15:00 Circuit with the Competition Kettlebells

Nothing too crazy here. Just a solid 15:00 session before supper.

I took out the 16, 24, and 32 kg competition bells (as that’s about all I have left after lending the rest out to teammates haha) and did clean and presses and loaded carries.

First, I hit the double kettlebell clean and presses. I went 32 kg x 2, 24 kg x 3, 16 kg x 5 for five rounds with minimal rest.

After that, I did five rounds of farmer walk with the 32s, double kettlebell rack walk with the 24s, and double kettlebell waiter walk with the 16s. Just ten meters of each movement for five rounds.

Pretty easy, but this easy work adds up over time.

Loaded Carry Medley: Work Capacity At Its Finest

This is one of my mainstays.

Pick five different objects, carry each for 100 meters, and repeat for two rounds – one kilometer of non-stop fun.

Bonus points if you wear your ruck throughout.

Today was two sixty pound sandbags, two cinder blocks, a 110-pound sandbag, the yoke with a 25-pound plate dangling from each side, and two 24 kg kettlebells.

After my five rounds were done, I took the Odyssey Log for a few trips, too.

Kettlebell Deep 6 – Can You Finish This Kettlebell Challenge?

Introducing the newest Conviction Kettlebell Club Challenge – Deep 6.

This challenge consists of the six key kettlebell movements: the swing, snatch, clean, press, front squat, and get-up.

To achieve this challenge the participant must complete the following for five rounds on each side with no rest:

  • 5 one-arm swings
  • 5 snatches
  • 5 clean and presses
  • 5 one-arm front squats
  • 1 reverse get-up

Full details can be found here: http://convictionfitness.ca/conviction-kettlebell-club-achievements-and-challenges/

This was my first attempt at the challenge.

I went with the 24kg bell and was glad that I did! The 28 would have killed me.

I know my form wasn’t picture perfect at times. I’ll fix that if I never decide to take this nasty challenge on again.

Kettlebell Mobility Flow + Carries

This kettlebell mobility flow is a great warm-up or standalone session.

Use a light kettlebell and complete the following:

  • Arm-bar
  • Get-up
  • Windmill

Then move right into:

  • Waiter walk
  • Rack walk
  • Suitcase Carry

I alternated round with a 16kg and 20kg bell today. Five rounds with each bell per side.

The Goblet Squat Challenge

I came across the Goblet Squat Challenge when Alwyn Cosgrove posted it to his Instagram account. The challenge was to do as many goblet squats as possible in one set using the kettlebell that’s closest to half your bodyweight.

I figured I’d give it a go.

I used the 40kg bell. Max used to 20kg, which is closer to 60% of his bodyweight, and the most weight he’s ever squatted. He “maxed out” at four or five, then came back a minute or two later and hit a set of 10+ haha.

I had a goal of 100, but was unsuccessful.

It was a fun challenge, though. I’ll try it again for sure!

Rest Days Are Important… But That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Train Every Day

There’s something that’s come up quite a bit recently. It appears I come off as a hypocrite.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll note that I train every day. The days where I don’t do some form of training are few and far between.

And so when I preach to others the importance of resting and recovering, yet train daily myself, I look like a hypocrite.

Here’s the thing, though…

Yes, I train every day. But there are two important, often overlooked factors on how and why I do it.

First, I’ve worked up to this ability to train daily, often multiple times a day, over the past two decades.

In the fall, I’d go from football to wrestling to the gym.

In the winter and spring, I’d go from one wrestling practice to another. Then to the gym.

In the summer, it was track and field to baseball or lacrosse, and then to the gym.

Five or six days a week, I had multiple practices for a variety of sports. And I lifted weights every day on top of it. Even Christmas and New Year’s.

And, well, that counts for something.

Four years of consistent training doesn’t just disappear. The work capacity and ability to recover from one session to the next that I developed has stuck with me.

So, yes, I train every day. But I’ve been practicing it for a long time.

If you want to train daily, you need to start small and slowly increase your work capacity over time.

The second and most important point is that I don’t train hard every day.

In fact, very rarely do I go above an 80% effort level.

Once or twice a week I’ll have a “tough” workout. These “tough” workouts, though, are still kept at 80% effort.

I save my 100% for once every few months.

Giving a true 100% takes a lot out of me. If I tried to do it every week, my “100%” would keep getting worse. I couldn’t recover properly. My training cycle would be a complete mess. And my 100% would start to look a lot like my 75%.

And that doesn’t sound like fun.

80%, tops, once or twice a week, allows me to stay fresh and stick with an appropriate training program. A training program where the majority of my sessions are at a pretty easy, 30-50% effort level.

My daily rucks, tire drags, and most of my work capacity sessions… they’re actually pretty easy. They’re fun. They’re light. They keep me active and engaged and, essentially, these are my rest days.

