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S2 Episode 77: When It Just Doesn’t Work


In this episode Emmet and Mikael discuss when it just doesn’t work and some ways you can think and deal with off sessions, weeks or months.

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S2E77 – When It Just Doesn’t Work

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Transcript of Episode 77: When It Just Doesn’t Work

EL: Hello, and welcome back to the Handstandcast with me, your degenerate host Emmet Lewis and my glorious co-host Mikael Kristiansen. How are things going, Mikael?

MK: You should be very well seeing how things are going. I am suffering right here. Am I not? 

EL: I know, so, this episode? Mikael is working on his dragon. I suppose it’s not a dragon.

MK: Tyrannosaurus exoskeleton!

EL: Sorry, the king of the dinosaurs! Terrible lizards. Yeah, think so. This episode will feature, hopefully some origami ASMR. And if you like it, we’re willing to just quit everything and just make an ASMR channel. 

MK: Yeah, turn this into an origami podcast.

EL: Just have the origami kind of folding crinkling noise as the

MK: Yeah, I hope it’s not too loud. Maybe some people are going to be insanely frustrated by the by the sound if it even makes it onto the cast. I’ll try to keep it as

subtle as possible. 

EL: What we’re going to do actually is has anyone seen these air mikes that certain types of Twitch streamers have, whereas like a set of ears that they speak into and do other dark things? So, we’re just going to start, we should do that. We should get like one of those mikes and we can both stand either side or we’re talking straight into your brain. 

MK: So some of those streamers, they’d like farting into the mic and stuff. I remember when I saw, when I read about that, I fucking died laughing.

EL: That was grim. It’s like, we’re truly just like us. People know we’re in the Kali Yuga. We’re in the end times. It’s glorious that people can make money. Doing this stuff are really, really like, you know, the hustle culture alpha sigma gamma omega Malami is like, yeah, capitalism make money off licking microphones. And the realest thing to me is like, OK, we’re suffering. Uh, so I suppose we should continue talking about handstands, because let’s face it, staring at the floor is possibly a good solution for dealing with Kali Yuga.

MK: It might certainly be. I think at least it prepares you for frustration.

EL: Frustration when your shops are running out of supplies. Yeah. Anyway, so our topic today on Handstand is Joe Rogan. And why doesn’t he understand?

MK: And maybe we need to get Joe Rogan on our podcast and tell him how to handstand?

EL: He probably charges a fortune. I don’t think we can afford that. Hey, Joe. 

MK: Definitely listening for topic advice, I’m sure. Yeah, I’ve actually never listened to him. Like, I’ve just seen things about him constantly. Yeah. Alex Jones, on the other hand.

EL: He’ll do it for free, but I don’t think we can handle being cancelled and just like gay frogs and stuff. 

MK: Yeah, that’s the only thing with Joe Rogan. In fairness, he gets good guests on. Obviously, he’s a bit off the deep end lately, but when you like a guest on, I recommend the Paul Stamets episode, the guy who talked about mushrooms and growing mushrooms and all the cool things watching the episode. Awesome, awesome, I recommend it. A few episodes are pretty good, that was definitely one of the ones. But then, yeah, as we know, it’s a bit too much sometimes. And anyway, before we get this…

MK: We have the topic that is not other people talking about things. 

EL: We’re just going to do a podcast about podcasts. We’re going to be meta. Then we’ll do the next podcast about podcasts talking about podcasts.

MK: Yeah, real going off the deep end here as well.

EL: So, our topic today is — it’s more of a phrase — When It Just Doesn’t Work. I think it’s kind of something once you’ve been in this game long enough or even at the start as well, I suppose things just don’t work sometimes. It can be for different reasons and like it, it’s one of these things that just conjures a lot of kind of things. There’s like a lot of reasons why they may not work. I suppose we’re going to try and talk about some of them. We won’t be able to cover all the reasons why it’s not working. Yeah, but it’s definitely one of these things like…

MK: It’s recurring for everyone. I think that’s like first thing that has to be said about it. I think a lot of people, I even got like a message about it the other day is, “Yeah, but how often do you fall from a two arm handstand?” If you’re la la la la la. It’s like, of course, I can fall from a two hour runtime if I’m not, if I’m not focused. Obviously, someone my level is not, someone who’s pretty good at maths is not going to fail, let’s say, at five plus five.

EL: You would be surprised on that one actually. Having done maths in university, there was one recurring feature of everyone who was very good at maths. They could not do simple calculus calculations. Incredibly good at logic, all the maths kind of stuff. But yeah, ask them to do twelve and a half percent of something and just like calculator, give me Mathematica. I need it. I need a computer to work this out. I was like, Here’s a differential equation. Solve this and a tensor field. Oh, yeah, easy. Yeah.

MK: So, no idea what any of the words you just said means. But I will take for granted that they have something to do with actual mathematics and was not just things you came up with in the moment.

