RKC and IBD: 27 Days to Passing the RKC Test

Back at It – July 30, 2012

This morning was a normal Monday morning. I had a few training sessions in the morning then got a bite to eat before heading up to my noon training class in Encinitas, Ca with the guys and girls at Ambition Athletics. I have noticed recently that I find myself getting excited to train more and more. I definitely have something to train for now and that has made a big difference. I have also focused more and more on training happy and that has made a huge difference!

The culture and environment at Ambition Athletics has helped me see how beneficial a happy training environment can be. I’ll still train with great effort, still lift the 48kg bell as often as I can but I’ve come to see that it’s ok – even physically beneficial to train happy. Why waste all that extra energy making my face look mean when I can take that extra energy and actual use it for something useful like a few single arm 40kg swings?

This idea of training happy has been something I’ve been playing with (and working on) for awhile now. Going through the pain and frustration of IBD made me confused and angry. I was very grateful when I regained enough strength and energy to get back into the gym after my last hospital visit and intense weight loss. However, in retrospect I didn’t train with much gratitude or appreciation. I would grind and grit my teeth to get through sets. I would really push myself to add more and more weight but never in a fun or playful way. I worked out hard. I lifted with a hard heart and a hard mind fearing that if I was happy something bad would happen again. It was great to be physically able to train and exercise again…you just would have never known it by looking at me.

I was able to regain my strength and bodyweight to pre-IBD levels a few months after my diagnosis but getting my mind healthy again took a little longer. I’m not sure if there has been a definitve day or training session that clicked me into this “training happy” mode but taking this time to think about it while writing this has really shown me the before-and-after style that I went through.

I am not saying that kettlebells are the end-all-be-all cure for any ailment you are fighting. They are inanimate round cannonballs with a handle on one end. Not too much to look at really and nothing extremely cathartic for a wounded mind either. But just like any proper tool it’s beauty is unfolded through proper application. There are moments when I’d really like to stick to a lighter bell and make the lift feel easy. There is not much room for growth in these moments – physically or mentally. The moments that I do stick with the heavier bell-maybe a weight I’d never done before-and nail the lift make all the difference though! I know it’s a simple exercise with a weight of 36 0r 40kg and is not an earth-shattering event. But somehow – for a guy that went from 180lbs down to 130lbs in 6 weeks – committing to lift those heavy weights, deciding to accept those 4 extra kilos, does make a difference.

It means that I challenged myself…and won.

Sometimes that does make a difference.

~With Strength and Nutrition

ps. As for today’s training:

  • We lifted heavy things for ~5-8 reps per exercise for about an hour.
  • Rest, laughs and smiles were mixed in here and there too.
  • Everyone got better, stronger.

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