Sunday, February 2, 2014

Interview with Fitness Pro Brook Benten (5-6-2011)

The Belles have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview a new fav of ours- Brook Bentenof Cardio Pump Fitness. A few of Brooks certifications include: ACSM-HFS, ACE Personal Trainer, AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, AFPA Nutrition Consultant, AAAI Yoga, The Method Pilates, and Kettlebell Concepts Instructor. Brook became a Continuing Education Provider for ACE and AFAA, has her Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise and Sport Science and her Master’s of Education in Physical Education with emphasis in Fitness Management.
I stress emphatically in Kettlebody by Brook that the program will only work if combined with a healthy and calorie-conscious diet.  Exercise cannot make up for a lousy diet.  Putting the right fuel in the body with close attention to portion size will help the body to perform better in the Kettlebody by Brook workouts, and will allow metabolic and hormonal changes to take place during the course of the program.
Kettlebody by Brook is an at-home gym with an at-home plan.  Both parts to that are crucial.  With limited equipment (a kettlebell and a mat), you have the resources to change your body, then my DVDs provide the instruction to get you there.  Cardio Kettlebell, Disc One, is a 30-minute cardio, power, and strength workout.  Yogaburn, Disc Two, is a 30-minute blend of power yoga and Athletic Conditioning for cardio, strength, and flexibility.  Bell Body Sculpt, Disc Three, is 30-minutes of full-body toning, using your body weight and a kettlebell.  The mode of the three workouts are varied in order to enhance all five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition.
These workouts challenge even the elite fitness enthusiast.  I, personally, find that I often go to a gym to get a workout, but all too often leave with this disappointed feeling that I didn’t push my limits.  It’s hard to find a workout that really shows me what I’m made of.  All of the DVDs in Kettlebody by Brook push me to that point.  That’s an amazing feeling.  It’s great to be able to get that kind of a workout in without even having to leave the house!  Or even get dressed!!  (I wouldn’t advocate Yogaburn in the nude just anywhere, but hey, in the comfort of your own home, why not!!)
Belles: You are obviously a fan of kettlebells. Can you tell us some of their benefits? 
Brook: A kettlebell, unlike a dumbbell where the center of gravity is in your hand, the center of gravity for a kettlebell is several inches below your grip…. As the kettlebell swings out and in, the center of gravity constantly changes.  What that means is that your core muscles have to fire constantly to keep your body centered and stable.  Kettlebell training is fantastic for developing the muscles of the core.  By performing repetitive swings, the heart rate shoots sky high, which makes this type of training excellent vigorous cardio, without impact on the joints.  If you imagine the energy it takes to perform repeat vertical jumps, you have an idea of the exertion required for kettlebell swings.  The difference between the two is just that with a jump, the energy is transferred to the body, whereas with a swing, the energy is transferred to the bell.  That should give you an understanding of the cardiovascular (fat burning) benefit of kettlebell training.  Also, it is a strong pelvic thrust that drives the kettlebell out in a swing.  That pelvis doesn’t just drive itself; the muscles of the glutes and thighs fire in order to thrust the pelvis forward with power.  The repeat concentric contractions (shortening/tightening of the muscles) make for excellent muscular endurance, which translates to chiseled gams and glutes!
Belles: Any healthy eating or cooking tips you can share with us? (I wholeheartedly agree about the “cleanse”)
Brook: I love that you asked that question!  It really bothers me that there is a lot of misleading and sometimes even downright untrue information swarming around the internet about what it means to eat “healthy.”  On my blog,  I am counting down 101 Legit Ways to Lose Weight.  Through that countdown, I hope to help the general public better understand sound diet and exercise advice, and be able to make wise choices regarding weight management.
I feel like #52 on the countdown will be enlightening to a lot of people.  It explains my stance on “To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse.”  Here’s the story: I don’t say “never” about a whole lot of things, but when it comes to non-food, or nasty bowel-bombing combinations of food, pills, powders, or potions to “cleanse,” I can place my right hand on a Bible and left hand to the Lord that I will never do such a thing. However, I do believe in eliminating junk food completely and significantly raising dietary fiber through non-starchy vegetables, some fruits, and whole grains. This, in essence, is a “cleanse,” but it’s the good old-fashioned way! It’s a good idea to stick to the strict omission of processed food, sweets, and alcohol for at least 21-days.
Belles: How do you “mix up” your workout routine to keep it interesting and effective? Any advice for the at-home exerciser to keep their routines fresh & fun?
Brook: From 1995-2006, I would jog 2-miles every weekday morning.  If the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result, I would have been certifiable.  I wanted to improve my physical fitness level, but didn’t want to leave my comfortable routine.  It was not easy to break that pattern, but boy am I glad that I did.  The same old workout gets super stale, and my body had stopped responding.
Now, I blend power yoga, cardio kettlebell (with a light kettlebell: 10-20-pounds), kettlebell interval workouts (with heavy kettlebell: 35-pounds for swings, 26.4-pounds aka 12kg for snatches), strength training (with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and GTS Gravity Trainer- the commercial line of Total Gym), cycling, and interval runs.  At-home exercisers will probably find Cardiopump Virtual Abs to be a “cherry on the top” ending for a few weekly workout sessions.  Cardiopump Abs is available as a free download.
Belles: What are some of your health & fitness struggles? (I can SO relate- I’m trying to pare down on my cocktail fix!)
Brook: Wine.  I love wine so much.  The problem with that is twofold: 1, alcohol is empty calories- so it’s like throwing tissue paper into a fire, and 2, wine is always better paired with food.  I can enjoy a chilled glass of chardonnay on its own, but boy is it more scrumptious with cheese and flatbread!  The calories add up and so to the morning-after headaches.  Knowing that it is a struggle, it’s best for me to keep it out of house and home.
I recently put myself through the 21-day program described above in your “health eating” question. My body felt so good after going three weeks without alcohol, sweets, processed food, white flour, etc. that I decided to stick with that hi-fiber, whole grains, hi-veggie way of eating.  The only fluids I now drink are water, sparkling water, and one daily cup of coffee.

Thank you SO much Brook for sharing your insights with us and our readers!!! We LOVE her responses & are honored that she took the time to share her knowledge. For more info on Brook and her new Ketttlebody by Brook DVD set, visit:
Cardiopump Fitness on Facebook
Cardiopump Fitness on Twitter

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