Overtrain – Underachieve

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“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” – Vince Lombardi

Training for fatigue is simple. Any fool can beat themselves up and revel in the pain.  I hear people boast about the “beasting” they inflict upon themselves (or others) as they struggle to walk upright, put on their shoes or raise their hands above their head. If you can put as much effort into recovery your progress and ultimately your performance will improve exponentially. Look at the continuum – practice provides the foundation, , progressfollows, hard wiring the basics and as the process matures we are on our way to the holy grail – performance.

Training is Trauma

Every time we  train we expose the body to some degree of trauma. This is where training for recovery  comes in. If I base practice on my ability to maintain a high degree of efficiency, relative intensity and focused technique, laying the foundations for progress, rather than letting my ego get the better of me, I can monitor my progress, self correct and adapt. I become the driver rather than the driven.

Adapt or Compensate

We have all done it, struggled at the end of a session with a weight or a move that is beyond our capability at that point. It’s not pretty, it’s not clever and it’s potentially dangerous. We need to leave room for adaptation. If we don’t, if we constantly push the envelope of our abilities the body will simply compensate. If it can’t find a way to safely deliver what’s requested it will limit access to those patterns or movements. This protective response is designed to spread the load, literally. Suddenly your beleaguered shoulders remove themselves from the equation and shift the stress elsewhere on the body. Rather than adapt, the body compensates. Those compensations in turn impact on everything you do.

All of this without even mentioning the accompanying stress that impacts sleep patterns, suppresses the immune system and undermines all the benefits of regular practice.

Performance Anxiety

So, we practice and this in turn allows progress. Performance is another creature. If you are consistent and scale your training relative to your recovery, you will build a formidable reserve for performance. And when called upon you can tap into that reserve and push yourself  harder.

You’ll find plenty who will argue that you do not know what you are capable of until you are pushed.  I agree. But choose those battles wisely. There are more than enough walking wounded weekend warriors out there.

Resilient Rx

Using sessions of varying intensity (Goldilocks anyone?),  regularly employing sub-maximal workouts (100 Reps) that re-inforce good habits, focusing on solid movement, backing off when we are fatigued physically or mentally, these are simple, effective, durable tools. And perhaps of equal importance, we should confidently choose challenges and battles that require focus, determination and energy and apply ourselves in the knowledge that we have the ammunition. There is nothing quite like confidence built on a sense of capability.

We have to temper ourselves, to acknowledge that the mind is first to retreat when the body is still capable but to know when to put the kettlebell down and live to fight another day. That is the art.

I’ll be back soon with the recovery strategies I use including training strategies, rest, Qi Gong, mobility drills, supplementation and input from the people I turn to for advice and help to stay RESILIENT.

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About Rannoch Donald 6 Articles

Beginners Mind – Beginners Body

My name is Rannoch,(founder of Simple Strength – Beginner’s Mind, Beginner’s Body) a movement maverick with a lifetime’s interest in martial arts, movement, mindfulness, conditioning, strength, mobility and recovery which has led to a sustainable personal practice based on resiliency. I write about the things that interest me and the training and practice that reflects it. If it works for me it might just work for you. But ultimately, this is my own personal, ever evolving experiment. You need to find what works for you and share that with everyone. I am not a big fan of putting results and outcomes in the hands of others. No one can do the work for you, we all have access to the same basic tools, it’s up to each of us to get on with the process.

Science explains, Art expresses, Simple Strength attempts to create a bridge between the two. Only direct experience can show you what works.

My influences are broad and diverse, from East to West, high culture and low brow, hopefully keeping things free from dogma and kool aid. Please contribute, comment or email me on any of the above. We are all students, we are all teachers. If you have something you’d like to share on the blog just let me know.

As Scotland’s first RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor) I certified under Pavel Tsatsouline. My training took a radical turn when I had the good fortune to meet and work with Steve Cotter and Ken Balckburn from the IKFF, going to certify as an IKFF CKT Level 1 & Level 2 Fitness & Movement Dynamics and Kettlebell Teacher. Since then I have had the honour of learning some of the world’s best teachers as and coaches, including Pavel Tsatsouline, Steve Cotter, Mike Mahler, Erwan Le Corre, JC Santana, Alvaro Romano, Ken Blackburn, Mark Cheng, Jonathan Lewis and Scott Sonnon, all of whom inform my own training and practice in some way. Simple Strength and Kettlebells Scotland distills my own practices into something simple, scalable and effective to be used by anyone, young and old, men and women, athletes and amateurs alike.

