Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No "Bars" of any kind


Really, besides the truth of hidden carbs behind the labeling of most protein, energy and meal supplement/replacement bars the real reason why they are a "no-no" in my book is that simply opening and package of instant calories will never help you establish the habits of preparing and eating "real" food.  If you are overweight, all bars are not an option.  Dried fruit and nuts are a better option, although high in calories per serving.  You should only be eating these foods as a snack anyway, not as a replacement for a "real" meal.


As Mark has explained this to me....beware mostly of products that claim "zero carbs", as it's just an "accounting formality".  Hidden carbs are grain alcohols that don't have to be listed as carbohydrate, supposedly because they don't raise your blood sugar as much as "regular carbs".  If you do the math the unaccounted calories are in fact grain alcohol carbs.

You don't get hidden carbs in product that say they have carbs.  But is anybody being confused about ingredients like date sugar, and cane sugar being sugar?

Here is more information about "bars" I found online:

The Truth About Nutrition Bars
In a recent study published by consumerlabs.com 30 nutrition bars were broken down/analyzed and over 60% of the bars failed to meet labeling claims! What is really in your “health or nutrition bar”?
Meal replacement bars, snack bars, weight loss bars, energy bars, and protein bars are a convenient and easy way for people to get a quick snack or meal when they are on the go. The problem is that 99% of the products out there are loaded with carbs and sugars that spike insulin levels and promote fat storage. Despite the hidden ingredients and artificial additives, marketing gurus have duped consumers into thinking that these “nutrition bars” are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals when in reality this is far from the truth. The FDA claims that it currently does not have any formal guidelines for nutrition bars or the labeling on nutrition bars.
The Breakdown
“Protein Bar” is an extremely deceptive term.  Most bars contain more carbs than protein. The consumer labs study found that a typical bar is made up of
  • 49% of calories from carbohydrates (mostly from sugars)
  • 29% of calories from protein
  • 22% of calories from fat
Clif Bars
The concern here is the 45 grams of carbs and 21 grams of sugar (for comparison a snickers bar has 35 grams of carbs and 28 sugars). If you are not an endurance athlete than that amount of carbs in the form of a small snack is way to high. Ever notice how the Clif Bar rapper conveniently covers the ingredient list. Here is why. With over 30 ingredients, it is hard to decipher what exactly the bar is made up of.  Organic rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, organic evaporated can juice, organic date paste, are all fancy names for sugar that make up this so-called “nutrition bar”. While ingredients like evaporated cane juice are not as detrimental to refined sugar, it is close enough.

Stay away from Clif bars

Atkins Advantage Bar
With Atkins Advantage you get more bang for you buck because the lower carb and sugar levels. You also get a solid 15 grams of protein with only 210 calories. The unfortunate part is the saturated fat and ingredients. With over 50 ingredients, there are several hidden land mines such as glycerin, sucralose, cellulose, artificial flavors, which are all code names for SUGARS!

Eat only if there is no whole/unprocessed foods available like fruit or nuts.

Nature Valley Bar
I commend General Mills for their bold and forthright honesty. They are not trying to hide anything. The second ingredient is SUGAR! With high levels of carbohydrates and sugar, nature valley bars have nothing “natural” about them. High fructose corn syrup and brown sugar syrup are two ingredients that have single handily added to the obesity problems in the US.

Don’t even think about it

Power Bars
This label is also very informative as it provides the disclaimer that the FDA has no regulation over these “health bars”. With 45 carbs,  27 grams of sugar, ingredients such as evaporated cane juice, glucose syrup, and fructose, a power bar is basically a glorified candy bar. At least they have less than 30 ingredients as opposed to some of the other examples listed right?

If you are going to have something with the nutritional equivalent of a candy bar why not actually have a candy bar that tastes great? Opt for a snickers or twix instead.

Why so much sugar?
In their early development, nutrition bars were bland and primarily eaten by fitness enthusiasts. However, the bars underwent a transformation to appeal to general consumers. The bland, stiff, and protein packed bars didn’t necessarily appeal to the general population. To compensate, manufacturers made their products more flavorful by adding corn syrup, sugar, sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, colors and hydrogenated oils, which are all bad for your health.
I copied most of this article here:

http://kevindeeth.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/the-truth-about-nutrition-bars/

For more, click the link


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Latest Article on Bodybuilding.com

In case you are not on facebook, here is the latest article published for bodybuilding.com

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/swing-for-the-fences-kettlebell-training.html

I think it came out great!  As if you already didn't know the benefits of the kettlebell swing, it never hurts to know more!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Journal entry Thursday 5/24 (revised)


Like most people I will eat what is ready! I will also eat when I may not be hungry just because something is ready!  Fine line, and here are two examples. (at the end of my day)

Thursday
5:30am-7:00am kettlebell swings/light presses
11:00am 30 min swing class (6kg)
11:45-12:15 walk



coffee/cream 100


2.5 tbl pnb (250)  / raisins (160) broccoli and carrot sticks
pate (180) / crackers (110)
WF freebies (90)...reaction, pita chips
dried persimmon (75)
sm slice of cornbread (120)
corn soup, 2 c. (300) / chicken 3 oz (150)
1535, 2:00pm, well within range


oops...strawberry and cottage cheese extravaganza!
2lbs strawberries (300) / 1 c cottage cheese (240) / 2 tbl sugar (90) (630!)
2165, 4:30pm, boderline....


