I've just achieved Simple today.
I've discovered Kettlebell training a little more than a year ago in the begining of March 2020. I was then sailing on a cargo ship (I'm a merchant navy officer) After reading a lot of stuff and watching a lot of video I decided to start my S&S journey with the only KB we had on board, a 16kg. At 1m93 (6'4") and 115kg (255lbs) I already had some stenght but also a lot of fat to loose. After a few weeks and the technique mostly dialed in the 16kg KB was not a big challenge anymore but I had to keep using it until I could sign off in early June and order a 24kg bell.
June - August 2020:
I trained 6 times a week with the 24kg Kettlebell. The first time I used the 24kg bell, I felt like my lungs were going to explode and I did not know I could keep improving. As I was just back home, the 24kg KB was my only training tool and I had to suck it and keep training with it, taking huge rest periods. Meanwhile, I slowly acquired a good deal of information about diet and nutrition. Started to track my calories and macros and got to a 2000kcal/day diet. By the beginning of august my weight dropped to 102kg (225lbs) and I was fully owning the 24kg KB. I received my 32kg KB at the begining of august and started to use it more and more.
August - November 2020:
It was time to sign on on my next sailing contract. Although I did not fully master the 32kg, I wanted to keep on improving and decided to take it with me, I had no more room to bring the 24kg so I had to do the full S&S sessions with the 32kg the hard way. And it was really not easy in the beginning especially regarding the grip and the ship's rolling was really adding some funkiness to the TGUs. My right shoulder started to hurt a little bit, too much TGU volume with the 32kg, too soon. I was starting to regret not sticking to the 24kg and be patient. I stopped doing TGU to give my shoulder some time to recover and focused on swings. I did a lot of 2 handed swing volume to improve my conditioning and my grip, I was a little disappointed in myself to drift away from the original S&S protocol but it still paid off. On the last weeks of my contract I was fully able to perform Timeless Simple with good One hand Swings form and good grip stamina (During the time I drifted away from TGU I also realized I was able to perform my first strict pull up with no assistance, it felt quite magical for a person who's been overweight most of his life) I was also crazy low in calories with just 1500kcal a day (which was very stupid of me) By the end of my contract my weight dropped to 96kg (211lbs)
November 2020 - January 2021
I kept doing Timeless Simple and I would do Timed simple with the 24kg on fridays. Nothing exciting here, just solidifying was was just build. No real improvement during that period and still eating roughly 1500 kcal a day. My weight in the beggining of january dropped to 92kg (202lbs)
January 2021 - March 2021:
I got rid of my fear of gaining back some weight and increased my daily Kcal to 1800 (still way too low, how stupid I was). I kept loosing some weight slowly and kept increasing my daily kcal 100 by 100. I ordered a 40kg KB in the beginning of February and started to add some Swings with it. I did not yet felt confident to use the 40kg for TGUs in my home without a spotter even though I thought I would be able to do the TGU with it. During this period I trained 3 - 4 times a week. With the Friday as a 24kg Light timed test day. my weight kept going down until mid February where It dropped to 89kg (195lbs), my diet was 2200kcal with low carb. I started to add some more carbs to 2500kcal. My weight suddenly increased to 92kg again (202lbs), but I was not afraid. I was feeling my muscles refilled with energy. My performance in the S&S sessions increased dramatically at that moment (Early March). Last week my typical S&S session was :
1h Swings: 40% with 32kg, 60% with 40kg in roughly 7 minutes.
TGUs: 100 with 32kg in roughly 12 minutes (I was already able to go below 10 but I did not do it in regular sessions)
Earlier this week on tuesday I tried a 40kg TGU, It was a success with both arms.
Today (Friday) I wanted to try to perform my light timed test day with the 32kg.
-100 One hand swings in 4min 40
-10 Turkish Get-ups in 8 min 49
I maintained the same weight of 92kg (202lb) during the whole month, eating 2500kcal a day. My bodyfat dropped to 16%. I can now perform strict pull-ups in series of 5 for 5 sets it almost feel like a superpower as I always was unable to perform this movement.
That's my story and how S&S changed my life in about a year. And I'm really excited about all the doors opened by this physical conditioning.
As for what comes next, as I will sign on for my next contract next week and will be able to bring only one KB with me. I think I will stick to the 32kg KB and try waving my volume as per this article:
From Simple to Sinister: Waving Volume on S&S | StrongFirst
since my contract will be 12 weeks long, it looks about perfect to me.
I was also thinking of trying Q&D, but my wiser self advises me to stick to S&S to fully own it and reduce risk of injury.
In the long term I would love to transition to ROP, I already have a decent snatch technique with the 24kg, but my press lags a little bit behind, I would need 24kg for the snatches, 32/40kg for the swings and 20kg for the presses => not suitable for travelling with me on the ship.
Any advice on that would be welcome
Thanks to Pavel, strongfirst and everybody here for such a great program and inspiration.