Friday, November 21, 2014

Thursday 10 x 10 combining sets, and "Man Pie"?

As I posted recently, all of my swing workouts these days are based on The Swing workouts, mostly #7, #8 and #9.  In yesterday's 10 x 10 video I demo how to take two of the sets of 10 reps "combining" them into a longer 20 rep set (longer set = longer rest!), similar to what I've been practicing in my own swing training.

10 x 10

10 2 hd swings x 2 sets
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets
5/5 + 10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
5/5 x 1 set
10 2 hd sw x 1 set

100 swings, 5 minutes


Man Pie?

Over the past couple of weeks I've made a few batches of chutney using the pineapple guavas Meg brought me from her tree.  I've made chutneys in the past, mostly serving them with cheese and crackers, but there are only so much cheese and so many crackers a person can eat!  Chutney freezes well, and I am saving some for another time, but I wanted to figure out more ways of eating/using it.

I can't quite remember now how I came up with the idea of using the chutney in a savory pie, similar to an empanada, using ground beef, and a vegetarian option using sweet potatoes and black beans, but somehow I did!  Like practically every recipe I come up with the process evolves from the original idea.

The original idea was making a top and bottom pastry crust, filling one with ground beef and chutney, and the other with roasted sweet potato, black beans and chutney....but I found a bottom and top crust was too much pastry, and that equals too many calories per serving!  So I started thinking about how to get rid of the bottom crust....ah, sweet potato!  So I ended up combining both versions together.  I layered sliced sweet potato on the bottom, added my browned ground beef (and onion), black beans, then spread the chutney over that, and topped the pie with a pastry crust.  

I wasn't 100% that all of these flavors were just my own crazy tastes so I gave my training partners each a slice to take home and report back!  Everyone said it was pretty good, and it was Deepika that called it "Man Pie"! (maybe because of the meat?)  So there you go, the name sticks!

Man Pie

1 med sweet potato (yam) sliced thin
1 lb ground beef cooked with 1/2 diced onion, drained of fat and cooled
1 c. black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse)
1 c. chutney (you an use store bought Mango chutney)
1 Pillsbury Pie Crust, the one find already made in the refrigerator section that you simply unroll (shhhh, I won't tell if you don't tell!)
1 egg to brush on top of the pastry

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes until the top crust is golden and crisp.  Enjoy!

PS one of my favorite secret cooking "cheats" is Pillsbury all ready made pie crusts that you unroll out of the package!  I happen to make an awesome homemade pastry but what I lack in time is only second to my lack of counter space to use my rolling pin!  Besides, I promise, no one will ever question if it's a store bought crust because you can still make the edges the way you like and design the top steam holes in your own pattern :)  What's your secret cooking "cheat"?

See! I have to remind you to season (salt) each ingredient?  The sweet potato (after you layer it), when you cook the beef, and to the black beans after you rinse them. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yukon Gold!

Now that I've gotten over my fear of potatoes I forgot how delicious Yukon Gold's were!  I've always made Mark potato salad, you know, the good old fashioned kind with tons of mayonnaise.  For years and years I didn't allow myself to eat it (or much of it) in fear of the extra "carbs" and although I'm not afraid of fats, traditional potato salad has a ton of it.  Having the behavior of overeating in my history I was not to be trusted....isn't this all crazy?  Fast forward.  This post is not about old habits and behaviors of overeating, it's about potato salad! Yukon Gold and Green Bean Salad with a simple Mustard Dressing to be exact.

I was in the market the other day and saw these small gold potatoes.  All of a sudden my mind clicked back to the memory of these buttery yummies and I decided to buy a handful for a small batch of some kind of salad.  Lately I've been steaming most all of my cooked veggies for salads using my pressure cooker.  It takes so little time, literally one minute for green beans and about 10 minutes for potatoes (5 min cook, 5 min rest), but the best thing about steaming as opposed to boiling is that you retain more nutrients in the foods you are cooking.