5 oz steak, ok, maybe 6oz (300)
2465

I had cleaned and sliced a 4 lb container of strawberries the day before so when I went into the kitchen for some dinner...I opened the fridge and viola!  Instead of waiting for my steak to cook (a whole freakin' 15 minutes) I decided it was a good idea to eat some strawberries.  I'm not sure if I've ever made a meal out of strawberries before....for sure grapes, melon and cherries!

I went ahead and cooked the steak, of course, Mark had to eat!  Left it on the counter, covered, 30 minutes later I went to slice some for Mark and put the rest away...in the fridge, not my tummy! It didn't work out that way! That steak was soooo good!  Oh well, just thought I'd share!  Moral of the story?  I ate strawberries because they were ready, and the steak? Same reason...same with the damn Whole foods samples....same with the corn bread...

I'm up early as usual this morning and getting foods ready that I actually want to eat and feel good about!  Eggs, done, salad, done, lamb stew pre-portioned, and I've pre-measured cherries.....just in case! (8oz cherries 150 cal.)

I just wanted to share this comment that was left for me so as to clear up the intention of this post. The intention is not that I "blew it", the intention is to show the example of taking responsibility of my choice and decision through honest journaling.  My journal is just "data".  Data to help me change my habits if I want to.


  • Tracy, it is good to know you share this struggle with food after so much success. Thank you for that!
    12 minutes ago · 

  • The Swing This is not an example of a "struggle". Its simply an example of how sometimes I react to foods or situations. It's not a big deal, and most of the time I'm conscious of all the actions I take, whether they involve food/eating or not. I share this post as an example of being able to look back on a decision (through journaling) and knowing that, #1 I made a choice at that time based on an old habit. It's not a struggle, just a part of an old habit. The other part of the old habit I've changed is that at one time it would have been cookies instead of strawberries and yogurt!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Snatchaholic's Snatch Progression practice + workout

Ok, so here is the workout from last Thursday as I will not be snatching tomorrow morning (I trained my snatch yesterday....workout to come next week!).  This workout starts the same way all of my snatch workouts do, with my own snatch progressions as practice.  In the video I say that I'll be demonstrating 6 combinations, but in fact I decided to only demo 4 of them for the purpose of this workout.  Those of you that have been training my snatch workouts with me know what the next two are (not hard to fugure out), 7/7, and 8/8, but that pace/speed qualify them as advanced, and if you have not yet trained a full cycle of Max Vo2 then you should start with these 4....trust me, still plenty of work!




Tracyrif Snatch Progression warm up

1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 (12 swings, 6 snatches) 30/30
x 2

1 sn, 1 tr x 8 (8 swings, 8 snatches) 30/30
x 2

5 sn R, 5 sn L (10 snatches) 30/30
x 2

6 sn R, 6 sn L (12 snatches) 30/30
x 2

total warm up
8 min 72 snatches 40 swings



Snatch progression workout

uphill rotation

1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1
1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1
5/5 x 1
6/6 x 1


1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1+ 1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1
1 sn, 1 tr x 8 + 5/5 x 1
5/5 + 6/6 x 1


1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1 + 1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1 + 5/5 x 1 + 6/6 x 1

total snatch reps 126, 68 swings




6/6 x 1 + 5/5 x 1 + 1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1 + 1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1 (video ends 1st version)
(234 snatch reps, 128 swings)



6/6 x 1 + 5/5 x 1
5/5 x 1 + 1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1
1 sn, 1 tr x 8 + 1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1


6/6 x 1
5/5 x 1
1 sn, 1 tr x 8 x 1
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 6 x 1

total snatch reps 126, 68 swings

total workout including warm up
324 snatch reps, 176 swings

I did not include interval times in the above workout.  Your first goal is equal work/rest, in which case both workout rotations will take approx 6-8 minutes longer per.  (in the video I take only 30 sec rest intervals)

Monday, May 21, 2012

No Soda Pop



Rule #3, no soda pop.  Again, another no-brainer right?  That's the problem!  Anyone regularly drinking soda is not using their brain!  Here is a blog post I wrote about this subject 4 years ago.  "A Mindless Cup of Sugar".  Oh and then check out the article I found on soda and diet soda consumption I linked at the end of this post!





WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2008


A Mindless Cup of Sugar

So, as I'm sitting, waiting, in the barbershop while Mark is getting his haircut, there's a 7-Eleven store next door, and I see one person after another drive up, park, get out, go in the store, and come out with a Slurpee, Snapple, orange soda, Big Gulp, etc......every single person came out carrying a mindless cup of sugar.

Now, I have had, maybe, 2 sodas in over 3 years....soda's not my thing. And I'm not claiming I haven't had my share of "all out sugar binges", but, when I eat (or drink) sugar, I know what I'm doing, and what I'm choosing. Sugar is "dessert", and I'd rather eat it as such. I don't think most people know how much sugar is in everyday meals, not just soda.  if you eat alot of processed foods you are eating alot of sugar, and crappy sugars at that.  The bun that holds your burger has sugar.  The ketchup on that bun has sugar (just throw another cup on top of your fries). That Chinese chicken salad? Yep, a ton of sugar in the dressing and the processed chicken?  More sugar and salt.  And unless you buy fresh ground peanut butter every jar of commercial pnb has sugar added.

But let's go back to the "dessert" thing......what is dessert? It's amazing to me when I stop to get a cup of coffee at any coffee shop and see almost every single person ordering a scone, muffin, cookie, "low carb" banana bread (etc.) in addition to their "Frappa Crappa"! I mean the Frappa Crappa IS a dessert!

