Monday, December 31, 2012

"Twenty-Thirteen" Tracyrif 1000 rep snatch workout, and the 12kg Competition Bell

Warning:  This post contains way too much of my personal training information....just sayin'.

When I wrote my snatch workout a few days ago I wrote it in 'theory' based on a ton of past experience, and of which I go into detail in that particular post (my last post below, 12/28).  I learned quite a bit from actually testing it but in this post I'm only going to touch on a few points, the parts that involve using the 12kg competition bell because I've got to get to designing my 2013 swing workout for tomorrows class....and this next workout is in fact up to 2013 swing reps!

1000 snatch reps w/12kg, broken down into the combinations and intervals I designed did not seem (in theory) to be that big of a deal for me.  I routinely swing and snatch close to twice that number of reps every Saturday, although snatch reps are only about 25-40% at most, not 50%, and it's certainly a rare occasion when snatch reps out number swing reps, especially by that much.

Sure, I could have snatched a heavier bell, the 14kg or the 16kg.  I find the 14kg to be very close to the 16kg, but the handle routinely tears up my hands terribly and since I didn't really plan this workout until the last minute, (kind of accidentally), I know I'll need to figure out a more solid strategy for both the heavier weights.  Longer intervals would be one requirement for that high a number of snatch reps.  Speed would not be of importance, at least not the first time.  Also multiple hand switches, which take more time.  Each transfer from R to L is a swing rep, and that needs to be accounted for.

Back to the 12kg and the comp bell.  Because I chose to use the 12kg for my 1000 reps, I designed the snatch reps to be done at a Max Vo2 pace, which is 8 reps per 15 sec.  I've trained this pace so many times so I know 20 snatch reps at this pace would take just under 38 sec if done without a hand switch.  Add in one transfer swing and it takes 40 sec (10/10), still leaving me plenty of time to complete an additional 13 swings within the minute long work interval (30 sec rest).  Okay, so speed/pace is the first challenge.

I've trained that exact speed and rep count numerous times, but without the addition of swings, and not for 1000 reps!  One of my favorite No Brainer snatch workouts is 20 snatches (10/10) "on the minute" (40 sec work/ 20 sec rest).  I've done that workout, at the longest for 30 minutes, that equals 600 snatch reps. Thirty minutes is a long time doing the same set which is why it's a No Brainer, but that adds a different level of difficulty, not to mention that that one set, pace/work/rest ratio, is freakin hard to begin with!  Enter the Competition bell....

I'm scheduled to travel down to So Cal to participate in a snatch test in Feb. and I'll have to use a competition bell.  Well I know enough about training and testing to recognize that I should probably practice a bit with it first!  So I have been, and in fact I've also used the 16kg comp bell for some of my recent training.  Knowing I'd be training 1000 snatch reps I wanted to incorporate the comp bell for some of them, how many?  There was no way to know until it came time.  I just did not have that much experience, and I had other training goals to conquer in addition to the rep count of 1000.

My own personal training goal was to snatch the reps 20 without switching from R to L, alternating R for one entire set, and L for the other.  25 sets of 20 snatch reps R, and the same on the L.  I had never done more than, maybe, 10 sets each R and L without having to switch at least every 10 reps.  And in fact I had my first PR with the 16kg (comp bell) last week of 24 R/24 L for two sets.  I've been more and more interested in training my snatch and jerks with fewer and fewer hand switches.  So my first goal for my 1000 snatch reps was to do at least half of them 20 R/ 20 L.

I started my workout with no warm up at all.  My first set of 20 sn R + 13 2 hd sw was my very first set.  As I mentioned I alternated the next set with my L, and so on and so forth for my first ten sets.  I did not want to use the comp bell to warm up.  My plan was to "warm up" with my first 10 sets, and then continue on with the comp bell at set 11....which is exactly what I did.

I picked up the comp bell on set 11, and the difference in difficulty was apparent immediately.  The obvious was that it moved slower.  The not so obvious (maybe) is how many other levels of difficulty!  Not just that it took about 1-2 sec longer to complete the 20 snatch reps, which may not seem like that much of a difference in how long the work set took, but much more force you have to produce to "drag" this larger size bell through time and you were snatching it through water, or mud!  At least that's what it felt like!  Trying to move it as fast as possible, but the size dictated just how fast it would let you move it!  Wow, this is going to be fun to train....another time!  But now was not it!  Then of course you have a completely different weight distribution, smaller handle, etc..  But I had a larger personal goal, and that was to maintain the 20 continuous snatch reps without switching hands.  I had a decision to make.

I could only complete 15 of my 20 snatches in the first 30 secs, and adding on the 13 swing after 20 snatches took longer than 1 minute.  The next 10 sets like this added up, and increased my fatigue greatly.  Needless to say that because I decided to break this whole workout into 5 rotations of 10 sets, the difference came with the variation of swing combinations (another traning blogpost to come), I had to complete at least 10 sets, no less, with the comp bell before deciding what to do next.  What did I decide?

I decided to go back to the DD bell and try to complete my first goal of half of the workout 20 R/20 L, thinking that when (and if) I had to switch to 10/10 I would go back to using the comp bell for some of those sets.....but it never happened.  Going back to the DD bell felt a bit wonky the first two sets, but after that it became obvious that I could in fact complete all 1000 snatch reps 20 R/20 L, so I did just that.  Done.  Now I know I can.

But I also know that I could NOT do this same workout with the comp least not without training specifically for it.  The comp bell tired me out faster because it moved slower, and because it moved slower I had to spend more time "working", but also "holding".  It tired out my shoulder much faster in the snatches overhead position, even though that extra time was probably barely measurable, it was measurable enough to add just that much more of a challenge.  Fun stuff huh?

And really that's what I felt about it!  It's fun for me and I love it when I can't do something....the first time!  It gives me a gauge, a measurement of where a weakness is so I can make it stronger.  One rep Max lifting strength is not of big interest to me, but combining what I love, the ballistics, with slower and lower rep counts is interesting to me in a number of ways.

There was so much more about training this workout that I learned when it came to the overall snatch and swing rep count, the overall time involved (1 hour 15 minutes total), the combination of swings, the work to rest interval times, etc.  I love this stuff, and it's the essence of my favorite "Rifisms"

"Training is the source." Mark Reifkind

Training is the source of so many things.  It's roots extend deep into my soul creating the strongest of foundations for personal growth in every other part of my life.....for which I may try and bore you with another time!  It's an absolute miracle that this woman (me) who is almost 50 years old, formerly fat and out of shape, heck, downright obese, gets to live this life, write about it, and help other people grow through my experience.  I have a great life that has only proven to have brought me some amazing things this past year especially, but I never think that life can't get better, I only think of how life will get better! 2013, ready or not here I come, how about you?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is Christmas Over? A New Year Training theme is emerging! 2013...Awesome!

Maybe it's just me.  Christmas is over, done, gone...and I'm fine with it.  The day after Christmas I got in my car, turned on the Christmas music!  What?  It was barely 8 hours into the next day!  Well, if my local radio station has moved on then so should I!

I'm thinking about some of the changes I want to make as the New Year approaches as well as finishing some of the things I started last year.  I never officially wait for the 1st of Jan, although the approaching date does provide more motivation for a lot of us because we've been trained to think of 'that' day as the delineation dividing the past with a potentially new future.

But for now I'm thinking about my immediate future...tomorrow's training!  I've got something planned for the whole month of January, starting on the very first day, but tomorrow is the last Saturday training before 2013....2013!

