Monday, July 25, 2011


Sunday is usually my first yoga practice of the's the day after my longest and hardest kettlebell workouts on Saturdays. In addition to having my own 8-9:00 training I teach/lead 2 hours of swings and snatches, maybe one private session, and then I end my Saturday morning with one last 45 minutes "Learn to Swing" yoga (ya think?) So, I look forward to my first practice of the week when I get to start all over again.

Yesterday was different....not that I haven't ever taken a Sunday off, I have, but I never felt good about it. My obsessive, probably fear based, habit of training too much won't let me take a day off from doing some kind of physical activity.

I get asked this question all the time, "Can I train kettlebells everyday?" To which I always answer "no", and then I add "if you could then I would!". Recovery always has to proceed adaptation.....adaptation is the effect you are trying to achieve. The effect is a change in ability, more sets/reps/weight, or a change in quality, more muscle/body composition change. Everything you do in the gym has an effect, you want it to be a positive effect, not a negative effect. The basis of overtraining is doing "junk miles" that do not make you stronger and fitter it makes you weaker and less fit.

.....back to yesterday. I hadn't planned on taking the day off but I got busy doing stuff around the house that took priority and I was "on a roll"..... I can't tell you how many times I talked myself out of, then into, then out of, then in to, whether to go yoga practice. I finally came to this conclusion. Recovery.

What is recovery? I'm looking for the deeper meaning of recovery because at first glance recovery seems like kind of a negetive state of being. I usually think of it as having to overcome something unwanted. Recovering from illness or alcoholism/overeating, etc. I don't relate it to a positive.....maybe that was part of the problem.

Training, the physical act of training, is the beginning, the start of change, and recovery is the finishing touch. I started to think about what it would feel like to let my body finish doing the work I so consistently ask it to do. What did I think I was in a hurry to get done? This is where my feelings of fear had to be looked at head on.

I feel like I'm in a hurry to be all the things I think training does for me. Stronger, leaner, more fit, more capable of the skills I practice. Being, or training for, all of those things is fun and rewarding unless it makes you feel bad. Bad because you think you should be doing more. Bad because you feel like it's not enough. Bad because maybe you don't believe you are already where you are supposed to the process. Enjoying the process....

Recovery is part of the experience, recovery is part of the process. Recovery is part of the reward. Recovery means trust and relaxation. I'm already where I'm supposed to be, there's no rush....there's no rush, enjoy the's magic.


Diana said...

I think about recovery two ways:
1)since I work in health care, I see recovery as a "good" thing because it pertains to someone getting/feeling better after an illness.
2)I think back to my "fat" days and I always feel when I'm just on the couch with my cats comfortably tucked in, "recovering" from a hard day or days workouts..I can't help but think-WAIT, this is how I got fat! By laying around on the couch. It's really hard to forget that. That is what anyone who has lost a ton of weight senses. How can you not think that way? Once successful at losing weight, who the hell wants it back? We're going to fight it every step of the way! It's very hard to think of recovery. I hate taking a day off. I hate that I hate taking a day off. But, it's all part of it....exercise addiction is also something that people need "recovery" for....I just keep telling myself that when I recover and let my body rest, I will be able to get so much from it the next time!

Kellie said...

Tracy and Diana I appreciate your thoughts on recovery. While I don't know about your journey Diana I have read a lot about Tracy's because it is close to my own story. I am actually in worse shape and know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. I am just starting out but I really like swinging and know when I start seeing results I will like it even more. I like to think that recovery is an awesome thing! I look at it like you spend all of this time in the week building a strong healthy body and the day or days you don't train is for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I look forward to the days when my recovery days will be spent doing my bucket learning to hang glide or riding a zipline or learning to surf or even water skiing again! You have earned a recovery day and you have the ability to do all kinds of activities. I am glad to have this blog to turn to for inspiration, so thank you.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Personally I didn't get fat laying on a couch, I was probably the busiest fat person ever.

Because I work part time at another fitness club I see exercise addicts all the time...and they ain't pretty! I do not want to be like them.

Tracy Reifkind said...


There is light at the end of the tunnel, I'm glad you get that.

My experience is that I enjoy the work almost more than I enjoy the result of my work! I'm already looking forward to tomorrows training!

Ryden Family - Faith, Family and weightloss! said...

Hi! I have been following you for sometime now - I love reading what you have to say and I love your motivation and how you inspire people.

I went through a intro class in St. Paul, MN to get down the proper swing. I have now purchased your TracyStyle DVD (found it on amazon). I have started Weight Watchers and am down 5 pounds so far (I weigh 227 now). I'm happy with the new Weight Watchers program - their emphasis is on fruits and vegtables and whole grains and lean meats, which I love. The main reason for WW for me is the re-training of my mind, tracking my food - on line tool makes it very easy, and the accountibility it provides to go in every week and weigh in. In the past, I have been on WW, but the emphasis seemed to be more on the low calorie, fat free, processed and I did not like that and failed miserably. I'm happy that they shifted to it being so balanced and healthy.

I have to say that I LOVE swinging a kettlebell and I know deep in me that this is what is going to help shed all this stupid fat that has had me miserable for years. I just know it. But I want to do it right. At this point, I'm not interested in doing anything else but the swing. I just want to do my weightwatchers and swing - At this point, I feel like I will fail if I put many other things into the mix.

I have a few questions:

- since I am swinging with a low pound kettle bell (15 lb or 20 lb.), is it okay to swing everyday? I really did read your blog post about rest, but if you use a low lb bell, does that still apply? If I do it every other day, would that yield me the same results as if I did it everyday?

- In using your dvd, I also came up with something that I can do without your video - i like to watch my cooking shows! Can you tell me if this is an adequate workout?
- 50 two hand swing, rest 1 min
- 50 one hand swing (alternate at 25 swings each hand), rest 1 min
- 50 transfers, rest one minute
and then I just repeat this 2 additional times for a total of 450 swings.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I

Tracy Reifkind said...

Ryden FFF & W!

I will respond, but I may write a blogpost about your questions and concerns as there may be others with the same ones. I'll try and get to it by the end of the weekend.

Thank you for your comments!

Ryden Family - Faith, Family and weightloss! said...

Thank you so very much! I really appreciate any time you can take. I know I have ALOT to learn. I've reached that turning point and I'm excited! I just want to do it right...

Haley said...

Damn, woman! Look at your arms in that pic! I'm jealous! :)

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