Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Main Gig :)

Wanna swing?  Here is the workout that I'll be leading in class this weekend, it starts with a 10 minute "warm up", starting with 3 sets of 10 reps, progressively working up to the workout's theme of 30 rep sets.  I never to a "second take" when I practice, so bear with me as I stay in order best I can :)

The workout consists of 10 sets of 30 reps.  It is a classic TracyStyle "one hand swing sandwich"!  Each set starts with two hand swings, completes a one hand swing ladder, and ends with more two hand swings!  Enjoy :)

30 two hand swings :)

My own kettlebell workouts, on average, take about 90 minutes.  This old body needs at least 15 minutes of light swings to warm up, and then, depending on what's on the agenda, swings, snatches, presses, squats, the next 30 minutes will focus on one or more of those skills.  There is always at least a 30 minute swing routine, which, if I'm training the other skills will come at the end of the workout. Since my 16kg snatch Sport set is a priority these days, after my warm up I spend 20-30 minutes on sport, then I'll continue on with that days skill practice.

1st workout
GS snatch volume
swings (14kg, this is when I practice and design the week's class routine)

2nd workout
GS heavy snatch
swings (double bells and super heavy two hand 24kg-32kg)

3rd workout
GS speed snatch
"Snatch Vo2"
presses + complexes
swings (16kg +, then 14kg for 30 minutes in class)
Get Ups
yoga (this is the only time I do KB's and yoga on the same day)

If I wasn't training sport I'd simply increase the time I spend on the other stuff by about 20 minutes, which is easy to do when you''re having so much fun!  I haven't made it 100% consistent, but I also do some pull up practice, both strict and kip, push ups, barbell presses, sandbag, and I just added one legged step up in preparation to train my pistol again.

I'm going to be posting videos of my sport sets, but I will not be including much commentary. They are really for my own study and archive.  My main gig is using kettlebells for exercise, health and fitness, this sport stuff is completely different, but requires thoughtful programming and a critical eye on technique.

I really, really, really want to start posting about more than training again.  So much cooking, and now baking, so little time!  The nutritional side of health and fitness is about more than the food we eat, it's how we eat it and how we think about the food we eat :)  Health and nutrition for our bodies as well as our brains, combining the physical with the non physical for general well being and longevity. 


I did not get a chance to write or upload video from Saturday's speed practice.  It's a combination of Hardstyle and GS (sport).  After my warm up I practiced and ladder up short 15 second sets of 8 HS snatches, with fast and light GS snatch.  This is my last round, top of the ladder, 8 sets of 8 12kg HS snatch (15/15 work/rest), with a two minute set, 29 R/31 L

8 R/ 8 L x 1 (2 sets total) + 30 sec set, 14 reps
8 R/ 8 L x 2 (4 sets total) + 1 min set, 28 reps
8 R/ 8 L x 3 (6 sets total) + 1.5 min set, 42 reps
8 R/ 8 L x x 4 (8 sets total) + 2 min set, 60 reps (video)
This was my first week of speed training, and again, it was to take some baseline data.  Not counting my warm up reps the workload equalled 304 snatch reps.  Looking over the results I will plan the next 7 weeks progressions and post them this weekend.

Tuesday volume

Whew, I'm soooo glad this workout was already programmed!  It made going in the gym at 5:00am so much easier knowing I didn't have to think, I only had to do!
25/25 x 4 sets w/14kg
60/60 x 1 set w/12kg
This was a very humbling workout!  200 snatch reps before I got to the last 120 was a bit much, but it was an important experience in the fact that looking at next week's progression I think it's going to be "just right"!  It was more challenging that I anticipated, and I'm fine with that :)  Reviewing the video I caught a HUGE error in technique on that last set of 25/25.  I tried to correct it best I could on my set of 60/60 with the lighter weight.  Now I'm so grateful I saw it because since I'm practically starting from scratch again I'll get try my best make the correction while I'm using the lighter weights.
set 1

set 2

set 3

set 4

set 5 60/60

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Make What's Important the Priority, and Do It First!

