RKC & the Battle of the Bald

It’s honestly not much of a battle, he’s a Master RKC and I’m a fledgling upstart. Still, Master RKC Michael Krivka is leading the next RKC in Georgia on November 3rd & 4th, where I will be assisting, and we are both bald.

There, not completely clickbait, but pretty close, I suppose. (Laughter should ensue.)

If you register by May 18th you can get a $200 discount on the course. Oh, and if you already have other certifications, this course qualifies for 2.5 ACE CECs and 1.9 NASM CEUs. No matter how you slice it, this is a pretty great deal. Then again, whatever amount you pay for an HKC or RKC course, you’ll feel like you came out on top. That’s what good instruction & great leadership offers. Seriously, this is a win-win, no matter how you slice it.

So, what do you get for all this? 

Don’t even think about this question in terms of money. Seriously, there’s little else to compare it to, so put the cost aside for a minute and let’s chat about what you walk into and what you walk away with.

The RKC Curriculum Teaches You:

  • The Six Fundamental Kettlebell Lifts—The Swing, the Get-Up, The Clean, the Front Squat, the Snatch and the Military Press.
    Numerous ancillary drills are taught in relation to each core lift, with corrective cues, progressions and regressions as appropriate.
  • A Set of Non-Tested But Extremely Valuable Exercises To Have In Your trainer Arsenal.
    Includes the Suitcase Deadlift, the Single Leg Deadlift, 3 Kettlebell Carries, Lunge variations and an Active Recovery Series.
  • Program Design
    Get a detailed blueprint that includes Ladders, Sets, Loads, Series and Variations—so you are never at a loss on how and when to apply your training with clients.
  • A Mobility Complex
    Contains 10 high-yield drills to help you and your clients perform better and stay more safe.

I took that straight from the website. See? I didn’t have to write a word. Just like the course, you get so much from it that you can immediately start training athletes & clients as soon as your certification is complete. Of course, as time progresses, you’ll rely less on what you took from the course, and build more on your own experience with training others to be able to offer a service that is uniquely your own.

This isn’t multiple choice or even essay questions, you do the work, you demonstrate technique, and you even get to write a program based on what you’ve learned. Most of the work happens in the months leading up to the certification . . . which begins approximately, um, NOW!

If you are interested in training & preparing yourself for the November 3rd & 4th RKC in Rome Georgia, send me a message and we can work out the details pretty easily. Anyone who has trained with me in the past already has a solid foundation for this certification, it’s just a matter of seeing how every piece fits together.

Even if you haven’t trained with me before, I have the experience to get you up to speed and ready to get as much as possible from this course. Every bit of what I offer benefits you AND your clients, so send me a message and let me know when you’re ready to get RKC ready, and experience all the mayhem of the Battle of the Bald!

Beating Distractions

“To persist is to overcome. Despite sufficient advertising evidence, muscle building is eventually a slow and laborious task. The snail moves, but who can wait or measure the distance?”
~Dave Draper

You train pretty hard, but you get distracted. Maybe it’s Facebook. Maybe it’s the beer. Maybe it’s work. It’s none of those things. It’s you. You’re the one getting distracted. I know this because when I say “you” I mean me. I get distracted.

We could play the game of what all our distractions have in common, but we know the answer. It’s just a game at that point. Do we have time for games? God help us if we don’t, but some games really don’t do anything . . . or, we’re not capable of interpreting certain games in any relevant manner. Most games are truly useful, even if they’re only fun. I say “only fun” like I’m not really still just a kid. Yeah, fun is fun, but it is much more fun when fun takes us somewhere.

I had another website a while ago, and lately I’ve been missing that website. It was a lot of fun. For a brief moment I thought about reviving it. Resurrect the dead, in a way. Not a chance. This website is where it’s at, and I intend to prove it.

What was fun about that other website wasn’t the thinginess of the website, it was the work I put into it. In that sense, it’s no different than what you & I are doing with the iron bells . . . do the work, reap the rewards; don’t do the work, don’t reap anything. It’s easy to blame the thing, to say workouts aren’t fun, that Facebook is distracting, that beer tastes too good . . . all those things might be true, but they aren’t the final truth, they’re just true in some unfortunate & unnecessary relation to us. Again, let’s find the common denominator, and that’s where we’ll find a solution to whatever problem we face.

Whatever that distracts us is just a thing . . . and only distracts us if we let it. If these current distractions went away, others would pop up in their place. So, the problem isn’t with the distraction itself, it’s with us, with you, with me . . . it’s internal.

Try replacing a distraction with purpose . . . only one will survive. The distractions will multiply and come at you from every possible direction, but if you answer each & every one with unwavering purpose, you & your purpose win the day.

Start small . . . win today, win an hour, win the next five minutes . . . whatever it takes to get a win. Then BUILD on that win. 6 minutes, an hour and a half, two days, seriously, build a habit of letting purpose win out over distractions. Hey, it isn’t foolproof, but it also isn’t hard to build a little momentum, either. A little momentum can be turned into a lot of momentum much easier than no momentum can be made into anything at all. It’s how energy works . . . think about it & act on it.

