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Strength has a GREATER purpose

Strength has a GREATER purpose

Be strong for life…not just for the gym

Dallas in July

Every year, I commit to studying something at least a little bit outside of my comfort zone to broaden my knowledge base and bring fresh perspectives to my students. A big fan of MobilityWOD, I knew within minutes of watching Kelly Starrett chat with Jill Miller that I wanted to learn more about her approach that interweaves yoga, anatomy, physical awareness, self care, movement, FMS correctives (though she doesn’t call them that but they are), mobility and strength. So this July, I headed to Dallas, Texas for the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 Teacher Training.

Ah life. So full of surprises. Getting into my rented apartment was challenging enough without an actual number and armed with a faulty door code…thank you pool guy for lending me your mobile phone to call help. But that’s not all. Upon finally gaining entry, I was greeted by a three-headed welcoming committee. First, the air conditioning didn’t work. Second, it’s over 100 degrees and humid in Dallas in July. Apparently I figured that anywhere would be cooler than Dubai in summer…errr, capital W R O N G. Third…thermodynamics. Hot air rises. And this awesome little apartment had a second floor bedroom. Great.

With very little fanfare, I picked up the double bed mattress and carried (admittedly there was a fair amount of pulling, pushing, dragging and quite possibly the smallest amount of colourful language involved but there were no witnesses) it down what can only be called a U shaped staircase (read: not rectangular). My thought was that the living room fan would at least offer SOME relief. Unfortunately, some plans are only good in theory. It was like sleeping next to a hair dryer. Again, great.

While sharing a behind the scenes glimpse of my travels is fun, it’s not today’s topic. That is to highlight a living example of strength having a greater purpose.

Strength has a greater purpose

You might think that my strength’s purpose that day was to be able to ‘wo’manhandle ridiculously cumbersome bedding around a staircase. Sure being strong came in handy. It usually does. But that’s just a small part of it. My strength’s greatest purpose that day was that I was not an obstacle in what I wanted to do.

Life has a way of throwing enough challenges, pitfalls, mountains, twists and bends in our paths. I never want to be one of them. Sure I appreciate my limitations. But they don’t stop me. I don’t let them define me or close doors to opportunities. I don’t dwell on what I can’t do. Instead I focus on what I can do. And I want to do more.

I was faced with a problem to which several options were available: 1) sleep in the upstairs heat, 2) go to a hotel, 3) move the mattress. One was intolerable. Two was expensive. Three was, well, obvious. It didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do that. I train to move as best as I can. I can trust my legs to transmit power through a stable spine to my arms. Maybe a mattress isn’t the same shape as a kettlebell or barbell, but solid principles of movement still apply even though the modality changes. Hmmmm, maybe I need to start a new workout trend focused on moving furniture…

Strength is an attitude. And attitude is a choice.

Epilogue

Apparently Dallas has a crazy breed of squatter ants that invade AC units and resist evacuation, or so I’m told. But after four days, the ant war was won (Martine 2, Ants 1). Great (this time with a smile). Short-lived elation…I couldn’t leave the mattress in the living room now could I? That’s so un-Canadian.

My Dallas adventure has given me so many opportunities to learn, reflect and appreciate. I am happy for the gumption to attempt to defy gravity. I’m quietly pleased that I didn’t need any psyching up to evoke a can-do attitude that seamlessly shifted into action. I am thankful of the trust I have in my physical training, body awareness and grit to know when to hit the common sense switch (and to know when I’m working within my means so don’t have to). I am thrilled that math & physics schooling comes in handy to figure how to get around corners with a mattress (or other unwieldy objects). I’m proud that Canadians are usually regarded as being polite and that I’m not bursting any bubbles by not living up to our reputation. I am shocked at my lack of restraint in using even more colorful language on the way up the stairs. I am grateful not to be my own obstacle.

Let me know about your everyday strength experiences. Comment below, feel free to send me an email at martine@kultfitness.com or comment or tag me on instagram @kult_fitness.

Martine

 

 

Strength Powers Your Other Fitness Goals

Strength Powers Your Other Fitness Goals

KULT Fitness – Powered by StrongFirst

Before StrongFirst, many of the world’s most talented and respected strength and fitness coaches, instructors and athletes sought out the RKC for their specialized kettlebell instructor skills. Less interested in competing in kettlebell or girvoy sport, they sought to learn ‘hardstyle’ training for it’s prioritization of force production over energy conservation and it’s strong carryover to athletic performance. And it was Pavel Tsatsouline who popularized hardstyle kettlebell training in the early 2000s with the original RKC and since 2012, with StrongFirst.

