Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dannon Has Nothing on Me!

Over the weekend I made my second batch of yogurt and I'm completely hooked! It's too easy. I say "too" easy because I don't eat that much yogurt...until now! I am still mixing corn and lime, with a pinch of salt, for a savory snack but it is summer and the fruit abounds.

Last week I made some yogurt cheese with 1/2 of the first batch with the intention of making frozen yogurt....I did. I picked up some nectarines from the FM, a variety named "Spice Zee", and like the name describes they have a spicey flavor that reminds me of Fall. I cooked these with a handful of black Mission figs with 1/2 sugar for about 5 minutes in the PC and then took the lid off and reduced it further until it was the thickness I wanted.

I used my immersion blender to make more of a puree and then I removed 3/4 of the fruit from the pan and portioned it so I could freeze some. Since the theme was "Fall fruit" I added about 1-2 tbl balsamic vinegar to the remainder. Cooked off the vinegar and voila....kind of an grown up blend. My plan was to use it in the frozen yogurt and not sweeten the yogurt but to add the cooked sweetened fruit for a tangy/sweet taste. I did. It was great! But I had so much fruit leftover!

I mixed some of the fruit puree in a serving of yogurt for dinner last night and zowie! It was so good I started thinking about all the differnt kind of flavors I could come up with. Anyone who has bought flavored yogurt at the market knows the usual. vanilla, blueberry, lemon, stawberry, peach, etc. but I doubt you'll find "Spicy nectarine and fig" flavored yogurt. The possibilities are endless. Fruit combinations as well as adding things like ginger or cinnamon, lemongrass, etc. Dannon has nothing on me!

I haven't made any fruit compotes or desserts with cooked fruit all year. It used to be one of my favorites, to cook fruit in wine, and I hope to be making tons of chutneys before the end of the year. I'm all motivated to make and freeze more fruit purees before the season is over. What kinds of combinations sound good to you?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What You Resist Persists

In my opinion the number one problem with diets are that most approach eating/food with some sort of retriction. Certain food restrictions like fats, carbs, sugars, or even more specifically all flour products, all fruit, all dairy, etc. Or they involve calorie restriction (although most if not all diets are calorie restrictive, but that's another blogpost). If you try and "force" a change that feels bad, punishing or just plain impossible, then you start to focus on the negative. This is not fun and may even lead you to become resentful and angry. Changing your diet should feel like a good thing, the perfect diet for you is one that is motivating and rewarding, and the fun part is the enjoyment of food and the enjoyment of a healthy bodyweight.

My diet stragety has always been to design a diet based on caloric parameters but does not restrict any kinds of food. It is a diet based in the science of calories in and calories out. Sure there are numerous ways to use certain types of foods in certain combinations, or eating only at certain times of the day to play with creating different effects on bodyweight and composition but at the end of the day unless you are into becoming your own science experiment and willing to track the data then basic calories in/calories out will rarely (if ever) let you down in acheiveng a healthy bodyweight.

Let me say for the record that becoming your own science experiment can be fun! I'm all for that approach, but let's save the minute details for when they can make a big difference.

It's not a secret that I am a believer in counting calories, personally I use this approach to maintain my own healthy bodyweight, but I do not restrict any foods from my diet. There are as many lower calorie foods I love as there are higher calorie foods I love. The magic that happens as you replace the foods in your diet with less processed lower calorie foods you love is how they make your body naturally feel lighter and healthier, and then you actually prefer to chose them. The focus is on foods you can have, not foods you can't have.

Let me lighten things up a bit because this leads me to the point of this blogpost.....

A couple of weeks ago my mother was visiting from Denver and we spent the day together visiting my granddaughter Sophi (my mother's great graddaughter!), which meant we were driving for almost 3 hrs there and back. In one of our conversations we were talking about, what else? Diets. My mom was telling me that she had a toasted bagel for breakfast....I cringed! A bagel has got to be the #1 breakfast choice for more than 1/2 of America, I swear! Anyway, she then told me that if she were at home she typically has a bowl of Grape-nuts cereal (with a banana of course....we all know how I feel about bananas, don't we? lol). But the real subject of this blogpost is Grape-nuts cereal!

I love Grape-nuts cereal! But breakfast cereal ceased to exist for me during the past 5+ years....not because I "couldn't" have it, but because I never liked it more that alot of the other foods I choose to eat everyday. If I wanted it more then I simply would put it into the rotation, no problem. I eat so many other foods I love I can't possibly eat them all.

When I went to Hungary I actually took pre-portioned baggies of Grape-nuts cereal and mixed it with my yogurt for one of my meals. I made room for it in my diet, and therfore cut something else out. Since I couldn't cook oats while I was away I was pretty happy with my Grape-nuts and I felt it made a nice exchange.

Now that I'm back home Grape-nuts have started to gnaw it's way into my psyche.....they taste so good I could eat them everday, twice a day, heck maybe all day! What's so bad about that? The more I focus on "I shouldn't be eating these", or "I shouldn't want these so much", or "I'm going to get fat if all I do is eat Grape-nuts" etc, then the more I think those thoughts.

I knew I was just about finished with the first box of Grape-nuts and it would be time to buy another..... My first thought was to just not buy them, right? Well, I would agree, but then I could imagine myself thinking about them more, building more anxiety and judgement. I felt I would focus more on the restriction I put on myself to not buy them.

