Sunday, February 26, 2012

Better Than Nothing? Really?


OK, so here's the deal...  I am so freakin' crazy happy that I can do an "exercise" like the swing, not only can I "do" it, but I can "train" it, and I can realize an athletic potential that few people my age ever think they are capable of acheiveing mush less excelling at. ...and I'm not even taking into consideration my history of obesity or practically a lifetime of inactivity.... I've said it before and I'll say it again....I've written about it before and I'll write about it again...the kettelbell swing, the kettlebell ballistics, are the great equalizer!

I'm not trying to be down on any other kind of training or exercise BUT working in a fitness studio (and I experienced this at Equinox) and seeing all the crazy ass stuff that other people do makes me so appreciate how I train.  For starters, when I describe it as "crazy" I mean #1 dangerous, and #2 not effective for any real life application, much less effective at making any kind of visible physical changes before one gets discouraged and stops, #3 does not produce any, or very little, measurable progress as far as learning a skill that involves strength.

Sure, I acknowledge and appreciate the effort of anybody that gets their butt to a gym, fitness studio, yoga class, or follows any kind of physical pursuit, hobby, or sport, no matter what their current condition is.  And for those people that invest in hiring a trainer to help them, I say "bravo".  But it's not all good.  Should anyone be satisfied with "well, it's better than nothing"?  Not if it's dangerous and I see that kind of stuff all the time.  From deconditioned, weak, overweight, or down right elderly people asked to do side steps and step ups, to passing out in a Bikrams yoga class in the 104 degree heat, are these things better than nothing?  And just because you may be young (er) and not overweight is a burpee the best exercise to help you get in shape?  Do you know what kind of strength is involved in performing a "correct" and safe burpee?

To quote a Master RKC that I happen to know....."There is no bad exercises, it's when exercise is are performed badly.  You should be qualified to perform an exercise because you've progressively worked toward the skill." 

Knowing what I know, having been where I've been, when I see the effort people are willing and committed to putting in, all I want is for them is to actually see, and feel a pay off....and I know that training the kettlebell swing will give them that.

OK, enough already.  We all find our own way.  I've found mine.  I can walk right by all the fancy smancy equipment, straight to the kettlebells.  All I need is in one cast iron weight with a handle.  I don't have to settle for anything that is "better than nothing".


Hanneke said...

Good post! And very true. I don't train at a gym but am going to a gym on a regular basis for work (not to train). I observe the same things you do and it keeps me so appreciative for what I am doing.
I do thing though that many people who train are not well informed. Also a lot of people don't stick with anything, they constantly are running around in circles in the diet/exercise world but never get anywhere....

Mark Reifkind said...

people usually love to constantly change the exercises and protocols because then they don't have to deal with the fact that they are not making progress.

if you change the game every single time out how to do you know you are getting better? Or worse.

Of course it is their trainers job but they(most) shirk the issue too.

"clients" are not a special sub species of human. they are us and respond to exercise and rest the same as an Olympic athlete. They don't need different training just progressive,logical and safe training.

Mark Reifkind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

You already know my love and devotion towards the kettlebell...but it's true what you say. My training for triathlons and marathons is what it is because of my kettlebell training. I also consider my "bitches" the number one tool to use to get ready for anything I chose to do! I, however, think that I'm so hooked on it because of the "mental" benefit I get from it. Sure it's great for the physical look at my body, but damn...what throwing heavy shit around does for the mind is the best!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I really don't think most people realize how easy it is to get injured. And I think the biggest problem most personal trainers face is one they don't even know that they have, and that's knowing how easy it is for most people to get injured!

Most PT's are young (er) and have an athletic background therefore they can't imagine how "hard" it is for most people to do an exercise correctly.

Tracy Reifkind said...


No one has a way with words quite like you do!

guy said...

I have to say, that Pavel, MRKC Mark Reifkind, and RKC Tracy Reifkind have been my biggest fitness influences since 2003 respectively. Train smart, train don't strain, take time to recover, get enough sleep, cook my own meals, after training I should feel strong enough to fight, Etc.

I can't count the ammount of great advice, I have gotten from you guys over the years, many thanks and bless you!

Tracy Reifkind said...


I can't believe that it was an accident or coincidence that I ended up marrying Mark. Through writing my book and looking back at my life it became obvious that we were meant to be together.

I always say that when it comes to training, the words that come out of my mouth came out of Marks first! Of course my experiences meld with Marks, and my training methods are my own, but I built them based on being around him and so many lifters and athletes. We don't agree on everything (surprise), but we make a great team!

Mark Reifkind said...

we do indeed my love, we do indeed :))