When was the last time you hit a plateau?
Were your pull-ups stuck on a particular number of reps? Did your pushups stall out before hitting the double digits you desired?
Plateaus happen in fitness. It’s a natural part of the process.
However, the typical method of “pushing through” them might actually aid in keeping you stuck.
Trying to progress in a linear fashion makes sense when you first start working out, but at some point, you aren’t going to be able to keep progressing, if you define progress as simply lifting heavier weight or doing more reps.
As you advance in your training, you’ll discover that progress is in fact anything but linear.
On this episode of the GMB Show, we welcome Adrienne Harvey (otherwise known as Girya Girl). Adrienne’s well versed in bodyweight training and skills work as well as kettlebell training. Adrienne talks very candidly about her experience in not just overcoming plateaus, but how she had to reframe her ideas of “progress” in order to continue to see success in her training.
As you’ll hear, stepping back from the idea of liner progress and into a complimentary progression model can ensure that you will never stop making any kind of progress in your training.
In other words, when you hit a plateau with one exercise, you continue making progress with another, and that will ensure you’re always moving forward.
Adrienne Harvey is a Senior PCC, RKC-II, DVRT, and CK-FMS. She has enjoyed helping teach PCC workshops world-wide since the very beginning, along with leading some of the new one-day Strength Calisthenics Certification (SCC) workshops.
She has been interviewing some of the top names in the fitness industry for DragonDoor.com’s Success Stories series for nearly six years. She often combines the insights and patterns from these interviews and her fitness and teaching experience with a lifelong interest in generalized problem solving and troubleshooting.
What you’ll hear:
- 5:30 – Why Adrienne recommends calisthenics and kettlebell workouts over traditional gym workouts.
- 13:40 – Why it’s important to make adjustments and variations, even if it means using lighter weights.
- 20:30 – Adrienne’s tips on combatting frustration when you hit a plateau or are otherwise not progressing in a linear fashion.
- 28:00 – Some commonalities between the trainers and athletes she’s interviewed on her podcast.
- 36:30 – Why trying new things and going out of your comfort zone is never a waste of time.
- 40:00 – Adrienne expands on the quote, “don’t live in the posture of your sport.”
If you’re struggling to break through a training plateau, try shifting your emphasis by focusing on quality over quantity.
Redefine Progress And Break Through Your Plateaus
Jarlo: Hey everybody, this is Jarlo at GMB Fitness, and welcome to the “GMB Show.” I’m really happy to have Adrienne Harvey on. She is also known Girya Girl. Hey Adrienne. How are you doing?
Adrienne: Doing great. Great to be on here.
Jarlo: She is … We have a lot of mutual friends. Again, just the internet, and we haven’t really met in real life, but I’m real happy to have her on here. Adrienne does a lot of different things. Senior PCC instructor, that Progressive Calisthenics Certification, senior RKC level 2, is that right?
Adrienne: I’m a senior PCC, but I’m just on RKC level 2 right now. I hope to one day be a senior RKC, but I’m not there yet.
Jarlo: Well, doing a lot of the workshops and teaching a lot of different people, and then also doing lots of different things for Dragon Door. Interviews, and then helping with their technical things, and all of these different activities. Tell us a little bit about yourself, especially over the last year. What have you been working on?
Adrienne: Oh, gosh. Well, over the last year, I’ve continued doing a lot of interviews, again, for my own site, but also I do the interviews for Dragon Door and that is just so much fun, because I get to talk with a lot of very interesting and varied people, from all over the world, who have found a particular type of fitness and how it’s working with them, and then how they are also helping other populations, often very different than what I’ve experienced. It’s great to get their knowledge and be able to share it, but then also I’m always getting little tips out of there for my own training. That’s [inaudible 00:01:57].
Jarlo: That’s one of the great things I like about their interviews and all their stuff over at Dragon Door is it’s a really opensource mindset, and there’s people of all kinds of different backgrounds like you were saying, and not just kind of niche. It’s not just like a kettlebell thing, right? It’s not just like a thing where you have to just use one implement, or even have the same philosophy towards everything. I think that’s really important for everybody.
Adrienne: Totally. Well, it’s funny, too, because a lot of times, people really separate the PCC, the progressive calisthenics, from the RKC, the Russian kettlebell, and it’s like, “Well, you know what? We’re doing a lot of the same movements, and we have a lot of the same philosophy about optimal human movement, and mobility, and things like that.” A lot of times they accomplish the same things, but we may just use and implement, or we may not, or as in my own training, I use both. I find that they’re both very compatible, and then one boosts the other, but they’re not necessarily required to use both, but they sure are a lot of fun.
