Thursday, March 20, 2014

There Is No Score

So I've been sharing this conversation about the nature of competition with my friend in Atlanta, Scott Shetler. He has consulted powerlifters, swimmers, skinny endurance athletes putting on muscle, and overweight people putting on endurance, all based on mechanics and broad-based health improvement. Over the last few years, I've discovered (finally admitted) that the limiting factor in my kettlebell performance is not my time spent training bells, but my general fitness.

For me, personally, training just KB sport lifts and running leaves me with back pain and stagnant competition scores. So all this raises an interesting issue of how much of ourselves we devote to sport beyond the needs of health. If I were exercising to keep myself healthy, it would look much different than this. I'd have a pullup and dip station of some sort, maybe homemade. I'd have a weighted vest for running and hiking. I might have a single 24kg KB for goblet squats and odd handling. I'd exercise seriously 2 or 3 days a week, plus runs and daily walks with my dog, and I'd stretch and sleep a lot more. The rest of all this is for reasons other than health.

I have heard this phrased so many different ways. "Where good sport begins, good health ends", Dan John and others. "There are tremendously strong people who walk around every day in pain", Kenneth Jay. The term "Law of Diminishing Returns" has a medical analog called Minimum Effective Dose (MED), the dosage required to induce change and no more. There is progressively less benefit to overdosing on Tylenol, caffeine, running, bench press, crunches, or KB snatches, and every one of them can either help you or hurt you.

For those of us who train for our health, the sport is a convenient by-product. Someone else does what we do for health and may test themselves against us, or even participate alongside us for moral support while we test ourselves. That is a social experience, the practice of health instead of a goal to be pursued. For those happy few, there is no score.

2 sets 24kg LC @4rpm
2 sets 20kg LC @6rpm
2 sets 16kg LC @8rpm
Chalk the bells, sweep the room, stretch

Old man, old broom
Daily ritual, sweep the whole room
Shake the mats, dust the corners
Feng Shui, all things in order

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