So I came up with an opposite strategy. I would eat nothing but Grape-nuts for an entire day. I would eat my fill and maybe get sick of them! Could that work?

You know, I'm making too much of this! If I want Grape-nuts I'll eat them, and if I want something else different, I'll eat that. I'm not a bad person for wanting breakfast cereal. I'm not a bad person at all.

I've got so many things to do and think about besides Grape-nuts....

I just wrote a couple of killer workouts I hope to post in the coming weeks based from my progressive rest ladder! Yesterday I took my classes through one version and I wrote another that I will train this next week. The next one I'll call "Progessive Rest Ladder "400"", and the next "Progressive Ladder "300""....can you guess why, lol!

And last night I made a killer corn chowder with shredded pork shoulder....I'll make a chicken version and post the recipe! (no tomatillos this time!)

Training, pressure cooking....who has time to think about Grape-nuts?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Progressive Rest Ladder "200", my new favorite way to do 200 16kg swings

Since I came home from vacation I've found myself training alone more often since a large portion of my regular students have also been away during these summer months. Most of my training gets done via leading my classes but when left on my own, well....that's when I resort back to the boring stuff. Boring can get alot of work done in a short amount of time (which is the point), but how can I help make it translatable for others not so motivated to do the boring stuff on their own?

Last week I came up with this combination of work/rest with the 16kg, a bell slightly heavier than my "training" weight, the 12kg or 14kg. This is my starting point to 200 consecutive swing reps w/16kg, and then w/20kg, and then w/24kg. I could do these continuous workloads now, but that's not the point. The point is how can I teach someone else how to do it? Alot of my routines are designed keeping in mind the cardio, strength and skill levels of my students. I am a teacher afterall, a coach, a leader, a trainer. (how cool is that?)

Most of my past routines/combinations use "regressive" rest periods w/progressive work periods, in other words the work increases and intensifies by decreasing the rest taken. Here in this workout the rest periods increase. You might wonder why if the goal is to take out the rest completely.

As I mention near the end of this video, short rest periods have become overrated, and I confess I've had my part in this style of training. I've recently started to revisit 1 minute long rest intervals much to the delight of my students! As Mark explains, longer rest periods use a different energy system, an example would be the difference between sprinting and running a marathon. If we get used to running long distances we adapt using techniques (and weights) that allow us to become more efficient at that gaol....which is fine if all we want is get good at running marathons.

You can become efficient at any intensity. You can be efficient at running 10 miles or at running 400 ft but the two use diffent muscle fibers. Running slow or jogging uses mainly red fibers, which requires less strength and speed having less potential of the powerful white fibers. Shorter workbouts and longer rest periods allow you to train white fibers. White fibers require more time to regenterate than the red fibers, and by givng yourself the proper rest, longer rest, you're going to get stronger and develop more muscle than just always going long and slow. It's not that one is bad and one is good, they just do different things and create different effects.

The goal is to do 200 continuous heavy swings with power. Not to simply "fall" into the swings, or to "survive" the experience, but to smoke it! When you take more time to rest between sets you can come back stronger, eventually completing more and more continuous swing reps, strongly, with less rest.

200 swing reps w/progressive rest ladder

40 2 hd sw, 15 sec rest
40 2 hd sw, 30 sec rest
40 2 hd sw, 45 sec rest
40 2 hd sw, 1 min rest
40 2 hd sw

200 swings 7.5 min

repeat 2x for a 15 min workout.

If you are used to doing longer workouts then use this as a warm up or a way to end your workout as I do. No need though. This is all you need to start with twice a week. We all don't have time to make training a #1 priority, but we can all find at least 15 minutes twice a week, can't we? If training to use a heavier and heavier bell always start with a weight you know you can swing for 40 continuous reps before increasing the weight.

PS I don't think I was able to finish explaining why I taped this video yesterday....I was as close as I've ever been to skipping my workout. After I taught my 30 min swing class I lolly-gagged for about 15-20 minutes whining to Mark how I wanted to stop. I knew I wouldn't, but it helped to use the video as motivation to not give in....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hungarian Cheese Making Inspiration, and yogurt report

You know when you find something you really like but you can't get it anymore.....so you have to make it, right? Well, as I wrote about in my last post about not getting the sheep's milk yogurt anymore, I had a cheese in Hungary that just "sealed the deal"....and I don't know what kind it was...arghh! Anyway I think I narrowed it down to a kind of farmers cheese/cottage cheese/fromage blanc/ricotta. I had been interested in making cottage cheese before I left because of my smoothies so this was just one more sign that I needed to follow up.

The first picture above is one of the cheeses I bought at the Hungarian Farmers' Market (along with some yogurt and fruit). It was a soft white cheese with a very mild flavor, but held it's shape and was sold in wedges to your specification (second picture it's the cheese in the upper left corner). Elena Lakatos told me that it was a common cheese usually mixed with fruit but also used in a savory way served with bacon......hmnn....that's how I came up with my blueberry, cheese and bacon lunch I ate on the plane home.....it was delicious! Anyway, of course I can't get this cheese here so I've been looking for the most similar I can find.....or make!

The natural progression (because you know I'm all about progressions!) is to start with the easiest, yogurt, graduating to a "yogurt cheese", and then maybe cottage cheese, also similar to the two cheeses known as farmers cheese and fromage blanc. Ricotta is also supposed to be super easy, as is creme fraiche, sour cream, etc....so I started with yogurt.

