Thursday, June 23, 2011

Can I do this instead of that? No.

I just finished a 6-month program, laid out for me by a coach and culminating in a competition. I made small changes when my stamina improved or to improve mobility. Otherwise, the goals I laid out for months 4, 5, and 6 were met on schedule. I lost 8lbs in the 5th month, right on schedule, and I followed the program.

Then there's this. One of my social venues is a web forum for kettlebell and fitness enthusiasts like myself. New people join the forum, post comments on their own threads until their post count says "Senior Member", and start re-posting the same questions until someone agrees with them.

"Can I do cardio from this program alongside the strength phase of this other program?"

"Can I add high-volume calisthenics along the part of this other program that says 'no other strength training at this time'? "

"I have decided to program my workout this way instead of following the book.  I've been at it for a week, and I feel great. Doesn't everyone think this is a great idea?"

I'll summarize by quoting the FAQ of Pavel's "Enter the Kettlebell", with due respect and credit.
"Q: Can I substitute the... with the...?"
"A: No. By virtue of your asking this question."
I'm a student and an educator by nature, and a compulsive hobbyist. I'm bothered by little things "done wrong", like South American fish and Asian plants in the same aquarium. I also care a little and feel compelled to help. Step 1 is to have a goal. Step 2 is to take stock of your own resources and limitations. Planning your training is at least as late as step 3.

"Can I trade out dead lifts and squats from this powerlifting program for shoulder shrugs and bench presses from this body building program?" No, they are completely different. Do kettlebell swings, do rowing, do some sort of hip-driven pull. The shrug is a gesture of someone who does not care. Care.

"I tore my hands up doing snatches; can I keep doing snatches with gloves to train for my RKC." First, no. Pain will corrupt your technique. Let your hands heal. Second, you're not passing the RKC. It's an instructor's certification, and you didn't know better than snatching with blisters.

I'm taking some time off the forum, for my own sake. For the next 6wks, I'm doing 2x16kg Long Cycle, pullups, and carrying bells up and down stairs. Strength training for 6wks after that. Follow me here weekly if you like. You'll be on a program for the next 90 days, right? Send me a link to your training journal, and I'll follow that instead of the forum.


  1. Thanks so much for the Info you gave me on a thread I posted on DD. It helped me out tremendously.......


  2. My people need me. I must update my blog.


    That was the best Batman logo I could throw together out of punctuation marks. Seriously though, thanks for this. I'll look for that thread immediately. I'm always grateful and a little bit relieved when something I say proves useful.