Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What's in Your Gym Bag?

Here's Willy (Wonka) in my gym bag.....notice one of my Gymboss's clipped to the side (yep, I said one of my Gymboss's....I never travel without at least 2!)
I always joke that if someone stole my gymbag they'd make off with hundreds of dollars worth of Lululemon yoga and workout clothes.....I always carry multiple changes of clothes because of my inner Vagabond....you should see my car!
The brats are as energnetic as they are cute, and Mark and I are tuckered out....when are they leaving? Next week! Mark and I have decided that these two kittens, Willy and Nilly, have a higher prey drive than the past kittens we have raised....they are constantly on the move, pouncing on eachother and batting around playing with everything and, anything we leave on the dining room table from coins, jewelry, paper receipts, nail polish bottles, and their favorite, a one dollar bill! Oh, and my gymbag!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Roasted Veggies

I, originally, started this blog, away from my first blog, as my way of focusing on food, and eating....most importantly our behaviors and habits that surround the way we....I.... eat, that's why the first title of this blog was "Food and Thought"....not "Sets and Reps", lol!. Most of my first blogposts were recipes and pictures of homemade foods, or about the thought processes of a complusivve overeater, me, and how I had been inspired to take control of my health by cooking and preparing my own homecooked foods and meals.....and I wanted to share that same inspiration. Discovering the beauty of real foods, mostly veggies.....and pressure cooking! lol

There is not one day that goes by that I'm not in my kitchen preparing my breakfast, lunch or dinner.....and making enough for the next few days, if not the next week. I consider cooking my hobby and my Joy.

Since we are, smackdab, in the middle of winter, roasting veggies is natural. Turning on that hot oven, rubbing veggies down with plenty of oil, S & P and letting them roast away, to carmelized goodness is, just about, a daily event at my house.

My BFF, Fawn, turned me on to a great combination of roasting shitake mushrooms, brussel sprouts, and yams, (garnet) together....I'm forever grateful for this introduction to Shitake mushrooms AND roasting a variety of mixed veggies, wheras I used to roast only one type of veggie at a time, (thanks Girlfriend!). Since then mushrooms are always thrown into the mix. Here's what I roasted last night. (be sure and save the mushroom stems for stock)

Fingerling potatoes (I bought a big bag at Costco, and I have to say....I don't care for the purple ones)

My neighbor, Peter, the first Chef I ever knew, turned me on to Fingerling potaotes about 9 years ago. His favorite roasting combination was fingerlings, shallots, whole garlic cloves and fresh thyme.

red onion

shallots (another favorite and only $1.29 lb at the Vietnamese market)

shitake mushrooms (again...1/2 the priceat the VM, only $3.99lb instead of $6.99lb at WF)
white button mushrooms

brussel sprouts (halved)

whole garlic cloves
fresh thyme
plenty of salt and pepper

Toss with olive oil. I start with 2 tbl per roasting pan (4 in this case) and then I add as needed....never more than a couple of tbls more (total). Roast in an oven @350-400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes, shaking the pan, or turning the veggies over, once half way through.

I toss roasted veggies with romaine lettuce and homemead lo-cal Ceasar Dressing.....the ones that actually make it that far, lol! I also added a heaping helping to the turkey meatball and bean soup for Marks dinner tonight.

I only used potatoes because we had leftover turkey and gravy...I rarely use potaotes! But if you're not into startchy veggies like me, for instance, potatoes, rutabaga, beets, yams and squashes (buuternut), then lots of other choices like cauliflower, carrots (I used those tonight), tons of onions, celery, and broccoli....oh, or throw some apples or pears into the mix...goodness I just thought of that...yum, yum!

Of course spices, spice things up. A dusting of curry powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes (another favorite of mine), fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, and rosemary, etc.

lo-cal Ceasar Dressing

1/2 plain yogurt, 1/2 mayo, lemon juice, crushed garlic, anchovy paste (or 2 anchovy filets minced), S & P

parmesan cheese optional (I rarely add it....but that's just me)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's Not What's Happened To You.....

But what you do with what's happened to you......

Brilliant words, by a brilliant man, my husband Mark. Before I get into what this blogpost is about, let me just say a couple of things.....

Every day, every day, Mark and I talk about training, and how training is about life. And I swear, I wish I could write down, fast enough, all of the brilliant things that come of of his mouth.

So....tonight a couple of things came up.....the first is something totally freaky that happened in my swing class this morning. One of my students misjudged, or somehow got ahead of the swing combination, and actually came down, with the KB on her knee....well, actually her shin! Swear to God! Here's the piture to prove it. lol! I've never witnessed anything like it before, but I saw it happen.

I jokingly said something like, I thought this particular student was too hardcore, mentally, and it just hadn't caught up physically! And I wasn't kidding. I'm so impressed with level of conditioning that this student has been able to build up in such a short amount of time, not to mention how quickly she picked up perfect swing AND snatch form......I really think her mind is so far ahead of her body, given her previous athletic experience of discipline and dedication as a rower.

Sometimes life interrupts.....

Wrestlers and rowers, just a couple of naturally hardcore athletes......no body trains harder. Nobody is more willing to go train alone.. They're up at the crack of dawn getting it done. You know if they're a wrestler or rower they're tough....mentally and physically....they'll get it done every single time.

Those that get back on, and get back going, because life always interrupts. That's the excuse everyone gives "I can't train because life interrupted"....."I got a tummy ache", "I hit my knee with a kettlebell", "I lost my job", "I got a divorce"..."It's too hard".....you still have to train... or it'll always be something.....training keeps you strong enough to handle all of those "somethings"......it doesn't matter that life interrupts.

Hardcore.....heart and spirit, it's not about workout routines. Molly is hardcore, and it's not for everybody. It's not being afraid to see your edge....to know your limit....because you know you can make it beter. It's not about falling down, it's about who gets up....and up....and up...and up....and up....and up....and up....and, sometimes, up again.

Mark had had some recent setbacks that have involved his back, yet today he snatched a modified version of Max Vo2, AND 2 sets of 100 continuous reps with his clubbell.....not the 2 lb clubbells, the 15lb clubbells.

And here I am.....bitching about a silly 15-20lb weight gain from the past few years....but you know what? I get back up....and up....and up. I still haven't missed, or canceled, one kettlebell class, or missed one yoga class because I felt "fat", or unworthy, or defeated, or embarrassed.....even though I've had all of these feelings.....every-freakin'-day, practically.

Doing it anyway....that's hardcore.

Let me add one more thing. Up until recently, the last few months, I've trained, at the crack of dawn, in my garage gym...barefoot.....freezing......I never missed.....and I don't plan to anytime soon. Holidays, grandkids, cats, weightloss, weightgain, hangovers, no one watching...no one caring.....but me.

No Max.....Vo2....just Max weight, for reps.....

Saturday.....day after Xmas. 7:30am Beginning Swing class 30 minutes.....8:00am Max training....well....snatch day....however I want to do it! That's the good thing about being the Boss!

I decided it wasn't quite time to go back to Max Vo2 w/16kg, instead? Heavy snatches. 20kg to be exact. Could I have tried the 24kg? the 28kg?, the 32kg? Of course, but really, what's the purpose of training? The purpose of training is to progressively get stronger and have higher levels of conditioning, and you do that by, not beating yourself into the ground, but progressively increasing, and decreasing levels of loads, conditioning, intensities, and volume (as quoted by the brilliant Mr. ....Master Instructor, Mark Reifkind...you don't think I'm that smart, do you?)

Tracy and Megs Heavy Snatch Day

All sets were timed "I go , you go"

12 kg 5/5 x 10 = 100 reps
16kg 5/5 x 10 = 100 reps

20 kg
1/1 x 5 = 10 reps
2/2 x 5 = 20 reps
3/3 x 5 = 30 reps, 60 reps total w/20kg

16kg 5/5 x 10 = 100 reps.....easy.....
12kg 5/5 x 10 = 100 reps....easier.....Whoops, that was the "plan", BUT this what we did, like I said I'm the Boss, lol!

I decided to snatch nonstop, and our pace set us up to complete 100 snatches w/12kg....without any trouble, in fact, easy, in 3 1/2 minutes!