EL: They’re literally just words I invented. I’m just hoping that no one else does maths listening to this podcast, because let’s go for that one. I used my big brain words. I read them once on the internet and they make me sound smart.

MK: Caching.

EL: We know how this rolls. We all know. We’re all guilty of it. Or at least I am. Anyway, so when it doesn’t work it’s always one of these things. First, it’s like, I suppose there’s two kind of ways of it not working sometimes. We could look at a small level like the exercise you’re doing just doesn’t work. Or we can look at a kind of bigger level like your training session is just not working or doesn’t work. 

MK: Or your programming doesn’t work. 

EL: Yeah. Or it’s kind of like you go to an even longer phase where like things that you could do have just gone to shit and are just not working. You know, there’s those three levels, I suppose, and it’s like, well, they have different solutions or different ways to think about them. 

I suppose starting with the exercise thing is like, it’s the common one with beginners. A lot of the time, it’s like we need a certain rate of failure in our training, but we have to be clear about what we’re doing because to learn something, you have to have some kind of success and you have to have some kind of understanding of what you’re doing. And this kind of gets beginners and sort of intermediates a bit more. When they’re trying something, it’s just a bit too hard.

And the failure rate is just, you know, it’s just happening. But that sense of frustration starts building because it’s… You can fail in the wrong way and you can fail in the right way, as I would term it.  You can be failing, but you can feel like, “OK, I’m beginning to understand that with each failure it’s like an iteration, I’m getting closer to what I’m doing. And it’s not working, but I can feel something’s about to happen.”

MK: Yeah. 

EL: And that’s, you know, it’s very subjective and this could go on like, you know, I’ve known students who are like grinding away. It’s like kick ups. And it just wasn’t. It wasn’t working, but they were just like, “No, I can, it’s there. We just need to keep going.” And anyway, I’m like, “OK, maybe we need to regress things.” It’s that iteration. Shooting for a target, you’re missing the target all around, but your shots are getting closer and closer. And that’s kind of good. Like, we need this in our training at certain points and, you know, at various stages. But then there’s sometimes when you’re failing and you haven’t got that feeling of like iteration, whereas like this is, you know, it’s just constant failing for the same reason.

MK: Yeah, you can also have I think, one thing is like, even if you’re working on things that are too hard or like, you’re just like not getting anywhere with it, sometimes that can even be fine. If you’re like if you have fun or there is other things about what you’re doing that you are enjoying. But then like I think that one of the main problems obviously with failure is that like once that goes too far and it starts kind of getting to you, that’s where we need to be to be careful and more sensible. 

There is no one is immune to frustration. No one, no one is immune to — everyone has their triggers. Everyone has their stuff that gets them. And, just depending on the day, depending on your mood, depending on all these kind of things that it’s like even extremely hard to just know exactly like, OK, you can come in and like, you can feel great and feel ready and all that. And then like some days, it just gets to you and you get like, fucking annoyed by something that, like the other day, wouldn’t even bother you. So, it can be very random when it’s sort of gets you down in a sense. And I think that sometimes that’s almost a bigger deal than like, “OK, I managed.” I did not because you can have kind of a good time and be in the zone and just play around and like, have a positive learning experience, even though you’re literally falling out of everything. While you can have a really negative and frustrating learning experience, and then again, you can even have that when you’re doing quite well as well.

So it’s very important to kind of identify what are you doing right now? Are you just like spinning your wheels, being frustrated at the same thing that that you fail that because you have a bad relationship with that kind of move or stuff like that because things get personal sometimes, and that’s fine. Like, it’s normal. And that the longer you’ve been doing things and stuff it can get to you on a deeper level.

I remember I was training with this girl when I was in Ta-Da some months ago, and whenever she was training well, she was training diverse things, but she had an obsession with head in handstand. And whenever, it was funny because if she had a bad day, it was just like, “OK, I’m just going to do the thing and I want to fucking make it work.” And it didn’t work, of course. She got increasingly frustrated with each attempt. So, I know how that is, I’ve been there many times and like again, this is kind of like that type of zone. Somewhere you will kind of revisit when your energies are low or when you’re just like a bit tired or frustrated, like your level of judgment goes down and you you might end up doing like the same stupid mistakes you did seven years ago. Like, it’s normal, but we need to try to to at least limit the degree that can impact basically our practice, I think.

EL: Yeah, I think like looking at, say, exercise and training programs, you might say, I know three or four sets of this or 15 reps of this or something like that and you want to have 15 successful reps. This is the kind of thing that can mess a lot of people up when it’s like, “Oh, I need to have 15 successful reps of this.” And it’s just not working. And then suddenly, what should have been like a 10 or 15 minute training block, or part of your session suddenly starts expanding, and the frustration to get the success because we measure our value by success, just builds out. And you build like, I think what, Mikael calls it, the fatigue loop. 

MK: Yes.