Jarlo: Yeah, that’s a big part of it. I mean, Al Kavadlo’s a great friend of ours. We’ve had him on the show here, and we’ve talked to him a lot. How did you get together with Al for the PCC?
Adrienne: Well, I was introduced to Al, again, through Dragon Door. I’d been doing their interviews for just a little bit, and ended up interviewing Al and getting to know them, and just really loved the program. I had purchased Convict Conditioning right after it came out, and I’ve used that book so much that I went and had it spiral bound because I had destroyed the binding. There’s actually a post about that, encouraging other people to get it spiral bound, because you can lay it flat. I’d been using that program so much and had gotten so much from it, and then befriended Al and Danny, and somehow all of that led to being at the first ever PCC workshop, and gosh, it was like, “This is incredibly fun to teach.”
Jarlo: Yeah, it’s awesome.
Adrienne: I’d had some experience teaching instructors from Primal Move back in the day, and this was just so much more work. To be there supporting Al and Danny with this type of training was just incredibly fun, and incredibly cool.
Jarlo: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, I think with Convict Conditioning, and Al especially, that was, for a lot of people, the first introduction to this type of work, the bodyweight training work, and beyond just, you call it calisthenics and everybody has this idea of junior high PE or army workouts and all that. It’s actually so much more, and I think Al and Danny bring so much more into it. You talk about fun, you talk about all these things, and that’s exactly what I think about when I think about Al and everything he’s doing is beyond that. He made something that’s accessible to everyone, they can do it at their scale that they’re at, but also in a way that’s enjoyable, and I think a lot of people are missing out on that aspect of training.
Adrienne: Something that I always like to stress with people is that calisthenics has a great opportunity for creativity and fun. You can make little games with it. I mean, it’s just like exploring where you’re going. Once you have a basic idea of how to stay safe, there’s so much that you can do and then, of course, the progressions for it are endless. You can go into things like, you’ve seen Al and Danny. It’s like, “Are we sure that gravity is applying to these guys? I don’t know.” That’s been a lot of fun to be part of that, and also to watch my own progress go past what I ever thought was possible. I’m still going. It’s really cool. Sometimes …
Jarlo: Yeah, one of the best things about that to me is that when you’re working in a medium like this, when you can be creative, like you said, and the progressions can be tweaked and changed, and adjusted, is that you do see progress, maybe a little bit more readily, right?
Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jarlo: It becomes more than picking up a heavier weight, or adding a rep or 2. It’s like, “Can you move in this way a little bit better?” That sustains progress even more, right?
Jarlo: Because you look forward to the next session, and we talk a lot about consistency. Consistency of effort. It almost doesn’t matter if you’re adding a set or a rep every time. If you get into that workout and you do it, there’s these other intangibles, and even just feeling like, “Oh, that felt a little bit better.” That’s …
Adrienne: Right. Because I remember in the past, the late ’90s, and early 2000’s, when I was doing very traditional gym workouts, if you went in and you looked at what you did last time on the lat pull down machine, I’m ashamed even to admit that. You’re like, “Oh, well I did 3 sets of 10 on there, but this time I wasn’t able to take the pin up and do 3 sets of 10.” There’s this very linear expectation and one of the things that I’ve really enjoyed when training others is to help them break free of that linear mindset, and it’s a funny, funny thing. I remember when I was switching from those sort of gym workouts to kettlebells, and I was like, “What do you mean? Why are you handing me that tiny 26 pound, 12 kilo kettlebell? I can do, blah, blah, blah, blah.” That obviously ego lined up in it, but the truth was, I was a clutz, and I was stuck. I was stuck at 6 pull ups. I was stuck at all these other things.
I couldn’t get past that. I was doing all kinds of silliness, like putting plates in a backpack to try to break through that barrier, and the thing was, it was I was just in this linear mindset, and there came a time where I had to just sit down and think, “Okay, you know what? You can continue on this linear path that you think that you’ve made all these accomplishments, or you can forget all of that, start over, build the real foundation, and do all of this stuff in the real world, for real. Not just in the gym with these silly plate machines that don’t exist anywhere outside of the gym.” Obviously I think you know what choice I made, but I struggled with it, and it was a lot to let go pride wise. It was like, “Oh, well, I can pull my weight down on the lat pull down, or actually a little more.”
I mean, that is kind of fun. If you put enough plates on there and you grab the thing, you sort of gently float down to the seat, but I would probably do that again just for fun, but it’s like, “So what? What does that prove?” It’s not like I can go and do what I do now which is, “Oh, hey. There’s a park on the way to the grocery store. I’m going to pull in there for a second, I’m going to knock out some pull ups, and some push up variations, some pistols, maybe fly my little silly quadcopter and then repeat everything, and then go along my way and go to the grocery store.” You can’t really do that with just doing these plate based gym machines and so it’s a non-linear progression a lot of times, with bodyweight and with kettlebells and that’s exciting, too, because sometimes leaps and bounds happen when the right neurons connect, and then other times, it’s just like, I can feel that I’ve gotten stronger, or I’m under more control. There’s all these other ways to progress, as you mentioned.