I'm thinking sets of 20 snatches + 13 swings.  The thirteen swings would be done using my swing combinations in a progressive way, of course!  But how many sets should we do?  Let's work it out...starting with 20 snatches...

I don't want to snatch heavy, I did that Tuesday.  So my choices are 20 reps at a time, both R and L individually, and/or 10/10 (R and L).  The 20 snatches can be slow, done within a minute set, or they can be done "Max"!  I want to add the swings after the snatches so my two interval time choices are:

#1 1 min work, 20 snatch reps + 13 swings

The 20 snatch reps should take me 40 seconds at a fast pace, ("Max" pace).  If I add on 13 swing reps it should take me 1 full minute.  How much rest?  Another full minute?  Well, if I were snatching a heavier bell I would need that whole minute, but I think I'm going to snatch fast and light (the 12kg comp bell), so I think 30 seconds rest is plenty.  OR:

#2 1 min 20 sec/40 sec rest

This would be at a 10 rep per 30 sec pace + 13 swings.  A hand switch on the snatches is irrelevant, the only thing relevant is the 20 reps (1 min), and the 13 swings, approx 20 sec.

I like the first option...maybe....

OK, so how many sets?  If I work 1 minute intervals with 30 sec rest then 1.5 minutes per work/rest set, times, say, 20, that equals 30 minutes of training.  400 snatches, 260 swings....260 swings?  We gotta fix that!  What if....

20 sn + 13 2 hd sw x 10
20 sn + 10 tr + 3 2 hd sw x 20
20 sn + 5/5 + 3 2 hd sw x 10
20 sn + 10 R, alternate 10 L (10 sets total)
20 sn + 13 2 hd sw x 10

Got it.  Each "rotation" of 10 sets, 1 min work/30 sec rest should take 15 minutes to complete.  5 rotations = 1 hour 15 min.  A pretty good workout.  1000 snatch reps, 650 swings.  I'll figure out if I'm going to snatch 20 R and 20 L, or 10/10, or a combination of both....I'm thinking a combination....I'm wimping out already!

Okay, enough about training!  What else is on the agenda for the New Year?  I've got a few  thoughts.....  For a very long time, every year, my NY resolution was to stop using the "F" word.  some years I was successful for longer periods of time than others until I finally gave up and just accepted the fact that it wasn't so bad of a habit...or maybe I simply justified it that way.  I guess at the end of the day it's just not that important to me.  This year (today, tonight, tomorrow) I really would like to stop using the word "awesome".  I'm really tired of using this word and hearing this word.  In fact I'm at the point of cringing every time it slips out of my mouth!

Two thousand, thirteen!  20-13  Snatch and swing workout!  Tomorrow!  Awesome!...I mean, fucking awesome!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Dinner, a New Tradition is Born!

I cannot get over how awesome yesterday was.  Sophia sitting on the little pink stool, looking into the mirror, painting her nails (pretend), at her "Disney Cinderella Princess Enchanted Carriage Vanity"!  So cute!  She is perfect!

Okay, okay, the dinner.

As I posted on facebook, on Xmas Eve I happily slaved away following a recipe of Ann Burrells' Butternut Squash and Pork Ragu Lasagna (thanks to Hanneke for trying it first and leading the way!)

This lasagna uses thin slices of butternut squash instead of pasta noodles.  It's not why I chose it, but when I was contemplating also making a seafood lasagna I thought it would be a nice trade off. One main dish using a tomato based sauce with pork and squash, spinach, mushrooms and cheese, and another main dish with seafood, a white cheese sauce and pasta.  A simple green salad, a loaf of crusty bread (overkill I know), a purchased gourmet dessert and we'll call it a day...a Holi-"day"!

After doing so much work (many components) of the first lasagna I really was not looking forward to assembling yet another layered casserole.  Mostly because it involved seafood, and seafood is one thing you do not want to, nor can you, do ahead.  As I lay in bed that night it came to me...I'll put together a much simpler Mac n Cheese!  Isn't that what lasagna is anyway?  Here is the basic recipe I followed, Emeril's version as posted on Martha's site:

After looking at this one:

The main difference was the amount of cheese sauce.  Ina Garten's recipe called for 20 oz or more (total) of cheese to 4 c. milk....that's a lot of cheese, and really I just didn't have that much cheese in the fridge!  Her recipe also suggested lobster, although I already knew I was going to use a combination of shellfish (lobster is expensive! lol)  I liked the freedom of Emeril's recipe and used it like I use most recipes, as a guideline.  I used some ingredients I already had, and the rest I purchased.

I had:

Gruyere cheese (3-4 oz)
Parmesan (grated about 1 c.)
Panko bread crumbs
frozen sweet corn
frozen Jumbo shrimp (TJ's...yes I admit it.....I cut the large shrimp into 1/2 in pieces)

I had to buy

sharp, white cheddar cheese (at least 8 oz, $6)
crab (4 oz, $10)
bay scallops (4 oz, $5)
pasta shells

I liked that Emeril's recipe gave you the option of what kind of seafood you wanted to use, and what kind of cheeses too.  His recipe used 3 c. milk/about 12 oz cheese, which is what I had on hand.  I added corn (from looking at yet another different recipe), but I think the suggestion of using his Creole seasoning would be fab also!

This was a breeze to put together, as I mise en placed everything beforehand (grated the cheese and measured out all ingredients, warmed milk, toasted the breadcrumbs, etc).  I first sauteed the corn and seafood together in butter (leaving it slightly undercooked, just about 3-5 minutes), meanwhile the water was boiling for the pasta (14 min), I made the sauce.  It took about 20 minutes to get all of the components together,  top off with toasted, buttered Panko, and then into the oven for only 15-20 minutes more.  I decided to finish it in the oven in the same pot I boiled the pasta in (why dirty another dish?).

It turned out so yummy my youngest son's fiance, Lilly, who doesn't even like Mac n Cheese, helped herself to a second, bigger serving!  Seriously good.

I know this is a long blog post but let me also give a little advice about the Butternut squash and Pork Ragu....

I made quite a few adjustments, again, based on what I had on hand, and what I know about cooking.

I only keep 1 can of tomato paste in my pantry.  When was the last time any recipe called for more than 2 tbl of tomato paste?  I also only keep two cans of diced tomatoes at one time because I rarely make any tomato based dishes if it's not tomato season.  Needless to say that Anne's recipe calls for 1 whole cup of tomato paste!  WHAT?  I used what I had, a 6 oz. can!

I always have cinnamon sticks in my spice cabinet...well, almost always!  For some reason I must have thrown them all out the last time I cleaned out "old" spices!  No cinnamon stick.  After tasting the finished product I can see how this would, in fact, add an slightly sweet element as a compliment the Butternut squash.  That being said, what I did do was add 1 tbl of brown sugar to the finished Pork Ragu.  I will also add that I followed the recipe, pretty much, word for word, minute by hour (!) for the meat sauce.  It was worth it!  And I can see doing it again, maybe days if not weeks in advance and freezing....just sayin'.

Okay...what else?  Oh yes....another big, big time saver.  I halved and roasted two large butternut squash (cut side down) until soft (but not too soft), then peeled and refrigerated them, and sliced them right before assembling.  I did lightly sprinkle kosher salt on each layer of squash, because the squash was not seasoned as it was originally suggested by roasting it in individual slices...make sense?  There was no way I was going to cut raw hard winter squash, and then roast individual 1/4 inch thick slices in, who knows how many, way!  It turned out fine.

Good-ness!  I'm tired all over again!