EL:  Oh, you burnt all your energy. So, you have like 40 minutes of good energy for your training session, you know, and then you burn 30 minutes of that on like what should have been, you know, one third of the day’s training and then you have nothing left for it. So, I think like, yeah, it’s the thing of knowing when to quit and having a limit on your attempts or a limit on the time you will spend on something is very useful on this. Like just going, you know, sometimes it’s just a freedom and acceptance when you’re just like, it’s just not working. I’m just going to stop it.

MK: Yeah, but that’s like you saw me train because I was practicing air flares outside here today and like a couple of them were good. But then I started like, I just couldn’t concentrate, like it was a bit windy. It was a bit like, I just didn’t feel it at one point. Several years ago, I would have kept on going with that session for like an hour. But I said, I look at it now, now this isn’t working, so I’m going to stop because I’m not getting anything done here. And if I continue — because I started feeling, “OK, now I’m on the way to getting frustrated.” Not because I did bad, but because like, I just feel that zone coming for whatever reason. Ok. Just fuck it! Forget about it. There is another day for this. Leave it alone. 

And I think for certain things like because we again, we get our triggers, we get our kind of things that might upset us more than other things. And yeah, being aware of what those are and not like kind of obsessing way too much over that, I think can be like a very good way to, in general, get a healthier relationship with a practice. And I’m sure many of you who can relate or like many who are listening, can relate. But like hand balancing, I think, is also it is notorious for quite unhealthy levels of obsession and  unhealthy practice, not necessarily physically, but just like the insane level of I must do this and if it doesn’t work, you get like mega annoyed and stuff I’ve seen, including myself, I been an idiot with that for many years. 

And like, as I said, if I get run down, I’ll do the same mistakes because that’s part of my personality. But. Because it’s so many end up running their same loops, their same kind of bad judgments as they get annoyed and frustrated and then like, it just becomes this really hard to break out of sort of loop. Being very conscious about what’s going on there. And yeah, like that’s also why I’m very, um, like the entire kind of never give up sentiment annoys me a lot because sometimes exactly what you need to do is give up. 

Yeah, a hundred percent you need to give the fuck up and go home because like you, you’re not going to get there today. Yeah, you’re just going to annoy yourself. You’re also like, you probably leave the session frustrated and you want desperately to do this again tomorrow to make it work. Yeah, but like if you spend like 60 extra minutes on that thing, then you’re going to be wrecked for tomorrow as well. But you’re frustrated. You’re going to come in there and you’re going to try. Yeah. And then we have like the omega fatigue loop in all its glory because you’re going to go and go and go and nothing’s going to happen.

EL: Yeah, I think, it’s kind of interesting, actually, just from watching you train over like as long as I kind of known you as intimate detail as I know you from the last, whatever how long we worked together five, six years now. Something like that. Yeah, the last five or six years I’ve kind of known Mikael much better. I’ve been around much more. You’ve gotten much better at handling your own frustration. 

MK: Yeah, I think so. 

EL: I have an unofficial what I call the Mikael Kristiansen Norwegian swearing scale of like when you see… Today was a great example of it. Like you were doing the air flares. I was outside sitting with dog and hanging out watching. And yeah, so then you were doing the air flares and it stopped working or it wasn’t doing what you wanted it to do. 

Then you had one swearing outburst of six words in Norwegian swearing. So, it was a level six on our scale of Mikael swearing, but you only had one of them. So you can kind of do the swearing scale. The Norwegian scale (Norwegian) something, something. I’m learning Norwegian swearing for you. It’s great. But yeah, so then you had that, but then you like, tapped out. And it’s kind of interesting because like five years ago, you would not have tapped out. No, you would have kept banging your head. I’ve seen you do this multiple times. It would have just been like every set would have just been like, yeah, more and more Norwegian swearing til we’d hit  critical mass. 

It’s interesting frustration is something we can learn to deal with as well and build strategies and give permissions and allowances to ourselves to kind of, you know, it’s that kind of thing of… To be weak or, you know, it’s not even to be weak. That’s the thing. It’s just to allow yourself to say, “OK, I’ve done enough of this exercise.” 

Sometimes you just have to know when to like, quit the training session for the day. You know, we can rate the training session like it could be, say, you’re working on skill and precision work. You’re trying to balance a one arm and trying to balance a two arm. You’re trying to do transitions on two arms or something like this. And it’s just not working. But you might feel like really bodily fresh. You’ve been checking your HRV and you know you’re eating well and you’re sleeping well and you’re just like, “OK, I’m physically prepared. But like my balance system is off, my precision is off. Something’s off.” And that’s when you can start adjusting your training session, like, “OK, I’ll go back to the wall, I’ll do some conditioning, I’ll do something that I know I can do and I’ll be able to have a higher rate of success and I’ll just adjust my plan.” And that’s kind of useful to be able to do on the fly. Obviously, take some experience and it kind of takes a vocabulary of exercises to be able to do that.

MK: Yeah, I think that’s kind of the default setting for many people is: “I can’t do the hard. So I’m going to do the easier. 

EL: I think you’d be surprised.

