Week 32

Although it would be dramatic in the extreme to say that I feel like my body, my shoulder in particular, is breaking down due to the repetitive motion of over 65,000 kettlebell swings in the last 8 months I am a bit of a drama queen. So with that in mind I do feel like I am damaging things. The deltoid and possibly rotator cuff in my right shoulder are sore, they creak like a rusty door and crunch like a big bag of crisps (chips for my US friends). 

I have had a little therapy thanks to my partner. I have used industrial quantities of Tiger Balm and Deep Heat (my apartment smells so nice, albeit a little eye watering). I try to stretch but I’m not a good stretcher, it’s a big failing for me. So I have decided to try some supplements. I have always been resistant to the idea. I’m a sucker for stories of undigested tablets in the New York sewer system, tales of supplements basically making my pee more expensive than Patron or Chivas. However, I am aware that Magnesium is good for muscle soreness and Glucosamine is good for the joints so I have chosen to conduct a 20 day experiment with Voost soluble supplements. 

20 days because there are 20 tablets in a tube. The down side is limited to the $25-30 that the tablets cost. The upside is unlimited. If nothing else the experiment will force me to drink a pint of water every morning which is another one of my self care black-spots. The experiment is not scientific, is totally self reported, will be swayed by placebo/nocebo effects, has a statistical sample of one. Maybe calling it an experiment is slightly pompous but guess feels less positive. 

So here’s to a combination of chemistry and faith. Bottoms up!!

Week 31

Sometimes life gives you lemons, lemon tart plus gin and tonic with a nice slice of lemon. This week I’ve been travelling for work again. In the past this has been a massive issue for me. I’ve had to skip days, borrow gym memberships, sign up for free trials and one time, use a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell (not recommended). This time it was different.

This time I found a hotel that actually had kettlebells. A 12kg and a 6kg but it was better than nothing. The 12kg wasn’t big enough to push me with sets of 50 two handed swings so I had to adapt. I’d recently become fascinated, or more likely hypnotised, by instagrammers performing kettlebell flow moves, a type of movement somewhere between brute strength and ballet. Juggling the bell from hand to hand smoothly and poetically like a dance with a giant lump of metal. While I didn’t manage any pretty moves it did remind me that one arm swings were an option for me. And because 50 one arm swings is a bit of a chore I made sure to change hands, smoothly, like a steel swinging Rudolf Nureyev.

Business hotels, and business hotel gyms, are not designed for a good work out but once in a while luck smiles on us. This time the luck was with me. When you need it, I hope the luck is with you too.

Week 30, Month7

I actually completed month 7 during week 29 but I didn’t check my weight. Coming fresh off two weeks vacation and halfway through a week on the road with my new job I thought I’d spare my blushes and just wait until the end of August to check.

When I was naive enough to start the challenge I didn’t even ask myself if I was likely to finish it. Now when I look back at the last 30 weeks I’m slightly shocked at how well I’ve stuck to it. I have had plenty of reasons to stop, injury, personal distractions, a new job, travel, boredom, to nem but a few. Regularly posting on Instagram and Facebook plus writing this blog has kept me accountable to an invisible, and probably mostly imagined, crowd.

I am good at throwing myself into short term challenges, Movember, dry January etc but a long term discipline has never been something I’ve stuck to. I believe that I’m developing that harder edge and the ability to keep coming back. The future will bring new challenges, chosen and imposed, and the 100,000 swings will have toughened my resolve to shoulder them all.

Week 29

Two weeks of blissful holiday. Flying halfway around the world and squeezing in every possible minute with friends and family. On the face of it it should be exhausting but to be honest it really filled my batteries back up. I’ve written about it before but I’ll say it again, rest is really highly underrated.

The down side of this of course is that I chose not to do swings for two weeks. The break helped my shoulder to heal. It also perked up my enthusiasm for the challenge. It does mean that I am 4,000 swings behind schedule though.

Before the break I was trying to decide on the next “level” of swings, whether or not I should increase the weight to 20kg. So as luck has it (and I seem to be lucky at the moment) the break presents me with the answer. Moving from 400 swings per day to 500 for the next 8 weeks will bring be back on track. With another trip planned in November (Japan by the way, I’m so excited), if I stretch this to 12 weeks I’ll be close to the finish line and on schedule.

So here’s to good timing and flexible planning 😉