Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Swing Workout #6

Yesterday I started out my morning with workout #6 from The Swing and let me tell was awesome!  Just before I left for Croatia I had to make the decision to drop my Tuesday morning class so I've been training on my own, here in the garage gym for weeks now....and you know what workouts I'm doing?  Yep, all of The Swing workouts!  What I like about them is that I don't have to think! They are all written down, in order of progression and I've simply been following along :)  

Workout #6 is the beginning of learning, and learning how to train, the one hand swing.  Here is a Demo Workout that you can practice along with!  I call it a Demo "Workout" because it's 15 min long, whew!  Practice it as many times as you feel you need to before moving on to #6.

As I mentioned, I swing on my own Tuesday morning, on Thursdays I swing with Maribel, and Saturday mornings I swing with my 8:30 class.  I've been doing The Swing Workouts, as written exactly on Tuesdays, then on Thursday I repeat it using a heavier bell, and making slight adjustments just to add some variety, and then I repeat it one last time with my class on the weekend using a lighter bell because I have a doubles/heavy press, GS practice and squat workout on Sunday that I don't want to pre overtrain for.  And speaking of some of my other training....

After my awesome trip to Vancouver I came home and looked at my schedule to see if competing again in the near future was possible.  It appears that I have a couple of gaps in my travel schedule that will allow me to train for an early February and late April Kettlebell Sport comp, so that's what I'm going to do.  As tempted as I am to train for snatch only event I have some unfinished business with the 16kg biathlon!  

I've got about 4 weeks before Mark and I leave for Sweden, Denmark and Israel, just enough time to build back to 10 minute sets in both the 16kg snatch and jerk.  Not sure what kind of numbers I'll get, but it's the 10 min duration that is my first goal. When I return in December then I'll concentrate on increasing my numbers.  So during the next few months The Swing workouts will be invaluable to me by allowing me to get the bulk of my conditioning done and letting me concentrate on a different goal.  It's going to be good!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday 10 x 10 and Vancouver Highlights

This week's 10 x 10 still includes some longer rest periods, but ladders up "equal work/rest" sets quickly before backing off slightly to end the workout.

Still working up to equal work / rest sets

10 (15/45)
10 x 2 (15/15 15/45)
10 x 4 (15/15 15/15 15/15 15/45)
10 x 3 (15/15 15/15 15/ done!)

6.5 min, 100 swings

If you are just getting used to the shorthand I use for writing down workouts you may not be familiar with what the numbers are that I refer to in parenthesis.  These are the "seconds of work and the seconds of rest".  So, 15/15 means 15 seconds of work it takes to do 10 reps, and 15 seconds of rest you take before the next set.  "15/45" means 10 reps takes 15 seconds of work, then you get 45 seconds to rest before the next set.  The first number is always how long the work interval is, the second set of numbers is always the rest you take after. Does this help anybody?  I hope so.  One of the things I love about my workouts is that I can always figure out how long a workout lasts based on these calculations!

I just got home from a fabulous weekend in Vancouver!  What a city, huh?  My dear friend Tricia Dong invited me to participate in a Kettlebell Sport Charity known as the "One Hour Long Cycle".  This event happens once a year and chooses a different charity to lift for, this year it was "Kettlebells for Autism".  If you would like more information about either one, please leave a comment here, or email me

I invited one of my students, Deepika, to come with me to also lift, but mostly to attend a technique workshop with me the next day.  We had a blast being challenged with the continuous hour of clean and jerks, but it was the workshop that Tricia organized that was the real draw for us. I haven't given up on competing, or teaching/coaching GS, Kettlebell Sport, and I'm always interested in learning as much as I can about kettlebell training in general.  Hanging out with other athletes and coaches in such a beautiful city like Vancouver was an amazing opportunity!  Here are some of the highlights;

Arriving Friday afternoon shopping was first on the list....and one of the first things I see downtown?  Yep, a gap toothed girl painting!  