Jarlo: Right, right, and I like what you said about the mindset of it, too. I mean, when you talk about being stuck and the linear mindset, and that’s what it is. It’s really frustrating, and it often becomes unsustainable when you’re in that mindset. You get to a certain point and you’re like, with a 6 rep pull ups. You’re only ever getting better if you get that 7th pull up, right?
Jarlo: If you’re in that mindset, you’re like, “Well, then I never got better.” That’s got to be frustrating and you’re not going to be … Not a lot of people are going to be determined enough to hold onto that. That already is a strike for consistency, because if you get that, and you could easily see why people are just most people, when they start out in the fitness thing, and working out, that they have these stops and starts, that they have this … They feel good for a little bit, right? They’re working out consistently, and it’s like, they’re 3 or 4 weeks into it, but then something happens. I think you’ve identified maybe a major part of what happened there. They have that mindset of, “Well, I need to get better at something every time.” If that something is a weight plate, or a 1 rep, or something else like that, which as you know, can’t happen. That learning curve can’t be … That slope just can’t keep going up and up, and up. Yeah, that’s a … To do that, like you said, it takes a little bit of courage to do something different, right?
Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jarlo: Especially if you haven’t been exposed to it, and with bodyweight and kettlebells, kettlebells, too, because you’re looking usually at that fixed weight, right?
Jarlo: Whether it’s the 1 pood or 2 pood or whatever. Then, people are like, “Wow, okay. That means I have to be that much stronger to go another 30 pounds. I don’t get it.” It’s not as intuitive. It becomes a little bit scarier, too, and I think you would agree with that, like, “Oh, how do I do this?,” right?
Adrienne: Right. Well, it’s funny, too, because like with kettlebells, I’ve got this one client and she’s now crossed over from the linear land and it’s so fun to watch. I love just putting that idea out there, and then watching it happen with people, watching them have the insights where they’re like, “Oh, my gosh. I get it. I understand why you’re not impressed when I say that I moved the pin up one.” It’s like, “Dude. I’m glad you’re happy, because there’s going to come a time when that’s just not enough.” She made that discovery, and I like to illustrate it as in, “Yes, I can swing the ‘beast’ kettlebell,” 48 kilo, 106 pounds, aka, what I weighed in high school. I can swing that kettlebell for reps. I have that capability, but you know what? There’s a 16 kilo kettlebell rattling around in my car sometimes.”
Actually, it’s buckled in, but, I can take that to the park and have an incredible workout, too. There’s not this, “Oh, well I can do this other weight, so I’m never going to use the light ones again.” It’s like, “No, that’s not really how it works.” There’s so many variables that you can tweak in order to work on something meaningful with any weight, and I love that about both kettlebells and calisthenics, especially when we start talking about progression and regression, and I love to slide along that scale within my own workouts and especially when training others. It’s super, super handy. It’s like, “Okay, your form’s starting to breakdown there a little bit.” I’ll say it more gently than that, but, “Hey, let’s next set, let’s do this version, and make sure that we keep our” … Let’s say we’re talking about a push up.
It’s like, “Okay, you had your feet raised, and the first 3 were awesome. You could feel what was happening on the 4th one, not keeping the body in a straight line, so you know what? This next round, let’s go back, let’s put our hands on the floor, let’s just do regular plane Jane, awesome push ups.” That kind of scaling within a workout and just moving down, I think it’s great to be able to have that freedom with push ups and with calisthenics. It’s like, you don’t even need anything to do that, and the same is true with kettlebells. If I got something super light, and that’s how all I have with me, at that point, I focus so much on form that it can even become a little bit of an isometric or I can spend more time in different parts of the press.
Like, let’s say I have a light kettlebell with me and I want to still work on presses. I can really make sure that I’m activating everything. I can crush that handle. I can pause in different places, and very much like with pull ups, I can pause in different places along the way up and down, and that’s something that I love to do. Even if I do fewer than 6 reps, in that case, let’s say I hang, I count to 10. I activate my shoulders, I count to 10. I pull up about 5 or 6 inches, I count to 10. Another, and another, and another. It’s like all these pauses along the way, making sure that I own every bit of that path, even if I end up doing only 2 to 3 “full” pull ups in that, think about all the work that I’ve done.