I eat my share of sugar for sure, but when I read a recipe for something as simple as a salad dressing and it calls for 1/4 c. sugar, or God forbid 1/2 c. sugar, that salad just turned into dessert! I will not make a salad dressing with more than 1-2 tbl. of sugar or honey, and even then I count that salad as a "sweet meal", choosing savory foods for other meals that day. I mean, I can make dessert out of a bowl of oatmeal with enough sugar, honey, sweet cream, butter, rasins, etc, lol! (that's how Mark eats it BTW) As far as I'm concerned a PBJ sandwich is dessert too! (about 500 calories in one small stinkin' sandwich)

These last few months I been more aware of what it takes to mantain a healthy bodyweight, and for me, I have to make trade-offs, I don't think most people think that way. I don't think anyone goes into a 7-Eleven thinking that the soda they're drinking is dessert, that it's pure sugar, and it'll probably ruin their appetite for "good food", or that the calories in a Big Gulp are equivilent to a meal.....I think, they think they're just thirsty. No thought.

I admit I overthink food, and sometimes obsess about this calorie or that calorie, blah, blah, blah...but I'd rather be overly conscious than unconscious. Mindful and not mindless....but that's just me....just sayin'!


This has got to be one of the easiest rules to stick to, they all should!  You don't need me to tell you these things, you already know them!  Without drive-thrus, fast foods and soda the world will still keep turning don't worry!  Now bananas and bagels?  Well, that's just crazy talk....but I'm, getting there! In the mean time;

No drive-thrus
No fast foods
No soda pop
No "bars"
No bags of chips
No rice cakes
No hummus
No bananas
No bagels


No bakeries, candy isle, or quarts of ice cream!  And keep up on your journal!

Really, this is just a start.  The start of establishing different habits.  Not "better", not "worse", unless you see them that way, just "different".  If you like your life and your body exactly like it is, then don't change a thing!

If you find soda to be a bigger challenge than you thought, wean yourself off of it by watering down full strength soda with mineral water. Start with 75% soda, 25% mineral water until you get to at least 1/2 and 1/2. Soon you will prefer it that way, and then maybe you'll feel as if you can give it up forever.  It's really not adding value to your life.  Think about the things that do add value instead! Like all the people in your life that you love, and love you back enough to want you to stick around for a while!

And don't think you're getting away with anything drinking diet sodas...don't believe me?

http://www.thehealthyboy.com/2010/08/does-diet-soda-make-you-fat.html

Tracy's Food Journal, Monday, May 21 (because someone asked!)


One of the last comments made to me after my post about "The Diet Swing" from Alison and Larry was a request for a sample of my own food journal.  Here is my reply:
Allison and Larry,
I have years of my food journal on my original blog, to which you will find a link in the side bar. I also have food journals at the very beginning of this blog (and intermittent throughout.)

Monday 5/21 (today)



7:00am 50 min walk
10:00am yoga (90 min)

coffee/cream (150)
1 dried persimmon (80)
3 soft boil eggs (210)
1 lg Honeycrisp apple (100)
steel cut oats (1/4 dry, 150)
1.5 oz feta cheese (150)
2 cups plain yogurt (240)
blueberry/cherry compote (200)

I'm up to 1280 right now (2:00pm) ad I have only dinner left. I already know what I'm going to eat, which is;



1 c. corn chowder (150)
w/4 oz roasted chicken (200)

The eggs were pasture raised. I buy my feta and yogurt from a woman at the FM that makes it from her sheeps milk. I made the blueberry and cherry compote last fall and pulled it out of the freezer just about an hour ago. Same with the corn chowder, it's the second to the last batch that I froze last fall. (same with the roasted chicken, now that I think about it!)

I'm not really a food snob, but since I can get some really good quality foods conveniently and reasonable (for me) I'll sometimes I let my nutrient balance get out of whack when I have these food choices around.  For instance, today is kind of high in carbs, but I couldn't resist the feta AND yogurt, and the only kind of soup I had pre prepared was the corn chowder.(but tons of veggies in it besides corn...which isn't actually a veg)

I do not have any salad prepared so that will wait until tomorrow.

I've been up since 3:45am, went for a 50 min walk at 7:00am, Bikram yoga at 10:00. I ate the dried persimmon and eggs at 9:00am before yoga (highly unusual that I would eat that early AND before yoga, but I woke up earlier than normal and sometimes waiting until 12:00noon is even a stretch for me! The rest I started eating at 12:30. I'll eat one more time around 4:30 and that's it.

My total calories today will be around 1600, low for me. I average around 1900-2200 calories to maintain 136-140lbs. That average does NOT include my high calorie day (Sat).  

May 21, 2012 2:22 PM
 Delete

A few more things I want to add.

I don't keep a hard copy journal anymore, it's all on my computer, and has been since I started blogging.  Not sure if that's better or even if it's a good thing.  I already know the bulk of my meals tomorrow because I always plan ahead to have plenty of choices.  My meals are almost all "mix and matchable"!  Leading with veg or protein (today was unusual), flavoring with fat, and/or sweet and then adding in the carbs.

I'll be away from home most of the day tomorrow.  I'll pack eggs (3), veg/pnb/raisins, soup. I also have some chicken liver pate that I may take instead of the soup, because it's easier to pack and does not need reheating.  Hopefully I'll get my salad done tonight or in the morning and that will be my main meal after I get home.  I may pick up a steak since I've been hooked on rib eye lately!

No yogurt or oats/feta tomorrow!  Today was a little bit of a splurge for me!  It was a trade-off deal I made with myself earlier!

Planning for me extends further than the next day.  I can look at my calender and plan weeks ahead and it's easy.  I believe in eating the same basic foods everyday, that even on my high calorie days I usually just eat more of the same foods because I love them so much....or should I say that I love how I feel about myself when I eat good quality homemade foods...and besides they are super yummy!  I never feel deprived, ever.  Taking a look at what I eat, would you?