I could have snatched the 20kg for sets of 5's, but I didn't want to snatch at a different pace than Meg, and although Meg is certainly strong enough, as women, some of us have to consider the handle size of those bigger bells. I use sock sleeves....it's my choice, but Meg doesn't use any hand protection, and I totally respect that, but I chose to build my strength first, and then build my hand strength....but that's just me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Max, to the Max

Good Lord....I'm tired....and hungry! OK, so on this past Saturday, one week after Meg and I tested the USSST, we were scheduled to go back to our 16kg Max Vo2 Workouts, starting with at least 46-50 sets of 8, out of a total of 70 sets. All week I kept thinking.....wouldn't it be "fun" to do a Max workout with the 12kg....even if it was the top of Max, which is 80 sets of 8. I mean, that should be easy, right?

Well, 8:00am Saturday morning.....Meg mentions the same thought...about snatching the 12kg......and I say, "You know I was kinda thinking something like that too."....and Mark says, "I think that's a good idea."

I say......"What?" What do you mean?" (I'm looking for validation to go back to the 12kg, lol)

He says....."No, I think that's a good idea."

I say....."Why? I just want to know (from the expert), why....the "technical" reasoning behind it"

He says....."The next step off a peak is always down.....you step back, or you fall off.....last week, you peaked!"


Tracy and Megs Max

80 set of 8 w/ 12kg

40 freakin' minutes, 640 snatches!

OK, so today is Monday. I had one, committed student in my 7:00am class (too bad for anyone else that doesn't have the balls to swing and snatch with us....too bad for them)....yikes, am I a little frustrated with people that can't bring themselves to swing a freakin' bell for a measley 30 freakin' minutes?.....good God people......as I watch all of the ridiculous, waste of time, training that goes on all around me....la de dah......the "eliptical"?....are you serious?


OK, so Brian....lucky ass that he is, is the only one in my Intermediate/Adv 7:30am class right now, consistently,(Brian is the GM of the Club, and he chooses to train with me, out of all of the 20+ PT's employeed by Equinox.....a 46 year old, former fat girl, that can swing and snatch her ass off, what does that tell you?), he has been training a version of Max Vo2 on Mondays, he uses the 16kg, and I normally use the 12kg, because I have already been swinging for 30 + minutes by the time our workout starts.....technically my classes are 30 minutes long, but I let the 7:30am class go for at leat 40+ minutes.

So, as I started to say, we did 54 sets last week.....

Brian w/16kg
10 sets of 7
44 sets of 8

Tracy w/12kg
54 sets of 8 (this was 2 days after I tested the USSST with Meg)

This last Saturday, since I did 80 sets of 8, w/12kg, I decided it was time for a little mixup.....36/36!

Brian used the 16kg, and I used the 14kg

Tracy w/14kg

36 sec work/rest
18 reps x 20 sets
24 minutes, 360 snatches

Brian w/16kg

36 sec work/rest
18 reps x 14 sets
19 reps x 6 sets
20 sets total, 25 minutes, 366 snatches

Now, don't forget this was after a 10 minute warm up, and, for me, a 30+ minute class of swings and snatches....but let's not get caught up in the details.....

Our hands gave out before our strength did, but that's how it goes....I was plenty ready to stop at set 20! We finished off the workout with 2 sets of 2 1/2 minutes swing sets.

I'll write a blogpost about the 14kg...again, but until then....my legs are a bit tired.....(I started the morning with only 20 minutes of Spinning, and followed KB's with 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga...ouch)......You think I'd be skinnier......(the 14kg.....)

PS in the above picture, can you see the 16kg's sitting quietly on the sidelines, lol?

Rugrat Sandwich

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post I have joint custody, during the Holidays, of the Rugrats, Willy and Nilly (aka, the redheaded stepchildren, lol.....no offense to red heads....but I guess it is offensive....sorry....yikes!). Here is, from the top down, Petunia (aka,Tuna), Nilly (aka Purr Monster), and Sexy (don't ask!).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul....and recipe for kettlecorn

I love that phrase, because it applies to so many area of my life....good God, I've been robbing "Peter to pay Paul" for as long as I can remember! (and it's not necessarily a good thing....lol, kind of). I was never taught by my parents to be responsible....in a "mature" kind of way. And by that I mean, paying bills, building credit, being punctual (I have Mark to thank for teaching me to be on time), or actually doing what I say I will.... and following through......I'm not going to blame my parenting, but.......

Anyway, I'm talking about something else right now......I'm talking about robbing "Peter Calorie" to pay "Junk Food Paul"! In a perfect world, I truly believe that it doesn't matter what I eat, or how much I eat, it's how I feel about what I eat, and how I feel about myself....hence the first part of the blog title, Transforming Thought.......but that's another, long ass, blogpost......

In the mean time, as I juggle calories....whether or not I do it consciously, or subconsciously, I have to make choices.....what motivates those choices, is again, another "long ass" blog post....(PS it's a good thing I'm spending more time around my precious granddaughter, Sophie, because it has to cure me of my "sailor"mouth!)

So here's the deal.....I trained my freakin', frackin', ass off today, (Meg and I did 80 sets of Max Vo2 w/12kg earlier), and all I could think about was how I "deserved" whatever I wanted....and that may be true.....and what I "deserved" was a big ass batch of kettlecorn....yum, freakin' yum! (When I visited our friend Jen and Greg in Santa Barbara, I was sure to bring the ingredients for a big batch! ), and I was willing to not eat a "regular" meal in exchange, but......the more I thought about eating the good food I was going to make for dinner, the less attractive it was to trade off. There are just too many food choices, good food choices.....not that kettlecorn isn't "good".

Sometimes it isn't even about the calories. I can fit a small batch of kettlecorn into my calorie count for the day (I don't formally count calories anymore, but I know basically what I'm eating), it's about how I'm going to feel the next day if I make and eat a big batch, which is why I don't drink a bottle of wine everynight, lol! It's not like I never eat sweets, I eat something sweet practically everyday, but it's usually early in the day, and it's rare that I overeat them these days.

Robbing Peter Calorie, to pay Junk Food Paul has always worked for me, especially back in the days where I had my once a week "Cheat Day" (Sat.), followed by a fasting day (Sun.), so it's nothing new. It's when you rob Peter, and never pay back Paul......now, that's just not nice.

Mark and I met Dawn Jarrell at dinner in St. Paul when we were there for the HKC this past
Sept. Dawn shared with me her recipe for old fashioned home made popcorn using coconut oil. Coconut oil is a different type of fat, it's a medium chain triglyceride. That means that our bodies don't store it as bodyfat as easily, instead our bodies treat it more like a carbohydrate.....it doesn't taste like coconut! There are many other benefits of coconut oil. http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut- oil/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html

Basic kettlecorn recipe
1 part oil
2 parts sugar
3 parts popcorn
salt, of course (I use kosher)
For a "big batch" I use 3 tbl coconut oil. 6 tbl sugar. 9 tbl popcorn.

Melt oil in a pot big enough to hold the corn once it starts to pop (I use an 8 qt pot). Add in 3 kernels of popcorn, put the lid on and listen for all 3 to pop......at this time the oil is the right temp and you can go ahead and add in all of your popcorn and sugar. Shake the pot to make sure everything is coated, replace the lid and give it a good shake every 30 seconds or so,until you hear the "popping" slow down, or stop.
Turn off the heat, remove the pot, being careful of the steam when you take off the lid. Add a few good pinches of salt and stir using a long wooden spoon, or long metal tongs.....because there's "hot" sugar on the corn you can not use your hands! Let cool for a minute or two and dump into a big bowl....I mean several small bowls because you will be sharing this...won't you?

Always trying to make my junk food more nutritious, I add in about 2 t. flax seeds to my kettlecorn! I've also tried to make kettlecorn with honey, and brown sugar instead of white sugar. Both of those substitutions tasted a little "burnt", and I didn't think the tradeoff was worth it.

Don't think I'm smart enough to know anything about coconut oil, I got my information from my brilliant husband Mark....he knows everything! Seriously, he does!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Perfect Again

I had an incredibly lazy day yesterday. I missed yoga (on pupose), I did get, kind of, a workout doing a few Get-ups at Girya w/Mark coaching me.....I ate a big peice of chocolate cake......and a scone.....I haven't done that in forever. Got in back in bed around 12noon, and there I stayed. I thought I would feel better today with all of that rest, but no. I want to cancel my morning, call in sick, and bail.

But I won't.

I missed 6:00am Spin....again, for maybe the 3rd or 4th time in a row. Because I didn't even get the dishes done yesterday, so I had to, basically, do all of my housework first thing this morning. We are babysitting the two Rugrats, Willy & Nilly during the Holidays, so I've got 7 freakin' cats again and 2 litterboxes......Oh, and one fat cat that I'm trying to keep on a diet....oh, and another that's got some kind of skin allergy so I have to medicate her twice a day.....good Lord, cats have some big sharp teeth....yikes!

