As we venture into February, many of us have already left our New Year’s resolutions far behind. Why is it that we can’t seem to stick with a resolution longer than a couple of weeks? Usually the problem is the resolution is in the lack of sustainability. Quick fixes are fine for a jump start, but if we don’t transition into something that works with the 80/20 rule (80% of the time we stick with it/ 20% we don’t – because life happens) then what is the point? As far as picking a general long term diet, you have to figure out what works for you and what is sustainable. Choosing an eating plan that involves real, unprocessed food is never a bad idea, but there are many many to choose from and you have to pick one that fits into your lifestyle and lets you enjoy food, not feel tortured and deprived.
The same goes for exercise. There are certain 90 day programs that have you go hard, hard, hard every day for 90 days – and you may get great results in that time – but then what after those 90 days? It’s not sustainable. You have to pick something that works for you, that you enjoy, and that you can stick with far beyond the initial time period. Anything works for 6 weeks. Tell me what still works three years from now. Many of the “quick fix” programs are just too much for the average person to handle over a long period of time without injury or at best, burnout. Twenty pounds may be lost in 6 weeks but then time off is taken and weight gains of those twenty pounds and more come in the next 6 weeks. I would much rather someone find something that they enjoy and can stick with for months, lose 5 pounds a month for 4 months and then continue losing those pounds until they reach their goal. They have a much better likelihood of keeping it off because the training is sustainable. There are many different ways of eating and exercising – and I certainly have my favorites – but which one really works for you? The one you stick with.
This morning after teaching my Wednesday AM kettlebell class, a student brought up the fact that he was looking over his Facebook feed and decided he has never seen people hate on a year more than 2016 is being hated on. I had to agree with the 2016 shaming. We are at the time where a generation of super talents are dying – some untimely and some not so untimely, but it simply sucks when legends die no matter their age. The election, well I’ll leave it at I personally would not have been joyful and excited for either candidate to win (seriously, where is Kid President when you really need him?) I speak for myself (and too many friends and colleagues who share my disappointment) when I say that this year I did not advance personally or professionally at the rate I would have liked to and where I am at the end of 2016 is nowhere near where I had hoped I would be when planning how the year would play out. But you know what? Life happens in cycles. We have to experience the lows to appreciate the highs. And at the end of the day, we have so much to be grateful for. I’m happy to end 2016 and begin 2017 with a new outlook on life and determination that this too, shall pass. Where can we go but up? Let’s not get discouraged at the state of the world but come together and make 2017 our best year yet. It takes a low like 2016 to make us realize how amazing life CAN be if we stick to it and wake up every day determined to be the best versions of ourselves we can be. “Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi. Thoreau is credited with, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” I’m taking these words to heart as we venture into the unknown that is 2017. Whether your goal is professional, financial, spiritual, physical, or some combination of 4, we can do this. Don’t stay discouraged. We’ve got this. And if 2016 was a great year for you, congratulations. Keep it up. Let’s map out this upcoming year and share our successes at the end of next December!
Just because you are making the healthful decision to do a stick to a healthy eating plan during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in your room and not be social. Trader Joe’s has many options for you to throw a dinner party that anyone can enjoy!
Beverages: Trader Joe’s has a great selection of sparkling waters to serve in wine glasses. Garnish with lemons and limes.
Put out some bowls of Just Mango Slices and nuts of your choice. Trader Joe’s has a large selection and most are compliant. Double check the label for added sugars just to be sure. Get some of the Jicama sticks and make some easy guacamole by mashing up ripe avocadoes and mixing with Salsa Autentica.
Make an Asian inspired “fried rice” bowl with cauliflower rice, broccoli florets from the frozen department, an egg, and and diced organic chicken breasts. Add a splash of coconut cream.
Main Course – On the Grill
Let the star of the show be some grilling! Trader Joe’s has a great assortment of organic meats to grill and vegetables you can roast. Drizzle your choice of veggies with olive oil and put them in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Get the Very Berry Cherry Blend in the frozen section and some fresh limes. While still frozen, pour the berries in a cup and squeeze lime juice over them. Mash with a fork and serve. You’ll surprised how delicious this is!
These are not the only Trader Joe’s options for compliant menu items for a “fun for anyone” dinner party. They are all label compliant so you don’t have to think about it but if you veer off of this list, make sure you check the ingredient list for sneaky sugars and grains!
Here’s the thing. We teach get-ups very light. That’s because students are moving around for the very first time with a weight overhead. And so of course, there is a danger of dropping a very heavy weight onto your very vulnerable face.
