Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Which One Would Make You Happier?

I almost always have some kind of sweet "stash" of cookies or candy in my car, it may even be dried fruit, but something sweet. Usually it's something I picked up on sale after a holiday...yikes! Anyway, I tuck it away somewhere I can't reach while I drive because it's really only for emergencies...yea right a cookie emergency huh? What I mean is, first of all, I don't think sweets are the enemy when eaten in moderation, and it seems, like when I cook in the morning, I'm not likely to overeat before my first meal, so when I find myself kinda jones'n for a little something I remember....aha!

Many days I leave my house early, not coming home until almost, or after, lunchtime. Even when I pack an apple I may get sidetracked running errands and I'm out later than planned. That's the "emergency" I'm talking about! But you know what? Because I know I've got a "little something" in my car it keeps me from stopping at the store and buying something stupid (because I was stupid by leaving the house too long without proper nutrition). I really do not like buying food that I didn't prepare myself, especially since I prepare plenty but it's sitting at home. Have you ever stopped at the store when you got too hungry? Good Lord. Since I don't bake, make candy, or make my own ice cream, I admit that those are always purchased foods and I the sweets that I do buy are made using good quality real ingredients.

(I know I'm a long storyteller...)

So, I knew I was going to be out and about today and I packed a salad...it was yum-my. But afterwards on the way home I thought....wouldn't be nice to have a "little something"? I remembered the cookies I had in the car (Easter shortbread cookies on sale from Peet's...I bought them for Mark....), and I was just about to grab a couple...two to be exact. I had read the calorie count on the package when I bought them and remembered that they were 120 calories for two. Were they worth it? But more importantly, could I eat just two? Probably, but then I thought about other snacks I liked that were around 120 calories. I thought about all the raisins I could put in my oatmeal for that extra 120 calories. I thought about all of those raisins I could put in my peanut butter.

I passed on the cookies....raisins make me way happier : )

Monday, May 30, 2011

My First Pot of Chili....

I made my first pot of chili NOT in the pressure cooker! I never made chili in my life until I started using my pressure cooker a few years ago. Chili is a breeze, inexpensive and fast in the PC because you can use any kind of dried bean and a ton of fresh veggies and chili peppers, no meat, or beef, chicken, turkey, pork and even lamb.....let's not forget you can make enormous batches, and who doesn't like chili?

So, the reason I had to make chili in a traditional pot is that I included a basic red chili recipe in my book for just the reasons I listed, and I have to assume not many people use a PC. I did however cook the beans for my chili in my PC, and then proceeded with the recipe I wrote where I suggest using canned beans. Don't most people use canned beans?

As I mentioned Chili is so versatile and that's why I wanted to include a recipe for one. Chili is one of those dishes that once you start making it on a regular basis you never make it the same twice...unfortunate when you make a really killer batch, but chili is one of those "throw anything and everything" in it meals.

Tomatoes, no tomatoes.

Beans, or no beans...heck you can even use a mix of lentils.

Smoked meats, ground meats, stew meat, no meat.

Tons of vegetables, or nothing but chili peppers and onions.

Mild, or hot.

Red or Green.

Thick or thin.

Personally my favorite chili stews do not have tomatoes in them, expect during tomato season. I love mixing a cup of chili with a cup (or two) of my tomato soup. Tonight I also made a batch of butternut squash soup (also in the book) and mixed 1 c. of that with 1 c of my chili...oh I made a red chili w/turkey version because I had extra turkey stock in my freezer from that dang bird I roasted a couple of weeks ago!

I hope everybody had a great holiday! I'll be up before the crack of dawn to broil some skirt steak I marinated earlier today....(yep...recipe in the book!)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Snatch Pacing and Swings

Since promoting 2 of my classes to more advanced routines my Saturday training is off the hook! I lead a 45 minute Intermediate snatch and swing class before my advanced level 1 hour class. Before I started my morning with a Beginning Swing for 30 minutes. After both my fist class and Advanced I have an Intermediate Swing Snatch that is ready to turn Advanced so the workout is closer to an advanced level as far as the workloads go....and then I have a 30 minute swing class afterwards....that's 3 hours of practically nonstop ballistics! And then I end my Saturday with 1 more hour of Privates.

Here is a snatch pace and swing workout that I modified for all three of my first classes. The difference? This workout and video is from the third Inter/Adv class. The first class has longer rest periods (in parenthesis), and my Advanced level class, after doing 30 minutes of heavy swing (438 reps w/20kg and 24 kg) did a version of this with faster snatch pacing (7's) and longer sets, up to 2 minutes.

Here's the Inter/Adv routine, my third class: (I will post video as soon as it's ready!)

After a warm up practicing four 10 rep swing combinations x 2 and 3 minutes of snatch warm up (12 minutes total, 140 swings 42 snatches)

5/5 x 1
6/6 x 1

practice this rep pace inside of 15/15 sec interval.

1st rotation

5 snatch R, 10 2 hd sw 30 sec work, 15 sec rest (30 sec rest)
5 snatch L, 10 2 hd sw, 30 sec work, 15 sec rest (30 sec rest)
5 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 5 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 1 min work, 30 sec rest (1 min)

6 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 30/15 (30)
6 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 30/15 (30)
6 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 6 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 1 min/1 min (1 min.)