I'm not in any kind of mood. I'm spoiled, that's the problem. In my perfect days I get to Spin, KB, Yoga, walk, cook, eat, nap, start over and repeat......

One of the thoughts I had this morning was of my blogpost I wrote a couple of weeks ago about losing momentum.....that's all this is. I lost a little momentum yesterday, when my whole day fell apart....and then this morning continued to fall.....

It's 6:12am. I've got to get some gas in my car to make it to Palo Alto this morning, and then in about 45 minutes I'll do my first 2 hand KB swing.....and then it'll all be perfect again.....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just in case.....

Just in case you don't read some of the comments made.....here is one from my last blogpost....

kettlebells_n_sunshine said...

Tracy, I had the pleasure of meeting you at dinner at the first HKC in MN. You are a beautiful, funny and vibrant person - so full of life. And I actually did hear Mark say that it was easier "when you were fat".

I have always been a fat girl, still I am thick in the middle. I have finally gotten past the scale and the irrational need to be a size 2 because someone says that I should be. The kb was handed to me by my boyfriend a year and a half ago and it changed my life in more ways than imaginable, it even took me into a new career path.

Its hard to let go of images society wants us to embrace for women, but I can look around at the women I train with and see such beauty that it overwhelms me.I continue to pick up my kb and practice and share it with others so that they too can know the beauty of being strong.

Bret & Gray did the video on the TGU (my favorite move) and they remind us of the kalos sthenos or beautiful strength that we all possess. What I think we need to do more often is to embrace it.

I find you inspiring...love yourself they way that others love you... keep up the inspiration...Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Hi Jennifer!

Talk about the KB changing someones life more than ever! I can relate...and talk about new career paths....who knew we'd both be teaching, and preaching, to others the miracle that has come into our lives.

I spent my teen years in the late 70's, and early 80's, when a totally flat tummy....good Lord, a "concave" stomach was the ideal, not to mention pencil thin thighs....not a good thing for a "pear shaped" girl, lol......it was the beginning of the "Super Model". I remember turning sideways in the mirror, daily, to see if I had a flat tummy....thinking by some miracle, during the night, God would grant me this perfect body.....(which my sister had BTW....damn her).

Anyway, I think we also have to be careful of what defines "strong". As I mentioned to Laura Sacks (above), to her comment on Marks blog, I've been posting videos and, of course, my training routines and workouts for a few years now, also watching and reading what others are doing, and sometimes we get caught up in the competition of who can lift, swing, snatch, press, squat the biggest bell for the most times, in the shortest amount of time......goodness I'm tired of the comparisons!

I just want everyone to show up and train regularly! To share one of my favorite "Rifism's", I may not out lift them, but I'll outlast them!".....don't give up.....show up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Skinny" is Making the Whole World Miserable

This is the cover of a Hallmark Shoebox Greeting Card that my friend Sabina gave me last week....isn't it hilarious?

What's not hilarious is how miserable the quest to be considered "skinny" in these current times, in our culture, in many cultures, is.

Mark has said to me, more than once...."It was better (easier) when you were fat."

Good Lord.
Am I that miserable of a person? Sometimes.

He didn't mean any harm, that I know. I also know what he meant by saying something like that. It must be hard to live with someone who insists on torturing themselves by defining their worth by the number on the scale. Not just me, but Mark has been working one-on-one as a personal trainer for many, many years, and alot of his clients have been women who have had the same self torture of, not only the number on the scale, but how big their thighs measured, and how many calories they can eat without getting fat...fat-ter, etc.....

Trying to be, trying to feel, skinny is making us, and the people who love us, miserable.
What is Skinny anyway? Skinny is skinny! Seriously, who wants to be skinny? Anorexics, that's who! OK, I admit to having feelings of being jealous of anorexics...how messed up am I? I'm not anymore messed up than anyone else.....if I truly believed it....but I don't...not really.
I happen to know some skinny people....guess what? They hate themselves just as much as anyone for not being skinny enough....is that justice? I'll humor myself and say, "Yes!"

Listen to happy music and be light with yourself......sing this to yourself......this is for you.....this is about you....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Last Reps....USSST....PR for Tracy, 211, and Megs first attempt, 210!

Well......I love training Russian Kettlebells.... What better is there to do? I mean, really, what else do you have going on? Training takes up so little time....OK I admit it takes alot of energy and commitment, but after you put in...what...about and hour or so? What the hell?

Meg earned her HKC last weekend at Girya, so we did not get to train our Max Vo2 w/16kg workout.....her, learning and training, and me, helping assist and coach.....what better time to test the 10 minute snatch test w/16kg, then after over a week off from heavy snatches? One of things that I like about having Meg as a training partner (besides her fierce competitveness...which she denies, lol), is her willingness to just do as I say! She'll show up....that's the trained, competitve athlete in her...she's taken away the choice of whether or not she "feels" like it! Bravo!

So, I decided now was as good a time as any to test the 16kg snatch. Afterall, we had just done Max training, 2 weeks ago, with the 16kg for what? 70 sets? Oh yes, 70 freakin' sets....and 42-44 sets of 8 reps.....we had already done over 500 snatches with the 16kg....what's a couple hundred in 10 minutes? LOL

Tracys 211

Megs 210

Although we taped video of the full 10 minutes....for now, here is the last minutes of both of our USSST. I went first and then Meg. Neither one of us talked to the other about any strategy other than Meg asking me, just before I started, if I had a goal number....which, I told her was 200. When I have more time and energy I'll post the complete 10 minute sets, and talk about the strategy I went in with, based on my last test....BTW I did this test, probably, 2 years ago and managed 171 reps in the 10 minutes, so todays 211 total was a 40 rep PR, for me!

Looking back at the video I can see lots of room for improvement, which I'll share in the next blogpost about this....I can't wait to retest this, and retesting the SSST (10 minutes w/12kg) will also be interesting.....that will happen after we get our Max 80 sets w/16kg.

PS After my last blogpost, I was tempted to title this one something like "Grandmother snatches the 16kg 211 reps in 10 minutes!" LOL

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Much Fun

I can't help it.......my little Sophia is so cute...and she's so sweet....seriously, she's such a good baby!

I can see her Mommy in her eyes and nose, but her cheeks and forehead are all my son Richard's! This is so much fun.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When Snacks Replace Meals

OK, although I make all of my own meals, my snacking is starting to get a little out of hand.....I say this as I'm just returning from the Whole Foods "bulk aisle", my mouth still burning from the crystalized ginger candy I can't seem to keep my hands out of! I've already banned myself from the bulk aisle of Mollie Stones (in PA) because in addition to crystalized ginger candy they have those little, carob energy nuggets......yikes! As much as I bitch about "energy bars", these are basically the same thing.....ok, that's it, I'll never eat them again, lol!

I've lightened up on my diet quite a bit this last year because micro-managing every morsel of food wasn't working for me. And what I mean by "not working" is, it didn't make me feel good about myself. It made me feel as if I was becoming my own food prison guard. I know exactly when I'm eating too much. I know when I'm not hungry, but eat something anyway. And I know it's my choice, I'm not in denial about anything.....I eat what I want, when I want to, knowing full well any consequences I may "suffer"....suffering is also a choice btw.

I never used to snack more than my one, pre-designated, snack, which was something like a apple, or serving of fruit, PNB and celery/carrots, small sucker, etc., but lately I find myself eating more traditional snack foods like corn chips....thanks alot Fawn, lol! No seriously, I'm pretty good about eating a small amount of snack foods, like chips or crackers, it's not a problem, but this silly crystalized ginger candy keeps "zinging" me....literally!

Isn't the definition of a "snack" a small sumpin'-sumpin'? In fact I looked at the calories in a serving of some of my favorite multigrain chips and one serving has 140 calories, not a problem, I can ususally take a handful and be doen with it. 140 isn't bad, and I think it certainly qualifies as a snack, but if you can't stop yourself after 10 chips (yep, I said 10....one-zero, lol), then what do you do? Well, you probalby eat 20, then 30, hopefully you can stop at this point, because your snack just turned into your meal! And that's pretty much what I've been doing.....eating meal sized amounts of snacks!

Sometimes I consciously choose this. For example, I've been making my own kettlecorn (sugary popcorn....blogpost to come....), and some days I chose to eat it for dinner.....but guess what? It's a trade off, kettlecorn will literally be my dinner and nothing else, nothing more nutritious, just fat, sugar, corn and salt....it's my choice. Crystalized ginger candy was my lunch today!