Jarlo: Right. Yeah, I love that, because you’ve already changed how you and how your client feels about progression. It becomes more than numbers. That’s so important. We talk a lot about progressions and regressions and levels like in say bodyweight skills, but really, it’s not that. It’s just variations, right?
Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jarlo: What is that particular variation that’s appropriate for you, not just at your physical level, but even within the workout itself, and the thing that you’re describing like, “Okay, you can do pull ups, but how is your pull up in that top 3 quarter position,” right? Or, in that dead hang. Then, you can figure these things out, and that’s my favorite thing. I love lifting weights and I love doing all of the barbell stuff, because that’s how I grew up. I did martial arts, I lifted weights, I stretched, I did all these things, and I still love it. I’ll squat everyday.
Jarlo: But at the same time, yeah, I remember that mindset like, “Oh, I’ll just get 2 and 1/2 pounds. I’ll feel so much better,” if you can do that, but then after a while, you realize you work out and you’re like, “I can’t keep doing that.” Logically, if I did that, then I’d be squatting 1000 pounds but that’s not going to happen when you weigh 160 pounds, right?
Adrienne: Right, right.
Jarlo: But if I can focus on, “Okay, I’m going to” … “In this front squat, I’m going to hold it here. I’m going to hold this here, I’m going to get no bounce, I’m going to do all these things,” and you think about it in that way, and then, “Oh man, I love it.” I don’t really do a lot of the kettlebell stuff, just because I never went through it, but I like what you said right there. I mean, oh, that makes so much sense. It’s not even just breaking it down. You’re just thinking, where you’re having a little bit more thought about your workouts. You’re just not going to have that, if you’re just putting that pin a little bit more down the plate stack, and just looking around while you’re pulling that bar down. That’s so much better for you, I think mentally, and even getting into the training, because you’re thinking about, and you’re giving your client or you’re giving yourself a chance to be creative, and thoughtful about the training.
Adrienne: Right. Well, going back a little bit to what we said earlier. I love this … Who doesn’t love Dan John? But the quote from him was, “Well, everything works for about 6 weeks.” Yeah, okay, you can do this linear thing for about that long, but you’re going to have to mix it up at some point, because like you said, otherwise you’d be squatting 1000 pounds at 160.
Jarlo: Right, exactly.
Adrienne: Did gravity change? I don’t know. It’s like something has to happen, either some sort of wavy approach to the load, or whatnot, and that can sometimes be a hard realization for people. Then, also, when people get to more elite levels, realize, if we think about Olympians, they work very hard to just shave a fraction of a second off of a race time, or adding 2 pounds or adding a kilo to an Olympic lift for an Olympian, I mean, that is going to take amazing time and effort, because they are just that far along, and we’re splitting hairs at that point. I think sometimes with our advanced calisthenics, it can feel the same way. It’s like, you fight and fight and fight and fight to get your feet just a little bit higher on that one move.
Jarlo: It’s so hard to measure. That’s one of the difficult things.
Adrienne: Oh, yeah.
Jarlo: What are your strategies for that when you’re working with clients? Or, even with yourself, and you know you’re going to hit some of these plateaus. It’s inevitable. How do you keep that frustration level lower, and how do you keep their motivation towards keeping on working?
Adrienne: The main thing is to keep it fun, and also a lot of people disagree with me, but I love a little bit of variety. It’s like, “All right.” The troubleshooting aspect of a lot of this training, both with kettlebells and also really, it’s super fun with calisthenics, is to figure out, “Okay, well why aren’t we progressing? Where’s the bottleneck or bottlenecks? Where’s the sticking point?” Then, finding maybe an auxiliary exercise to add in to help strengthen that sticking point. By adding in that little variety, or even creating a special drill just for the situation, not only will that help motivation, but it’s like, “Oh, hey, I’ve got this special neat thing that’s just for me,” and for a client, that’s huge. I love making up stuff for myself, too, so I can only imagine, “Hey, this is your drill. You can name this if you want to.” Try to be polite with a name, but you know.
I think adding that kind of … Having a troubleshooting attitude with it, and a, “Hey, this is a puzzle we need to figure out” is a lot easier for people to deal with than, “Oh, no. I’m stuck.” It’s like, “Oh, no. Need to figure out this little part of the labyrinth. That’s all it is.”
Jarlo: You’ve given them an ownership to it, too, right?
Adrienne: Right. It’s fun. Keeping it fun and having the attitude that “this is fun,” even if it’s just a look on your face, sometimes that can be all that’s necessary. The funny thing I’ve noticed, this was a few years ago. I had a fairly … Sounds funny. I had a fairly large small group for kettlebells, and we had somebody that had gotten into a habit of being a little bit whiny about stuff, and the rest of us were just puzzled. We’re like, “We’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to get out here in nature and throw these kettlebells around, and new challenges, and what are you complaining about again?” It’s like, “All right. You’re a scientist. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to have a science experiment. This session, for science, this has nothing to do with anything else. For science, I want you to just try the workout without complaining about anything, and then let me know, perceived level of exertion afterwards.”