2nd rotation

5 sn R, 10 transfers, 30/15 (30)
5 sn L, 10 tr, 30/15 (30)
5 sn R, 11 tr, 5 sn L, 9 tr, 1 min/30 sec (1 min)

6 sn R, 10 tr, 30/15 (30)
6 sn L, 10 tr 30/15 (30)
6 sn R, 11 tr, 6 sn L, 9 tr, 1 min/1 min (1 min)

3rd rotation

5 sn R, 5/5 one hd sw, 30/15 (30)
5 sn L, 5/5 one hd sw, 30/15 (30
5 sn R, 5/5, 5 sn L, 5/5, 1 min/30 sec (1 min)

6 sn R, 5/5, 30/15 (30)
6 sn L, 5/5, 30/15 (30)
6 sn R, 5/5, 6 sn L, 5/5, 1 min/1 min (1 min)

4th rotation (repeat 1st rotation)

1st rotation

5 sn R, 10 2 hd sw 30/ 15 (30)
5 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 30/15 (30)
5 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 5 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 1 min/ 30 sec rest (1 min)

6 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 30/15 (30)
6 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 30/15 (30)
6 sn R, 10 2 hd sw, 6 sn L, 10 2 hd sw, 1 min/1 min (1 min.)

total for 4 rotations 28 minutes (32 minutes)
198 snatches
320 swings

Total workout 40 minutes (40 min)
240 snatches (212)
460 swings (420)

Friday, May 27, 2011

And That's All She Wrote.....for now

It's official. The manuscript for my book is complete. What a trip.

This picture of me was taken a couple of months ago in Seattle when I was asked to sign a 4HB book. My book is due to be available in book stores December 27th, and that means I'll be signing my own books the Tuesday after Xmas....

In the mean time, business as usual. Training, cooking, teaching, traveling....and more writing.

I hope to get back to all of the comments left for me over the past couple of days. Just give me a day off to party with my sweetie and I'll be back in full force!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ahhh...that little devil, the 8kg!

Since losing my early morning training partner on Thursdays my workouts are shorter by about 15-30 minutes...I didn't need to train 2 hours anyway. After a solid 30 minutes of swings and another 15 of swing snatch combinations I had to end with presses, as usual. Not usual was the fact that I didn't have two 12kg's in my garage gym this morning! Dang it!

Well, I did have two 8kg's, but 8kg's? Really? For presses? How could I make it hard....or harder? Never underestimate those powerful little devils! I've done up to 2 minute long, and longer double 8kg snatch sets, but never double 8kg presses.....until this morning.

I did a one minute, long cycle, double clean and press (14 reps) with 30 seconds rest. My plan was to do 10 sets, for a total of 15 minutes of presses (140 reps). By the time I got to the 5th set, I'll be honest, I thought about changing the game plan....oh how it sucks sometimes to train by yourself. But that only fueled my fire and of course I finished all ten, one minute long sets with 30 sec rest. Whew! Maybe it's just me? Or is this kinda challenging?

Can someone else try it and let me know? After a 45 minute swing and snatch workout, of course.

I finished with 5 sets of 10 rep bottoms up cleans (again, w/8kg's), and 10 minutes of clubbell arm casts. And then I enjoyed the rest of the day with a super shoulder pump!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Blogpost, No Walk

I'm in the final days, and hours of the deadline to deliver my finished manuscript for my book....yesterday no blogpost, no walk....am I excused?

The content of the book has been finished for a week, but I still had to gather recipes and write the instructions for those. Now an even bigger project of sifting through hundreds of photos to find the perfect ones that demonstrate how to "Learn the Kettlebell Swing". I thought I would start by getting rid of the photos I know won't work. That'll get rid of about 60%. Of the remaining 40% I'll have to chose the final 10% or so.

This has been a crazy time filled with high quality problems....lucky, lucky me.

Over the last couple of weeks, especially, I found myself having to almost re-live my beginnings. The beginning of my weightloss, the beginning of discovering the Swing and the affects I was able to produce by using this one powerful transformative movment, the beginning of the best times in my life. Remembering some things I forgot that were instrumental in the success of my initial weightloss, fitness and health, but even more magical through this process I can see more clearly how I am able to successfully maintain, and improve on the incredible results I was able to achieve.

As busy as I've been, committing to writing (almost) daily blogposts and reconnecting in a different way with myself (almost) daily through walking has actually helped me see myself differently. I have become more clear on who I am, who I want to be, and what I want to do. Just as making and preparing all of my own foods and training the kettlebell swing are forever going to be part of my life, so is writing and walking....just not yesterday!

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Hungry Day

Every so often, maybe every 3-4 weeks I have what I call "a hungry day"! I just can't seem to eat enough at one meal. It doesn't go on all day, but usually it's my first meal of the day, around 12-2pm. Today was that day!

I stayed home to finish some writing this morning and I got hungry around 8:30-9:00am. What? I'm never hungry early so I knew it was going to be a challenge to make it to a 12 noon Bikram class without eating anything at all, so I ate a handful of frozen almonds. Later on my way to yoga around 11:15 I ate an apple....that was OK. As my practice was coming to an end all I kept thinking about was that it would take me 12 minutes to drive home (yep, twelve exactly) and what I was going to eat when I got here.

