Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crawling back from Seattle

Hi all! So sorry to have not posted a dang thing for over a week, but Mark and I just got too busy! We just returned from a fabulous trip to Seattle, teaching an RKC re-Cert on Friday, an HKC on Sat (32 candidates!), and a Lats the Super Muscles and Progamming the KB Swing (#2) workoshop....and then I hit the ground crawling on Monday!

Fingers crossed that we get invited back to Seattle and to Kettlebility, owned by Andrea U-shi Chang RKC 2. Andrea and her Kettlebility staff we outstanding hosts and assisitants as well as participants in both workshops. Hopefully you will see Kettlebility soon on DD TV in an "Kribs" segment....it's truly an A+ kettlebell establishment!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

For Women First Magazine Debut

Here's what the cover looks like.... Perfect timing as I get ready to write about more pressure cooking!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Salty Sweet

What just may be better than a prune with peanut butter? An apricot with an olive! I love sweet and salty, and since I'm out of prunes and raisins these days I found some dried apricots a friend had given me from Casa de Fruita this past Xmas time...(did you catch the fact that I "found" them....which means I went "looking", lol).

After getting a bit lean last month for our video shoot, I've managed to plump back up again (in a good way), so while planning my weekly food for next week I'm also planning my snacks. Too bad I ate the rest of the apricots....should I buy more? Or move on? One thing is for sure, I love this combination enough to remember it and make it again.

Mark and I are going to Seattle next weekend for an RKC re-Cert on Friday, an HKC on Sat., and a 4 hour workshop on Sunday....where I'll be teaching "Programming the Swing, the workouts", in addition to material for Programming the Swing #2! Never before seen outside my classroom, I have some advanced swing routines and techniques that will keep us swinging for, uh, maybe 3 hours! That could mean over 3000 swings! Hope you can come! (for more info contact Andrea U-Shi Chang at Kettlebility in Seattle WA)

Since we are leaving on Thursday I only need to prepare for the next 5 days. Here are my thoughts about what I'll make....mostly the usual stuff because I love my usual stuff!

salad mix
veg soup (which means I'll have to poach a couple of chickens)
tomato soup (already defrosted from this past week)
proteins, chicken, pork, tuna, sausage cottage cheese
butternut and guac smoothies
some kind of lentil or bean stew (or chili)...ah, lamb, forget the pork this week
dried fruit of some kind....haven't decided yet
oh...and a few pieces of candy (who am I trying to kid?)

I'm hooked on poached chicken breast meat. I do it in the pressure cooker and it comes out buttery tender! I'll write a blogpost about it because not many people know how to properly poach chicken without overcooking it and drying it out. You would think that cooking a piece of meat in liquid wouldn't dry it out, but overcooking is overcooking, and there is a technique to poaching breast meat perfectly. My family, including me, doesn't even like chicken breast meat, but my son has actually requested I make more. I only make it when I buy a whole chicken, I never buy only breast meat....that would be a waste of dark meat and bones...the best parts!

Good news is that I need more rich chicken stock for soup and chili, and I can get that from the bones of 2 whole chickens and all of my frozen veg scraps. Since tomorrow is Sunday I'll be sure and get everything done before the day is over.

Goodness, life is seriously fun these days!

Friday, March 18, 2011

More detail about the 1000 swing workout...and video!

I took video of this past Saturdays swing pacing workout, but I didn't set up the camera right and chopped off my head! But here's part of it anyway, and more little more explaination of how to read my way of "workout shorthand"

For pacing workouts, most times, I write the rep count in 15 second intervals. So, if I write 10x10, what I mean is ten 15 second intervals at ten reps per interval. NOT 10 one hand swings x 10 sets. 11 x 10, means 11 reps per 15 seconds x ten 15 sec intervals, NOT 11 one hand swings x 10 sets. 12 x 10 means 12 reps per 15 seconds, x ten 15 sec. intervals, not 12 one hand swings x 10 sets.

Although as long as you complete the 11, 12, 13, etc, reps in each 15 seond interval, you can do all one hand swings, it doesn't matter. That's why (in parentheses) I wrote the swing combinations I used in each paced set, and the video
shows some examples.