* update  I started writing a blog post and never got to my soup, enjoying some red wine instead...I still may slice up some of that chicken though.... 5:45am workout in the morning!

Fast Food? Or "Instant Food"?

No fast food! This seems to be a no-brainer, right?  Unless you have been living under a rock you have to know that food prepared in typical fast food restaurants is of some of the lowest quality of nutrition, not to mention highest in calories....bad calories...oh and tons of salt.  So stop eating it.  Just stop.  It is no longer an option.  Besides horrible quality foods, the most important reason to stop is to establish better habits of feeding your beautiful glorious heart, and every cell in your living and breathing miracle you call your body!  Quit killing it, or at the very least pissing it off!

What, what you say?  You don't eat fast food?  Have you ever opened a package of food, heated it up and eaten it.  Have you ever opened a can of food, heated it up and eaten it? Have you ever opened a box of food, stuck your hand in it, and eaten the food inside?  These foods are what I consider instant foods.  Here is a portion of a blog post I wrote  over 5 years ago titled "Instant Food".


 FEBRUARY 15, 2007


Instant Food

It occured to me recently that most people don't want Fast Food, they want "Instant Food". What is instant food? It's food that you don't have to do anything to, except to pay for it, open a package, or heat it up.

My older son came home from work one evening and did his usual complaining of "there's nothing to eat in the house". What he meant was there was nothing cooked, portioned, plated and waiting in the fridge for him. I knew there was plenty of food to prepare.  So I offered to put something together quickly for him, which I did, and he conceded that it was good, but it took too long! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and that's when I realized that people in this country want their food instantly, and that's a problem. It maybe the problem.

I mentioned in an earlier post that it doesn't seem to be enough for us not to have to grow or kill our own food, but many of us don't even want to prepare it or, God forbid, cook it. We are spoiled rotton, maybe the term should be "spoiled fat". Is it any wonder why this country is having obesity problems?

Even when people decide to diet they look for "easy to open diet food" like energy, power and granola bars, string cheese, high sugar yogurts, bagels, rice cakes, Lean Cuisines, bananas, etc.. No one ever grabs an apple! (or a couple of prunes w/ PNB!).

A friend of mine recently stated proudly that her kids have never had "instant food". She of course was talking about fast food. I quickly pointed out to her that if her kids have ever eaten a hotdog, they have indeed had instant food! Kids today have hotdogs, bologna, "deli meats", Cheerios, wrapped american cheese, crackers, Cheetos, Cheezits, fruit roll-ups, high sugar juice boxes (yes, even orange juice). And that's the "healthier" stuff. No one wants to admit to the Hostess cupcakes, fast food (almost everyday for some kids ), pizza, soda etc.. And I had been as guilty as anyone, so I'm not throwing stones!

What I have learned about cooking and preparing my own food for over 2 years now has been completely accidental! I just wanted to lose some weight. And it made sense to me that eating fresh food, controling ingredients and portions would be the best way to do that. What was accidental was how much healthier I am. Not just my weight, but how I feel. Eating what I call "live food" makes you feel alive.

The other accident was how good I've become at cooking and preparing food. Good, fresh food. And fast! Practice, practice, practice. The good thing about practicing cooking is that you get to eat afterwards! I'm always encouraging my friends to cook more of their own food. I've also offered to show many of them how I do it. And I will continue to encourage everyone to consider eating better. Even if that means buying quality ready-made food.

People will wait 30-60 minutes for a pizza to be delivered. They will wait up to 2 hours at popular busy restauants. The time they take driving to, waiting at, and spend money on food that is over-processed, and over-flavored is ridiculous.

People are always amazed at the fact that I never eat "out". I've only eaten out maybe 4 times in over 2 years, and that's because I was out of town or some other reason out of my control.

My food is no secret. Just look at my food journal and you'll see that my favorite "instant foods" are; apples, grapes, prunes, nuts. But I'm not claiming to be perfect, cookies and ice cream are still on the list too. What are yours? And how can you start to change and make better choices, if you need to, for your family and yourself?


So I just wanted to reiterate that what's important is establishing the habit of feeding yourself, which includes planning!  Back in the day, and I mean back in the day, before refrigeration, before grocery stores do you think you didn't have to plan where the hell your food is coming from?  Forget what your actual diet was...but let me see, your actual diet was anything you could find to eat!

You and your family had these options.  Growing and/or harvesting plants, and that's a seasonal job.  Raising animals, and then yep, killing them.  Inventing ways of preparing food for long term storage, like curing and pickling.  All of this took thought and planning or you would die, or at least go hungry.

And that's exactly what is happening now. Without thought and planning people have come to rely on someone else to feed them, and it's killing us.  Someone else whose bottom line is $$, not your health. But don't blame them if you yourself don't even care!  Take responsibility, it's on you!