I knew I had on serving of stew in the fridge, lentil chicken, but Mark and I sent the day visiting or granddaughter Sophi yesterday and I didn't get any food prep done. I flew in the back door and threw the stew in the mic, sliced up some grilled lamb to munch on while it was heating.... Finished that and I was still hungry! Argh! All I had now was frozen soups and stews. I took one out threw it in the mic, set the timer and sat down to read a mailorder catalog....beep. beep, beep.... Ham, sausage and bean soup....gone. Still hungry!

Funny thing is I never crave junk on a hungry day, just more food! I moved on to peanut butter, dried cranberries and celery/carrot sticks, one of my absolute favorite snacky snacks. OK, the dried cranberries were because I'm not buying as many raisins or prunes these day, but it as close as I was going to get.

I measured out 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1/4 dried fruit.... Of course I can eat as much as I want, but I find when I measure out a serving at a time at least I have some sort of "marker" to let me know when I'm eating more. Speaking of more....1 more tablespoon of peanut butter and a small handful fo cranberries and finally! Tummy full! Good-ness!

Took a nap. Woke up, went for my walk, had a glass of wine and not another thing to eat. Maybe I should call it "a hungry half day?"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not A Day Older

Mark and I were talking yesterday about not feeling our ages. I haven't felt my age for so long I forget that I'm getting older. I don't necessarily feel young, but I describe it as not feeling even one day older than the day before.

If I had to look back and pinpoint when I started feeling this way it would have to be when I got healthy. Health to me means #1 a healthy bodyweight, #2 a diet based in nutrition, #3 a strong and capable body (with muscles that do what the are supposed to do...work!), #4 loving the things that I do, loving life. Health is the fountain of youth.

Oh sure, do I feel stiff and achy sometimes, yep! But I don't remember a time when I didn't feel stiff and achy! I can tell you this....I can't remember the last time I was sick since I lost weight (I wrote about it in a blogpost though...it was 2007). Of course when I see pictures of myself now compared to a few years ago I see myself getting older, but I don't feel it, not even a day.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Testing the Swing?

Well I haven't had quite enough of the 24kg. Today I thought we would test our swing, yep, the swing. Oh sure I've tested nonstop 12, 14, 16kg swings (over 1000 continuous w/16kg), but nothing really heavy. Swinging heavy can only last so long. I know I have done 200 20kg swing before but that was a long time ago! At the end of that workout I did 200 w/12kg, then the 16kg and then the 20kg...yikes (maybe I did 100 w/24kg...I'm checking.....yikes, I did 160 nonstop + 40! 9/27/08 check my old blog!)

Anyway, I don't have time to post details only to say that the testing was done in four 5 minute sets with 2 minutes rest inbetween. The weight was choice, but Meg and I both started with the 24kg. It was my plan to start with the 24kg, then go down, 20kg, 16kg, and 14kg, but the best laid plans, right?

I'll post more details and video tomorrow, but for now,

1st set
143 / 24kg

2nd set
200 w/16kg

3rd set
180 w/20kg

4th set
10 w/24kg
10 w/20kg
80 w/14kg
20 w/24kg
20 w/20kg
40 w/14kg

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Beauty of Walking

I had a bit of time in between my regular training and clients on Thursday morning so I decided to go for a longer walk than my schedule has been allowing. I had contemplated going to Spin, but I'm so glad I didn't!

When I got to the track, a photo shoot of some sort was going on, so I decided to walk around campus and I took this picture. I can't believe I was thinking of sitting inside, on a fake bike, missing all of the beauty around me.

What kind of beauty do you get to see where you walk? (or ride your bike, or run, or paddle, or hike?) The beauty of walking is external as well as internal.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

I have this habit that I swear I'm going to break right now, to-day, never to let it pass through the thoughts in my head again...that's it....done! The habit is to cruise through the bakery section of the grocery (especially Whole foods) and stalk the free samples. Good God. Most of the time the WH in PA near our studio never even puts anything out to sample! I think they must have the cheapest bakery manager ever....oh yes, back to the point!

So, ev-very time I walk into the store, even though I never by bread, I rarely buy pastries (if I do they are for Mark of course), I never buy any desserts (well I never buy them there, lol) I still have to go around the cookie, cake and bisuit table cruising for free samples. I've written about free samples before in the fact that a sample should be something that you truly are thinking about buying, a taste sample is only there to "seal the deal". A sample is not supposed to feed you. (I mean me....sorry)

True that if I have to stop by the market after Saturday training and classes I do usually indulge...I'm not supposed to be in that section...but whatever, it's better that grabbing handfuls of energy nuggets out of the bulk bins! (something that I haven't done for over a year at least!)

So yesterday, there I go, hanging a sharp left turn lurking for free samples knowing I would not take any because I'm been following a very specific food plan for almost 2 weeks now and bakery samples are not on the menu. There they were.....big ole generous chunks of something...didn't matter. I took a picture and thought about the craziness that seems to be some kind of leftover childhood disfunction in some way that makes me continue to do this. Good-ness I'm freakin' 47 years old and the free bakery samples are enough to pull me off course every time? Crazy S#!T

Ok, done with the dramatic reaction. As far as ever again stalking the free bakery samples go, maybe I will, maybe I won't...but I'd rather not. The truth of the matter is that I can buy anything I want, including full size bakery goods that no one else has had their grubby dirty little hands on...yuck I think I just solved the problem!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Labor of Love

As I'm wrapping up the final touches on my book, due in to the publisher next week, I've been spending mornings at home, mostly writing, but early morning is also when I get the majority of my cooking done. The last bits I have to organize are some recipes from my personal files, so I thought it would be fun to revisit a few of them.