Bottom line?  It really wasn't that big of a deal, and it was all worth it!  Goodness knows I've spent plenty of time trying out other recipes that never delivered!  What was so great about it all was that I really enjoyed the variety, yet compatibility of all the ingredients of the two main dishes.  Much of it was done ahead of time leaving an organized and clean kitchen come serving time!  And the most important....everybody raved!

I hope your dinner was as fabulous, whether you made it, or it was served to you!  No matter how good the food is/was, it's no comparison to that of a little 3 year old granddaughter primping and preening while sitting at her "Disney Princess Cinderella Enchanted Carriage Vanity"!  (Sophia below with her Giraffe, and her Monkey "Stuffie"!)

One more things(s)....apparently I also got rid of the only large casserole dish I owned years ago in a massive kitchen purge!  That left me with only a 9 x 13 barely large enough for 75% of the recipe....I'm now in the market for a large casserole dish!  I'm also wanting at least one 6 qt. pan/pot without a long handle to use from stovetop to oven...any suggestions?  (I'd love a copper one!)

Do you want to remember the difference between large and small scallops?  Sea scallops are large, like the sea...large!  Bay scallops are a bay compared to the Sea!  Small!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

"24" Train along with me...I mean with us!

Here is the video tape from yesterday mornings workout.  I haven't seen it myself but I wanted to get it posted just in case any of you are training this morning and needed a bit of support!  I don't have time to sit through 30 minutes of video, so hopefully I didn't do or say anything embarrassing!  If I train at all today I hope to make it to yoga at some point.  Right now I've got to get my lasagna layers put together and my granddaughters "Disney Princess Cinderella Enchanted Carriage Vanity" set up!  A few presents to wrap and I'll be ready!

Enjoy the workout (when ever you can get to it!) and have the best Christmas Day ever!

Warm up
(start each set every 30 seconds. Each set of 10 is a 15/15 work to rest, while the sets of 14 are a 21/9 second work to rest ratio)

10 2 hd sw x 2
14 2 hd sw x 1 (oops, sees like I forgot this set!)
5/5 one hand sw x 2
7/7 on had sw x 1
10 transfer sw x 2
14 tr sw x 1

102 swings, 4.5 min

Work sets
24 sets of 24

24 2 hd sw
12/12 x 1, one hd sw
6/6 x 2 
4/4 x 3
3/3 x 4 
1 sw, 1 tr x 12
24 transfer sw

24 2 hd sw
24 2 hd sw
6/6 x 4
24 2 hd sw
4/4 x 3
24 2 hd sw
3/3 x 4
24 2 hd sw
1 sw, 1 tr x 12
24 2 hd sw

Six more sets.  Which one (s) are the most challenging?  Repeat that one 6 more times!


24 transfer swings 
1 sw, 1 tr x 12 
3/3 x 4
4/4 x 3
6/6 x 2
12/12 x 1

Monday, December 24, 2012

"24" Christmas Eve Snatches

I got to the gym a few minutes late this morning because I was wanting to post the "24" Christmas Eve Swing workout before I left, and besides I kinda needed to so I could take some notes with me since I hadn't yet done it myself!  I was met 30  minutes before class with two of my training partners, Maribel and Brenda, still trying to decide if we were going to snatch or maybe double press....snatches won!  Heavy and long...hey, maybe in sets of 24 reps?

We only had 30 minutes and we started out with my usual swing/snatch combinations with our normal training weight.  10-12 snatches with a "normal" training weight is not a big deal, in fact dare I say it's easy.  Any sets longer that 45 sec., 1 min, 1.5 min, etc and things start to get interesting.  Add in pace and it starts to get fun!

I knew I wanted to snatch at a 12 reps per 30 sec pace, 24 reps per min).,  because "24" was the theme of the morning.  I had never (ever) snatched the 16kg 24 reps in a row without a hand switch. In fact the most reps I've probably ever done continuously with the 16kg, if I had to guess, would probably be 15, but that's just a guess.  12 for sure.

So, armed with the comp bell (smaller handle and different weight distribution) I knew what my goal for the morning would be.  1st set 24/24 in 2 minutes.  No faster, no slower.

I'm not going to say it was easy, but it was.  My left arm did feel the fatigue in the last couple of reps.  We took a 1 minute break, during which I decided that I could probably do it again!  No time like the present!  So, 1 min rest period later, we did another 2 minute set, 24/24.

Fine!  It was a total PR for me and I wasn't going to push it anymore.  We took all 1 minute rest periods and finished off the workout with 5 more sets of 24 reps per set.  Personally I did them 6/6/6/6.  Brenda finished her last two sets with the 16kg and Maribel, for only the second time, finished her last set with the 16kg.

16kg snatches
two 2 min sets/1 min rest (24/24)
five 1 min sets/1 min rest (6 R/ 6 L/ 6 R/ 6 L)

16 minutes, 216 snatch reps (9 minutes of snatching, 7 minutes rest)

So basically the first 5 minutes was almost the equivalent of the snatch test only 4 reps short (96), but with a full minute rest in between 2-3 minutes.

Happy Christmas Eve Workout!

Today's workout has the theme "24".  Technically in each set of 24 reps, the last four swings are "extra"!  Each of the work sets will start OTM ("on the minute"), and since we swing at a 10 rep per 15 sec pace, 20 reps should take 30 sec, leaving a 30 sec break before the next set.  Up to 20 reps per set is what I consider a Beginning level.

If you chose, at any time, to complete 24 reps (the extra 4), it should take you approx 36 sec, leaving only 24 sec to rest.  Not a super advanced workload, but for sure Intermediate, and you could make it super advanced depending on the size bell you use, and/or how many of the sets you choose to swing with all two hands!

Because I teach mixed level classes in the video I will post later I will demonstrate the options for scaling it back to all 20 reps sets.  Here in this warm up, all sets start on the 30 second interval, which means that 14 rep set will take away from your rest quite a bit, so again, if you are at an equal work to rest ratio simply repeat another set of 10 reps.  Always, always take the rest you need!  These aren't the last swings in the world!  There will always be more where these came from!

Warm up (start each set every 30 seconds. Each set of 10 is a 15/15 work to rest, while the sets of 14 are a 21/9 second work to rest ratio)

10 2 hd sw x 2
14 2 hd sw x 1
10 transfer sw x 2
14 tr sw x 1
5/5 one hand sw x 2
7/7 on had sw x 1

102 swings, 4.5 min

Work sets
24 sets of 24

24 2 hd sw
12/12 x 1, one hd sw
6/6 x 2 
4/4 x 3
3/3 x 4 
1 sw, 1 tr x 12
24 transfer sw

24 2 hd sw
24 2 hd sw
6/6 x 4
24 2 hd sw
4/4 x 3
24 2 hd sw
3/3 x 4
24 2 hd sw
1 sw, 1 tr x 12
24 2 hd sw

Six more sets.  Which one (s) are the most challenging?  Repeat that one 6 more times!


24 transfer swings 
1 sw, 1 tr x 12 
3/3 x 4
4/4 x 3
6/6 x 2
12/12 x 1

"24" Scaled version
This equal work to rest ratio workout still has 24 sets, which include and starts with these 6 warm up sets. (15/15)

10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
10 tr x 2 sets
5/5 x 2 sets
3 min., 60 sw

Work Sets ( all 20 reps, 30/30)

5/5 x 2
4/4 x 2 + 4 2 hd sw
3/3 x 3 + 2 2 hd sw
1 sw/tr x 10
20 tr

20 2 hd sw
20 tr
20 2 hd sw
1 sw/tr x 10
20 2 hd sw
3/3 x 3 + 2 2 hd sw
20 2 hd sw
4/4 x 2 + 4 2 hd sw
20 2 hd sw
5/5 x 2
20 2 hd sw

18 min, 360 swings

Total workout
21 min., 420 swing reps

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Fav-or-ite!