The more one hand swings you do without switching the more difficult it is to speed up the pace. this is why I never chose to use a swing combination like 5/5, or 10/10 for the speed swings. 11 reps per 15 sec interval is not that much faster, until you get closer to the end, but at 12 reps per 15 secs (48 RPM, reps per minute), the torque created by your body as you try and stop the bell from swinging too high with the asymetrical swing, in my opinion, is not useful enough to use as a training method. It's the power while increasing heartrate, not torque that I want to create.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1000 swings in 31.5 minutes

As I mentioned previously...I've got so much going on, and I want to write about my snatching the 16kg on Monday, but I thought I should give a shout out to the fact that my advanced class did 1000 swings in 31.5 minutes on Sat.! No bad huh? Considering if you swing equal work to rest ratio you should be able to complete 600 reps in 30 minutes, we increased that number by almost double.

Double, 1200 reps, would be nonstop of course....which we can do, but 400 of our swing reps were done with a heavier bell than each of our standard high volume swing weights....AND with our standard HV swing weights we experimented with speed swings. 44, 48, 52 RPM's...I'll get to the 56 RPM's at the end of this blogpost.

Here was the original idea for the progression. Each set is 2.5 minutes long, the difference is the fast swings sets complete more total swings by way of pacing than the standard pace of 40 RPM (reps per minute)

10 x 10 = 100 (2 hd sw w/12kg, I accidently picked up the 16kg!)
11 x 10 = 110 (tr w/12kg)
10 x 10 = 100 (2 hd sw w/16kg)
12 x 10 = 120 (1 sw, 1 tr w/12kg)
10 x 10 = 100 (roundabout w/16kg)
13 x 10 = 130 (1 sw, 1 tr w/12kg)
10 x 10 = 100 (1 sw, 1 tr w/16kg)
14 x 10 = 140 ? (*see note)
10 x 10 = 100 (2 hd sw w/16kg)

9 sets, 2.5 each, 1 min. rest inbetween each set = 30.5 minutes not including the final rest period.

(9 x 2.5 = 22.5 min. + 8, 1 min rests = 30.5 total)

* NOTE lol....here's what went down.....

I talk and demonstrate swing pacing in the beginning of my Progarmming the KB Swing DVD, and it is my belief that one can swing as fast as 14 reps per 15 sec. The swings are short, but powerful because you have to stop the bell hard and quick, and then really throw it back behind you sppeding up the dwonstroke on every rep.

BUT....it's not a technique that is relevant for worksets that last longer than 15-30 seconds, or in combination with paced intervals were one is using that 13-14 rep pace with 12-11 or 10 rep paced intervals. What we found out was that although powerful, the absence of a "full" stroke actually made the faster swings more aerobic, and less powerful!

I discovered this because as we started to speed up the pace in our 100 + reps sets (2.5 min sets), I was finding more difficult to count reps as we completed 44 and 48 RPM, but it bcame easier to count reps at 52 RPM! At this point we decided to abandon the 56 RPM pace, because not only was it not giving us the effect I was hoping for in this long workset, but at the slightlylowere RPM of 52 after the first 30 seconds we fell behind barely catching up before the 2.5 min set was over. No way we were going to be able to keep that pace for 140 reps....and that was besides the point anyway.

So, because we had to still complete 140 reps to get to our grand total of 1000 on 9 sets, I set the pace at around 48 RPM and took and additional 30 sec to complete this set. We then took our 1 min rest before finishing our last 100 reps at the standard 40 RPM.

Whew! I hope I explained that clearly enough for anyone that may care, lol!

Since this was my hour long advanced class we continued on for the remaining 20, or so, minutes with press/snatch holds. But it was nice to get 1000 swings out of the way first!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekly Menu

Gosh, I've got a ton to blog about but no time to blog! The issue of "For Women First" with my story about pressure cooking is coming out today....there's a picture of Dr Oz on the cover, look for it! I myself don't have a copy yet, but I've seen the pdf file and it a very complimentary (and long) article!

Mark and I had a killer workout yesterday that I'm dying to post, but you can get an idea from his blopost (he's always on top of his training posts!). In a nut shell I tested my 16kg snatch for five, 2 minute ,sets and totaled 286 16kg snatches. I was wiped out all day, and extra hungry too.

Cruised through the weekend with no "Day off" because of my mid week celebration on Wed., but I was more relaxed about food. I tried to finish up the stuff I made for last week....and I did! Bought some raisins on Saturday after training.... So, because I was at Girya first thing in the morning yesterday (Monday) I didn't do my usual prep and cook for the week until the afternoon. I did manage to get my salad mix shredded, marinate some flank steak, and wash veggie for chili and soup while cleaning out the fridge in preparation for the week.