MK: Well, it is a good strategy. But at the same time, I do think that giving yourself the option of just tapping out without doing anything, is undervalued in the sense that, uh, again, you might actually just be taking energy or you might be basically draining tomorrow’s session. And that’s something I think is important to kind of like consider when you’re doing that, like because again, many people that train this train it very often and have a high frequency of training. 

And if you want that frequency to have consistency in it, then burning yourself out with eight extra sets of whatever conditioning to feel good about yourself, I think that is where one needs to be careful because it very easily becomes a thing. Because like, OK, so you do handstands likelihood that you are a training junkie. A high. So you’re going to want to feel that you did something a.k.a. feeling like kind of physically exerted in whatever way that is. So you’re going to go in there and you’re going to to push those whatever — let’s say you just “OK, I’m just going to do endurance because the endurance will be good for me.” But will it now be good for you since you’re going to train tomorrow? Maybe you pushed it really hard and then like, it wasn’t actually good for you because you’re wrecked tomorrow and then you didn’t get to do the things. 

Then either you get a bit more frustrated and you build the loop and like, at least for me, I’ve done that so many times and it is such an unnecessary thing where like, you just get too attached, it means too much. Or it becomes your dopamine kick and you want to reach it. But then you can’t and then you try again. 

EL: You never catch the dragon. 

MK: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, literally that. So, I think that’s where it’s really important to have alternate strategies and like it’s it’s not defeat to tap out and just say, “Fuck this, I’m just going to go home.”

EL: Yeah, I think it’s one of those things like it is that kind of the punishment mentality. You see this in like fitness. It’s a very toxic element of fitness and like, “Oh, I must punish myself for my fun. I had a Mars bar yesterday. Now I must go do punishment cardio 300 calories. 

EL: It is that kind of thing like when you have a training plan that’s set out over a month or two and you have a training week within that. And then, you know, “OK, it’s Thursday. Tomorrow, I’m going to do my conditioning, work on my endurance work.” Then there’s no point in altering the flavor of the plan to go, “OK, I’m just going to do eight sets of chest to wall and max out my hold times. And that’s the kind of danger of building the fatigue loop when it’s like, “Oh, I’ll just double the amount of weekly conditioning or weekly strength work,.” Whereas it still has to be like if you’re going for like a technically precise, balance orientated session where I’m like not working on like max whole time zones working on precision. That what you choose when you alter the session is enough flavor. And it’s not just like, “OK, I’ll just go do max presses till I’m wrecked. 

Yeah, that is very important in terms of adjusting sessions. We can think of weight training as like, OK, weight training: I was doing sets of five and I wanted to do 60 kilos. It wasn’t working, so I’ll do forty-five kilos. Ok, that’s working for sets of five. I’m still fresh for the next session. It’s not like, OK, 60 kilos in work, so I’ll just do loads of drop sets and just wreck myself that way because there is that. Want the sensation of doing something or want to tire myself out. 

MK: It makes sense in the moment because you have the feeling of exertion. But like, does it actually do anything in the context you’re doing that? And that is like we’re hand balancing, of course, is even harder than regular weight training and stuff like this because you have all these elements that you need to work on in terms of technique and precision and so on. And you might have done some good precision work actually, too. So it’s a tricky one to make any specific rule sets that will always apply to you, since it’s such a, there are so many facets and so many details in it. But I definitely think that in general, for many people that do this, just knowing the tendencies of training that people that do this have, I think the tapping out option should be one that is at least used a little bit more often. 

Yeah, also in terms of if we were thinking of, if you just go all the way back to kind of the simplest way of It Doesn’t Work like “I’m in handstand and I’m going to do something and I feel it’s kind of off I’m going to try anyway.” Or “I fell for my first two kick ups. I’m going to try again.” This is very common particularly among beginners to just keep kicking up, keep kicking up. And like you can just see with experience, OK, this person is going to spend loads of energy now just trying to kick up, and they’re not going to get anything done because the brain is not in the right place, they’re getting more and more tired, but with each attempt. So, like, it doesn’t actually contribute very much in the context either.

EL: Yeah, it’s definitely tap out and get out is always a good one. So I suppose the next kind of thing is like, you know, when it doesn’t work over, say, three or four training sessions is kind of an interesting one. So you’re having a week of training and it’s just not working. That whole week is off. Then it’s kind of like that’s when you begin to need to start looking not at what in. You can look at what’s in your training session, but if the training plan is to optimize for your ability level, let’s call it that, or good enough. 

It’s not like some, you know, “I’m going to do some program balances training routine for three hours and I’ve not spent years working up to that kind of volume.” Well, let’s say you have a sensible training plan for your level and then it’s just not working, and that’s when you need to begin to start, you know, investigating your life. You know, what’s going on around training? What is the atmosphere? And it’s kind of one of these things that, like a lot of the training and a lot of advice and a lot of the people we see online, they’re quite young and they have a lifestyle that’s very optimized towards it. Whereas if you’re a bit older or a bit more committed or a full-time job. All these kinds of things begin to play into this. 

