Weekly News: Coach Caleb’s Corner – Accomplish “x” without letting “y&

Weekly News: Coach Caleb’s Corner – Accomplish “x” without letting “y” get in your way, and without being afraid of “z”


  1. We will be back at our booth at the Concerts on the Green at Warner Center Park for the next 3 Sundays, starting this Sunday, August 2nd. Bring a friend by the booth and say hello!

Sunday 8/2: 6pm-8pm – The Modern Gentlemen (Music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons) Sunday 8/16: 6pm-8pm – Hollywood U2 & Queen Nation Sunday 8/30: 6pm-8pm – Mr. Speed (Tribute to Kiss)

Located at 5800 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91364. For more information about the Concerts on the Green, click here.


Coach Caleb’s Corner – Accomplish “x” without letting “y” get in your way, and without being afraid of “z”

As a strength and fitness professional of several years now, I talk to a lot of people about training. I get asked a lot of questions about everything from lifting iron to martial arts, and I ask my mentors a lot of questions on these topics too. I love these questions. I love discussing the merits of various training programs and methodologies with my peers in the industry. I love answering questions from new, shining-faced trainees about to embark on this awesome journey of self-improvement, and I get really excited to check out innovations in new equipment. Some topics inevitably come up more often than others, however, and there’s a particular phrasing I’ve been hearing with an alarming frequency that might sound familiar to our dear readers. I don’t love answering this type of question: “Coach, how do I accomplish “x”, when I can’t do “y” and I absolutely won’t do “z.” (That last letter is pronounced, “zed” by the way, if like me, you had the dubious pleasure to be raised in the Great White North! Great place, terrible weather.) I doubt that any of us can honestly say we’ve never phrased a training question this way. “How do I learn to press “The Beast” kettlebell, when I can’t do high volume presses due to a shoulder injury and I won’t do corrective exercise … because it’s boring… and it hurts!” Or: “How do I get really good at Jeet Kune Do, when I can’t make it to class regularly, and I simply won’t practice drills on my own.” Here’s another one, “How do I shed the beer belly when I can’t fit any more training sessions into my schedule and I won’t stop eating the stuff I like to eat… as often as I think I should be able to eat it… and still see results.” Years ago I asked my mentor in all things strength, Pavel Tsatsouline, how I might have an easier time of it with the dreaded kettlebell snatch test. For those of you who might not know, in order for us guys to maintain our StrongFirst Instructor credential, we are required to snatch a 24KG kettlebell for 100 glorious reps in under 5 short minutes. The test is never all that fun, but I was hoping for some advice on how to make it feel just a bit less awful. At the time I weighed-in at a whopping 142lbs and thought that was cool for some reason, and was very focused on training in Thai Boxing, BJJ, Kali and JKD. I must have said something like, “How do I get stronger at the kettlebell snatch, when I can’t slow down my aggressive martial arts training schedule and I won’t make a concerted effort to add some muscle mass to my scrawny self.” Pavel stared at me for a moment, as if he was waiting for the punchline of a joke. When it didn’t come, he simply stated, “When you’re shooting at too many targets, they’re much harder to hit. If getting better at snatching is the goal, then do what needs to be done to hit that target first, then focus on the next one, and so on.” I doubt he loved answering this question too. So I guess that meant I had to be patient or something. Yeah, patience, how long does that take to learn? Can I get that down by Wednesday? It also meant I had to focus-up. On snatching kettlebells. But then there was that three day Muay Thai camp coming up… and I should be able to make it back just in time to quickly prep for that stick fighting tournament… so focus…neat concept. First I had to ask myself, why I had decided I wouldn’t add some muscle. The answer was that I was afraid I would feel fat and it would slow me down and that I’d have to sacrifice some of my martial arts training intensity to do it. I was also afraid of doing high-repetition snatches because, well, they’re hard. I was wrong, of course. Following good programming was fun, and getting stronger made me faster and allowed me to train more intensely when I wanted more intensity. Next, I knew that because I was coaching martial arts a lot, and I wanted to be a great coach, I couldn’t adjust my training schedule. What I could do was adjust the intensity of my training within that schedule. This made my training sessions much more focused on different aspects of my game and less about an all-out, slug fest, type of effort. In the end I realigned my priorities and hit my targets without having to make any crazy sacrifices. It was surprisingly simple, but certainly not easy. Now when I find myself phrasing a training question like: “how do I get ‘x’, when I can’t do ‘y’ and won’t do ‘z,”, I hit the brakes. The usual reason we won’t do something is fear. Get over it and face up to it. Then, if there truly is some component that actually can’t be done for some reason, focus on what can be done instead. By getting over the fear of the discomfort associated with making a change, and focusing on what can be done right now, it’s surprisingly simple (but not easy) to prioritize the goal and hit the intended target. At least that’s one way of accomplishing “x;” stop letting “y” get in your way and get over the fear of doing “z” (zed).

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