Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kettlebell Sport

This is really just a short blog post about a competition I'm going to be participating in next weekend 2/9 in Costa Mesa, Ca.  It's going to be short because in all honestly I really don't know much about it yet, both the sport and the competition, and I was reminded of how little I really knew about it yesterday.

Yesterday, Tuesday morning, after my early training I met with an athlete and coach of Girya Sport, John Wild Buckley. John was generous enough to drive to Palo Alto, from Oakland, and spend an hour or so with me, teaching me what he could (at this point, competition 12 days away) about the events I am registered to compete in, a 5 minute snatch test, and the 10 min short cylcle clean and jerk (only one clean, then consecutive jerks, and with only one hand switch for the duration).  All I can say is wow!  Very interesting and challenging stuff!  Okay, I said it was going to be short, and when I'm confident enough about giving more information I will.

Breathing is key
Timing/pacing is key (right up my alley! I love this part!)
Rest/relaxation is key
Alignment is key  (again, right up my alley! I so need this concept in all parts of my life)
Technique is key
Strength, of course, is key
Mental strength, and I got me some of that, is key

This could all be said about any sport I guess!  These are some of the things that separate sport from exercise.  Exciting huh?

The first five skills are what my main focus is going to be in the next 11 days now...the other two things I've already built a foundation that, fingers crossed, will carry me through the first five!  I'll keep you all posted!

Here is video of my last set being coached by John.  It was 4 minutes long and I was concentrating on the new breathing technique and pace that he showed me that I forgot a bunch of other stuff!  The pace was 12 reps per minute (I believe).  My lats are pretty sore this morning!  Yay!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Almost half way done.

Looking in the mirror, watching myself stretch after my yoga practice this morning I can't help but like what I see.  I see a nicely shaped athletic body and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself as I start to think about how lucky I am.

Looking in the mirror, the image I see is one that I thought was impossible, for me, at least.  But now it seems so natural, as if it was here all along.  I ask myself questions like, "where were you?"  You know, when you didn't look like this, and when you didn't feel like this.  Where were you?  Who were you?  Why now?  Why not then?  

I wasn't actually looking for the answers to those questions because I remember who I was and what I was doing and/or NOT doing.  That's all done, but is it?  There are still things I haven't finished, or repaired.  

It's time.  I can cross health and fitness off the list, and it's time to feel proud of every part of my life.  After all I'm just about half way done!

Happy New Week!

Monday is pretty close to my favorite day of the week!  I like them all, for different reasons;

Tuesday is my first kettlebell workout of the week (love).
Wednesday is normally a writing/ cooking morning and yoga practice.
Thursday's kettlebells take up most of my day starting at 5:30am with my own training.  And since it's been freezing, it's especially challenging, which adds to the hardcore feeling of it (which I like)
Friday....I like Friday because it's Friday!  (and lots of other reasons too!)
Saturday.  Yikes!  On Saturdays I don't much think about what lie ahead!  It's the hardest training day of my week by far, starting at 7:00 am and most weekends going on until 12-12:30...I love it!  Not time to think, just to do!
Sunday.  Sunday actually may be my least favorite day.  Sunday has no routine, no regular plans, it's completely willy nilly.  I should change that....yes, I think I will!

Monday.  Ah, Monday!  So nice to be back to the routine! But that's not what I like so much about it.  What I like most about Mondays is that, like the first of the New Year, Monday is the first of the New Week!  It's like a celebration every 7 days!

I get to start over.  I get a chance to "fix" what I didn't like the week before, or repeat what I did like, and make it better.  It's a brand new day to a brand new week.  Monday is always hopeful, at least I always feel hopeful on Mondays.

Have you already forgotten that it's only been a few weeks since Jan 1st?  Lucky us that every New Year starts with  New Week, and a New Day!  And every Monday I remember better, that I have such a wonderful life.....and it's only the beginning!

Have a Happy New Week and a wonderful Monday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"It's Just Cooking" Lamb and Lentil Chili w/sweet potato

It's rare that I'm not happy!  But that was my first feelings when I, #1 saw the cuts of lamb that I had to choose from at WF (and the $$), #2 debated on how complicated I wanted to make my life, then bought some anyway, and #3 now had to deal with it.