I had to go to Whole Foods and Mi Pueblo for supplies....I forgot Mi Pueblo has cherimoyas! How did I forget? I bought some a couple of weeks ago, and even at $5 lb I can't resist these delicious seasonal fruits. A combination of creamy pineapple/mango/banana flavored goodness is hard to pass up. (top photo)

I spent the whole freakin' afternoon in the kitchen and to be honest I'm was exhausted Not from the food cook and prep, but from the dish washing! I used the PC (of course), sheet pans for roasting, lag sautee pan for soup, the blender, cutting boards, mixing bowls, etc....and no automatic dishwasher, just me!

salad mix
proteins, chicken, ground lamb, pulled pork, marinated flank steak (too much!)
roasted cauliflower soup w/leeks and fennel
black eyed pea chili
roasted butternut (for smoothie or soup)
guac smoothie
cherimoya / raisins

Goodness, I guess I was hungry yesterday! No shortage fo food this week, and I still want to make some base veg soup. I'll have enough food for 2 weeks.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mid Week Celebration, and my bicep vein makes an apperance

Just so no one thinks I'm anywhere near perfect.... Saturday is my day off from my weekly foods, but I decided mid week to relax, unwind, and let go. Everyday I feel so lucky and happy that I get to do what I do...train, cook, write, teach, coach, yoga, shop, being married to the love of my life sharing so many of the same interests, so why not celebrate?

Ususally if I do decide to stray from routine I like to do it the night before a kettlebell workout! I would much rather kettlebell off a hangover than suffer through Bikrams the morning after a little partying. But it wasn't like I had a total pig out. A couple of quesadillas and some chocolate ganache I made in the microwave to mix with yogurt....after a couple of glasses of wine with the nuts and cheese. A food hangover lasts much longer than the effects of a few glasses of red wine! I have to say though I do some of my best cooking after a glass of wine!

Thursday morning, 5:45am, in the gym (Girya), ouch! No choice though. The following 45 minutes was all short, equal work to rest, sets. It's a misconception that high volume training is work sets that lasts for minutes at a time, but my definition of high volume is total number of reps in a workout. Near the end of my first workout I noticed my bicep vein making an apperance!

In my blogpost about being happy with my body I mentioned that I didn't really have any bodyweight "goals", but I forgot that, in addition to feeling good in my clothes, I really want a visible bicep vein back! Some women don't like having visible veins in their arms, but I do!

When I was skinny (funny huh?), when I was skinny I had a visible bicep vein all the time...because I had a little bit of muscle and low bodyfat. Now I have alot more muscle, but my bodyfat is just high enough to cover up that stinkin' vein, unless I'm training. I want to walk around with it showing all the time, lol!

So I'll keep doing what I'm doing....showing up for the workouts and training hard, eating good foods in the right amounts, seeing it in my mind and feeling it in my heart, and I have everything I want!

Picture above is 139lbs, currently 111lb of lean muscle, picture below is probably 128lbs, 102-103 lbs of lean muscle. Eight more pounds of lean muscle...nice!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week 8, or is it week 9?

Who's keeping track anyway? It doesn't really matter because I don't have any goals from my "diet", I'm just playing around, and I'm still digging the organization of it all. I still don't miss grains during the week. I comtemplated buying raisins today, thought better of it...but finished the prunes in my cabinet. Let's talk about the raisin situation....

I can eat raisins, and have eaten raisins like candy. Handful by handful, and/or I put them in everything from roasted cauliflower soup, lentils, salads, whatever! There is nothing wrong with raisins, there's nothing wrong with any food in moderation. But I eat what I buy alot I eat alot, and fast! Yummy. I started buying them in the bulk section about 1/2 c. at a time, and that was fine, until I started to trust myself again, lol!

Almost for sure if I go too long between meals and without prepared food, that's a recipe for overeating. I always have prepared food these days, but I confess I still stretch out my meals, especially my first one because I still haven't committed to a regular yoga schedule, and I do not like to eat too much before yoga. The 12 noon class was too late, and the 11:30 class is borderline... Anyway, I'm working it out.

I've got so many other choices anyway, I'm not exactly suffering! Speaking of choices, here is my main menu plan for this week;

butternut soup
smoothies...love my guac smoothie...seriously!
poached chicken, tuna, italian sausage
cabbage salad w/curry dressing
grapes, apples, prunes
(obviously...I already ate the prunes!)
risotto w/mushrooms, leeks and cauliflower
candy, if I want it

I think that's it.

I spent this morning before yoga PC'ing lentils, roasting butternut, shredding salad mix and making curry dressing. I poached the chicken a few days ago...that's where I got the chicken stock to make the risotto....risotto? Yep, I made a huge yummy batch Sat night and there was so much left over that although I would not normally eat it during the week, it's not a big deal. Same with the sausage...I wouldn't normally eat it as a main weekly protein, but no biggie.

