Comparing Kettlebell Lifters - Apples Versus Oranges

For the last two years I've been shouting from the rooftops about the benefits of kettlebell lifting. It's true that when an average man or woman gives real kettlebell lifting a go, extreme transformation can occur. By real kettlebell lifting I'm referring to timed sets with specific technique.

It's also a fact that when a preconditioned or gifted athlete approaches kettlebell training in the best way possible, his or her progress (as defined by what the athlete can do on the kettlebell platform as well as on the playing field and fire-ground) soars.

But when comparing these two people, it's like pitting apples against oranges!

Average Joe, my apple in this example, may have played sports as a kid, but that's a few years behind him. Except for some softball on the weekends, he's basically sedentary. He could be 25, 30, even 35 years old, but strength/endurance-wise, he's barely able to squeak out five or ten push ups. He can't run a mile, and he's dragging about 25 or 30 extra pounds that slows him down like a lead suit. Our friend is just a typical young person... an average Joe. The difference is he wants to be a firefighter and finds me for help. He doesn't care about kettlebells, competitions, comparisons, or anything but passing his upcoming test.

Let's take a peak at the average non-firefighter that I regularly train. Maybe he's a bit older and seeks out a trainer just to get rid of that 30-pound spare tire he's packed on over the last 10 or 15 years. Exercise, of any kind, is a distant memory - maybe something from gym class that haunts the far reaches of his overworked mind. Though he's concerned with strength and stamina, he really just wants to look and feel good, take his shirt off at the beach, and be able to make it through the day without collapsing. I've used two male examples, but both could have been women.

Now let's examine our rather rare oranges. I only use the term rare to emphasize the uniqueness of any individual that manages to stay fit and strong all their lives (at least in our society). We admire these amateur athletes, and rightfully so. These individuals work at being who they are, and don't just go with the default version of the typical American body, molded by an automated, technologically advanced society - or in simpler terms, they're not lazy.

I've presented a simple, but classic case of apples versus oranges. Of course both examples are from either end of the spectrum, while in reality, most people fall somewhere in between. My personal experience with hundreds of students is that there are few oranges and lots of apples out there. Most people fall into the trap of educating their minds only, getting caught up in working hard, earning money, without much attention to really building their bodies and staying healthy.

The point of my comparison is that there should be no comparison - at least from person to person. It's more about progression, or how far any individual can advance in their own training within the goals they've set for themselves. Competitions are great, as they provide motivation as well as an arena to showcase the best in any sport. The value of kettlebell training (or any mode of exercise) is the progression within yourself, and this should not be undermined by illogical comparisons to gifted or experienced athletes.

Let Joe Average's training log or his ability to pass a test, or excel as a firefighter tell the story. January-Joe versus December-Joe are the real competitors here - and this is where the pot of gold lies - in the journey - not in anyone's ability compared to another.

I've been extremely fortunate in my life. I spent 22 years as a New York City firefighter, lieutenant, and finally captain for the greatest, busiest, fire department on earth. I worked in the most active neighborhoods of Brooklyn for two decades, and saw and did things that most people only read about. Now I train young men and women to handle what I know will be asked of them. AKC methodology works -transforms these people in short order, if they do the work.

Training with kettlebells means real change in people's lives - people who can't already bench press 300 pounds or run marathons, can build super work capacity, transform their bodies, lose body fat, gain strength, endurance, become firefighters, or simply become fit and healthy individuals.

For more information on kettlebell training, contact me at michael.stefano@gmail.com