Sure enough, PR’s left and right, and, “Hey, this was easy. This was fun.” I’m like, “There you go. Why don’t we try this experiment again next week?” Wink wink. Sure enough, it helped, and that habit was broken.
Jarlo: That’s awesome.
Adrienne: I’ve even found people will make “Oh” noises, out of habit with lifts that, or exercises that shouldn’t really be taxing them, and they don’t know they’re doing it. You’re like, “Hey, let’s see if we can do this without making any noise,” and sure enough, they nail it, and break through something that’s been frustrating for a while.
Jarlo: Yeah, I love that, because it seems sometimes that some plateaus and some expectations are just habits, right?
Jarlo: You do something long enough and then you don’t realize it, and so that’s hilarious. That’s so funny.
Adrienne: Yeah. It is funny, because it’s like, “Okay, hey you don’t need to work up that much drama to do this move. You’ve got this.” It’s like, “Oh. Oh. You’re right.” I’m like, “Yeah, save that for when we go and pick up 300 pounds. You make that noise all you want then.”
Jarlo: Oh, man. I think that’s so important. That’s why it’s so important to have someone look into what you’re doing. Maybe you don’t need a personal coach every time, but you’ve got to have someone you can check in with and observe what you’re doing, because it’s so easy, especially when you’ve been doing this a long time, it’s so easy for you to just go, “Oh,” and then someone else can come in and they’re like, “Well, no. What are you talking about? Look at this and look at that.” You re like, “Oh, man. That’s great.”
Adrienne: “I had no idea my elbow was doing that, thank you.” I like to use my phone and my video camera on my phone a lot, to see. I’m working on handstands right now, freestanding, and that is a huge challenge for me which is super annoying on one level, because I can’t out muscle it. I can’t just … I’ll get into a handstand, and I feel like I’m up there for a million, billion years, and I’ve got it on video, and I go back and watch the video, and it’s like, “Oh. Split second,” but it’s like, “Okay, well then where did it fail first? How can I fix this next time?” It’s good to have that reality of the video, whether or not I choose to put it on Instagram. I actually like to put videos of random failures on Instagram.
Jarlo: Nah, that’s good.
Adrienne: People put a lot of polished things up there, and it’s like, “You know, that’s great, but put the other stuff, too,” because it’s good for people to see that, “Hey, this took a lot of work. It’s not just like you’re going to pop up into this and hang out for 10 minutes.”
Jarlo: No, absolutely.
Adrienne: It’s a long path.
Jarlo: Absolutely. Yeah, I had Mark Chang on the show a couple weeks, a few weeks ago, and we talked about that, too, because he always posts everything, whether it’s super good or if it’s super frustrating, and we talked about that. He said, “It’s good. People need to see that.” People need to see that, because it’s real and you can’t just present this polished 100% perfect social media campaign, because that’s just inauthentic, right?
Adrienne: Honestly, it’s going to get boring.
Jarlo: Right, that, too.
Adrienne: It’s like, “Oh, well why don’t we just start taking some little barbie dolls and positioning them and taking pictures of that?”
Jarlo: Yeah, that’s just as good, right? It becomes the same.
Adrienne: Right. We’ll Photoshop, we’ll blur a little pinch, and yeah, it’s just like, “Well, okay. Where’s this continuum going here, people?” Everybody loves a good blooper video. I mean, come on.
Jarlo: Yeah, it’s real. It makes sense.
Adrienne: Right. We’re all human.
Jarlo: Well, I like the big theme about all of this, and how to keep people consistent and working and doing the workouts, or even just choosing something for themselves, it’s definitely that fun and enjoyable aspect and I like what you said, taking a little bit of ownership of your attitude, and your approach to things. That’s a big part of keeping all of this sustainable. Another thing, too, I was wondering about. You’ve had the chance to interview with all of these people, both for your podcast, and for Dragon Door. What are some of the commonalities you’ve seen across the board from all of these different types of trainers and teachers and instructors? What would you say some of the most common points that leaped out at you?
Adrienne: Well, I’ve noticed especially lately that there’s been a real, I don’t want to say focus, but a lot of insights people have been getting from training non-typical fitness populations. People with health challenges, or maybe in different age groups than we would necessarily associate with “fitness,” and they’ve been working with a lot of these special populations, for lack of a better term, and through that work, have gained insights in their training that have worked with pretty much everyone. A recent interview I did, this guy was working with people who had cystic fibrosis, and he ended up finding out that a lot of the things that were working with them worked fantastically with professional baseball players, as well.