But once a student owns the movement and learns to use his body as one unit — the way it is meant to work — a much heavier bell can (and should) be used. The get-up is not just a light warm-up mobility exercise (although there are definite benefits there). It should also be a serious strength exercise once the student owns the movement with confidence.
“Naked” get-ups, shoe get-ups, and very light get-ups are all great teaching tools as well as good practice and mobility work. I think when the awesome book and DVD set Kalos Thenos came out people lost interest in heavy get-ups almost completely, replacing them with the light get-ups with neck/shoulder rotations and the high hip bridge — much like when people gave up heavy snatching altogether when Viking Warrior Conditioning came out.
I am not saying the Kalos Thenos get-up is bad — on the contrary, I think it is a great drill for both newbies and advanced lifters, as well as an instructor tool to screen movement problems, asymmetries, spot tight hip flexors, and the list goes on. But when a whole type of get-up is abandoned, then a crucial part of the picture is missing.
Kalos Thenos get-up yang is the heavy get-up. StrongFirst is first and foremost a “School of Strength” and we should get moving with some heavy weights overhead. As Master SFG Brett Jones said one weekend as we were getting ready for the SFG Level II Certification, you should have the ability to own different kinds of get-ups. You should be able to high hip bridge and low sweep — as well as many other kinds of get-ups. It’s all about body control and strength.
Note on Differences
The heavy get-up will look a little different. You will probably have to sit more into your hip to get under the weight for more leverage when coming up into the kneeling position. Your breathing will be more of a power breathing style. The high hip bridge is probably out of the question if you are maxing out. A max-weight get-up looks very different from the Kalos Thenos get-up — and that’s okay.
So how do you work on getting up with a heavier weight? You do some drills to make sure you know how to use your body as a single unit.
Kneeling and half-kneeling press drills take out some “cheating” and force you to lock into place. You may feel your abs working extra hard on the opposite side (the body is set up like an “X” but that is a whole different story that I will let Tim Andersen tell here.)
After you do these drills, try something heavy. In the four classes I observed today at my gym, we set eleven personal records after doing various half kneeling press drills. Some of those records were set by newbies (who are expected to move up relatively quickly), but others of those were from students who had been with us for years. One student who has been coming for three years did her first get-up with a 16kg — and made it look easy!
The Kalos Thenos get-up is a fantastic way to perform the exercise, but it’s not the only way to train get-ups. Just like you can use Master SFG Dan John’s Easy Strength program to pattern movements with lighter weights in order to train for a personal record, you can increase your mobility and stability with the Kalos Thenos get-up in order to get-up with some substantial weight above head, and it will help increase your other lifts as well.
Your Get-Up Homework
If you are trying to press a certain weight, get-up with that weight or even one bell heavier. Getting used to moving around with that weight overhead and using your whole body to connect to support it will get you your gains faster.
Throwback Thursday to a follow-along training session where you learn why you shouldn’t practice Turkish get-ups while watching a screen. You’ll also learn to use a squat, press combination to help bridge the gap to a heavier military press and includes a bracing exercise called the “Hot potato” that is often left out in kettlebell training.
Here is another single bell follow along you can do at home. It is meant to be repeated twice for a total of 3 rounds with a 2 minute rest between each round. Enjoy!
Here is a follow along training session that you only need one bell for. It’s quick and simple but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! I love the efficiency of kettlebell training because it get the job done with a minimal time investment.
Hey guys – this is a clip from the Comprehensive Kettlebell Course I launched last Fall. It includes two drills for packing the shoulders in the kettlebell swing.
Not packing the shoulder is one of the most common mistakes – especially for people who sit all down and/or have little body awareness.
Saying “Pack your shoulder” is Greek to most people in the fitness industry and they need to be shown how it feels not just told in words they don’t understand.
This is one of many teaching and coaching drills in the Comprehensive Kettlebell Catalog meant to make people better kettlebell users and lifters.
If you would take a look at a (silent) scrolling video of content you can check it out here.
Also, until Friday, as a thank you to the blog readers and subscribers I’m offering the introductory pricing again. Just use coupon code “BLOG” at the checkout page.
Train Hard, but Train Smart!
The organization Whole Life Challenge (check them out – they are doing some cool stuff!) asked me to submit some videos for their site. I sent them a “beginner’s” training session. The reason “beginner’s” is in quotation marks is that this is the training session I use at the end of an introductory class. It’s not “beginner’s” because it’s easy but it’s beginner’s because it puts together all the basics. This is VERY appropriate for advanced lifters as well (just go heavier!) Enjoy!