The yogurt I made came out OK to be honest. I didn't follow the directions exactly because I started with some differences. First of all I bought my milk in the morning and left it out of the fridge until I started making it around 4:45pm so it was, not warm but, close to room temp from the beginning. Which was a good thing because I hadn't re-read the directions until it was too late to be reminded that the first cooking time was 2 1/2 hr, and then another waiting period of 2 hrs, before the final 8 hrs....I forgot about the 2 hrs in the middle because I go to bed at 8:00!

Through researching online the common theme was to get the milk to a certain temp and then let it come down and maintain the lower temp for around 8 hrs, or overnight (same thing). Because my milk was not cold when I started I only needed about 1 hr 15 min to get the temp at 150-155 degrees. It took a little over an hour to come down to 115-ish that's when I added the starter and left it overnight insulated with the towel covering the crockpot.

4:00am....the picture in my last post is what I woke up to. Although it was a bit runny and curdley I wasn't worried about the texture as much as the flavor. I seperated it into small containes and put it in the fridge thinking it may firm up a bit....it didn't. No biggie, firm yogurt is not as important as how it tastes..... I didn't find the flavor to be better to be honest. I've had a few really good store bought yogurts, in fact the one I used as a starter was better! (Strauss Family plain full fat) I'll try again of course, but what to do with this batch?

I ended up making yogurt cheese with it (3rd picture). I put it in a strainer lined with a floursack kitchen towel and let the whey drain out. The result? Hmm, hmm goodness, thick goodness! And I for every 2 cups of yogurt cheese (also known as Greek style yogurt), I had 4 cups of whey protein! (4th pic)

This of course is just the beginning. The idea and ease of making my own dairy products is exciting but I'm not going to go crazy on you all by sprouting stuff or going vegan! I may look into fermenting, but only because I read an interesting recipe for fermented lacto-salsa (I have to use that whey!).

My attempt at bread is today/tomorrow (it's got to rise for 12-18 hrs!).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Making Yogurt

Last night / this morning I made my first batch ever of homemade yogurt (hard to make a batch of store bought yogurt, huh? lol). I don't have time to write the details of the experience, but the inspiration came from the awesomely gorgeous and delicious sheeps milk yogurt I can no longer get at the Farmers' Market....(apparently sheep only produce milk for a short time during birthing season...the nerve!)

You can find this basic "slow cooker" recipe a zillion different places by googling it, but I'll save you the trouble. (I'm sure I'm one of the few people that did not own a crockpot so I had to buy one.)


1/2 gallon milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1/2 cup live-culture plain yogurt for a starter
Heavy bath towel

Put the milk into the slow-cooker and heat on low for 2 1/2 hours.

Unplug the slow-cooker and let the milk cool with the lid on for another 3 hours.

At the end of the cooling time, take out 2 cups of milk and whisk in the starter. Pour it back into the yogurt, then whisk all together.

Wrap the whole pot in a heavy duty beach towel, and let sit for 8 hours, or overnight.

Store in a sealed container.

I did, in fact, use a store bought yogurt as a starter but delved further into my new interest of cheese making and found this website:


I orderd yogurt starter, along with some other basic cheese making supplies and instructions. Cottage cheese, fromage blanc and ricotta are next on the list.

Much more to come, but I'm off to yoga and then to see my little angel Sophi! Lucky me I can take my lunch that includes some of my fresh homemade yogurt!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Back to my roots, walking…. I’ve been here in Hungary for 8 days now, wrapping up an eleven day stay and the one thing that I’ve done without fail is to walk everyday. I’m not talking about a 30 minute stroll while eating gelato, I’m talking about 1 ½ hours a day, minimum.

It started last week day one of RKC 1. I was too jet lagged to train kettlebells feeling a bit weak, and knowing I had my pick of the three days here at the Cert to train….no hurry. I also knew I was guest teaching two swing classes on Monday, so taking Friday off to recover and training a Sat/Mon split would be fine. I was not feeling my best for kettlebells but I knew I had to do something so I took off walking in one direction, with my cell phone and a few forints in my pocket I told Mark I’d be back in about 1 hour. It was a hot and muggy day and I didn’t have a clue where I was going or how long I’d be gone. As much as I love attending RKC’s I also love to work up a good sweat!

That was my first walk of the day…. I ended up walking only the residential streets around the high school Cert location, so later that day I decided to go off in the other direction….another hour, or so.

On my first walk I was feeling a bit guilty wondering if I was spending my time in a valuable way. Here I was in a far off country full of history and culture and I’m walking in some neighborhood that could be nearly the same as being at home. All by myself, the clock ticking away some of the short time I would spend here, shouldn’t I be doing something more productive, or at least more entertaining?

Day 2. When I got the Cert Sat morning Elena Lakatos told me about the Farmers Market going on just down the street…well, you know I high tailed it down there and hit the mother lode! But it was only a 30 minute walk and besides I had some swings to do. Finally a killer swing workout, and some decent snatching, I was able to design a couple of new routines, and then? Another walk, another direction, another hour (at least), another hot and muggy day.

Day 3. Sunday is testing day for all of the candidates…not much for me to do so I wonder what I could do? Take a walk? Mid morning I took off in yet another direction, and I’m sure I took another before the end of the day.

The point of this post is not to write a play by play of my walking schedule, but to share some of my thoughts I found myself having during the hours and hours of my “alone time”, putting one foot in front of the other.