Adrienne: The 2 groups, though they had different challenges, were benefiting from the same type of mindful training, and I’ve seen that across with different coaches, and different health challenges. It’s like, don’t just go out there thinking that you’re going to train pro athletes for a living. There’s not a lot of those out there. You’re going to get the same level of challenge, if not more challenged by working with general populations, and finding a community of people who’s just not really being served by mainstream fitness, and there’s such an opportunity to change lives out there. There’s such an opportunity to connect with others, and just to really make a meaningful mark on the fitness industry, and also, just enhancing your life and others. There’s so much rewarding stuff out there, and I’ve found that just working with people locally, a lot of us, we’re not a big fan of the “Globo Gym” atmosphere, and just for fun, I’m not going to name the company, but I was like, “Gosh, you know, it’s really hot here in Florida, maybe I’ll just get a gym membership for the heck of it,” and they’ve got air conditioning.
It’s not like I’m going to open my own giant gym and start paying electric over the summer, which would just be murder without having a lot of clients right on day 1. I decided, “Okay,” and I started thinking about the reality of actually going there, and let’s face it, I’m pretty fit. I’m very confident, and all of a sudden, I realized, I was like, “Oh, oh no. Oh, my gosh. They’re going to be playing terrible music, there’s going to be people there, they’re going to just be all weird, and people are going to ask me what I’m doing,” and I don’t mind that, but, so I thought, “Hey, you know what? If I’ve got anxiety about going to a ‘gym’ setting, if I do, what’s going on with somebody who’s got a few extra pounds or worse, if they’re just really trying to come back from morbid obesity or if they have any kind of health concern or injury?” There’s a lot to deal with there.
Now, granted, I will totally go to anybody’s warehouse, garage, that type of gym. I feel comfortable with that situation, but I can totally empathize with people that are just outside of what we typically think of as the mainstream fitness population.
Adrienne: There’s a huge opportunity for a lot of us in the fitness industry to reach out and to help a lot of people and then it’s just so rewarding, and then the insights that you gain from training people that are a little different, or who have different challenges, can benefit everyone that you train.
Jarlo: Right, right, and I think right with what you just said, and the term “special populations” and things like that. In fitness, and in healthcare, and in things like that, but really, if you think about it, from what you just said, that’s the majority, actually. That’s the majority of people, because there’s not a lot of pro athletes out in our audience. There’s some actually. We know there’s a few, but the most of us here and I include myself in that, are just training to support their health and their lifestyle, and the things that we want to do as priorities, like I’m doing more of a running program now.
Jarlo: Because my cardio was crap.
Jarlo: I’m going to talk about this later with some different … I went from pretty crappy, like the numbers were crap, and now I’m decent, but that took me about 8 months.
Jarlo: I just let it go, because I was like, “Oh, I don’t like that, so I’m just going to do the things I’m good at. I’ll stretch, I’ll lift. I’ll do the bodyweight movements.”
Adrienne: Oh, my gosh.
Jarlo: You know what I’m saying? It’s just like, everyone out there has their own things to deal with, right?
Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jarlo: They have their own work, they have their own responsibilities and training like the 4 or 5 hours a day, and then we talk about Facebook and Instagram, if you just look at that, then your view of everyone is skewed. Everyone is like, we think that, “Oh, the regular person is going to be 10% body fat, and running 5 miles, and they’re hoisting these kettlebells left and right,” but that’s actually not the case at all. For us, and again I include me, and I know I was talking with Kirsty the other day and she was saying, “Adrienne does a lot of other different things, too. We should talk to her about that,” and that makes sense because we’re not just fitness people. We’re not just working out people. Some people are, and that’s great, but I wanted to … I like when you brought this up, about people that maybe are a little hesitant to go into these big gyms, or even hesitant to do training at all, because they feel like they don’t fit this mold.
Adrienne: Well, there’s a lot, I think, tied up with identity and personal identity, and one of the things that I feel is important and I’ve been actually criticized for this before is I post a lot of different things on Instagram. You’ll see 3D printing, you’ll see little quadcopters and drones.
Jarlo: I think it’s awesome.
Adrienne: Personal interests, and this was after talking to somebody who’s like, “Oh, well I thought to be fit, I was going to have to give up everything else that I do, and everything else that I am” …
Jarlo: Oh man.
Adrienne: … “And shove myself into this mold of, ‘Oh, I’m a fitness person now,'” and it’s like, “Nah, you don’t have to pigeonhole yourself like that at all.
Jarlo: That’s terrible. Man, they shouldn’t be thinking that.