"Make What's Important the Priority, and Do It First!" - Mark Reifkind

Words of wisdom.  Hearing exactly what you need to hear at exactly the right time.  There are a few things I need...I mean, want to get done, and my excuse is either no time, or no energy when I have the time...yep, same as everybody else :)  But Mark called me on the carpet and in doing so lit a fire under my ass to get my priorities in order!

Snatching the 20kg 100/5 min is not a priority.  I'm close enough any day of the week, so it's back to my sport set, for my own personal satisfaction.  In order to get it done I have to put myself first, my own training, which I haven't been doing.  The other priority is getting my regular yoga practice back.  Enter the "luxury of no choice"!

Training on my own first of the week I'm changing my KB practice to Monday, instead of Tuesday.  The workout starts with GS snatch and I have the next 10 weeks planned out already.  Thursday workout starts at 5:00am, instead of 5:30, when the girls get there, so I can get my sets in before they come...brrrr, it's a hell of a time to start earlier too!  Darker and colder, in fact out in the garage it'll be freezing in a few weeks.  Saturday I already start before my first client/workout, but new target, new focus, Max snatch will be on the agenda from now one else likes to do it but me it seems :)  So, I'll do it on my own, it's easier that way anyway.

Thursday heavy 16kg GS snatch

typical warm up w/12kg and 14kg, but I only have about 15 min

16kg swing snatch x 25/25
16kg 1 min R/ 1 min L x 2 sets (1 min rest between)

I decided to do a "swing snatch" set to see where my grip was w/16kg.  I'm not sure the last time I did a long set, maybe 40/40 was around or before my birthday, and the last time I did a longer set was months before that one, so baby steps....  20/20 was the plan, which is 40 reps per side, but when I got to 20 it was easy, so I made the executive decision to go to 25.  I could have done more, but that's not the point....t's not time to kill myself just yet!  In fact it was enough on the easy side that with the few minutes I had left I wanted to see how a simple 1 min R/ 1 min L felt like, so I finished with 2 sets, one minute rest between.

Wow, it exposed the challenge.  I'm plenty strong enough, until my cardio starts to come into play.  Nothing makes you weaker than no oxygen!  Okay, so now I know better what to expect and where I need to put some attention on.

Here is my swing snatch set, the other two practice sets you can find on my Youtube channel:

The girls arrived and I continued on with squats being the focus practice for their/our TH morning practice, sandbag clean and squats and some barbell presses, finishing off with double bell swings.  I have some baseline skill/strength targets for this coming year, and I want the girls to have the same, so no avoiding squats, so in the next two weeks we'll be building some flexibility and depth in that movement.

I'm seriously proud to say that I made it to yoga 4 days this week, changing half of my practice to that 5:30am class time!  Ouch!  I'm my least warm and flexible that early in the morning, but I have to get it done first!  Id rather be making cookies!  But too bad for me :)  (more about the cookies coming soon :) )

What have you been putting off?  What have you been wanting to make a priority but haven't committed to taking the action needed?  Mark gave me the words that inspired me to take the responsibility and make the changes I needed to far, so good :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giving Up is not the same as Letting Go

I love the morning.  I have my clearest thoughts in the mornings. I get the most done and feel the most energized.  I've got a solid 10 weeks to train without interruption of travel so what to do...what to do?  As of this writing I only have Tuesday workouts figured out.  I can only have so many strength goals at one time and since I have the luxury of training by myself for a while I thought I better hit some GS sport numbers that still have my name on them ,16kg 100/100 10 minutes.

So, I know where I want to go, now I just gotta figure out how to get there, and the first thing is to find out where I am, right now, today.

In order to get to the 16kg I've got to go through the 14kg, so that's where I'll start.  Something relatively easy so I can ramp up and through it quickly. 20/20 is easy, but 5 sets of them add to the difficulty, so 5 sets it is (although I felt strong enough to double this workload this morning, more is not necessarily better).  My last set was a lighter and longer set for my grip, again, nothing too challenging, I don't want to rip up my hands.  My hands are a big priority to me lately, more about that another time.