Fast food? Cross it off the list.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Hand Swing Practice Workout




Rotation #1

10 2 hand sw x 4 sets (15/15 x 4 = 2.0 min)
5/5 one hd sw x 4 sets (15/15 x 4 = 2.0 min)
5/5 + 10 2 hd sw x 1 set (30/30 x 1 = 1.0 min)
100 swing reps, 5.0 min





Rotation #2

2/1 swing ladder x 4 sets (15/15 x 4 = 2.0 min)
5/5 + 2/1 sw ld x 1 set (30/30 x 1 = 1.0 min)
60 swing reps, 3.0 min



Last rotation

10 transfer sw x 4 sets (15/15 x 4 = 2.0 min)
5/5 + 2/1 sw ld x 1 set (30/30 x 1 = 1.0)
2/1 sw ld + 10 tr x 1 set (30/30 x 1 = 1.0 min)
80 swing reps, 4.0 min

Bonus

5/5 + 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr (45 sec/45 sec x 1 = 1.5 min)
5/5 + 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw x 1 set (1 min/done!)
70 swing reps 2.5 min

total workout
240 swing reps, 12 min

total workout w/bonus sets
310 swing reps, 14.5 minutes


I split this workout video into three parts, first because it's easier to upload to Youtube in sections shorter than 10 minutes.  Second because you can chose to repeat any of the rotations as many times as you like, or feel you need to, as a way of making the workout individual to your cardio endurance level, or skill level.  You can choose one rotation and repeat it, or you can train it in the order presented (with or without the bonus sets) and go back through it again, doubling your rep count and time spent working out.

In addition to rep count I've included, in parenthesis, the times of the sets w/rest when practiced at "equal work to rest", but always take the rest you need.  If you are not yet up to this level of cardio conditioning and strength, then I would suggest the first goal would be to complete an entire rotation, equal work/rest, and then take longer rest periods between the rotations.


I often us a variation of this workout in my classes, and these one hand swing combinations are standard in all of my swing training.  In this video I use the appropriate bell for me and it was plenty challenging!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ok, are you ready? No, really, are you ready? "The Diet Swing", an uncommon, common sense approach.




I will be writing a blog post on each of the following rules, starting with the first, "No drive-thrus".  If you think you are ready to change your lifestyle in order to change your physical condition, experience, and appearance, then start with the following diet....we'll just call it "The Swing Diet"!  Or should I call it "The Diet Swing"?  Since the first thing you need to do is change how you eat, and what you eat.

For 2 weeks


Keep an accurate and honest Food Journal.

No drive through foods, not even coffee (but we know you are ordering a "coffee drink"...and banana bran muffin! Gluten free of course!)
No fast foods
No soda
No "bars" (energy, protein, or granola)
No bags of chips of any kind.
No rice cakes.
No hummus.  
No bananas. 
No bagels.

Do not walk in, or near, a bakery, or near the bakery section of the grocery store if you can help it.  Do not buy sweets in more than one serving, if you find yourself buying them at all....but you shouldn't be near a bakery anyway.   No bags of cookies, no quarts of ice cream, no king size candy bars.  A couple small pieces of candy, or 1 serving if ice cream (no cone) is acceptable if you write it down in your journal!  Did I forget to mention a food journal?  Yeah, keep one.  If you chose not to, then you may not ready.....you should be excited about this!  You are ready!

Drive-thru ordering and eating has numerous reasons that qualify it as #1.  As a former super fat person I am all too familiar with the allure of ordering drive-thru meals, enough to feed a family, but hoarding it all for myself.  I'm guilty of ordering enough food for 2 people, plus, AND ordering more than one soft drink trying to cover my tracks...as if the person taking the drive-thru orders cares about how fat I'm making myself.

But the kind of danger this kind of eating, this habit of how you eat, extends far beyond the amount of food that you order.  It extends to the lie that you are living.  Here is a blog post I wrote over 5 years ago.

, NOVEMBER 19, 2006


Secret Eating

Why do we think if no one sees us eat it doesn't count? Or it's not as much as it was? I used to eat in the car on the way home from work, then eat more when I got home. I thought Mark wouldn't think I ate as much as I did.


But I was fat, so I must of been eating alot of food I didn't need. I wasn't "hiding " anything. I was carrying the evidence on my body. When I see an overweight person I know they are eating too much, and probably the wrong foods, and not exercising enough.


One of my favorite responses to the question " How did you lose all that weight?" is, " I stopped doing what was making me fat!". I stopped eating 4000 calories a day and I started exercising.


Now that I've been blogging for a week, I realized how much "secret eating" I had been doing. Yes, I kept a food journal, but not as religously as once had. Somehow really writing everything down keeps you out of denial. Being accountable is only part of it, becoming conscious of the "forgotten details" can make a big difference in some of the choices we make everyday.


My "secret eating" wasn't so much the amount of calories I was eating, but what kind of calories I was eating. That's what I realized yesterday. And keeping a daily log put it right in front of me.


Dieting is an evolution. The further you get into it the more you refine it and tweak it. Like training, it's about progression and individualization.


Because of my journal I was able to see this pattern of craving sugar. I know I've cut my carbs too low when I crave sugar too much. And I had. So I'll try something different. And even though I hadn't gained weight ( the benefit of calorie counting and KB training) I wasn't happy with the division of nutrients. After all I want to live to enjoy this new body I have.


If you feel as if you need to hide who you are or what you are doing that should be the first sign that something is not right.  You should be proud and excited about how you live your life, not hiding in shame.  I'm not suggesting that you be ashamed, but you should not feel as you are living some kind of secret.

No drive through foods, no drive through eating, period.  Be proud of the choices you make for yourself, or make different choices you can be proud of. You deserve it!

I will write more about keeping a food journal, but here are some thoughts about my own food journaling, in case you are wondering...

I think that some people reading this may find it interesting that after 6+ years I still "have" to keep a food journal, but it's just a good habit. It's like balancing your checkbook, no one would say "Geez, what a shame you still have to balance you checkbook. Don't you know how much money you have and how much you can spend?" 

I don't "have" to keep a food journal any more that I need to look at my bank statements. Both are simply ways of staying conscious, and making choices accordingly. Not a big deal, and in fact sometimes it's enjoyable! 