I have had a lot of time to think about my life during the 8-12 hours of walking I’ve done this past week. Funny how when I'm at home I don’t have the patience to walk barely more than 30 minutes, and my thoughts would be completely different. My mind at home is always one step ahead (no pun intended) thinking of all the things I could, or should, be doing other that walking. But here, and now, I have no where to go other than where I am, and I have nothing to do, other than what I’m doing.

I thought I had many habits and behaviors that were just part of who I was, or who I’ve become, especially in these past few years but some of that stuff can get shot to crap the minute I step into an airport or onto a plane. The anxiety of not being in control of every bit of my life creates panic. Panic creates obsessing. Obsessing is over focusing, and when you over focus on not being in control then guess what? You become more and more not in control. Maybe it's that feeling of being trapped? A victim.

There may have been a few things that I felt not in control about, but the one thing I could control was walking. Walking puts you back into your body but it keeps you in your mind as well. Walking has saved me many times, and on this trip it was no acception. I'm so grateful for my two legs that have carried me so far. Mile after mile, thought after thought, year after year, walking is one of my best friends. I'll never underestimate it's power.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to Badass. Hungarian Hundred Slide Show and Advanced Version

Finally I'm feeling like my old badass self! I don't often use that word, "badass", to describe how I feel about myself because I don't really feel like "a" badass, I just feel badass...there's a difference and everyone that trains kettlebells knows what I'm talking about....it just comes with the territory!

I've posted a couple of versions of my Hungarian Hundred swing workout based on the original....the hardest, the most boring long repetitve swing sets only for the truly badass! (do I really expect anyone to do this workout? No....but maybe that's a challenge....) I might of mentioned before that the original name of these routine was "1-2-3 to 1" because the theme is to progressively work up to a 3 to 1 work/rest ratio. This workout totals 1000 swings!

While in Hungary I had the honor of being invited by Judit Lantos to guest teach a couple of classes in her kb dungeon. The first class was more of a beginning/inter level and that was the first time I had made modifications, which I posted along with an intermediate version. But the second class was the advanced.....and I held back none of the boring stuff! Little did I know how long the entire workout would take so I did cut them (and me) a break in order to get in some snatch training (sorry I put you through it guys!) To me swings are like vegetables.....always eat your veggies first!

1-2-3 to 1 workout (Advanced Hungarian Hundred)

Equal work/rest

10 2 hd sw 15/15
20 2 hd sw 30/30
30 2 hd sw 45/45
40 2 hd sw 1.0/1.0

5.0 min 100 swings

1 to 1 + 2 to 1

10 tr 15/15
10 tr + 10 2 hd sw 30/15
20 tr 30/30
20 tr + 20 2 hd sw 1.0/30
30 tr 45/45
30 tr + 30 2 hd sw 1.5/45
40 tr 1.0
40 tr + 40 2 hd sw 2.0/1.0

12.5 min (19.5 total time)
300 swings (400 swings total)

1 to 1, + 2 to 1, + 3 to 1

5/5 x 1 15/15
5/5 x 1 + 10 tr 30/15
5/5 x 1 + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw 45/15
5/5 x 2 30/30
5/5 x 2 + 20 tr 30/15
5/5 x 2 + 20 tr + 20 2 hd sw 1.5/30
5/5 x 3 45/45
5/5 x 3 + 30 tr 1.5/45
5/5 x 3 + 30 tr + 30 2 hd sw 2.25/45 (we got all the way to this point! well done guys!)
5/5 x 4 1.0/1.0
5/5 x 4 + 40 tr 2.0/1.0
5/5 x 4 + 40 tr + 40 2 hd sw 3.0/1.0

22.5 min (42.0)
600 swings (1000 swings)
Averages out to 42 sec work/18 sec rest

We stopped 240 swings and 9 minutes short of the entire workout, but still managed almost 800 swings in about 1/2 hour! I had planned on a full 60 minutes of ballistics but forgot about the first 15 min of joint mobility so there were a couple of people wanting to get on with some snatch practice...on with a 1-2-3 to 1 snatch workout.....and wait until you get my 1000 rep snatch workout!

Slideshow above: I was also lucky enough to have the whole workout video taped by Gabor Rode who did a fabulous job putting a slideshow together to some of my favorite training music. He also posted two 10 minute long videos on vimeo.com (just type in my name in search).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Far Will You Travel For a Good Lunch? And yes, the cottage cheese smoothie again!

First the cottage cheese smoothie. Seriously, if you have not tried making a smoothie with cottage cheese instead of yogurt then you are truly missing out! Cottage cheese really adds that "cheesecake" like feeling cutting back on the sweetness while adding better nutrition, especially protein. Yesterday I made a nectarine, blackberry, spinach smoothie and it was out of this world!

1 lg, or 2 sm ripe nectarines

1/2 c blackberries

1 handful spinach

1/2 c apple juice

1 c. cottage cheese


I would ususally add about 1-3 t. honey or sugar, but because I was sick this past week I had apple juice in the fridge so I used it instead. I never buy juices but it seems when you send a 22 year old to buy juice, they'll buy a gallon of it! Yikes! I guess I'll be using it in smoothies for a few weeks....or maybe I'll freeze some in small batches.


Yesterday I had a mid afternoon appt so I ate my lunch before I left the house. I did not choose to bring any food with me knowing I'd be home about the time I would get hungry again. Well, my appt was running late leaving me away from home too long.....away from my own prepared foods....