First thing I did however was to put a pot of turkey stock in the PC using the bones of my roasted turkey from last week, and then on to the leg of lamb. I'm pretty sure I posted the recipe for a spice rub that I love to use on a leg of lamb. One of the four ingredients is fresh rosemary.http://tracysfoodandthought.blogspot.com/2009/04/tis-season.html. Chopping fresh rosemary is a labor of love...in other words, it would be a drag to do if you didn't love delicious homemade meals made with the freshest of ingredients!

When I was learning to cook, one of my cooking teachers, Ruth, asked me to chop some fresh rosemary. I asked her how fine she wanted it, and she said, "Well, how'd you like to get a sharp hard poke in the gums from one of those (s she points to the spikey leaf of a sprig of rosemary), or one stuck inbetween your teeth?" From that point on I spend minutes making sure to chop my rosemary very fine! Spending 5 minutes chopping an herb is a long time in the world of food prep. Being only a small part of recipe but taking 1/3-1/2 of the time to assemble.

I always think of Ruth when I chop rosemary.

The other thing I threw together was some fresh salsa. I've been using fresh salsa in my guac smoothies and I'm lovin' it! I'm still lured in by discount food...but this time it was a couple of mangos....not 1/2 price candy! Anyway, I never buy, therefore never eat mangos. For a fruit they are seriously high in calories so I ususally pick some other fruit. But these were less than 1/2 price, so I thought I'd dice them and freeze for another time....like this was my last chance on earth to buy a freakin' mango! I'm weird.

I know I'm going to use my salsa for guac smoothies, and I thought throwing some diced mango would be delicious! Never made it to my smoothie today, but tomorrow for sure! I can't imagind it won't be good.

Making and preparing my own foods is a labor of love. Not for the love of food but love for myself, my body, my health and that of my family.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daily Blogpost

Tuesday I teach my 50 min. swing/snatch class, continue on with 30 more minutes of HV snatches and then take a walk.....either a "walk, walk", or a walk 3 blks down to Whole Foods and/or Peet's before meeting Mark back at Girya for heavy presses and clubbells.

I have to admit my swing workout this morning was a bit mild, as far as "TracyStyle" goes, but I came up with the beginning of a killer snatch workout! I got about 15 minues into it before class was over, but continued on for another 30 minutes "working out the bugs"....all I can say is "I love it!" I still have to journal it in my training log, but I think all in all it was over 600 snatches done in what I call "beyond Max" style. That means it's based on Max Vo2, but way harder!

Today I drove over to Stanford track and only got in my 1 mile, but that's OK, When I got back to Girya I ended up double pressing the 14kg's (LC) for short sets, ending the workout with clubbells sheild casts and arm casts. I'm not sure how much clubbells are doing for me, but like kettlebells, the motion feels strong and athletic and I look forwards to them every week. Mark even ordered an extra set of clubbells for our garage gym, so now I can practice on Thursdays too!

So speaking of the "walk a mile every day" challenge....

True, scheduling the time is the most challenging, but not because I don't have time, but because I exercise so much that in all honesty I am too tired to add on one more physically demanding thing! Especially at the end of my morning. I confess, I've missed about 3 days of walks, replacing it with 15 minutes of unweighted getups, or taking my full 15 min savasana.

So, I don't know what to say about that, except that I could interpret the challenge as one that commits to 15 minutes of making life better, and I have indeed done something "extra" everyday that I didn't used to do. So it's the 17th and that means that out of 9 days I've walked 6, but some days I walked 2 miles....does that count? lol I'm still planning for daily walking, so I haven't even come close to giving up on the idea....just like I haven't given up on my daily blogpost!

Yikes....it's almost bedtime....

Monday, May 16, 2011

550 24kg swings, 550 12kg swings, 1100 total

I was inspired by a recent email to swing the 24kg, something I probably don't do enough of, but I lead so many weekly workouts that although my cardio strength endurance is outstanding my absolute strength suffers. Good thing I don't care that much about absolute strength!

I've swung the 24kg for 1000 reps twice before. 10 reps x 100 sets, equal work/rest, 15/15 = 50 minutes. I can't remember the last time I did it, but I do know that both times I was in our garage gym. In recent workouts I've swung bells up to 40kg but as I mentioned nothing super heavy on a regular basis. I don't find a need for it, but it's fun to throw in the mix and it's good to see how my regular training leads to the ability to do stuff like this "on the fly".

Meg and I had so much fun I just might design the rest of the months Saturday workouts around the 24kg. Here's what we did this past Sat.,

All 24kg swings were done in sets of 10 2 hand swings 15/15.
All 12kg swings were transfers.
All rest periods are 15 seconds unless otherwise noted.

video will be posted as soon as it's ready from Youtube

10 x 1 set w/24kg 2 hd swings
10 transfers (15 sec)

15 sec rest

10 x 2 sets w/24kg
20 tr (30 sec)

30 sec rest

10 x 3 sets w/24 kg
30 tr (45 sec)

45 sec rest

10 x 4 sets w/24kg
40 tr (1 min)

1 min rest. From this point on all rest periods after the 12kg tranfer sets are 1 minute.

