Life Is Like Kettlebell Training

by Josh Hanagarne on December 20, 2009

This is a guest post from my friend Oscar Del Ben from Freestylemind. Oscar isn’t quite as crazy about kettlebells as I am, but I am working hard to change that. Enjoy!

Oscar Del Ben

By Oscar Del Ben

I started playing with kettlebells less than one year ago. I saw them used by many athletes and Crossfitters, so I decided to give them a try.

If you are new to kettlebells, this tool is essentially an iron ball with a handle at the top. You can do many exercises with them and expect great results in a relatively short amount of time.

When my kettlebell was delivered to my home, I was excited to give it a try, only to find that training with kettlebells is really tough.

Then one day I thought, kettlebell routines are like real life. Real life is hard, rich with surprises and emotions, but you need to play it hard if you want to get the most out of it.

So how can we compare kettlebell to life and what can we learn from it?  Here’s what I think are the most important lessons I got from using them.

Push yourself constantly or remain behind

You have to constantly work on pushing your limits and reinforce your values. One way to push your limits is by practicing a new habit for 30 days. For example you might choose to wake up at 5 every morning for one month to see what happens. Or you could also try eating vegan and see how you feel.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to continue after the 30 days, unless of course you want to. Practicing new habits is important if you are trying new things that are outside of your comfort zone, as you’ll learn ton of new things by direct experiences.

Cheating is for losers

Before using my kettlebell for the first time, I thought it was easy to handle it, because I was already familiar with barbells. It took me only a training session to learn that training with them is hard. On the same line, you can’t really look for the quick fix in life. Even if you win the lottery today, that doesn’t mean you will be happy forever.

Quick fixes produce quick happiness, but happiness is going to leave as quickly as it came. Successful people know this and they work hard to build their empire by taking the right amount of time and doing things the right way.

Doing more does not mean achieving more

When I train with kettlebells, I know I only need to do a few repetitions. Great results can be achieved by doing less, if you just do the right stuff. When I write about productivity, I always remind that it doesn’t matter if you spend all your day responding to emails and making calls, as those are probably not the most important things you could do to achieve your goal. Focus on what provides the most result, and procrastinate on low value activities.

You still have to rest sometimes

If I train every day, chances are that I’ll become sick after a few weeks. If I always run fast in life and I don’t take proper rest, I become nervous, and if I continue to work hard every day and every minute I’ll become sick again. That’s why I like to sleep at least 8 hours per night and take a break every few days.

When I bought my kettlebell, I didn’t know it would have taught me so many things and at the same time provide a really tough workout. It was definitely something worth trying.

About The Author: Oscar Del Ben writes about productivity, personal development and lifestyle at FreestyleMind. Please check out his website and subscribe to his RSS Feed.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Oscar - freestyle mind December 20, 2009 at 2:20 am

Thanks Josh for giving me the opportunity to write for your blog!

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Zoli Cserei December 20, 2009 at 2:49 am

Oscar,

glad to see your guest posts up one-by-one. I have my opinion on “life is like …” and “By doing *this or that*, you’ll learn a lot about life” articles. I believe that doing anything will teach you a lot about life if done consciously, and everything (since it’s a “child element” of it) can be compared to life itself. But this is just me, for thousands of others these are very good headlines. And as you can see, it motivates the cynic like me to comment, too :)

Apart from my cynicism regarding the headline, I believe you took the examples really cleverly. These could all be stock phrases, but it looks like you gave them a unique touch (especially with “cheating is for losers”)

All in all, I think this is a nice article :)

Best,
Zoli

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Oscar - freestyle mind December 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Hey Zoli, thanks for the feedback about the headline.

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Henri December 20, 2009 at 7:02 am

Nice to see you here, Oscar! I’ve actually never even touched a kettlebell. I think I may have to start in the future when you and Josh are raving so much about them ;) .

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Srinivas Rao December 20, 2009 at 9:53 am

Oscar,

Great post with alot of very valuable lessons here. The 30 days to develop a habit is something really important. I think that alot people get to that 30 day mark for example and don’t push past it because they don’t see their result from something (i.e. affirmations,kettlebell, etc.) That’s a big mistake because that’s one of the times when you’ll make the most progress.

Cheating is one of those things like taking shortcuts because in the long run it leads to more work. I like the more is not better piece because it’s quality over quantity that will always produce better results.

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Armen Shirvanian December 20, 2009 at 11:30 am

Hey Oscar.

You sure are right about cheating. When I thought I was cheating in some way, and doing great, I was actually missing the concept. You tell this to a young person, and they might think you are just keeping them from the rewards of cheating, but when you tell it to an adult, they understand the message.

Doing more is sometimes a cover-up for not achieving more. It can only last for so long. It is a good thing when we separate the two, as we can see what gets us further down the road.

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Emily Jane December 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm

What an awesome post. I started the “new habit” thing this year and tried REALLY pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to get to where I wanted to be. And it was hellishly tough – but when you regularly make an effort at something and quit taking the easy route, the places you’ll go and how much you’ll grow, even in a period of 30 days, can be astonishing. I’m definitely heading over to read your blog!

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Philippe Til December 21, 2009 at 12:03 am

I have to add that you really need 90 days to truly develop a habit. I’ve noticed that with clients, that when they train or follow something for 90 days, the habit is engrained in their brains, whereas most people tend to quit after 30 days (which is why I never train anyone for less than 2 months, because sometimes, 30 days produces results not visible enough). You seem to all have discipline, which makes you leaders of the pack. You acted your way into proper thinking, so now you just think your way into proper actions!

However, I have to commend you on training with kettlebells! I was introduced to them “properly” in May 2008 (by myself before that. Mistake, but it led to the right path) and the evolution of my training, as a coach as practitioner allowed me to better understand the movements required in “kettlebelling”

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Todd December 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Nice article, Oscar. You made some great points.

I need to get a kettlebell for home. I miss training with them.

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