MK: Huge.

EL: And it’s like knowing when life is a bit tough and just accepting that your training is also going to be tough because, you know, we have limited resources to deal with things. I’ve had two clients over the last couple of weeks. I had a lot of clients the last two years, with corona and all the shit, or just like things like, yeah, I can think of one of my sort of students was a, yeah, just has difficult stuff going on in her family situation at the moment. And I said to her, this is the rules of your training, you can go in, I know you enjoy it, but do half the training if you feel like shit on the day or if you’re feeling good in the day, do a bit more. Do the full plan, but give yourself permission to do less, you know? And there is like, we do have to recognize that there is an enjoyment factor for a lot of people on training and there is kind of a get away from things as well. 

So, you can’t just say, OK, just tap out of all your sessions but what it is that kind of thing of like, oh, understanding like, you know, looking at the very simple stuff. Is it, you know, let me think, you know, is it sleep? Have I been sleeping enough, or have I been partying a bit or just staying up late? You know, have I been I’ve getting up early? Someone’s doing some building work outside my house and it’s waking me up. Ok, you’re losing a bit of sleep. You’re in a sleep deficit, maybe. Or are you eating okay? These are the kind of things about hand balance training, even though we’re trying to aim for efficiency, we still need to eat to fuel the training, and there can be a tendency for people to under eat. Yeah, I see there’s a lot in hand balance where it’s like,
Oh, it’s not. It doesn’t elicit the same kind of acute hormonal responses, like going for a long run or doing a lot of conditioning like, Oh my god, I’m so hungry afterwards.” You know, some people get it, but some people don’t. And it’s like, OK, well, maybe you just need to eat a bit more. Maybe you haven’t been eating a lot. 

We get this a lot. We had two clients on the M-3 program recently where one guy who was basically my size was eating, we him on track. Just things that stopped working.  The flexibility wasn’t developing and he was feeling beaten up. So we go, “Yeah, let’s just troubleshoot it with the training program.” The other stuff we’re doing. And then the other training is going outside and we track your calories on one of these chronometer or MyFitnessPal or something, come track his calories. And he’s eating 2000 calories a day at a six-foot tall, one hundred eighty three centimeter, 90 EKG, 200 pound guy. And he’s eating 2000 calories a day, which is not enough for someone who’s also doing powerlifting and also doing flexibility training. Then we increases calories and then he’s like, “Oh, I feel great.” And then we also have, like one other girl who in our training plan, we actually have it scheduled in when she sort of gives us the sign, it’s like, “OK, this is your next couple of days to eat ice cream and have a beer.” Just to chill out and eat loads of calories. Then she’s like, “Oh, I feel amazing.” 

It is one of those things, particularly if you built up a fatigue loop because we’ve got to remember fatigue is cumulative. It builds up and that you can be like, “Oh, you think you’re eating?” But if you’re not, it’s kind of difficult one. But if you’re not really gaining weight, you can’t really say you’re fully recovering from training is a rule of thumb. I have. It’s not exact, but it’s a good one. So if you’re like, OK, you know, I haven’t, you know, I’m maybe not trickling down, but it could just be a small caloric deficit that will slowly mount up hundred two hundred calorie deficit. It’s just like you’re not getting a chance to fully recover. So just having this thing like, you know, I’ve had four sessions of the terrible stuff that you just find an all you can eat Chinese place and just get kicked out, get kicked out. Yeah, literally. That’s just one of my hobbies. It’s one of my hobbies, definitely.

MK: So now you have official advice from Emmet Lewis. Get yourself kicked out of a buffet restaurant.

EL: Yeah, find one of the ones with a time limit and you’re not allowed to leave until they come over. Like, this is a thing where they bring you your bill to go like, here’s your bill, get the fuck out. You know that kind of thing. Obviously, you know, get the good one as well. Get the one who has MSG in the food. Not like the one that has no MSG because you want the MSG. You want the good stuff. 

That kind of stuff looks in and it is kind of definitely worthwhile, and it is also like going back to say the sleeping idea. That sleep debt is difficult to get out of because you can catch up with it a bit as far as my understanding goes. But it’s not really… It doesn’t really work in terms of, “Oh, it’s the weekend, I’ll get a 10 hour sleep and then I’ll be fine.” It doesn’t really work that way. So you do have to like, you know, force yourself to go to bed.

MK: Yeah, there are loads of these types of things like one of the big ones I notice, even though this is just on kind of a short term kind of thing. I always notice when I’m traveling and then the day I arrive and the day after, I’m usually quite off and I just don’t know why. I also have the thing of like after I’ve had rest days, that’s a very common one for me. So, I just know that like, I usually just feel more beat up. Like today,  yesterday I did nothing and today, like I didn’t do a long session. It was maybe 30 minutes outside. And like, now, I feel pretty beat up more than I would if I would be in the middle of a practice week. And I do way more than this, but I know that’s OK. These are things that I experience and exactly why/how, who cares? But factoring them in when I think about it OK. But because sometimes I think in terms like when things don’t work and you get into a bad mood or like you feel negative about it. But sometimes I think it can be useful to ask yourself, do I actually have the right to feel bad about this right now? Like, was it as bad as I think it was? Or did I unconsciously or even consciously put myself in a bad mood due to whatever was happening? Yeah, because sometimes you’re like, when I think about what I was doing today, oh, it wasn’t too bad.