Adrienne: But, a lot of people think that, because they go online, and people have just, “Oh, well I’m just going to use this account only for fitness things,” and there’s so much content on there it’s like, “Well, shoot. I don’t even know when these people are sleeping. I think they’re doing just push ups, 24/7 365.”
Jarlo: Oh, man.
Adrienne: I’m sure there’s someone out there doing that, but the main thing is, you can still be you, and do everything that you do, and do it better while becoming fit, and before we started the interview, I was joking. I love to do things like slack lining, and I think that’s a wonderful recovery activity, and a great way to empathize with others who are just learning a skill that seems impossible.
Jarlo: Right, exactly.
Adrienne: When I first started that, a friend taught me and after the first couple of tries, I had this thought which I know has happened in many different clients minds for a split second, too, is, “Oh, no. I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m wasting everyone’s time. I’ve wasted this person’s time. I feel awful. I should have never come out here.”
Jarlo: Oh, man.
Adrienne: Of course, that went away very quickly.
Jarlo: That’s so important. Even just saying that is so important. So important. Yeah, I like that, because you go and if you’re on the slack line … I’ve tried that, too, and yeah, it’s impossible. It’s like …
Adrienne: Those strings…
Jarlo: … “How is anybody able to do this?”
Adrienne: Yeah, but then you know what? Those little neurons, they start to connect, and then you get to stand on one foot, and then you get to take a step, and it’s amazing, and then you take another step, but going back to the main thing was like, you don’t have to give up being you in order to be a little healthier, to add some fitness in there, and a lot of times, my own training, it’s not as formal as most people’s. I am just grabbing sets here and there sometimes, or maybe I’ll write up some fun little challenge. I accidentally did 40 pull ups and 200 kettlebell swings and I forget what else the other night, just because I was testing out. I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to test out one of these little” … I haven’t done an every minute on the minute workout in a while, so it was like, “Okay, 2 pull ups, 5 tuck ups, and 10 kettlebell swings with whatever.”
I had like a weird size … Actually, I really like this size. It’s a 22 kilo Dragon Door kettlebell, and so 10 swings with that, and then hang onto the wall until the minute’s up and then do it again. I did that for 20 minutes, and that was a fun challenge, and then I did the numbers at the end and I’m like, “Oh, cool. I think I’m done.”
Jarlo: Yeah, you tricked yourself into doing these.
Adrienne: Yeah. I was like, “Oh, that was fun,” but it was like, it was more of a game. I don’t go to the gym for 3 hours. I don’t have that kind of time, and neither do most people, and it’s like, just work things in throughout the day. Where’s a challenge that I can accomplish just as part of my errands? Or, as part of my … I use slack line to … If I’m trying to solve problems and I just keep hitting a wall, even with an IT or HTML issue, how do I solve this problem or this algorithm? If I really hit a wall with it, okay, out comes the slack line, or out comes the little quadcopter, and I go outside, and I just do that for half an hour, and I find that I come back, mind is cleared, do a little workout maybe in the process, and then the problems end up solving themselves.
Adrienne: It’s not like I have to set everything down and go be a fitness person, and then come back. It’s not compartmentalized. That’s the word I’ve been trying to say here. I feel like with social media, a lot of times people get compartmentalized, as in, categorized, and we’re all much more complicated than that. Everyone’s life is a lot more complicated, depending on their job and family obligations, and going back to one other thing, you were talking about with people in their work and a lot of sitting down and whatnot, from an earlier interview with Andrea DuCane back in the day, she said something that I loved. She said, “Don’t live in the posture of your sport.” I would like to expand that. Don’t live in the posture of your sport or your job. For instance, with one of my clients, she’s a very avid runner, and we work on workouts that support her running, that help her fill in the strength gaps of what she’s doing when she goes and does, what sounds to me like an insane amount of miles on a weekend.
She doesn’t want to live in that kind of posture. We don’t want to live in the posture that we are in at our desks. It’s like, “Oh, all right. Well, what can I do in my workout to either support, counteract some of these things?” That can be a real motivator, too. It’s not just, we’re constantly faced with the aesthetic ideals of training, and for a lot of us, that’s just not enough. It’s like, “You know what? I’m already okay with how I look. I don’t need to split hairs to that level, but I would love to be able to do this move, or this move, or pick up a bunch of heavy stuff and carry it around.” I think putting that voice out there can be very motivating for more people than most might think.
Jarlo: Oh, yeah. I think switching your mindset over to a little bit of a movement and performance way of thinking is freeing. I love that, with the don’t be in the posture of your sport or your work, and that gives us a chance in our training to break free from our limitations, right?
