In April, my former kettlebell coach reached out to me to see if I wanted to compete again in August.
For the past year or so, I’ve focused on bodybuilding and strengthening my physique with the help of an experienced online coach.
I considered my coach’s proposition – a competition in August that would require months of rigorous physical training and intense mental focus. Why not? Committing to kettlebells again would help me drop some pounds and reveal the muscles that I’d been building up over time.
And my bodybuilding? I could still do a few of my bodybuilding lifts after the kettlebell training to maintain my physique. I rationalized my choice to commit.
But, a few weeks into kettlebell training, I realized that I was getting weaker.
My plan was to focus only on kettlebells until the competition, and then go back to my physique training.
After I completed each kettlebell training session, I did a brief set of physique exercises so I could maintain what I’d built. I didn’t want to lose what I’d worked so hard to build.
But I was already well on my way down this path: kettlebell training made me weaker.
During my training sessions, I could feel how much bigger and stronger I had become compared to the last time I had dedicated myself to kettlebells (over two years ago). But the energetic system that is required for kettlebell sport is on the opposite end of the energy system that physique training uses.
Kettlebell sport training is about muscular endurance while physique/bodybuilding is about building size and strength.
So, how did kettlebell training make me weaker?
Your body can only prioritize so much and my energy for bodybuilding was being soaked up by kettlebells.
Energy in the body is finite.
If I wanted to do well in this competition, I knew I had to put the dumbbells down and focus only on kettlebells. I knew I could do well in this competition, but this would only be possible if my heart was in it. And my heart could only be in it if I identified as a kettlebell lady again.
But, my heart was not in it. At this moment, kettlebells were not a part of my identity. And so, every kettlebell training session drained me of my vitality and energy.
After a month of trying my kettlebell workouts to see how I felt, I decided to focus on what I really identified with – and that was building out a brick physique.
The important lesson I learned here:
YOU CAN’T KEEP ADDING!
Doing a three-day-a-week exercise program is going to pull a lot of energy from you. Sure, exercising gives you vitality and strength, but it’s still work and it’s hard work. You will need to put time in for active workout sessions and you’ll need to reserve time afterward to recover. It’s a whole lifestyle, y’know?
That’s why intense and regular training can be lonely at times. I find that a fitness lifestyle is the last thing our society is promoting.
…but I’m not writing to you to simply make you rethink your exercise regime.
What about your personal goals?
They can be big, daunting, and audacious.
Big goals require a lot of action, dedication, and commitment…
What are you going to STOP doing or GIVE UP in order to stay more focused on your goals?
You can’t keep adding to achieve your goals, so what will you sacrifice?