Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Heading to Japan

In the morning I depart for Tokyo to meet up with Takei Matsushita, RKCII for my first-ever workshop in Japan. This is extra special for me because I am the first Senior RKC to make it to the Land of the Rising Sun to spread the message of our Hardstyle School of Strength. Konnichiwa!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Easy day

Took it pretty easy training-wise today. I am not sure how the plane ride to Tokyo is gonna affect me, so I am treating this week like a taper.

I tore 5 phone books ( 3 were sharkbites), 2 decks of cards, bent 3- 60 penny spikes, 9 pullup singles and 20kg snatches for 2x20 per hand.

Friday, October 24, 2008


October 24th 2008
A rainy Friday morning. 51 degrees. In the park after class.

A single 24kg kettlebell. . Soundtrack by Alice in Chains

"Scary's on the wall........Scary's on his way........"
53lbs of steel, worn and familiar, beginning to circle my waist in the slingshot. Nothing super strenuous, just a continuation of the Joint Mobility drills from earlier, loosening up, prepping the nervous system for the tension to come. Feeding into the uppercut drills and ending up with some swings. Didn't count the numbers or the time, an unusual practice these days, just going by feel.

"Field of pain is where I graze....."
Bottom up Clean and press singles. Surprisingly tough, on the left especially for the first few. I can feel the effects of the recent high volume grip work, fatigue, deep in my palms. The kind of fatigue that increases awareness, not saps strength. But this is not a heavy weight for me, and as my hands wake up, the reps get easier.

"I'm the man in the box........."
Getups, slow, controlled, adding the tight-rope press for triples in the high kneeling position. A drill I learned at CK-FMS, increasing trunk stability, improving weak links. Making the my chain of strength unbreakable.

"Ain't found a way to kill me yet....."
More bottom up pressing, this time in ladders. 1 &1. 2&2. 3&3. Left hand is tired, I reign the volume back a little, stopping at 3 reps instead of the intended 5. Right hand is solid. Working on the lat engagement. BUP is becoming my favorite total-body-tension move.

"Did she call my name? ........I think its gonna rain....."
More getups, done in moderate rhythm. Moving smoothly, feeling strength. Knee is doing better. I have avoided getups lately, because of my knee, but it feels very good today.

"I feel so alone, gonna end up a Big ole pile a them bones"
Snatches switching every ten reps. Quick and steady, a little below top speed. Total of 100 reps. Didn't count the time but I would guess it to be around 4 minutes. Steam is coming off me in the cool air. Breath is deep but not labored. Heart Rate monitor says 168.

"If.......I.........would...... could you?"
Walk around a bit, heart rate dropping back to normal. No PRs today. Not huge accomplishments. I didn't feel off and I didn't feel great. This was the kind of session that happens most often but gets the least mention. What is strength is made of? These are the sessions that answer that question.

It's still raining, it's still cold. I am heading home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Warrior Diet Questions

I had a few questions that needed answerin' regarding the Warrior Diet. Since reading Marty Gallagher's opus, The Purposeful Primitive and beginning the WD, I have arrived at the following answers, based on my own limited experience.

1."Will the WD affect performance adversely?"
Recent training highlights, since warrior day one(about 7 weeks ago):
80 sets of 8 snatches in VO2 style with 16kg.
30x8 with 24kg
Closin' in on BUP w/ 40kg
Bending 60d nails like paper clips
All this with inconsistent training and a lot of travel.

My experience answers "NO", it will not have adverse effects.

2. "Will it help to shed fat/weight"
Begining at high-270s, today I dipped below 265.
Pants falling off.
Veins in forearms becoming more visible.
I have made some pretty bad food choices more than I care to admit. There ain't no mention of french fries being a good idea in the WD book.

Simple calorie deficit? probably, but I'm cool with that.

Answer: YES

3. "Is it sustainable?"
This is the biggie. Despite my afforementioned unlean food consumption, I LOVE the WD schedule and not needing to stop and eat every 3 hours.
I have found it quite condusive to my travelling as well. Some nuts & H2O on the plane, get to the hotel, head out to the feast.

Answer: YES.

4. "Is it better than (insert other dietary protocol here)?"
Since I am most familiar with Precision Nutrition, Naked Nutrition and the ketogenic diets, I will speak on my experience with them. "Better" is a subjective term. Better for what? Muscle? Strength? Fat loss? Enjoyment? I ahve found utility in all the approaches. I am currently rockin' on the WD like Molly Hatchet at the state fair.

Is it better than plan XXXXX?
Answer: NO

Nor is it "worse". I find it very usaeable, comfortable, efective and enjoyable. I shall continue with it.

Final Thoughts:
Consistency over time is the key. It must be liveable, not just endurable. I am living it and loving it. Perhaps at some point I'll shift into another mode, but for now, the WD is rocking.

Learning Curve

I have a couple ( Mark and Nikki) who are new clients and very into the kettlebell thing. Here is video Mark shot of them swinging. Safe and effective, but not perfect. Yet.

We'll see how things progress for them over the next few months....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fat, Broke and Stupid?