Most salads need no more than oil and vinegar and this one is no different.  Red wine vinegar, olive oil and a spoonful of grainy mustard was all I used.  Steamed potatoes, green beans and a finely diced shallot, and with only those 6 ingredients, viola.  Super yummy goodness :)  

A few tips for making potato salads (and if you have any other good ones please share!)

#1 Save the potato water you boil or steam the veggies in!  Instead of using more oil or mayonnaise you can use the starchy water to thin out and adjust the consistency of the finished salad without making it heavier, thicker and more calorie dense.

#2 Boil or steam the potatoes unpeeled if you want to save some time, once they cool enough to handle the skin simply slides off.

#3 Once the potatoes are skinned and diced, season with your salt and some vinegar while still warm.  Seasoning the potatoes when they are warm insures greater absorption of flavor. 

Since I really don't count olive oil, vinegar or mustard an "ingredient", these should be fridge and pantry items you always have on hand, this recipe only has three things you need to pick up at the market.  Yukon Gold potatoes, green beans and a shallot.  Speaking of shallot, that poor forgotten onion, a red onion is a fine substitute but I find shallots milder, sweeter and maybe even a hint of garlic taste.

What is your favorite way of preparing potato salad?  Or do you not eat potatoes?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dive Back In

Sometimes Youtube will not show some of my videos in some countries.  I'm not sure if this is because of copy write laws with the music that plays in the background.  A couple of people let me know that they could not see the latest video I posted on FB of yesterday's GS 14kg snatch set (89R/95L) so I'm going to give it a go, here on my blog.

I'll be posting more about my recent dive back into GS Sport.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Why an OTM workout replacement for Thursday 10 x 10?

Every Thursday is a heavy swing day.  Nothing super heavy these days, but after 20-30 solid minutes w/16kg I'll throw in another 10-20 minutes with heavy double bells and or single 24kg and higher.  What I mean by 10-20 minutes is that I train in 4-6 week "cycles".  A cycle is when you start out one week with a baseline of weights/reps/time, nothing too difficult, but nothing easy either, and add a certain percentage of difficulty week by week, leading up to a really challenging workout.  Then you back off, lighten the loading for a couple weeks and start all over again, but with a slightly different goal.  The goal is always to increase the loading over the cycle, but slightly differently using a variety of swings, say for instance two hand swings versus one hand swings, or short double bell sets versus long single bell sets, etc.

Yesterdays workout I decided to go really heavy (for me) and had to dial back the routine to my basic "OTM" baseline starting point.  I haven't swung the 28kg for a while so I had no idea how many reps I could do solidly and cleanly before I broke form.  I knew for sure I could do 10 otm and so I started with 12.  12 was fairly easy so I jumped right up to 14.  At this point I thought it smart to only jump one rep at a time, the eventual goal is 20 (equal work to rest).  The goal is not the rep count, the goal is to do up to 20 reps per 30 second work/rest intervals with solid strength, form and power.  The goal is not to suffer through 20 reps with weaker and weaker reps!  

I have three weeks before I leave for my next trip and therefore over the next few workouts I will increase my rep counts accordingly. Here were my rep counts alternating a single 28kg and double 14kg's;

12 x 2 (one set w/28kg, one set w/dbl 14kg's)
14 x 2
15 x 2
16 x 2
17 x 2 this is where I felt the beginning of the loss of power so I backed down one rep
16 x 2 I felt I  needed to back down again
15 x 2 this is where I felt solid again so I stayed here until the end
15 x 6 more sets

total of 20 sets done OTM
300 swings x 28kg = 8,400kg moved

Next week's workout's goal is to increase the total amount of weight moved by around 8-10%, which equals about 24-30 reps.

Now you know what inspired Thursday's 10 x 10 replacement to demonstrate that no matter where your starting point is, going back to a basic OTM workout is always a good place to begin!  I've been training the swing since 2005 and here I am again using this method.  It's always relevant :)  

Where's your starting point?  Using the demo video above, swing with me, taking note (mentally and literally) when your strength, form, and technique start to give way, and then work your way up from here.

ps I've been cooking up a storm so a food/recipe post is way overdue and coming next :)

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.