I journal all of my workouts too. but yet no one would frown upon that!


20kg one hand swings

Good-ness!  I had to return a 12kg kettlebell to the gym this morning and it felt like a rock when I picked it up out of my trunk!  I should have known one hand 20kg swings were going to be horrible!  And I mean "horrible" in a good way!  Very challenging workout this morning after dbl 12kg jerks.


I've got some new thoughts about where to take my training in the next couple of months.  The first thing I want to focus on is my continued squat and push-up/pull up training.  In fact I've recruited a couple of my training partners into the mix for accountability, on my part (lucky them, lucky me!).  I also want to snatch the 20kg again.  Too much training and specifically way, way, too much ballistic training keeps this from reality.....first?  One hand swing training with the 20kg and the 24kg.  It'll come...if I want it to!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'll be back...


I want to apologize for not posting much lately and I promise to get back to comments and emails asap. I taped a couple of workouts yesterday and I've got some opinions about starting that weight loss diet....

But priorities, like my granddaughter come first and since I've been cooking all morning if I'm going to make it to yoga I've got to go...

A couple of short posts and a video on my facebook fan page in the mean time, and I'll be back soon!

http://www.facebook.com/TracyReifkindTheSwing

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Double Sets" fast snatch, heavy swings

Until I come up with a better title to this series of training fast snatches alternating heavy swings I'll simply refer to them as "Double Set" training.  In these workouts (more variations to come) I use what I call a "double set".  A double set consists of two separate alternating exercises that "count" as "one double set".  This snatch/swing workout would also qualify as a "Beyond Max" workout as it uses Max pace snatches, so if you have not yet done a complete cycle of 80 sets of 8 (or 7 reps. or 6 reps) then I would suggest that you do the ground work of that training before this one.



I taped a short intro to explain in more detail, but I miscalculated the double set intervals.  Instead of 2 minutes per dbl set, it actually only takes 1.5 min per dbl set.  The advanced version shortens the 2nd rest period from 30 sec to 15 sec making each dbl set only 1.25 min per.  So, 15 dbl sets = 22.5 min. instead of 30.  I would suggest that you practice the four sets I demo in the workout video along with me and then decide whether you want to snatch R and L within the same 30 sec interval, or if you want to snatch separately R from L.  Personally I chose to finish the workout switching within the same interval working a little more cardio element as there are two additional swing transfers. If you choose to not switch, you still get a hell of a cardio element, but work more strength snatch endurance.  Slight differences, all good!

There is only one double set repeated throughout the entire workout, adding on sets per week as in Max Vo2 training.  Start out with 15-20 sets adding on 4-6 sets, working up to about 30 sets total (45 min).  And then switch it up by using a different heavy swing weight, changing your snatch strategy, or reducing the 2nd rest period.  I will be posting many more variations to this workout, so get started!



Double Sets
Fast Snatch, Heavy Swings


variation #1


8 R/ 8 L snatch (30/15)
10 2 hd sw (15/30)
x 15-20 double sets


variation #2


16 R snatch (30/15)
10 hvy 2 hd sw (15/30)
16 L snatch (30/15)
10 hvy 2 hd sw (15/30)
x 16-20 double sets

The speed at which you snatch is individual.  My own "Max" pace is 8 reps per 15 sec., yours may be different, especially taking into account snatch weight.  This is not a workout that suggests heavy snatches, keep them on the lighter side, with speed as the intention.




Yoga vs. Stretching

I really do miss my double yoga practice. "Double yoga" is doing two, back to back, 90 minute Bikrams classes on the same day.  The reason why I like it so much is that I only practice every other day to begin with, and I get so tight and stiff that my first practice is basically a warm up!  And that's part of the reason why I practice at 10:00am.  Any earlier and I feel cold and stiff, which is why I try and take a walk beforehand for 30 minutes.

When I got to yoga last Friday my Instructor Myrna said to me, "I saw the picture in your book of your standing bow pose, and I expect it to look like that this morning!  You are almost in full splits!". To which I had to remind her that that picture was taken after a dbl yoga practice and I was as loose as I could possibly get!  I also had to remind her that my 6-7 day a week practice had fallen off to 2-3 times a week...yikes! (partially due to the increase in new kettlebell classes and privates!)

But that gave me a few thoughts about how to improve my practice, and that doesn't mean more Bikrams yoga!  Like most sport or physical activities you can improve your performance by practicing other "supportive" exercises....this is the basis of "crosstraining".

You can only do so much of the same exercise before it may become counter productive.  I train the kettlebell ballistics more than anybody I know, yet I'm not skinny as a stick, burning a bazillion calories every workout.  I've acclimated to my own workloads to a certain degree, and if I wanted to be skinny as a stick I would have to look elsewhere...and we all know where that is, right?  (yep, diet!)  And if I wanted to press the 20kg I would have to change my training to accommodate building more absolute strength, abandoning some of the ballistics.

Back to cross training, and my Instructors comment about almost being in full splits.  I could practice getting into splits outside of yoga.  In fact I could practice splits a few times a day, along with other important stretches that would only improve everything else I do, including simply being able to move my body easier and overall feel better!  So why don't I do it?  If I practiced stretching, including splits while hanging out at home it would help my standing bow pose.  If I can do the splits on the floor then most likely I could do them standing up so much easier!

