The How and Why to Green Strength Training

Since time immemorial, young people jockey for position in their peer groups. In less enlightened ages, you had to be stronger, tougher, smarter, or more artistic to become an alpha male or female. Today, you just need to out-recycle the other guy or gal.

I kid you not. Behold a hot new trend. “Socially conscious” geeks install cameras in their garbage and recycling cans. The “smart” cameras keep an eye on their disposal habits, then analyze and report them to a social media site. The site awards points and displays them to encourage competition. Being cool has never been easier. No need to play on a team or in a rock band. Just collect recycling merit badges from the Big Brother, and you are all set.

To you, is being “green” a fashion or an expression of common sense? Here is a test. You are in the market for a new coffee maker. Do you:

  1. Buy one that uses disposable aluminum pods because it is endorsed by an electric-car-driving celebrity.
  2. Find a coffee maker that requires no pods, filters, or any other disposable supplies other than coffee grounds because it makes sense.

Environmentalism is not a cause close to my heart, but I do not like waste. Hence this blog and a few suggestions on how to make your strength training “green.”

1. Stop Buying Useless Supplements

First, stop buying unproven supplements that all end up in the toilet and then in our water supply. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Antifragile, drinks only the drinks that are centuries old—water, coffee, and wine. That would be unrealistic for nutritional supplements, but at least make it a rule of thumb not to take anything that has not been around for at least a couple of decades.

And not just something that has been around, but something that has earned a strong performance and safety record. Russian athletes have been taking mumie for many decades and are still swearing by it. If you have convincing reasons to start taking adaptogens, mumie would be a fine choice. On the other hand, anything with an “X” or “Jack” in its name and a grimacing oiled-up dude on the bottle is a no-no.

2. Stop Buying Worthless Equiment

Second, stop packing landfills with worthless exercise equipment. Centuries of experience have taught us that one can meet most ambitious physical preparation goals with nothing but a barbell, a power rack, a few kettlebells, and a pull-up bar. Period.

As Nikki Shlosser, my VP of Marketing has demonstrated, even a wasteful phone book can be given a worthy purpose before it is recycled into yet another phone book.

Green Strength Training

3. Kettlebells Are Green Strength Training

Third, when you buy the above equipment, choose quality. If you get quality bells and take care of them, they will outlive you. If this is not “green,” I do not know what is. To paraphrase an ad for a Swiss watch, “You never really own a kettlebell. You merely look after it for the next generation.”

Green Strength Training
You never really own a kettlebell. You merely look after it for the next generation.
Pavel Tsatsouline
Pavel Tsatsouline is the CEO of StrongFirst, Inc.

10 thoughts on “The How and Why to Green Strength Training

  • …anything with an “X” or “Jack” in its name and…is a no-no….

    I think “Jack Daniels” is a worthy exception to this rule though!

  • While I would say that being socially conscientious and taking care of the environment IS being smarter (at least than those who don’t, which is not really saying much), this post is chock full of great points.

    “Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of Antifragile, drinks only the drinks that are centuries old—water, coffee, and wine”. I would add one or two things to this list, but it is spot on. A trip to your local GNC or online supplement store reveals rows upon rows of awesomely designed boxes and tubs that promise a lot but deliver next to nothing.

    Not to mention that the amount of plastic used in the packaging is comically out of proportion to the content: 2 lbs. of powder come in a tub designed to hold twice that amount, all to better convey the idea of “massive”, I guess.

  • Hi, it was great to read about “green” strenght. Im especially interested in mumie. Would you recomend, which kind of it should we buy, or maybe some good eshop, because we want to buy good stuff. Im from Slovakia, and we want to be Strongfirst too. Thank You

  • Great timing on this. I recently developed an interest in watches. I just bought a mid-range (definitely not a Patek Philippe like you’re referencing) skeleton watch in large part because I will own it longer than anything else I own. Don’t worry, I’ll have the kettlebells for quite some time too.

  • pavel i only use kettlebells and boby weight training, power to us and mr pavel

  • I like my coffee like I like my Kettlebells, strong! That’s why I like my espresso and/or Cuban coffee.

  • I prefer a French press or peculator for my coffee. Better than anything that uses a pod and will definitely outlast one too. Great read. I prefer using barbell, kettlebell, and body weight training.

    Power to us!!!

  • Thanks Pavel! Awesome to have your input on an issue that isn’t going away any time soon. How to live a life of balanced strength in alignment with the highest good of all life concerned is something we will all face in one way or another as the coming days unfold. How to be a giver, not a taker. Nearly 8 yrs ago I was introduced to kettlebells via Ron Morris in Mpls. I was immediately turned on by its minimalistic approach; the economy of motion appealed to both my athletic & yogic natures. 2 yrs ago I earned my RKC. 11/2 yrs ago I started my own kettlebell-focused training ompany, SpiritFire Fitness. Being vegan/ vegetarian for 25yrs, I promote plant-based living & training, & my vision is a heart-centered strong human movement, to help others find their true NATURAL strength thru right use of will, smart training, & living in balance with Nature. I believe the future of professional sports is in the power of fruits & vegetables, in understanding how to allow pure energy to flow thru one’s being, & how to work harmoniously & respectfully with that energy. Many people have made fun of me for my idealistic vision over the years, even many people in the “fitness” world, but year after year I watch as the tides turn, & what is obvious is that our need to return to a simpler SMARTER more conscious way of existing is upon us now. I believe good ol kettlebells, barbells, & bodyweight training will help many thru some strange & glorious times, as we let go of what is no longer serving us, & open up to the new strength that is available to all who are willing to do the work!

  • This is very good advice, especially where equipment is concerned. “Buy nice or buy twice.” With a little effort, you can also learn how to spot good-quality second-hand equipment, and save quite a lot.

    I believe any piece of equipment that directly loads the body (barbell, KB) OR supports the equipment that loads the body (power rack) should be of the utmost quality. Weight plates and weight storage are the place to go bargain-hunting.

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