STOP “Working Out”

Something’s been bothering me for a little while that I feel the need to address right here, right now.

And in my career as a fitness professional – mainly as a young, inexperienced trainer – I’ve probably been guilty of this myself. I guess being a little older and having more experience has served me well.

What I’m talking about can be found on many internet message boards and websites. They sport the names of past girlfriends, they incorporate exercises that have no progression, they have a cult-like following whose videos, sometimes, can be likened to the fitness equivalent of the movie Jack Ass.

What backwards phenomenon am I speaking of?

You’ve all heard it before. It’s called…

“The Workout of The Day”

Why do I hate the WOD?

Because it fails to take into account your goals.

Because it shows no respect to long term planning.

If you want to acheive a goal, you need a plan to get there. You need a strategy to acheive your goal and tools to use within that strategy.

You want fat loss? Here’s the plan…

Move better. Get stronger. Challenge your body. Eat a little less.

You want to gain muscle? Here’s the plan…

Move better. Get stronger. Challenge your body. Eat a little more.

Obviously I’m over-simplifying things, but the point is if your goal is fat loss, then you’re TRAINING for fat loss. If your goal is to get stronger, then you’re TRAINING for strength.

You’re not WORKING OUT.

What we do as Hardstyle RKC instructors is TRAIN and PRACTICE. We have intent and a plan.

TRAINING takes into account all the elements of fitness, health, lifestyle and nutrition necessary for someone to acehive their goals. There are logical progressions where you’re expected to go hard and really push yourself. But, there are times where you should taper back and allow your body to recover. It’s all part of the long-term plan.

Working out is random. It’s just something you do. A one-off type of event that one hopes will result in changes in their body…but they’re never sure.

If you want to know if your random workouts are working for you, track your progress over the next few weeks and see if your body changes.

If you’re not seeing much of a change, it’s time to abandon the randomness and start following a plan. It’s time to stop exercising until you feel like you’re going to throw up.

Why the rant today?  I’m not a negative person, so if I come off that way, please don’t mistake me for someone who is bitter.

Over the weekend, I was watching a video that was sent to me of a young man who was doing one of these WODs in preparation for a “competition”.  In this video this gentleman started by squat pressing a loaded bar about 25 times and then proceeded to do some type of body contorting, full body swing exercise that vaguely resembled a “kip-up” which is, in of itself, a bastardized form of a proper Pull-Up.  After his third round of this “superset”, the young man jumped up to grab the bar for his final round of pull-up-thingies, swung his legs and fell flat on his back grabbing his left shoulder (which he presumably severely injured at some point during his body contortion).

I’m guessing that he tore something – or many things for that matter.

Please stop working out and start TRAINING.

Here’s a PROVEN TRAINING PLAN if you want to lose fat…

=>The TT Kettlebell Revolution v2.0

Chris Lopez, RKC

27 Comments

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Nikolai

    I completely agree. Working out and training are two different animals. Going into your routine without a plan and a purpose is destined to fail. I watch people everyday go through the same motions, the same habits, and never accomplish the intended goal. On the opposite end, performing the latest fad or sales gimmick of the day isn’t going to end with a win either. (Squats and curls on a teetering BOSU ball? Why?)

    Solid judgement has left the arena, common sense and good technique has taken a back seat to vanity and laziness. You are right, speaking out and against the silliness will bring a verbal backlash from those it offends. Better than sitting back and doing nothing while the next person injures themselves.

    It’s time for safe training methods and technique to take the stage.

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Awesome, Nikolai! You hit the nail on the head when you say “common sense and good technique has taken a back seat to vanity and laziness”. Thanks for recognizing and supporting the change that my colleagues and I are trying to make!