Basic regular stretching is so underrated and the only person I know that does it is Mark!  I could join him...we have plenty of room...yet I don't!  Stretching isn't fun....there I said it!  I think maybe an attitude adjustment is in order!  I have plenty of time to stretch.  I have a need to stretch.  Being married to Mark, a former elite level gymnast (and coach to other elite level gymanasts), I have the best "stretching" teacher anyone could ask for....man, am I a baby or what?


How much do I really want to improve my yoga practice, overall flexibility and health of my muscles?  We shall see!

Enjoy some time off to catch up.




Well, it's Monday morning and I just spent the last 36 hours in bed
with some of the worst bodyaches and an upset tummy, and I'm still not 100%.  I literally could not move and slept all through Mothers Day having to cancel my plans to visit my granddaughter Sophi :(  I think it's best if I take today off so I can get back in the gym for tomorrow workout.  I've got lots of stuff to catch up on, including some blog posts I've been wanting to write.  As much as my obsessive mind wants to go out and do something it's best to enjoy some time off...I think I may make another pot of coffee!




Monday, May 7, 2012

Make an Appointment with Your Best Self....and keep it!

I train kettlbells on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays....without fail. I train on Tuesdays starting at 6:15am, Thursdays, starting at 5:30am and Saturdays starting at 6:45...without fail. I practice yoga on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays....whoops...do I?  Am I consistent?  What time do I schedule my yoga?  Oh, that's where the problem lies!  I have too many choices, I mean, I give myself too many choices as to which yoga class time fits best into my morning.  Giving myself too many choices to "put it off" lets procrastination set in, and then I "get busy" doing other things.  But in my defense I almost always make it to the last class my schedule will allow...I'm hating it because it's late and I'm hungry, but I can usually force myself to go, because at that point I have no choice.

Lately though I've had to make a few other appointments, like the eye doctor, a haircut, etc and I scheduled them in the morning. Why would I do that?  Because with the best of intention I figured I could make it to an earlier yoga class still giving me enough time to get to these additional appointments.  I'm 50% successful.  The other 50%?  It seems as if I've let my priorities slip, or I'm not planning enough in advance to be successful at keeping my promise to myself.  The promise of being my best self.  There truly is enough time because we can make time.

I know a lot of people have kids involved in sports, and those kids have to show up for practice, or they don't get to play in the game, right?  Parents are usually really good at getting those kids to practice and where they need to be, and when they need to be there.  As adults our training, our exercise, is our practice!  Pick a day (s) and a time (s), and without fail get your ass to practice!  We want for our kids to be superstar athletes, and we know practicing a sport or skill is key to improvement, but maybe we forget, or think it's too late for, our own wanting to feel like a superstar.

As a Kettlebell Instructor I teach a number of classes as well as meet with a number of private appointments.  When I ask my clients/students whether or not they made time to train during the week I don't see them more times than not the answer is no!  Nope.  They didn't make time to train, to exercise, or to practice not one other time.  Really?  Why not?  So I started to think about the answer to that question.

They didn't do it for the same reason my yoga practice is slipping.  They probably gave themselves too many choices until it was too late!  Procrastination.  Procrastination is intention without action.  We've talked about this before, haven't we?

Make time.  Schedule it.  No choices.  No forgetting. Write it down as if it were an appointment and keep it.

OK, so what is your new schedule?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Why do we make things so freakin' complicated?



Good freakin' Lord!  Everybody is always trying to prove why "their method" is better than someone else's. Why "strong" is better than "skinny". Why "lean" is the "ideal".  Why one kind of exercise is better, one kind of yoga is better that another, why some foods are better than others.  Good God, really?

In my book, "The Swing" (in case you forgot the title, lol), I wrote about "uncommon, common sense"....where have we gone wrong? I believe we go wrong when we look for validation.  Validation that we are, in fact, RIGHT! I know the truth, not you!  I know the "real" truth, not you!  Seriously...when did we forget to have some fun?

How and where you find motivation to be your best you is irrelevant.  I know what I know based on my own experience.  I've been fat, really, really fat, AND therefore really, really unhealthy.  I never realized how bad it had been until I reversed it!  I had a clue (s) how bad it was getting because I was starting to feel as if I was going to die!  Seriously die...dead...gone.  Did "getting lean", or "getting strong", or become symmetrically balanced mean anything to me?  No, "living" was at the top of my priority list!  The rest is just icing on the cake (maybe we should all find another analogy that relates to something other than food?)

Here I post a video that resonated with me so deeply that it's taken a few days for me to post.  I came across it on facebook, and while I was playing it on my computer Mark came over to take a look see what I was watching.....  Mark posted the link to this video in his facebook page right away....me?  Well, I needed a couple, a few days before I could write the words to accompany my feelings about it.

I truly believe that "success" and maybe "hope" is THE great motivator.  When I feel successful I want more.  When I feel hopeful, I want more!  Failure and depression does not motivate me. Hearing about others struggles and doubts does not motivate me.

I have no struggle and I have no doubt. No one will ever tell me what is possible because now I know better.  And so does Arthur.  The kettlebell ballistics answered my prayers and I believe it can do the same for many, many others, like me (and I believe even Arthur would benefit!).  But the answer is success and hope.  How that comes to you is irrelevant.....but training kettlebells will support any other exercise or sport you chose do practice....FYI!  Don't make the answer more complicated and don't look for the reasons why it can't or shouldn't work.  Let go. Open yourself up to simplicity.  The simplicity of moving in the direction of feeling your best.  If you look for excuses they will find you!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

BCBE full version

I had a nice swing / press workout this morning, taking it easy so I can go into the weekend, as Mark would say, "hungry"!  I practiced some of the routines I'll be teaching on Sunday and I'll practice more this Saturday in all three of my classes....although I do have something lined up for all of you Snatchaholics after the weekend!