I got up super early the next morning and took a one hour walk down Robson Street, passing what seemed like a dozen Starbuck coffee shops in and amongst the high rise office and apartment buildings, to find this beauty at the end....    Next time I'll spend more time walking along the park/water.

Back in time to shower and get ready for the One Hour LC., Deepika and Tom helping to unload and move competition bells.

Deepika used an 8kg and I used a 12kg.  We used caution mostly because we were conserving our hands as well as our energy for the workshop scheduled the next day.  Next year I think we will do the relay.  It will allow us to lift faster and heavier....anybody else want to be on our team?

Here I am with coaches Tom Corrigan and Misha Marchak.  

The workshop the next day simply ended too soon!  Deepika and I caught the last flight home Sunday, at 4:00, otherwise we would have stayed much longer!

Everybody after the workshop....I wish I would have taken the opportunity to meet everybody and learn their know sometimes I can be shy (it's true!)

Tricia was an amazing tour guide!  She drove us around all day after moving and unloading bells, organizing the entire event and then lifting on a relay team herself!

Vancouver is one of those city's that has gorgeous parks that promote living an active and healthy lifestyle!  

I also got to meet gym owner Sheila Hamilton (below) of It's Time Fitness Results ( graciously donated her facility to the charity event and workshop.  

It's Time Fitness is truly one of the nicest studios I've ever been in, and seriously, if you live in, or are visiting, the North Vancouver area you MUST check it out.  Sheila and her staff are top notch, all SFG Certified and the most knowledgable and welcoming Instructors you will ever come across!  Highly recommended!

It was at It's Time that I met another fabulous lady, Yvonne, who got a little lecturing about weight loss from yours truly!  Yvonne recently lost 75lbs and completely changed her life, using kettlebell training to make incredible strength and health gains with Sheila as her trainer, but had the last nagging 35lbs still eluding her.....hopefully I gave her some gentle reminders to what could be the cause (overeating healthy foods maybe?  hint, hint!)

Good friends,, good times, and a well earned lunch!

French fries with cheese and gravy!  It HAD to be done!

And finally it had to be good bye.....or maybe just "see you later"?  Fingers crossed I'll see Vancouver again :) 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easing back into routine again.

You know sometimes we "fall off the wagon"...not that I have or anything!  The important thing is that we get back on!  Be easy on ourselves...but not too easy!  

This is the simplest 10 sets of 10 reps, done with all two hand swings.  The rest period starts out generous with a 45 second break before moving onto the next set where the rest interval is decreased to only 30 seconds, followed by yet another rest decrease of 15 seconds (equal work/rest.)  It starts again with a long rest, shorter and then the shortest, three times repeated before ending the 10 x 10 with the last set done with a 15 sec break.  Here is the workout written out:

10 reps, 15 work, 45 sec rest (1 min)
10 reps, 15 sec work, 30 sec rest (45 sec)
10 reps, 15 sec work, 15 sec rest (30 sec)
repeat x 3 = 9 sets +
10 reps, 15/15

100 swing reps total 7 min (not including the last 15 sec rest interval)

Gosh, it's been so long since Mark and I traveled to Croatia and back I almost forgot we went!  But that's only because as soon as I got back I lead The Swing Quest in Monterey at Iron Republic and took my mom Nancy, who was visiting from Denver, and my sister Donna on a weekend road trip to Big Sur!  Busy busy.

Here are some highlights....oh, that's after you do the workout!

Having lunch at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big was about 100 degrees outside!  The fries weren't mine btw!  But truth be told I ate a ton of potatoes/fries during my trip to Croatia, as pictures above!