My fav-or-ite swing! The 2 hd sw (the two hand swing!)

Here is a clip from one of my next DVD swing video workouts,"D30". I love, love, love the two hand swing for many reasons. The first reason, and most vain, is that I credit the two hand swing with the muscular development of my shoulders and arms (and pecks)....but maybe that's just me! Life is good. Two hand swings are good...nope, two hand swings are GREAT! (love my life, love what I do!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Suddenly Start!

The other day I got a message on Facebook from a woman that lost her motivation to train kettlebells last year and "suddenly stopped".  She was messaging me to share with me that she has been re-inspired and can't wait to get going again.  Yay for her!

My reply was that all she had to do now was to "suddenly start"!

Why is it that it's acceptable, without much question, to completely quit things so easily?    It's almost expected that when deciding to start a new or different habit we will fail eventually?  Quit keeping score of how many times you "suddenly stopped" and focus on suddenly starting!

I was talking with Mark about visualization the other night and he was telling me how one of the methods used in the recovery of victims with post traumatic stress syndrome was to visualize a STOP sign when feelings of anxiety were coming on.  I found this to be interesting, and I thought it could be a valuable suggestion for anybody to use when wanting to change a behavior, habit, or feeling, if they felt themselves acting on, or giving into, old reactions and behaviors.....kind of like the Bob Newhart video I posted last week, "Stop It"!  Maybe I should have posted a video titled "Start It"!  So when I wrote my reply of suddenly starting I visualized a START sign!

I like this.  I will focus more on this image of a Start sign!  There is no time like the present!

Kabocha Squash and A Short Break

Well, it may seem as if I bit off a little more than I can chew...literally!  I've got myself elbow deep into cooking this morning and I'm not really in the mood.... It's not that I'm not in the mood to cook, it's more about having a ton of other things to do, and the two batches of stew on my list to finish required some veg prep I should have done last night or yesterday.  Anyway...

I roasted some Kabocha and Delicata squash. After quite a few high recommendations for Kabocha squash I saw the some of the green skinned squash at the market yesterday and it seems as if I just couldn't help myself, even though I have 10lbs of other squash and an equal amount of sweet potatoes still to eat.  I haven't tasted it yet, but I really liked how soft the flesh was uncooked, which made scooping out the seeds really easy. I sliced it and tossed it with salt, a little bit of olive oil and some pumpkin seed oil I brought back from Hungary. (update...I did taste it!  Super yummy, I can't wait for lunch!

Second on the list was a pot of lamb and beef chili.  It's been ages (Okay, just a year) since I made a pot of chili and shockingly I didn't realize I have absolutely no chili powder in my spice cabinet!  What?  But it's just cooking, so I put together what I had, cumin, oregano, pimenton, cayenne, red pepper flakes, so it should be fine.  At least I remembered (last minute) that I had some rich beef stock in the freezer I made from the bones of the last two Prim Rib roasts!

I still have to get to the smoked ham and sausage stew with butter beans, but the kitchen is a mess and I sat down here at my computer for a bit of a break.  Will I make it to 9:15 yoga this morning? Okay, break over!   I just heard the timer to the pressure cooker go off and I've got to get to those dishes, and the rest of my food prep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday No Brainer Snatch

I've been snatching the competition bell in preparation for the GS competition in Orange County (CA) in a couple of months.  I will not be snatching GS style, but Hardstyle, using a comp bell.  It would be silly of me to not do a bit of training with a new bell, since I have one available at the Studio.

After I finished teaching my 6:15 class I continued on with a quick 16kg swing/snatch workout.  I'm going to be snatching the 12kg for reps at the competition so I wanted to doe some training with a heavier bell (I'll probably also use the 16kg...we'll see)  I chose one simple swing snatch combination for a couple of reasons:

1 swing R, 1 snatch R, 1 transfer swing,
1 swing L, 1 snatch L, 1 transfer swing,
repeat 6 x (12 snatches total per set)

I did not want to do multiple reps without a hand switch in order to save my hands from getting trashed from that size bell, so I switched R to L each snatch rep. (instead of say 5/5, etc)  I also wanted to do a few more 16kg swings, which was the bulk of my earlier swing training that morning.

I had no idea that I was going to video tape it (sorry for the low audio), and my original idea was to do 10 sets, 1 min on, 1 min off, for a total of 20 didn't quite go that way!  I started taping during my second set, so the first set I did off camera, took one minute rest, and started taping my 2nd set.  From that point I decided to do my 5 sets in "regressive" rest intervals

1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
1 min
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L) (video starts here)
45 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
30 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
15 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
1 min
60 snatches, 120 swings, 7.5 min

At this point I was tired!  And...I thought about going back to the original plan of 1 min work to rest...but then, if you can hear me talking to myself I decide to do a downhill ladder (starting with the most difficult work to rest interval).

1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
15 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
30 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)
45 sec
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L) (video ends here)
1 min
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12 (6 R, 6 L)

total 120 snatches, 240 swings

Tuesday workout
15 minutes 12kg Get Ups
30 minutes swings
15 minutes 12kg half snatch/holds
15 min 16kg swings and snatches (No Brainer)
16kg goblet squats and clean/squats 10 sets of 10 reps (20 min)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Training Technique, the "egg toss"

Usually when you engage in high volume swing training your weaknesses can show themselves in the form of pain.  After hundreds and hundreds of reps, especially if you are pushing yourself, you may start to feel lots of different things...not all good!  Grip?  Forearm fatigue?  A "pulling" feeling at your elbow?  Maybe your cardio can not keep up with your strength, and your heartrate will soar, barely being able to catch your breath before the next Gymboss "beep" goes off.  But I hope it's not your back, or your traps,etc, but if it is, it calls for a correction, and quick!

There are many parts of training high volume swing that may cause fatigue...that's the nature of high volume.  But something I forgot to finish my last blog post with is how I changed my technique to take the load off of my back, arms and traps and transfer it to my much stronger legs.

28 kg's is 44 lbs.  When you swing 44 lbs the weight becomes much heavier as the bell descends.  With the help of gravity and momentum the weight increases, so you are "catching" much more weight than you swung!  We need to use our legs as "shock absorber's" to relieve those heavier loads....and we have to do it at just the right time!

I often use the analogy of an "egg toss"....which I may have, apparently, stolen from Pavel! (I think he's used this analogy at an RKC I was attending)  If you have ever participated in an egg toss you know that in order to keep that egg from blasting runny yellow yolk down your shirt (or face!) you better soften it's landing by?  Absorbing some of the speed at which the egg is traveling towards you as you "catch" it.  So your hands move forward to meet the egg, and "glide" it into the "stop".

This is what your legs do with the weight of the bell.  Your legs, at the right time, "catch" the bell and glide it into the backstroke of the swing, and then you are able to fully load your hips to then, project the bell out in front of your for each rep....repeat!  Your legs, with the right timing, can take much of the heavier loads off of your traps, your arms, and your back.