I originally went to WF for those beautiful shoulder chops I got the last time.....but none to be found.  Whole Foods has two types of lamb right now, "local" grass fed, and New Zealand.  The price difference was only going to be substantial because I needed over 2lbs (local grass fed about $1-3.00lb more) but on this day they had no option of any NZ, and no shoulder chops at all.  As a fairly experienced home cook I should know that when you go to the market you should take into account  what looks good that day, what they have available, and even sometimes what's the best value.  You should not have your decision carved in stone before you get to the market!  Anyway...

The only lamb that was under $10 a pound was the local grass fed "stew" meat, bone in ($9.99lb).  Usually I jump at 'bone in' stew meat, but this was almost all bone!  All I could see were the bones that looked, to me, like neck/shoulder, but I still bought it because the bone lulled me into visions of super rich stew! (can you imagine if they sold it as "lamb neck" meat @ $9.99lb ?  Who would buy it? lol I mean, besides me?). Because it was basically $10 per lb I only bought 2lbs, and for $20 I thought I would hardly get any meat off of it...darn.  Dumb.  I was not motivated to do anything with it, and I almost just threw it in the freezer for another day but here's what I came up with:


Lamb and Lentil Chili w/sweet potatoes

2 lbs lamb stew meat (browned and removed to the side)

onion, 1 med
celery, 2 stlaks
red bell, 1
jalapeno (I only had one)

all cut into small dice (picture on left), then saute in oil until onion/veg are soft and translucent. Add

chili spices (chili powder 2 tbl, ground oregano 1 tbl, 2 tbl ground cumin, and I forgot 1 tbl paprika, oops!)

once you smell the spices toast, add

2 tbl tomato paste (toast for 1-2 min)
1 can diced tomatoes
3-4 cans of water (use the tomato can to measure)

1-2 bay leaves
1 head of garlic (bottom third cut off to expose cloves)

Oh, and all along the way you should be seasoning each step with a GPS (generous pinch of salt).  Finally add

1 cup lentils (brown or green)
1 lg sweet potato/ yam, shredded (pictured on left)

add the browned lamb back into the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

Lock lid in place, bring pressure to high, lower pressure and cook 30 minutes.  A pressure cooker reduces cooking time by about 1/3, so if you are doing this in a dutch oven on top of the stove you would,

cover with lid,
bring to a boil,
lower to a simmer slightly covered,
and cook until meat is tender,
about 1 hr.

Remove bay leaves, garlic bulb.  Also if using bone in stew meat (like I did) you have to remove it, let it cool and shred the meat from the bones and returning the meat to the chili.

You may also be able to braise this in an oven, so instead of finishing on the top of the stove, place covered pot in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hr (after bringing to a boil). (remove the lid the last 20 minutes, making sure it doesn't dry out).

So why wasn't I happy?  I didn't think there was enough meat (especially for the $$) and I was pissed!  That unmotivated me to want to put in any extra work, in the form of a ton of veg prep, and is why I choose lentils over the extra step of pre soaking (or fast soaking ) beans.  Once I got over it and remembered "it's just cooking" I decided to try and make it work.  The only reason why I put a sweet potato in it was that there was one on my counter sprouting and I didn't want to "waste it"!  But it shredding it worked our beautifully!

Really the only drawback is that I had to remove the meat and let cool long enough to remove the shredded and melted away from the bone!  It's dee-licious!  I don't know why I made such a freakin' fuss!  And in fact, I discovered a couple of things I really liked about this recipe that I had never done before!

The shredded sweet potato practically melted into the chili, you would never notice it at all. But it gave the stew body and flavor.  I had decided to use a cheese grater to shred the raw yam because I didn't feel like dicing it as small as I had the other veggies and I didn't want the chili to have even small chunks of yam.  Funny thing is, because I was still a little po'ed while prepping this I was regretting going through the trouble of grating it at all because it was not my favorite Garnet or Japanese yam, and I was thinking I should have just thrown it away!  So glad I didn't because I will be doing this again with most of my future chili recipes, if not all of them!

And using lentils was genius (okay, I might be over exaggerating!).  The reason I diced the veg small was to match the lentils, that, and because I did not want chunky veg in my chili.  When it was finished I thought about using my immersion blender (the meat was removed) but it was perfect as less step!

Fingers crossed I take a great picture of the finished product!  But This is another recipe "keeper"!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Bottom row, 6 and 7 from left Michelle Carlborg and me...I'm sorry I don't have the names of everybody that came out Friday morning, but I thank you all!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Michelle's "Crazies"

I love me some "crazies"!  But, good-ness it can be scary!  How do you think you would feel watching this group set up?