I thought about stopping somewhere to pick something up. An apple? Not in the mood for a snack, I needed a meal, besides the apples suck most of the time right now as it's not apple season. And I find it hard to buy non FM's fruits when tomorrow I'll be able to buy fresh seasonal and organic.....funny how particular we get sometimes (it's a sickness I'm convinced!)

A bowl of soup from Whole Foods? I know it's too salty and besides I had soup in the fridge at home waiting for me. A chicken wrap from TJ's? Yuck, instead of driving home for my own soup?

Not wanting to "backtrack" and drive 20 minues out of my way back home, I had no choice. I had to drive home. I've made the mistake before, not wanting to waste time or gas going home but it always backfires. I end up completely unsatisfied, eating foods I barely like or feel good about, and in addition it leaves me with too much food at home.

Ah....a nice big bowl of hot homemade soup...hit the spot. Totally worth the time and the gas! Lesson learned.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Little Gifts of Gold

You know how it's said that it's the little things in life that make us happy?

One of the thoughts I came home with from my trip was how much "stuff" I have that I don't need, but yet I keep buying more.....something I was well aware of before I left. This reminded me of a time in my past....

When Mark and I were first married we lived next door to an elderly couple, the husband's name was Wayne, but I can't remember the wife's name....anyway.... This couple had been married forever, at least 50 years as they were both in their late 70's, but they never had children of their own. They had built a small house but yet owned the largest piece of land in the neighborhood. They invited me in a few times and it was walking into a time warp. The decor was as if I walked onto the set of an "I Love Lucy" episode in the 40's or 50's. I didn't think too much of it at the time but for some reason I thought about them yesterday as I was reflecting on this subject.

It was apparent that once Wayne and his wife built and furnished their home, unless something broke they felt no need to buy more, or new, just to have more or to have something new. They also kept everything they owned looking new and immaculate. What a concept!

I'm also reminded of one of my trips to Italy. I was lucky enough to stay with an Italian caterer to learn some cooking and was shocked to see her use pots and pans that are barely "Goodwill" starndards in this country! Here I was using only "top" quality cookware and quite a snob (at the time) about it. She and her family still used plates and cups with chips on them to eat and drink from....why throw something out because of a little chip?

I came home never putting importance on a kitchen remodel with all the bells and whistles of "granite" countertops, or a "Wolfe" professional range or "Sub Zero" fridge because of this experience, in fact, I've kind of rebelled against it. Good food doesn't require a large or expensive kitchen. (Another habit I adopted from that trip was to hang dry much of my laundry, even to this day, and that was over 10 years ago!)

I would love to rid myself of everything and anything that doesn't hold a place near and dear to my heart, or that doesn't make me happy at just the sight of it's beauty....whatever that is. Easier said than done huh? In this culture, in these times, "more is more". Personally I grew up with the fear of "not enough" and it can creep in and affect my actions in many ways.

Owning too much out of fear of not having enough. Not enough "stuff" includes food!

This past week I ws lucky enough to recieve a few gifts from friends. Little gifts I couldn't have appreciated more if they were nuggets of pure gold! A beautiful bracelet I admired on the wrist of my new Swedish friend Stina. So generous of her to present me with it at the end of RKC Level 2, knowing how much I liked it, I was truly touched. (Stina attended RKC Level 1, and then returned less than a week later to complete and pass RKC Level 2! Serious Stud-ette!) A bottle of Hungarian roasted pumkin seed oil from "the hostess with the mostest" Judit, that I used it in a salad I made with some homegrown golden baby tomatoes given to me by one of my star students, Maribel....I love homegrown veggies!

Thank you for all of my golden gifts, much appreciated by a yet another golden lesson of "more is NOT more". What are some of your favorite little gifts of gold?

(PS Wayne found out he was sick and bought a brand new Lincoln for his wife so she would have a new, safe and reliable car to drive when he was gone.....she ended up being diagnosed with cancer and died before he did....he followed her less than 2 months afterwards....)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"The Hungarian Hundred"....as promised. Intermediate and Beginning levels

Before you try and dissect these workouts let me explain one more time how I determine "Beginner-Intermediate-Advanced" level swing training. My scale is based on cardio conditioning/cardio strength, NOT skill. You must already have solid technique before trying any level of my swing workouts! The size of the bell you use should never compromise power and acceleration, so the "right" weight is far more important than a "heavy" weight.

Beginning level is when you can swing 40 continuous reps easily with equal rest periods. Beginning routines will take you progressively into a little more difficulty by challenging you to work only slightly more. My Beginning Level swing routines will almost always total 600 reps in 30 minutes or less.

Intermediate level is when you can swing up to 80 continuous reps OR you can swing with only 1/2 the rest to work ratio. For instance you can swing 40 reps (1.0 min) with only 30 sec rest for an entire 30 minute workout (or longer). That equals 800 swing reps in 1/2 hour. Intermediate level swing workouts may also include double bells but only up to 10 reps at a time equal work/rest.

Advanced level is when you can swing for 5 min continuous (200 reps) with 1 min rest. This is a 4 to 1 work/rest ratio. This can add up to 1000 swing reps in 30 minutes! Advanced level swing workouts also include double bells up to 20 + reps and "work into rest" (3 to 1 ratio).

The first version I did of these combinations were at an advanced level. Here, in this workout, I changed it slightly to a more Intermediate level and I've also included the Beginners level version.