Rest days are important. I’m not going to dispute that. But taking a “rest day” doesn’t mean you need to sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat junk all day.

A rest day can simply be a day where we don’t train as hard, we switch up the activity, or we focus on other aspects of our goals.

A rest day is a perfect opportunity to go for a nice, easy hike. It’s active, but it’s active recovery. And it will do more to restore your mind and body than beat it down.

A rest day can also be a great opportunity to work on our diet. We can shop for and prepare the food we need for the week ahead. Sometimes I’ll grab my ruck and shop for groceries with it on. And it’s a great rest day!

Rucking can be really tough. But it can also be pretty easy. An easy ruck is a great way to give our mind and body the rest it needs. Using half the weight as usual and keeping the pace nice and slow is a solid rest day in my books.

If you’re a runner, going for a bike ride or swim – again, at a leisurely easy pace – can make for a great rest day. You’re still moving, but it’s “different”.

And sometimes that’s all a “rest day” needs to be. Different.

A lighter weight. A slower pace. A new activity.

Now, I’m not saying rest days are the time to try a new CrossFit workout. Nor are they the days to go for a personal record or take on some crazy ruck challenge.

But Having a rest day does not mean you need to become a sloth.

Training is something I love to do.

I would rather go for a ruck, sprint up hills, press some kettlebells, or drag a tire than almost anything else in the world. Being able to do it every day is important to me. This is why I need to train appropriately.

As much as I’d love to go hard and #EmbraceTheSuck every day, I know that doing so means I would need to take a few days off each week. And that’s not something I’m prepared to do.

So instead, I stay within my limits. I train in a state of “Flow“.

I enjoy it and remind myself I’m doing it because it’s fun, and it’s what makes me “me”.

And, as it turns out, I get a whole lot better in the process.

Short, Fast Hill Repeats

We switched up our Saturday hills today.

After rucking to a shorter, steeper hill, we did a 5-second hill sprint (25 meters) every 30 seconds for 15:00.

This allowed for just enough time to walk back down the hill and regroup before sprinting again. My heart rate stayed aerobic the entire time, yet I was able to run fast and explosively.

A solid work capacity training session that I’ll be sticking with for a few weeks. Fifteen minutes this time around, I’ll see how far I can push the time before either my speed drops or heart rate increases too much.

Sandbag Bear Complex Carry Work Capacity Training

Here’s a quick sandbag session from yesterday.

This is a great one you can sneak in throughout the day as it takes less than 10 minutes.

All you’re going to do is a Bear Complex (power clean/front squat/push press/back squat/push press) for ten rounds, with a 100-meter sandbag carry after each back squat.

That’s ten rounds of the Bear Complex with 1km sandbag carry.

Simple and effective.

Throw it in throughout your day, do it as a quick workout before a meal, or make it a full session and hit it for multiple rounds.


Protect the Primary: Part 2

In Protect the Primary: Part 1, I discussed my main goal through the Covid-19 crisis. Right now, keeping my kids happy, healthy, growing, and engaged is priority number one.

Using David Goggin’s definition from “Living With a SEAL“, my kids are my “primary”.

And I’m going to protect them through this situation.

The thing is, though, I’m not sure what this situation is exactly. I’m not sure when it started. I’m not sure when we’ll be able to say “it’s over”.

And, I’m not sure what the world looks like down the road.

I struggle to see everything going “back to normal” in a few weeks, though. Or even a few months.

Businesses are closed. Jobs have been lost. People everywhere will be struggling even after we’re free to leave our homes again.

Our lives have been permanently changed. And making sure my kids are ready for whatever is coming is of the utmost importance to me.

They need to be confident, mentally fit, and always growing if they’re going to succeed.

And so, right now, on the surface, I’m the fun dad keeping his kids happy. Reading with them. Providing them with math sheets and coloring books. Working on life skills with them. Making the most of the situation.

Behind closed doors, though, I’m doing more to protect my primary.

This situation isn’t going to change any time soon. We can’t pretend that it is.

People are already reaching a whole new level of crazy and, from what I’ve seen and heard, the worst is yet to come.

When you see hockey arenas used as makeshift morgues in other countries, it shines a different light on the situation.

I’m concerned with what’s going to happen when people have been out of work for a few months and start to lose loved ones.

The world seems crazy now, but it may just be the start.

I don’t know if what I’m doing is right – Should I be helping my kids with math, or teaching them to hunt?

There’s no way of knowing what the ‘right’ thing to do here is. We went from preparing for flag football, soccer, and track season to… whatever this is.

Schools, gyms, restaurants, and everything between have shut down. And we have no idea for how long. Unemployment is going through the roof. It’s impossible to tell if small businesses will be able to survive this.

According to economist Tyler Cowen, there are some industries that likely won’t recover.

If your lease payments are $10,000 per month and you can’t bring in any revenue, well, that’s a tough hurdle to jump over. Never mind having to pay employees and put food on your own table.