We all had a blast!  Thanks to Michelle Carlborg, in Carmel Valley, it was an honor, really, it was!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Getting to 10 continous reps

10 kettlebell swing reps with the right weight ain't no joke!  If you forgot how challenging that was when you first learned, then pick up a heavier bell!  I work with new people all the time, most are not, or never have considered themselves "athletic", and may have never really exercised on a regular basis before.  Even if they had, I've seen 10 kettlebell swings take the wind from runners, triathletes, and lots of people that pride themselves with their current level of fitness.  But any exercise can be difficult if you've never done it before or if you don't do it become good at what you practice.  If you don't practice swings how can you improve?  It's the same with any skill.

Since I work with many clients brand new to kettlebells, and most times brand new to exercise, here is a little  swing rep ladder drill to coach them to 10 continuous swing reps.

The pattern becomes obvious and it's one I use in tons and tons of workouts!  You simply split 10 in half into two sets of 5, and work back up to one set of 10.  I call these "double sets", 5/5, 6/4, 7/3, 8/2, 9/1, until you get to the last and single set of 10.  The important part is after the first set, in a double set, take as much rest as you need before starting the next double set.  This does not need to be done on a clock.  The only part that is "timed" is when I'm swinging during your first rest period.  Remember, after your second set, in the double set, take the rest you need!

In the video we start a double set every 45 seconds, which means this demonstration is roughly a 2 parts rest to 1 part work ratio.  If you are an Instructor it's a great way for you to coach a client who need more rest, OR if you train with a partner that needs more rest than you do (or you need more rest than they do!).  One person does the double set, while the other only does the first set, the set in between the other's double set....make sense?  (great for husband and wife training together as usually one of them needs more rest....and I'm not going to say which one!)

I'm here in San Diego today and tomorrow swinging my little heart out!  So no excuse, get to it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ease, Beauty and Grace. A Trick?

Probably the biggest "secret", or "trick" I've learned when it comes anything and everything in my life is "alignment". For years now I've been aware of what some may consider a metaphysical concept of "aligning" yourself up with good fortune, happiness, success, etc, but what does that really mean, and how do you do it, or remember to do it often enough to see or feel the results, or the changes you say you want?

The first time the light bulb went off it was at Hardstyle Ventura when Mark was teaching the skill of how to learn/teach the "handstand".  I remember very distinctly his description of "stacking".  Placing your hands in position, stacking your shoulders over your hands, stacking your hips over your shoulders, stacking your legs/feet over your hips.  "Stacking" is aligning.  Hmnn....  Even if I couldn't do it (a handstand), it was very visual.  Shoulders over hands, hips over shoulders...etc...  It helped me to immediately visualize some of the postures in my yoga practice that could benefit from this kind of thinking.  So, when I got home I started to put this idea of stacking to work.

Now I was able to see some of the postures that I thought were giving me grief, in a different way.  I had been judging my ability personally!  Instead of simply looking at the postures as "tricks".  The postures have order, like the handstand.  You can't skip over one, in a hurry to get to what you think is the perfect end result.  The process of stacking, aligning, balance, going through the steps, and figuring out how to get what you want is the experience!  As you see it you start to feel it all come into order!  What fun.

How can I apply this to other things?  The most important revelation was to calm down and not take anything personally, or literally.  It's all a trick, a game. You ( I ) can learn how to create magic!  There is an order to it all.  If something is not going my way I close my eyes and ask myself, am I aligned with what I want?  Have I put myself in the right position?  Can I see a different outcome or success by changing how I feel about it?

Most of the time I go through my day without a thought until something that I don't want to happen, happens!  And it's easy to just react to it, and accept my bad fortune because that's the habit of what I've done in my life more times than not.  It's not until something really bums me out that I decide that I'm the boss of how I feel and what I do about any particular situation.  It's not that serious unless I make it so.

Top photo above:  "Standing Bow" is the "kettlebell snatch" of Bikrams yoga in my opinion!  Everybody wants to do it, and do it perfectly and beautifully!  Standing Bow pulling pose is a perfect example of alignment being absolute key to success.  One you find your balance, in order, starting at the root, which is your foot through the ground.  You then pay attention to finding the balance at the three points. Up through your standing leg, behind and out to the tip of your kicking toes, and your forward reaching fingertips.  Do not proceed until you find your balance!  There is no hurry and there are no shortcuts!  The very first clue that you are NOT aligned are your toes behind you as you kick up towards the ceiling!  You should see your toes should be coming up the middle and behind your head, exactly, like an Indians feather!

