Six Months in, some thanks…

I posted this to the Dragondoor Forums. Crossposted here. It applies to all my friends.

At the end of last summer, I had been dieting (not heavily, but watching what I ate) for about 4 years. I had dropped from 240 pounds to 225 pounds. But I wasn’t exercising. I had been able to make it to the Club to work out once in a while, but my lack of progress, tight schedule, and tendency to get hurt made it easy to give up. So I just stayed skinny-fat, not too heavy, but no muscle.

In August, one of my wife’s friends was getting rid of some workout equipment, a bench, some plate, an EZ curl bar and an Olympic bar. With some encouragement from my wife, I took the easy chair out of my office and put the weights in there. Now, I could at least do something at home. I started gathering some notes on how to workout, and made a basic routine. Curling a 35 pound bar for reps was a real challenge. I couldn’t do proper situps or pushups. But I was doing something.

A few weeks later, as I was looking around the internet for more information, and came across the Gym Jones website, where they discussed the training program used by the actors in the film 300. I had seen a lot of discussion of training for the film 300 as an ideal workout, with lots of places taking credit, but Gym Jones had photos of the actors working out, listed their entire workout schedule, and talked about the whole experience. They didn’t list anything magic, they simply credited it all to hard work. And looking at what they were doing, they really meant hard work.

This quote really had an impact:

“go to your local gym and see what passes for work. Even the people engaged in bodybuilding efforts or performing (and I mean “performing” in the sense of acting) short, high intensity cross-training circuits aren’t doing anything meaningful. Watch how people eat while they are in the gym, rushing to swill the latest greatest 500-calorie recovery drink within a 20-minute post-training window after burning a whopping 300 calories on an elliptical machine. This will give you a clue about how they eat when no one is watching and you’ll know everything you need to know about why they can’t “come close” to having a memorable physique (often their stated goal).”

That sounded just like me when I went to the gym. When I kept getting hurt with few results, then I’d give up. My diet was better, but still not good enough.

So I tightened up my diet, cut out more junk, and looked at how to improve my workout. Mentioned in one of the Gym Jones sessions was training in Kettlebells from someone called an “RKC”.

A little more looking and I came across someone who went by the moniker “MC” She reviewed a whole bunch of fitness stuff on her site, including P90x (which my wife was trying) and a book called “Enter the Kettlebell”

I followed her recommendation (and links) over to Dragondoor. Looking around I decided to take a risk and buy the book from my local bookstore, and get a 16KG kettlebell. I started with the Program Minimum…

It has been six months.

I am down to 215 pounds, went from 24% bodyfat to 19%. I now have four kettlebells (12, 16, 20, 24 KG) I have 9 Dragondoor books, and am currently following ETK+ from Pavel’s MILO article. I tweaked my elbow during this time and from the feedback knew to stop in time before getting seriously hurt, what kind of help to seek, and how to stick with rehab until I regained my strength. Through the instruction on the forums I found the errors in my form, corrected it, and am pain-free, and getting stronger.

– I have single arm pressed a 28 KG kettlebell (goal: 1/2 bodyweight)

– I have hit 90 snatches in 5 minutes with a 20 KG bell (goal: 100 in 5 min with a 24KG, then 200 in 10 minutes)

– I am 40 and am literally stronger and healthier than I was 20 years ago.

So, thanks.

Thanks to Pavel, MC, Jordan Venzia, David Whitley, and everyone on the Dragondoor boards. I really can’t express how good it is to change, and you helped me do it.

Thanks to my wife Yulia for putting up with this madness and these cannonballs on the floor

And thanks to Mark Twight at Gym Jones for the following quote:

“those guys worked really hard and had the self-discipline to control what they put into their mouths.””

Really, that’s all it takes. If you are willing. And if you have the support.

Thanks to you all for the support.

–Mark Hancheroff