Most days I know I have good food waiting at home for me, and I can calm myself down long enough to drive home, warm it up, or toss it together, and I feel so much better. Or like today I threw a couple of persimmons in my gym bag to make sure I had something after my workouts, instead of being lured by the peppermint patties, I don't even like, at the yoga studio (the damn little things are free! Argg...)

But for now, as I drink my wine and write this blogpost, I'm cooking a large turkey thigh in the PC while making stock for the lentil mushroom soup I'm making for dinner later on ( or maybe I'll use some black eyed peas and throw some bacon in it, lol). Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the ginger candy.....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

If you want to follow along you can.....or just come to my class, lol!

12 kg 10 2 hd sw, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (50 sw)
12 kg 10 tr, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (50 sw)
12 kg 10 1 sw/1 tr, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (100 sw)
12kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 1 min work/30 sec rest, x 5 (200 sw)

repeat w/16kg

16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (50 sw)
16 kg 10 tr, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (50 sw)
16 kg 10 1 sw/1 tr, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (100 sw)
16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 1 min work/30 sec rest, x 5 (200 sw)

repeat w 12kg, but increase each 15 sec interval by 2 reps, speed swings

12 kg 12 2 hd sw, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (60 sw)
12 kg 12 tr, 15 sec work/rest x 5 (60 sw)
12 kg 12 1 sw/1 tr, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (120 sw)
12kg 12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/tr, 1 min work/30 sec rest, x 5 (240 sw)

52.5 minutes 880 swings so far...... (17.5 minutes per block)

12kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, switch bells
16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

12kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr,
12kg 12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, switch bells
12kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, switch bells
12kg 12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

12kg 12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/tr,
12kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

12kg 12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/tr, switch bells
16 kg 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/tr, 2 min work, 1 min rest

512 swings 18 minutes

100 more swings....10 sets of 10....your chioce 15 sec work/rest = 5 minutes.

1 hour 15.5 minutes
1492 swings

Each block of combination swings has 20 sets (4 x 5). Ten 15/15 work/rest sets, five 30/30 work/rest sets, and five 1 min. work/30 sec rest sets, for a total of 17.5 minutes per block).

The first block is done with the 12kg. The second block has a weight increase to the 16kg. The third block goes back down in KB weight, but the intensity is increased by speeding up the pace and increasing the reps by 2 per 15 seconds.

The last 1 minute sets on all three blocks were combined two at a time, alternating all possible pairs, progressively, starting with the "easiet" and ending with the "hardest" (heavy and speed!),to end the workout. And then.....we just finished it all off with 10 sets of 10 swings....any swing movement (1 hand, 2 hand, trans?) and kettlebell weight, individually chosen.

This is not the hardest, heaviest or longest workout we've done, but in my opinion it was designed and paced in a way to go the distance.

PS this swing combination is the combination I just posted in the last swing video a couple of days ago.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursdays workouts.....

I started my training this morning with 6am Spin class. I haven't been Spinning much because I've been focusing more on getting Girya's makeover fininshed and I don't have time for every-frickin'-thing......

I teach my Beg/Inter class from 7:00 to 7:30am and usually let them stay 5-10 minutes longer, if they want, as I warm up with my next class. My weekday classes @ Equinox are not very well attended as the Club has not promoted the classes, or me, very well, and I haven't pushed it for various reasons. But anyway, for now I have 2 advanced students on Monday, and on Thursdays it's just me and Brian.

Here was the "meat" of our workout today, which is a heavy day that includes, many times, doubles (like today), cleans, presses and squats. I used double 12's & 16's, and Brian used double 16's & 20's.

10 dbl sw w/12kgs, 15 sec work, 15 sec rest
10 dbl sw w/16kgs, 15 sec work, 15 sec rest
7 dbl cl, dbl press w/ 12kgs, 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
6 cl sq L w/ 16kg, 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
6 cl sq R w/16kg, 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
4 min total

10 dbl sw w/12kgs, 15 sec work, 15 sec rest
10 dbl sw w/16kgs, 15 sec work, 15 sec rest
7 dbl cl, dbl press w/ 12kgs, 30 sec work, 30 sec rest

5 dbl cl sq w/16kg's, 30 sec work, 30 sec rest
3 min total

Repeat 4 x, alternating rotations #1 & #2 (8 rotations)

Total workout 28 minutes

We set 4 bells (2 of each weight) next to eachother, and then moved to the bells we needed for the combinations we were doing. We ended the rotations with the last combination of dbl cl squats with our 2 heaviest bells....whew!

I had do do some extra dbl cl presses, since I missed my "strict press" workout with Mark yesterday, so Brian had no choice but to follow suite. I really liked what we did, and instead of explaining it, I'll tape it for one of my future DVD's!

Got to 9:15am Bikrams yoga.....it was weird, but I got my practice in for the day....maybe I'll explain another time.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yoga, or Sophia....yoga, or Sophia?....Sophia, of course!

I had to leave my house this morning by 8:00am to get to Fairfield in time to see my baby granddaughter get her 3 month old pictures taken, so yoga class was not going to fit into the schedule today. I also had to skip my workout with Mark this morning....but what's more important? Yoga will aslways be there, but Sophia's 3 month birthday only happens once!
She is such a good baby.....we took her shopping afterwards and out to lunch.....(even though I brought my own lunch I had to take Mom out to spend just a little more time with sophia....no offense, Mom! lol)

Really, she does like me!

Old School

Wednesday 5:07am....check email and one of the two 6:00am KB clients I train in my garage gym is not feeling well.....one down, but one left......6:00am....I'm on my new stationary bike, the one we toook out of Girya to make room to host HKC's, waiting for client #2......6:05am, I know she's not coming (I'm sure I'll get an email soon about how she overslept, lol), but I'm still there, in the cold, 39 degrees actually, like old times, alone......

It doesn't matter though, I've got work to do, and I'll gt it done. Good news....I can do more alone.

So there I am, 20 minutes on the bike (which I really dig BTW), and the plan was to go on a long walk afterwards because I wasn't counting on getting a workout in today, I wanted to go see my baby girl, on her 3 month birthday, get her pictures taken in her Xmas dress, and I had to leave early to get there in time. But as I sat, warming up on the bike I realized....why go on a walk when I can swing for about 20-30 minutes and get a better workout? In fact, since I can get a great workout with KB's in 20 minutes, I can still go for a walk too! Brilliant!

Tomorrow in my Thursday class I usually swing heavy, lots of times it's "doubles" day, so I wanted something quick, efficient, light and long...... Swinging the 12kg for 20 minutes straight is not a big deal for me.....if I swing at my 10 reps per 15 sec pace (also known as "cruising pace"), but if I increase the swing reps by just 2 reps more in the same 15 sec., it totally changes the difficulty of the exercise......change it by an additional 4 reps and then you're smokin'.....but I didn't want to "smoke" this morning!

I know I cannot swing fast for a straight 20 minutes, so I alternated cruising pace with speed swings for 20 minutes with no rest period. 840 swings in 20 minutes (not including the extra 160+ swings I did for the demo tapes, lol)

10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 1 sw/1 tr (20 reps), 1 minute
12 2 hd sw, 12 tr, 12 1 sw/1 tr (24 reps), 1 minute
repeat 10 times = 20 minutes

Man! Talk about "old school"! Training, by myself in the cold and dark garage gym, barefoot, (and in "street clothes"), and then turning on the video camera was a little deja vu! Perfect timing actually, as I get ready to sit down and write how I train the kettlebell swing, how my progressions came to be, and using the magic number of "10" has been, and still is, key for me.....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Powders and Promises

"You don't need real food when you have enough formula."That's what Mark just said when I was reading the nutritious "diet secrets" of website I just checked out about a multi-level marketing type of business that sells fitness programs....and all the "fixin's".....

2-Day Fast Formula
ActiVit Multivitamins
Meal Replacement Shake
Results and Recovery Formula
Peak Performance Protein Bars
Performance Formula
Slimming Formula

It just kills me that anyone could think, for one second, that eating shakes, bars and supplements is the way to maintain a healthy bodyweight for the rest of our lives......puh-lease!

People! There is NO getting around real food! And I'm not sorry for saying so. Grow up and learn how to feed yourselves. Feeding yourself doesn't mean tearing open a "bar", or popping the top of a Slimfast. It means learning to cook and prepare the food our bodies were meant to eat 100+ years ago....if it wasn't around 100+ years ago, then don't eat it regularly, much less instead of real food.

