Are you fragile?


I was listening to a podcast featuring Pavel Tsatsouline this weekend. Pavel is the founder of StrongFirst and is famously credited with bringing kettlebells to the U.S. He is an amazing teacher, and the podcast itself is worth plugging into right after you read this. It is really, really good.

Pavel touches on many great points, but one thing that stood out for me was the term “anti-fragile” training. He used it to compare the training that his organization provides to military personal versus the training provided to many professional athletes. He points out that while pro athletes work their asses off every day, they have access to many luxuries that those in combat, and on the field, do not. Pavel takes nothing away from these men and women, he simply notes the difference between the resources available to a major league basketball player versus a soldier training in a combat zone.

The term “anti-fragile” stood out to me as a great description of the training that we do here at The Distance Project. Many of our newer athletes may not be able to relate to this term just yet, as we are firm believers in laying a solid foundation before layering on intensity. Others who train here know exactly what I’m talking about.

At The Distance Project we believe that our training should be empowering. We utilize high intensity interval training and metabolic conditioning workouts often, but we are not a boot camp. I hate that word with a passion.

We are a training center. And our training prepares us to meet challenges in both sport and life.

We have a rule at our training center that reads as follows. You should feel like a warrior when you are training. And there is not a moment in life when this feeling of strength, confidence and courage does not serve us well. Providing that it is well-earned.

Many of the workouts that I create are very tough. So are the people who train here.

We also believe that our training should be, to borrow Pavel’s term, anti-fragile. While many of our athletes are just learning the ropes of barbell training, kettlebell training and the importance of focused mobility work, and our sessions are more educational than they are intense,  a good number of them have worked with me in other settings where we really take our conditioning to task. We’ve trained in rain and snow. We’ve layered up and hit the mountains on the coldest of days. We’ve helped each other through some difficult training sessions, and we’ve come out the other side tougher and stronger for it. We believe in training harder than the event that we are preparing for, so by the time that we get to the starting line we have absolutely no fear and nothing but confidence in ourselves and our abilities.

The value of overcoming difficult situations on a regular basis has tremendous value in sport, but the value in life is even greater. Getting stuck in traffic, losing your debit card, cracking your iPhone screen for the twelfth time-these things cease to rattle you. You stop whining about the minutia. You become stronger in the truest sense of the word-you can manage large loads with composure.

Fearless, confident and anti-fragile athletes are what we work to build. We build this through community and teamwork. We build this though smart training and focused recovery. And we build this together, as a team.

Looking forward to getting into some tough stuff this with all of you this year. And to getting stronger together as we out-tough it.



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