So the plan?  The plan is to increase the rep count and length of set w/14kg over the next few weeks, with a longer lighter set at the end for grip.  Thursdays will be heavier, slower, 16kg snatches and holds, Saturdays will be speed, light and fast.

(set 1)

week #1
20/20 x 5 w/14kg, 2 min work, 1 min rest = 15 min
40/40 w/12kg, 4 minutes.

week #2
25/25 x 4 sets w/14kg, 2.5 min work, 1 min rest = 14 min.
60/60 w/12kg, 6 min.

week #3
35/35 x 3 sets w/14kg, 3.5 min, 1 min rest = 13.5 min
80/80 w/12kg, 8 min

week #4
50/50 x 2 sets w/14kg, 5 min, 1 min rest = 11 min
100/100 w/12kg, 5 min

week #5 (no 12kg)
60/60 w/14kg, x 1 set = 6 min.
40/40 + 20/20 + 10/10 + 5/5 x 1 set w/14kg = 10 min

week #6
test, 10 min 14kg snatch

week #7 take off
week #8, repeat week #1 w/16kg and 14kg, set numbers for the next 3 weeks.

This may seem like too long of a ramp up to the 16kg, but I'll be training with the 16kg and heavier on Thursdays, so the heavy stuff will be on that day.  I really don't believe in not paying my respect to the lighter weight, but maybe that's just me.  It's not like once I reach my target I quit :) , the joy is the ride, and I love, love, love seeing progress over the weeks and earning strength and conditioning with consistency :)

Complete workout
12kg warm up, hard style
40 2 hd sw x 5 sets
swing/snatch progressions, 1 min work, 3 sec rest x 4 sets
16 min.

(set 5, for sets 2, 3, 4, go to my Youtube channel)

GS practice (above)
19 min.

14kg swings
warm up 100 swings, 5 min
20 rep theme, practice for classes ( see my Youtube channel for part 2 of this workout :) )
total of 50 minutes of swings

(part 1, 10 min, 180 swing reps, fyi :) )

Oh, so what does the title of this post have to do with my workout?  At some point during my workout I started thinking about a client of mine that recently decided to give up. Give up on some of the things she truly wanted only because she believes that she can't have least that's my interpretation of it. And my interpretation only matters to me, it may or may not actually be the case to her, and so as I was thinking about that I realized it paralleled the reason I chose to go back to my sport training this morning.  I'm not going to settle for giving up on something I absolutely can achieve, and that I actually want, but I will let go of doing it in order to "prove" something.  (as if anybody else really cares!  lol)

It will be fun when I do what I set out to do, it will be fun all along the way, and it will be fun to move on to something else after I get there...or maybe it will be such a nice place to be that I'll stay there for a little while!

My purpose is to feel the joy, the hope, the inspiration, and the belief of, and in, the process :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

First Tuesday Morning 11/3 Workout, pre Pensacola

Just getting home from 8 days in Veitnam, now here in Pensacola I'll wait to set some training goals for next week.  In the mean time I want to get my reps in, break a sweat and challenge myself appropriately (not too much because there's no hurry, and not too little, I don't want to get too far behind where I was, or where I've been)

12kg warm up
40 2 hd sw x 5 sets = 10 min, 200 sw

warm up sets
10 2 hd sw
20 2 hd sw
10/10 + 5/5 + 10 2 hd sw
5 min., 100 sw

work sets
10 x 10 2 hd sw
5/5 sn (30/30)
5 swing snatch R, 5 sw sn L (45/45)
10/10sn (1 min/1 min)
10 swing sn R, 10 sw sn L (1.5/1 min)
12 min per round, 130 sw, 60 sn
repeat round, only using transfer swings instead of 2 h =d sw for 10 x 10

end with one last 10 x 10 2 hd sw

total work w/14kg
360 sw, 120 sn

pull up / kip practice

24kg swing
100 continuous reps (video)

I haven't done this in a while so I wanted to test it as a baseline to train for the 28kg, which is going to seriously be a big goal considering this set was much harder than I anticipated as far as cardio challenge.  I couldn't even count my heart rate pulses correctly after the set because they seemed as if one was running into the next.  The grip or the weight was not a problem but my heart rate was through the roof.  Not sure how I'm going to adapt to the workload of the 28kg, but I'll start that program this next week, hoping to hit that training goal before the end of the year.