I'm posting two very short videos from my last 10 sets of Saturdays 28kg swings.  The first video shows my 51st set of 10 reps.  If you look closely you can see that with this heavier load I've adapted a more "squatty" swing, rather than a "hingey" swing (tippy bird).  You can see this most clearly in my knee /ankle angle as my knees come forward, in front of my feet, as my upper body stays more upright.  As the weight comes down and back, I use my legs, in a squatting motion, to "catch" the heavier bell as it descends in reps 1-7.  In reps 8 I start to "hinge", instead of squat, and in rep 9 I fully hinge, no squat, and then I finish the 10th rep back in a squatting position. You can see the "hinge" clearly as my knees DO NOT come forward and my shins stay vertical.

In the second video I "tippy bird" the 6th rep, going back into a squatting swing for the rest of the ten reps.

(Oops the videos are backwards!  The first video look at the 6th rep and in the second look at reps 8 and 9)

As Instructors we know when we DO NOT use our legs and only hinge from our hamstrings ("tippy bird") this puts us in a position to NOT fully exploit the power of loading our glutes.  And, in fact, this form / technique ( loading hamstrings, "tippy bird") is a method to train more of the "endurance" aspect of high volume, because it has been said that when we use our glutes and legs it "kill lungs", because big muscle use a lot of oxygen.....too much information yet?  Sorry!  Remember, the arms and lats initiate the swing and the GLUTES finish the swing.  If you don't load your glutes you are loading something else.  Your back?  Your hamstrings?  Your traps?

Keep in mind that every "BODY" is different, and we all, eventually, adapt our own style of swing movement based on how our individual bodies are built, and what kind of training we do.

Anyway, there you go.  Practice your "egg toss" with those heavier bells.  DO NOT swing those really heavy weights from your hamstrings.  If your body does not self correct?  Listen to it.  If something is not feeling right, STOP.  Find out more information.  There is no need to swing those really heavy bells anyway, and especially if you don't know how to, or what to look / feel for.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

28kg Swings, 30 minutes, 626 reps....and all the details!

Warning!  This post has way too much training content!

The other night Mark mentioned that Dave Whitley (MSFG) had completed 608 swing reps with the 48kg.  Dave is highly respected in the SFG community for his strength and this was another amazing example of his talent!  Crazy strong!

Knowing that Dave completed 608 swing reps in 30 minutes, from my own experience, I knew 8 of those reps went over an "equal work to rest ratio" because 600 reps can be done in 30 minutes using that equation swinging at a 10 rep per 15 sec pace.  And if you use that equation the extra 8 reps took approx 10-13 seconds away from the rest.  So one could calculate 15 min, 12 sec work to 14 min 48 sec rest.

I was inspired.  But what size bell should I use taking into consideration my bodyweight, not necessarily that I am also female.  I don't know what Dave weighs, but safe to assume it's more than me.  Taking percentage of bodyweight to bell size is the best way to compare, but typically a female using the 24kg would be the equivalent of a male using the 32kg.  Stands to reason a 28kg for a female would be 36kg for a male.......but a 48kg?  Because I recently swing the 32 kg I already know that 30 minutes using that weight was not something I wanted to just walk into the gym and go for, and to be honest I'm not sure I could do it if I wanted to.  So, I'll get a baseline with the 28kg. (I already know I can swing the 24kg at a two to one work to rest for at least 10 minutes..30 sec work, 20 reps, 15 sec rest btw)

Let me also preface my results with the fact that I used a competition bell with a smaller handle.  I only used it because one of my other training partners, Meg, was also using the 28kg and we only have one DD 28kg at the Studio, leaving the competition bell as the other option.  It never occured to me that the comp bell would be easier, in fact I thought because of the lower weight distribution it would be more difficult...that's why I opted to let Meg use the DD bell.  It became obvious to me at about 1/2 way that the smaller handle on the comp bell really made it much easier to work my cardio strength because it did not challenge my grip or forearm strength AT ALL.  At no time did I ever feel as if my grip was going to go and that is an important detail of how I would change my strategy the next time, or if I ever try this with an even heavier bell.


I never asked how Dave broke down the sets or reps, and only found out after the fact that, I think, he did as many reps as he could, and then put the bell down until he could pick it up again, and repeat.  Personally, since I've trained the swing for years my brain automatically starts doing calculations right away, and I probably couldn't NOT go in with 1/2 dozen or so options for a strategy!  So I'll start with the most basic, 60 sets of 10 swings (15/15).  Knowing equal work to rest would give me the 600 reps all I had to do was replace 8 of those sets with 11 reps (swinging into my rest period an extra 2 sec) and I would complete Dave's 608.

Doesn't seem like too bad huh?  Eleven reps instead of 10 at least 8 sets.  My strategy started with deciding to complete as many 11 reps sets as I could, afterall that was just one extra rep.  BUT I know how hard just one extra rep can become!  And it's not really the work of an extra rep, it's the recovery you don't get in the form of rest when you work into a rest period.

I started with the plan of breaking the 60 sets into 6 blocks of ten. The plan was to complete 11 reps the first ten sets and gauge the next ten sets based on how I felt.  In my first ten sets I completed 8 eleven rep sets, before I felt I had to drop it back to 10 reps for the last 2 sets in the first ten....not exactly as planned!  There was no way I would be able to repeat that.  So I started the next ten sets with 11 and had to drop back down to 10 after only 3 sets....and it drops more and more as the 30 minutes continues!  Here is the breakdown:

11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 10, 10 (+ 8)
11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 3)
11, 10, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 3)
11, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 (+ 1)
10 x 10 (+ 0)
10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 21 (+ 11)

About halfway through I realized that doing short sets with short rest was not the best strategy because two reasons.  The first is that you have to put the bell down and pick it back up twice as much if not more!  The other reason, and I should know this by now because I do a ton, a ton, of pace work and I always demonstrate swing pace in my workshops and classes, is that short rest periods are short!  Even with "equal work to rest ratio" working for 30 seconds is so worth resting for 30 seconds, and working for 1 minute (if you can) makes a 1 minute rest period seem like a vacation!  I'm not saying I could swing the 28kg for 1 minute (40 continuous reps), but I definitely could swing it for 30 seconds (20 reps) because I did in my very last set at the end of 30 minutes!  AND my grip had not been challenged with a bigger handle.

So there you go....

If you take on a challenge like this consider what it is that you are challenging!  Is it purely rep count with a particular weight?  Is it grip and forearm strength?  Is it cardio strength endurance?

In all fairness to Meg I will not move on to a "bigger" challenge until I do this again with a DD bell.  Meg did 600 reps, 60 sets of 10, and I am totally respectful of the fact that without a doubt I know Meg is capable of  matching me rep for rep with any workout.  So the fact that she never pushed past 10 reps at a time speaks volumes to me about that large handle...just sayin.  But it also makes me hopeful of doing a challenge like this with a 32kg comp bell!

Here was my complete Saturday training schedule:

7:00-8:30 Advanced class
short warm up (very short)

10 sets of 30 + sec overhead double 16kg holds

(short break)

30 minutes of 28kg swings.

light 12kg snatch ladder w/holds after a 4 min warm up

"I go, you go"  Basically I snatch 5 R, 5 L, I switch back to my R and hold while you do your first 5 snatches R, I switch when you switch, only I hold until you finish your 5 snatch L.

You switch and hold R and L while I do 6/6, I switch and hold while you do your 6/6, etc...up to 10/10 and back down to 5/5 (I'll video an example of this's fun!)

5/5, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 10/10, 9/9, 8/8, 7/7, 6/6, 5/5

160 snatch reps/holds approx 16 minutes continuous.

8:30-9:15 Intermediate class
light Get-ups
more dbl overhead holds w/12kg's
swings and half snatches w/12kg 15 min

9:30-10:00 Beginning Swing class
600+ swings w/12kg

For the complete 30 minute video, if some crazy person is interested is on Youtube

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Dinner...whatcha making?