The economic situation and the obesity problem in the USA are symptoms of the same thing. A mindset of entitlement.

The Declaration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (emphasis added by me)

The "Pursuit" of something does not guarantee it's achievement or procurement. Or to put it more simply in country terms, you might have the right to go fishing, that doesn't mean you will always catch fish.

Happiness is NOT a God-given, inalienable right. Nor is happiness the same thing as pleasure. Ask an addict.

If you eat from the drive-thru for every meal, do not be surprised when (not if) you are fat.

If you finance this this lifestyle with credit cards, rent to own appliances and huge car payments, then don't be surprised when (again, not if) you are broke.

Declare your own independece.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dream chasing.....

Do you express gratitude every day? Are you able to be thankful for what you have and for what you are even if everything doesn't seem to be going the way you want it to go?

After an amazing weekend in Texas, then another indescribably awesome RKC weekend, Kenneth Jay asked "are YOU chasing you dreams?" in a recent blog post. This made me start thinking. Pondering my dreams, etc. and it left me with this conclusion:

I can without doubt say that I am absolutely NOT chasing any dream. I am living my dream. For that I am SOOOOOO grateful.

So how did it turn out this way? I will tell you, but it will be lost on a great many. If you have the ears to hear it, here it is:

Be thankful in all things.

If it sounds Biblical, that's because it is. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18 for more.) But I am not writing to preach, that isn't my calling. I just want to say a bit about being thankful.

Gratitude is not an emotion, it is an action, the first action required for true success, prosperity and happiness. Being thankful is the OPPOSITE of complaining. Of course, I complain about things far more than I care to admit, but my baseline attitude has become one which allows me to find whatever opportunity exists in a situation. Sounds simple, but it takes practice to get there.

If you are truly thankful for everything you have, everything you do, you will manage things well and more good stuff will come to you or happen to you. If you complain about everything or make excuses (I don't have time, money, opportunity, etc) then you are setting yourself up psychologically for doom.

I am busier now than I have ever been, it can be overwhelming, but the second I start to complain, I give myself a mental ass-kicking to get back on track. Example: I was looking over my flight schedule for my Tokyo kettlebell workshop next week. I will spend 30+ in an airplane over the course of 5 days. I caught myself thinking about how cramped that is going to be, how long that amount of time is and then I realized I was complaining about being successful! Not only that, but the circumstances of that "complaint" are completely self-created and self-imposed. I put a LOT of effort into getting to the point that I can travel and get paid to teach kettlebells. After thinking about it for a moment, I was overcome with gratitude.

Think about this: Whatever circumstance (whether you enjoy it or not) exists in your life, YOU probably had a huge hand in creating it. Be thankful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One goal achieved

Double vertical phonebook tear. Another feat I learned from Dennis Rogers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Photos from Frisco, Texas workshop

A couple of weeks ago I did a workshop in Frisco Texas at Full Throttle Athletics for fellow RKCs B.J. and Kori Bliffert.

Mandy went with me and took a bunch of photos, which are now up on her website. To view them, follow the instructions below:

Go to:
Click on: client proofing
Type in the password: fullthrottle (one word)

Friday, October 17, 2008

More from the 2008 Oct. RKC after party

Post RKC at the Great Waters Brewery, I am performing my patented version of the classic Two-Hands-Anyhow lift with Mary Ann Lubas, RKC in one hand and a glass of seaonal fall beer in the other.

That big good-lookin' dude in the background is my friend, colleague, and fellow Sr. RKC Jeff O'Connor.

Notice the couple on the street that stops to take a photo thru the window.

How's them goals a comin'?

Six weeks to go until Thanksgiving, how's it going on your goals?

I'll share some brutal honesty with you, I am not on schedule.

First- nutrition: While I am LOVING the Warrior Diet schedule, I have been too relaxed on clean food choices, especially when travelling. More raw veggies, less crap like french fries over the next 6 weeks.

Next- pullups: I think that my original goal of a 24kg pullup is a little too ambitious. I did not factor in the travel I will be doing and how that is/will affect my training. I am changing the target to 12kg.

Next- 120 40kg snatches in 10:00: While this is a reasonable target for me, ( I got 96 in 10:00 this week) I don't have the urge to hit it that I need in order to be successful. I have been enamored of the bottom up press lately, so I am changing the target to a bottom-up press with 40kg.

The double vertical phonebook tear is remains unchanged.

So that's my update, where are you?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The force is strong in this one.....

Kelly Cassidy, RKC of Massachusetts was a member of Team Whitley at the October 2008 RKC. She showed strength, skill and character, the kind of stuff that we look for. What impressed me the most was her attitude- she lifted hard, every set, every rep, even if she didn't know her instructor (me) was watching. She moved with power and enthusiasm, never fearing to dive into the dirt face first. Amanda Sullivan, RKC was her partner, the "strong and dirty girls".

Kelly's willingess to perform feats of strength, on the spot, which reminded me a female version of myself. A much better looking female version of myself!

Check her out with these "hold my purse and watch this" feats.

The pitcher press, demonstrating excellent groove and tension , with just the right amount of rock-out attitude. Another strong woman from my Team, Mary Ann Lubas, RKC, cheers in the background.