So getting back to the fun of all of this. When I use the word "diet", I don't mean "weightloss diet", I mean "nutritional diet", I'm not trying to lose weight, but it a nice side effect (I had a couple of pounds to lose). I have to eat, and want to eat well. Eating well means fresh healthy homemade foods. Healthy means a healthy balance of nutrition which should result in a healthy bodyweight and body composition...right?

It is interesting to me that I have seen and felt changes in my body, positive changes. Changes that I want to keep, and for now it doesn't feel difficult and I don't feel at all deprived. It's exciting! So whether it's week 8, or 9, or 10, it's just another great week in my life....raisins, or no raisins!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Brussel Sprouts, the meaty vegetable

I was shopping the other day for a green vegetable that was more substantial than spinach, chard or kale. Athough I enjoyed collards in my soup last week, even they weren't quite "meaty" enough. And then I came across the brussel sprouts. How did I forgt about these meaty little cabbage chunks?

Well, probably because I haven't been roasting veggies lately, instead I've been eating regular consistent daily meals of salad, soup and smoothies. I love to add roasted veggies to salads, but the additional oil used to cook them adds calories I'd rather use elsewhere...for now.

Growing up I had always heard such horrible things about brussel sprouts! Why all the hate? Brussels are a gold mine of a vegetable for a number of reasons. Besides being yummy and filling, brussels are always available, packed with fiber and nutrition, and are more versitile than most people think.

Like cabbage, brussel sprouts can be shredded, eaten raw and used in place of cabbage for slaws. And like cabbage salads they can be dressed lightly in advance. In fact I think I posted a shredded brussel sprout salad recipe somewhere on my blog. If you use the thinnest blade on a mandoline slicer you you can make a lovely salad, or add shredded brussels to another kind of salad.

Another recipe I posted I had used brussels to make pesto....goodness, I was hooked on brussel sprout pesto for a few weeks the year before last! I used it to spread on crackers and as a pizza topping, as well as a sauce for pasta. Traditional pesto is basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese, so you can make pesto from so many other veggies as long as you keep the basic ingredients the same. Spinach is popular, or any kind of leafy green veg, and for me the addition of a jalapeno pepper is always an option!

brussel sprouts
nut (I'm not sure I used any, but if I did it was almonds)
olive oil

You could add a bit of basil or parsley to brighten it up (I almost always use a bit of parsley for this reason and to help keep my pestos green) Salt for seasoning should be a given! Taste your food!

In these pictures I had pressure cooked some lentils Wednesday morning and when I took the lid off of the PC I noticed that I had added too much water and the lentils were more soupy than I had planned. I thought, darn! How can I fix this? Oh yes....I have those brussels in the fridge, I'll just cut them in half and PC them for about three minutes along with the lentils....voila! In all honesty I over cooked them! That pressure cooker is intense! 1 minute would have been fine, but now I know for next time.

Besides roasting, how do you use brussel sprouts?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've Never Been Happier about my Body

I've been wanting to write this blogpost for a while now, especially after this last weekends video shoot in LA. This blogpost is about how happy I am with my body. I've loved my body for the first time in my life for quite a while now, ever since I lost over 120lbs. But what I've put myself through for a large portion of the past 2 1/2 years has not been all fun.

Let's go back and start with this past weekend. When I showed up for makeup the morning of the shoot, I put my new Lululemon on, did my hair, and I have to say that I could not have felt better about how I looked that day. I truly felt as if there wasn't one thing I could have done differently that would have made any more of a difference...as Mark said, I "peaked". I did keep my diet slightly tighter the week before, but I still ate a bit of candy, drank a bit of wine. I also cut some things out, but never felt deprived in anyway. And I trained like a mad woman...oh, but that's normal! And it's only the beginning, a new beginning.

I wrote a blogpost years ago about starting over. Starting over doesn't mean from scratch, because you get to take everything you've learned up until that point with you. You can make new decisions based on experience and create a different outcome. That's one of the things so beautiful about this life.....we can start again, re-do, re-try...all is not lost.

OK, so I lost a bunch of weight life was good right? Of course life was good, until perfectionism and judgement started to creep in. Having been so open and public about my weightloss "journey" (I dislike that description, but I'm lacking a better one right now), I felt as if people were watching me...yikes! And I don't mean that to come across as conceited, what I mean is as a former fat person there are people out there that will find secret satisfaction seeing me gain weight back. And not just strangers in the blogoshere, but friends, coworkers, maybe even family. Everyone knows it's just a matter of time, right? Fat people don't maintain successful weightloss for long....