Here is the workout I did in Plymouth MN two weeks ago, only all rest periods, all rest periods, were only 15 seconds long!  I took them through a short 10 minute warm up first...(the warm up routine is coming, as it's part of this weekends classes)




10 2 hd sw10 tr,  1/2 sw ld, 5/5, 10 R, 10 L, 5/5, 2/1 sw ld, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw (15/15 sec rest between all 10 rep sets, 5 min) (video)

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr (30 sec rest) 1/2 sw ld, 5/5, 10 R, 10 L 5/5, 2/1 sw ld, 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (30) (5 min)

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr + 1/2 sw ld (45 sec rest) 5/5, 10 R 10 L, 5/5, 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (45) (5 min)

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr + 1/2 sw ld + 5/5 (1 min rest) 10 R,  10 L  5/5 + 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (1)

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr + 1/2 sw ld + 5/5 + 10 R (1 min) 10 L + 5/5 + 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (1 min)(4.5)

10 2 hd sw + 10 tr + 1/2 sw ld + 5/5 + 10 R + 10 L + 5/5 + 2/1 sw ld + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (2.5 min) (video)

23.5 min
600 swings

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Adding Muscle" is not about losing weight! Book signing, Programming the Kettlebell Swing 2 workshop, Intermediate and Beginners level Swing Classes



















In Timothy Feriss's 4-Hour Body "Adding Muscle" is the title of the section where you will find my story.  My 100lb plus weight loss is not in the losing fat section, my physical transformation is as much, if not more, about building and adding muscle.  There is a misconception about what having muscle is, as well as building muscle.

Losing weight, or even "getting lean", or "leaner", does not mean you will be left with much muscle mass if you don't have much to start with.  And you don't have much to start with if you are not doing anything to build muscle, much less "keep" muscle.  Building muscle requires at least two things....training and eating!  Keeping muscle and getting leaner, or losing only bodyfat requires that you first have muscle, and then it gets very, very scientific to learn how to train, what to eat and not eat while retaining as much muscle as you can.  Getting "lean" is not about losing weight because the more weight you lose, especially if you do it quickly, the more than likely a good portion of it will be that hard earned muscle you have been training and eating up for!

But this post is not about the science of getting lean, it's about building muscle!

As I get ready for a very exciting Swing Workshop and class schedule in Modesto at Full Force PT this weekend I wanted to remind people that the type of training I do, while helping to promote weightloss, is so much more than that.  How I train the kettlebell ballistics builds some incredible muscle while burning fat, increasing cardio endurance bringing out the human animal, the inner bad ass, and the athlete inside of so many of us in the process!  Which is why this, almost 50 year old, former fat girl can challenge any level of athlete with my programmed kettlebell swing workouts!  Training the kettlebell swing is not just for weightloss!  It can transform any size physique by adding more muscle.

So time to promote my "Programming the Kettlebell Swing 2" and Intermediate level, Beginning level high volume "TracyStyle" workshop and classes this Sunday 5/6 at Full Force PT in Modesto CA.  And I'll let you in on the little bonus now...of course Master Instructor Mark Reifkind (my sweetie!) will assist me in answering all questions about training and diet!  How freakin' lucky are all of us going to be?

"Programming the Kettlebell Swing 2"  is a 2 hour workshop designed for Instructors as well as kettlebell athletes interested in learning how to use this one foundational kettlebell movement, the swing, to teach clients and students (and themselves!) how to train for maximum effectiveness, and why you would want to!  It is a "hands on bells" workshop that will take you through all of my swing progressions as well as short routines demonstrating how to use them. I will be teaching;

OTM training (on the minute).
Pace and cadence training
Hardstyle swings
Power Swings
Swing progressions.
Teaching the one hand swing and the differences and benefits.
"Work into rest method"
"Give and Take method"
"Roundabout" and brand new never publicized variations of the Roundabout!
"Kettlebell Split" a double KB method created my me that will finish off the workshop as well as all attending!

And who know what else!  Seriously, you will not leave without having experienced all there is about the swing and you will be surprised at how much there is to know!  Can we get it all into 2 hours?  Maybe not, but we'll see who's left standing at the end!

And then....

I will happily lead two 30 minute swing classes designed for Intermediate level students and Beginning level students.

Intermediate level describes that you can swing at "equal work to equal rest" intervals.  You are proficient at the one hand swing and have been training for at least 8 weeks.  600 swings minimum.

Beginning level describes that you are not yet to "equal work to equal rest", and that's perfectly fine!  We all have to start somewhere, right?

Book signing to follow, and if anybody wants to listen to me talk, and talk, and talk about what a miracle this training has meant to my life and how it could do the same for you!


If you are within driving distance of this event you would be out of your mind to miss it!  BUT, if you own a Studio or Gym that trains kettlebells and are interested in hosting your own Book signing/Workshop/Swing class event leave a comment, message me on facebook, or email me and I will gladly help you promote it!  Let's get some swing parties started!

Pictures above:  Top left, a recent picture taken from a video showing how much muscle I've built in the past 5 years compared to picture on top right taken of me at the same body weight of approx 135-140lbs.  The top right picture was taken in Nov 2005, right at 100lb weight loss and 5 months before I earned my RKC.  At the time I was delighted with the amount of "muscle tone" I was able to get from minimal swing training compared to the picture on bottom right taken in front of the Colosseum on a trip Rome, Italy in Feb., 2002 weighing over 250lbs.

For more information on registration contact Full Force Pt in Modesto Ca.  You can find them here on facebook http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001858123319