Now, I don't have a problem disclosing all of the junk I eat at times, but I don't live on it. OK, I had 2 stinkin', nasty ass suckers that were on the counter at the bank this afternoon.....stinkin' free food. But that was only because I left the house without a snack and I have loads of persimmons at my house and I was too stinkin' cheap (and lazy) to stop and pick up an apple....so sugar is the first thing I grab....arggg!

But I headed straight home, ate a persimmon (OK 1 1/2 persimmons) when I got there, while I was heating up a huge bowl of Turkey soup with chorizo and cabbage (yummm,,,,chorizo....my next blog post!) Yes, I was too cheap and tired to stop for a piece of fruit, but knowing there was plenty of homemade food ready for me at home I never, ever, have to rely on "driving through" someplace for someone else to cook my food......and I use the term "cook" lightly.

But as long as supplement companies give people an easy out with powders and promises.....powders you add water to, or bars you simply tear open.....and let's not forget most of this stuff is chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter flavored, lol...it just gets more ridiculous doesn't it? Aren't those dessert flavors...Yay....dessert all day long and still be lean, mean, healthy and skinny, forever! Sign me up....NOT!

Monday @ Equinox.....are you "hardcore"?

I wrote this blogpost over one month ago, but never posted it until now......

Two people showed up for class this morning....only one in each of my two classes, and I'll get to that in a second....but first here's what Brian and I did in the inter/adv 7:30am class:

Tracy's warmup, all 2 hand swings before progressing up to the 24kg

5 x 10 w 12kg
3 x 10 w 16kg
2 x 10 w/20kg

work sets

50 x 10 w/24kg =
50 sets = 500 swings w/24kg

Brian's warmup, all 2 hand swings before progressing up to the 28kg & 32 kg

5 x 10 w/ 16kg
3 x 10 w/20 kg
2 x 10 w/ 24 kg

work sets

10 x 10 w/28kg
15 x 10 w/32kg
5 x 10 w/ 28kg....and fininshing
20 x 10 w/32kg

50 sets = 500 swings, 200 w/28kg, 300 w/32kg

Total workout 30 minutes, 600 heavy 2 hand swings

Since I had already been swinging for 30 minutes in my basic beginning class from 7:00-7:30am I was done! So I asked Brian if there was anything else he wanted to work on with KB's that I could help him, since I usually train my Inter/Adv class an additional 10-20 minutes. He wanted to do some "lat work", so we practiced some strict press....I mean he practiced some strict presses and with some coaching and a little "tough love" (RKC's know what that is, lol), Brian pressed the 28kg, a new PR for him for 4 reps, 1/1 x 2, and he said it felt easy! Brian definitely benefitted from the practice and coaching Ive been doing with Mark on my own strict pressing....see how lucky my students are, lol! Now Brian can progress up to the 32kg and then 40kg which is about half of his bodyweight.

OK, so if anyone has actually read the workout details in this blogpost, and is interested in the actual training I do with (and without) my students in a class structure, some may think, "Goodness, is that what she does in her classes? I mean should I pay, or would I pay, a trainer to do nothing but set after set of 2 hand swings?" Well, the question isn't, would you pay someone to take you through this workout, but would you even do it on your own? Probably not. Should you? Well, you should be doing something that is considered exercise, and as I always say...."If there was something better than training kettlebells, then I would be doing it!" So why don't more people train kettlebells, and why don't I have more people show up for my classes?

Because it's hard. Because sometimes it hurts....but I don't mean "hurt/ injure", although it may be physically uncomfortable....the kettlebell doesn't swing itself.....you have to move it, and to move the KB you have to move your body! Moving your body in a way that reminds you how out of shape you are, or how out of shape you'll become, quickly, if you stop moving it, hurts your ego more than anything. Go ahead, lose your mobility, lose conditioning, lose strength.....and you lose quality of life....you just do. So why should you come to one of my classes where I may simply do set after set of 2 hand swings? Because you won't do it on you own, and nothing will get you in shape faster.

Are my classes hard? Yep. Is my own training hard? Yep. This is what Brian said to me one time when I gave him a choice about a particular combination to end the workout with, he said "I don't care....whatever is harder!" I couldn't have said it better myself! Now that's hardcore!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Max PR x 2

Saturday is the Max Party @ Girya. Right now it's a party of 4, me, Mark, Meg, and Nick. Meg and I continue to have PR's with the 16kg, (after our crash and burn a couple of weeks ago, lol), here's yesterdays breakdown:

5/5 x 4
6/6 x 6
7/7 x 10 (20 sets, 126 snatches up to this point)
8/8 x 42
7/7 x 8

70 sets total
518 16kg snatches in 35 minutes
last week total # of snatches was 440, that'a 78 more snatches this week!

5/5 x 6
6/6 x 6
7/7 x 8 (20 sets 122 snatches, total up to this point)
8/8 x 38.....tore open callus on left hand
8 sn R, 10 sw L x 12 (6 each)

70 sets total (44 sets of 8)
474 snatches, 60 swings
last week the total # of snatches was 436, that's 38 more total snatches this week.

Not only did Meg and I have PR's with sets of 8, we had total snatch # PR's, so I guess we had PR's x 2!

Mark had a great Max day too, 20 sets of 7's and 30 sets of 8. Nick actually lasted a whole 60 sets, but scaled down his reps to 6's and 5's (I think he made it to about set 20 last week....just kidding....yikes!)

Anyway, I knew Meg and I had to up our Max workouts from 60 sets to 70 sets on our way to 80 sets of 8, so this week we added 10 additional Max sets. We'll stay @ 70 sets until we get our sets of 8 to 50-60, maybe 3 more weeks and then add on an additional 10 sets.

I would be lying if I pretended there wasn't some sort of competitive component to training with Meg. I thought I was competitive, but she has me beat! (pun intended....get it Meg? You win, you are more competitive, LOL...you know I'm having fun, right?) That doesn't mean I don't play along! I know she would have done all 50 of her remaining sets with 8's.....but just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

As Mark is quoted in Pavel's book "Power to the People Professional", "The next step off of a peak is always down. You can either step back, or fall off"

Once you've peaked you should voluntarily reduce intensity and volume, instead of being greedy in thinking you can continue to set PR after PR after PR, without suffering some type of breakdown. I voluntarily reduced my sets of 8, after my designated 42 sets, back down to 7's. I could do my whole workout with 8's if I wanted to, but that's not the point, and it doesn't give me much to work for....why train at all, or do anything different at all?

Morale of the story.....have a training plan to progessively improve, volume and strength over time. There's no rush....again, as Mark always says about our yoga practice....."You still have to come back tomorrow!" Max isn't going anywhere, it'll still be there next week!

PS Having Meg as a client, now training partner, for the last, almost, year has made me a better athlete, as well as teacher and coach.....so thank you Meg!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Poor Little Fingertips....

Just a short post on how sore my little fingertips are! Just like an impatient cook, I'm always trying to carve that damn turkey before it cools.......Ouch!

I haven't cooked Thanksgiving dinner on the "actual" Thankgiving Thursday in eons, instead I'll cook dinner on Friday, Sat. or Sunday.....so in my true tradition I roasted my turkey this evening and after smelling, and looking at this perfectly, brown, roast-ey turkey, I had to tear off the wings and start in on it!

Yesterday I didn't have anywhere to go, or no one to expect over for food, so I was able to just practice my hobby of cooking. I made my sweet potatoes in two differnt ways...blogpost to come....and after getting guavas and persimmons from Meg, (she evidently is the only person on the planet with a freakin' guava tree!), I made cranberry guava sauce and today I tried cranberries with persimmons....yummy... Sliced my bread for stuffing, and prepped my onions, celery and parsley....

I put a 12 lb turkey in the oven @ around 3:30pm and just finished putting everything away for tomorrow.

First thing in the morning, Max Vo2 @ 8:00am, two classes, Farmers market for string beans and potatoes.....a bottle of red wine......dinner time? About 4:30....should I attempt 12 noon yoga? Nothing fancy....maybe! Right now my poor little fingertips are throbbing.....is there anything better than juicy, butterey, flaming hot, crunchy, turkey skin?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Defining "Fit"

I can't tell you how many times I'm complimented on my level of fitness. I'm constantly hearing things like. "Wow, you're in such great shape", and these compliments come from people, male and female, many times much younger than me, and people that have never had any "real" weight to lose. In fact, this past Halloween season two of my young (20-23 year old) Swing Class students told me they thought I should be Wonder Woman for the Holiday! Goodness, how lucky am I?

So what defines "fit"? What are you "fit" for?

Well, I die in Spin class. And I don't have a natural talent for any kind lifting that requires "pressing" or using whole body tension for strength, And...I can not run a mile....one mile, without gassing out! So what the hell am I fit for?

