Should you be “stronger” or “leaner”…?

Should you be “stronger” or “leaner”…? 

A couple of months back I was on my daily walk heading up the usual hill. 

Coming down the hill was a bigger, white haired gentleman with a beard.

By “bigger,” I mean “muscular” but covered with a layer of fat.

He was wearing a “weightlifting club” t-shirt with a picture of a dude doing a barbell Snatch.

Being an ex-lifter, I couldn’t help myself – I stopped him and asked him about it.

He told me he learned Olympic lifting as a 50-something year old from this guy and enjoyed it, but now in his 60s, he needed to get serious about his health, so he started walking every day.

As we parted, I thought, “Good for him!”

What’s the point and how’s this relate to you and me?

And really, YOU, {firstname_fix}?

Your ability to lift heavy weights doesn’t matter if you die young from heart disease, or have your foot amputated because of Type 2 Diabetes.

Yes, you should be “Strong First” – to a point. 

But it also depends on HOW you define strength.

Hunting down a 600 pound Deadlift or a half-bodyweight plus one arm Military Press to the exclusion of everything else is a recipe for disaster.

At what point is “enough, enough?”

When I was younger – in my 30s, I believed that you could just focus on strength and “eating healthy” and that would be enough for most people.

Now, in my 50s, I’ve been reconsidering, especially now that the ones I love are succumbing to diseased states.

The inconvenient truth is this:

If you have extra body fat, it WILL KILL YOU sooner than you need to die.

Research now is crystal clear on this point.

And more likely than not, it will be painful and inconvenient as you lose your mobility and your finances as you empty your bank account to pay for medical procedures, treatments, drugs, and worse – long-term care.

Worse-case scenario: It will bankrupt you and drain your kids of some of their energy and finances as well and your legacy will be stained.

So, if you want to do everything you can to avoid that bleak future, I strongly suggest you have a deep look inside, a heart-to-heart talk with yourself, a “Come to Jesus” moment, or whatever you need to do to get rid of that extra body fat.

“Yeah, but Geoff, you just laid out your ‘Strong Enough’ standards not too long ago… Are you now saying those aren’t important?”

No, not at all. 

If you notice, you have to have a high level of strength AND conditioning to achieve those. 

100 Snatches with a 32kg in 10 minutes is nothing to sneeze at.

Many people I’ve talked to about those standards only focus on the Clean + Presses and seem to forget about the Snatches. 

Do enough Snatches… any ballistics actually… and you’ll get leaner.

How much is enough?

Most likely more than you’re doing now.

Strong, well conditioned people are usually lean too – or leaner than average.

In this vein, I got an email this morning from David, as part of an email chain, in which we were making some modifications for him from one of my fat loss programs. He said –

“I feel way stronger after focusing on getups and that’s important to me but I don’t feel much thinner and that’s important for health reasons. At 54 that’s what this is really about.” [Emphasis mine.]

None of us are going to live forever on this earth, but there’s no need to speed up our deaths because we were lazy and didn’t “take care of business.”

So, I want to encourage you:

Be remembered well.

Don’t go out without a fight.

As poet Dylan Thomas put it:

“Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

If you know you need to lose that extra body fat, here are some resources you can use to get BOTH stronger AND leaner:

If you know you need to lose that extra body fat, here are some resources you can use to get leaner quickly, and get stronger in the process:

Single Kettlebell:

Kettlebell Burn 2.0 https://go.chasingstrength.com/kettlebell-burn/ 

  • 16 week, 4x 4-week phases
  • 3x week, 45 minute workouts
  • Detailed and customizable nutrition plan included
  • Exercises used: Clean + Press, TGU, Goblet Squat, 2-H Swing, 1-H Swing, Rows, Snatches, and more

SWING HARD! https://salutis.kartra.com/page/SWING-HARD-2 

  • 10 x “Swing Only” programs
  • 3x week, 15 to 30 minute workouts
  • Exercises used: 2-H Swing, 1-H Swing

Kettlebell GHFL https://go.chasingstrength.com/kettlebell-ghfl-4/ 

  • 12-week program
  • 3x week, 20 to 30 minute workouts
  • Exercises used, Novice: 2-H Swing, 1-H Swing
  • Exercises used, Intermediate: Snatch, Single KB Thruster (Front Squat-to-Press)

The King-Sized Killer https://cart.chasingstrength.com/ksk2 

  • 3x “Snatch Only” programs
  • 3x week, 20 minute workouts
  • Exercises used: Snatch

‘THE GIANT’ https://salutis.kartra.com/page/oWP219 

  • 5x “Clean + Press Only” programs
  • 3x week, 20 to 30 minutes
  • Exercises used: Single KB Clean + Press, Double KB Clean + Press

Double Kettlebell:

Kettlebell GHFL https://go.chasingstrength.com/kettlebell-ghfl-4/ 

  • 12-week program
  • 3x week, 20 to 30 minute workouts
  • Exercises used, Advanced: Double KB Snatch, Double KB Thruster, Double KB Clean + Push Press, Double KB Clean + Jerk

‘THE GIANT’ https://chasingstrength.com/giant-app/ 

  • 5x “Clean + Press Only” programs
  • 3x week, 20 to 30 minutes
  • Exercises used: Single KB Clean + Press, Double KB Clean + Press

Kettlebell RMF https://go.chasingstrength.com/kettlebell-rmf-2022/ 

  • 3x 12-week “Clean + Jerk Only” programs
  • 3x week, 20 to 30 minutes a day
  • Exercises use: Clean + Jerk (Clean + Push Press)

Kettlebell Burn EXTREME! https://salutis.kartra.com/page/D9h108 

  • 29-day Rapid Fat Loss / Get Lean cycle
  • 6x week, 20 to 25 minute workouts
  • Exercises used: Clean, Press, Front Squat, Swing (all double KB)
  • Detailed and customizable nutrition plan included

One last thing:

Nutrition – the food you eat or don’t eat – plays an important role in all this.

Unfortunately, most people are confused about what to eat when, and how to put it all together.

I’m working on putting something together that makes this process pretty easy and eliminates the confusion surrounding nutrition. If you need some help in this area, click this link and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Stay Strong,

Geoff

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