I wanted to write this epic, thought provoking, emotional article about kettlebell sport that would attract people to the sport, and I am not sure if this article will achieve my desired effect, but I am going to try. Kettlebell sport fits me and it fits my personality, if you know me personally then you know I speak the truth and I tell people how it is, whether they want to hear it or not. Everyone needs to hear the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.
Kettlebell sport is not for everyone, not everyone is mentally tough enough to compete. Yes kettlebells are one of the greatest tools that anyone can use for strength and conditioning, but when it comes to training to compete, it’s just not for the weak minded. That’s the truth. Now most people can train to compete at a beginner level, guys on 16kg and ladies on 8kg or 12kg, but moving past that beginner weight is where the struggle begins and the mentally weak drop off. And kettlebell sport is a great way for fitness enthusiasts to add a new dimension to their training, just for fun, to get stronger and improve their endurance, but training to compete is a whole ‘nother ball game.
I have talked with many people in the sport and they all say we need to promote the sport in a light that attracts more people, by not telling them about ripping your hands up, are the number of years it takes to move up to the pro class, or how long our workouts are, or how hard it really is to push ten minutes as hard as you can go. People have told me we need to promote the sport more positively and tell people how fun and amazing it is. I’m sorry, I can’t just blatantly lie to people or cover up the truth, this sport is hard, it is technical, it requires massive focus, massive amounts of time, years of dedication, it requires working on technique and strength and endurance. Yes it is fun! In a very sick kind of way. If you love hard work and thinking about how to move your body more efficiently, then it is fun. But the truth is, most people want mindless workouts, most people just want to sweat for 30 to 60 minutes without having to think too much or really be pushed to their true limits, mentally or physically. If you think orange theory and soul cycle are great workouts then I am willing to bet kettlebell sport is not for you. If you cannot focus on doing one thing repeatedly for more than 1:00 and trying to do perfectly each movement, then kettlebell sport is probably not for you.
The amazing thing about kettlebell sport is in the process, once you have trained and competed on 16kg you can move up to 20kg, and then on to 24kg, and this is where a whole new world opens up, you can compete internationally at several different world championship events! This process of going through these steps usually takes a couple years, and this is where the magic happens, this is where people get mentally stronger. You learn to deal with pain and you learn to deal with setbacks, you also learn how to look at yourself and how you move and figure out how to move better, and you learn that it isn’t about you versus all the other lifters out there, it’s about you versus you. Once you learn to focus on yourself and developing your own style, this is where more magic happens, this is where you really progress in the sport. Week after week, month after month, small victories, a time PR here and a rep PR there, and then you set a goal to hit at a competition and you bust your ass to hit that goal. You go step on the platform and you put all that hard work in to ten minutes of heart pounding agony. And here is the payoff…it isn’t money…it isn’t a trophy or a medal…it isn’t a cool prize…the payoff is the experience you gained during that ten minutes and what you learned about pushing yourself…the payoff is you are now mentally stronger than you were yesterday. The greatest reward in kettlebell sport is the mental strength you get during the process of training and going to compete. It will change you, it will change your life and how you look at life and how you view challenges in life. You will learn to break down large challenges to little pieces and push yourself through those challenges step by step.
People always hear about our workouts and our training, and then they hear about what a kettlebell sport competition involves, and most of them say hell no, not for me, do what for ten minutes, nope. And while I know I have made this sport and the training involved sound awful and grueling and painful…which is partly true…it is also fun and seriously one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I have developed as an athlete and as a coach, I have become stronger both mentally and physically, I have become faster, and I have made some of the most amazing friends all over the world. If you are even just a little interested in this amazing sport please contact me or any other coach in the sport and start training, the rewards are by far greater than you could imagine.