And now I'm off to Vancouver in the morning to participate in a charity one hour long Clean and Jerk for Kettlebells for Autism hosted by my good friend Tricia dong.  I'm going with one of my training partners, Deepika, to lift on Saturday and take a workshop in Sunday on Kettlebell Sport technique and practice.  I hope to come back with a ton of pictures, but it's almost 8:00pm and I'm not packed.  Yikes.  7:00am flight and I still can't decide what to wear!  High quality problems.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Swing, The Workouts! #1-#5

HERE THEY ARE!  I've posted a ton of follow along beginning swing workouts for years now, in fact many similar to the ones in my book The Swing, but here are the exact workouts in their entirety from 15 minutes to a full 25 minutes, starting with the first five! 

In Workouts #1 and #2 I guide you through establishing the right amount of work and rest FOR YOU!  Keep a journal, repeat either workout as many times as you feel comfortable before adding more reps per set and more sets per workout.....those are coming next!  Congratulations for taking the first steps toward a healthier and more fit body!

Workout #3 adds 5 more minutes, again taking care to pay attention whether you are ready to add more reps per set, and please don't be intimidated and think you must always add reps!  Back down one or two reps, stay at any particular rep count that is right for you, or go back and start at 10 reps again.  Every workout will be different so keep that journal!

Workouts #4 and #5 move up to 20 reps per minute more quickly, and in fact by the time you complete these two workouts you might start each workout with 20 reps per minute, or as you will next practice in the following workouts, 10 reps per 30 second intervals!

If you are not swinging yet, or maybe you already train regularly but have a family member or friend that wants to start but doesn't know where or how, I do every single rep with you (the viewer), or I coach you through each and every swing rep for complete 15-25 minute workouts!  You will find the written workouts and journals in my book The Swing, if you don't own it yet here is where you can get your copy:

Enjoy.  Enjoy the book, enjoy the workouts, but mostly, enjoy your strong, healthy and fit life!

ps I chose to not have music in the background so you can listen to what you like!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Mother of All "51" workouts! A complete 40 minutes of swings

On Saturday we taped this special "51" swing workout designed for me by Meg.  This is not the exact original version of it, which we did on my actual birthday on August 5th, but that one will be repeated at some point! As I was reviewing the pattern, 3 sets of 17 reps every 45 sec interval, followed by one set of 51 reps done in a 2 minute interval I was inspired by the possibilities of the many options that I might be playing with this one for a while!  Leave it to Meg to come up with this crazy rep count pattern!

What I like most about this rep count pattern is that...well, first of all, how brilliant is it that 3 sets of 17 = 51?  I would have never thought of it!  17 reps done every 45 seconds comes out to about 25 seconds of work, to 20 seconds of rest, just slightly more work and I think it's a great way for beginners to push themselves just a tad.  And the set of 51 can easily be reduced to only 40 reps giving an equal work/rest option for anybody that needs it. What kind of swings you do can add to the difficulty for sure, and I'll write about that in a sec.

Here is the workout:

15 2 2 hd sw + 2 R (15 R/ 2 L)
17 2 hd sw
2 L + 15 2 hd sw (2 R/ 15 L)
2.25 min per three sets of 17

15 2 2 hd sw + 2 R  + 17 2 hd sw + 2 L + 15 2 hd sw = 51 reps (10 R/10 L x 2 = 40 reps)
2 min per each set of 51
4.25 min per round

13 2 hd sw + 4 R (13 R/ 4 L)
17 2 hd sw
4 L + 13 2 hd sw (4 R/ 13 L)

13 2 hd sw + 4 R + 17 2 hd sw + 4 L + 13 2 hd sw (5 R/5 L x 4 = 40 reps)

11 2 hd sw + 6 R (11 R/ 6 L)
17 2 hd sw 
6 L + 11 2 hd sw (6 R/ 11 L)

11 2 hd sw + 6 R + 17 2 hd sw + 6 L + 11 2 hd sw (1 sw 1 tr x 20 = 40 reps)

9 2 hd sw + 8 R (9 R/ 8 L)
17 2 hd sw
8 L + 9 2 hd sw (8 R/ 9 L)

9 2 hd sw + 8 R + 17 2 hd sw + 8 L + 9 2 hd sw (40 tr = 40 reps)

