Nov 172010

Catherine’s betting me who can workout more days over the next 30 days.  Or about 20 days now.  500 swings of a 12kg bell for her. 24kg for me.  It’s not a trivial workout.  Hard to cut corners around it.

She has been a day ahead of me.  I think I didn’t do anything the first day, so she has always been a day ahead.  We even took a day off together once, cause we were tired.  I meant to get up and work out but I didn’t.  She has been pretty confident.  And I figured, if she worked out for 29 out of 30 days she deserved to win.  After all, this is the girl that was upset about doing 2 days a week during our last workout challenge.  So 29 out of 30 is a big change in heart.

She’s pretty motivated against me.  And others are rooting for her.  Everyone laughs at me for planning out what I’d like on my dream date (the stakes of the bet).  I mean, a Weinerschnitzel meal while getting a new exhaust installed on my car isn’t too far out there is it?  I think it’s really sweet actually.  But it gets laughs all around from people as she tells that story.

She’s feeling good.  Except for yesterday.  She was tired again.  And I caught up.  So we’re even now.  And we talked about it a bit this morning in front of Sal.  I think she felt a little despair – the comfort of that day lead must have felt great.  Now, she runs the risk of a tie at 28 out of 30 days worked out!  I think the prize for a tie is kissing your spouse.  She doesn’t seem elated.  I don’t know why.  I figured that’d be her dream date anyway.

But I loved watching Sal’s face during all of it.  We were all in the living room chatting and she was starting to do her swings (some in the morning and some in the evening is a way to make it less painful) and he was watching her and with my biased view on the world I imagined him thinking “There goes another noble challenger.  Nice try.  Now where are my Mighty Beanz?”

He’s seen this all before.  And she has too. I was impressed she wanted to challenge me, having seen what I’ve done in the past to win these things.  But all her subtle pats on my belly weren’t getting me to work out, so setting me up for a challenge was one way to get me to trim down.  From that point of view, it seems like a worthy sacrifice.  Except she enjoyed the lead so much.  I think that was really motivating for her.  I don’t know how motivating “maintaining a tie” will be.

What I really don’t know is why she agreed to do it 3 times in a row.  That was my only tweak to the bet.  I need to get in shape for the fitness challenge in March, so I needed to stretch out my motivation and it turns out my workouts are purely challenge motivated.  I think she’s more of a sprinter as far as motivation goes, so three times in a row is better for me.  3 cycles of 30 days lined up.  That’s 3 dream dates.

After the exhaust, I think my dream dates start getting a little out there.

Heart Attack grill in Phoenix.  And Garth Brooks in Vegas.

And then, there’s always Satin Jade…

Jan 272010

Kettlebell class needs goals.  “For the year” he said.  I think year long goals are hard.  Cause if you really try, you can do a lot in a year.  So I imagine a lot of our goals would be considered sandbagging goals.  But here’s my first draft:

  • 15:15 workout, for 64 minutes, with a 16kg bell, doing 8 snatches per 15 seconds.  I did 16 minutes now.  Add a minute a week for the rest of the year, I’ll get to 64.
  • Press the 40kg bell in either hand.
  • Pistol with either leg
  • 200 snatches in 10 minutes with the 24kg bell
  • Be able to press while in a deep squat (more of a stretching exercise than a strength for me)
  • 5 pull ups. This one is kind of strange, cause 5 pull ups are the pre-requisite for their “beginner” kettlebell class and I can’t do it.  I can do 1 if I save up all my energy for it.  Yet I can pass the test for completing the intermediate class, of 100 snatches in 5 minutes.  It’s all about what you focus on…and now I need to focus on the lats.

With these goals, I think my weight and bodyfat % will stay in check.

Nov 052009

Or “if you say you can’t, you’re right.”  Or “Are you a mexican or a mexican’t?”

All those phrases ring true for me and I couldn’t help but think of them last night as Catherine was trying to press two 26 pound kettlebells.  She’d get them a little way up and then she’d start shaking her head no and then her arms would come down.

If only she’d believe she could do it, then she could do it.  She was that close.

So I thought about ways to change her world view/context that would enable her.

“If you press the two 26 pounders, I’ll shave.”  I told her.  She grinned.

So focused, inhaled, and brought the double bells to the rack position.  Another deep breath, created a solid foundation, and the bells rose from her shoulders to locked out elbows.

She could do it, all she had to do was think she could do it.  There was no giving up in the middle this time and she was able to press both bells.

Its a pretty straightforward lesson in life that I think I shared with her…that in itself is an enormous reward.

No reason for me to shave right away, right?

Aug 142009

I had been wondering what my exit strategy would be for the kettlebell class.  I mean, are we just going to be his students forever, or is there a natural point where we just part ways?  Harinder’s talking about a New Years Eve marathon workout (with some people actually running a marathon) and that seems interesting…and very tiring.

Anyway, those thoughts are gone as he started talking about doing some mace training.  When he said we needed to buy ropes and were going to be doing a lot of climbing up trees, I was thinking that sounded like a natural point to say good bye, but when he said mace training, the flame was rekindled.

Partially cause I thought a morning star was a mace.  But still, the mace is kind of interesting.

This week, our homework was to make our own.  Seemed like a reasonable way to save $150.

But I’ve said that too many times and been wrong.  Turns out there are lots of times when $150 is well spent.

