Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Max V02, 70 sets of 8 w/ 12kg

Now that I'm training Max Vo2 twice a week, once with Mark on Tuesdays and once on Saturdays with 3 of my students training to test the SSST in another 10 weeks, I've decided to log my Saturday workouts. Max Vo2 is nothing fancy, pretty straight forward......

70 sets, 15 sec work/15 sec rest

9 snatch L/9 snatch R w/12kg

I realized last week that I was training Max twice a week last year about this time and ironically this coming up weekend is the 1 year anniversary of 80 sets of 8, completed last year while at the LA Cert (video to be revisted). This year of course I have to top that so I thought I might do 80 sets of 9, but I think I've decided to stay with 8's, but use the 14kg instead of the 12kg.

I did 70 sets of 9 last week and I know it'll be no problem to add on another 10 sets, but I want to make sure that my form is spot on, and I don't want to run the risk of "shorting" any of the snatches....so the 14kg it is!

The hardest part of our upcoming training for the SSST is not the snatches, but the "downstroke transfer". I had the opportunity of getting a little coaching on the technique from Yoanna Sniedeman last year at the LA Cert....and gusess what? I'll be seeing her again in a few weeks at the San Diego Cert where I'll make sure and get some more tips!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Poses You Just Can't Fake....and cutting back on my Bikram yoga practice

I've recently added Spinning classes to my weekly training and trying to drop the number of Bikram yoga classes I do. Training Bikram is easy for me, and I, like most people, tend to overdo the things that I'm good at! I was averaging 9-10 classes a week and that means double yoga classes at least twice a week, sometimes three times a week....no big deal really, because like I said it's relatively easy for me. Can you imagine if I only did Bikram? Good Lord, many times by the time I get to Bikram it's already my 3rd workout of the day, after training kettlebells and walking, in fact, since I've added spinning lots of times it'll be my 4th workout of the day, (like yesterday!)

Bikram is usually the last workout of the day for me and that means my legs are shot! Sometimes I don't know if I can make it through a class at all and I think maybe I'll just try and "cruise" through and at least get a good stretch! But there are alot of poses in Bikram that require the strength of your legs and you just can't fake it! The first hour of the class is spent in standing poses held for as long as 1 minute balancing on one leg. But for me the poses that require any squatting or lunging just about kill me!

This photo shows the 2nd part of a 3 part pose called "Awkward". In this part of the pose you balance first all the way up on your toes (your big and second toe of each foot), and then while pushing your feet forward and your knees toward the ceiling you lean back, as if you were leaning against a wall, and squat down until your legs are parallel to the floor.....and hold it there! Try that after 60 minutes of Spin class, and 1 hour + of kettlebells! So much for just getting a good stretch, lol!

My Bikram yoga studio started their "Summer 60 Day Challenge" and I don't participate in the challenge because as I mentioned in an earlier blogpost it's not a challenge for me....I already have a daily practice, in fact I'm trying to cut back! I'm trying to cut back to 6 days a week because I'm finding out that I'm going though a period where my practice is not improving, in fact I think it's going backwards. There may be a few reasons for this.....adding spinning is part of it. But the biggest part is my bodyweight.

Ironically you would think you could lose weight training yoga for 90 minutes in 104 degree heat everyday, much less 9-10 times a week, but I've actually gained weight. Not from yoga, of course, but from increasing my daily calories. My daily calorie increase may be from my increased training, or it may be emotional or mindless eating....it doesn't matter why right this second! What matters is that I know the only thing that is going to move my practice in the direction of improvement is to get some of this extra bodyweight off, and I'd rather focus on that, instead of ignoring it, and trying to compensate by overexercising. Exercising, training, seems easy for me in comparison to controlling my eating habits. I'm finally tired of beating myself into the ground trying to "out-snatch a donut".

So I have to decide what it is that I want to work towards. I almost said, " I have to decide what it is that I really want", but I have what I really want right now....I created it afterall....no one held a gun to my head. So I have to accept where I am, right now, decide if I want to change it, and then change it or shut up. Stay tuned.......

"You can't out-snatch a donut" is a phrase that, I believe, was originated by Senior RKC Dave Whitley. It's a phrase I use often because it perfectly reminds me that no matter how much a person (me) exercises, unless you have your eating, and food, in order your bodyweight will reflect bad eating habits.....bottomline.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Most Fun You Can Have in 10 Minutes! (KB Fun that is)

Since starting my swing classes in January I've trained many students to increase their cardio finess levels within weeks, but few have kept training.....why? Because it's hard work! As amazing and transformative training kettlebells can be you still have to show up and do the work! I have a few students now that have put the time in and are now ready for a new challenge....

Mark and I have been training Max Vo2, every week, since it's introduction 3 years ago. I don't believe anyone has trained Max more consistenly than we have, in fact I'll go out on a limb and say that no one has trained it longer or as much as we have, which is why Kenneth Jay asked my brilliant husband, Master Instuctor Mark Reifkind to write the intro to his book, Viking Warrior Conditioning.....I even trained the "boost" protocol, designed as a peaking program for Max Vo2, for a few months last year, which I don't believe anyone else has done (it was freakin' hard!) Anyway......