10 x 5 sets w/24kg
50 tr (1.25 min)

1 min rest

10 x 6 sets w/24kg
60 tr (1.5 min)

1 min rest

10 x 7 sets w/24kg
70 tr (1.75 min)

1 min rest

10 x 8 sets w/24kg
80 tr (2.0 min)

1 min rest

10 x 9 sets w/24kg
90 tr (2.25 min)

1 min rest

10 x 10 sets w/24 kg
100 tr (2.5 min)

Video shows this last rotation. I will build the next workout from this one. That doesn't always mean it will be more or harder w/24kg, stay tuned....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Don't Lose Momentum

I have to admit that when Blogger was down on Thursday I completely lost my momentum to post everyday. I was all set to do what I needed to meet my promise of daily postings and then....I was let off the hook! And I wasn't even looking for an excuse but when one presented itself I took the ball and ran....the other way!

This reminded me of how easy it is to start a new habit, a better habit most times, and be all into it, until we hit a bump in the road. Old routines set back in at the speed of light and if we are not committed to change, well then.... Who am I kidding I'm talking about diet and exercise! Starting a weightloss or healthier diet and a regular exercise program is way easier than sticking with it! Even when we think we are in the habit, boy oh boy, it doesn't take much if given the choice sometimes.

The choice.

What if it wasn't a choice? You know, like paying your bills. Argh! Paying your bills.... Seems like a punishment doesn't it? Well, if gas and electricity is a punishment, if good food on my table is punishment, if driving a car and wearing Lululemon is a punishment then I guess I like being punished! Think of paying your bills as freedom. The kind of freedom of having no debt.

Postponing the freedom of a healthy body seems kinda silly. If you find yourself falling off the wagon, pick yourself up again, it's never too late to build some new momentum. Don't let one day turn into two, turn into three, turn into a month and then a lifetime. Start again, it's not that hard. Good health, just like gas and electricity, is no fun to live without it.

Bringing the dead back to life

I'm talking about veggies! So often people buy fresh veggies only to heve them go bad in the fridge by not getting to them quick enough. This doesn't happen to me very often, but when I buy too much sometimes I can't get to all of it in a timely matter.

You can bring wilted greens back to life and other veggies like celery, carrot, broccoli, to name a few, just by giving them a big drink of water! Just like the plants that they are, they need water! I cut the bottom of the stem off (like you would a flower) and soak them in a big bowl of water. In the case of celery, carrots and broccoli I'll put them upright in a glass of even a vase, put them back in the fridge and a couple of hours later they are in ful bloom again!

(picture below) Now that's more like it! This is the same bunch of red chard as the picture above.

Even if I'm going to cook the veggies, therefore killing them, I'll still take bring them back to life first. But when you know a veggie is too far gone then throw it out. You deserve better than using dead veggies, even in your soup!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Do you want to make it fancy, or do you want to eat?

I made the best freakin' roasted curry cauliflower soup 2 days ago and it could not get any easier! Seriously! The more you cook and prepare your own foods the faster you get for sure, but many times you also figure out precious time saving steps. I mean, do you want to make it fancy? Or do you want to eat?

Roasted cauliflower soup, the old way, meant roasting your cauliflower first (salt pepper red pep flakes, olive oil) and then sauteing some onion and celery in olive oil, adding garlic and curry powder, pour in stock (or broth), add roasted cauliflower, cook until everything is soft and puree when cool enough to put in the belnder. Adjust seasoning.

Roasted cauliflower soup, the new way. Roast cauliflower, celery, onion and garlic cloves at the same time for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle and toss with curry powder and continue to roast for another 15 min. Scoop roasted veggies into a blender, add chicken stock and blend away. That's it.

Tips for roasting veggies.

Pre heat the roasting pan (s) when you pre-heat your oven! (375-400)

Having veggies at room temp is better that just out of the fridge. Often times I'll cut everything up let them sit and roast them hours later simply leaving them in the bowl to toss with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes just before I put them in the oven.

If you are going to puree your roasted veggies don't stress out too much how good your knife skills are, just chop them up in med size chunks and be done with it! As long as everything is basically the same size (except for carrots, those are more dense and should be slightly smaller).

Once you have your veggies in a large bowl, pour your oil around the sides of the bowl, not all of it dierctly on top of the veggies and toss with your hands. The oil on the bowl will drip down the sides touching and coating more of the cut veggies (did I explain that OK?) Remember, if you are taking into account calories measure out your oil! I always measure 2 tbl., and "massage" the oil onto my veggies.

Cauliflower is one of the best "deals" in the produce section, many times selling for just under $2 a head. I easily got 6-7 cups of soup from 1 head of cauliflower, a couple of stalks of celery, 1 onion, and since I make my own stocks that part is free!

Since I love a bit of sweetness to a spicy curry soup I think dicing up a apple and roasting it along with everything else might be nice too!

What would you add? And what is your best tip for making something that used to take a longer time faster and easier?

Blogger Down 5/12

Yesterday blogger was down, so I apologize for the missed comments and the missed blogpost...I'll make up for it though...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fun? Or Torture?

I was walking at our local track before yoga this afternoon getting in a quick couple of miles when I saw this group of Hispanic mothers Zumba-ing! So a quick little blogpost about my Zumba experience a couple of weeks ago....I hated it!

I was so excited to try Zumba that I replaced my yoga practice that day just to go. I had heard so much great stuff about Zumba, and seen TV ads showing people having a blast. I even ran into a good friend of mine after about 1 year and she told me she had recently started to go to Zumba and loved it!