All versions of "The Hungarian Hundred" use only three of my swing combinations:

two hand swings,
transfers (hand to hand/switching every rep),
5/5 one hand swing (switch hands on the 5th rep and swith back on the 5th rep).

The first video shows the first rotation after my usual "equal work to rest" warm up of:

10 2 hd sw (15/15)
20 2 hd sw (30/30)
30 2 hd sw (45/45)
40 2 hd sw (1.0/1.0)

5 min 100 swings

1st rotation

10 tr (15/15)
10 tr + 5 2 hd sw (15 reps = 22.5/7.5)
20 tr (30/30)
20 tr + 10 2 hd sw (30 reps = 45/15)
30 tr (45/45)
30 tr + 15 2 hd sw (45 reps = 67.5/22.5)
40 tr (1.0/1.0)
40 tr + 20 2 hd sw (60 reps = 2.0/1.0)

10 min 250 swings

2nd rotation (same as the first onl replace transfers w/ 5/5 one hand swings)

5/5 x 1 (15/15)
5/5 x1 + 5 2 hd sw (15 reps = 22.5/7.5)
5/5 x 2 (30/30)
5/5 x 2 + 10 2 hd sw (30 reps = 45/15)
5/5 x 3 (45/45)
5/5 x 3 + 15 2 hd sw (45 reps = 67.5/22.5)
5/5 x 4 (1.0/1.0)
5/5 x 4 + 20 2 hd sw (60 reps = 2.0/1.0)

10 min 250 swings

finish how you started with:

10 2 hd sw (15/15)
20 2 hd sw (30/30)
30 2 hd sw (45/45)
40 2 hd sw (1.0/1.0)

5 min 100 swings

total 30 minutes 700 swings

I used the 16kg for this workout and continued on with the 12kg for the advanced version which I will post next week.

Where the Intermediate level is a 1 to 1 and 3 to 1 work/rest, in this beginners version only two of the sets are 3 to 1 work/rest. I only add 10 extra reps to the second sets and the rest periods all stay the same.

All versions start with the same warm up:

10 2 hd sw (15/15)
20 2 hd sw (30/30)
30 2 hd sw (45/45)
40 2 hd sw (1.0/1.0)

5 min 100 swings

1st rotation

10 tr (15/15)
10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (20 reps = 30/15)
20 tr (30/30)
20 tr + 10 2 hd sw (30 reps = 45/30)
30 tr (45/45)
30 tr + 10 2 hd sw (40 reps = 1.0/45)
40 tr (1.0/1.0)
40 tr + 10 2 hd sw (50 reps = 1.25/1.0)

11 min. 240 swings

5/5 x 1 (15/15)
5/5 x 1 + 10 2 hd sw (20 reps = 30/15)
5/5 x 2 (30/30)
5/5 x 2 + 10 2 hd sw (30 reps = 45/15)
5/5 x 3 (45/45)
5/5 x 3 + 10 2 hd sw (40 reps = 1.0/45)
5/5 x 4 (1.0/1.0)
5/5 x 4 + 10 2 hd sw (50 reps = 1.25/1.0)

11 min. 240 swings

end w/20 2 hd swings (30/30)

600 swings 28 min total.

The original name of these workouts was "1-2-3 to 1" because the workload is based on progressively training up to a 3 to 1 ratio. More versions to come as promised, as the advanced level workout equals 1000 swing reps in about 42 minutes (I still have to do the math) Oh, and wait until you get "The Hungarian Hundred Snatch Workout", also based on a 3 to 1 workload!

The Perfect Storm

Yikes! Mark and I came down with a touch of the flu yesterday and I spent the whole day in bed...the whole day! Fever, bodyaches, chills, sweat, I still don't feel right. I can't remember the last time I was sick, and in fact I pride myself on never getting sick! Looking back on the past couple of days I could blame a number of things but I think it was a combination of everything.

To be honest I blame my nutrition first. I ate more sugar than normal especially on the day coming home. On trips in the past coming home seems the most challenging. I'm rarely tempted to eat the crap they serve on planes or the crap they sell in airports leaving on a trip. Knowing I'm more vulnerable and tempted to eat airline/airport crap on trips coming home, I decided to buy and pack my own "crap" for our return. Yes, the morning we left for home I did pack some really good foods like egg sandwiches, farmers cheese with fresh bluberries and bacon, tomato, cucumber and olive salad with fresh herbs, etc. but I ran over to the market in Budapest to buy some chocolate cookies, marzipan candies and poppy seed pastry. I didn't have to eat any airline food on the way home....but I did eat all of the food I brought with me, especially the sweets!

That was just the day we came home! To be honest I don't think I let my sweet tooth "run riot" the whole trip, but I did indulge much more than I would have if I was at home. My plan turned out to be an "every other day" free license, whereas at home it may be twice a week, if that. More about this subject of eating and travel another time.....

Of course I'm not blaming the whole thing on sugary foods, we were on a plane for 14+ hours with 300 people. Coming home it seemed as if the flight had twice as many children as the flight going....that had to have it's part.

Jet lag.... Coming home from Europe you never see night because you are flying backwards into the same day. We arrived home at 2:30am Hungary time, 4:00pm California time, without sleep. I make it no secret that Mark and I take a nap everyday and we are in bed by 8:00pm! We are very delicate people!

Although I felt fine teaching first thing Tuesday morning it all caught up with me....the perfect strom.

