February Kettlebell Challenge

So I guess the first question is: what was the January Challenge? Well, to be honest I didn’t make it public because I really did not think I could make it and I was too lazy to write about it until the 7th. By then it seemed too late and I deleted the draft. So anyway, I decided to go meat free for January and I actually made it! I know it would have been better to announce it in advance but I really did make it. It was surprisingly easy — there was only one time when I let myself get super hungry that I really went Hannibal Lector over meat. Even then, I ate my veggie burrito and mostly liked it. I don’t plan on going full vegetarian but, it was interesting in that I never felt like I needed meat. Going forward I plan to do monthly challenges. (Like updating my blog?)

Things I learned:

* Indian food is your best friend if you are trying reduce meat consumption.
* I expected to lose a ton of weight, I didn’t lose any.
* I expected to have low energy and endurance. I felt great, had plenty of energy to train.
* Lunch is the easiest to go meat free. Dinner is the hardest.
* Lots of vegetables means lots of fiber…. You can figure the rest.

WUKAR Kettlebells

Kettlebells all lined up

So for this month I am committing to a hard goal of 100 kettlebell swings a day and a soft goal of 300. Why the discrepancy? Well, I am hoping to get a lot of miles in on the bike this month and on my recovery days I think it is best to not over do it. 100 is a good number for the recovery days (unlike 100 burpees, that is a whole other story) as it won’t tax me and I can get some blood flowing to help me recover. I don’t plan on doing them all at once. I will likely break them up into sets of 20-30 throughout the day. KB weight will vary. On recovery days I may only use a 12kg, and I don’t plan on going above 24kg. After all I am a skinny cyclist.

RKC Kettlebells are WUKAR approved
Order Russian Kettlebells

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Kettlebell Review For Endurance Athletes

Here is a quick summary and video review of the RKC kettlebells. I have been using kettlebells in my winter as well as my cycling in-season maintenance program for a few years now. The are also a big part of the programs I design for my WUKAR Warriors.  On thing I have noticed is that not all kettlebells are created equal.  As I mention in the video I am partial to the RKC brand from Dragon Door. They are the guys who really got the train rolling in the USA about kettlebell training.  The things I look for in selecting a kettlebell are:

  1. Mate finish. No enamels that are slippery and flake off.
  2. Round grip on the handles. Makes the swings more comfortable and give a more secure grip.
  3. Wide handle for two handed movements and easy transitions in one handed movements.

 
httpvh://youtu.be/pkTa9vqaTEA

Another great source of kettlebells

Onnit Primal Bells

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The Group WUKAR

“Only through the group, I realized — through sharing the suffering of the group — could the body reach that height of existence that the individual alone could never attain. And for the body to reach that level at which the divine might be glimpsed, a dissolution of individuality was necessary. The tragic quality of the group was also necessary, the quality that constantly raised the group out of the abandon and torpor into which it was prone to lapse, leading it to an ever-mounting shared suffering and so to death, which was the ultimate suffering. The group must be open to death — which meant, of course, that it must be a community of warriors.”
― Yukio Mishima, Sun and Steel

I have used this quote before on my other site and I will probably use it again because it really covers a lot of ground. Sun & Steel
is not an easy read but just like gains that are hard-earned in training it is a worthy conquest. Anyway, this weekend I had the honor to complete the Gym Jones Intermediate seminar here in Salt Lake City. For 2 days we eagerly devoured the material presented and fully committed to the workouts presented.

We came from all corners of the globe with one goal. Improvement. Gym Jones is not a place to be coddled. In the summer it is hot and in the winter it is cold. No fancy machines, just the basics. Shit that works. It is a place to work. It always comes back to the work. Everyone there has logged hours of hard solo workouts. Self motivation honed by years of sacrifice and discipline. Bring a group of people like that together and things get real. The mutual respect spurs achievement and expansion. Everyone there has reached into the depths to coax out that extra rep, that extra 1%. PR’s that were years in the making were destroyed. One after another. Three different guys pulled 500lbs in the deadlift for the first time ever. Two guys beat their deadlift PR’s by 50lbs! I think we were all amazed at the energy in that place. Energy we created. There was no ego. No winners or losers. We were/are a part of something bigger and we all knew it.

Pieter Vodden 500lb deadlift

Pieter pulls 500!