Here was my problem with it.... As soon as the music began and we started to move it was like de ja freakin vu! 70's and 80's aerobic class all over again, and I hated dance aerobics....now Step, that was a different thing. I loved Step Aerobics! Anyway, back to Zumba.... It was loud, I didn't care for the instructor and I couldn't hear her call out the dance steps if she was at all....speaking of dance steps.... I like practicing a sequence before being thrown under the bus! And I have rhythm, girlfriend does know how to dance! Jump, jump, spin and shake...oh, and jump, jump some more. I do not like to jump. But I'm all for shaking my booty, just show me how to do it first!

I'm all about having fun workouts, I have a blast in my own classes (not that I'm biased or anything), but this was not fun for me, it was torture, pure torture. I kept thinking how I was wasting a precious hour, burning about 40 calories and not learning a damn thing. If I want to take dance classes I'll take dance classes. If I wanted aerobics...well I don't and I didn't. That being said, I can see how it could be fun and if it gets people off their butts moving their bodies then more power to them.

Zumba has been a great motivator for many people and many have had success in losing weight and getting more fit. For that reason I have nothing against it, in fact I may try it again sometime...but not for a long time!

Zumba lovers? Knock yourself out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Testing Day...or two

Every so often I throw out a snatch test to my students....OK, for me too! It's fun to have to rise to the occasion of an all out challenge that you've never done before, or maybe didn't do your best the time before. I never schedule these "test days" because our training speaks for itself. Our regular workouts build a base that allows us to push it a little harder every once in a while, in fact I thing we thrive on it! But I would say that 3-4 times a year I spring it on them as they arrive for class. It's not that I know more than a few hours beforehand myself!

We do our regular training, going along making progress....and then there's a lull....hmmnn...

Hey, let's see how many snatches we can do with ___ for ___! This week it was 5 seperate timed sets here's the order,

5 min test set/4 min rest
4 min test set/ 3 min work
3 min test set/ 2 min rest
2 min test set/ 1 min work
1 min test set

25 minutes total

I didn't tell them what they could or couldn't do, just that they had to see how many reps they could complete in the allotted timed test sets. No one shared strategies and ironically all three of us had different ones!

Mine was to use the 14kg, in 15 rep increments. I've been training longer snatch sets without hand switches for a while now but not with 14kg. I was not going all out for reps. I was determined to snatch 15 at a time, and let me tell you, I thought about bailing on that a couple of times! Especially near the end in the first three sets when the rep count got to 12-13-14-15. I wrote the results on the whiteboard at Girya, but forgot to bring them home. They were something like this (I will correct them tomorrow...hey, I was right!))



total 356?

I love testing myself and having my students/training partners sucking wind alongside is tons of fun too!

So this morning after a crazy hard swing workout (900 swings in 30 min., I did 60 less) I headed over to Equinox to finish the second half of my workout. What should I do? Hmmnn....I know I'll do the same test with the 12kg! Goodness I haven't tested the 12kg in eons! here's how it turned out.



total 464 snatches

I had the same strategy. 15 reps at a time. Faster pace, easy and hard in different ways, but just as much fun. So chose your own weight, your own pace, your own strategy and let me now how it goes for you....you have until Sunday!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hardstyle Snatches

Here is a video I taped a couple of weeks ago after one of my snatch workouts....sorry for cutting off my head...again!

I was doing a version of my HV snatch workout which is comprised of swing and snatch combinations incresing in difficulty by replacing swings by adding snatches and then picking up the pace. My HV snatch routines include a set of 10/10, but I realized halfway through my workout that it wasn't quite "hard" enough but I didn't want to increase the number of snatch reps by speeding up the pace, and I didn't want to increase the weight of the bell.

How can you increase intensity, snatching the same number of reps in the same amount of time without increasing the weight? Here's how....by doing them "hardstyle"

I divided this video into two parts in case you wanted to play them at the same time to see the difference in speed and form. To play both simultaneously stop each of them just as I start each snatch set and then click them both to play at the same time!

******Kitchen Chores************

I got up before the crack 'o dawn this morning, literally 3:30am to start boning a dozen chicken thighs and get some stock going in the PC before I had to leave for 5:30am yoga. Usually I would do all of my cooking before leaving for my first of two yoga classes at 7:15. But I needed the stock to be done and cooled to use so I decided to blast it out and let it cool while I was gone.

Perfect, when I got home at 9:15 I strained it and started on the rest of my kitchen chores....oh but first I had to clean out the fridge...yuck!

5 qts chicken stock
oatmeal for my lunch
3 bean soup with sausage, ham and kale (PC)
shredded salad
curry salad dressing
chicken liver pate
Stir fry for Mark

I didn't get to one of my newest most favorite recipes, and Indian inspired chicken and lentil stew. I'll be posting that one soon. I also didn't get to the freakin' turkey I bought last week! Yep, I said turkey! I'll be roasting that bad boy tomorrow or the next day....I'm just going to throw the damn thing in the oven upside down! Sometimes I get a little carried away with buying too much protein! (that's how sausage and ham ended up in my bean soup today!)

