Basic Movements for Daily Life

Posts tagged “kettlebells

Thank Goodness Breathing Is An Involuntary Thing

This is from Wikipedia (so it must be true):

Breathing is one of the few bodily functions which, within limits, can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously.”

Think about it.. if you want to hold your breath, you can.  That is an especially good thing if you like to swim.  If you go to sleep, you keep on breathing.  It just happens.  You don’t need to think about.  This is an especially good thing if you wish to wake up in the morning.

As my meditation journey continues I’ve had some successes and some, um.. unsuccesses?  Is that word?  I don’t want to say failures because they are not.

As complicated as meditation is made out to be, it’s not.  But, it’s not easy, either.  The task is simple; sit and breath.  But be aware of the breathing.. focus on the breathing.  As your mind wanders, go back to focusing on the breathing. When things wander into your brain, acknowledge them, let them go and don’t judge them. They’re there and gone, that’s it.

Sounds easy.

Sometimes I’ve found myself dwelling on things and then realize I need to focus on the breathing.  Some would say the dwelling is the unsuccessful part.  Maybe it is. But each time I recognize I’m not focused on the breathing it becomes a success and I refocus on my breath.

Sometimes I’m meditating for twenty minutes.  Tonight, not so lucky.  I made it just shy of eight.  To me, both were successes.

That’s when it hit me the other morning, thank goodness breathing is an involuntary thing, cause when you need to concentrate on it all the time it’s hard.

It will get easier though.  I’ve been at this meditation thing now for about four weeks or so.  I feel I’ve noted a change in me.

Some believe you need to hit ten thousand hours of deliberate practice to become world class in any field.

I’ve a ways to go.

Practice is everything. This is often misquoted as Practice makes perfect.” – Periander

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My Two Point Epiphany

It seems as though it’s been some time since I’ve posted.. Lazy.. ha… not really, just felt I haven’t had much to write.

I realized two things today.  I felt young and I’m moving.

I was standing looking out my office window and I felt young.  Like early twenties young.  Physically and mentally.  I just felt young.  It was weird.  I’m sure we all get that feeling once in a while, but today it really stuck with me.  It must come with age.

I also realize I’m able to move.  I have the ability to move.  We all do.  Some do it well.  Some don’t.  I played volleyball tonight and I’ll be honest, I was probably close to if not twice as old as most of the people on my team.  To me, not a big deal.  I was able to keep up (I think).  But after I got home I realized I can still move.  I’m closer to fifty than I am to forty and I know some people that can’t do that at my age or even half my age.

I feel most of it I owe to discovering a healthy lifestyle.  It’s been about a dozen years since I’ve started a ‘healthier’ lifestyle and moved from about 30% body-fat to less than half that and whatever I’m at now.  Kettlebells are a big part (ask anyone who knows me), other fitness tools and somewhat diet (I don’t really watch what I eat – I should).  At times I have great dreams of getting an SFG or RKC certification, but I have some little issues I need to deal with first.

I want to point out I am by no means an athlete.  At this point in my life I’m training to be able feel young and to move.

It seems to be working. For an old guy.


This

This…

…is some of the stuff I have in my basement…

KB03

 

 

 

 

 

 

…is more of the stuff I have in my basement…

KB04

 

 

 

 

 

 

…stuff looks at me each time I make my way down  the stairs to the basement…

Kettlebell Night August 22 2013 014

 

 

 

 

 

 

…stuff can be used damned near anywhere…

…stuff keeps me in reasonable shape…

kbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…stuff takes up a small amount (relatively speaking) of space…

…stuff can kick your ass…

…stuff can be used in a space easily about the size of two or three yoga mats placed beside each other…

…stuff will show you how strong you are, how strong you can be…

kbs ice cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…stuff will reveal your weakness and show you areas you need to improve upon…

…stuff helps me release stress and tension of a trying day…

…stuff will make you sweat…

…stuff can be used by young and old…

…stuff will make you strong…

 


Don’t Flaunt It – Sorta

Chances are pretty good I’m guilty of being ‘that guy‘ when it comes to getting healthy and fitter.  I’m pretty sure there were times I was kind of annoying and in people’s faces to a certain degree when I hopped aboard the path to a healthier lifestyle.  After all I wanted to shout from the rooftops I had arrived at a lifestyle change.

That’s nice…

Good for you…

Face it fitness friend, not everyone wants to hear about kettlebells, undulating periodization, the latest on protein to muscle mass ratio.  It’s good that you do, but not everyone wants to hear about it. ALL. THE. TIME.

I fear I was that guy.  I might still be, who knows?

One does not need to get preachy about a healthy lifestyle. Encourage but don’t be preachy.  If someone is curious about how you made your changes let them know.  Discuss it with them about your journey and how you arrived at it.  A gentle nudge is way better than a you-better-do-this push.

If you think about it, you are essentially a walking billboard for a healthier lifestyle.  If you make dramatic changes to your body there may be nothing better than people seeing those changes.  Especially if they haven’t seen you for some time.  A healthier, fitter person tends to walk taller, prouder and well, look different than they may have a few months ago.  Sometimes that’s the only sales pitch you need.  If they get curious, they’ll ask.  If they’re interested and sincere they may join you.

Sure, encourage, but don’t annoy.  Use subtle encouragement.

