Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Locust, Salabhasana

Lately my Bikrams yoga practice has much to be desired these days, but I'm fine with it. I must be fine with it because I'm not doing much, I mean enough, or something different to change it.  The good news is....well, there's a lot of good news!  First thing?  I'm still going!  Second?  It forces me to, at the very least, stretch for 90 minutes in a very warm, sometimes hot (blazing hot) environment and get a good sweat.  And it's that second reason that motivates me to go more often than not.  Third?  I've got a ton of cute yoga clothes!

I'm mostly motivated about stretching my forearms, hands and fingers....and traps!  Good-ness my traps are tight, tight, tight!  (damn jerks!)  But my traps are another post!  This post is about the tightness that builds up in my fingers, hands and arms from so much repetitive training.  Mostly I'm motivated to keep my hands and grip healthy to continue and improve and compete in my new sport, GS (Girevoy Sport)

One of my favorite postures is Locust (Salabhasana).  It's a posture done with your arms underneath your body, hands/palms facing down as if you were going to "bump" a volleyball.  Once in the position, you lift one leg at a time, for 10 seconds (approx), then both legs at once, for another 10 seconds.  How often does a person do this on their own? Never!  Which is why I so appreciate my practice these days!

As disciplined about exercise as I appear to be, I'm really only disciplined to do the things I love, which really isn't discipline!!!! The rest of the stuff ( know, the stuff I need to do) I find committing to a group or class situation, to force myself to actually do it, works best for me.

There is only so much time in a day, so many days a week and only so much energy to go around.  I'd love to do a ton more.  I'd love to Spin or get on a real bike,  I'd love to go to Granite Rock, I'd love to take adult ballet, all kinds of stuff!  I'd also love to be a "civilian" at least half of the day or a couple of days a week! (a "civilian" is a person that actually wears non exercise clothing and spends at least an equal amount of the day outside of the gym!)  So I will keep showing up to stretch out my body, to sweat, and to wear my cute yoga clothes!  How can any of it be a bad thing?

16kg and 20kg Roundabouts Which are Harder? Answer? Both!

Tuesday morning workout was hard!  Tons of swings, literally!  But first I thought this would be a good blog post to interject a question I often get asked about how much I train and if I do anything else beside swing!  Here is part of a question, asked by Thomasina Johnson on Facebook, and my answer:

"Besides the occasional yoga, do you only do K-bell SWINGS?if so i just think that is amazing.....I was just curious if you did any other routines. How long are your workout sessions and how many times/day do you workout

(my answer)

"Thank you for asking. Nothing comes before my swing workouts. When I started training I would spend 20-40 minutes practicing swing routines 2-3 times a week. Once you become skilled with the swing movement, it's only natural to want to move onto other skill, such as the kettlebell snatch, clean and press, and clean and squat. But the kb swing is the foundation to which all other kettlebell movements come from.

  • I had been swinging consistently an 8kg-12kg bell, twice a week for about 6 weeks, 15-20 min when I saw my body start to make some amazing changes. At that point I increased my workouts because it was well worth adding an extra day and an extra 10 minutes or so to my workouts. 

    I learned how to snatch, and then clean/press. All of my workouts started with swings, and then once a week I added snatches, once a week I added clean/press, the third workout remained all swings.

    Once I started teaching 4 years ago my training has increased two to three times the volume because I actually lead most of my classes, rep by rep through the 30, 45 and sometimes 90 minutes sessions. And over the last 3-4 years my musculature has become incredibly dense! Much more dense than most women would care to have!

    The reason why I promote the swing specifically is because the swing teaches you to "move" weight, not "lift" weight. And we can learn to use our hips and legs to "move" so much more weight than we could ever lift.

    I use the example of moving a chest of drawers across the room. Could you lift a chest of drawers? Um, no! But how strong do you think you would become moving a chest of drawers from one side of the room to the other, back and forth for 15-20 minutes three times a week? I'd guess pretty strong and fit to do that kind of work! And it would require your to use many muscles working simultaneously! I doubt you would have to do much else!

You can do as much as you want to and have time and money to do! But what do you have time and money to do? You may find that the faster you start feeling better about your health and fitness you will be motivated to want to do more and spend more on other forms of exercise, such as yoga classes or Zumba classes, or whatever!"