The worst is over and I'm ready to get back to my life. A slightly different life than the one I left, and I'm even more excited about my future. Lucky me! Slowing my life down and focusing on quality is the biggest thing I came away with on this trip and maybe I needed a little more down time to really drive that point home.....

Exciting times.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


There's no place like home.....but home is where you decide to make it. I can honestly say that I did not get homesick but of course I'm glad to be in the comforts of my own home. The comforts of my own home.....

One of the walks I took mid week in Budapest was to the top of a hill with a statue known as their "Statue of Liberty", although I'm, not sure it truly has the same meaning as the one we place on our own here in the US. But the thought of the meaning behind such a statement brings up how we can sometimes take our comfortable lives for granted, the liberty we have to be our own people, to have the freedom to define who we are and what we are about. (Picture above is of my intended destination. Picture below is the one I took when I reached my destination, the top of the hill)

I had alot of time to think on this trip because I did so much walking, in fact I added it up and I think I walked the equivilent of about 12 hours. Many of the thoughts that came to mind were reflective of some changes I would like to make in my everyday life, to which changes, if any, I would actually make in my everyday life. The things I take for granted, and the things I do that are not the best use of my time.

I asked Elena Lakatos, Sr Instructor Peter Lakatos's wife, a Chinese American living in Hungary now for ?...yikes I forgot to ask, but a long time, and of course married to a Hungarian....anyway, I asked Elena what custom, tradition or habit she would take with her from Hungary if she ever moved away, or back to, the States. She thought about it for a bit and then decided it would be the "slower pace" of life. She explained that during her yearly visist home to LA it takes her a while to get used to the fast pace.

We all know the fast pace we live in, sometimes we even complain about it. But what are the alternatives? Some say, "well, I don't have a choice". Really? Am I the only one that is lucky enough to knnow that I do have a choice? I have the freedom to do without so much. I have the freedom to spend most of my time doing the things I love. I have alot of freedom. "How far you see depends on how high you stand" (Marks says that all the time. Picture below shows the view from the top.)

I'll be thinking about the freedoms I choose this next week and I hope to have the energy, but more so the motivation to write about them. Travel can change a person, and I hope some of the thoughts and feelings I had during my many walks to change some things about my life, for the better of course, will in fact be lasting.....

But now I'm off to teach my first class in which I will share my new workout, "The Hungarian Hundred", which I will post video of later today! Woo hoo!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Last Day

RKC Level 2 ended about an hour ago and pretty much signifies the end of our trip here in Hungary. I had a fabuloso time but how could I not? I got to do whatever I wanted to whenever I wanted to! Not much different than my everyday life only on the other side of the world.

I love riding coattails of my brilliant husband Mark, and listening and learning from other Instructors, meeting mew friends and helping to welcome many more new RKC's into the community. Lucky me.

I made my own lunches practically everyday, walked pratically everyday and I only missed two workouts (technically) and that was bad planning on my part (I forgot to borrow a bell for a mid week workout), but that just means I'll be able to hit the ground running again when I get home.

I did not have internet most of the daytime hours and by the time we got back to the hotel I was just too dang tired! But I had quite a great experience and I think many times we come back from trips like these thinking we'll make some changes about our lives or how we live as soon as we get home, I'll wait to see.....

Here's a picture of the Farmers Market I went to yesterday morning and just a few things I bought knowing I would only have about 2 1/2 days to eat everything. Fresh berries were a must, fresh yogurt and cheese were also at the top of the list. I did treat Mark's team to some fresh berries and the rest of the blackberries ended up in one of the yogurts for lunch that day. The corn ended up in todays lunch and the cheese and blueberries will be mixed with some bacon from tomorrow mornings breakfast to make a fruit/cheese/bacon salad for the plane ride home...I hope it'll get past secruity.

If I get most of my packing done tonight I'll take a nice fast paced walk in the morning before we leave.....I better get to it then!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Best Meal in Hungary

I'm spoiled.

OK, so Monday evening I was lucky enough to get in 2 solid hours of swings and snatches via guest leading a handful of brave Hungarians through a Tracystyle high volume group class, could it have gotten any better? Yep.

Mark and I were treated to the most delicious home cooked Hungarian dinner ever.....you know how much I love, love, love home cooked foods! It all started with homemade bread served with goose liver cooked in goose fat! Yum, yum! I seriously could have eaten 3 times more but I didn't want to hog it all! Next?

Well, when we got to Judit's home, before we left to train kettlebells, she had this big pot on the stove that had been simmering all day with these huge chunks of beef thigh bones. Anyone that know anything about good soup knows how important bones are for flavor but these were special bones (not really, I'm being dramatic...anyway), these bones had big chunks of marrow waiting to be knocked out and spread, again, all over some homemade bread! (good thing we had some!)

But let's not forget the broth....OMG! Seriously good beef broth with veggies and pasta. I'm completely motivated to start baking my own bread (once a week), but the soup is the first thing I'll make when I get home. Finding thigh bones may not be that difficult, I' thinking maybe I can find them at Mi Pueblo.

Everything else was super yummy. Potatoes I normally don't eat, but not because I don't like them, so of course I had to help myself to a healthy portion. A popular salad here is cucumber, dill and sour cream or yogurt and garlic, similar to Greek. Aniko made a wonderful tomato, prosciutto, pine nut, red onion salad, dressed with pumpkin seed oil (Judit gave me a bottle of the oil to bring home! Yay!)