I am fit to swing, snatch, squat, andf push press kettlebells.....non stop, for-ever........cool! Because of this base fitness level I've created training kettlebells, I've set myself up to try and succeed, to some level, at many other exercises that require some sort of, any sort of, level of fitness.....I have that.

What kind of athlete are you? I talk to many people about programing kettlebell workouts and I often ask this question.....who are you? Are you a "runner", are you a "lifter", are you a "triathlete", are you a "yogini"? Who, or what sport do you indentify with? And what do you need to be fit for?

I love Bikram's yoga, but I'm not a "Bikram's Yoga Champion", nor do I want to be one....it's just not at the top of my priority list. I may become a Bikram's Yoga Instuctor, but not a "Champion"....right now, LOL!

I love Spinning, and Cycling, but I'm not a "Cyclist". It's too dangerous on the streets where I live, I'm not going to invest the money for a state of the art bicycle, and all the (really cool) gear associated with being a "cyclist"......and I'd have to give up alot of other things to take this "sport" on. I'll settle for the imaginary road inside the Club, LOL!

My energy level is huge. I have a huge work capacity to do all kinds of things from moving furniture, grocery shopping everyday, cooking all of my own meals, everyday (and cleaning up!), attending and participating, to the fullest, all kinds of exercise classes, daily, teaching exercise classes (kettlebells, of course) not to mention......I'm 46 years old.....I'm not young as I used to be, lol!

So what am I "fit" for? Life. My good life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Max Par-tay

Mark and I have been training in our garage gym for-ev-er.....but now Girya is opening up, and becoming a much more comfortable place for us "hardcore" LOL! Mark has decided to call Girya home! So in addition to the two of us training there, together, Wednesday mornings, Mark invited his long time training partner, Nick, to train Max Vo2 with the three of us.

Tracy Max

5/5 x 4
6/6 x 6
7/7 x 16
8/8 x 34
total sets 60, 440 total snatches

Meg Max

5/5 x 10
6/6 x 10
7/7 x 10
8/8 x 32
total sets 62, 436 total snatches

Meg snatched 2 extra sets because she didn't do her halfway "happy dance" until set 31...so she had to do 62 sets in order for it to truly be a halfway happy dance.....I, on the other hand, was sucking enough wind by my 60th set and had nothing more to prove for the day!

Both of us set PR's snatching the 16kg for sets of 8. We had alot of making up to do for last week.

Mark is going to kill me, but I was not paying much attention to his, or Nick's workout....seriously, once I started 8's I barely said a word. Sorry (check his blog http://rifsblog.blogspot.com/ for details....yikes...don't be mad at me Sweetie, wink, wink).....but I did notice Nick sucking wind, down on his one knee after about set 20, knowing he better "man up" or else....LOL! (huh Meg, lol)

Next week I think we'll up the # of total sets along with increasing sets of 8......I hope.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sick about Myself

I can't believe how much time I wasted being sick about myself.

Good freakin' Lord.....this last year has been.....perplexing, is the only word that really fits. Here's the bottom line. I'm a person that has experienced much of my life being fat....not "overweight"...I'm not going to "sugar coat" it. I mean, let's be honest, in these current times, according to the standards of "normal" I have had a bodyweight that way exceeded "normal". I don't know why, nor do I care, the only thing I care about is loving and respecting, even freakin' adoring, who I am, and that includes, or doesn't include what I weigh.

I started blogging about my "weight loss journey" at a time....lucky for me.....when it was easy.....
It was easy to feel good about myself.....can you imagine? Feeling easy about yourself? What a freakin' joy! Good Lord. What's wrong with us? That we can't feel "easy"........

I spent the most of last year absoulutely sick about myself. Sick about myself because I didn't weigh 129lbs (or less!). Hiding out, afraid everyone would notice I gained 5 lbs from the previous year. Ohhhhh.....five whole pounds......

I was sick about myself. Looking at pictures and comparing me to me. Ashamed, again.....

Fuck. (there I said it)

Instead of being stressed out and angry about it, all I can do is feel better.....and I do.

I train hard.

I eat well, really well.

I love my life, I love my husband, I love my kids and beautiful granddaughter....how lucky am I?
I love training with kettlebells and I'm happy to teach, and coach others to feel the same way. I love walking, spinning, and I love Bikram's yoga.

I love that my car looks as if a vagabond drives it...lives in it.....with extra workout clothes always in "stock", spinning shoes, extra kettlebells, and at least 3 yoga mats drying out for the next class.

I love the way my jeans fit me.....and it doesn't matter what size they are.

I love using the Gravitron at the Club.

I love shopping for my workout clothes (at Lululemon), and I love, love, love the fact that I can afford anything I want.

I love my friends....especially Fawn, (and Aaron), and I wish I could visit more often with my brilliant husband, Mark ( he"s the one they like better anyway, lol....but I don't care, lol)

I love that as I write this blogpost Mark is listening to "Danny's Song" on his computer.....how lovely is that?

I have such an incredible life with people that inspire me, and who I, in return, inspire. There is nothing I can't have, that I know.

I'll keep showing up, I'll keep showing up...... As Mark always says, "If I can't outlift them, then I'll outlast them!" And that's no freakin' joke!

(this is a picture of me, last year 10 lbs lighter than I am right now....and I was "sick about myself"....who cares. Good Lord.....be easy with yourself.....)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Next Step off A Peak.....

Is always down..."You can step back or fall off".......As Mark always says,.

Abandon ship, abandon ship.......

Good Lord! My day started with moving ten tons of weight. 97lb ketlebellls, dumbells up to 55lbs, mirrors that probably weigh 40 lbs, etc..... Girya is getting a makeover to accommodate future HKC's along with bigger KB evening classes with Jordan Vezina and Sat swing classes lead by me! I was at Girya by 7:00am moving everything away from the walls for the painter to do his job....not 100% about the new color, but what the heck, it's just paint.

Saturday is a KB Max Vo2 day along with swing classes for "Learn", and Beg/Inter, and then 12 noon Bikram yoga (lucky for me its also "drink my ass into the ground day", lol)......Good Lord....

OK here's the low down....

I show up at 8:45am @ Equinox for my 2 scheduled classes, and I had decided to train with my Beg/Inter. class before Max w/16kg....now I've done plenty of swing classes before a 12kg Max V02 workout, but what what I thinking??????

I bring my own 12kg to Equinox, and as soon as I pulled ot out of my car it felt heavy....not a good sign! I ask my first class, "Is it just me, or do the KB's feel heavy today?" Everyone agreed! Whoops.....

OK, 25 minutes of 'long ass' swing sets, and now Meg and I have to train Max V02 with the freakin' 16kg......

Jessie and Sabina stayed with us for 10 sets of Max training, and then it was just me and Meg..... the 16 kg felt heavier than usual and I knew, for sure, there was no freakin' way I was doing 8's today, I was going to be lucky to do my 60 sets! Set 20.....Meg's finger, or hand opened up, gushing blood....she couldn't go on. That's the only excuse I needed......abandon ship.....we were done! Switch to heavy 2 hand swings and speed swings.

Willy Nilly snatches, speed swings w/12kg, heavy 2 hand swing w/20 & 24 kg....60 sets total....done! 35 sets of 8, Max w/16kg will have to wait until next week.....hey, I am only human after all! lol!

Meg's head was ready, but her hand wasn't...I on the other hand was asking the Universe for "an out" and it gave me one....next week...

Mark will train Max, first freakin' thing in the morning, with us @ Girya, and that will be that! How can we not rise to the occasion?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Mark and I went to the Mexican grocery (Mi Pueblo) near our home a couple of days ago to buy some short ribs (*see note), and in the deli section along with the all-ready cooked pulled pork and ribs and chicken wings they had these kidneys and hearts! I had never seen them before, and at first didn't recognize them for what they were, until I looked closer. Hmmnn....are those kidneys? I asked Mark what he thought and he agreed! Yup, those are kidneys, and heart! I had never had kidney, and, for sure, had never had heart....so what the hell, it's protein right?

We bought 1 heart and 2 kidneys....not bad! I sliced it up and tossed it with my salad, and Mark had it in his egg and veg stirfry.