Seek the best for yourself. Question everything you put in your body. From the foods you eat to the knowledge you seek. It all matters. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. Learn from those who are better than you. Be humble and seek out the knowledge. I have been an athlete my entire adult life. I have learned a tremendous amount in the last 30 years. It would be easy to think I know it all or worse, know enough. I don’t. I seek out places like Gym Jones to bring out my best. To be able to bring my best to my athletes. You can’t do it alone, everyone in that gym this weekend understood that. We all left and went back to our corners of the world. Entrusted with knowledge that we will share. With that knowledge we ad our experience and it grows. It changes and evolves and it gets better. WUKAR! It is not just some cool ass thing to say. It is commitment to being the best version of yourself you can be. Build your group.

Turkish Get Up using a person

Rob McDonald of Gym Jones doing a Turkish Get Up with a 155lb man.

WUKAR

Onnit Primal Bells

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Stop Faffing About!

I am writing this on August 18, after a beautiful day with my beautiful girl in a slot canyon near Zion National Park. August 18 is my birthday and it is also the day that I lost my Mom to cancer 2 years ago. I was close with my Mom and she always encouraged me in whatever I did. Her stubbornness and toughness in the face of that damn disease inspires me to this day. During the last few years of my Mom’s life I was going through some pretty dark times and I was a pretty negative person. I made a lot of stuff about me and as a result I feel like I was not as supportive of her as I could have been. As a result of all of that I still have questions: I wonder if she knows how much strength she has always given me. I wonder what she would think about the major changes I have made in my life since she left. I will never know the answer to these but if I had not been so deep in my own head while she was here, I might know the answer to the first question.

Water Canyon

Water Canyon

WUKAR: Wake Up, Kick Ass, Repeat. This is not just about taking care of yourself or hitting the gym. It is also about taking care of those around you. Do the people you love and inspire you know it? Have you told them? If not then do it and do it often. If you are lucky enough to wake up tomorrow, do it again. Don’t wait. Today is all we have. Be more likely to tell someone something you like about them than you are to criticize them. Notice the things that go right. Tip well. Be a courteous driver. Be grateful. These are all things that kick ass.

Great Friends

Lucky to have these people in my life

Today while playing in the amazing slot canyons of Southern Utah I was introduced to the term “faffing about”. My companions had picked up the term during a bike tour of Scotland — it basically means doing something but not getting anything done. Don’t faff about with your life. Instead of talking about all the cool things you want to do, just do them. Quit your unfulfilling job and find something that means something to you. Be creative and actually execute one of your ideas. Take the Facebook app off your phone (a huge one for me).

Here is my challenge to you (and me):
1. Start keeping a gratitude journal. I started one once and was good for about a week and stopped. Lame. Just write down everything you are grateful for that day before you go to bed. Use a pen and paper and do it for 30 days. Start today.

2. Follow through on an idea. It can be a business to start, a recipe to try, a picture to take. Anything. Here is a test: Tell a few people you trust your idea and the one that gets the most pushback is probably the one you should do. Start today.

3. Tell someone who inspires you how you feel and why. It has to be someone you know personally. No fan letters to Chuck Norris! Do it today.

4. Go outside and do something that challenges you physically and mentally. If it scares you a bit even better! The only rule is it has to be something you have never done before. You have 30 days.

5. Write about the 4 challenges above. I would love it if you sent it to me but that is optional. Just write it down and let someone read it. I will do a follow up to this post in 30 days so you can see how I did.

Stop faffing about! We all have the power to steer our lives. Where are you going to steer yours?

Buy your gear from Backcountry.com and help support WUKAR

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WUKAR Training

This blog started out as a scattered outlet for me to ask a lot of questions of myself and sort of find my way. In January I left the investment world because I was miserable. I felt like I was not contributing anything of value to anyone. That was the first step. I tried my hand at selling solar energy and while I loved the concept the company I worked with was not a good fit for me. Then I sold my rental property and gave away a bunch of my stuff. So where does that leave me? I am happier than I have been in a long time and I am in a beautiful relationship with an amazing woman. Life is good and that should be enough but since I am not ready to run off and live naked in the jungle (yet) I need to earn a living

Stuff does not matter, money does not matter. I have to live my truth. I have been an athlete my entire life. I have always enjoyed the challenge of testing my physical and mental limits. Along the way I have also discovered I really enjoy training, coaching and sharing what I have learned along the way.

In May I attended an amazing week long retreat led by Kyle Cease. We spent a lot of time finding our “soul purpose”. Here is mine:

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