Funny thing is I finished everything around 11:15am, the same time I would have come home from the later yoga classes. Before or after, it doesn't matter. And then I went for my walk #1 after lunch...29 more!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Remember Arsenio Hall and how he used to do a bit called, "Things that make you go hmmnn..."? Well, I think the same thing, but I say to myself, "in-ter-est-ing..." I do this all the time when crazy stuff happens, or just something out of the ordinary. So I thought I might start some quick little blogposts about the kind of things and today is the first one!

This morning as I was leaving yoga and walking out the door, one of the women that work the front desk said to me "Bye, have a nice day!". I turned back to say, "Thank you, you too!" at which time she responded, "Oh, it's you Tracy, I didn't even recognize you, you look so good!"

I then jokingly asked her if she had known it was me would she still have wished me a good day! She said of course....but I was just joking anyway.

As I walked to my car I had two thoughts. What does she mean 'I looked good' and that's why she didn't recognize me? It must be true, I look good! AND What does she mean 'I looked good' and that's why she didn't recognize me? Did I look bad before? And does she realize that she just gave me a backhanded compliment? In-ter-est-ing, hmmnn....

Well, just this last week I had two other people tell me how good I looked...so I'll choose to see it that way. Backhanded or front handed it was still a compliment! (bitch!)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Me and My Co-stars (the kettlebells!)

I had a photo shoot at my house this afternoon. Word of advice....do not schedule a photo shoot after 3 hours of kettlebell training! Now I know! Either way we took hundreds of pictures and now I'm in the editing process to get just the right images to best instruct complete beginners through the progressions of learning the swing. I've developed my own brand new progressions and I can't wait to see how the whole thing turns out!

We decided it was best to do the shoot in my living room to show how little space one needs to swing. No worries though we took a few in the garage gym to show contrast. Funny thing is that although I had to move one of my sofas back a bit for the lighting, I've decided to get rid of it completely and use the space for stretching and foam rolling!

It was a good day and the rest of the weekend looks very promising...oh yea, it's Mother's Day tomorrow. I already got some beautiful flowers, a card even more beautiful and thoughtful thanthe flowers....I'm one lucky gal!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Knowing What You Don't Want

Sometimes you have to know what you don't want in order to know what you DO want! I think one of the earliest exmples of this is how we feel about our parents, or at least one of our parents! Who hasn't thought "I never want to be like them!" Myabe you are lucky and had great examples of parents and wanted to be just like them, either way we have people or things that inspire us in positive AND negative ways.

Two recent examples in my life came from training. The first from my yoga practice. There is this one teacher that bugs the crap out of me. I try and ignore my personal feeling about her, and most of the time I succeed....but I still try and avoid her classes when I have other options. The way she teaches bugs me, but some of the other things she does bug the crap out of me too. One of them is that she is always in a freakin' rush! Dashing out of the yoga room before the door hits her in the ass!

In Bikram yoga the last 2 minute savasana is supposed the be "the most important part of the practice" and you can be regulary hasseled into staying no matter how late the class can run over. This used to chap my hide big time. A Bikram class is already 90 minutes long, now you are asking me to take another 2 minutes to relax? The nerve! (I'm being sarcastic now).

Anyway, this particular teacher never stays in savasana when she practices, and the noise she makes and bad energy she creates by rushing out of the yoga room bothered me so much that one day I swore I never wanted to be like her! Argh! From that point on I was going to stay a full 15 minutes everyday meditating at the end of class!

I did indeed start to do this and I'm glad. In this "extra" time I was always filled with amazing thoughts and many times some great ideas for imporving my life came during these moments.

The other happened just yesterday. I ran into someone at the gym that is an "over-exerciser". I wrote a blopost a while back on "junk miles". Junk miles are time and energy you put into exercising that do not improve skill and/or performance. This reminded me of an episode of some addition show I watched months ago where this woman was addicted to her treadmill! Waht a metaphor that one is huh? A treadmill! Like a hamster or rat running, running, running.

I don't know why other people overexercise but topping the list of why I find myself overexercising is falling victim to some of my fears. And although I'm getting better about recognizing it I still do it, but not nearly as much as I used to.

Fear of gaining weight. One cannot out-exercise a bad diet, so time is so much better spent on that end.

Fear of not training enough...whatever that means. Enough for what? Last time I checked no one, especially me was competing in anything.

Fear of not being as good as other women (or men if you're a man). Life is not a competetion, or a race with a finish line.

As much as I like the feeling that regular and consistent exercise gives me, I do find myself trying to fit as much as I can into my day, whether "I need it or not".

So what could motivate me to stop or at least lessen the junk miles? Seeing in someone else something I don't want to be. I don't want to be the woman always in a rush. I don't want to be the woman on a treadmill spinning my wheels and going nowhere.

Normally I would say something like, "don't focus on what you don't want, focus on what you do want", but I'm not focused on it. I simply took note and moved on. In others we may see reflctions of ourselves, good and bad. I can get irritated by the actions of others until I remind myself that they only serve as examples of what I don't want, reminding me of what I do want, And knowing what I do want is more than half the battle.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Price of "The Experience"

So, it's no secret that I'm a snob when it comes to not eating out. I really dislike eating out and would chose to never eat out, but there are occasions that come up, mostly when I'm away from home. But I seem to be able to go out and buy a cup of coffee mid morning almost everyday! Am I being hypocritical? I think a bit, and that's why I'm going to change it!