Mark and I did a weekend workshop on how to train Max Vo2 a few months ago and now that I have a number of students snatching along with swinging in my classes I've added in a Max Vo2 class. Max V02 is a challenging workout for sure, but the point of training (as opposed to "working out") is to have a goal, a progressive plan for improvement. Sometimes for a race or meet, but for us non-competitve athletes, improving our fitness levels by increasing strength and conditioning. How do you know you're improving? Well, one way I decided to challenge a couple of my students was to test the SSST (10 minute Secret Service Snatch Test).

The SSST is a 10 minute "all out" snatch test for numbers. How many times can you snatch a kettlebell (12kg for women, 24kg for men) in 10 minutes, hopefully without putting the bell down, but you are allowed to put the bell down as many times as you need to. I first tested this myself a few years back and since then I've learned a number of strategies to help increase snatch numbers, but I've not trained specifically to re-test for it. I've also tested the USSST (Ultimate SSST) with the 16kg for 10 minutes! (that's next for my guys, lol).

So, this past Saturday, @ Equinox in Palo Alto, we tested for our "base line" snatch number. I went first, and then Meg, and then Gen. We all had the same feeling when it was over...."That was fun!" I didn't remember it being so much fun! Good Lord, it feels so good to do something so physically challenging in 10 minutes....it kind of gives your everyday training purpose! I'll put us all on a training schedule specifically designed to improve that baseline number in 12 weeks. We'll retest and see what happens!

Good job, no I mean, great job ladies! Let's see who'll go the distance.

Friday, July 10, 2009

For the Love of Fruit

I love, love, love......love, summer fruit! I have my favorites in this order.....

grapes, melons, cherries, figs, peaches/nectarines

Cherimoyas would be on the list except that they are extremely hard to find (they're not local), and super expensive....not to mention a little higher in calories. Let's talk about calories for a second..... I haven't eaten a banana in, oh, I can't remember when! (years though) I don't count bananas as fruit, I count them as a starch, and for that reason I don't believe "dieter's" should include them in the same calorie catagory as most other fruit.....mango is another high calorie fruit I limit myself to. I love these fruits, but as a person that hasn't yet, completely decided to break the habit of overeating, I'm just not to be trusted with these high calorie fruits. And speaking of overeating..... Not that I'm proud or anything, but I've been known to eat pounds of grapes in a day, and whole melons at a time.....yikes, did I just admit that?

I love dried fruit, raisins top my list (it makes sense since grapes top my fresh friut list....and wine.....good Lord, let's not start talking about wine!), but dried fruit needs to be closely monitored! I recently had to throw out over a pound of dried figs just to stop me from eating them, and I had to put down the package of prunes I picked up at the store the other day because I knew what would come of it....yep, if I buy it, I'll eat it......all.....and fast!

But poaching fruit in wine has become my "go to" dessert since the fall/winter because apples and pears were available, and I always have an open bottle of wine on my counter! For those reasons and for the fact that I don't keep flour in my house in case I get the urge to make pastry, cookies, or cake, lol! So, I started with those two fruits, adding a little sugar if needed, white or red wine....it doesn't matter....and then as a bonus, anything else I had in the house like,

ginger (fresh of course! this is my favorite addition)
orange juice
citrus peel (lemon, lime, orange)
cinnamon stick
any dried fruits (like rasins, lol)
fruit liquors

I eat my poached fruits over yogurt, making frozen yogurt in my ice cream machine these past couple of months....yogurt is my "new" ice cream! Yogurt is another food I buy in limited quantity because.....yep, if I buy it, I'll eat it! lol I've also used frozen sliced peaches in the winter time to poasch with red wine, serving it over zabaglione

The "recipe" for poached fruit of almost any kind is basically the same, and because the idea is to cook down the liquid you use (wine, juice, water), it needs to cook for 30-45 minutes, You an easily tell, when the liquid reduces to a thick syrup....the exact time is not important.

Peel and slice, or dice, fresh fruit (2-4 cups), and place in a 2qt pot. Add liquid ,I add wine of course), but any kind of juice (orange, apple, etc., even water if you use other flavors like ginger) 1-2 cups, along with sugar, or any kind of sweetener you want to use. Make it as sweet as you like it, sometimes I add only about 1/4 c sugar, but rarely more than 1/2 c. White sugar, brown sugar (one of my favs!), raw sugar, honey, agave, etc., but sometimes the fruit is already super sweet, so use you own judgement. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until done!

Fruit that is hard, because it's not quite ripe yet, is perfect to use in poaching (like pears), but in these pictures of cherries, I bought some cherries from a grocery store (@ Molly Stones, because they were on sale for $1.88lb) and they weren't very sweet.....that's why you shouldn't buy cherries at the grocery store. They always look good, but they rarely taste good. So I decided to poach them.....problem? No cherry pitter! But I poured myself a glass of wine and went to work. I cut them "north/south" around the pit, twisted the to halves apart, and then used a teaspoon to lift out the pits on the one half. Labor of love! It was worth it.