The first video demonstration above is of the snatch portion of work set rounds, adding on a continuous set at the end
5/5 sn
5/5 sw sn
10/10 sn
10/10 sw sn
repeat with no rest between progressions.

The theme of the workout this morning was "10".  As I designed the snatch sets I knew I did not want to focus on speed, but instead do a little grip endurance work in anticipation of getting back to some sport sets when my travel schedule calms down.  Although 10-20 reps is hardly any kind of test for eral grip endurance for me now, I remember quite clearly that at one time it was!  Everybody has to start  somewhere!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

the best ever 10 years.

I love November.  November is the month of my favorite holiday (meal!), Thanksgiving, my wedding anniversary, and 10 years ago this month I celebrated a weight loss of 100lbs in 11 months time!  Since then, 2005, November solidifies many more favorite things about my new life that I love, including my yoga practice, and November seems to be perfect timing to rev things up and get some great momentum to swing through the holidays, much less affected by all of the former feelings of obligatory eating of foods given, presented and shared by well meaning friends and family in the "spirit" of the holidays :)

I love November!

I'm thrilled to not have anything take me away from teaching my regular Saturday class, or my own weekly training schedule until after the first week of about you?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to come and train with me, or take my Saturday morning Swing Class in Palo Alto just email me!

January 1st, 2016 might not ever look so good for you!  Start your best ever next 10 years!

picture at top was Nov 2005, 100lbs down. picture on the right was Nov 2006, 1 year after, total weight loss of 120lbs.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me! "52" workouts, the first of a month long theme :)

Yesterday was my 52nd birthday!  Can you believe it?  Gosh, it really didn't hit me until this morning, a second before I started my first rep of my special B-day workout.  I had a fabulous day that started out with macaron experiments for 3 hours, starting at 5:00am!  After I journaled my results I went out and ran some errands that I wanted to do, like going to my favorite store, Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market! I love that store!  I found some really killer snack bars that are actually made for kids!  (Clif Kid Z Bar, honey graham flavor, $1.99 box of 6)  Next I went for a nice long walk and listened to a book on tape, "Soul of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman.  Came home, took a nice long nap with Mark, got up and went back in the kitchen to cook! (with a glass of wine of course!)  Kissed and hugged on Mark and had a great night's sleep.  What a great day!

The only thing that could have made it better, other than spending time with my kids and granddaughter would have been to have done a killer workout! But I don't kettlebell on Wednesdays, it's a recovery day, so the killer workout had to wait until this morning!  Maribel walked into the Lioness's den at 5:30 and joined me in the first part of my "52" themed workout.

Lucky me the 24kg weighs about 52 lbs, so it stands to reason that double 12kg's is the same weight. Thursday is usually double kb day, so double 12 kg's it was.  This year was like no other, in the fact that it wasn't just swings (today, but that's coming, don't worry!).  I wanted to do all of the kb skills (minus Get ups, but that's coming too!).  52 double 12kg reps each, swings, presses, squats, snatches, clean, and....pull ups! (assisted)  I had absolutely no idea how long this would take or how I was going to break it up, but I decided on the order I just listed, done in 4 rounds of 13 reps per.  This video demonstrates my first two rounds, minus the pull ups because the rack is on the other side of the gym and I wanted to video at least two rounds.  After I stopped this video I did my first set of 13 assisted pull ups, and then I dispersed sets of 5 and 6 throughout the rest of the workout.

