- Bruce Lee, martial artist
When you exercise, it's nice to have a goal to work towards--perhaps running a 10K road race or a marathon, losing a certain number of pounds, or swimming a certain distance--though not everyone wants or needs these sorts of goals, and some people like exercise for its own sake. I'm working towards rankings as set out by the World Kettlebell Club (WKC)--an organization that has created a standards and regulations for kettlebell lifters.
At the moment, my focus is on LongCycle--10-minute clean-jerk cycles--with a 16 kg bell (hopefully 18 kg by October). Ranks for women start at 14 kg and go all the way up to 28 kg.
The Foundry is also hosting a Pentathlon competition in May, so I'm training for that as well. The Pentathlon is a series of 5 different lifts performed in 6-minute sets, with 5-minute breaks between lifts--the whole thing takes nearly an hour. Each lift has a maximum number of repetitions allowed and each bell weight counts for a certain number of points--bell points are multiplied by reps and the highest point count wins. The trick is to hit the "sweet spot" where you're using the heaviest bell possible to achieve the maximum reps in the allotted time and still have enough gas in the tank to get through all the lifts in good shape. It's a fun challenge.
There's also the Biathlon--2 lifts (a set of jerks and a set of snatches) done 10 minutes at a time with at least an hour between the two sets. I haven't tried this one yet, but it will likely be a future project.
Finally, there's StrongSport, which consists of shorter sets (4 minutes, either LongCycle or Biathlon) intended to be done with heavier weights. I'm working on this with the 20 kg bell.
I like lifting heavy things, and I find the rhythmic nature of the lifts in this sport calming. I've always liked endurance sports (usually running--I even did a marathon once) because you're forced to go beyond the merely physical and have to develop some mental fortitude as well. Doing this sort of thing has stood me in good stead in other aspects of my life.