Can you think of how this thought of "stacking" might help you improve something in your life?  Or maybe you already think in this way.  What was something your felt, achieved or improved once you aligned yourself with it?

Once you find the right alignment, see the alignment, then quite possibly ease, beauty and grace will find you....let it!  It's not a trick, I prefer to see it as magic!

(bottom photo is Mark helping Pavel with his handstand at Hardstyle Ventura)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let's Do It Again!

3000 swings after only 6 months of training?  One of my newest students, Monica Worline, actually volunteered and participated in the video taping of my next two DVD's we did at Modesto's Full Force PT last November.  And she still looked great when it was all over, and can't wait to do it again!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Get "Skinny"

Let's get right down to it, shall we? We all want to lose weight and look great. Food, cooking, training? So what. Those are all bonuses...or so we think at first. Skinny solves everything, so let's get skinny! 

I'm going to be in San Diego next Saturda (1/19) at Franz and Yoana Snideman's Revolution Fitness in La Jolla demonstrating, teaching and talking about how I did it, and how the kettelbell swing can help you and/or your clients. Time is running sign up and for you to look, feel and be your absolute best. Come do, hear, and see what it's all about! And, The Swing is for everybody, no one is left out, or behind!

I just posted this on facebook to promote what The Swing is all about, for me.  I used the word, the description, "skinny" only because most people that are not skinny can relate to wanting the feeling of being "skinny".  Kate Moss, in addition to being a famous supermodel, is well known for saying "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels", and I do believe that at the end of the day that may well be true for a lot of people.  I know for me many of the foods I used to think I enjoyed are no longer attractive in a way they used to be.  I can only speak for myself, and that's why I wrote "skinny solves everything", because if I had to chose between being "strong", and being skinny I'm not ashamed to say that I would lean toward skinny.

I've spent most of my life fat and it is not fun.  No part about it is fun.  I feel very fortunate to have experienced being, or more accurately feeling skinny, after spending so much of my life being over fat.  But I've also been too skinny, so I'm not talking about being, or becoming, clinically underweight.  I'm not talking about anorexia, I've had a touch of that, and it ain't pretty.  I'm talking about the feeling of being light and carefree.  Free of the weight, free of the heaviness.  Free of the chains and shackles of carrying over 100lbs of extra flesh and fat that kept me from expressing who I truly am.

I'm not going to apologize for being dramatic here.  I'm being dramatic because it's really how I feel.  It's the drama, the passion, call it what you want, but it's the same energy that came through at my first meeting with my editor at Harper One, Nancy Hancock, when she asked me why I wanted to write a book, why I wanted to have my story published.....they just don't hand out book deals!

In the past year I almost forgot what it was that I'm so moved by.  Moved to want "This" for everybody, especially for those of us that have never had it (sorry to all of you late comers!)  "This" is the joy and happiness I get from discovering my way of creating this miracle in my life.  "This" is the miracle.  The miracle of what you think being skinny is all about.  And whatever you think it's all about is here for you, it's here for every one. 

It may be training kettlebells that could be your motivation, obviously it has been mine because it so quickly changed the shape of my body fueling my motivation to not only stay the course of my new diet, but to want even more once the possibilities started showing themselves through both diet and exercise.

It could be a TRX class,  Zumba, Bodypump, Jazzercise, powerlifting, or Spinning, Crossfit, the thought of wanting to run a marathon, or whatever.  Pick one, pick them all.  Once you release the thoughts that it's too late nothing is off limits.  

Come see me.  Come swing with me.  Come talk with me.  I'll remind you again that it's not too late, in fact it's the perfect time.  Oh, and it's going to be fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday...just another freezing day at the office!

I already shared these pictures on face book but I thought I'd post them here also.

We had a big ole heavy swing workout this morning, me and my two Thursday morning "office mates".  I knew once we got started we would forget it was close to, if not, freezing cold.  A few runny noses, but not much time to think about it once the training started.

It was kind of a testing day...more details to come as they unfold....I still have to count Maribel's and Brenda's reps via video (that will take over an hour!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kettlebell Kamp!