I was able to do the first round in continuous sets of 13...but that was it!  Swings, snatches and cleans, no problem, all 4 sets of 13 were done continuous, but I had to break down the presses, squats and pull ups.  I'm not sure what Maribel's strategy was, but she finished in about the same time.  Gosh, it was fun!  Now I'll have something to measure next year when I have 1 more rep of each skill to complete, fingers crossed within the same amount of time :)

So, we started the workout at 5:30am. did a 15-20 min warm up, finished in 30 min, had 10 minutes left in the hour.  I started the next part of my workout, which was 52 sets of 10 double 12kg swings (520 reps, 26 min), and Maribel finished with a 10 x 10 w/24kg. I think it's been a while since she swung the 24kg, but it's my birthday and that's what was required :)

After my 52 sets of 10 double 12kg swings I did three last snatch sets.  The first w/12kg, the second w/14kg and the last w/16kg, all 52 R/ 52 L with a comp bell, done GS style.  Here was my entire workout:

52 dbl swings
52 dbl presses
52 dbl squats
52 dbl snatches
52 dbl cleans
52 assisted pull ups
30 min

52 sets of 10 dbl swings
520 reps, 26 min

12kg snatch 52/52 on hand switch, 5 min
14kg snatch 52/52, 26 x 4, 5 min
16kg snatch 52/52, 13 x 8, 5 min
312 snatches, 25 min, I took 5 minutes between sets. workout isn't over!  My good friend Emily has the same exact birthday as me! And she was 36 yesterday! (gosh, I hope I don't get in trouble!)  Soooo, I've got 36 sets of 10 w/36lb bell in order around 10:00am this morning....  And then last, but not least an hour long ruck walk with Mark at 1:00pm, my favorite part of Thursdays now.

Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Training is the Source" - Mark Reifkind, and Sunday's Finisher (explained)

(round 1)

Training is the Source.  What does this mean?  Mark has so many great phrases that Pavel and many others have, for years, encouraged him to write a book titling each chapter with these phrases, his inspired words of wisdom....and this is one of my favorites.

Mark and I talk about training every single day.  Every single day we share a discovery or something learned from our own training or that of a client / student.  It was during one of these conversations that I was telling him about an experience I had during my own training, something I hadn't known about myself before and was exciting to recognize, that he first said to me, "Well, training is the source!"  And I knew right then and there exactly what he meant.

For me, my personality, my knowingness, my beliefs about myself come to the forefront through how I feel before, during and/or after my training.  My training brings out the best parts of me, and it rewards me with self confidence, self knowingness.  Things don't always have to go my way in my workouts, but often they do, more so than in other parts of my life because I'm able to experience a balance between body, mind AND heart!  And heart?

I have this physical body and training puts me, smack dab, right in the middle of it.  I love being in my body, especially since there was a large portion of my life that I cut myself off from it. The power of being able to manipulate this physical apparatus is exciting to me! Manipulate how it moves and even how it looks.  I love my body.

My mind is the one that tends to overthink, the one that sometimes judges, the one that gets competitive (good and not so good), but also the one that can calculate reps, loads, and time.  It can think ahead and visualize possibilities.  It remembers success and lessons learned.  My mind is what tells my body what to do, to push it just far enough to gain / maintain strength and the feeling of being fit.

My heart however is what keeps my mind in check!  It's the one that brings my thoughts back around to reason, to compassion, to ease.  Reason to not compete with anybody else, and to focus on keeping and maintaining my own physical goals and desires based on my life.  Compassion to back away from my own judgements that I can sometimes get caught up in to do more, to be more, in order to get approval from others.  Ease.  To be easy with myself doesn't mean to sleep in and skip workouts!  It means to not be in a hurry.  There is no finish line, there is no one keeping score.

