Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

How To Keep Going With Your Kettlebell Workouts When Life Overwhelms You

by GEOFFN on March 29

I’ve got to admit something here – normally, I think I’ve got my stuff together. I know where I’m going, the direction I’m heading, my goals, what I want to achieve, etc.

But lately, I’m a little overwhelmed.

This time in life is supposed to be joyous – the expectation of your first child. Hooray! Or so it’s supposed to be. But it’s not as joyous as it could be.

I have all kinds of concerns and burdens which I’m trying to work through, around, and over.

You may be able to relate on some level.

There may be a situation you’re facing that, for lack of a better term, just feels overwhelming. There’s lots of uncertainty and maybe some anxiety. Or lots of anxiety.

There are two things that are helping me right now that I’d like to pass on to you. The first I’ll touch on and the second I’ll elaborate on.

1. Trusting God. You may not be religious, spiritual, or whatever. That’s your choice and as far as I’m concerned, we can still be friends. But for me, trusting God with the daily activities of my life and my future gives me peace of mind.

2. Using Training As An Anchor. I have come to realize lately, in the past year or so, how much I need to move to release physical energy. And the less intense the activity, the more I need to move. So finding the balance between the two has been critical.

If I train to hard, I can’t recover physically, but I still need the emotional outlet of blowing off steam.

I only finally just realized this about myself in the middle of last week – or maybe I finally was just honest enough with myself to admit this, I don’t know. I had a deep moment of introspection after my last blog post about what I was currently doing. I looked into the future and asked myself how I could possibly continue this once the boy was born. My honest assessment was that I didn’t know how I could. There would be too much opportunity to blow off the training – especially the longer, heavier days.

Regardless, I came up with a conclusion that is just working spectacularly for me in my current situation. It has given me a deep peace knowing most importantly that it is both maintainable and flexible. And I’d like to tell you about it – I’m pretty sure it’ll help you.

It meets all my requirements –

  • It lets me train/move every day to expend energy
  • It allows me to focus on my big goals – Big Press and Big DL
  • It allows me to screw around with some odd lifts
  • It regulates intensity based on how I’m feeling on any particular day
  • It allows me to move around and goof off (read: release energy) multiple times through the day if I should so choose
  • It re-enforces quality movement
  • It keeps fatigue levels super low
  • It maintains/holds my interest

It’s Pavel and Dan John’s Easy Strength, NE (Neupert Edition)

I won’t share the details of Easy Strength with you, because that’s Pavel and Dan’s thing and I honestly feel that would be disrespectful to them. (Rumor has it they have a book coming out sometime in the future with all the details and a ton of other great stuff in it…) But I will tell you that the framework, or the background for the program is the “Grease the Groove” methodology (GTG). (If you’re unfamiliar with GTG, get a copy of Naked Warrior for the full and detailed explanation.) The short story is practicing a lift frequently without fatigue or going to failure allows for greater strength gains in shorter periods of time.

That being said, I’ve come up with 3 lifts that I do every day – Barbell Press, Deadlift (or variation), and KB Snatch.

That’s it. 9-10 reps of each.

And then I “play” with stuff throughout the day. BUPs, finger lifts, lunges, chins, GUs, that sort of thing. I typically give myself the opportunity to mess around 5-10 minutes at a time on days when I’m home in front of my computer.

The GTG gives me a structured framework that allows me to know for sure that my strength work is getting done. Plus, and more importantly, it remains a constant with all the change that is occurring in my world and all the change that is about to take place. And there’s also variety – some fun stuff that I just feel like doing.

So far, the mental angst of missing out has been kept at bay.

The fear of being able to train upon the arrival of my son has also been kept at bay. 27 reps per day? That’s easy to do – it only takes 15 minutes – maybe 20 at max. I can find that on any day. And, because I’m constantly varying the intensity levels based on how I feel and letting my bar speed be my determining factor, then all I really have to do is show up. And absolute worst case scenario is I can’t pop over to the studio to train, so I just move some of my equipment home for a little while.

If I were only doing this with my kettlebells, it would be even easier. I’d keep 1 light, 1 medium, and 1 heavy kettlebell at home and mess around with this daily. I’d give myself somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes per day. Anyone and everyone can find that amount of time to train/workout.

So, that’s how I’m using my training as an anchor for my day. And that’s how I’m beating off the overwhelm – by burning off excess energy through both regulated and random movements. If you’re going to apply this to your own life here’s what I’d do:

  • Pick the amount of time you can afford each day – 10 minutes is about the minimum – we can all find that .
  • Pick 1 or 2 exercises you want to focus on – 1 upper – the Press, 1 lower – the Goblet Squat – would be my suggestion or just 1 total body exercise – Clean and Press or Snatch or Get Up.
  • Pick the time of day that will fit best into your currently overwhelmed schedule.
  • Commit to doing it.
  • Do it.

It’s really that simple.

The peace of mind I’m feeling from having this set up is phenomenal. I hope you experience the same.

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