More Than Kettlebells, Workouts, Fat Loss, And Strength – The Pavel / Dan John Workshop

It’s been a quick/long 2 weeks traveling back and forth to Philly 2 weekends in a row.

Just got back 1am Monday morning from the Pavel / Dan John RKC workshop.

It was great.

These two men just have such a passion for what they do. This was a 3 day workshop, but honestly, I got the feeling that they could’ve held it over the course of a week and still had plenty of information left over to share.

Let me just say this – if you are an RKC and you chose not to go for whatever reason, you really missed out. Big time.

For me, it was a “two-for-one” weekend. I got in early Thursday morning and drove up to North Jersey to see Alfonso, my weightlifting coach. It was just like old times. We drank espresso, grabbed lunch, and talked training, and drank more espresso.

On my way down to Philly, I stopped in to see the Underground Strength Coach himself, Zach Even-esh. We talked shop and ate. (I really admire Zach’s passion to bring the best to his young athletes. He has a great thing going.)

Then I got in just in time to catch the tail end of the meet-n-greet and grabbed dinner with the Iron Tamer, Doug Nepodal, and Shaun Cairns, and Dan John. (Maybe that was Friday night – it all ran together!)

I won’t give away the contents of the seminar, because, really, it was 3 days, and how can I do that on a blog. Plus it wouldn’t be fair to those who went or to Dan or Pavel. Just buy their book when it comes out. You’ll be glad you did. Really.

There are three points  I took away from this seminar – and they were BIG and I really think that if we all just followed these, we’d see much faster progress in our own physical efforts and would therefore be much more satisfied with our results.

And these points – they apply to more than just kettlebells, or getting stronger, or your workouts. You can use them in all areas of your life.

They are a mindset.

1. Follow Success.

This seems like a no-brainer, but I’m surprised at the number of people who just make up their workouts. Here’s the reality – there are a ton of strength and kettlebell programs for you to follow that will give you the results you’re looking for.

Here’s a reality check for you (and you may not like me for it, but it’s the Truth) – unless you have time to study program design, follow somebody else’s who’s been successful. You just don’t have the time or energy to do this on your own without accumulating a certain amount of frustration. It’s ok. You may be an accountant. I have one of those and he does my taxes. And I pay him very well to do so because I don’t have the time or energy to learn the tax code and file my income taxes.

For example, if you are using kettlebells and want to lose body fat and get lean, you should be using my Kettlebell Burn program. (Shameless plug, I know… 😉 )

I talked with Alfonso and had him set up a program for me that he’s used for 20 years that never fails to pack on slabs of muscle and get people freaky strong at the same time.

Why didn’t I design my own?

I did. But I no longer want to. I want to take my brain out of it.

So you too should follow success, based on your goals.

Go to Dragon Door and choose from any of the titles that look like they meet your needs. Buy something. Read it and then follow it. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

If that doesn’t work for you, hire somebody to coach you who has coached others just like you to success.

Life’s too short to do things the hard way.

2. Keep It Simple.

The older I get, the more responsibilities I have. And that takes away from the energy I need to train. So, my strength training programs must become simpler. The more moving parts they have, the easier things are to break.

Interestingly enough, as simple as my training program has been, I can still simplify it for faster results. That’s one of the things Alfonso and I talked about when I was with him. And then Pavel and Dan just hammered home that point. And it’s a good thing too. Because my life is about to get infinitely more complicated in the coming months.

So if you’re going to follow a strength program, make sure it’s simple to follow. One of Dan’s points was that simple doesn’t mean easy. For those who like “hard workouts,” follow Return of the Kettlebell. That’s hard – I guarantee it. But it’s also simple to follow.

3. Keep It Real

The reality, as Dan pointed out, is that we only have so much energy in any given day. And life takes a toll on us. So the best thing we can do is follow “programs” that require as little energy as possible to follow and that maximize our return on investment.

Be brutally honest with yourself.

If you can only workout/train twice per week, then find the program that will let you do just that. Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying you can train 6 days per week and then only make 3 of the workouts. You’ll never succeed that way. And it doesn’t take that much to succeed. Pavel told us that Marty Gallagher, former Powerlifting World Champion and coach to many powerlifting greats, once had a life so busy that he could only train once per week. So he did. And he still progressed.