I try and include some sort of animal protein with 2 of my 3 daily main meals. I would have to say that, flavor wise, I prefer pork and beef, but chicken is the most convenient to cook as I make all of my own stocks for soup, which I also eat everyday, and for that reason I always buy whole chickens, cut them up and bone them myself, so a whole chicken gives me quite a bit of meat. Pressure cooking has given me the luxury of cooking big inexpensive pieces of meat in practially no time, which works perfectly for me to have the leftovers in my fridge to add to salads, stirfrys. Most times them most inexpensive cuts of beef and pork also have bones for stock making, one of my favorites is smoked ham shanks, which gives me a smokey flavored stock.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't use some sort of meat stock. Using it for soup is obvious, but I use it for rices, risottos, polenta, quinoa, chilis/beans, gravys and sauces. (and stuffing at Thanksgiving time...yum-my) I love the extra nutrition I know it must add, and just as important, using the bones along with all of my onion, celery and carrot scraps reduces waste, and cuts the cost of buying stock to zero! As much cooking as I do I have what I call "the scrap heap" in my freezer loaded with these vegetabe scraps that sometimes build up more quickly then the "bone yard" so I make vegetable stock in the PC in about 15-20 minutes!
I don't eat enough seafood only because seafood doesn't keep uncooked for more than 1 day in the fridge, and/or cooked for more than 1 day, so seafood protein doesn't fit my lifestyle of precooking and preparing in advance many of my meals. And although I love eggs (especially "real" eggs from pastured chickens), I don't digest them well. I'll eat eggs mostly soft and hard boiled, either diced into my salads or on their own.

The way I eat doesn't come from a nutritionist point of view....in other words I don't count grams of proteins, carbs, fats, sugars, sodium, calcium or any other nutients or vitamins etc....if I count anything it's calories....which I don't do much of either these days. Since I prepare and make most all of my own foods, using fresh, natural ingredients, I trust that everything my body needs it gets....how could it not? I admit to a cookie or candy binge every once in a while, yes, the kind with fake fats and fake sugars, but I do try to make better choices when I feel I can.

* I started to get all hung up and obsessed with eating strictly organic, but thank goodness I'm getting over it! I've said it once, and I'll say it again, I managed to lose over 100lbs., and become one of the healthiest people I knew never eating anything organic. In fact buying most of my meat and produce at the Vietnemese and Mexican markets near my home because of the money I saved versus grocery stores like Safeway. Currently I shop mostly at Farmers Markets, Whole Foods and Molly Stones, but I refuse to beat myself up anymore and stress out about being "perfectly organic". I know there are alot of reasons, other than nutrition, to buy local, seasonal and organic, but good Lord, stress is more toxic to my body than eating short ribs from Mi Pueblo! (I also recently renewed my Costco membership after 2 years...you know they carry alot of pretty good brands of foods these days!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Max Vo2.....PR

I have to check my records, but I think I had a PR (personal record) with my Max training....I had to do 2 extra sets to make sure, LOL!

Tracy Max w/16kg
5x 4 (2 L, 2 R)
6x 6 (3 L, 3 R)
7x 20
8x 32!!!!!!!

Meg Max w/16kg
5x 6 (3 L, 3 R)
6x 8 (4 L, 4 R)
7x 26 (13 L, 13 R)
8x 12
7x 10

62 sets Max V02 total

I started Max thinking I had done 25 sets of 8 last workout (2 weeks ago, before out Santa Barbara trip), so I knew I had to do 30 sets, an increase of 5 sets per week until my goal of 60 sets of 8....but then I second guessed myself ( because I didn't check my blog ) and couldn't remember what my last PR was, LOl....so I added on two more sets at the end to make sure. 62 sets total Max workout today, 32 sets of 8 reps w/16kg.

Meg's Max was a little "willy-nilly" as she didn't have a solid plan, and I was too out of breath to coach her, LOL! But she also snatched a Max PR with 12 sets of 8's, last workout she had done 10 sets of 8.

Thanks to Jesse and Sabina (my next class) for counting down our last two sets...it really does make a difference whren you have a cheering audience!

The next 15-20 minutes was planks, hangs, and TGU's. Thanks to Meg for coaching us through TGU's and then it was 30 minutes of swings. Everyone trained their asses off this morning with kettlebells, and then I met Mark for Bikram's for the 12 noon yoga class....good Lord I'm tired....in a good way of course. (training and 3 or so glasses of wine.....)

Tomorrow is Sunday, and I'm cooking lunch for my kids, and my granddaughter is coming for the first time! Woo hoo!

today was a great day!

I love today! I never want to feel any other way, than the way I feel about today!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Searching for What I Already Know

Man, this past 1 1/2 years has been a rollercoaster. Lots of things changing in my life, back and forth, up and down.....and it sure has reflected in my bodyweight......or should I say in my eating patterns.....

I was having a conversation with my grandaughters 'other Grandmother' about losing weight, and because she hadn't known about my own weightloss story she was, of course, surprised having only known me at my current size. I happened to have one copy of the Vitalics magazine in my car and showed her the article which included a 'before picture', as well as my beginning diet and workout routines. She glossed over everything and said to me "So you mean all of the answers are right here? All I have to do is this?" And I said to her, "You don't need to know how I did it, you already know how to do it, everyone does!"

What I mean, and what I meant, by that is, when you read books/articles, see pictures, talk with people that have had success in losing weight what you need from these things is inspiration, not facts. Although their weightoss facts may inspire, that's not what I mean. My own exact menus and workout routines may not be right for you, but something similar may be, and can inspire you to remember what you already know, or what you know you need to learn. Inspiration may include a literal translation in change, but what we are all searching for is motivation. Being inspired to make small, or even big changes can provide more motivation for more inspiration.

This is one reason why I stopped including blogposts with the exact details of my food/calorie count, bodyweight and BF%, instead I've been trying to think of inspiring things to write about....I haven't been too successful, sometimes writing instead about getting stuck in a downward spiral of negativity looking for the answers to the "whys" in my life.

Why am I gaining weight?
Why me?
What does this mean?
Why now?
How am I going to lose this weight?
Can I lose this weight?
When will this end?
When will this turn back around?
Why me?
What will people think?

Did I just turn into some kind of victim? Yuck. I've said many times before that I don't think we need look back into the past to find out the "why's", instead focus on the present and future. I don't know why most of the things in my life happened the way they did, but so what. What I need to focus on are the things I do know.

I haven't been walking regulary, but I went for a walk the other day...... I love walks, it's my time to meditate and I come up with so many good thoughts and ideas when I walk, and I always feel good when I walk....and one of the thoughts I had was how I had been spending so much time and energy worried that I was going to fail, and looking for ways not to fail, that I forgot I knew how to succeed! I already know how to succeed, so what the hell have I been looking for? (I know I need to walk, by the way....how did I forget that one? Walking is my #1 exercise!)

I believe that everyone knows how to lose weight. If you, or anyone, has ever purposely lost one pound, then you could lose 100 pounds. How could it be any different? Remember that you already know the facts and ask instead for inspiration to create motivation to put your body and mind into action!

I'll blog soon about the recent inspiration that came to me and how it's motivated me to make the diet and workout changes I know I need to make, and I know how to make, to reach some new goals in my life.....my good life.

PS this is why I changed the order of my blog title to transforming "thought" first

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back to Max....

Mark and I were in Santa Barbara last weekend and I decided to take off my Saturday KB training and just relax and enjoy some time with our lovely friends, Greg and Jen Mishkin, who were generous enough to share their home with us (and a few really good bottles of wine!)

Mark went down to Ventura to join a few SR RKC's and Team Leaders to assist Pavel's Bodyweight Training Workshop, where he taught and demonstrated the handstand segment as well as his gymnastic tension drills.

Mark joined us for Max early Saturday morning as well. One of his regular training partners moved away a couple of months ago, and the other one has alot of other commitments that cause him to miss workouts more often than not, so I'm more than happy to snag him as my training partner at any, and every, chance!

Since I missed my 16kg Max training last week, I had to try and pick up where I left off....

Max V02 60 sets

7/7 x 50 sets
8/8 x 10 sets

5/5 x 10
6/6 x 10
7/7 x 30
8/8 x 10

I started off straight into sets of 7/7, and I knew there would be no 8's for me this day, which was fine as it would still be a PR.....I think I had only done 50 sets of 7 previous, but I have to look back to last years training log. Mark and I went at the same time and although we were both snatching 7 reps I tried to keep up with Mark snatching his 7 at an 8 rep pace. I wrote about pacing in my last post about Max.

Meg started out with 5's and then 6's, also at a fast pace before settling into her 7 rep pace.....and then at the end of our workout with 10 sets left to go she announces that she's going to snatch 8's for the remainder of the workout! What!

No way in hell was she snatching 8's and I was snatching 7's....I think I've been called out (LOL, really, it was my own ego calling me out, not Meg!) Eights it was. Fine.