 

 


You Are Not Being Selfish

Selfish…

I’ve heard that term used by others to describe me taking time to improve my health and well-being.  It’s never been used by my family toward me.

Selfish…

Some say taking time to train, practice, workout, eat healthy or whatever is selfish.  As though one is stealing time they could be spending with another.  By regaining or improving your health and well being by as little as three hours a week, you can end up spending a longer life with those you love.

Selfish…

If you are taking three to five hours a week for yourself by training, that’s hardly being selfish.  There are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week.  Three to five to yourself is two to three percent of the total weekly hours you get.

Selfish…

Just the word lately angers me.  If someone claims it’s selfish you are spending time to improve your health and not spending time with you, aren’t they the selfish one by claiming you may not be spending any time with them?

Selfish…

How is improving my health, which potentially will help one live longer (and ultimately spend more time with those you love) selfish?

I get it.  Everybody boards the ‘healthy me‘ train at different points in their lives.  As a guy who hopped on board a while ago, I need to understand those around may not be ready to punch their own ticket yet.  That’s fine and fair.  Not my job to judge.  Maybe encourage, but not judge.

The track goes the other way, too.  Just because you may not be ready to ride the rails doesn’t mean you should yank someone off the car.  Who knows, maybe one day you’ll want to grab a seat next to them.  This will be a topic for another day.

You, as a person on a journey to health and well being, are not being selfish.  You’re getting stronger, healthier, more flexible and adding years to your life to be with those you love or perhaps help others in need.

Go.  Be strong.  It’s not selfish.


(Re)Build Your Foundation

My commute to work takes me through various parts of Central Alberta.  I get a chance to witness spectacular sunrises, sunsets, storms (winter, spring, summer and fall), a hint of the foothills and a taste of the prairies.  Honest to God, this is some of the most beautiful territory on Planet Earth.  Period.

On my journey one morning I noticed for the first time a place where a building used to stand. The building isn’t there anymore, but the concrete foundation is.  Farmland is all around it which has been tilled, planted and harvested many times around the square remains of whatever building used to stand there.  Roots, weeds and debris of all sort litter around it.

This got me thinking; if  a structure were to be reconstructed, the base, its foundation, is already there.  The basis onto which a building can be built is in place.  It’s likely solid and ready for any kind of construction.

Human foundation is much the same.  Once you’ve got that basic foundation constructed, the rest can be built.

Human foundations may vary from person to person.  If you’re struggling with healthy eating, build a basic foundation to start.  Remove one poor food choice from your menu and build from that.

If your foundation is to build strength, start at what many people call ‘the core.’  That would be your abs and trunk.  You know, the part that joins your top and bottom.  Sure you can make a strong top and a strong bottom individually, but if the middle is weak the top and bottom can’t really work together or complement each other.  Your ‘core’ doesn’t need to be ripped either.  Plenty of people have a strong foundation without the six pack and if that’s something you want work on the healthy eating foundation.

Once the foundation is there, build up from there.  Keep building till you get to a set goal and rebuild some more from there, kind of like adding another story to a building.

If you’ve had a strong foundation in the past it can be rebuilt.  Find what needs to be corrected within it and start the rebuild.  It’s likely still there, just needs the field around it cleared to get to it.

“Because if you have a strong foundation like we have, then you can build or rebuild anything on it.  But if you’ve got a weak foundation you can’t build anything.” – Jack Scalia


Kettlebells Are Hard

Kettlebells are hard!”  I’ve heard this on numerous occasions.  Yes, yes they are.  I’m not gonna lie to you.

As I was messing around with my practice the other morning I got to thinking ‘shouldn’t anything you do in the gym be hard?‘  Well, not so hard that you’ll never ever be able to do anything there, but difficult enough that goals are within sight but not so difficult they aren’t attainable.

I dunno how many people have told me they won’t attend a kettlebell class because of how hard you work.  Isn’t that the point?  In one hour you can kill a ton of calories.  I can toss science at you till I’m blue in the face, but suffice to say you’ll get more calories gone in twenty minutes of kettlebells than twenty minutes on a treadmill.  Plus, you’ll get strong.  Very strong.  Consider that a bonus.  It’s a more bang for your buck scenario.  If you’re looking for a quick way to burn the fat, kettlebells just might be your ticket.

Kettlebell Workshop March 23rd 010Simply put, when you go to a gym looking for results, no matter what tool you use (bar, kettlebell, treadmill), you need to put in the effort.  I’m not kidding.  It’s also going to be difficult.  Nothing about swinging a kettlebell or bench pressing is easy.  If it is, add some weight or take shorter rest periods.  Simple as that.  No over-thinking.

I’ve also discovered this:  If it’s an exercise (or stretch or ‘insert movement here‘) you hate to do, it’s probably one you need to do.

I hate stretching my hamstrings.  Why? Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

Why?  Because I don’t stretch my hamstrings.

Why?  Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

Stretch them.  No.

Why?  Because it hurts.

Why?  Because they’re tight.

See that vicious cycle?  That example can happen with just about anything.  Silly, isn’t it?

Yes, kettlebells are hard.  Yes, bench pressing is hard.  Yes, squats are hard.  But as the old adage goes, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  It may not seem like it at the time, but it’ll all be worth it.