2 beers anyhow. Perfect Getup form and note the focused intensity. As "showy" as this is, it's main point is to generate perfect tension and alignment. I will watch her progress with great interest...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I am back from the RKC certification and finally able to relax for a minute. Oh, wait that's not true....I have a TON of stuff to catch up on before I can relax! I have to get ready for my Nashville TN kettlebell workshop this weekend (Oct. 18th) and then in 2 weeks I am off to Tokyo, speading the Hardstyle message like Godzilla.

Several folks who I have trained attended the cert, and I was proud to see them go thru the process and have the experience that is RKC.

On Saturday after teaching the snatch I led the group thru Kenneth Jay's Max VO2 snatch workout and allowed them to earn their lunch.
It was great to see old friends too, like Jeff O'Conner, Brett Jones and Pavel.

Delaine "of Pain" Ross, performing a deadlift with 2x48kg Kettlebells. I hope this help destroy the myth of lifting heavy causing women to bulk up.

I got a lot more stuff to post about it, I'll be following up soon.

Congrats to all the new RKC instructors and I look forward to seeing you again at the RKC Level Two in June.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The past week has been a blur of travel, teaching and other activity, with no sign of let up. I got back from Frisco Texas yesterday. A big "thank you!!!" to everyone who participated in the workshop.

Here is a clip of the Dallas Phone Book Tear:

I leave tomorrow at 6AM for the RKC certification in St. Paul MN.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Feeling Uncomfortable

After the post "9 week from today", I got several emails from people who didn't want to publicly post goals, but wanted to share them with me anyway. That's really cool, and I am thankful that you trust me to share and help you.

On the other hand, it is always interesting to me that whenever I send out a "challenge" of any sort, I get a mass of "un-subscribes" from my newsletter.
The first few times it happened I found it puzzling, thinking I had somehow done something wrong and pissed off the people who were bailing on me. Now I realize what is really happening.

I know from my own experience that when I purposefully look deeper into myself, past my excuses and beyond my limitations, to see what is really going on, it is uncomfortable. I don't always like what I see. Obviously this is true for others as well. Sometimes this discomfort results in running some people off. They sign up for some free workout info, not realizing that I am going to call them out on their BS excuses. I even get the "how dare you" emails, like I have somehow been spying on someone in California or Vegas, studying their habits in order to anonymously embarrass them online. HUH? You place far too much importance on yourself.

Here's the thing: If you feel uncomfortable or inspired by anything I write, it is because we are alike on a very base level. When I do something publically like post goals and challenges I have set for myself, I am forcing myself to look inside and while at the same time asking you to do so for yourself. It helps me to stay on track, to Walk the Talk so to speak.

If I say "I think I might like to do that" it most likely ain't gonna happen.

If I tell YOU that I am going to do something, then I have upped the stakes quite a bit, putting myself on the line publically.

If I ask you to join me, then we get to take advantage of our collective character, flaws and all, toward our greater good.

Let's rock this thing from now until Thanksgiving.

Nine weeks from today

Thanksgiving is nine weeks from today.

Thus begins the American cycle of overeating, oversoending and skipping workouts, sliding into the New Year in fatter, weaker, more broke and more miserable than ever, only to begin anew come January 1.

Does it sound familiar? This doesn't have to be you. Not this year. You can break the cycle. If you have already successfully broken this cycle, then I applaud you! If not, I would like to help you.

How am I going to do that? By issuing a 2-part challenge to you:

Number One: I want you to set at least one performance goal that you want to accomplish by Thanksgiving. What is a performance goal? It could be something like doing 50 consecutive push ups, or hitting 200 reps of kettlebell snatches in 10 minutes. It's important for you to know that I DO NOT mean weight loss goal, like "drop 15 pounds." I'll explain why in a moment.

Number Two: Set a nutritional goal. Decide on what your nutritional strategy will be and follow with tremendous purpose. I don't even care which plan it is so much, just follow it to the best of your ablitlity for nine Straight weeks. Don't wait until Monday to start. Decide NOW. Begin TODAY.

I am going to list a few things that I have decided I will make happen in my life before Thanksgiving.


I will complete a pullup with bodyweight PLUS a 24kg kettlebell. Of all the exercises that we cover in the RKC Level 2, the Pullup is the one I have the most trouble with. It's time to bring it up to speed.

I will snatch a 40kg kettlebell 120 times in ten minutes. My previous best is 106.

I will do a triple vertical phonebook tear. This means tearing the book into three pieces parallel with the spine. This is a feat I learned from Dennis Rogers, but cannot yet complete.


I will continue refining my Warrior Diet approach, inspired by Marty Gallagher's approach in The Purposeful Primitive. I will concentrate on making cleaner, more organic food choices.

By training for performance goals and nutritional compliance goals I will be improving my body in the process.

That is why I said NOT to make it a weight loss goal. Increase your performance. Improve your nutrition. Do these two things and it is a mathematical certainty that you will have a better body. Don’t get trapped by "weight loss" goals.

So what are the goals that YOU will accomplish by Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008