It’s better to underachieve in this area and succeed than overachieve and fail.

Dan gave an example of his “One Lift A Day” program. Pick one lift to do each day. That’s it. One. Lift. A. Day. One.

Working out 3 days a week? 3 lifts. One per day.

I could keep going about this stuff, but I’ve got to get moving on to some other things in my day.

The bottom line is that Pavel and Dan have taken the world’s cutting edge research on strength and conditioning and their 70+ years of experience and jammed it into a 3 day seminar. It was great. I thoroughly enjoyed being a student again.

It’s like Einstein said, “Everything should be made a simple as possible and no simpler.”

14 comments… add one
  • Hunter Paschal Sep 28, 2010 @ 17:03

    Great article, Geoff. I agree with you on points 2 and 3, but I disagree (on point 1) with always following other people’s programs. I do think, however, that following others’ successes at certain points in your training career is advantageous. I think that we can agree that when you are starting out with your physical training that it is wise to follow others’ successful programs, but I also believe that training can be as much an art as a science. Great musicians often start out playing others’ tunes and absorbing what they can, and then they move on – to creating their own tunes. It may be that only a few are able to do this, but I think it is worth while at some points in your training career to experiment.

    • GEOFFN Sep 28, 2010 @ 17:22

      Hey Hunter – Thanks for stopping by. But please note, I didn’t use the word “always.” Feel free to design your programs if the following 3 points apply to you: 1) You have the expertise and have produced results on your own in the past; 2) You have the time to design and experiment; 3) You have the energy to do points 1 & 2. If you are lacking in points 1-3, it’s wise to use something that has a measurable track record.

      • Hunter Paschal Sep 28, 2010 @ 21:55

        Good points, Geoff…especially having the ‘time and energy to program.’ In my own experience, I find myself cycling between creating/experimenting and going back to proven methods, i.e. Pavel’s stuff, etc.

        • GEOFFN Sep 30, 2010 @ 9:14

          Yeah, I do similar things – rotate between my own, Pavel’s, and Alfonso’s. Depends on my energy levels.

  • Anthony Sep 28, 2010 @ 17:51

    Hi Geoff,

    One lift a day!!!!! LOL. That is exactly what I do. I have never come across that before.

    All the best


    • GEOFFN Sep 30, 2010 @ 9:11

      Believe it or not, Anthony, I occasionally used something like this in college. I think Dan just made it “official.”

  • Philippe Sep 28, 2010 @ 22:43

    Brilliant post, Geoff.
    I’ve been simplifying for over a year and getting clients to get phenomenal results. One recent occasion: in 3 weeks, a client dropped 4.7% body fat, lost 8.5lb of fat, gained 2.5lb of muscle, dropped 6lb on the scale with only 2 lifts: deadlift and bench press, and using ladders of 1-3, 1-3 then 1-5, ETK style…

    • GEOFFN Sep 30, 2010 @ 9:13

      Philippe – That’s great work buddy! One of the things I appreciate about ETK is the simplicity. Hard to break, easy to progress.

  • Gary H. Sep 29, 2010 @ 10:41

    I’ve made a committment to lift something heavy every day. Normally, that’s a couple TGUs and Windmills at work mid-day, and on the weekends a full kettlebell workout at least once.

    • GEOFFN Sep 30, 2010 @ 9:12

      Nice Gary!

  • Demond Thompson Oct 1, 2010 @ 14:02

    Great article and makes perfect sense. I’m not a big fan of #1 for myself personally. Since I’m making great progress towards my goals it’s ok. It’s great advice for beginners however. The One Lift A Day method can be harder than people think!

    Keep up the great work!

    • GEOFFN Oct 1, 2010 @ 14:31

      Thanks for stopping by, Demond. Glad you’re making great progress. Keep it up!

  • Adjustable Kettlebells Nov 26, 2010 @ 13:52

    great post!
    I love kettlebells workout routines and I fully understand your point here …

    do you mind if I link this post in my website?
    thanks in advance and keep posting

    • GEOFFN Nov 26, 2010 @ 14:01

      Nope – go ahead – be my guest.

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