Monday, 27 February 2012

A glimpse into my training

Some people spend 40 hours a week in an office crunching numbers, or 40 hours at a computer designing, coding, scripting, facebooking or whatever it is people do when they leave their houses at 7am every morning.

I spend that time coaching, guiding and motivating athletes to soccer moms to weekend warriors on how to be stronger, faster, fitter and leaner.

However, when it comes down to coaching myself, I am as effective as eating cereal with a fork.  I'll walk into the gym to train myself and will be side tracked within 5 minutes by the pretty moth on the wall or the grubby mark on the window.  I have an attention span of a goldfish.

I too need guidance.  Enter my delegators:

I have two trainers, a strength coach - Terence Mitchell, and a kettlebell coach - Sean Temple.

Since I've given my body to them (not like that you pervert) I've seen some incredible changes physically, strength wise and mentally.

Terence has converted me from plain Jane to Ninja over night, my body composition has changed drastically and my strength accomplishments are forever escalating.  Where as Sean has tackled my mental strength and built endurance and stamina most real athletes would be jealous of.

Together they have created an awe inspiring machine in me.

Now, I am not an athlete, (as much as gym junkies of this decade like to refer to themselves as 'athletes', sorry, if you are not competing you are not an athlete) so my training is kept to an average of an hour a day 6 days a week.

I generally spend 3 days a week at Mitchell Strength under Terence's guidance, his workouts are tough, demanding but fun as hell.  Here's a snapshot of what we covered today:

* Soft tissue work (foam rolling)
* Dynamic warm up
* 10kg loaded chin ups
* 20kg loaded dips
* Pull ups
* Ring push ups
* Incline rope rows
* 24kg db rows

Our workouts vary on a day to day basis, I don't want to bore you with too much detail but lets just say it's been an interesting couple of months.  Terence is an excellent strength coach, his knowledge, guidance and down right bad ass training styles have got me in the best shape of my life.

When I'm not hanging from a bar in Ballito, I'm with Sean at Flux Motion in Umhlanga, I try and spend at least 2 days a week under Sean's watchful eye.  We focus on my conditioning through the use of kettlebells. These tools have increased my aerobic capacity, improved my mobility, flexibility and contributed to my overall strength gains.

Sean's style of training centres around GS where this technique promotes explosive power, fitness and endurance.  A peep into a general workout with Sean will include:

* Joint mobility warm up
* Energy system work (kettlebell swinging, pulling and pressing)
* Various kb exercises predominantly following the HITT principles
*  Recovery and static stretching

These conditioning workouts differ from session to session but are concentrated around high intensity exercises and leave you wanting to throw up a kidney, aching in muscles you never knew existed and yet you find yourself begging for more.

Sean thrives on the natural high generated by these tools, and his energy just leaks into you and keeps you going long after you think you cant.  The mental strength Sean has built inside me through his crazy conditioning methods have me smashing feats I never knew imaginable.

That's me, in a day with the people that keep me going.

That's a wrap

Monday, 13 February 2012

Girevoy sport is not just cricket

It seems that in this country the word 'kettlebell' is as fashionable and as common as crocs in Brakpan.

All the globo gyms are handing out coaching certifications like its a Friday night at the soup kitchen.  Hell, a lot of trainers are just attending a couple kettlebell classes and claiming mastery.  Its a revolution!!!

Then there's those trainers who invest their time and their money into spending weekends with some of the worlds greats.  Learning, performing and enduring the mental and physical stresses of  legitimate, world class certifications. Not just in kettlebell fitness but are also fortunate enough to be moulded into athletes of 'girevoy sport' by these masters.

Something that cannot be given to you for 'mahala' by some Mickey mouse claiming to be a guru.

We pay the price, we learn the skill.  We become athletes in our own right.

Girevoy sport was popular amongst the old school strongmen both in Russia and the western circles.  GS has been around since the late 40's and is internationally recognized, in fact it will make its first appearance at the Olympics in 2016.

GS is the pinnacle of kettlebell training, athletes who compete are lifting significant loads for extended periods of time.  A competitor weighing in at 65kg can be lifting 2 x 32kg kettlebells for 10 minutes straight.  Training in this sport builds a blend of power and endurance.

