That’s What They Said – Steve Cotter


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Writing about what someone else has said is quite easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing. I mean, that’s how critics make a living isn’t it?

I’m not critic, in fact I generally post quotes from fitness professionals that I agree with, not disagree (not to say critics only disagree/criticise, but they do a fair bit of it). In this game, there really isn’t much new, so people constantly have to find a way to put a spin on things.

I have chosen a different, some may say lazier, I say, well I can’t think of a good term to describe what I want to say, but it’s not lazy.

This time around, I’m quoting Steve Cotter. Steve is known as a kettlebell and martial arts guy. You can read his bio here.

Steve Cotter

Steve Cotter demonstrates the rack position with two kettlebells.

Thiswas a quote from an interview with Steve that was on Marianne Kane’s website¬†(which is a pretty cool site, particularly for those of you that are interested in working out from home).

What grabbed me, was this quote:

A little every day will pay more dividends than going gong ho once or twice a week over the long term.

Now I’ve actually heard/read many variations of this quote over the years. The one that most notable resonated with me was from Dan John, who is fond of saying “little and often in the long run”.

However, Dan could sustain the whole That’s What They Said ¬†series on his own, he has that many gems in his writing, so I thought I’d use someone else who isn’t as widely published, and save a different Dan John quote for another post.

When you look at this quote initially, it seems so simple it’s obvious. But that is common with almost all great insight.

Steve is known for his holistic approach to exercise, and is very big on happiness and positivity. With that in mind, you can see why he would say something like this: he wants to encourage as many people as possible to experience the joys that physical activity can bring.

Many of you may be turned off from going to the gym, because you visualise Rocky Balbo-esque sessions, which feel like war, going to the brink of exhaustion and then digging deep for even more.

These sessions are not only physically draining, but really hard psychologically.

For example, I’ve found, although the WKC methods for kettlebell sport are highly effective, they are also highly taxing, especially from a psychological point of view.

Knowing I have to do a 7 minute set of jerks and a 6-8 minute set of snatches is not something to look forward to doing at the end of 12 hour day in clinic, as I anticipate the discomfort as much as the satisfaction of completing it.

Instead of not doing something, and then trying to make up for it with an even bigger session another time, I intuitively followed Steve’s advice.

So what I have done, is on the days I’m in clinic, I do a light(er) single ‘bell session and follow it up with some rowing on the Concept 2, just going by feel.

The days when I’m not in clinic, I do traditional kettlebell sport training, which is much harder, both physically and mentally.

This approach is much easier psychologically, and I’m still making progress. Although it is slower than going all out 5 days a week (or maybe it isn’t, the easy days theoretically allow more recovery), it is still progress, and that is what counts in the long term.

I’m not on a particular time frame. I have a lot of things going on in my life besides training, so aside from doing what has to be done, I can’t force the results.

This is what I think Steve is getting at.

Do a little bit every day.

Before long, that little bit will have become easy. Then you can make it harder. Do a little bit more. Go heavier, longer or faster. But only by a little bit.

Again, that little bit more will become easier.

Before you know it, you’ll look back and be amazed at what you are capable of compared to when you started.

And you know what? It will have seemed easy. Not easy whilst you are doing it. But easy overall.

Get better slowly, don’t push it, let the gains come.

A little every day will pay more dividends than going gong ho once or twice a week over the long term.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

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