I did a couple of times the area that actually worked. Did I do a long session? No, I didn’t actually. How many times did I try? Were my conditions perfect? No. It was windy. Yeah, like grass was uneven. Ok, but yeah, OK, fair enough. When I think about it, it wasn’t actually too bad. That’s like it took me so many years before I started employing that strategy. You come home from training and you’re like “Hmm!” But actually did that one a little bit better than in a while. The rest was kind of meh and garbage, but that one was, that one was really something. So do I actually, is it justified, the feeling that you have? Because again, I think the hormonal response and kind of the frustration and stress and…

EL: The reaction.

MK: Reaction, yeah, exactly. The reaction you get might be stronger than what is kind of what is what is necessary. And sometimes it can be because of your own expectations. You are like, “Oh yeah, but I should be better than this or like I value my  standards are higher than this, and I cannot reach them today and hence I have no right to feel good.” Um yeah. And these things, it can be like, again, we’re human. So, if you are in a harder mind state, you’re more easily going to go there and vice versa. 

It can be a useful question to ask yourself: Do I have the right to beat myself up like this? Like I remember, when one client I worked with once who was just so fucking hard like in tha regard, it was every time. Like, it didn’t work. Like the press didn’t work and it was just like darkness. Like it was so darkness because like, worked on this for a long time and all of that. But then yeah, it just takes longer. That’s just how it is. You don’t actually have it yet so instead of… I don’t remember if they had actually gotten it, but. Then the question is like, OK, let’s say you got it your first time or something like that, and then you keep trying and you fail it and you’re like, God damn it. Like, I’ve seen that so many times, but like, hey, you just did a bunch of steps that got you there and then you stop doing those steps because you suddenly got a new standard in your head.

I can do it.” So you’re constantly trying to prove yourself that you can do the thing, but you’re never walking the steps. You’re never retracing the steps that actually brought you there. And I think this is a huge flaw very often, including myself, I’ve done that a lot. Whereas like, OK, but this is what you need to focus on for usually like a long, much, much longer period of time after you actually nail the thing and you think, yeah, stay, stick with, let’s just say the press, like stick with the drills and stick with the block like the box press and like the range of motion presses and press walks and stuff for another four to six months after you get your first press and occasionally do your press more occasionally do your press boom and it’s yours because you actually took the time to, like, really reinforce the bits and pieces that that kind of structured the movement as you’re trying to do. So, I think this is also a very good kind of thing in terms like why isn’t it working? But are you actually trying to do some bullshit that you’re not ready to? Did you put your standards and your imaginary level to that point and kind of you start judging yourself in relation to that? And do you have the right to or not?

EL: Yeah, that leads nicely into the next kind of level I want to talk about, like when it doesn’t work over a longer period of time, like a month or two…?

MK: Or a year or two.

EL: Or a year or two, yeah, this can be definitely one of these things that can happen. And it’s definitely one of those things like, obviously, you know, what’s going on that long, you should be looking at lifestyle factors and you know what else is going on in my life? You know, Have I got a new job. Obviously, all those things we think…

MK: Is there a worldwide pandemic?

EL: Is there a worldwide pandemic?! The last two years with my personal clients has been insane. The amount of injuries and other stuff we’ve had compared to all the years we’ve done, and I reduced everyone’s training volume as well. OK, trading volume is going down 20 percent and it was still like a year of injuries. 

MK: Yeah, me too. 

EL: And then it’s like. But you know, obviously we’re out of the pandemic now, hopefully or getting to the end of it. Who knows, maybe a corona sigma variant comes along. That one will never go away. Sigmas don’t quit. 

MK: Oh God. 

EL: I think that deserves a (sound effect).

MK: Definitely.

EL: Anyway, yeah. So, when you got this kind of like longer block of time where things are not where… Things are feeling off, they’re just not working. And this is one of these things where revisiting the basics is probably the goal. So, say you, you know, and this is obviously beginners don’t really encounter this a lot, but people are beginning to trend from intermediate and advanced will encounter this, and it generally points to one recovery and training volume and increase in trading volume because a lot of people can increase their training volume quite significantly at this point, because they have a lot of things they can do that are quite easy, but they’re still taking out of your training.

And then at the same time, it can be like, oh, you know, you’re getting a 10 second one arm, but it’s just not getting better, and it’s that kind of thing of revisiting the things that got you to the one arm. But like, it’s always a spiral when you go back, when you go back to drills you’ve done before and then you find new details and new sensations and new things so your training can have a different focus. I always, you know, encourage people to find the hunt for novelty in the old because, you know, at the end of the day, if we’re doing handstands, we’re basically repeating the same set of exercises over and over again. 

