Sunday, May 25, 2008

Training hard changes you

I get a lot of people calling me or e-mailing me asking if I sell kettlebells. Before you call, I don't. My response is usually to ask if they're familiar with Dragon Door, and suggest they order them through there.
"But they're so expensive."
So are tattoos. Do you want a cheap one of those?
I was thinking about this as I pulled a new 24 kg. out of the box last week. It occurred to me that this thing will probably be passed down to my kids. I'm not kidding. When people come at me with the expense thing I tell them "There's a good chance you'll have this thing your entire life, and use it nearly everyday. Wouldn't you prefer to kick down a few extra bucks and get the best quality possible?"
I've used a lot of different kettlebells, and that only served to re-enforce that junk kettlebells cause more problems than they fix.
This isn't just about exercise either. It changes who you are on an elemental level. You are the guy (or lady) who works out with the cannonball with the handle on it. Some men may not want to admit it, but there is a sharp dividing line between he who rides the machines in the health club with the pop music, checking his hair in the mirror every five minutes, and he who swings and snatches the kettlebells in his garage.
You start to connect with a part of yourself that may not have previously been at the forefront. Yes there is an aggression component, but more importantly the confidence that you don't need to display that aggression for all to see. It is a survival mechanism, and gets you closer to being one of those true one percenters.*
It also brings you closer to your heritage, and who it is you're really supposed to be. Some of you might remember the tag line from Kenneth Jay SR. RKC's Advanced Strength Strategies DVD about building the 'invincible hardiness of an ancient warrior'. Well, that isn't so far from the truth. You might have heard people talking about 'scary old man strength', and that really exists. Remember your dad and his friends manhandling that engine in and out of the old Pontiac, or dragging full grown trees across the property to clear the brush before fire season? It's not just that we were younger and smaller then and the feats seemed incredible, it is that they had the real functional strength that comes from chopping wood, working with heavy tools, dragging trees, etc. They had the strength that they required not for the luxury of being strong, but for survival of themselves and their family. We moved from being a population of manual laborers to a population of desk workers, then sought to reclaim some vestige of that lost strength by flocking into gyms and sitting on machines. We thought that this strength came from being big. It doesn't work that way. Your grandfather was more like a rail than a bodybuilder, and he would put your pumped up self on your backside in about three seconds.
This is how it works, in your yard or garage with the cannonball with the handle on it, or the clubs, or the barbell. It works by not taking the shortcuts. Don't spend ten minutes circling the Target parking lot looking for the closest possible parking space. Take the stairs. Chop your own wood. Go hiking.
I know grandpa had a gut, smoked a pack a day, drank his weight in Whiskey, and was wracked with joint pain by his forties, so we want to find a comfortable medium. We want the strength and the health as well. It must be done, so it can be done.
We just need the right size cannonballs.

*Some scientists theorize that in the event of a global killer such as nuclear war, meteor strike, ice age, etc. one percent of humanity would remain. They are the one percenters.


  1. couldn't have written it better myself.
    great post

  2. Great post Jordan...really enjoyed it!!!

  3. exactly. perfectly put and yes, those bells will go down to your grandkids, and theirs too.

  4. Thanks everyone. Sometimes I'm not sure if these ramblings make any sense. :)

  5. You can be a hard man, but the one-percenters are those who most closely resemble the cockroach. They're already toxic and have no scruples, which is why they'll survive.

    Dumbells can last forever, too, but people don't give a shit. What can you do? I agree, good kettlebells are worth the investment considering you need to buy them only once.

  6. It's a ball of lead with a handle, dude. Get over it.

  7. It's iron. See what a huge difference that makes?
    You stay classy.