7 2 hd sw + 10 R (7 R/ 10 L)
17 2 hd sw
10 L + 7 2 hd sw (10 R/ 7 L)

7 2 hd sw + 10 R + 17 2 hd sw + 10 L + 7 2 hd sw (40 2 hd sw = 40 reps)

now reverse and go back up hill:

9 2 hd sw + 8 R (9 R/ 8 L)
17 2 hd sw
8 L + 9 2 hd sw (8 R/ 9 L)

9 2 hd sw + 8 R + 17 2 hd sw + 8 L + 9 2 hd sw (40 tr = 40 reps)

11 2 hd sw + 6 R (11 R/ 6 L)
17 2 hd sw 
6 L + 11 2 hd sw (6 R/ 11 L)

11 2 hd sw + 6 R + 17 2 hd sw + 6 L + 11 2 hd sw (1 sw 1 tr x 20 = 40 reps)

13 2 hd sw + 4 R  (13 R/ 4 L)
17 2 hd sw
4 L + 13 2 hd sw (4 R/ 13 L)

13 2 hd sw + 4 R + 17 2 hd sw + 4 L + 13 2 hd sw (5 R/5 L x 4 = 40 reps)

15 2 2 hd sw + 2 R (15 R/ 2 L)
17 2 hd sw
2 L + 15 2 hd sw (2 R/ 15 L)

15 2 2 hd sw + 2 R  + 17 2 hd sw + 2 L + 15 2 hd sw = 51 reps (10 R/10 L x 2 = 40 reps)

end with one last set of 51

17 R + 17 2 hd sw + 17 L


51 2 hd swings!

Just shy of an entire 40 minutes, 869 swing reps

Oh gosh, now I've got to do the math....

Meg and my version, 100 one hand swings (50 R/50 L) and 769 two hand swings!

Susie's version, 819 swings total, 632 one hand swing (316 R/ 316 L), and 187 two hand swings

Whew!  I did not check the math, but at the end of the day it's not a big deal!  Susie's workout is posted in the parentheses in pink.

Who's Susie you might ask, lol!  Susie Grossman is an HKC from Indiana that contacted me about coming in for a private session while here in CA on vacation with her husband.  They hiked Yosemite for a week and then drove up here to the Bay Area.  Susie and I worked together on some SFG prep training and she stayed for my class.  I keep warning you all if you come for a visit to my group training you are likely to end up in a swing video!

Susie's "51" workout was done with mostly one hand swings.  Meg and I did two hand to one hand swing sets, while Susie demonstrated R to L one hand swing sets in the first and third sets of 17.   Also, while Meg and I did 51 reps (the three sets of 17 strung together) Susie did a set of 40 using my progressive swing combinations.  The kind of swings you do is up to you, it's your workout.  Personally, for me, I find the more two hand swings I do adds to my difficulty.

Thank you Susie for demonstrating the one hand swing reps options, especially since she had to count them on her own while I was counting our crazy rep pattern!  She did a much better job than I did keeping it right :)

ps: This was the first time we did this version and although we were using a "cheat sheet" I did manage to screw up a few sets! Oh, and you may notice that on the very first round Susie did in fact follow our lead, but finished the rest of the workout using those one hand swing options.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Some Seriously Hot Stuff! Pickled Jalapeno Relish

I've been making my own pickled jalapenos for a while now.  What got me interested in doing so in the first place was a jar of hot pickled "dilly beans" my Wisconsin bff Diana sent me that her husband Jeff made.  The bean were delish, but it was the vinegar they were canned in that was even more amazing!  I needed more hot vinegar so I had to start making my own!

I started with this basic recipe I found online;, it also comes with a video.  The only difference I make is that I use fresh dill instead of oregano.