It is a simple model…

Practice – Progression – Performance

Practice leads to progress, progress leads to performance. Performance is a rarefied place we visit now and again. It is the practice and subsequent progress that make performance possible. No one ever spent too much time on the basics and fundamentals, what George Leonard calls “Getting comfortable with the plateau”. Our ability to do simple things well lets us, in the words of Thomas Myers, – “adapt to the demands of our environment with ease and imagination”.

Movement, Mindfulness and Maintenance, that’s the mantra of Simple Strength.

Our workshops and community provide people with the tools and confidence to take charge of their own health and wellbeing, focussing on breath work, mobility, body-weight training, Kettlebells and a variety of challenging yet interesting tools. Simple Strength – For average people looking for exceptional results.

Simple Strength is responsible for the 100 Rep Challenge, a daily resource of training information, tips, drills and articles that encourages all of us, whatever our situation, to get a little movement in our day.

“Rannoch is a passionate fitness expert who has dedicated his life to helping people get physically and mentally fit, strong and healthy. He has explored many fitness, exercise and movement modalities to retain only the most effective and meaningful methods and approach. A top-notch coach who will skillfully and genuinely guide you in achieving your full physical and mental potential.” – Erwan Le Corre, Educator, Teacher and Founder of MovNat – www.movnat.com

“Rannoch’s energy, passion, work ethic and community spirit shine a bright light. When you need a teacher to show you the Way of the Kettlebell, look no further ” – Steve Cotter, Director, International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation – www.ikff.net

“Rannoch’s approach to improving movement and developing resilience is highly effective. As relevant and valuable to the sedentary man and woman as it is to those we might call “athletic”. A simple,progressive, purposeful, enjoyable, and habit forming approach: to breathe, to move, to explore, to be  mindful, to gain resilience.” – Jonathan Lewis, Director Balance Performance, Movement, Strength & Conditioning Coach –www.balancephysio.com

“In this world of internet experts that have done nothing of substance it is hard to find a man making a difference in his community and in the industry.  I’m happy to have met such a man in Rannoch Donald who brings his decades of experience in martial arts, strength and conditioning, coaching, and business, to his community and to the industry with style and determination. I speak from experience when I say that he’s one of a kind and a true coach and colleague!” – JC Santana – Institute of Human Performance –http://www.ihpfit.com

“Rannoch Donald is a consummate professional. Simple strength is a great resource for no nonsense training! I recommend it highly, Rannoch is a great trainer that knows exactly how to inspire others and bring out the best in them” – Mike Mahler, author of Live Life Aggressively! What Self-Help Gurus Should Be Telling You – www.aggressivestrength.com

“Simple Strength pulls away from standard conventional forms of exercise to effective, inspirational training. Rannoch is a man worth listening to” – Douglas jay, Fitness/rehab supervisor –www.thepolicetreatmentcentres.org

“Rannoch phoned me within minutes of emailing him out of the blue 5 years ago. I was in a plateau with training, mobility and thought processes to reach these goals. I was looking for something different but achievable.Something I could grasp , enjoy and use whilst teaching physical eduction. I must say Rannoch provided this – and more! Now a close friend and someone who I have no hesitation in contacting for some wisdom and well placed advice. If Rannoch doesn’t know, he knows someone who does!” – David Jenkins – Director / Owner Sports Therapy Scotland Ltd – www.sportstherapyscotland.co.uk/

“I went to see Rannoch to learn how to use Kettlebells as they were totally new to me. What I quickly realised was mobility was what I really needed to work on first. What you think you want to do is not always what you really need to be doing. I found this personalised approach really good for me and a refreshing change. I wish more people in the Industry were like Rannoch. Thanks for your help!” – Scott Taverner – Former All Natural Body Builder


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