And speaking about "moving" weight!  Sunday and Tuesday workouts were both based on one particular combination of swings I call my "Roundabout".  Sunday I used the 20kg, yesterday I used the 16kg.  Which was more fun?  Both of them for different reasons!  Here is the workout I did, and then the breakdown and explanation of both methods of using ladders and interval timing.

A "Roundabout" is a combination of 8 swing reps.  One 2 hand swing (1), transfer swing to R (2), one R hand swing (3), transfer swing to 2 hands (4), one 2 hd sw (5), transfer swing to L (6), one L hand swing (7), transfer swing back to two hands (8), repeat.  Five Roundabouts = 40 reps. 40 reps = 1 minute of swings.

Roundabout Ladder Workout
(warm up 120-140 12kg swings approx)


5 rdbt (1 min rest)
5 + 1 = 6 rdbt (48 reps, 48 sec rest)
5 + 2 = 7 rdbt (56 reps, 36 sec rest)
5 + 3 = 8 rdbt (64 reps, 24 sec rest)
5 + 4 = 9 rdbt (72 reps, 12 sec rest)
5 + 5 = 10, NO rest + 5 = 15 rdbt! (120 reps, 3 min set, no rest, 3 sets in a row!)
Now we rest a full 1 min rest interval. Repeat and start again with;
6 rdbt (48 sec rest)
7 rdbt (36 sec rest)
8 rdbt (24 sec rest)
9 rdbt (12 sec rest)
15 rdbt! (120 reps, 0 rest)

The reason why the last set jumped from 9 to 15 rdbts is because it's really two sets of 5 roundabouts, with 5 roundabouts completed through the rest period.

25 minutes
760 16kg swings (19 min work/ 6 minute rest)
12 complete sets, 12,160 lbs moved

Compared to Sunday's 20kg Roundabout workout:

24.5 minutes
620 20kg swings (16.5 min work/ 8 min rest)
9 complete sets, 12,400 lbs moved

Sunday's Roundabouts laddered up by 10 reps per set, laddering only the one hand swing reps, always followed by an entire minute of rest.  A full minute of rest is luxurious!  The longest set was 80 continuous swings (2 min work), a 2 to 1 work to rest ratio.

Tuesday's Roundabouts laddered up the entire 8 rep rdbt, INTO the rest period, requiring more continuous reps (more work) while taking rest away, which magnifies the work to rest ratio.  Also take into account that the last 3 minute sets followed a 1 min 48 sec set with only 12 sec rest!  That equals out to almost 252 continuous reps! Ouch! The work to rest ratio is off the charts!  You can only try and average the workout as a whole, which is more than 3 to 1 work to rest (the last two sets = 4 to 1 work to rest)

Almost the same amount of weight moved, but with 25% less rest.

To calculate the ratio of the last two sets: 8 swings per Roundabout = 12 sec work.  9 + 15 rdbt = 24 rdbt = 288 seconds.  6 minutes was allowed in total = 360 seconds, leaving 72 seconds of rest.  288 seconds is 4 times 72....I think that's right!

I posted Sunday's workout w/video a couple of days ago, and you can find video demos of my Roundabout all over both of my blogs. You can also find how the Roundabout progression fits into my programs, and swing routines on my DVD "Programming the Kettlebell Swing".

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Training, Cooking, Family Reunion, Training

My blog seems to be overloaded with posts about workouts and training.  It's just easier to write about numbers. Recipes are the are basically numbers.  It's easy to post a captured still photo from my training video and/or a snapped picture of a salad or pot of soup!  Mostly though it's because training and food/diet, as it relates to health, are such a big part of my life.  I don't have many friends that also don't train and/or pay attention to living a healthier life not centered around getting together to eat foods I would not normally want to eat, or to eat at times of the day I feel the most comfortable eating a meal....therefore I do not have many friends, friends I socialize with that is.  It's not literally about food and eating.  It's caring about health.  Their own health, not mine!  I care about my own health just fine!

Three weeks ago (yikes, maybe 4) I switched my Saturday Swing classes to Sundays so I could drive to Juno (in Berkeley) and train for Kettlebell Sport Competition, which doesn't start until 11:00 am.  And yesterday was the first week that I really felt comfortable about the change.  I woke up not anxious and feeling lost, or missing something.  Good thing I had some extra time because I had a small family reunion to go to at 4:00pm and I volunteered to make a couple of salad and pot of chili!

