Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

Rethinking “Fitness” – Industry Trends and Loading Parameters

by GEOFFN on February 22

Rethinking “Fitness”

I got to spend this past weekend in Alexandria, VA where I was invited to present at the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute – an annual convention geared toward presenting the latest, greatest fitness/health/strength & conditioning ideas to personal trainers interested in becoming more highly skilled professionals.

On Friday, I presented for 3 hours on, what else – you guessed it – kettlebell training in an interactive lecture called “Kettlebell Fundamentals: Laying A Foundation of Success.” I introduced a group of 75 people to RKC principles and taught the basics of the Swing, Get Up, and the Goblet Squat. It was great to see so many people interested in kettlebell training.

It was great to see people grasp some of the major concepts. However, as wonderfully organized as this conference was, I am disturbed to see still just how complicated we, as professionals, have attempted to make “getting in shape.”

For example, I chose to use very simple language in my presentation painting pictures with words, and still many people wanted to know the 17 steps to a perfect Swing. What’s the exact knee angle during the Swing? How about the incline of the torso to the floor? And, honestly, it’s not their fault. It’s what they’ve been conditioned (unknowingly) to accept, look for, and embrace. Many couldn’t grasp the concept that as long as you felt the hamstrings and gluts at a bare minimum on the Swing, we were doing great. Again – not their fault – I believe it’s conditioning.

That’s of course why I value the kettlebell and the RKC methods so much – Swing the kettlebell, put it down. Repeat. Sweat. Get results. Of course there’s a little bit more to it than that, but not really that much more.

We, as professionals, are always looking for the next great big secret that will give us that extra edge, both with ourselves and in our businesses. The truth is, we could find those secrets just by practicing much of what we already know and if we wouldn’t let ourselves become distracted with bright shiny objects – which I myself have been guilty of many, many times in my career. The more scientific something sounds, and the more letters the guy has after his name, the more we are likely to embrace it. I know that was certainly my case in the past. I got caught on that 2 or 3 times.

Just so we’re clear – I’m NOT ragging on the IDEA conference here – it was great, wonderfully organized, and opened up a lot of possibilities to a lot of my fellow professionals seeking to improve their knowledge and their clients’ lives. What I am saying is that as an industry, we are still attempting to make things more complicated instead of less so.

Which brings me full circle to the kettlebell and of course the miracle that we call the body.

Ultimately, at the end of the day, we should be able to do anything that we choose with our bodies (within reason) and not only survive, but thrive. At least that’s what I believe. The kettlebell is a great tool to aid in that objective.

Speaking of, I had the privilege of teaching my first “Kettlebell Burn” seminar on Saturday morning. We had 21 people (I think) pack into the room and it was just fantastic to be able to help explain the methodology behind “Burn” and show them how to implement it into their own training. Great stuff – and so much fun for me to be able to share.

I then ran back over to the IDEA conference where I put about 60 people through a workout called “Rethinking Bodyweight Training” which was based on the bodyweight Get Up and its variations. I’d like to publicly thank Brett Jones, Gray Cook, and Jeff O’Connor for the influence they’ve had on me and my implementation of the GU into my training and my clients’ training. Nothing but positive results. Anyway, I got to share some of these ideas with these fine professionals on Saturday – 60 minutes of non-stop rolling around on the floor and getting up and down in and through various positions of the Get Up. I think most were surprised at how demanding of an exercise it could be without any form of external loading. Imagine how much fun that would be with a light kettlebell! (On a side note – it was great to have two fellow RKCs in the room.)

I hope that these fellow professionals saw the value in all the work they did that afternoon and will further investigate the wonderful benefits of the Get Up.

I’d like to think that in some small way I was able to help my fellow professionals rethink fitness in the simplest of terms – what can you do with your body compared to what you want to do with it.

On Loading Parameters…

It’s no secret that I want to lift fast and heavy. But the really strange thing is that overall, I feel much better lately NOT lifting fast and heavy. So, I’m rethinking my loading parameters and digging back into the archives. I’m running a 30 day experiment on loading parameters to see what this particular range and kind will do for my body. There’s some science to support my efforts so I look forward to reporting back to you about my successes around the end of March.

What am I doing? I’m not ready to say, but I will say it’s much different than anything that I have done over the last 15 years or so. Much different.

I’m experimenting on myself because I think it will help quite a few of you out – not to mention of course the benefits that I will receive. ;-)

That’s all for today – gotta bounce. In the meantime feel free to drop a comment how you’ve tried to make getting in shape more complicated than it need be and what you did to overcome it.

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