Jarlo: Training now is something that we do not to just get better, whatever better means to you, but also as a way of freedom, of freeing yourself from the normal things. I love that.
Adrienne: Right. Yeah, because her example, Andrea DuCane’s example was golf, and if you think about it, you’re not going to drive with 1 hand dominant, and then the next hole switch to the other hand. It’s a 1 sided sport so do you want to live your life 1 sided? That’s just going to cause a multitude of problems. It’s like, “Okay, well how do we strengthen the whole body to counteract that, but also to support that?” It’s a fascinating concept, and I think that can also help keep people motivated far beyond …
Jarlo: Oh, absolutely.
Adrienne: … [crosstalk 00:43:06] aesthetic goal.
Jarlo: Absolutely. You know, there’s a lot of talk about focus, right? Focus, and you’ve got to do this, and if you have your goal, you have to put these blinders on and get going on that. That, of course, is important. We have to have that, and just like with Dan John’s thing, we can go back and talk about him and his park bench and his bus bench stuff. That I love. I read everything he writes, and I just love it.
Adrienne: Yeah, he’s awesome.
Jarlo: That makes sense, because you have this particular period of time and if you can do that, go. You should do it, right?
Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jarlo: You should do it, but then you should also realize you’re not going to be able to do that year around. You just can’t. You’re going to run yourself into the ground, you’re going to get injured, and you’ll certainly get unmotivated. I mean, there is no way you can do what’s meant to be a 4 week program for 50 weeks. I love that. I mean, fitness and especially for us here at GMB, it’s always supportive. It should always be supportive of what you’re trying to do, because we’re not professional athletes. We’re not working out every second of the day. We have work responsibilities and we have other interests. It’s more than okay to have other interests. It’s crazy to even have to say that, I think.
Adrienne: Yeah, I know. It is crazy, but I think it’s important to also say it, because it’s like, the greatest thing, though, is all of this being fit, being physically able in more and more ways supports so many things, like musicians, if you’re on a stage, you’re being on stage and in front of people, whether or not you’re singing or whatnot, your use of oxygen is going to be different. It’s going to be like you’re running, even though you might be standing still or even just jumping around a little bit. If you have better oxygen utilization, if your cardio is up there, you’re going to do so much better, and that’s just 1 example. We were joking around before the podcast, I’ve been having fun flying this silly little quadcopter. It’s like, well, okay, if I get it stuck in a tree, I’ve got a better chance of being able to climb up to the tree to get the little thing down. It’s like …
Jarlo: Yeah. That’s definitely supportive. Being able to get your quadcopter out of the tree.
Adrienne: Yeah. It’s a silly example, but it’s one I think that we can …
Jarlo: Nah, we can make a program out of that. We need to make a pull up program for people that own drones.
Adrienne: Yeah. Well, you know, I did do this one thing where I was like, “Okay, well, if I crash then on the other side of this brick wall, can I get up and over it? Yes, I can.”
Jarlo: Parkour for drone owners.
Adrienne: Yes. Exactly.
Jarlo: Oh, man. We have to end this, because it’s already very long, I think, but I loved it, and thanks so much for coming on. Oh, one thing I want to say is your main thing that’s coming up is that Dragon Door strength and health conference. Is that correct?
Adrienne: There’s a couple of different things coming up. First off, let’s see. Trying to remember your posting schedule. I’m teaching a 1 day strength calisthenics certification through Dragon Door this coming weekend, so I think that’s going to be too soon, but then we’ve got a PCC up in New York, the following weekend, which I think is also going to happen after this goes live, but we have a health and strength conference coming up in August. August 20th, and 21st, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and that is going to feature a tonne of the Dragon Door authors, and personalities, and people that you have probably already heard of. They’re going to have special presentations across those 2 days. A lot of the stuff is unpublished, very, very specific, very actionable and useful stuff, and you’ll be able to ask questions, and just really get involved on a nuts and bolts level, and the one that we had last year was the first ever and it was fantastic.
Jarlo: Yeah, I’ve heard good things about that.
Adrienne: Yeah, that was … It was so cool. Try to get there early enough the day before, because last year, we ended up this crazy group of people ended up going out and getting some food together, and some of the conversations there were just totally priceless. I’m like, “Why am I not recording this? This is so amazing.”
Jarlo: That’s awesome. Well, I’m going to put all of these things, and your site, Girya Girl, and your podcasting. I’m going to put these in the show notes, and our links, and then everybody, if you have any questions or anything, comments you want to relay over to Adrienne, or even to us, just shoot us an email. [email protected]. Thanks so much for being with us today, Adrienne. Really enjoyed it.
Adrienne: Yeah. Thanks for having me. I hope we get to talk again soon.
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