Next class.....

Planks, hangs, and then swings.....swings for an additional 30 minutes.

Next class....more swings, but since it was a "Learn" and Beginning class I didn't have to do much actual swinging, it was more teaching...starting, stopping for another 30-45 minutes. The Farmers Market in Palo Alto, a small Pumkin Spice latte at Peet's, and then Mark and I went to 12 noon Bikrams. (hey, a girls' gotta earn her wine with dinner!)

Next week, back to 8's.....Meg too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Break Your Momentum

The only thing harder than starting a workout routine is staying with it....seriously. It may seem like starting is the hardest part, but when we think about it, how many times do people start? Many. But how many times do they stick with it? None! Otherwise they would still be training, wouldn't they!

I started teaching classes this past January, and since that time I only have 2 students that have kept training with me.....and I'm sure no one else has kept it up on their own, even though almost everyone that had trained at least 4 consecutive weeks with me had seen results...noticeable results, not only in the shape and tone of their bodies, but most definitely in their conditioning! Some even own their own kettlebells, and still don't train them!

It's easy to quit, and the farther you get from regularity the harder it is to not quit completely. During these past 10 months every time I take a weekend off, and have to cancel a regular class, I always, always lose students! That's how close most people are to quitting! All one needs, it seems someitmes, is one missed workout......wow!

I've written many times about how I don't like the word "struggle". I don't like to use the word because I feel as if using it makes it so. But just because I don't like using the word, and I certainly don't like feeling the word, doesn't mean I don't think it, or feel it! When I think it, I'm, for sure, feeling it! What am I really feeling though? Lazy, unmotivated, tired, hopeless, scared?

It doesn't matter to me that I find the answer to that question, what matters is that, in the mean time, I show up to swing, I show up to spin, I show up to walk, I show up for my yoga practice....that's what matters. How long I swing, spin, walk, or the number of yoga classes I go to doesn't matter until it gets to the point of breaking the habit, breaking the regularity of my workouts, breaking momentum.

Many times near the end of Max Vo2 training I want to keep snatching my last few sets in a row, instead of putting the bell down for a rest period....why? Many times I'll do long, long, long sets of swings....in fact the few times I have swung with the purpose of seeing how many swings I could do in an hours time, it was much easier to swing continuously as long as possible, taking bigger rest periods, instead of breaking it up into smaller sets with shorter rest periods....why? Because it's easier to keep going, working with momentum, than it is to break momentum, and start over. A few months ago when I tested my 10 minute snatch with Meg and Gen, we all got a "second wind" near the end and sprinted to the finish! No one rested during the 10 minutes, but still we were able to actually use momentum to speed up at the end.

These past few months my own training has seen a shift and for the first time in over 3 years I could actually see myself quitting my Bikram's Yoga practice.....scary! But, as bad as I had been feeling about my practice I kept going....not as often as I had been going, but my practice never fell lower than 4 times a week. That may not seem like much of a drop, but at the first of the year I was averaging 9 times a week! And, here's the big confession......I've thought many times recently, if I wasn't committed to teaching my swing classes I could very well start to lose my kettlebell practice! Thank God for my students that keep showing up and expecting me to show up as well!

Breaking momentum applies to more than working out. It applies to any good habit we've all established in our lives. And I believe everything we do on a regular basis are simply habits we establish. It takes 6 weeks to establish a new habit, but much shorter a time to break it. One missed workout may be all it takes........don't stop, because getting started again is so f***ing hard!

PS this seems to also apply to writing blogposts....LOL!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Max w/16kg #2 and 20kg snatches

I know, I know I never blogged Max w/16kg #1, but my Sat Max workouts have been a little unorganized for the past few weeks. In fact last week we only did about 15 minutes of max w/12kg (sets of up to 9), but then we all set some heavy snatch PR's with the 20kg!

We had the honor of training with Mark (Master Instructor, and my Master Coach!), so I thought it would be fun for us girls to train some heavy snatches up to the 20kg. Mark was snatching heavy that morning so I thought we would follow suite. Gen's boyfriend Chris came along and also got a chance to experience Max w/2okg and heavy snatches w/28kg.

I can't remember the exact sets we all did, but I know Gen snatched the 20kg at least 1-3 reps on each side, I think Meg did 3 x 3/3 on each side, and maybe 1 set of 5/5, and I think I did 2 x 3/3 and 2 x 5/5. The first time for Gen, I think Meg's snatched the 20kg once before and I haven't snatched the 20kg in forever, but the reps were PR's for all of us!

3 weeks ago meg and I used the 16kg for our Max workout and it went something like this for a total of 50 max sets....

10 sets of 5/5
10 sets of 6/6
10 sets of 7/7
20 sets of 8/8

10 sets of 5/5
10 sets of 6/6
30 sets of 7/7

This week I knew I wanted to snatch 8's for additional sets so we did the same workout but adding 5 more sets at the end for a total of 55 sets (25 sets of 8 for me).....but I changed it slightly in this way....

2 weeks ago we started with low rep sets, 5/5, 6/6, pacing those reps inside of the 15 seconds. In otherwords we took the entire 15 seconds to complete the low rep #, slowing down the pace of the snatches. This week, even though we still snatches low reps, we snatched them as fast as we could move the bell, leaving a few additional seconds rest until we got to 7's and 8's. This made it a completely different workout in my opinion!

I thought of this technique after training Max with Mark and noticed that as he alternates 7's and 8's in his Max training, regardless of rep count his speed is always te same....fast!

It's my goal to train Max for 50 sets of 8. The last time I trained Max w/16kg I worked up to 50 x 7/7. Week by week I'll add 5 sets, so that should put me there in 5 more weeks!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lessons from Fawn's Kitchen

Romaine lettuce, baby greens, quinoa, cucumber, salty cheese, and pork! Those are the main ingredients I used for last night's salad, to which I added tomatoes (the last of Waynes homegrown) and dressed simply with lemon and oil. Gabe said it was the best salad I'd ever made....high praise from a 20 year old!

Fawn is the queen of Quinoa salads, and was the inspiration for the recipe I posted last year. She also set me straight about Romaine lettuce. I was bitching about getting it so often in my CSA box last year, writing about how I never buy or eat it in favor of other greens, and all she had to tell me was, "Oh Tracy, I love romaine!". Yikes! OK then, if Fawn likes it then there must be a good reason, so I looked up the nutritional info on it and romaine happens to have one of the highest nutrional values of any kind of lettuce you can eat!

I also bitched at her once for buying baby greens that are already washed and prepped, riding my high horse of prepping my own salad greens.....her reply? "Well Trace, I just don't have time to do it myself"....ouch!

Cucumber is a veg I rarely use.....I just don't think of it....no other reason because I love cucumber! The first weekend I was in St Paul for the RKC, Fawn was dieting down for a powerlifting meet, so when I went to her house for lunch she had made a salad that included this super low calorie veg, along with another I rarely use, which is fennel.

Pork, pork, pork! What's not to love about pork? Pork shoulder cooked in a PC has become a staple in my home, as well as in the homes of all of my friends whom I've taught how to use a pressure cooker! It's an inexpensive, big peice of meat that can be sliced and eaten as a main course, or shredded for sandwiches and....salads! I came home from this last trip and the first thing I did was cook a pork shoulder butt!

Last but not least.....cheese! I got a lesson in cheese on my first visit, Minnesota has great local cheeses, but it was this last visit that Fawn reminded me of how yummy salty cheeses are, She had bought some mexican style cheese called Cotijo, sliced it with some Honeyrisp apple.....yum-my! Can you believe she had to remind me about a Mexican cheese?

Fawn may not think I pay attention to foods she "throws together", but I do! Fawn is a former Chef, for those who don't know this about her, and one whos taste and talent I highly respect. And for someone like me that had never left the state of California until my 20's, learning from Fawn, who grew up in Minnesota, is an opportunity to see someone that has been cooking "seasonally" her whole life!

Fawn is 100% responsible for my love of pressure cooking (I probably use it more than she does these days, lol), not to mention that I had never made a pot of chili until I met her, cooked with Delicata or Buttercup squash, prepared a bone-in pork roast, or had I ever grilled chard.....or even knew it could be done! I have yet to make my own mayonaise, or aoli (the "fancy name for flavored mayo sauces), I still don't use much fennel, a veg Fawn uses quite alot, and I didn't pay close enough attention to Fawn's use of canned salmon, which she used to make stuffed squash the first time I stayed with her.
Mark and I are off to yoga, I may add more to this blog post when I get back.......