What does this have to do with my last Sunday workout? lol  This past year I've incorporated a different style of ending my Sunday workouts, and it was my friend Fawn that reminded me of what's called a "finisher" when I was in St Paul this past January.  A finisher is usually a short burst of all out effort at the very end of a workout that pretty much puts the nail in the coffin!  I always learn something about myself when I push myself in this way.  And what I learned this week (again) was how I never get tired of training kettlebells!   I so believe in it, as it gives me evidence of my own power to decide how I choose to live a large part of my life.  It reminds me to appreciate the fact that I'm a really good teacher and coach and how much I love what I do.  I used to call it luck, and sometimes I still call it a miracle, but the truth is that it's just me, it's who I am.


Finishers are never exactly pre planned, but instead, most times, I decide how to end a workout based on a number of things;

Who's training with me that day and what are their skills and level of conditioning? It must be scalable.  What I like best about this way of finishing a workout is that it lets each person decide on what's exactly right for them on any particular day.

How does it fit in with what was done in the first part of the workout?  For instance it would not include presses or squats if presses/squats were already done earlier.

It always varies in time, in load, and in skill.  Because the intent is intensity it usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes, but this Sunday is a rare example of up to 30 minutes.  It's never the same length of time every week, and although 3 out of 4 times it's just swings, I'll add in snatches or squats every once in a while (mostly because everybody can do swings :) )  Intensity is achieved three ways; increasing weight, increasing reps/time, and/or increasing speed/decreasing rest.

This Sunday's Finisher was a long one! The longer the "set", the lighter the loading, often times I'll ladder down the weights, starting with the most difficult, in this case the 32kg.  Laddering up in weight has it's place as it makes the set (s) more difficult, appropriate for sets lasting less than 15 min (in my opinion).  Looking at the clock (remainder of the workout), 36 min., and having Meg as my Sunday partner I knew we could handle a long one and heavy one.

Originally each round was going to be a 10 x 10 with a full minute of rest after each (x 6), allowing recovery of the choice of a really heavy bell.  A 10 x 10 takes 5 minutes to complete, one set every 30 seconds, allowing 15 seconds to work (swing) and 15 seconds of rest (15/15).  I changed my mind about intervals, instead favoring no prescribed work / rest.  The guideline was to finish 100 reps (same as a 10 x 10) within each 5 minute round. The rest you would get would be determined by how fast you completed your 100 reps!


I decided to use the 32kg for the first two rounds, the 24kg for the next two, and the 16kg for the last two.  Going "old school" and skipping the intermediate weights (28kg and 20kg).

(round 2)

The first set would be 10 reps at a time, taking only enough rest to start my next set of 10 again (first video).  This took me approx 4.5 min, with an average rest period between 11-13 seconds  I hadn't swung the 32kg in a workout in a long long time, and it became obvious to me in order to maintain appropriate power I would have to keep the rep count under 15.  For the second set I decided to do sets of 12, (x 7) the last set = 16. This took 4 min approx. (second video)

The next two sets w/24 (rounds 3 and 4) I did 5 sets of 20, 30 seconds work, with only 15 seconds rest, taking me just over 3.5 minutes to complete.  The second set, I did 12 x 4 and 13 x 4.  Surprisingly this took me longer! It took almost 4 min to complete, but it was broken down into 8 sets versus 5, three more starts and stops....interesting! See you can always learn something new :)

(round 3)

(round 4)

The last two sets (whew!) were going to be easy!  I did the first one 50 x 2 (1.25 min work/45 sec rest), completing in 3.25 min (no video), and because it had felt like forever since I had done a 2 hand, 100 continuous rep set w/16kg ( 2.5 min) I had to "finish" off with that!  (last video)

(round 6)

I've been working on double front squats during the first part of our Sunday workout (7:15-8:00am), and double jerk and 16kg snatch for GS practice (8:00-8:45am), so there was time and energy for a long end to the workout.  We were done at 9:15, 15 minutes earlier than usual.  Meg is going to compete in a couple of weeks at the California Open Kettlebell Sport Championships with 20kg LC and after that we will not be practicing GS on Sunday's anymore.  I will continue on with my own personal KB sport goals on my own time however, but no plans to compete in the future.