So, yea, the world is nuts right now.

But it might just get worse.

Zach Even-Esh told a story on the Order of Man podcast last year about having to lug a huge generator around after Hurricane Sandy hit. The power was out for a couple of weeks and people were coming from all over to steal generators out of people’s yards.

That’s right, people resorted to looting after two weeks without power.

At midnight each night, Zach would wake up, go outside, and lug the heavy generator inside the house so it wouldn’t be stolen. Then, at 4 am, he’d haul it back out and fire it up so the house would warm-up and his family would have power when they woke up.

This is not something a normal person can or would do.

This is something an able person does to protect their primary.

99% of people who “go to the gym” wouldn’t be able to wrestle with something as big and heavy as a generator. Nor would they have the mental toughness to wake up twice each night to move it.

But Zach did.

And, to protect his primary, he went through this routine every night.

It’s a cute story. But I believe this is exactly the type of stuff we need to be training for.

Forget trail races and strength competitions. If we want to truly protect our primaries through all this, we need to be able to do it all.

We have to be strong. We need to be fast. We must have the ability and mental fortitude to do whatever it takes for as long as necessary.

We need to change who we are and how we train.

I hate to be all gloom and doom, but there’s a real chance that grocery stores shut down. There will be problems with supply chains and logistics. Employees might just stop showing up for work.

And, believe it or not, your food doesn’t magically appear on the shelves. A lot of work goes into getting it there.

Can you imagine a world where everyone’s on their own for food? As in, can’t even go to the store for milk and bread?!

That’s terrifying. We’re not ready for that.

I know, highly unlikely. But two months ago no one could imagine the world we’re currently living in.

If you had to fend for yourself and feed your family, could you?

Could you keep them safe and sheltered?

Would you have the physical resiliency and mental fortitude to do whatever it took to protect your primary?

If not, it may be a good time to start training for it.

In Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Kettlebell Simple and Sinister“, he describes a challenge set forth by Dr. Fred Hatfield.

The challenge is to carry twenty 100-pound beer kegs up to a pub’s second floor as fast as possible.

Who would win this challenge – an elite marathoner with unmatched aerobic conditioning, or a powerlifter who can lift a car off the ground?

Both of these individuals clearly have strengths, but each also has a huge gap in their abilities.

The marathoner has the lungs for the challenge, but does he have the strength? Could he even lift a keg off the floor?

The powerlifter would have no problem tossing the keg up on his shoulder, but does he have the lungs to do it 100 times? Could he get up the stairs even once without gasping for air?

Hard to say.

Completing this challenge would require high levels of both strength and conditioning. It would require the ability to lift and carry something heavy over and over again.

To succeed in this keg challenge would require a high amount of Work Capacity.

Work Capacity is the ability to do work. To take on a difficult task and repeat it.

And, should the world get much crazier than it currently is, Work Capacity is going to be key to surviving, thriving, and protecting our primaries.

Chopping wood. Hauling heavy loads. Picking things up when they crash down.

Hard, repetitive manual labor in a stressful, imperfect environment. These are things we need to be ready for.

*Cue the cliche!* – Building Work Capacity is simple, but it’s not easy.

It requires doing uncomfortable things for a long period of time.

Things like dragging tires and carrying sandbags. Rucking, crawling and loaded carries of all types are incredible ways to increase our Work Capacity.

We can build our Work Capacity with rocks, hills, or kettlebells. Anything, really.

The beauty of Work Capacity training is that the only thing limiting you is your imagination.

Do something uncomfortable. Then keep doing it.

If you’ve been following my Instagram feed or stories at all, you may have noticed I’ve been doing a lot of training lately.

Two or three sessions per day have become common practice.

Most of these sessions are short. A ten-minute hangboard practice. Twenty minutes of tire dragging. Random loaded carries thrown in throughout the day.

These added sessions are never too difficult. They aren’t there to leave me out of breath, sweaty, and useless.

These short sessions, done without a warm-up, are helping me get comfortable being uncomfortable. They’re helping me be ready for anything at any time.

These are the training sessions that will help someone haul a huge generator in and out of the house twice a night.

These are the training sessions that will help you haul 100 beer kegs upstairs if need be.

These are the training sessions that will help me protect my primary.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a lunatic who thinks the world is coming to an end.

I don’t want to see the world resort back to the stone age, and there’s a strong likelihood it doesn’t happen. But at the same time, there was a strong likelihood my kids would both be in school right now.

Yet here we are.

The world isn’t what we thought it was just a few weeks ago. It’s changing hourly and there’s no way of knowing what the future holds.

The only thing I’m sure of is that big arms and a beach body aren’t going to be of much use if things get worse.

And no matter what goes down over the next few months, I will continue to train hard, prepare for anything, and do whatever it takes to protect the primary.