Thursday, June 26, 2014

Consistency: Expectatoin aka being honest with yourself

Taking notes this weekend:

 It was a pleasure to see Coach Rudnev work with some of my students and
myself before going to UA (Underground Athlete) for a training day.  He really is the "Yoda", Charles Xavier of Kettlebell and physical culture.   

His approach was very succinct and applicable to get points across in record

Forever The Student:

In this blog I want to make a point about consistency in doing anything or
any activity for fun or otherwise despite what I like to call ADHD marketing has us
believe.  In the "fitness" world, most people want progress without
consistency.   The buzz word is "variety" and while balancing training is
important, training without a goal is "hard work" when it doesn't have to
be.   Losing weight , and looking good are poor choices for goals unless you make it quantifiable and measurable.  Progress, quantifiable is enjoyable whether one competes or not in anything.  Its why kettlebell sport can be done for fitness, it means work for less time or lighter weight or don't but you will gain fitness benefits that complement your current regimen.  

As a swimmer dropping time is exciting on a side note and quantifiable.  

Sometimes with regard to the masses, there is a high turnover rate in the fit biz. 'Here is the magic answer".  "I don't want consistency, I want variety"  (subconcious)

Learning  "boring" consistency when you can have variety and "choices".  
The underlying principle is
consistency of activity generally (x per week) and specifically (performing
the activity itself).  Someone said.  "You have to sweat" and people don't
want to because its effort based and not "easy". 

Consistency  occurs in a general activity of exercise (how many x per
week/month etc) and also the actual activity(biking twice per week etc). 
People actually believe and argue for skill-less-ness and marketing has
capitalized on it.  The trainer is there to tell me etc.  I don't need to "think", just do.  Yes in the right context but typically that takes time.  Thus the person is being provided for rather than learning to fish.  Empowerment occurs with the latter though I'm not discrediting learning from a trainer/coach.  I'm discrediting not paying attention in doing so.  

Developing skill happens whether we want to recognize it or not.  Broad but stay with me.  

ANYONE who pays attention will learn what it is they are doing and be able
to repeat it or take the knowledge for their own if they decide to pay

Coach Rudnev's visit

That was my second one on one with my coach exclusive to my knowledge.  Not that many.  I paid attention! 

So one must take advantage and not for granted the lessons being taught listening to every single word and nuance as much as possible.  It saves time and frustration.  

Kettlebell relevance:

With kettlebells, I can almost identify based on the weight where one can see a distinction in mindset as one progresses.  Natural ability as well as lifestyle play a role and vary.   People who start out at 40 have a different ability than someone at 15.  Take into account someone who had been an athlete before and one who had not.  

Fun to Serious 

People who continue to progress to high levels, generally are silent doers but some are not.   It phases in and out.  

Those who are predisposed to a harder sport (heavier kettlebell weight) who announce goal prematurely,
usually shy away from the responsibility have legit excuses because of the subconscious.  
Those who have legit excuses not to train will never make it, because a justifiable excuse
is still an excuse.  It is not a bad thing.  Life happens.  Its not divided into good and bad.  

Its about priority.  

It boils down to becoming honest with yourself.   This is not meant
as belittlement, but meant as a an indicator that people may have life
events or this that and the other and are not willing to sacrifice aspects
of their life to get to the next level.   The hard truth is sacrifice is what it takes;
sacrifice to stick to the plan.  

Sticking to the plan:

Programming is relatively simple if the information between coach and
student is transparent.  Quite frankly, I'm not sure having multiple
"Masters" is a bad thing but its up to the student to be forthcoming and
honest with assessing if "this makes sense" when trying to mix and match?  It depends on what its for and why.   Most athletes have more than one.  

Does the student relay all that they do or do not do, how they feel consistently ?  Or is it I"can or can not" ?
go with the former, be brave and provide feedback to your coach/trainer if you are having too much to do or too little and why.   Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of a coach.  

Undertraining and overtraining are common challenges and are never fully
understood.  It comes down to the individual and monitoring them specifically to make a determination.  

That is the point of competitive sports be it strength sports, speed
sports and endurance sports.   The trick is to take what is working and
improve upon it.  The first step is to identify what is working.

Does the individual continue to improve?   

End rant


Monday, May 19, 2014

Cold water, Mental toughness and Deep Fried Pretzels with 2 tablespoons of Sugar

At some point or another it is exhilarating to jump in water that makes you feel alive in a way that shocks you.   After about 10-15 minutes, its fun and the inkling to get out cometh.   After 30 minutes, one loses feeling in the toes and fingers.   After that its move or suffer. 

In the situation of 90 minutes in the water 5 days a week, misery begets the individual.  I'm talking about the childhood of swimmers. 
It was tough and /or miserable but at the same time, it was fun.   It was fun to compete, in this case swimming meets.  It was fun to belong to community, in this case a swim team.  It was fun to celebrate after with regard to the success of everyone.  It built character . 

Unfortunate circumstances brought a bunch of us swimmers together recently with the death of a friend who shared our experiences.  The silver lining was seeing everyone and reminiscing about the individual as well as our own experiences we shared.   To a point, the more miserable the experience shared, the stronger the bond it would seem.

 There were 20-30 kids with 3 shower heads after our daily hypothermia of a 90 minute 65 degree pool swim.  It was like a nature show where the Gorillas(bigger kids) were in the shower heads while the smaller primates(I was one) caught the mist off the shower until the manager came to kick us out 45 minutes later.  

Eating 2-3 deep fried philly soft pretzels from the swim club snack bar with two tablespoons of sugar (each) did not affect our "8 pack ribs" status.   
No exaggeration as it was between 60-70 degrees for a sub 80 lb swimmer to swim for 90 minutes in the morning (7:30-9) and before the sun hit the water.  It was not a heated pool.  And swim season started in early June NJ.  The sun came up around 8 am.  Us kids were innovative to the nth degree of ways to procrastinate. 

Mental toughness is variable depending on the background.  Its like an apple and an orange.  Mental toughness at what?  Everyone has their weakness and strength.  But I digress.  

Mental toughness is laughing in the face of misery or crying in the face of misery while pressing on;)  And by laughing I don't say because its mocking, or treating it as trite and trivial but because its so horrible that its either laugh or cry.  And kids did cry.  Every time someone would take a breath while swimming, their bawling face would be seen by all.   It became comical and that comes back to the Peaceful Warrior quote.  "Keep a sense of humor, especially about yourself, it is a strength beyond all measure."   I remember laughing at myself very hard at the situation of misery I would be in here and there.   It was a healthy way to gain mental toughness. 

One of the swimmers I saw recently became a Navy Seal.  He made a comment that the cold water was nothing compared to practice :D   Maybe he exaggerated a bit but I would guess that it was God awful.  I forgot to mention that we had practice in the afternoon as well. (1 hour).  It became12.5 hours of swimming per week.  Anyone that was on the team would call me a wimp for posting this but actually its admiration of them and how as a team, people had a good time despite the misery.  Misery loves company (seems self inflicted), but its good to have company while in misery (no choice).  People tell me  "you don't have to swim".   I was an 8 year old kid.   :D  choices were limited but I'm glad I did it.   Somedays its ok to "give up" or "quit" or "fail" that day.   Save your strength and come back stronger another day.  If you must quit, its not the end of the world.  But keep quitting temporary and stay the course for the long haul. 

As kettlebell lifters, most would follow the thought process to train with others making it easier if not manageable, especially for those days when one does not feel like it or is off.  Agreed, as the sport grows I hope that I train with more and more folks as it always seems to mutually inspire.