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Vladislav Vukovic

    I just bought the above package and have had a quick look through. I am looking forward to training with it. I have been using kettlebells for about 6 months now and completely agree with you. My first goal, which I am still working on, is to get my body completely toned and lose weight. Though I am still not there yet I have lost just over 13.5 kg and have stepped up my training. I have cut back on the junk food and am eating a lot better. I am studying fitness with the aim of becoming a personal trainer. This weekend I am participating in a kettlebell level 1 and 2 course with Kettlebell Institute of Australia and am looking forward to making all the corrections in my technique. I have seen a number of those who just keep pushing and pushing and end up with an injury rather than training and working to wards realistic goals injury free. thank you for your work. Look forward to immersing myself in it. Vladislav.

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Vladislav, your good judgement and investment in educating yourself with proper KB technique will take you far. Good for you! If there’s ever anything that I can help you with, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Rob Johnson

    I must admit that I have fallen victim to this myself. It usually comes about due to my laziness in thinking through my goals and objectives. A great workout will only come in the context of a greater plan. A “plan” that’s organized with the necessary progressions.

    Great read. Thank you for keeping it real. No more WOD for this guy.

    RJ

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hey Rob, we’ve all fallen victim to it before. We take the next step when we’re able to recognize and correct our mistakes. You’re on your way, sir!

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Tobie

    Excellent, excellent, excellent! You hit on the reason kettlebells called to me, the reason I still stick with them and the reason I am successful with them. Training and practice is the key, it’s how I have gone about kbs – Practice with my tools includes: a couple of KBs, a binder with Kettlebell Revolution printed out, blank paper and pen and a timer. Each session, I reread my goals for focus, follow the plan and jot down notes for areas of improvement and successes. It might be a bit obsessive but having records, I’m able to see progress in times or reps and that helps me internalize my success. I really appreciate your KB Revolution Plan and your blog. I hope your words here are helping some people reexamine how they approach fitness – Hopefully they will see it as part of a lifestyle rather than the WOD mentioned in your article. Thanks for helping me and others train safe and practice a healthy fitness lifestyle! Cheers!

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Tobie, Thanks so much for the kind words. Your daily review of your objectives and goals and consistent tracking of your progress will accelerate your results and are a sure way for you to achieve success with the program! Congrats on your focus and determination. I created the program for go-getters like you. If there’s anything that I can do to help you out, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Eric

    Thank you for once again bringing some sanity to the world of fitness. I couldn’t agree with you more. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Those who are truly motivated to better themselves and are willing to set ego aside will appreciate a focused approach when they try it and see the results it brings. I’ve tried the WOD approach before I knew any better. Goal oriented focused practice and training is truly where it’s at!

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Great to see fitness pros like yourself, Eric, agreeing with the philosophy. You are definitely ahead of the curve and ahead of your peers!

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Jonathan Sarr

    Chris,

    Very interesting thoughts, and excellent points. I was introduced to variety in my workouts through CrossFit, and in fairness, the CrossFit purists are militant about form and safety. Sadly, it is easy and common for us typical Joes to fly at a WOD half-cocked and half-trained and without proper form or execution. Injury is possible, for sure.

    Over the last two years, I’ve gotten away from doing someone else’s workouts (e.g. CrossFit) and started writing my own for the reasons you’ve stated. It enables me to incorporate variety, which keeps me interested, but I’m also able to practice skills and movements consistent with my personal goals.

    Setting the hormonal benefits aside, would you also say that progress toward a goal and proper execution (i.e., safety) are reasons to NOT train to failure?

    Thanks, and fantastic post.

    Jonathan Sarr

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hi Jonathan,

      Great question about training to failure. I will address that question on Friday’s QnA.

      For the record, I’m not knocking CrossFit…I’m knocking the methods of trainers and practitioners (and whether CrossFit falls into the category, I don’t know) who don’t develop a long term plan for their clients. I’ve been in the gym countless times where I’ve heard trainers say to their clients, “so whuddya want to do today?”, which just drives me nuts! It shows that they’re unprepared and really have no idea what they’re doing – and more often than not, these people are charging upwards of $100 per session. Insane!

