboy and still am now in my adult life. I did cheerleading as a kid (which I hated!). I have a twin sister, and the only way our mother would let her join the squad was if I did it as well. I played varsity basketball in high school, ran track, played volleyball and even worked out with the boy’s football team in the summer during two-a-days for the extra exercise. I guess I was a little trainer in the making without knowing it! My older sister played some college basketball, and she was actually my first "client," so to speak. I helped condition her for tryouts and on through the season, where she was able to make significant progress. I was still in high school but enjoyed doing it. During my college years, I would go home for the summer and began to work at a gym. As to my love of kettlebell training, I was introduced to them quite accidentally by a trainer who somehow lured me into a one-hour workout. After that I was hooked!
What sets kettlebell training apart from other forms of weightlifting?
Kettlebell training is unique. Not only does it offer multiple benefits, including strength training, endurance training, grip strength and hand and eye coordination, it creates a mean and lean figure with low body fat. Because the way kettlebells are structured (cast iron cannonball with a handle on it), they automatically differentiate your workout from the basic free-weight training. When it comes to dumbbells, you have weights on both sides giving you the option for a more controlled and stabilized working environment. Kettlebells, on the other hand, utilize weight that is off centered, light on one side and the ball heavier on the other. Whether you're swinging, pressing or pulling, you are forced to redirect the kettlebell from going in its original direction. This in turn creates more muscle groups being used and makes it a more aerobic exercise. Best of both worlds!
What is the biggest mistake you see people making with kettlebells?
The biggest mistake I see is incorrect form. I know that people learn this from trainers and, at times, even from YouTube. I also understand that there are several Kettlebell organizations that teach differently, so I am aware of the different techniques. But most often I see people with bent wrists, rounded backs, not enough hip snatch and it's actually really dangerous. Not being educated when it comes to kettlebells is a liability. I've seen many ambulances at CrossFit boxes because of athletes overloading their first time using a kettlebell. This usually happens because of ego. Men typically tend to use the heavy bells (40+ pounds), and I always advise going lighter. Especially when learning form and technique, I would recommend if you're new to the sport to perfect your form and technique, then add additional load. That's the ONLY way one will get strong and begin to see any benefits.
Describe a typical kettlebell group class.
I run many Kettlebell Classes weekly. I typically begin with specific warm-ups, which are movements that will mimic the workout we are getting ready for. I then add a kettlebell to the warm up component and have the athletes re-do the specific warm up. I continue with a series of swings just to get the blood flowing and joints ready. It's really important to be 100% warmed up before doing any type of intense workout. This decreases the risk of injuries. Next up is an endurance round of timed grinding movement or ballistic movements. So either three minutes of continuous American swings, or half-rotation swings and then another three minutes of thrusters or military presses. Then we continue to two minutes and one minute. That's a pretty vigorous workout. I allow time for a mini-break and then do circuits of three exercises for 3-4 rounds. (Example: 20 lateral moving kettlebell swings, 20 pushups, and 20 lateral squat jumps.) We do several circuits like this and end with joint mobility.
What is your favorite article of fitness-related gear?
I love Lulu Lemon Athletica! I also wear a lot of UnderArmour and Stretchalicious. I like to mix it up every once in a while. Fitness clothes are my fashion statement, and I'm required to wear them seven days a week. I love Asics and Nike training shoes. They're very fashionable yet comfortable.
What is your favorite DC area restaurant to get a healthy meal?
I really like Protein House. I can go in and get a burrito with beans, rice, chicken and guacamole and it's half the calories and sodium of what Chipotle has to offer. They use quinoa instead of rice and whole wheat tortillas. They also have protein shakes and salads.
Describe your training schedule. How many rest days a week? Do you cross train?
I work out four to six days a week. I wish I could do more. I'm a morning person and don't have the luxury to work out in the evening after a long day, so I'm forced to get it done at 5 am. I do minimal cardio. I love the stair-master, cybex arc trainer and at times hop on the treadmill. Cardio usually consists of 20 to 30 minutes maximum two to three times weekly. I rely on my nutrition to keep me lean. I love to strength train. I usually strength train four to five days a week. I work my legs, gluts, inner/outer thighs with machines and do a lot of plyometrics (different variations of squat jumps) to keep my legs tight and round. I hardly touch my upper body as I usually "lean out" with my clean eating and they're naturally lean.
Tell us about the services you provide. Where can people take a class with you?
I offer private in-home and in-studio training, as well as small group training. I offer competition prep, nutrition consultations, and program designs. People can take my classes in Northwest D.C. in a private studio. To learn more about what I do, and what I have to offer, visit my website at www.Anabellsfitness.com.