I finally did it. I have finally defeated King Kong!
Hours of lifting, millions of pounds of volume, buckets of sweat and I have finally defeated King Kong. I don’t typically have entire posts talking about one of my singular accomplishments, but today I want to share a few lessons learned, in a goal that took me over two years to accomplish, which may help you in achieving your goals.
First, let’s start by answering your question, “What is King Kong?”
King Kong is a CrossFit workout, and while I consider myself more of a Strength & Conditioning guy, these days, rather than a “CrossFit Guy”, I truly respect this workout. To be more specific, it is one of the heaviest CrossFit workouts in existence and has both heavy barbell and gymnastic movements. It’s so far on the strength and gymnastics spectrum that really strong dudes can’t complete it because they can’t do the bodyweight movements and gymnasts can’t complete it because the barbell movements are too heavy (there are always exceptions). It’s pretty intelligently programmed.
- 1 Deadlift, 455 lb.
- 2 Muscle-ups
- 3 Squat Cleans, 250 lb.
- 4 Handstand Push-ups
In 2012, I set the goal to complete this workout. In July 2014, I completed it…Here is the video:
How a T-Shirt Kept King Kong Alive
I’m not going to pretend like this workout was easy.
I am not a CrossFit Games competitor or professional athlete. This workout was HARD to do!
Yes, it actually took me over two years to accomplish this workout, in fact, I announced it here on my website over two years ago. It is also on my better human quest “fitness bucket list”, here.
However, it wasn’t 2+ years of constantly trying to achieve this goal. In the last two years there were times when my deadlift was good enough to complete the workout, but my squat clean wasn’t and the other way around. There were times where I would forget about the goal altogether as I would focus on a different goal.
There were set backs…
There was frustration…
I mean, in the last two years I have moved, my wife and I have had a kid, I have spent months aways from my family and ideal training locations, I’ve had to go to physical therapy…so much has happened that could have kept me from this goal.
But there was always one thing that would remind me about King Kong; and it was a T-Shirt.
I bought the T-Shirt you can see above, or the “Strong(er)” t-shirt for $10.95 in 2012. I kept this shirt either hanging on my wall, in my gym bag or draped over a kettlebell for the last 2+ years. The rules for the t-shirt were simple:
- I couldn’t wear or wash the T-shirt until I completed King Kong…
It’s that simple. The shirt would occasionally get pushed to the corner of the garage, and the goal would fade. I would find the shirt and the goal would reemerge. This shirt has been used to wipe off my sweat, my barbell and it has travelled all over the place with me. I have thrown it out of frustration and I have wanted to throw it in the trash, at times.
But I didn’t. I let this shirt remind me over and over that a goal had been set, so it must be achieved.
And I finally did it!
Never before in my life has it been so rewarding to put on a t-shirt, and here is what I have learned in the process.
5 Lessons Learned in Defeating King Kong
1.) Have an Elephant in the Room – This is a big one and I pretty much already talked about it, but honestly, if I didn’t have that T-Shirt in my garage this workout would have been written in a notebook and forgotten somewhere. It’s actually nice to have an object that continually reminds you of how inadequate you are compared to the future version of you, which YOU want.
2.) It’s ok to Fail – I actually attempted this workout once last year and failed miserably. I could just barley lift the weight and by the second round I was already at 5 minutes (my personal time cap) and I was missing the squat clean over and over and just simply could not complete the workout. I wasn’t happy, but I knew I would get there. It showed me my weaknesses. It showed me the direction I needed to go.
3.) Create Margin…In Everything – I actually may have been able to complete this workout a month or two ago…but I didn’t. I wanted to get my deadlift and squat clean PAST what was needed to do this workout. So when I deadlifted 455 for 5 reps a few weeks ago, I knew it was time. But this “margin” goes further than just strength. You need to create margin in your life to have time for fitness, for your family and for the things you are truly passionate about. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
4.) Speed is Strength and Strength is Speed – I have written about this before in, “The Missing Element in Your Strength Program”. To complete this workout I needed to be powerful, I needed to be fast. There is a big difference in being able to lift 500 lb once, and slowly, compared to being able to lift heavy weights for repetitions coupled with other heavy weights/movements.
5.) Never Limit Yourself – There were times when I thought I would not be able to complete this workout. I thought maybe some people just can’t do certain things. That was fear talking. Once I slapped myself in the face for thinking that way and snapped back to reality…I realized, you (I) can do anything. The goals I have after this one are harder and heavier and I already feel the fear creeping in my mind, but I have to keep telling myself THERE IS NO LIMIT!
Thanks for reading and good luck on achieving your goals!
On to the next one!