There’s not a lot of them. There’s a lot of variation to them. But at the same time, once you’ve kind of pushed, you know, you’ve pushed the torch out so far and you brought light, now you bring the light back and then you’re able to find something new in the old. And this could be like, Oh, you know, I don’t know. It could be like, I’ll try and find new combinations or new aesthetic or new…This could be like millimeters or tweaks in positions that you kind of make a choice on, but it can kind of bring this whole like, “Oh, I didn’t feel that before, and now I can feel it. Or now it can go back and focus on this detail or iron out the creases in my training. And that can be quite powerful to have, you know, have blocks where you’re just like, “Oh, I’m just not going to progress. I’m not going to try and push. I’m not going to push my strength. I’m not going to push, you know, linear qualities or objective linear qualities. I’m going to look for the subjectivity. Is this kind of getting stuck in objective measurements can lead to frustration and can lead to things not working because, you know, sometimes it just takes time like the body, particularly with the balance systems, they take time to learn and they need this kind of, you go back, you push this skill and then you go back and you’re like, “OK, I’m just not going to do the hard stuff. I’m not going to like. I’m going to accept, you know, on paper, I won’t get better.” But I go back and I am better. That can be quite a powerful thing as well. You know, I’m going to go, yeah, I’m just going to go back, but I’m going to go back with new eyes, you know, like Neo in The Matrix and the third one, where he uses his new eyes. Bam!

MK: I think it’s very, very useful to have that sort of perspective. One thing, if anyone here is listening and is just really annoyed or at this moment on this fact, they can recognize themselves in a lot of stuff. We say, well, take a fucking week off, just don’t do anything and then just start retracing the steps from the bottom up. So, resist the urge of doing a bunch of shit and resist the urge. I just want more. I wanted to try this, just resist it entirely. And then when you come back after a week to start at the basic stuff that whatever your basics are and rework yourself into it and know that, yeah, it’s probably going to take a few days before you feel great. And you might, if you’re injured or you just feel you need even more distance from it, take two weeks, take three weeks, whatever it might be. But just when you come back and basically restart like a kind of a simple level for yourself and then slowly but surely progress up through the things and just see, OK, do I feel any differences and like also very important, like whenever you do that kind of thing and take some time off, don’t judge yourself on the first day or even the first couple of days. Give yourself a little bit of time. Yeah, and you usually see that you’ll end up better than where you were. But it’s a classic. You come back, “Oh, I’m so bad.” Yeah, me too. I feel terrible after the first day, but OK, well, that’s just how my body responds. And then just accept that’s how it is.

EL: One of the ways I do this for people not super often, but it works quite nicely. Is the take a week off or two weeks off. You know, it could be a whole day, it could be something else. So their first week back will be three training programs, go. They’ll just do that program. The second week back will be two training programs go. Then the third week back will be the old training program. So, it gives you a chance of like working on stuff you’ve worked on before that you should feel quite confident without a high expectation. Do that, that kind of service, like you can think of, we can think of warmups as like, obviously there’s a warmup before we work and before we get into things. But then there also can be a warmup back into the skill zone. 

If think about this like, you know, professional sports, like they’ll have their off season and their offseason training, and then they have their pre-season training, which is basically the warmup for the season where they refresh their skills. And we can apply this concept to hand balancers where OK, I have my on season and then I have, you know, I reached the end of it, you know, things, you know, I should have stopped it two months ago, but things go. Then you take your off season for one, two, three weeks, whatever, and then you do your offseason training, which is your old training and then you do your pre-season training, which is just before it, and then you go in and then you start back up with what you were working on. Hmm. And that’s quite like a nice way to feel, you know, basically warm yourself up into it over a longer period of time.

MK: I remember, like one of my friends in circus school, Julien, he used to say when he trained on Monday, “Yeah, it’s the warm up for the week.” He said, And it’s kind of true. Like, you sometimes just need that kind of grooving of the movements. And just like, I think it can be a useful and kind of how to say, a comfortable and relaxing kind of attitude to it too, because it means you don’t have to have high expectations to each each session. Again, like relating back to that point of like you don’t need to come in and PB every time. Yeah, because most of the time you need to come in and do the work and then you go home.

EL: Have to apply your grind set. 

MK: Yes. 

EL: Oh, the sigma memes are going to stop from us. They’re not but uh yeah.

MK: You are now officially the hustle culture God, Emmet.

EL: I know my business marketing Instagram/Twitter/Business Plan course, is coming soon. 

MK: Snapchat fucking thing.

EL: DM me from a private snapchat. 

MK: Oh God. 