I will be in San Diego next weekend leading an hour long swing class as well as teaching my methods and techniques for training the kettlebell Swing AND Snatch at Revolution Fitness, owned and operated by Franz and Yoana Snideman. (Jan 19th starting at 9:00am)

But first, Friday, the morning before, I was graciously invited to lead some of San Diego's hardest of hardcore at Michelle Carlborg's Kettlebell Kamp!  Here is the info she put together in an email to her regular students.  You can get more info about Michelle and her KBKamp here:

Michelle Carlborg

Announcing your Guest Instructor
Friday, January 18th!



Food and Fitness Blogger

Featured in a New York Times Bestseller

Bikram Yoga Addict
LuLuLemon Junkie

The Amazing Shrinking Woman

The Queen of Swing

Get ready to swing and snatch the morning away
with the amazing and super cool

Clear your calendar now.
You don't want to miss it.

I'm going to be practicing, and I've already got some plans....a more advanced D30 routine I call, "D30, 2.0"!  Be there or be square!

Here is a short video of Michelle and I doing some power swings last year in San Clemente, on the roof top of Gabby Disson-Eboral's North Beach Kettlebells!

Winter Lamb Stew with Orecchiette Pasta and Garbanzo Beans....recipe and technique coming soon!

I'm going to do a beef version of this over the weekend.  Lamb is not for everybody!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back to Food and Thought....Scalloped Purple Potato and Rutabaga

Enough with the training already, right?  Well, for now at least.  Besides those last 4 workouts should keep you busy for a while.

Monday is our garbage pick up day and the perfect morning to clean out the fridge. (am I the only one wanting to clean out everything?  The fridge/freezer, the pantry, the closets...natural I think, right after Xmas...)  I've been away from most of my "normal" foods and meals, partly because of the season, and partly because, I have to admit, I did partake in more holiday foods this year than the last 6 years combined. Still it wasn't bad at all, not even close.  I didn't gain an ounce, and in fact I pretty much weigh what I have all year, but my nutrition was...well, kinda weird. I am a firm believer in "trade-offs", diet/calorie trade offs for sure.  Last month candy was the culprit...I mean I was a culprit and I was the one that preyed on candy!  And since I picked it, I had to play it!  But that was then, this is now...

Ah, Monday!  One of my favorite days of the week.  Clean out the fridge, prepare and portion, and I'm ready for the next 5 days at least!  I hadn't really cleaned out the fridge since before the Christmas and, good-ness, it was way past time.  What did I find?  Hmnn...  Tons of animal fat saved in small ramekins!  I meant to make more gravies for Mark, and also do a little more roasting and sauteeing using the flavored fats from the rib roast, the veal chorizo, the chickens, etc.  Use it or lose it time!  I threw out most of it, freezing the beef fat and the spicy chorizo fat.

I also found a whole unopened pint of heavy cream (expiration date of 12/8!  whoops...still smelled OK, lol), a bunch of purple potatoes way back from CSA (months ago...yikes!), 1/2 container of shredded parmesan cheese....or and two large rutabagas I bought at least 3 weeks ago.  Sounds like it's time for a scalloped potato casserole!  Personally I'm not a big potato fan.  don't get me wrong, I love potatoes, mashed, baked, french fries, and certainly scalloped!  But I wouldn't pick them from a menu, nor when they sit in the fridge am I tempted to choose them...not sure why.  But Mark loves potatoes!  (not sweet potatoes though...I know, I know, what the heck, right?)

What I did not have was any milk, and only 1 c. of heavy cream just was not going to get it done! (just for the record I only use whole milk and whole milk products)  What I did have was some super duper rich chicken stock made from those super duper $30 chickens.  If that stuff doesn't wreak of nutrition then I don't know what does, lol!  I loved the end result!

1 c. heavy cream, 1 c. rich chicken stock, 2 eggs (good pinch of salt).   Thinly slice potatoes (on a should own one, really you should!) or a combination of root veg like rutabaga, parsnip, carrot, or even squash, and toss in a large bowl with shredded 3/4-1 c shredded parmesan cheese, and yes,  another good pinch of salt!  Pour cream mixture over potatoes and cheese and then transfer to casserole, making sure you have enough liquid to come at least half way up the sides of your dish.  Top with more cheese!  Cover with foil (making a few steam vents), bake in a 350-375 oven for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes until golden brown on top.  As yummy as mine looked at this time I went ahead and put the broiler on....whoops, that was almost a disaster!  keep an eye on it, or set a timer for every minute!