Last night, we went to OSH to get a shovel handle and cement and some nails.  I figured Sal had a mini basketball that I could use.  It reminded me of when my grandfather cut my football in half so he could use it to hold cement while he did patch work around the yard.  Except that I had the ball owner’s permission this time.  When we got home, we couldn’t find the basketball – we might have donated it.  I found one today at Sports Basement for $6.  The cement was $10 and the handle was $10 and the nails were a couple of dollars.  $30 bucks and a little elbow grease beats spending $170 + shipping and handling right?

Sure, I wasn’t sure how long a handle to buy.  Or what girth.  But I bought what felt comfortable.

And I didn’t notice how much cement I was buying.  For this project could they package too little cement?  Though when we did the math, the ball was supposed to come out to 15 pounds and when I looked at my bucket of cement it was 10 pounds.  1 more trip to OSH.  Catherine pointed out, as we were mixing the cement that the bucket looked bigger than the ball.

She was on a roll.  That was probably the 3rd or 4th mistake I had made that she was pointing out.  Pacing herself.

Turns out, making cement is a lot like making cookies.  In Jason’s Bishop class a few years back, I mixed all the ingredients in together and mixed them and didn’t get a good dough.  Gotta add things in order and mix in order.  So one should really add cement to water, not water to cement mix.  Says that on the box, but I was more focused on the 5-1 ratio with water.   I need to balance my focus.

So we made some crazy cement with that first batch. Good thing we had two buckets.  Though the water ratio was way off.  Soupy.  Started up the 2nd 10 pounds of cement, adding the cement to water, instead of the other way around.  The idea was that we wouldn’t put in that much water, then add cement, then add our soupy cement to balance out the ratio.  Which was working out well, until the soupy cement started to set and wasn’t that easy to scoop out of its bucket.  Wasn’t exactly “quick” but it wasn’t still soupy.  That’s when the panic set in.

Started to pile the cement into the ball with some gardening tools. It was getting chunky.  It was like diffusing a bomb, but not really. The time pressure was there, but instead of an explosion, we were only faced with 20 bucks/pounds of wasted cement.  Still, it shouldn’t be this hard.  In the end, it stands on its own, but is slightly cockeyed and probably stands on its own cause of a flat spot, not because of a well designed center of gravity.

And it’s a pain to swing around one’s head.  The off center center of gravity should just make exercising with it that much more challenging, right?

So, to recap, what I would do differently next time (cause there will be a next time unless I get smarter soon):

  • buy the enough cement the first time.
  • add cement to water – not water to cement.
  • cut a larger whole in the ball to make it easier to fill and keep the handle aligned while filling.  Mis-aligned handle isn’t really correctable once the ball is packed with cement and its mostly set.
  • maybe use a size 4 soccer ball.
  • Ha.  I forgot to mention that screws are better than nails if you don’t have holes in your shovel handle already.  With the nails, I managed to scratch my leg with the claw while removing a nail.  Then Sal started crying and I thought I hurt him somehow, but it turned out he didn’t like me bleeding.  Though I could hardly feel it, he needed me in a bandage.  How does tetanus work?

Now I have a heavy ball with a handle and a heavy ball with a stick and six weeks to make a difference…

Jul 192009

One of my kettlebell goals is to do 90 snatches in 5 minutes. I was talking about how I’m not making much progress towards that goal in class the other day. They asked what I was doing to work towards it. I said I’m doing 30 seconds of snatches, then 30 seconds of rest, for 10-14 minutes. Each set, I can do 10-12 snatches. Which is half of what I need to do for the goal.

The training correction I got? “Double it.” I should have known.

So, the theory is basically, do a bunch of work, then when you need to do half as much in a quarter of the time, you’ll be ready.


Anyway, 20 minutes of my day today was spent doing 200 snatches of a 53 pound kettlebell. Sounds cooler when I say it was over 10,000 pounds of work.

Jul 112009

I’m listening to a kettlebell work out podcast.  This one is going on about how this dude knows how all these programs try to rip you off but he knows the real deal.  In fact, that’s really what the series of podcasts is about.  And I’m reminded about Ian’s post on diet and workouts.  And I’m still wondering why people don’t see me as the perfect advertisement for kettlebells – Walter was interested, but not interested enough to keep going. I think Ian watched a class and wasn’t into it.  Brian tells me maybe he’ll try it but he’ll tell Chuck that there’s no chance.

And it all comes together around what what you’re willing to do.

There is no quick fix.  It takes work.  Accept that.  There is no way around it. So you gotta find a system that you’re willing to do.

I still eat donuts.

It is kind of like child-rearing. All these books and theories out there for how it should be done – and most of them contradict each other.  They have to, to distinguish themselves.  And what works for you will be what’s best for you. And what’s best for you will be what works for you.

I feel now, that workout and nutrition plans are really about what you’re willing to do.  All of them will probably be better than whatever you were doing two months ago – so any of them will help you see improvement.

But no one advertises the class of “try out 8 different types of exercise and find the one that you like the best”.  They’re all trying to sell you the one they’re selling. Try circuit training (I don’t like it but Ian and LL like it), try jogging (I don’t like it), cycling is fun but takes too much time, basketball is good, but is best used as cardio supplement to my kettlebells. Rowing was a fun contest, but I think aggravated my tendinitis. P90X sounds interesting, but I haven’t gotten into it.  I tend to say I don’t have the right doorway.  Lame excuse.  So it probably won’t work for me if I’m willing to use lame excuses on it…

Might for you.

So try it.  And keep trying things till you find something that works for you.  It is out there…