I'm not going to get into all of that, only to say that I put so much pressure on myself if I gained a couple, 5, 10, 20 pounds and the shame of it had gotten me down...on myself. I have no one to blame but me....no one was looking, or cared, but me. I'm not going to do that again....it was exhausting!

The cloud lifted over a year ago, and my feelings, how I felt about myself turned back around. I started again, I started to feel my competence, confidence, and passion for what I do more than ever. I teach and train because I love it, not because I have to make a living. I do what I do regardless of anyone else showing up to train, or paying me for class. I know if you just keep showing up for the training, for the workouts, the body will follow, and it has. Sometimes you get to the body through the mind, and sometimes you get to the mind through the body....I've done it both ways now.

Mark asked me the other day what my goal was in terms of bodyweight. My answer was that I wanted to feel good in my clothes....I've got alot of nice clothes, lol! I also wanted to maintain as much of the muscle I've put on this past year, not really concerned so much with the number on the scale. I'm not going to lie and say that I wouldn't want to weigh 129lbs again, but I wouldn't want to be less muscular than I am right now either. I can always change my mind about what I want, and probably will many times in the years to come.

I look forward to everyday. I'm having fun again. Fun, not in the creation of my body, but in the creation of how I feel about my body, and I've never been happier.....how many 47 year old former fat girls can say that...heck, forget about being formerly fat, or 47! How many women can say that? Lucky me.
Top picture was taken this past Tues at Girya training clubbells with Mark (happy birthday sweetie!). Bottom picture was taken '99 during my first trip to Italy with my mother (thanks for the pic mom!). I weighed around 220 and 35 years old. I remember squeezing myself into size 18's....little did I know I would put on another 30+ pounds within the next 2 years,and end up a size 24!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"100"....it's all good

I love designing workouts. I really never know what we'll be doing in class from one week to another, but even I surprise myself with the routines I create. I mean, they're only swings...right?

I've been incorporating more one hand swings than ever before. It happens to be my weakness and I believe for most women one hand swings for reps are much more of a challenge than for men (so, if any men are going to try this workout, it should be easy, right?). My class has no choice but to work my weaknesses since I'm the boss, lol!

I dig this "100" theme I've created, and here's another to add to the mix....if you think this one is challenging, just wait until I post the "snatch" version of it! But before you skip to the sexy stuff, high volume swing workouts seperate the men from the boys....enjoy!

"100" anyway you mix it up, it's all good!

You'll need a bell you know you can swing 100 reps non stop, and you'll need a bell that is challenging 10-20 reps at a time. I used the 12kg and the 20kg. (I wanted to use the 24kg, but since I've never done this combination before I thought since I was leading my class I should err on the side of light...trust me the 20kg was plenty!)

warm up w/12kg is equal work/rest

10 2 hd sw x 4
5/5 1 hd sw x 2
5/5/5/5 1 hd sw x 2

100 swings, 5 minutes

work sets

10/10 1 hd sw x 5 w/12kg = 100 reps, 2.5 min

30 sec rest

10 2 hd sw R, rest, 10 2 hd sw L, rest, w/20kg x 5 = 100 reps 5 min.

1 min rest

200 swings 7.5 min.

15/15 1 hd sw x 3 w/12kg = 90 reps, 2.25 min

45 sec rest

15 2 hd sw R, rest, 15 2 hd sw L, rest w/20kg = 90 reps 4.5 min.

1 min rest

180 swings, 6.75 min.

20/20 1 hd sw x 2 w/12kg = 80 reps, 2.0 min

1 min rest

20 2 hd sw R, rest, 20 2 hd sw L w/20kg = 80 reps 4.0 min

1 min rest

160 swings, 6 min.

20.25 minutes

540 swings per rotation 1/2 with the 12kg and 1/2 with the 20 kg...hey, it makes a difference!


total workout 45.5 minutes

1180 swings

The only tricky part is in the 2nd part of this workout. 15 reps takes 22 1/2 seconds, you would then take equal rest of 22 1/2 sec for a total of 45 sec work/rest. In the second rotation my class did the 22 1/2 seconds worth of work, but only took 7 1/2 sec rest! that shaved off about 1.5 minutes. This was the killer!

Anyway, I've been wanting to do some heavy swings, and this workout addressed both long ass sets with heavy ass sets! Could you ask for anything more?

After training with my class at Girya I headed over to Equinox to apply this same concept to snatches....I'll post the workout on Thursday.....all I can say is "yikes"!