Spring Fitness Cleaning

Spring is in the air. The birds are chirping and looking for mates while other critters are awakening from their winter slumber and are getting “ready for action.” So, how about you? Are you ready and raring to go? Do you have a plan? 

It’s time to shed those bulky winter clothes and that extra bulk you may have put on during months of inactivity and overindulgence. I get it, it’s not easy! Family and work parties, social engagements, disrupted schedules, and the list goes on…

Well now it’s time to CLEAN HOUSE! Get rid of the bad habits and extra pounds put on during the cold and dark days of winter. You’re asking, “OK Master Phil, how do we accomplish this? “

How to Succeed with Spring Cleaning for Fitness:

1. Employ SMART Goals. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Take your time and think about your goals. Write them down and put them into action. Your goals need to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Based

Simply stating “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better” is not enough. If you want to lose weight, pick an exact amount, weigh yourself and set a timeline.  One pound of body fat is approximately 3500 calories (actually 4100, but human body fat also contains about 10% water, and a few other elements). If someone wants to lose one pound of body fat per week, there needs to be a caloric deficiency of 500 per day to yield a net result of a one-pound loss of body fat per week.

2. Increase activity and decrease caloric consumption. What activities work best? Here are a few examples: 20 Minutes of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session with kettlebells will burn 400 calories, an hour kickboxing class yields a calorie expenditure of 700, and indoor cycling expends around 950 calories per hour. The actual number of calories burned will also depend on MET x body weight (in kilograms) x time (in hours) = calorie burn. The weight of the individual and the intensity effects the calories expended. If a 200-pound person and a 150-pound individual run 2 miles at the same rate, the 200-pound person will expend more calories. This also creates a condition where the more weight one loses, the more difficult it becomes to lose weight. 

3. Employ SMARTER Goals. Once the goals have been achieved or missed, use the ER portion of SMARTER and Evaluate the performance and then either Reward (if the goal was achieved) or Revisit (if the goal was missed).

4. Increase Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). 50 years ago, the labor landscape was much different. Most people do not get any exercise at work, whereas many of our ancestors worked in factories, on farms or were involved with some other type of physical labor. This is not the case and most people sit in their car or on a train to go to work where they sit again. They sit to eat, get in their car and drive home after work to sit some more and watch TV or go online. Activity must be placed into the daily regiment. A person can burn from 1000 to 2000 extra calories per day by increasing their NEAT. Estimate NEAT directly by calculating total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), then subtracting basal metabolic rate (BMR) and thermic effect of food (TEF). You may be asking yourself “OK, Master Phil, how can I apply all of this math, formulas and scientific data? It’s far too complicated". I’d say that you are 100% correct. Let’s make it simple - move more. It will cause you to burn more calories. Take the stairs not the escalator, if you take the escalator - walk as well. Get up and move every hour or so. Rake the lawn, vacuum and dust the house, play with your children, walk the dog, get up and stretch. It’s important to adopt new habits. Consistency is the key.

5. Work out first thing in the morning. Don’t go crazy, just get up and move. Take 5 minutes and do squats, push-ups, sit-ups and bridges. Don’t miss. Consistency is the key. (I think that someone said that recently). Do not succumb to excuses, just do it before you have time to think.

6. Find an activity that you like and that will inspire you to stay motivated. Join a group or get a workout partner to help keep you committed. Make yourself accountable to others and use them for support. I like kettlebells, calisthenics and martial arts. I feel that these modalities give me the best “bang for buck” and provide a great deal of variety. They work best for me, but that’s not to say that these are good for everyone, find what you like to do and make certain that it's a challenge and provides inspiration.   

Good luck with your Spring Cleaning and be sure to access the links below for additional information on NEAT. 

For additional information, please review these studies. 


Phil Ross, AKA Master Phil and The Kettlebell King is a Master Kettlebell Instructor, College Professor in Wellness and Exercise, holder of a Masters Degree in Sports and Health Sciences, Author, 9th Degree Black Belt, and Master Bladewielder & Bodyweight Specialist. Master Phil has also launched a certification course: BodyBell Method, which is recognized by the highly regarded ACE (American Council of Exercise). Read a more in-depth description of Master Phil’s qualifications and accomplishments here. Have a question for Master Phil? Click here and send it in! View Phil's collection of Fitness DVD's here.

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