I'm kinda feeling like I want to get my "gourmet cook on" this Christmas because I'll have the time to spend in the kitchen since the holiday falls on a Tuesday. (I have more energy at the beginning of the week!) Big pieces of meat are traditional Holiday dinners and after going down the list of possibilities....

Prime Rib
Filet Mignon
Pork Loin roast
Rack of Lamb

None of those sounded all that appealing to me so I started thinking about seafood....

Smoked Salmon
maybe even some Cioppino
etc., not feelin' it.

What about lasagna?  A big meaty, cheesy, noodley, tomatoey, ooey gooey lasagna!  As soon as I suggested it Mark was all over it!  Yes, yes!  A lasagna, and do I dare say?  Garlic bread!  Romaine salad....what else?  Maybe nothing else but dessert!  Yes, maybe I'll even make a dessert!

Egg nog creme brulee?  Mincemeat pie?  An English Christmas pudding?  Something soaked in liquor?  I'm the only one that likes fruitcake!  But I used to make an awesome Raspberry Chocolate Trifle (with my own pastry cream) that was completely off the hook!  I think I may even still have my trifle bowl....where is it?  But how much work do I want to take on?  I'm already tired thinking about it!  I think I'll leave the desserts up to the professionals!

I can get plenty "gourmet" on the lasagna!  A traditional meat lasagna is a no brainer.  I've made it enough times that I don't need a recipe, it's pretty basic. Layered sauce, meat, cheese, pasta.  I can get all fancy with the cheeses I use, or just stick to the classic mozzarella, cottage cheese and parmesan.  But I was thinking about making another version too. A squash lasagna (butternut) with spinach maybe and a bechamel or goat cheese bechamel sauce.  And then I cam across this one:

I love anything Anne Burrell does, but this is a pretty involved recipe with a ton of ingredients!  The recipe does not have noodles or a bechamel sauce, and it has meat and it has tomato....I'm not a big fan of anything with tomato in the winter.... I was thinking a lighter second choice, not another big fat, heavy casserole.  But I do like the celery and fennel...

How about a seafood lasagna?  Maybe I'll rethink that one.....I'll have to do a little research!  I like things that can be made ahead, at least a day or two, so maybe that's not going to work.  My kids are coming on Tuesday, Xmas day, and I wanted to do most of the cooking on Monday with Xmas music playin on Pandora!

What about you?  Are you doing something different this year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stop It! And then Put Something Different Into Action.

I'm  _____________.

Fill in the blank, and then stop it!

Mark posted this video on his facebook page after seeing it on MSFG Peter Lakatos's page.  Do you think that men would find this example a bit funnier than a woman?

It may seem like an oversimplified "answer" to change so many feelings we accept as part of who we are.  Maybe we were told from early on that we were a certain "way".  Sure, there are "ways" we want to be, like honest, cheerful, giving, etc., but what about being lazy, fearful, down on yourself, "late", selfish, judgmental, etc..  One of my favorites is when someone, usually a family member, says "But that's just you! You've always been that way!"  Or even worse when YOU say, "But that's who I am, I've always been that way."

I am aware of  many habits, behaviors, and reactions that I want to change about myself, but they are less and less all the time the more often I remind myself that I have a choice. I move toward making those desired  changes every time I hear myself make statements about "who I am", if it's different that what I want to be.

Habits, behaviors, and reactions, can change in an instant.  I often hear people say habits are hard to break. In fact I had a client try and argue the fact that that was true because she read a book about how difficult changing habits has proven to be based on "studies" that said it was so!

Um no.

I've changed many, many, a habit overnight and I'm sure the same could be said of every one reading these words.

I bit my fingernails down to the nubs until I was 14 years old.  I had a girlfriend that always wore frosty pink nail polish and I thought it looked so pretty. I wanted to wear frosty pink nail polish, so I stopped biting my nails...overnight.  Done, never again did I bite my fingernails, and now I have the beautiful fingernail that I have to literally file down every week! I could have just given in to the fact that I was a "nail biter".

When I decided to lose 100lbs I knew fast food could not be an option.  I gave it up, overnight, cold turkey.  I could have defended my love for fast food, but nope, that wasn't me anymore.

The things you do, the things you are, are a choice.  If there are things you want to change then you don't have to buy into thinking "it's just you".  Stop it.  Don't own it.  Just because something was doesn't mean that it always has to be.

You don't have a "problem", you have choice.
You don't have an "issue", you have a choice.
You don't have to "fight" or "struggle", you have a choice to feel differently.

You can change if you want to.
You can change if you want to.

Quit talking about what you want to change and start to  move in the direction of it.  Quit boring yourself and your friends with what you are going to do and just do it.  One foot in front of the other, a small step or a giant leap.  No part of feeling improvement, no part of feeling relief is too small.

I'll leave you with this:

If I were a sculptor and I had a vision to create a grand statue it would only stay a vision, a dream, unless I put chisel to stone.  I must put chisel to stone to be a sculptor.  If I don't then I'm only a talker, and dreaming of being a sculptor.  To BE a sculptor, to BE a creator, I must take action and put chisel to stone.  Will I become the next Michelangelo?  Maybe not, but maybe....who cares?  I only care to be a creator.  Without action I am only a dreaming of being a creator.

My training, my workouts, my food and my thoughts, are my chisel, and my body my stone.

Yes, changing how you think is key, but you have to follow through with the changes.  You must act on your new definition what you want to be, and who you are.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Day I Stopped Being a Compulsive Overeater (part 1)

Here is a comment on my face book page about a subject I've been wanting to write about sharing my own experience.  This comment was made after I write a quick post about having fears about eating certain foods.  The fear that it's the "food" that will make, get, or keep you fat.  For years I avoided certain foods, mostly starchy foods or grains (the dreaded "carbs") in fear of the extra ounces I would see on the body weight scale from the bloat I believed they caused. (more about that belief)

I feel way better than I did when I used to consume sugar. I don't know if I had some sort of celiac, or gluten intolerance, but that stuff is like heroin to me. There was a time when eating 4 donuts was showing restraint. Now, for the first time in my life (I'm 44), I have the will power to turn that stuff away. I eat lots of various meats, and loads of veggies. Losing 100 was actually fairly easy, especially compared to any other eating plan I tried to follow. Now, if I could figure out a way to exercise more, and constant restraint on the *amount* of food I eat, maybe I can lose even more. 

Before I get into the actual subject of whether or not certain foods are worse than others I want to share a story with you all.  I'm not sure I've written about it before, I may have, so forgive me for repeating it.

The Day I Stopped Being a Compulsive Overeater

I'm not sure what year it was, I'd have to guess 2008....  I've been in the spotlight (however small that spotlight was at the time) in the kettlebell community for having lost a bunch of weight.  I was the first person to claim a tremendous weightloss of over 100lbs using kettlebells as my main exercise, I was married to a then Senior RKC, now Master SFG, and I had been writing a blog about weight loss and kettlebell training for a couple of years at that point.  The last thing I wanted to do was gain weight, especially in front of the watching eyes and listening ears of all I had been preaching to those first years.

As a formerly obese person that has lost a significant amount of weight, and fairly quickly, I know how practically everybody lies in wait for you to gain the weight back. In fact I wrote a blog post about that very subject.  Anyway, the more I focused on the fear of gaining weight back "in front of people" the more worried I became and "fixing" it was something I set out to do.  Funny thing was, however, is that truly since I lost the weight and found myself through my kettlebell training I've never once thought I would ever be fat again.  In fact I knew the opposite to be true as much as I know it now.  I will never be that fat again, never, ever.