Mark and I have our morning pot of coffee (I drink most of it!), and then, usually after my workouts and before lunch I stop at Peet's and get a 1/2 decaf 1/2 caf. It costs $1.80. Can't I make my own extra coffee? I have a coffee pot, I have a thermos, do I have the time?

There it is again...."time". How can I advocate home cooking and preparation when I can't even brew an extra 1/2 pot of coffee for myself?

When I mentioned this to Mark he told me that I was paying for "the experience" and wasn't that worth $1.80? I agree, there's something about stopping at the coffee shop, having someone else get you a big, super hot, super fresh cup of coffee. In fact if I take into consideration how much time it takes to stop at a coffe shop, well, there's my 15 minutes...at least.

Yesterday I made my extra coffee and filled my thermos. Today I'm doing the same. 30 days....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dragon Dish

In case you missed it, I am on this months DD TV with my guacamole smoothie recipe!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Long Time, No See...what a difference a walk makes and how to improve your life in 15 minutes a day

I started this blogpost before I left for class this morning and little did Iknow how I would be inspired to change the content before I got home to finish. We'll start here though....

Tuesday morning 5:00am

Well, I don't have to write about how busy I am, so I'll skip that... But as busy as I am, the habits I've established for good health and fitness have not been compromised. I've been too tired to blog, but not to think of what I would blog about if I had the energy. Lots of thoughts and ideas inspire me daily, so I thought I would share one with you this morning.

Walking. Recently I started to incorporate walking back into my schedule after a long, long absence. Walking was absent from my schedule only because it just didn't make the priority list. I work out enough already don't I? Well, that may be true, but for me walking serves a much bigger purpose. Taking a walk is about reconnecting with myself both mentally and physically in motion. It's my body's time for meditation...it's active recovery. I'll write more about it soon, but in the mean time let me share something that I've been thinking about.

I used to walk almost everyday, even after I lost all of my extra bodyweight, for the reason I just explained. So I started to schedule time to walk again but was hard for me to fit it in regularly. What I mean by regularly is at least 5 days out of 7. I started to think about how "hard" it was to walk everyday in addition to everything else I put on my plate (no pun intended!).

I love walking at a local 2 + mile trail, but I also like walking at a track, especially the Stanford track in PA (thanks Polina for turning me on to it!). It takes me 35 minutes to walk my local trail, and when I walk the track it takes about 16 minutes per mile when I'm not booking it! I ususally walk 2 miles in about 32-34 min. If I don't take into acount the drive time it can be quite a commitment I admit, even for me. Sure I can walk out my front door and get a 2 mile done without the extra time, but I prefer not walking on the street with cars and dogs and street lights! But I used to walk in my neighborhood regularly and it's something that I wouldn't let stop me if I make the commitment.... The commitment.

Twice a year my yoga studio holds a 60 day challenge, once in January, and once in July. The challenge in Jan. is always packed, and the one in July starts out with a bang, but because of the time of year it fizzles out quickly! July is much harder to commit a daily "anything" to! This idea of a challenge is common in the KB community when it comes to "Swings". A swing challenge is not a problem for me, I swing 1000's of reps a week anyway, so I never even think to participate, although I do understand how challenging this is for most people, especially for those not in the "business" of training.

So what about a "walking" challenge. How hard is it to walk everyday? Just 1 mile? 1 mile! 1 mile is 15 minutes of your life, or my life. What would happen if we spent just 15 minutes everyday connecting with ourselves, or with a friend or family member, while doing something that helps establish the most basic level of health and fitness?

I wanted to suggest a "one mile everyday walk challenge" in the month of May, but as you can see May already started! Goodness it just snuck up on me.....you too? So it's too late right? I thought about just giving up on the idea, but I think it's such a good one so I've simply rescheduled the start date.

This Sunday, or Monday, either on Mother's day, or the day after, I am going to commit to walking a mile every day for 30 days. If you see this kind of challenge as a reward to yourself you might start it on Mother's Day, but I'm sure alot of people will be busy and asking anyone to take 15 minutes out of their day would be a challenge in itself. (really? Maybe you can get up early and start the day out right!)

May is the busiest month for me with some very, very important deadlines related to my book, but no out of town commitments. I'll start on Mother's day and end on June 7th, 30 days later......

this is the new inspiration that came to me while I was walking this morning.....

8:00am Stanford track

I could have skipped this idea of walking one mile everyday until this Sunday, as planned, but I had 35 minutes this morning before running errands and decided that although my official start date will be this Sunday that I would get into practice now.

While I was walking I was thinking about finishing this blogpost. Hmmnn...one mile everyday is only 15 minutes, but it's the "everyday" part that is a bigger challenge for me, and I'm sure for everybody else. So what is the message, the point that I'm trying to make? Well, at first I thought it was about establishing a really healthy habit. Not just the exercise part of it but the connection to our physical bodies as part of it. So if the message is really about establishing a healthy habit, and everything related to health includes our physical bodies then what difference does it make how you do that. I can do it by walking but I can name a few other things that I could take as little as 15 minutes to do....one of them is to stretch or foam roll.

How about making your lunch everyday, or maybe 15 min of unweighted Get-ups? (I'd like to do that one!). I already meditate at least 15 minues a day....what could you do? What habit can you start this Sunday for 30 consecutive days that only takes 15 minutes and would improve your life?

I'll make one more commitment and I'll start it today too. One blogpost a day for the next 30 days. I'm going to become a short storyteller!