I mean really, how can you go wrong?  I liked the addition of the stock so much I just pulled more out of the freezer for next time...when is next time you ask?  Well, soon!  But next time I think I'm going to make the Rutabaga the star that it deserves to be!  More on that next time!  Enjoy!  And please do share your ideas and/or recipe for potato casserole!

PS  I think I'm officially going to claim "POS", short for "a good pinch of salt"  You know, kind of like how Rachel Ray is known for "EVOO" (extra virgin olive oil).  "POS", a good pinch of salt!

On an entirely different note...I learned a lot about my intolerant, bitchy, know it all, self during my yoga practice this morning.  I realized that one of the characteristics that I find most annoying in other people is when someone "doesn't know what they don't know".  Hmn...could that be me?  I'm annoying myself!  Lately I'm being more and more humbled through my yoga practice.  More about that one too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Final 500! (revised 1/7) The Swing Quest 2013! The first 500, and the next....and the next! Almost there! Don't be stuck in 2012!

Yesterday, Tuesday January 1st, I lead my class through a 2013 rep swing workout.  The important part was not complete 2013 swing reps that day, but to work towards this marathon swing event that I will be hosting 3 more times this year in preparation for The Swing Quest 2014!

I designed The Swing Quest 2013 workout based on a compilation of some of my best beginners swing workouts that I posted here,on my blog, over the past year, 2012.  Over the next few days I will revise this blog post to include all 5 workouts, done progressively, so you can practice them individually, or together, and join us for the next event, Sat., March 30, 2013!  The Swing Quest 2013 is basically broken down into four 500 rep workouts with some "bonus" options.  I've adjusted the workouts below to equal 500 reps, but the ones we did on Tuesday are also slightly different, so practice these first!

The first 500 rep workout was a version of this "One Hand Swing Practice Ladder" workout I posted Friday, April 20, 2012.  You can find all of the details about this original version here:  

In the first video I talk about the workout along with demonstrating the two "tricky" sets of 9 two hand swings + 1 one hand swing...try it!

On to the workout.  Again, I've adjusted it to suggest how to make it a 500 rep workout.  If you have been swinging for less that 3 months you first goal is to complete it one time through.  Remember, there is no hurry because there are many more swing reps where these came from!  In this second video I demonstrate an entire rotation (but I screw up a bit!)

10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
9/1 x 2 (1 set R, rest, 1 set L, rest)
8/2 x 2 (this is where I keep screwing up...and then I repeat the screw up!  oh well, you get it, right?)
7/3 x 2
6/4 x 2
5/5 x 2
4/6 x 2
3/7 x 2
2/8 x 2
1/9 x 2
10/10 one hand swings x 1

11 minutes, 220 swings

repeat twice, in the same order, or backwards!  If you did the first 4 practice sets in the first video, add on two more sets of 10 two hand swings to equal 500 swing reps! (25 min total workout)

With the exception of the very first sets of all tow hand swings, and the last set of 10/10 one hand swings, all work sets start with two hands on the bell, and then each set is performed R and L separately.  For instance, when you read 5/5, that means 5 2 hd swings, and 5 one hand swings, either R or L.  This entire workout is designed with "equal work to rest" intervals, but if you are not training at that ratio yet I suggest completing 2 sets (one R, one L) with the prescribed 15/15, and then take the extra rest you need, starting again with the next two sets.  Always, always take the rest you need!  this is your workout, you design it!

Next?  "Ten"

Remember that The Swing Quest 2013 workout is based on these past workouts.  Fingers crossed you practice these, and upcoming workouts, so on March 30, in three months, you can test your increased strength and endurance, and then all though out the year!

I warned my group that this next part of the workout would be the most boring, and let me tell you that this original version is way more entertaining than what actually went down!  See how lucky you are that this workout is only 300 reps!  If you want to make it a 500 rep workout repeat the first 9 minutes (as demonstrated in the video), and add one last set of 20 two hand swings.