I have met many people who have laughed at the kettlebell lifters, many people who have claimed to have the strength of an animal.  Give us 10 minutes of your time and you may want to rethink your abilities and your statements, these tools will humble just about anyone.

The average sportsmen, gym junkie, soccer mom or weight lifter who trains in GS develops this incredible raw strength as well as focus, patience and discipline.  When you completing a 10 minute biathlon or 10 minute long cycle you have to have monumental strength endurance, 10 minutes weighted is massive volume.  Not only is this a colossal test of power but you need an exceptionally high pain threshold.

At very high levels of GS you see athletes performing amazing feats of strength, Valery Fedorenko of the WKC and world champion kettlebell lifter completed 50 reps of the 'jerk' with a 60kg kettlebell.  That is strength.

You have to become comfortable with discomfort.

An athlete who develops the sort of durability obtained from training in GS is going to be harder, stronger, faster and more energy efficient than the average gym goer.  This is the guy you want on your team, this is the guy you want fighting for your win.

We do not just lift kettlebells, we do not just follow hard style training techniques as many coaches have pointed out, we train for volume, power and strength endurance.

This is what sets us apart.

Myself at Synergy in Motion and the team at Flux Motion are not offering the latest buzz, we are offering an opportunity to rise above the mainstream.

We combine the elements of kettlebell training into techniques that enable us to sustain our energy levels for long periods of time.  Skills needed for sport and for life.

We don't just lift kettlebells, we lift boundaries.

Tuesday, 07 February 2012

20 random things I learnt in 2011

1. Strength is a skill that must be practiced, it is not defined by the size of your biceps, or how 'toit' you look in a gym vest. Strength is defined by technique and your ability to generate a force under any given condition.

2. You're the average of 5 people that you spend the most time with.  Its cheesy but its fact.  So surround yourself with enlightening people.

3. Pick up heavy shit and move it around, its incredible what this will do for your body.

4. Not everyone is going to like what you have to say, every time, all the time.  Remind them that we do not live in a communist country and you will continue to say   it how it is, whether they like it or not.

5.  Education is free this century.  Read books, google, research, ask questions, and don't be afraid to look stupid.  Don't be shy, and get out of your comfort zone, you may just learn something.

6. Pull ups will change your body for life, this simple exercise will improve your lifting, your pressing, your pushing and your pulling abilities. Plus, they look a whole lot more hardcore than how you look doing bicep curls in the mirror with your hat backwards.

7. Hip Hop really does bring out the bad ass in you

8.  Push ups are hundreds of years old, they are effective, they work, they build machines - don't screw them up by removing essential elements.  Do them how they were done 100 years ago.

9. Carbohydrates are your friend.  Who ever believes otherwise also believes in unicorns.

10. No matter how hardcore you think you are, or how hard you klap the gym, do yoga, the benefits of concentrating on your breathing, your mobility and your flexibility will improve your lifting potential and in turn improve your strength abilities ten fold.

11. Deadlifts, pull ups, squats, kettlebell work and prowlers make beautiful bodies, not ellipticals and pec-decs.

12. Telling the truth does not give you a hall pass to being a bitch, you can still be honest and kind at the same time

13. Coffee is good for you, with all good things, moderation is key.  Enjoy your coffee and its cancer preventing qualities.

14. As South Africans we really need to take charge, we need to stop talking and start acting against rhino poaching. Deeds not words (more on this shortly)

15. Eat local, drink local and shop local

16.  There is no exercise as invaluable as the squat. In its pure simplicity the squat wins hands down everytime.

17. If you know what's good for you, you really shouldn't use gloves while lifting kettlebells.

18.  If you are passionate about something, go back to school and get qualified, you are never to old to be legitimate. Also, it helps avoid getting sued.

19. Never claim to know everything, never be afraid to admit you don't know something, and never fall for anything because you will stand for nothing.

20.  Anabolic steroids, growth hormones, testosterone variants and others were developed for weak minded people who cannot adjust to the heat of the game