Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cleansing the canvas

One of the biggest hurdles I have to overcome as a trainer is making people believe that the things I can do are possible for them, and then making them take the steps necessary to get there. People cling to their habits like a security blanket. The wedge that I must most often have to drive between them and said security blanket is that "Force of habit isn't a good reason to do anything unless it's something sensible, like when people are shooting at you."
I am fortunate to have several male and female clients in their twenties who are already athletic, and same to me looking for the next level. So I give it to them, but must then start the process of weening them off of the things they were doing before, at least the things that are less functional such as anything that ends with "...on the Smith Machine."
It's hard to let go of the beloved pec deck, and the preacher curls, I know. I mean, come on, it sounds bad ass. Preacher curl! Yeah! Hell yeah! Who is this bad ass preacher and where is his church? I want to attend services immediately. Pec deck! Rock out! Get me on that thing, I want pecs!
Then, the mathematics of the iron start to add up, and the equation becomes impossible to ignore. In a short time on the kettlebells you have become so much stronger, and you can feel everything working so much harder. Going back to the pec dec when you think I'm not looking becomes a hum drum experience, but you can't help it, it's force of habit. I mean, everyone else is doing it!
Every so often I have someone come in to start training who has been doing hindu push ups, power cleans, and deadlifts. In that case I can set aside my can of turpentine, I don't need to wipe clean the canvas and burn away the bad habits. More often than not though, the canvas must be cleansed so that we can start again.
This is where you really come up against it, and I've mentioned it before. You have to put away the ego and recognize that yeah, this little dude with the mohawk seems know what he's doing.
It's not just about the kettlebells either, they are a means to an end. The barbell, sandbags, clubs, etc. they all have their place. They are the answer to the question of "Can you hang?"
If despite all your hard work you cannot, time to start again.

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