One reason why I thought I would never be fat again is because I was convinced knowing what my "problem" was gave me the power to "fight" it!  I was a compulsive overeater.  In fact I wrote many many blog posts calling myself a compulsive overeater and I was always going to be...that's who I was.  I wasn't apologizing for it either.  I wasn't proud of it, I was just admitting I knew I was.

So off to Overeaters Anonymous I went.

"OA".  I arrived at a 10:00am meeting at a local church eager to "fix" myself.  I had already made up my mind that I would be a good student, cross my t's and dot my i's.  I was ready for the wisdom of others with my "problem" to help me figure it out and overcome my compulsive overeating.  And they did....but not in the way I expected!

One by one each person stood up and proudly shared their name and what they were.  "Hi, I'm Mary, and I'm a compulsive overeater.".  "Hi, I'm Susie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.". "Hi, I'm Jennifer and I'm a Bulimic."....etc...  Each and every one of them stood up in front of everybody and made their claim as to who they were and what they were.  At the first meeting I declined to participate in the introductions, choosing to just watch at first until I felt comfortable to share.

The morning then continued on with various people sharing what hardships they had to fight or overcome during the past week in regards to their battle with food and body weight gain.  Some stories were of success, most were not, but ended with the hope of a better week to come.

The next week, pretty much a repeat.  I even thought about becoming a sponsor for this organization.  I thought I had found some kind of group of "my people" that I could help, and by helping them I could help myself.  But one big problem with becoming a sponsor....I would have to "work the program", which I knew was impossible because something didn't quite sit right with me.

The following week is when it hit me.

One by one as each person stood up and made claim to being a victim of compulsive overeating it was then that the light bulb went off in my head and it became as clear as day that I did not belong there.  I was NOT "one of them".  I really, really, really was NOT one of them.  And whatever "they" were, I was NOT!

I was not a victim.  I was not "struggling".  I didn't have a "problem".  I was NOT a "compulsive overeater" way was I one of "them".  I'm going to take a big risk to write what I was really feeling here.....I was repulsed.  I was repulsed at the life sentence each one of these people gave themselves.  It was clear to me that when we label ourselves based on a past behavior, a past habit, then it will never be in our past.  It will always be in our present, and most likely in our future.  I didn't want that and I was not going to accept it period.  That day was the day I was no longer a compulsive overeater....or whatever "problem" I thought I had...or more accurately the "problem I thought I was".

I left and never went back.  But I also didn't dwell on my experience at OA either.  What I mean by that was that I just went on with my life, cooking preparing my own homemade foods, training, and doing all the things that made me feel good about myself and my life.  It really wasn't until almost 1 year later.....

About 1 year later Mark and I were sitting down for our usual Saturday dinner, wine and date night when I realized I hadn't had an all out binge in what seemed like forever.  In fact I couldn't even remember the last time I felt that craze of out of control shoveling foods in my face like I was starving to death.  I'm not claiming that I hadn't done any type of over eating the whole year, but I feel as if it's not the "eating" but the "feeling" that was gone.  The desperation and the feeling of being out of control.  I was more relaxed and trusting of myself than ever before.  What a freakin' relief!

It was then that I realized that if just stopped some of my beliefs about myself I could change them.  In fact they would change on their own through the very act of deciding to feel differently about myself, who I was and who I wanted to be.  I had stopped writing about and telling everybody that I was a compulsive overeater.  I stopped believing it, I stopped saying it, and those words would never come out of my mouth again.

You will never hear me say that I am a compulsive overeater, or that I have any kind of problem with food or eating.  What you might hear me say is this, "I used to be in the habit of overeating compulsively, but I don't act that way anymore."  I'm convinced it was just a habit, a reaction I had based on old beliefs.  I feel differently now, and I am way more clear about who I am now and who I want be and the things I want to have in my life.  I have no room for those icky feelings anymore and I'm happy to be free of them!

I have a ton more to write about this subject but for now I've got to move on to the rest of my day, and besides I don't want to turn this blog post into a book!  (well, that would be a lie!  I'd love to write another book!)  But I will leave you with this:

I do enjoy over eating sometimes, but that does not make me an overeater.  And in fact I enjoy it less and less all the time.  I actually look forward to the day that over eating never feels good, and I am totally open to the fact that that day could be today!

Aren't I lucky?  (and so are you!)

I barely know who Dr. Wayne Dyer is and I've never read or listened to anything he has written but I thought I would share this with you.  I woke up this morning knowing this would be my first job (writing this post) and when I turned my computer on this was the first thing I saw on face book.  It's exactly what I believe is key to creating your life as you want it to be.  It's not hard to find more writtne about this subject as many successful people have the same beliefs similar to mine.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"If You Want to Be STRONG, You Have to Be Tough"

Mark's first blog post for Strong First,

"Everyone loves the idea of being strong.  In all it's many forms. Of lifting more than they have before, of running farther than before.  Of resisting that cookie or piece of cake the decided they don't want to eat. Of being able to make up their mind about something and stick with it. that kind of strength.

It ain't easy or EVERYBODY would be.  It's really that simple. The bar isn't going to lift itself.  The kettlebell isn't going to swing itself and no one but you can make you get out f bed early on a cold dark morning to make yourself do what you said you wanted to do.

You have to be tough.  And that's okay. In fact it's better than okay, it's good.  If it were too easy, everyone would have it and then it would mean less to have it.  At least to me.  When I saw Pavel's first video of the "Russian Kettlebell Challenge" these words spoke to me: "Comrades, I give you the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, for those who like it tough, and just a little bit dangerous."  I was a competitive powerlifter a the time and I knew just what he meant.  Real training, where one is really utilizing the body to the fullest is never easy, never comfortable.  Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is the first step."

I often say if it comes out of my mouth, it came out of Mark's first, but after reading his latest article it's cute that I recognize a couple, just a couple of my words coming out of his.  The idea and concept is 100% all his, of course.  I wouldn't, and couldn't be the Instructor/teacher/coach or training partner I've come to be without having access to his experience and knowledge...without a doubt!  There is not a day that goes by that I don't learn something from this brilliant man....the strongest man I know.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Key" demo swing workout

I hadn't planned on producing a video to post, only to record, so I apologize for the low volume.  Once I started taping I realized it might be a good opportunity to expand on a comment left for me a few posts ago about providing a "key" to the shorthand I use to journal my workouts, AND give you a nice little swing workout at the same time!

My reply was that I have never officially supplied one here on my blog because over the last 6 years it was never my intent for anybody else to follow my workouts exactly.  The original intent was to journal my own personal workouts for my own records.  Over the years, if you have followed along, I think a lot of my shorthand is obvious for the swing routines, and I have posted many many accompanying video along the way explaining my written journals.

Also in "The Swing" I use a very similar "key".  The only addition is that I added a "+" ( a plus sign) when combining swing combinations to each other.  For instance I used to write a swing combination like this;

10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 5/5 x 1 set

now I write it;

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr + 5/5 x 1 set

Here are the most obvious translations

2 hd sw = two hand swing
tr = transfer swings
1 sw/1 tr = 1 swing, 1 transfer swing
5/5 = 5 one hand swings R, 5 one hand swings left, transferring ON the 5th reps
10/10 = 10 one hand sw R, 10 one hand sw L, transferring ON the 10th rep

"x" = repeat
"x 1" = 1 set or one combination of sets
"x 2" = repeat twice
"x 4" = repeat 4 times

interval timing is always in parenthesis ( )

(15/15) = 15 sec work, 15 sec rest interval
(30/30) = 30 sec work to rest interval
(1 min/1 min) = 1 min work to rest interval
(30/15) = 30 sec work to 15 sec rest = 2 to 1 work to rest interval, etc...

the only exception to the above times is "OTM" type of intervals

"OTM" = on the minute.  You start every new set at the beginning of a one minute interval. That translates into your work AND rest within the 1 minute.