In my opinion the vinegar is the most valuable IF you like hot foods!  Hot pepper vinegar in salad dressings is amazing, but one of my absolute favorite things to do with the vinegar is to submerge boiled eggs in it and brine them in the spicy liquid! I got that idea from a facebook friend of mine, I believe it came from Jon Gibson.  I make my eggs in the PC (pressure cooker) and peel them when they are still warm, then quickly get them into the pickle vinegar, usually six at a time.  When I pack them for lunch I cut them into quarters and arrange a big crunchy jalapeno ring on top with a pinch of kosher salt!  If I only need a snack I'll pack two, if it's a meal I'll pack three.

I use the spicy vinegar in all kinds of salads and deviled eggs, even soups!  Jalapeno rings are rather large and I often end up dicing them to add to egg or tuna salad, so this time I decided to make a kind of relish and do all of the dicing first.  I added red bell and carrot because, why not?

As many times as I've diced jalapenos I still don't wear gloves and this batch of peppers were especially HOT!  My fingers are burning as I type this post!  I've got to be careful and not touch my face....or maybe start wearing gloves?  lol

I can't wait to try this batch out!  Do you pickle?  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Indian Spiced Glazed Carrot Soup

I never think to make carrot soup.  Who makes carrot soup?  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, carrots used to be a vegetable I was afraid of because I kind of placed them in the same category at potatoes, a starchy root full of sugar.  I got in the habit of only buying two or three carrots a week, at most, mainly to use in mirepoix or maybe to shred one in a salad.  So imagine my surprise, when taking inventory in my fridge looking for possible ingredients for a batch of soup or stew, I looked at the four large carrots I had in a different light.

I had made carrot soup a couple of times but it has been years (due to the fact I was afraid of them, lol), and in fact I wrote two blog posts about it;, and
This time I was curious about someone else's take on carrot soup so I took out my favorite cookbook, "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman, and found "Glazed Carrot Soup".  Well, I knew how to glaze carrots, it's one of my Xmas dinner side dishes, and I knew how to make soup, and yes, it was simply combining the two methods together!  Glaze the carrots first, and then continue on and make soup!

Since I wanted a deeper more substantial meal I knew I wanted to add red lentils, just about 1/2 c. and I also decided to give it a bit of an Indian spice twist using garam masala and red curry paste (1 tbl each). Mark's recipe suggests sugar, honey or maple syrup as the sweetener for the glaze, and I thought honey would be the appropriate way to go, given the rest of the ingredients.  I did use my pressure cooker, but this could easily be done without, and only taking about 15 minutes longer.

Indian Spiced Glazed Carrot Soup

1 tbl each, olive oil and butter
1-2 tbl sugar, honey, or maple syrup
4 lg carrots
1/2-3/4 c. water

combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until carrots are slightly tender, about 5 min.  Take cover off, increase heat to med high and cook until the liquid reduces to a thick glaze, about 5-10 min.  Add

1 tbl garam masala
1 tbl red curry paste

Stir to coat carrots and cook until fragrant.  Add

1/2 red lentils (rinsed if you like)
4-6 c. water

or if you want to make more it decadent

1 can coconut milk, either full fat or "lite", and water totaling 4-6 c.

I thought about doing this version, but I really wanted to taste the merit of the soup without the flavor and fat of coconut milk, not to mention the calories!

Bring back to a boil and cook until lentils are done, about 25 minutes, OR if using a PC, Lock the lid on, bring pressure to high, lower heat and cook 8-10 min.  (let pressure come down naturally or release pressure, how much time you have to finish the soup is the only factor)

Red lentils do not hold their shape and will dissolve into the soup, which is fine because this is a blended soup anyway.  An immersion blender is the easiest and fastest way to make smooth, but if you have to use a traditional blender you need to let the soup cool down a bit, but still be careful when blending hot or warm soups.

This soup was sooooo good the only thing wrong with it is that it only made three servings!  (2 c. each, 200 calories per serving approx.)  I can't wait to make it again, I think the spice measurements were perfect, no changes need to be made at all.  Of course you can make it without any spices and still have "Glazed Carrot Soup"!  Give it a go and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!