The entire premise behind StrongFirst is that it is a strength system based upon training that is: simple, but not easy; heavy, but consistently achievable; that builds people up, instead of breaking them down; and that should result in people being stronger next year, and the year after that, not just tomorrow.

“If you want entertainment, go watch a movie.”

Training should be about results, not entertainment. Results are fun. They are also what makes challenging sessions, whether they be punch the clock, grease the groove, grit and everything in between style, worthwhile. Sure there’s a time and a place for lighthearted fun and entertainment in your fitness pursuits. These times are extremely well suited for active living and recreational physical activities. But at the end of the day, if you are ready to shift emphasis towards results, the StrongFirst system, and people who follow it will prioritise the outcome.

StrongFirst is a Strength System

As a system, StrongFirst is not about kettlebells. Nor is it about barbell or bodyweight training. StrongFirst is about building strength – and how different tools like kettlebells, barbells and bodyweight training help you achieve it. But don’t mistake the pursuit of strength to equal building size or bulking up. Sure for some, they are synonymous. But for far more of us, training strength is to get more out of what we have. Probably even more importantly, training physical strength also builds mental strength, discipline, commitment, grit, sticking power and spirit. Because strength is a skill with tremendous spill over. It is also an attitude. Being strong brings with it a whole new perspective towards challenges. StrongFirst is also about following a plan. Too many people get caught up in workouts that appear like work, without actually getting anywhere. They indulge in ‘flavor of the day’ or random acts of variety (see entertainment above), rather than sticking to a well designed, structured plan that takes them towards the outcome that they want to see. They sacrifice what they want more for what they want now.

Results come from making a plan and executing it. Decide and do. People who prioritize results win at sport, games, and at life. Sure some plan-less people get lucky occasionally. But most people without plans will endlessly spin their wheels without progress or eventually fall flat on their face.

Without a goal or a plan, anywhere or nowhere will do.

Training that Builds Rather than Destroys

At StrongFirst, we aren’t after new records every day or even every week or month. The human body is not designed to go, go, go. Instead, we consistently “put money in the bank” towards our goals, truly appreciating that consistency and recovery are critical parts of longevity, resilience and the pursuit of lasting improvement. Master SFG Mark Reifkind describes the common cycle of training heavy, heavier, heavier, damage something, rehab and then start again. People repeating this cycle often find that their lifts, health, and quality of life have travelled in the wrong direction. Instead, StrongFirst suggests we borrow a page from how old time strongmen trained, because they needed to perform several times a day and couldn’t afford the luxury of several days of muscle soreness or of getting hurt. Most people working to support their family, taking care of children and trying to enjoy hobbies – even sporting ones – can appreciate training that leaves them unhindered, feeling great and knowing that they are improving. The fact that they lose body fat, sculpt muscle, boost their cardio endurance and improve health markers in the process are added bonuses.

“Strength Has a Greater Purpose.” Let’s Change The World

Finally, StrongFirst is about changing the world around it. Most people’s main goal isn’t to be ridiculously strong. For us, “strength has a greater purpose.” It’s not about getting strong for strength’s sake. It’s about getting strong enough, and moving well enough, that you are unlimited in what you can and want to do, achieve and pursue. Whether that is to keep up with your active children/grandchildren, dance long into the night, have a better slapshot or golf drive, carry your groceries with ease, stay fit and healthy, ward off middle age spread, build a better body, enjoy walking through hilly towns in Europe or simply lift progressively heavier things. Regardless, strength will help make it happen.

KULT Fitness weaves StrongFirst’s strength training principles into all of our programs because they get results. Period. Want to burn fat? Get stronger so you can use more force. Use more force, burn more calories. Burn more calories, lose more fat. What about improving your endurance? Build strength so you have more of it to endure not to mention learn how to move better so you endure better. Look better naked? Shapely muscles that give your skin something to hang on and a kettlebell butt that always trump a flat backside, though there is no accounting for taste. I could go on for any other goal you have.

If the idea of moving well and being strong appeals to you, and you can stomach ideas such as training for results rather than to get just sweaty or sore, and following a plan rather than prioritising entertainment, then KULT Fitness is here to help. Apply for your free personal training consultation so we can get to know each other better. Risk free.

This article was influenced by our friends over at www.qldkettlebells.com “Why We Chose StrongFirst”.