These next two variations I consider more advanced interval training, and I've only introduced them in the last two years as I developed the technique of training 5 reps at a time just last year.

"on the 30 seconds" = start each new set every 30 seconds, which includes your rest also.
"on the 15 seconds" = is used exclusively for 5 rep sets as demonstrated in this workout.

I hope some of this helps.  Now here's the workout!

"Key" demo swing video workout

10 2 hd sw x 4 sets (15/15)
5 2 hd sw x 8 sets (on the 15 sec)
5/5 x 4 sets (15/15)
1 sw, 1 tr x 10 x 2 sets (30/30)
10 tr x 4 sets (15/15)

I take some extra rest here to explain what's next, but you don't have to!

10 2 hd sw + 5/5 + 1 sw/tr x 10 (1 min/1 min)

5/5 + 1 sw/tr x 10 + 10 tr (1 min/1 min)

1 sw/tr x 10 + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (1 min/1 min)

320 reps w/12kg, 15 min approx

If you are interested in some of my other shorthand for my other non swing workouts, it's best to ask via comment on this blog.  There are quite a few kettlebell movements that don't have "standard" shorthand and I'll try and use abbreviations obvious to the movement.  But if you don't know the movement to begin with then no abbreviation will be obvious!  Just ask!  Thanks!

Tracyrif's Tuesday Training 16kg Snatch/Press

Here is my Tuesday workout.  I will post the accompanying "key" to the "Demo Swing Video" in my next post

Demo Swing "Key" video

320 swing reps w/12kg

Class workout

200 swing reps w/ 14kg, 10 min
530 swing reps w/16kg, 22 min

snatch warm up w/12kg

sn/tr x 8 x 2 sets (16 sn, 2 min)
sn/rk/tr x 6 x 2 sets (12 sn) (snatch "rack", or "negative press" to the rack position of a "clean")

sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn/tr x 8 x 1 set = 1 min/30 (14)

sn/rk/press/tr x 4 x 2 sets (30/30 x 2 = 2 min, 8 sn, 4 press) (snatch, "rack", press, "over the top into a transfer swing)

sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn/tr x 8 x 1 set (1min/30 sec.)
sn/rk/pr/tr x 4 + sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn/tr x 8 x 1 set (1.5 min/1 min)

I might have done some of these with the 14kg...I can't remember.....

Video above

I went on to complete a similar workout w/16kg for three rotations (video demonstrates the last rotation)

sn/tr x 8 x 1 (30/30)
sn/rk/tr x 6 x 1 (30/30) ("rk" = negative press into the "rack" position of a "clean")

sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn tr x 8 (1 min/30)

sn/rk/press/tr x 4 (30/30)

sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn/tr x 8 = 1 min/1 min

sn/rk/press/tr x 4 + sn/rk/tr x 6 + sn/tr x 8 = 1.5 min/1 min

repeat 3 times

192 snatches, 24 presses

I ended the workout with more 16kg snatches

5 reps R "on the 30 sec"
5 reps L "on the 30 sec"
5 R, 5 L "on the 30 sec"
5 rotations = 100 snatches, 7.5 min

292 total 16kg snatches, 24 16kg presses
1050 swing reps, 1 hour, 15 min approx.

Bikrams yoga @ 10:00-11:30am

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tracy Reifkind, "Swing Reporter!"

A couple of weeks ago when we filmed "The Swing Quest", (aka, The Secret Show), I thought it would be fun to "try" and do some interviews afterwards.  My first volunteer was Liza Butler from Full force PT in Modesto....brave woman!  Brave woman to come and swing 1000's of reps AND be awkwardly interviewed by a novice like me...and brain dead at that point!

It was tons of fun...even my first shot at interviewing!  Thanks Liza!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fave Five #3 Swings and Squats

My Flip's batteries died before I could get some decent video on this mornings version of "Fave Five", but if you are interested in another swing/squat ladder workout....what?  What do you mean you haven't been doing squats?  Get to it!  If I've got to do them then so does everybody else!

5 sw (15 sec)
1 sw, 1 sq x 5 x 1 set (30/30)
5 sw (15 sec), 10 sw (15/15)
1 sw, 1 sq x 5 x 1 set (30/30)
5 sw (15 sec), 10 sw (15/15), 15 sw (45 sec)
1 sw, 1 sq x 5 x 1 set (30/30)
5 sw (15 sec), 10 sw (15/15), 15 sw (45 sec), 20 sw (30/30)
1 sw, 1 sq x 5 x 1 set (30/30)
5 sw (15 sec), 10 sw (15/15), 15 sw (45 sec), 20 sw (30/30), 25 sw (1 min)
1 sw, 1 sq x 5 x 1 set (30/30)

12.5 minutes, 200 swings, 25 squats

Personally I did one complete rotation w/16kg, and then repeated it w/20kg

25 min = 2 rotations (400 sw, 50 sq)
37.5 min = 3 rotations (600 sw, 75 personal favorite if I were only doing swings and squats)
50 min = 4 rotations (800 sw, 100 sq...pure torture!)

So in the first version, #1, I laddered up sets of 5 swing reps (1-5 sets), alternating with sw/sq sets.  The second version, #2, I alternated sets of 25 swing reps (OTM 37.5/22.5 sec) with sw/sq sets in rotations of 4 or 5 "double sets".  In this third version, #3, I laddered up swing reps/sets followed by one set of sw/sq.

We started out the workout with swings.  I don't like to squat at 7:00am without a couple of hundred swings first!  I used the 12kg only for the warm up.

10 tr sw (15/15)
1 sw, 1 tr x 10 (20 reps) (30/30)
3/3 x 10 (30 reps, switching on 3rd rep) (45/45)
4/4 x 10 (40 reps, switching on the 4th rep) (1 min/1 min)
5/5 x 6 x 10 (60 reps) (1.5 min/1 min)
8/8 x 10 (80 reps) (2 min/1 min)
10/10 x 10 (100 reps) (2.5 min/1 min)

14 min., 340 swings

We then went on to double clean and presses, long cycle and short cycle, "I go, you go" style.
1-5 lg/cy cl pr
1-5 sh/cy cl pr
1-5 lg/cy cl pr
1-5 sh/cy cl pr
4 more sets of 5 rep sh/cy cl pr (a total of 5x5)
5 sets sh/cy pu pr
5 sets sh/cy jk

80 dbl presses, 25 dbl push presses, 25 dbl jrk (approx 20 min)

Here is where Fave Five comes in.  2 rotations, 25 min

We end with snatch volume and pace.  After a short warm up we completed the following snatch ladders using a 10 rep per 30 sec pace.

1-5 ld (30 sn, 1.5 min/1 min)
2-6 ld (40 sn, 2 min/1 min)
3-7 ld (50 sn, 2.5 min/1 min)
4-8 ld (60 sn 3 min/1 min)
5-9 ld (70 sn, 3.5 min/1 min)

250 snatch reps, 17.5 minutes.

PS (I know there were 56 swings and 38 snatches in our 5 min warm up. but who's counting?)