Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yogi Berra on 'Theory"

"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice: in practice, there is."

- Yogi Berra

Monday, July 20, 2009

How long does it take you to get out the door?

When my wife and I were new parents, it took an hour to pack and prepare for a short excursion to the grocery store. We would have a humongous bag of things ready "just in case" - diapers, two kinds of wipes, a change of "onesies", blanket, bottles, forumula, baby powder, chalk, belt, chains... oops, off topic. Anyway,
now we look back on all of that overpreparation and laugh. It's a wonder we got out the door AT ALL and, as you might expect, we didn't go out much.

Planning and reflection are crucial but there must be doing to give planning and reflection purpose. Planning & reflection lead to doing, which leads to more reflection & planning, which precedes more doing. Without doing, there is no purpose to planning or reflection.

Here's how it applies to strength and conditioning: Most journeys and training efforts are not epic quests, just short 1-2 hour trips. Don't spend needless hours and days planning out complicated splits or periodization schemes to go the local gym and bench 135. Just do it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pulling Harness

I bought an APT Pulling Harness - it is a solid piece of equipment and my son and I are enjoying testing it out on the field. The harness is on special now - three for the price of one! I bought the attached webbing, clip, and towing rope separately at a climbing store and Home Depot for about $15.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Importance of Reflection

One of the biggest behavioral mistakes I see among trainers and trainees alike, and people in general for that matter, is a lack of reflection following experiences. There is no asking "What went well/poorly?", "What good/bad decisions were made?", or "How can this be improved?".

Money - When was the last time you looked over your receipt from department store, read through the itemized list and said to yourself "Hmmm, that was a waste. I didn't really need that." or "That yogurt ended up uneaten and in the trash.", or "I wear that shirt a lot. I should buy more like it.". Until recently, I NEVER did that. Sure, I might have looked over my bank statements or balanced my checkbook once in a great while, but I had never gone down an itemized list of expenditures, scrutinizing each purchase. Since starting this practice, expenses have been much more manageable. I don't do it all the time, but when you're spending much more than you think you should, it's a good place to examine more closely.

Training - When was the last time you looked over your training log and thought to yourself "That really worked for me. I'll do it again and tweak it because I'm a little stronger in these areas now.", or "The last two weeks haven't been very impressive numbers-wise, but considering I had that big presentation at work, it's not bad. Let's see how I could improve this training plan to be more effective even while under a lot of work stress."? Most kids I know don't keep a training log and reflection never goes much beyond "Damn! That was hard!". A coach I had when I was 13 stressed the importance of keeping a training log - I haven't always been consistent about it, but I have logs from over 20 years ago, and just about every training session over the past 10+ years has been logged and looking them over is always educational.

Diet - I'll admit that I don't keep a food log. I have no interest in counting calories and calculating macros... In general, I'm not a picky eater and my diet is pretty clean. I do jot down notes from time to time about foods and restaurants that I really enjoy. When I dislike a food or restaurant, believe it or not, I try to understand why I don't like it - "Because it sucks." just isn't good enough for me. Is it the texture? Is it the smell? Is it the color? Is it the consistency? Especially when discovering "ethnic" foods that are unappealing, I think to myself "Millions of people eat this. Why don't I like it?".

The key to reflection is making every experience, good or bad, a learning experience. It ISN'T a self-flagellation session, nor is it high-fives all around. It is deep thought with a purpose, an eye toward future decisions and actions.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

June 28 Tokyo Workshop

RKC Taikei Matsushita and I gave a workshop in Tokyo's Shinjuku district on June 28. Content, over 3.5 hours, covered mobility/flexibility drills, the swing, Turkish get-up, press/push-press/jerk, and the snatch. Jump stretch bands were used for a variety of stretches, mobility and activation drills, and complementary exercises. Two mini-workouts included a timed jerk (or push-press) set and and short snatch pace ladder workout for those competent w. their snatches.

There were 9 students in attendance and kettlebell experience ranged from a month to several years. They came from all over Japan, including one from Okinawa. A significant investment of time and money for many, and I was honored to teach them. To be honest, I was a little nervous teaching another person's students, many of whom had attended workshops with Senior RKC David Whitley, and Ken Black and John Wild Buckley - I was following in the (very large) footsteps of some very accomplished kettlebell teachers. However, many of the students improved their jerks significantly and Taikei was pleased that I introduced them to a variety of new mobility/flexibility drills and training methods. The new students were probably a bit overwhelmed at times, but their skills improved greatly in the short time alloted and they will need time and practice to digest the information. I look forward to hearing about their progress. Overall, I was very pleased with the students and my presentation of the materials. It was my first chance to teach kettlebells in Japanese and I was lucky to have Taikei there to help me out when I couldn't say "IT band", or "hip flexors" in Japanese. I know I was slaughtering the language at points - the highlight being when I said (in Japanese) "Put power in your butt!". I probably said that 10 times and didn't think about it until later. Hopefully Taikei won't put that on YouTube...

It was very nice to see Taikei Matsushita again - two years ago I traveled to Tokyo to visit him prior to my RKC certification. He gave me several pointers that improved the quality of my RKC experience greatly. Together, in addition to doing a lot of farmers walks transporting kettlebells to and from the workshop and working with an RKC candidate, we spent our time talking shop and eating good food. Good food and good company - can't beat that!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some Kettlebell Art...

The workshop in Tokyo with RKC Taikei Matsushita was great! He has some wonderful students. We did a lot of mobility work, in addition to kettlebell basics and finished with a short timed snatch session. I will do a full write up this weekend.

For now, I'll leave you with my six year old's painting of a red kettlebell...

...and a glimpse inside dad's one-track mind.