Question Everything!


“ The sooner a man begins to verify all he hears the better it is for him…
Accept nothing you cannot verify for yourself.”
-G.I. Gurdjieff

The fires rage and burn. People like to go down with their dogma, all flames and gnashing of teeth. But personal experience is earned. Simply parroting what someone else says doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean it applies to you.

If you are not an athlete why would you train like one? Don’t get me wrong, those at the cutting edge can share their hard won findings and some of that stuff applies. But we are fixated on the achievements of others. It’s great to watch those who have dedicated their lives to excellence in a given field. But they are not barometers for our success. Athletes live on a  knife edge, they measure success in millimetres and micro seconds. They walk a path between peak performance and injury. That is the price of sporting excellence. For those of us in the real world the rules of engagement are not the same.

The sacrifice involved to perform at the highest level is simply beyond the scope of the average person. And if that average person is looking for exceptional results, training like Lance or GSP or Federer wont improve their game.

You need to work hard and smart, you need to  work with what you’ve got, consistently.

The next time someone offers you the 5 best ways to do something, the number One thing you are not doing that will help you succeed, or the top seven things everyone should do if they want to achieve…you know the stuff I am talking about, ask what’s behind the quick fix. Chances are they are only telling you what you want to hear just long enough to sell you something.

Sit back and ask some questions of your own.

Success leaves clues, it also leaves great big whopping billboards.

Just get on with it. Stop listing everything, making notes and re-arranging your training schedule. Stop itemising your life. Stop believing that the perfect program, diet or system is just around the corner. Focus on the things you need to do to get the results you want. I bet that list is damn short.

The Yale University Class of 1953 study, you know the one, how 3% of students with written goals for the future had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined. It’s a myth. Never happened. Nice idea perhaps but simply not true. Someone wanted us to believe in the fairy tale. Make a wish. Sure, make a wish but do it whilst pushing half your body weight over your head.

Why do I mention this? Because you can write out your goal list as often as you want, but if that list is incongruent with your actions then you might as well cross your fingers, close your eyes and wait for the Ab fairy to come.

Question everything, including the feel good stories designed to shield us from the reality of simply being and doing.

100 Reps starting now…

5 x Pull ups, 20 x push ups for four rounds. A simple start to getting things done…

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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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