2 lbs cherries, pitted
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. red wine

ps I, personally, almost always add a good pinch of salt



I haven't yet bought a tomato this year! If the tomatoes aren't ripe, outside in the sunshine, on the vine, then I don't buy them. But I did buy some homemade salsa at the farmers market last week which was very, very hot (damn serrano chiles, lol). I had to cool down that salsa somehow so I added a cup, or so, of diced honeydew melon.....try it! I also added some roasted corn and ate it with some grilled shrimp. The next day I added some baby greens, a little olive oil, and a squeeze of lime to the lefovers. Quinoa would be a nice addition, for sure, but I was watching my carbs, lol!

Basic salsa

tomato (or tomatillos)

onion (traditionally, white)

jalapeno (or other chile)


Add fresh fruit to your own homemade salsa, or try adding it to prepared salsa....I think it would be good that way too! Melons, mango, pineapple, peaches/nectarines, even grapes! Yum.

PS Although I like strawberries as much as most any fruit I have a problem buying it! Because it's available all year round, especially here, I feel as if the "true season" has been lost....I'm just weird that way. And besides for $3 bucks a basket, for organic, I'd rather buy something else. Strawberries (even frozen) would be super tasty poached, though!

Friday, July 3, 2009

What's it all about?

Well, here it is Friday again and I'm sitting here drinking coffee (w/cream, lol) after finishing replying to my emails, and trying to think about something to post. I have so much going on, that I could write about, in relation to food, body and thought, I'm in a constant state of overwhelm....seriously! I always have stuff going on, but I have to remind myself the purpose of why I spend my precious time keeping this blog, what is my message? Hmmnn.....transforming food, transforming body, and transforming thought.

Transforming food. I've just, in the past 2 days, started an experiment that I'm pretty excited about! I have kept food journals, off and on, mostly on, for over 3 years now, online and hard copys and I've started to compare where I was 3 years ago at this same exact time, July. It's important to compare the same time of the year because of the types of foods available in the summer months. I found alot of similarities, but the point of the experiment is to identify the differences....mostly calorically, which I knew, but in addition to that, 3 years ago I didn't have my pressure cooker, lol, and although I prepared all of my own foods, same as today, I am a much better and experienced cook, no doubt because I have continued all these years to pratice! One of the most significant similarities is that I still base my meals, first, around vegetables, eating a salad everyday (in the winter less, more like 4 times a week, replacing the salad meal with another soup, or some other hot meal, still based around a veg), in fact I still make a cabbage salad blend of veggies at least once a week, to keep at the ready.

Transforming body. In my food journals I also kept a workout long, not details of my workouts but, just that I did them.....for instance I might simply record the amount of time I spent walking that day, or swinging a bell, not how far and fast I walked or how many KB sets and reps I did. I know I train more and harder than ever these days, but it's interesting how my body has changed in the last 3 years. As I've always said, "The size of my body is determined by the amount of food that I eat, and the composition of my body is determined by my training.", and that's remains to be true! I weigh more, I eat more, I exercise more, I'm more muscular, more fit.....way more fit. I've recently come up with a new training strategy to challenge myself, to make my workouts harder, so I could burn a few more calories to help me get through this time of increased eating. (Spinning is kicking my ass by the way, lol.....I've also changed my KB workouts to increase my heart rate)

Transforming thought. When I worked at my job as a manicurist I had a particular coworker that is overweight say to me one time, "You know the thing I like about you? I like that you always say, 'I'm just one binge away from being 250lbs again.'" And that's the truth. In other words I don't act "high and mighty" because I'm skinny now(skinny is relative, of course, lol, I don't consider myself skinny). Make no mistake, I know one binge can start a succession of binge eating that has no limit. And that's why transforming how I think about food and eating, training, and even how I think about my body is probably the most important part of being able to live the rest of my life healthy and happy.

Action is the most important part of change, but why we chose to act, or not act is the million dollar answer to the question of how does a person finds the motivation to put into action change. And that starts in our heads. Changing how we think, transforming thought, has to be part of the equation. I remember it was a good friend that said to me once, "A persons life cannot change without them changing."....in other words, you cannot do the same things over and over (or believe in the same way over and over),and expect different results (the definition of insanity). I believe it's this victim mentality that places blame on why we get stuck, and why our lives won't change......we have to put into action change, and take responsibilty that we can, we may chose not to, but it's our choice.. She also said to me, "Whatever the mind can believe, it can acheive" (thanks Linda)

I cannot, yet, give up on my blog. I have alot to reflect on, I have alot to yet discover and put into action. I have never seen myself as a victim, instead I believe I'm one of the luckiest people I know! I believe life is good, I believe food is good.....food is life....I believe being in our bodies is good, and to do that we have connect with our bodies through exercise, we have to move them. I believe we are good. I know I am.

Off to Spin at 9:30......