Crawling is Awesome!

I am currently training for an advanced kettlebell certification and my biannual recertification. My coach has integrated something very simple, yet unusual by current standards, into my training program —crawling.  Yes, crawling.  Something all of us have done, albeit a long time ago, when we were infants and toddlers. Something all of us, no matter our age or current fitness level, should be doing every day.

I have some observations on crawling after doing it as part of a dedicated training regime for the past several weeks. A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany on the awesomeness of crawling.

I have measured out the longest distance in the gym where I train – 15 yards. This is where I crawl. Interestingly, it is right behind the line of treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bicycles. So far, no one has stepped on or collided with me when they get off the machines.

On this particular day – my hard-core crawling day — I leopard crawled (on hands and feet, eyes looking forward, chest up and butt down).  Here’s what I did:

10 sets of 45 yard reps for a total of 450 yards

(1 rep is 15 yards forward + 15 yards backward + 15 yards forward without stopping.  In between reps I rest by walking forward + backward + forward the same distance.)

I did this in 24 minutes, which is equivalent to my current 5K PR (23:56—about 7:30 min/mi pace) set two years ago. So I crawled 450 yards (total)—a quarter mile—in the same amount of time it takes me to run a 5K. I can tell you that comparing the two activities, my body has worked harder (frankly it felt the equivalent of running over 5 miles instead of 3.1 miles). To me, the benefits of crawling far supersede those of running: my entire body is involved; by default I utilize/need more mental focus and it is apparent that my mind and body are working synergistically; my joints are used in a non-threatening, low-impact way; the level of conditioning of my cardiovascular system is at least as intense, but I recover quicker; and the best part, after I’m done when I take off my T-shirt I really look buff (no, I do not do that in the gym in front of everyone; it’s in the locker room before I shower).

Another thing I notice—I feel happy (elated is a bit more accurate) after I crawl like this. It’s different and a better more natural feeling than an “endorphin rush”. It’s a bit hard to describe, but I definitely have more mental and emotional fortitude to deal with the rest of the day at my “day job” in an office. Seriously, it’s a challenge to be sure, but I really enjoy crawling. It’s a classic “love/hate” thing that I really look forward to now.

In fact, I enjoy crawling so much that I have been doing it on my “rest” days. Last week I decided to see how far I could go without stopping. My goal was 150 yards. I was at home and it was an unusually lovely day for Washington, DC in July.

I crawled 160 yards without stopping! It wasn’t easy; in fact I would say that it was an all-out 10 out of 10 effort. After I passed the 100 yard mark my thighs were burning and I was breathing heavy, but thanks to my awesome wife, who gave me encouragement all along the way I pushed (crawled) through the physical and most important for me, mental hump and crawled another 60 yards until I stopped.

Crawling is awesome!

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What if

What if you knew you couldn’t fail?  What if you knew for sure that this time, this would really work, that you would finally be successful?  What if you chose to be brave?  What if you didn’t let fear overtake you?  What if you believed in yourself?  What if you didn’t fear failure?  What if you didn’t fear success?  Yes, success.

There’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes with achieving success, reaching a goal.  If we don’t reach that finish line, we still have an out that not becoming successful affords us.  Reaching the goal, achieving success, we have to live up to ourselves.  We have to keep on being successful, keep on achieving.  And that can be a very scary thing to some of us.  “Jeez Louise, accomplishing this seemingly monumental goal is scary enough, but once I do, you mean I’m gonna have to do it all over again???  And something even bigger and better and even scarier???  Um, no.  No thank you.  I think I’ll stay where I am, thank you very much – even though I’m miserable.”

Think about that.  Does this sound familiar?  Is the fear of being successful, of being accountable to your future self holding you back?  Instead of letting fear hold you back from an awesome life, what if

  • you trust yourself
  • you choose to be brave
  • you live joyfully
  • you are grateful
  • you believe in yourself
  • you build upon the seemingly small successes that achieve each day
  • you live with determination
  • you stand up for yourself

What if you take the time to dream about what you really, truly want for yourself?  What will your life be like?

Share your thoughts with us!  We are here to help you live the sisu way:  with determination, character, strength of will, perseverance and courage.

Michael

Michael owning the bottoms up

Growing up, I wasn’t very athletic, at least in the traditional sense. In grammar school I was usually the last to be picked for a team. In high school, I was the kid who always raised his hand first, sat in the front, and walked around with an armload of books (I guess I was weight training and didn’t realize it). I got on the cross-country team because there weren’t any tryouts, and I figured I knew how to run—little did I know that running over three miles at a time was not quite the same as running away to hide playing a game of kick the can.

As an adult, I considered myself one of those people with a “fast metabolism” that could eat anything he wanted and not gain any weight. So I really didn’t exercise much, other than roller skating at the local roller rink once a week depending on where I lived. About 10 years ago I began to realize that I didn’t have the “fast metabolism” like I used to. It probably had nothing to do with an essentially sedentary lifestyle, a desk job and stress with the desk job… Then about five years ago, I had gained about 40 pounds—my trousers didn’t fit, my belts were too small, my shirts were a bit tight around my stomach.

I had “exercised” off and on; I had some dumbbells and a barbell that I used every now and then, I bought a push-up gizmo and a pull-up gizmo and an “extreme” program, but I never stuck with anything. I always had an excuse to put it off—too tired, too late after work, got something else to do, it’s boring, it’s too much work to work out, I really don’t look that bad anyway.

In April 2010, Karen started an online kettlebell and nutrition program. At the time I thought kettlebells were “for women” so I paid no attention. I figured it couldn’t hurt to change the way I ate so I started the nutrition program in May. I lost about 10 pounds in a month, just eating better. What a concept. Gradually, Karen convinced me to give a kettlebell workout a try (in the way that a loving wife convinces her husband to do what’s really good for him when he thinks he knows it all and resists her in every way). On June 21, 2010 I picked up my first kettlebell and I haven’t stopped training with them since. I am stronger, leaner and have more endurance. I truly feel good about how I look and feel—not only on the outside, but more important, on the inside as well.

I enjoyed training with kettlebells so much that I decided to certify as a Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) instructor. I made the decision with trepidation, as the certification is three days of physical and mental endurance and strength. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finally do something athletic, something physically demanding that was well above average. I passed the certification in May 2011, about a year after I decided to get myself fit and healthy and about ten months after I first picked up a kettlebell. For me personally, it is an understatement to say that was a life changing experience. Indeed, it was a life defining experience. Being healthy and fit is a lifestyle for me.

Better yet, Karen and I are doing this together. We certified together, we train together, and we train others together.