Top it off with a firecracker raspberry cake! Could my birthday month be any better? Well, as I said in the beginning of this post I'm totally spoiled for good food and nothing else even comes close! Tourist foods? Blach! But I'm managing to camp out from my hotel room fairly nicely!

Here are some popular flavors or foods that I'm finding common here in Hungary (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few)

poppy seeds
lots of cured meats and cheeses (sausages and sheep's milk cheeses)
pumpkin seeds
blackberries (blogpost to come)
watermelon (cantaloupe)
greek style salad (romaine, tomato, cucumber, cheese)
cucumber and tomatoes in general
cabbage (of course)

Every place you go to eat here in the main tourist spot has some kind of traditional Hungarian dishes like soup/goulash, and as I mentioned last year meat! Lots of meat!

I went for a long walk this morning to the Hungarian Staue of Liberty that tops one of the hills across the bridge from our hotel....I'm learning alot about myself on this trip...more to come.

Dr. Gelato

Is the name of the shop with the best looking display of gelato I've ever seen....even in Italy! Don't know how it tastes because I found it on an early morning walk on the other side of the river....too early for gelato, and RKC level 2 starts tomorrow and I doubt I'll get back there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Greetings from Hungary!

Mark and I have been so freakin' busy....in a great way but I had to touch base real quickly....

It's already Tuesday afternoon, two days since Level 1 RKC ended and I just now have a few minutes to post a picture. Congratulations to all who passed their RKC this past weekend! I'm just as impressed this year as I was last to the commitment to learning the RKC system of training and the level of strength and fitness shown by all who attended.

When I have time I can't wait to post pictures and details of THE best meal I've had in Hungary, prepared by our dear friend Judith Lantos and hosted at her home along with her family and another dear friend Aniko Balazsik. Seriously amazing....seriously!

I will also post my new 100"s workout that I designed especially for my Hungarian friends that invited me into their private gym to lead them through swings last night. Whew, I'm going to call it The Hungarian Hundred, which is actually a 1000 swing workout based on a progressive 3 to 1 workload! Hundreds of swings as well as hundreds of snatches.....two whole hours of kettlebell balistics! This morning I felt as if I had lost 5 lbs just from training last night! (humidity will do that.....forget Bikrams!)

PS I did not overpack....I'm needing every one of my 16 tank tops!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do I need to take 16 tank tops?

I'm in the middle of packing for our trip to Hungary the day after next. I'm actually ahead of schedule this time spending more time organizing the rest of my house as I'm setting the things aside that need to come with me. I've got a couple of lists going and checking things off as I go. I did not stay for a double Bikram practice this morning, instead I used the extra time running the errands that needed to take priority. I do not want to be rushing around at the last minute trying to get out the door.

One of the things that I normally do last minute is pack my lunch. Even though I have so much healthy snacky food in the fridge, it always takes me longer than I think to package it all up. In the mean time Mark is tapping his toes waiting with the car running! All that food gets heavy too! But this time I'm trying to settle for a happy medium. I'm not taking so much bulk and I may be relying on purchased supplimental foods like yogurt.

Only one time did I leave for a trip without anything packed from home and it was a mistake....I did give it a honest go though! Once I got to the airport and was ambushed with all of the King-size, sugary, salty snacks all I could think about was being constipated for a couple of days, and that's no way to start a vacation! I've got to have some kind of live foods.

Everything is pre-packaged, measured and ready to go.

apples (TJ's had a really delicious batch of fuji's this week)
cheese ( five 1 oz blocks. 2 sheeps milk from FM and Manchego)
pate (I'll take a frozen portion from my freezer. It should last at least 8 hours)
raisins (1.5 oz portions)
cooked lentils (1/2 c portions)
live trail mix (celery,carrot,peanuts,raisins)
cherries (left over from the weekend)
Starbuck Via instant coffee
grape nuts (1/2 c portions)
a small kale salad (I have a ton of leftover blanched kale)

I'm not stressed about taking anything really, it's just that I have the time so why not?

Now for the clothing....and shoes.... Well, I got word that it's rainy, so sandals are out. The original Cert site has been changed because of weather so it must be wet! Long pants, no skirts, or shorts....that makes it easy! How much am I going to work out? I need clothes to train in. Chances are I'll be picking up a kettlebell every one of the three days both Certs are scheduled for...that means I might get a little sweaty. And I'm looking forward to guest teaching a couple nights during the week that I'm there (goodness, did "socksleeves" make the list?) so I'm hoping to get my own workouts done at least 4 of the days I'm there.....let's see....3 + 4 + 3 = 10. Ten workout outfits.

I'd love to practice some yoga while I'm there, but I'm not putting any money on it! (unless it's in my own hotel room).

There is a chance that I'll get to wear "civilian" clothes! That's what I call non-workout clothes! But will I do it? I've gotten in the habit of layering tank tops underneath all of my t-shirts and I often wear them to bed, but do I need to bring 16 of them? Edit, edit, edit!

Tomorrow is my last full day at home and I've got my food done, my clothes in a pile, my personals still need to be organized so I can still like train a regular schedule the next day and a half, which includes (Mark's going to kill me) yoga the morning we leave. The deal I've made with myself is that I can only go if I'm fully packed and ready to go before I leave for class.

Looks like I'll hit the ground running in the morning.....thank God I don't have to pack a kettlebell!

Did you ever forget anything really important on a trip? Did you ever not "over-pack"? What kinds of things do you just plan to buy when you arrive?