Whatever you’re doing, stick with it. Be strong about it, and use that strength to get stronger.

The Importance of Practice

Compliments are hard to receive and they are often misunderstood. For example, when folks look us in the eyes and tell us we’re stubborn, stiff, dull and single-minded airheads, we’re caught slightly off guard — we blink, we fidget and stammer. What they’re really saying is that we’re persevering, disciplined, patient, goal-seeking positive thinkers. Thank them profusely, adding how much you appreciate their tender encouragement. Friendships are gifts from above. 
~Dave Draper 

Some days we go into the gym all fueled up on our own mixture of adrenaline & ambition. We’re ready for blast off. No one here is talking about a warm-up, we might be lucky to get some lighter reps under our belts before going big, tweaking a muscle, then limping home. I don’t mean to paint this scenario in a negative light, but it happens more frequently than it should, more often than we’re prepared to handle.

Practice. We think about it with skilled movements, but forget that ALL movements are skilled movements. Sure, we might “practice” jumping rope to get Double Unders, but we probably already have a rep range & set scheme in mind before we launch. Don’t do that. Skills take practice, lots of it, if we want to be good at these skills . . . And who doesn’t want to be good at moving our bodies as we wish & desire?

StrongFirst calls this concept Greasing the Groove. No matter what you decide you want to call it, it works, and we should all do more of it. It works for all lifts & movements in the Kettlebell, Barbell, Dumbbell & Bodyweight arsenal.

Musicians get this concept. So do writers, painters, artists of any & all varieties. We’re artists, too. You don’t have to designate yourself as a Bodybuilder, you don’t have to qualify as an athlete for the CrossFit Regionals . . . it’s these things we do daily that contribute to our personal art portfolio.

Be an artist. Be artistic. Move well, move often, move with the undeniable confidence of Strength and be artful.

Don’t Cancel Out Your Own Success

Songs are just really interesting things to be doing with the air.
~Tom Waits

In the audio world there’s a weird phenomenon where two signals are generated, travel their path, but then nothing is heard at the other end. It’s called phase cancellation, and it’s pretty unfortunate.

Think about it: the work was done, the signals generated & sent on their merry way, then nada, nothing, zilch. Maybe it’s just a few frequencies, or maybe it’s the entire signal. Either way, a good audio engineer will catch it, fix it, and move the music along, as intended.

It isn’t just an audio issue. We all do it. Sometimes we sabotage our efforts with a lack of sleep, by eating food with no nutritional value, letting stress pile up, or celebrating our workouts with a drink or few. A friend of mine recently posted this:

You gotta admit, it’s a pretty tough pill to swallow. You do all this work, you live your life, and you have little to show for any of it. Some even go so far as to say that it isn’t the hour you spend working out, training, or in the gym, it’s the 23 hours you spend outside of this World of Might & Muscle that really determines failure or success.

Others might say that you can’t out-train a bad diet, or bad habits. Those people are wrong . . . you absolutely CAN out-train a bad diet & bad habits! The trick is that you have to train those sabotaging components out of your system. It might seem obvious when we say it like that, but for too many people, it isn’t obvious . . . it isn’t even clear.

Success in any endeavor comes through consistency, particularly if your endeavor is to lose weight, put on muscle, get faster, become more athletic, or anything fitness related. One workout won’t make you or break you, one doughnut isn’t going to derail every ounce of iron you’ve ever lifted. It’s what we do habitually that defines us & creates our results.

The important takeaway from all of this is that we can’t only think about the gym, we can’t only think about the iron, or even the effort. We have to think about how everything else we’re doing impacts us, our livelihood, our goals, dreams & our results. Once we’re aware, we have to act accordingly.

Start here, start now, start where you are, and start with what you want. If you want to join a gym, go ahead & get started. If you need the personal attention of a Trainer, start now. If you want to change your eating or drinking or sleeping habits, don’t waste time. Once you start anything, you’ll more easily see how you can fit the other necessary components for your success into your life. It doesn’t matter which you start first, just that you start, and that you work consistently at your goals . . . in training & out of training.

Your life & your success is worth every amount of effort you’re willing to contribute. Be relentless with your contributions.

Kennesaw Rose (3/3 ToU)

Strength is probably my favorite topic of conversation or thought. Even if you don’t feel Strong right now, you can always get Strength, and despite what any gym tries to tell you, it can be done for free, or very nearly to it. That said, a Coach or Trainer might help you much more efficiently & in the long run, but in very basic terms, getting Stronger costs in effort, not money.

This morning I couldn’t get out of bed fast enough. I got lots of sleep last night, and I was ready to hit the ground with a rumble to rival thunder. Then it hit me: What am I gonna do? 