EL: Where was I? Before I was going into grindcore? Yeah, it’s always this kind of thing. We get attached to our level, which I suppose causes a lot of frustration and just accepting your level changes…

MK: Accepting fluctuation is a huge one. I’m sure most of you that listen that are nerdy enough to listen to this many podcasts by us and all this by now. But in case you don’t like, everyone experiences the same kind of frustration, regardless of how good you are, I assume at least up to my level, I’ve experienced frustrations every single week and I assume it’s going to continue that way.

EL: I always wonder though, you know, obviously, all the Russian, Chinese and Ukrainian Mega Beasts. Do they get frustrated?

MK: I think some people, I mean, like if I relate back to some people that I’ve seen, just be incredible monsters at other things at hand balancing that just have a very casual attitude to it because they’ve always been pretty good at it or just had like a knack from a young age or whatever. That just doesn’t seem to be as kind of emotionally affected. I remember, like one guy, a B-boy that I used to train with, he just got better than everyone so fast. And he was just like, he was a total prodigy, and he just seemed like he always had such a chill attitude to what he was doing. I was always wondering, like whether or not that chill attitude was also like, why he got that goddamn good because he just like didn’t take. I mean, sometimes, of course, he would take it personally too. But it was much more rare, kind of. And he would just seem much more chill about the difficulties that he might encounter than many others. And it just seemed like, yeah, that kind of was a huge strength he had of not being as affected by it.

But then again, like, I think there is something too to being affected, because if fucking hell, if you care about it. Caring is good in a sense, too, because just like being completely flaccid about it, it doesn’t do anything. You like the fact that you have some passion and some rage. 

It’s just like it’s an expression of deeply caring about what you do. And I think that there is something great about that, too, as long as you just don’t like, destroy yourself over like, “Oh, no, I couldn’t do the thing.” So yeah, being able to balance out those forces, I guess it’s a lot of what it is about that like you can have this deep investment and this great ambition within it. But that you don’t soul crush yourself every time it doesn’t work, because then you’re just going to end up soul crushing yourself every week.

EL: Yeah, I think it’s that kind of thing that a passion is cultivated over a period of time. You don’t start out interested about something, but I really think a passion develops on by investing of yourself, both physically and mentally into something. I think frustration is just so prevalent in, you know, niche, skill based activities. I notice, definitely happens in the juggling world. Definitely in the amateur side of juggling world and more so with the higher caliber of people. And then I assume and how I’ve seen it happening in climbing halls and other places, I assume it’s the same around the world. Same in music as to myself. The other thing is if you’re not having an emotional gut response to your training at certain points, you know, it’s probably a good thing in some ways. But then it’s also just like you have to accept it will come at some stage.

MK: Yeah, like at least if it does there is nothing wrong with you. And I can remember, like many years ago, I had this discussion with a friend about this, about whether or not you should not be, it was about the concept of deep commitment. Am I what I do? That was essentially the base of the discussion and how can I say the fear or the hardships that comes with this, this deep commitment because it hurts a lot when you suck and so on and. I’ve been thinking about that discussion several times because she was quite into the thing, but she didn’t feel like being too attached to what she was doing which is totally fair enough. Absolutely no problem with her opinion on that. 

But to me, like it’s always felt a little bit the opposite that OK, yes, I am probably a quite obsessive personality in general, which is why, I am probably attracted to the things that I end up spending a lot of time on in this world. 

EL: He’s saying this while he’s folding a two-meter square of paper.

MK: It’s actually one meter. I wish this was two-meter fucking hell. It is going to be extremely small when I’m going to fold the teeth.

EL: You have to be incredibly invested just to have space in your house. 

MK: I’m actually kind of starting to worry whether or not I’ll be able to finish this model or not, which is very rare. It’s been a while since I’ve been worried about being able to finish. We shall see in the next episode or something or in five episodes.

EL: It’s beginning to look more dragon like. I know it’s a dinosaur, but like it’s got wings at…

MK: The most complete zigzag. What looks like wings are going to be the feet and the legs. This is, I think…this is going to be the tail. These are the ribs. So, this is one set of ribs. This is one set of ribs. This is one set of ribs. Maybe this isn’t ribs. No, this is arms. And something else is going to be…

EL: It’s got little short arms because the T-Rex. 

MK: Exactly.  

EL: How does the T-Rex scratch its nose?

MK: I don’t know.

EL: I think we need to answer that question if we have any paleontologists listen to us.

MK: Just like smash it against a giant tree and just pick up one of those spiky dinosaurs and like, rub against it. 

EL: Anyway, I suppose that at the end of our podcast this evening.

MK: Yeah, I think there’s several things that have been said about the topic. But yeah, when it doesn’t work like don’t beat yourself up too much, please. Yeah. Been there, done that usually doesn’t lead to many places. If you are one of the people that need to learn to experience for yourself, please beat yourself up over a number of years, then learn from it.

EL: Yeah. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way. 

MK: That’s fine. I did. 

EL: Yeah, I think a lot of people have who are listening. Yes. Other than that, yeah, we’ve been the Handstand Cast and we will catch you next week. 



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