How Goldilocks learned to love the burn

P1050894-246x300In the interests of simplicity and sustainability there is a model you can use to get and keep your practice consistent. We could get technical. We could “undulate” and “wave”. We could prioritise, periodize, focus on mass, endurance, power, fat loss. Or we could simply get consistent with a general routine that will let us intelligently focus on specifics once a base line of fitness is established.

It goes like this…

Choose a selection of whole body moves. No isolation. You have 600 hundred muscles. Believe me, it’s easier to train the body as the integrated creature it is. Your are much more than the sum of the parts. Isolation is useful when you have a formidable base to build from or a particular weakness to address.

We push, we pull, we squat, we bend, we lunge, we twist. Everything you do in terms of building a foundation should reflect the natural requirements of our daily lives.

Each session should address two or more of these movements. Pull ups work well with squats. Push ups with lunges. Train two movements back to back and you have yourself a workout.

Start with the biggest move first. If you are not sure which is which, start with the one you like least!

Now, back to Goldilocks. Simply put together three workouts over the week. You will perform these with a day or two rest in between.

The first workout of the week will be easy. Cold porridge. This session is all technique. Pure focus on perfect movement. An ego less session dedicated to hard wiring superior form. This session should leave you feeling like you can keep going, easily.

The second session is hard. Grisly bear hard. Scalding. You will push yourself. Even if you just work two moves back to back, it will be tough. You are in the driving seat. You know it’s hard. You know that whining lizard brain will try and get you to quit before the body has had enough. You will abide. You only train at this intensity once a week, so make it count. This session should leave you happy to put the weight down and get horizontal. Look for a bed that’s “just right”.

The third session is about finding the sweet spot. Here you use a challenging weight/rep count but you keep gas in the tank. As soon as form breaks, stop. Catch your breath and go again. Leave a couple of reps on the table. Thirty minutes after this session you could go again. You might not want to but you could.

Goldilocks might seem really simple. That’s because it is. I previously wrote  about 100 Reps . Do those on the days inbetween.

By Adding Goldilocks to the Simple Strenth 100 Reps scheme you are starting to create a sustainable, scalable routine that will keep you improving for months to come.  Once that baseline of fitness and superior movement is established, then you can start considering how to mix things up. Chances are it wont even be necessary. Your ability to self regulate your training will produce consistent gains, some small, some substantial but all of them earned.

Three Sessions a week – Easy – Hard – Optimal

Whole Body Moves – Push, Pull, Lunge, Bend, Squat, Twist

100 Reps on the Days In Between


And remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to sweat…

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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 –

“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 –

“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 –

“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 –

“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 –

“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 –

“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 –

“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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