Back in the beginning of July I stated that was going to train for the Beast Tamer Challenge. The challenge consists of doing the following movements with the 48kg Kettlebell: Strict Clean and Press, A pistol(one legged squat), and a pull-up(throat to bar). Well this is something that I just never thought I was physically able to achieve. I have seen some pretty strong guys try it and fail so I just kind of ruled myself out. I realized that this was going to take some serious dedication on my part. Here were my numbers as of beginning of July: 40kg press on right side for 1 or 2 reps(sometimes), 28kg Pullup, and 40kg pistol. Here is the thing, all other goals are secondary, this is what I am working for and I knew more than ever I had to truly view my workouts as a practice. No more just getting a workout and just do whatever. Some people can get away with that and get stronger, I know I am not one of them. I did it for years and pretty much used the same weight every time is stepped in the gym.
Phase 1: 40 Day Program
I chose to do the Dan John 40 Day Program. I chose the same 5 exercises and did them daily or near daily. Never training to failure or beating myself up. I followed the program 5-6x per week for 40 days. I did kettlebell double presses, Barbell Deadlifts, Pistols or front squats, weighted pullups, and kettlebell swings, day after day after day. I did 5reps some day, heavy singles on another, and other times 5,3,2. But the same movements daily and never pushing to failure…. The Results, my press jumped from the 40kg x1-2 to 42kg x 4 and 44kg x 1. The pullup went from 28kg x1 to 28kg x 5 and 36kg x 1. I didn’t retest the pistol but I can tell you it feels extremely solid. The 40 day program not only made me stronger, it really helped me “own” those movements. Again practice, practice, practice. I know some people may read this and they probably warm up with these weights but for me this is huge. I have never claimed to be a strength god, but I do know that it isn’t to late to try. People kept asking me if I was getting bored, but as fellow RKC and friend Michael Perry put it.. “I never get bored when I am getting stronger”. I can’t agree more.
In our classes at Evolution Fitness we are working on specific strength goals right now as we trek toward the tactical strength challenge on September 24th. Each of our clients keeps a log of training and mark their numbers down each week. Seeing ladies dead lifting above 200 lbs for repetitions is exciting, especially because they have never thought they were capable of achieving it. Each week we cycle in the same workouts and guess what. Not once complaint of being bored because everyone’s numbers are going up. High Fives are dished out after the sets and goals are being met.
So the 40 day workout did help me get stronger, but I did notice a bit of downfall on my conditioning, but the reality is that conditioning really isn’t my goal right now. In my experience it is much easier to get conditioned than it is to get strong. Give me a couple weeks focusing on my conditioning and it is like it was at my prime. Strength on the other hand doesn’t come as easy or fast. I forget who said it now but there is a quote that goes something like ” It is easier to make a strong athlete conditioned, than a highly conditioned athlete strong.” I wish I knew who said it but it is true. Now that the 4o days is up my next program is similar with the addition of a few short conditioning days. On two days of the week I do a short 5-10 minutes of intense cardiovascular training after a training session. Then on one day I just do a longer conditioning session, but the 3 days that I train are intense and at heavy loads. And yes I press and do pullups every time I train. Again, practicing these moves with consistency are the only way that the goals I have set are going to come to fruition. I am sure muscle confusion workouts are more fun, but fun isn’t the point right now. When a swimmer wants to become a better swimmer they swim and when a football team wants to practice a new offense, they practice it over and over and over. They don’t start playing basketball to confuse them into learning a new offense. Maybe after I hit the goal I will do some mindless variety training which is fine for just overall conditioning and not wanting to really get better at anything. I actually may need it when the goal is achieved and will probably look forward to it. Until then the goal is the goal is the goal. This goes so much further than strength. If weight loss is your goal everything needs to be about the goal, you daily life needs to practice that goal with nutrition, exercise, and other habits that are going to help with the goal. I look forward to continuing on this process with dedication and persistence.