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Liz

    My ex husband is one of the above mentioned crossfit nuts. He was, and still is, obsesed with the WOD’s. Don’t get me wrong, for a 46 year old man he’s in good shape, but has been completely brain washed to the extent that he has now lost me and our son to them!! When a regime like crossfit begins to take over you life, GET OUT and get out quickly.

    I am new to KB’s and I’m really enjoying the varied workouts, mixed with my spin classes of course!!

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hi Liz, Thanks so much for opening up and sharing. I find it quite disturbing when I hear about a situation like yours – especially being a husband and father myself. Exercise should be a means of supporting life, not something to forge your identity with. That’s just my 2 cents, but then again, what do I know?

      Please let me know if there’s anything that I can do to help you with your goals!

      Thanks,
      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Dan

    Chris,

    Thanks for the encouragement about a routine versis just going through the motions of working out. I have been watching your site for a little while and certainly feel that the KB experience is the work out I am wanting. With a good routine, I think there will be the desired results. But like many others out there, I am not as young as you ( I am not saying I am old at 56, just not young) , but I do want to start a good routine to train with and not waist my ( very little ) available time in doing so. That is why I believe the KB is the way to go. So here’s the question, like may of us older guys, we have back aches and pains that just comes with the age. Is it okay to work out ( gradually of course) with back pains? If I wait till one pain goes away, another one starts somewhere else. Will working out with the KB help muscles get stronger to minimize back pains or will it aggavate them so that I can not get into steady routine ?

    thanks

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment and question. Your specific question about back pain I will address in this Friday’s QnA, but rest assured that when you do my program, you must complete the movement prep/core prep aspect of it which generally prepares you for training with kettlebells. There’s a great study out right now that I will summarize about KB training and Back Pain, so please check in on Friday for the answer!

      Chris

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Terry Jenkins

    I find your blog entries a breath of sanity in all the confusion about how to get fit. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Doug Jeffreys

    Yep. You can spend a lot of time chasing that next “great” workout. Thanks!

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Michelle

    Chris-

    Anyway to get the actual DVDs for 2.0?

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hi Michelle, I will be filming full follow-along DVDs in the summer for the entire program. As for now, I am working with my web team to get all the demo videos available for upload in addition to watching them streamed through the members area. Stay tuned.

      Chris

  • Reply February 1, 2012

    jon

    never thought about the term workout and training as being different things i always train or work out to meet a goal but very good article it is a good wake up call .

  • Reply February 10, 2012

    Dr. Kevin Smith

    You bring up a lot of very good points. I’m not a fitness professional. I’m a chiropractor with a focus in rehabilitation. And in my world, you need to have clear, attainable goals. You must be able to measure progress. Otherwise, how can you tell if you’re accomplishing anything – or merely spinning your wheels. Traditional exercise science teaches this. It’s pretty much universally accepted in evidence based health care.

  • Reply February 13, 2012

    Joe

    As someone whose done both Crossfit and KB training, I must say I highly disagree with this dogma aproach. I’m reminded of the ol’ Saturday night Kung Fu cinema, where the constant “My Kung Fu is better than yours” nonsense was the predominant theme.

    Everyone wishes for their “style” to be recognized as meritorious, I get it. What I don’t get is the nonsense of attempting to elevate one method’s status over the other with a dogmatic approach.

    Fellas! The goal is fitness. How you go about it, and the risks you take, are yours and yours alone.

    If you wish to make KB your religion, that’s all fine and good. However, don’t knock on others methodology, particularly those that have proven to be effective for those who practice it, based on your lack of understanding or whatever other (mis)perceptions you may have.

    Crossfit does work. So does KB training. They work even better when you (gasp!!!) put them together! Whether you want to be militant about it or not is entirely your prerogative.

    For the record, I’d like to make it abundantly clear that: I do understand everyone’s wishes protect their vested interests. No one likes it when other people mess their “racket”. But I wholehearted believe the “My kung fu is better than yours” dogmatic approach is highly played out.

    May you get what you want from your training, by whatever means you freely choose.

    /Joe

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