10 2 hd sw (15/15 = 30 sec)
10 R / 10 L one hand sw (30/30 = 1 min)

10 2 hd sw x 2 (15/15 x 2 = 1 min)
10 R / 10 L one hand sw x 2 (30/30 x 2 = 2 min)

10 2 hd sw x 3 (15/15 x 3 = 1.5 min)
10 R / 10 L one hand sw x 3 (30/30 x 3 = 3 min) (video ends here)

10 2 hd sw x 4 (15/15 x 3 = 2 min)
10 R / 10 L one hand sw x 4 (30/30 x 4 = 4 min)

15 min. 300 swings

Ten at a time...two swing combinations only, 10 reps done with a 2 hand swing, and 10 R/ 10 L one hand swings (20 rep set).  This workout is designed to use only one bell, and I suggest only going through the workout once if you have only been practicing the swing for less that 2-3 months (consisently!).

See the original blogpost and an advanced "Ten" workout here:

More to fact over 1000 more swing reps! Here is the workout I posted this past August 10.  It's a "No Brainer" swing workout that originally had sets of 50 reps.  For The Swing Quest 2013 workout I adjusted the rep count to 40 reps, 1 minute of swings, with 1 minute of rest.  It's another simple repetitious theme (hence the "No brainer" title)  Here is the link to the original post:

I used all of my 10 rep swing combinations, and because I was concentrating on the order of it all, by the time I got to the 3rd set I had forgotten that I was thinking this was going to be torture and a new routine started to come together.  The first half is in fact a No Brainer, simply alternating 10 two hand swings with a 10 rep swing combination, but I changed a few things up instead of repeating the first 5 sets exactly.

No Brainer (revised to 40 rep sets)

start with a warm up of 10 rep sets (15/15 work to rest)

10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
10 tr x 2 sets
1/2 sw ld x 2 sets
5/5 x 2 sets
10 R x 1 set
10 L x 1 set
100 reps 5 min.

Work sets #1 

10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr

#2 10 2 hd sw, 1/2 sw ld, 10 2 hd sw, 1/2 sw ld

#3 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5

these next two are a bit unexpected:

#4 10 2 hd sw, 10 R, 10 2 hd sw, 10 R 

#5 10 2 hd sw, 10 L, 10 2 hd sw, 10 L

200 reps, 5 sets of 40 (1 min work, 1 min rest)

(total workout including warm up and repeat of the 5 work sets
500 reps, 25 min.)
In the last two set where I alternate 10 one hand swings with my 10 2 hd swings I return back to the same side within the set, so R and L are done separately.  It adds a little higher level of strength/difficulty which led me to experiment with the next progression, which lead me to the next routine.  But, repeat this starting again with the first set. or if you want to use a few brain cells, repeat it backwards, laddering down the progressions for the second half (rotation #5, 4, 3, 2, 1).

Sorry no are on your own!  Will you do it?

and then the last 500!

"Long and Short" 

This workout has both long and short swing rep sets...hence the name!  It's a great routine to do with a group or partners at different levels of conditioning and strength as the options to take work sets out come often if extra rest is needed.  The rep counts are relatively low, with so many sets of only 10 reps using a much heavier bell will easily increase the intensity for some one more advanced.  While the one hand swing sets increase in rep count, the number of one hand swings ladder up in difficulty one rep at a time, and these longer and longer sets increase by only 15 seconds each progression.  Go as far as you feel you can safely maintain proper technique and form.

10 2 hd sw x 1 (15/15)
10 transfer swings x 1 (15/15)
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets (15/15 x 2)
1 sw, 1 tr x 10 x 1 set (20 swings, 30/30)
10 2 hd sw x 3 set (15/15 x 3)
2 sw, 1 tr x 10 x 1 set (30 swings, 45/45 sec)
10 2 hd sw x 4 sets (15/15 x 4)
3 sw, 1 tr x 10 x 1 set (40 swings, 1 min/1 min)

10 minutes, 200 swings

To make this a 500 swing rep workout, repeat above work sets and add:

10 2 hd sw x 4 sets (15/15)
2 sw, 1 tr x 10 (30 reps 45/45)
1 sw, 1 tr x 10 (30/30)
10 tr (15/15)

5 min., 100 swing reps

2000 swing reps, add in 13 swing however you like them and join us the rest of the year for more!

There you have it! These routines are designed to be trained individually as well as together and reflect progressive skill and work loads.  If you practice them you will be ready for anything I throw at you if you decide to join us for March 30th's The Swing Quest 2013.  This years routines will be based on these four close will you come?  But no worries, there will always be more swings where these come from!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Breaking Habits, Establishing Habits and Trade Offs

Happy New Year!  And yes, I do have an extraordinary 2013 swing workout to share with you, but first let's share some thoughts on New Years Resolutions...shall we?

