A guest post by Al Crock.
I have been lifting weights, primarily barbell exercises, since I was 14 years old. The initial motivation was to gain weight on a very skinny body in an effort a play some sport – any sport.
You may find this hard to believe, but after almost 40 years, I have not appeared in a Muscle Magazine or stood on stage to show off my physique?! What makes you/me think that will ever happen? Why would I want to buy an entire new wardrobe? Time to re-think my goals.
Yet, I still lift weights beyond what a normal, smart person would attempt, whether it is the Bench Press, Trap Bar, or heavy Rows.
Gotta do more than yesterday. Gotta do more than that guy over there. The more I lift, the bigger I will get and closer to that ‘middle linebacker’ body every male desires.
Just read any health magazines. It's gotta be true. After four surgeries and 31 years of marriage, I think it is time to think not how much weight I can lift, but how long I can lift any challenging weights? This thought process has only taken the last 10 years so it is obviously well-thought out. Time to re-think my goals.
After being exposed to kettlebells (KBs) for the first time a few years ago, it still amazes me that I can achieve more strength, more flexibility and more muscle definition without being in some form of constant pain. No wraps or gloves. No wide belts or shoes. Just a little bit of talc powder.
I think the reason it took so long to actually admit this revelation is because it was my wife’s constant drumming of KB benefits and instruction. “She can’t know what she’s talking about. I have been lifting weights for 40 years?!" The fact that she is now RKC I & II certified means very little to me. I knew her when she didn’t know the difference between a dumbbell and a kettlebell. Time to re-think my goals.
Yet, when I do sneak away and to do barbell lifts, or front/back squat or any of the other “heavy lifts”, I am amazed at the increase in strength, not to mention my overall better form .... and I haven’t done anything stupid in months! How is that possible?
I never saw Arnold swing a KB 500 times. I never heard of the NFL Combines including a KB Snatch Ladder. I was sure it was a matter of time before I fell back into my old ways. And believe me I tried. Time to re-think my goals.
Then I turned 50 years old.
I started paying attention to what my wife/trainer was actually saying. I started eating less crap and more quality food and fewer second helpings. She finally convinced me that you have to ‘listen’ to your body', not abuse your body.
I can still push myself to failure and sweat with the best of them, but I don’t have to hurt. And I watch her clients lose weight, achieve goals that people their age shouldn't be able to achieve -- and I no longer eat Ibuprofen like sweet tarts.
I can swing a KB 500 times. I can perform 100 Snatches in less than 5 minutes and I can jump rope 200 reps without smacking my toes. That was just last week. How many 53-year-old guys walking around can say that right now?
More practical ... I can jump up into the back of a pickup truck. I can hang multiple deer tree stands 20 feet off the ground in one day. I can give a 9-year-old kid a shoulder ride for a mile up a dirt road. How many 53-year-old guys walking around can say that right now?
I will never compete in the Crossfit games. I will never be invited to a NFL Combine. Nor, will anyone ask me to take my shirt off in public. I don’t care. There, I said it. Happy?
Because when I am able to move with power in everyday life, pain-free, and still fit into jeans that I wore five years ago, I think that I have achieved something that most of my buddies would like to say they could, but they can’t. Not today. Time for them to re-think their goals.
I can thank kettlebells and a relentless wife.