Thursday, April 24, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da Vinci

Some I suppose would expect such words from the man who painted the Mona Lisa, orchestrating extreme sophistication from utter simplicity. Truly, such a simple piece of artwork holds the eyes of so many who gather to see it, I know it was one piece of artwork on my list to see when visiting the Louvre.

While it was not a simplistic approach to study anatomy for the purpose of art, da Vinci studied the human body in as much detail as he was allowed in order to create such masterpieces.

It holds truth, truth that I believe.

Centuries later, Audrey Hepburn is often photographed in a black dress, hair up, and jewels, it doesn't get much more simplistic or sophisticated than that. An icon of beauty without frill, fab, or frolic.

I do not own Gucci sunglasses, I do not own a Prada handbag, I do not own Seven jeans, and I do not drive a foreign sports car.

Simple does not mean boring, simple does not mean dull or less exciting, but rather an exquisite way to make a statement that will last in the minds of many.

So, I guess to tie this into training, it seems as though the simple methods are more effective than the elaborate and complicated. I find truth and effectiveness in kettlebell training or functional training rather than the advanced, high dollar systems that teach us balance and coordination which we can learn simply by practice.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Running, For What?

I always try to find ways to motivate both myself and the people I work with. It's easier to have a goal to train toward, than to randomly train. I encourage all of the people I work with as much as I can, and everyone requires just a little different spin.

It's been over a year since I've been encouraging Susan to do multiple pull ups. In fact last January she accepted a challenge to perform six pull ups, once the testing time came along, she almost got three. A year later I was thinking what could possibly get this woman, totally and completely capable of doing pull ups, to accept another challenge and succeed. I agreed to run a race if Susan got 5 pull ups.

Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to run, unless as I have already professed, it is trail running where I can be as fast or slow as I please, and also enjoy my surroundings. The Broad Street Run, the race I agreed to run if Susan got her 5 pull ups, couldn't me more opposite of the trails. It's 10 miles of grueling pavement down Broad Street in Philadelphia. Yuck, boring, blah, and did I mention pavement?

Susan got her 5 pull ups this afternoon, with ease, in fact I'm sure she could have done at least one more. My first was response was joyful, I was very pleased and also happy that she got them! Who wouldn't be, it's a testament to the training we do. My next repsonse was "Oh shit!" 10 miles on pavement surrounded by a huge number of people running over me! This is not my idea of a fun, let alone relaxing Sunday morning.

I have two and a half weeks. And while all smart sources would tell me to fold, I plan to live up to my end of the deal and hopefully survive.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Odd Object(ive)s

It's funny to me that you can practice a movement with one object, say a barbell or kettlebell and be at best average with them. However when you pick up an odd object, such as a 75lb keg, you find your weakness and work through it.

I admit being hesitant to the 75lbs keg snatch, but then I just did it, and 'it' was easy. To the point where I wish I had participated more. It's rare now that I get to experience a hands-on workshop from the users point of view. Although this past weekend I wasn't the user persay, but I was able to try out a few things that Zach had brought to the table.

This is an easier week for me, light on the lifts, easy on the conditioning, and about 65% on the jiu-jitsu. Back to the straight and narrow starting Monday morning regardless of how I feel. The Challenge is 6 weeks out, and the BJJ tournament is 10 weeks out. Time to get cracking hard!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Kettlebells are in Scotland

A few weeks ago I was on vacation in Florida. I nice long week of relaxing in the sun, on the beach and by the pool. When I got back, I was asked if I worked out while I was vacation, and startled with my response of, "Yes!" I questioned the astonishment.

Of course there are some reasons of vanity behind my workouts, but more than that I find an escape to working out and training hard, I find peace of mind, I enjoy the challenge, and I do it for my health with the hope that it pays me with longevity.

An entirely different conversation got me thinking about whether or not I planned my vacations around being able to continue working out, and while that's not necessarily the case, I wouldn't not workout due to lack of equipment. Friends and acquaintances accross the states, and in several countries would allow for workouts to be completed with equipment, but it's not needed if I were to venture somewhere, where I didn't know anyone.

So, working out for me, is a way of life. I certainly enjoy a day off here and there, but find that I become irritated and edgey if I've missed several days in a row of not working out. It not only makes me stronger physically, but mentally as well.

To my friends accross the states and abroad, I hope to one day train with you on your ground in...

South Africa
Ann Arbor
Silver Springs
Las Vegas
West Chester
San Jose
Avon By The Sea
La Jolla
and more...