I really wanted to resist jumping on the Resolution band wagon, BUT....January 1st, the very first day of a new calendar year is just so juicy!  It's a big, bold, event in our 'time based' culture, and I, for one, as much as I want to rebel against using this day, this date, as a 'marker', I find it just too...well....alluring!

First of all, what is a resolution?  To me. when I think of something I want to change about me, or my life, it always relates to a habit that no longer serves me in a way that helps me be, or become, or live the life that makes, or helps to make me, feel my absolute best.  So I think about resolving to some sort of change.  I've had 'tastes' of feeling my absolute best, and let me tell you.....I've visited that place numerous times, but I don't 'live' there!  I want to live there, I want to reside at my feeling my best!  Although I've made many permanent changes in my habits of health and fitness there are a few more 'details' that somehow elude me.

Let's get on with it, shall we?  New Years Resolution:

#1  And this happened to me today.  I never, ever, ever again, want to react in a way that I buy food, especially 'treats' because they are on sale.  (breaking habit)

This should be interesting.  Today I bought 9 bags of candy because it was marked down on sale after the Holiday....and I only bought nine bags because I only had $11 in cash!  (even I won't use a credit card for candy on sale...maybe....ok, I admit I would, but I didn't today!)  I've written about it many, many times before and today was the final straw.  No more silliness.

#2  I really, really, really, want to balance out my training.

I love doing what I'm good at!  That explains why I'm not good at doing other things!  I've got to stop over training my strengths and start incorporating training some of my weaknesses.  I've got to pull back on so much ballistic training and add in a progressive approach to other types of physical skills because I want to be good at other things.  I want to be able to do strong push ups and pull ups, head stands, hand stands.  I want to be able to have the ankle flexibility required for squats and pistols.  I want to be able to run a mile or two (did I say run?  I meant, maybe, jog!)...and I want to increase my absolute strength.

I don't feel bad about myself that I can't 'do it all', but I want to round out some of my training to improve my overall physical conditioning. (establishing habits)

#3  I want my bicep vein back!

In other words, I want to be a little bit leaner.  Currently I weigh 140lbs, give or take 2lbs depending on what day of the week it is!.  I feel super great at 135-137lbs, and I feel super duper great at 134lbs.  I know it may seem like nothing, and I remember weighing 250lbs thinking I would feel super duper great at 200lb!  Seriously I remember what that was like...I do.

Some of my readers may think that 2 lbs one way or another, what am I complaining about?  I'm not complaining.  I take full responsibility for where I am, and what I weigh.  It's not a mystery.  I'm not a victim of the fat fairy.  I know what I need to do, and the eating habits I need to change to create a lighter, leaner body weight.  How much do I want it, and will it, in fact, make me feel happier?  Hmnn...something to think about.  So far, the trade offs haven't felt worth it, or I would have done it, and I'd be doing it now.  How badly do I want that bicep vein?  (trade-offs)

Oh, I've got a few more, probably.  But I'm going to start here.

#1 Don't buy any foods on sale.  Ever.  Period.  Over.

#2 Incorporate regular, at least 30 minutes of, training the skills needed to feel like a more 'rounded out' athlete.  Even if that means subtracting 30 minutes of ballistic training.

#3 Put up or shut up.  Counting calories?  Absolutely.  I know exactly how many calories I can consume to get 'leaner'.  Do I really want to make those trade offs?  Maybe, maybe not.  I'm cool with either/or, BUT, I need to never bitch about the result.  'Rock' the 140lbs and feel fabulous about it, or quit with the extra 500 daily calories that are keeping that bicep vein from making a permanent appearance!

These are some high quality problems for sure!  How freakin' lucky are we?

What's keeping you from truly enjoying all that you have so far?  Breaking an old habit, establishing a new?  Or deciding the value of trade-offs?  You can change it you know.  But will you?  Will I?  I'm going to say YES!

PS  in my opinion this sentence is really telling of what I need to do:
"How much do I want it, and will it in fact, make me feel happier?"
Feeling happier might bring, no, it will bring, what I want.  It's not the other way around.
"Feeling happier for what I have now, which is amazing, will, in fact, give me what I want."

Feeling happy is the end result. Bicep vein or no bicep vein, candy on sale or full price, what brings you happiness, contentment, pride, confidence?  Those feelings trump all.