I spend a lot of time programming for other people, but my own training seems to err on the side of willy-nilly. After pouring some coffee down my throat while looking over some tried-&-true workout schematics, it hit me . . . What am I training for/towards?  

My thoughts began flowing . . . I need to work on Pull-ups, I have a 5k coming up, Squats have been inadequate as of late, and I need to fatten up my Press for the eventual kill . . . In writerly terms, that isn’t even a rough draft, but it is a good napkin sketch to draw from. Beast Tamer, TSC, familiar themes in the Tropic of Unicorn. Add a 5k in the mix, and I have plenty to keep myself busy.

The workout Template (as pictured above) pretty much wrote itself once my groggy brain unclogged. I’ll blame it on the coffee, but it really could have been any number of factors.

  • 10/15/25 Goblet Squats/Push-ups 
  • Run to the Playground (mine has a nice Monkey Bar set for Pull-up work) 
  • 3 Sets of (2) 10 Second Bar Hangs/ (3) Hammer Grip Pullups
  • Run Home
  • 25 Push-ups
  • 25 Goblet Squats
  • 3 Sets of (2) Bottoms-up Press/ (5) Kettlebell Press

I wish I could say that my numbers were huge, or that my run times were without humiliation, but that wasn’t the case. What’s cool about a questionable Baseline is that you’re almost always guaranteed to improve on one part or another.

Whatever you’re training towards, have lots of stick-with-it-ness. Strength is one of the best attributes we can have or develop, and probably one of the most satisfying journeys available to us in human form.

Cock it, rock it & lock it out
~Lee

2/27 Tropic of Unicorn

My sleep habits are insulting . . . stay up much later than useful, then try to wake up early enough to get in a solid workout before work. Over the years I’ve gotten better at getting up & out of bed early enough, but those early a.m. sessions certainly suffer. Maybe I’ll get moving enough & sling enough iron to feel better at work, but not much more than that. Bad sleep habits can derail even the best intended plans.

The better news is that I keep a small variety of Kettlebells at work. One advantage is that nearly everyone who stops by to see me at least picks one up, and usually even wants to talk about them to some degree. The other advantage is personal stress relief. Carry them to the back & return for some solid Carries, work out some kinks in Pressing technique, hit some Swings at lunchtime . . . the short answer is that I do a little something every single day.

As for Beast Training, a whole lot of Presses throughout the day, GtG (Greasing the Groove), with light ‘bells all the way up to medium-light ‘bells. Tonight, my Son & I went to the park and ran around, throwing the football, and chasing our cardio across wide expanses of soft grass. I also worked on Pistols by standing next to a pole and walking my hands down as I lowered myself on one leg, then the other. Getting there . . . slowly, but once I get there, I’m sure I won’t care how long it took.

Also, lots of bar hangs for Pull-up work. A few pull-ups, but mostly hangs spread out over a minute or so.

Sometimes the workouts aren’t structured, but the work within is still meaningful. Show up even when you’re not inspired, and you’ll learn how to create your own motivation when inspiration is half a world away.

2/24 ToU

There was a season for hard training and a season for harder training. ~Dave Draper

Kettlebell Swings to high-pulls, cradle the bell to your chest & roll back onto your back, spring forward & stand up in one fluid movement. After some around-the-worlds, figure 8s & halos, this makes for a pretty good warm up.

Next, I prove once again that I’m a pretty big fan of Brett Jones’ SFG Prep Day 1 workout. There are other ways to get this kind of work done, but all the basic movements are packaged together pretty nicely, so I use it as a step beyond a warm-up for a single set.

1 Circuit @ 24kg:

  • Swing x 15 two arm
  • Clean and press x 5+5
  • Swing x 5+5 one arm
  • Clean and front squat x 5+5
  • Swing x 20 alternating or 10+10 one arm
  • Get-up x 1+1 (adjust weight or reduce steps of the get-up as needed)
  • Swing x 15 two arm
  • Snatch x 5+5
  • Swing x 5+5 one arm

Then to the Press. The day before was Snatch practice, but my goals include getting better at pressing. If you don’t press a 24kg or 32kg well, the 48kg Beast is gonna rock your world in a bad way, and I know this very well.

I set out to do a 10 minute EMOM of Presses, every odd minute with the 24kg, and every even minute with the 32kg, but yesterday wasn’t my day. I ended up doing 6 total sets @ 24kg, and the remaining 4 @ 32kg. The first two sets at 32kg were the full 5/5, but the last two were 4/4 and 3/3, for a total of 94 reps for the whole work set.

Still, that was 2,628kg of iron moved in 10 minutes, which I’m happy with . . . for yesterday. The difference between iron moved at 24kg and 32kg was 352kg, which equates to 11 more reps at 32kg for the next time I work this drill.

It gets a little nerdy with al those numbers, but I think that nerdiness helps with assessment, and I think ongoing & relentless assessment in training is 100% essential for working smartly towards our goals.

The Beast Marches On!
~Lee