My mother is visiting from Colorado, along with my youngest sister Brooke, her husband and two children (also from the Denver area).  Another sister, Erin, is here too, with her husband and two kids (one on the way).  My oldest sister Christy was there with her son, my nephew Jeff, who came from Seattle with his new family, and my other sister Donna had an announcement of her own...her daughter, my niece, is expecting her first baby in Jan.  Whew!  Along with our own two grown sons, their significant others and my granddaughter Sophia I don't think anybody was missing!  I think it may have been a first!

Since my family has been plastering photos all over Facebook I'm going to assume it's okay for me to post our group photo here on my blog!  And yes, five sisters!  L to R in photo: Donna (3rd), Christy (1st), Tracy (2nd), Mom, Erin (4th), Brooke (5th).


Worked on salads (chili was done the night before)

Juno 11:00am-1:00pm.  14kg jerk 50/50.  14minute 14kg snatch set 129 R/123 L

2:00-3:00pm, nap.
3:00-4:00pm Finish and dress salads, heat chili.

Curry Coleslaw with golden raisins (slightly wilty :( )
Quinoa salad w/grilled summer squash, corn, tomato and baby greens, crumbled Queso Fresco cheese, and dressed with a Lime Scallion vinaigrette (recipe soon!)
Smoke City Chili w/sausage

I decided to heat the chili in my small 4qt pressure cooker, leave the lid on and pack it in a box (w/towel) and carry it to the park.  It worked out great and it was still super hot when I took off the lid for serving!

4:30-7:30 Family Reunion!

Sunday morning

7:15-6:30 Advanced HS workouts.  Double clean and presses (30 min).  Short snatch set (+ warm up 15-20 min).  20kg Swing Roundabout Ladder:

There are 5 "Roundabouts" in a one minute interval, and 8 swings per Roundabout.  Using a Roundabout ladder we only increased the one hand swings by one rep R and L each set until we reached five one hand swings R and L in between the transfer swings and two hand swings (I'll post a link to a former blog post using this workout later).  Every time you add an additional one hand swing (R + L) you add 10 reps, and 15 seconds, onto the 1 minute set.  We took 1 minute rest periods between all sets.

rdbt + 1 (40 reps 1 min / 1 min)
rdbt + 2 (50 reps 1.25 min / 1 min)
rdbt + 3 (60 reps 1.5 min / 1 min)
rdbt + 4 (70 reps 1.75 min / 1 min)
rdbt + 5 x 5 (80 reps 2 min / 1 min)

24.5 minutes
620 20kg swings (350 of the reps were 1 hd swings)

Okay, so pretty much everything you may want to know about recent Roundabout Ladder workouts can be found in one of these past blog posts:

8:30-9:30 Intermediate Swing/Kettlebell Group Training

First 30 minutes is SWINGS!  Omg....I have a new routine that I absolutely LOVE!  I had done it three times this week and tested it out on my whole group this morning.  I also was lucky to have a former student, now Instructor come and join us this morning, Anne Jelenik Sfg.  Good thing to because I let her lead half of my group while I lead the other.  I have yet to title the workout, but it uses a simple ladder (don't they all), and Anne suggested "Ladder of Doom"!  Love it!  Not 100%, but I love the work "Doom" in a workout title so it will be used at some point!  lol

Last 30 minutes was clean/squat/press practice.

10:00am Bikrams yoga.

4:00pm.  Watching the last edit of "Side by Side" featuring Jeff Sokol! Yes, you heard it here first!  (and not on Facebook!)  The title of the partner Kettlebell Swing workout I taped with Jeff Sokol Sfg last month is "Side by Side"!  Fingers crossed, Side by Side and Give and Take 2 will be available in a couple of weeks!

6:00pm blog post!

How's your weekend going?

PS I had fun trying to make a super smokey flavored chili!  I used smoked sausage to start, (they were serving chicken and hamburgers I did not want to make a protein based chili), I used smoked paprika, chipolte chili pepper powder, cumin, oregano for the spices (I did not want to make it too hot), roasted red bells, fire roasted canned tomatoes, and low and behold I found some smoked pork stock made from ham hocks in the freezer!  I should call it "Smoke City Chili"!  Yep, that's what I'll call it!

I also used pinto, red kidney (similar), and black beans, along with the usual veggie base of onion, celery, jalapeno.  I did end up adding 2 tbl of brown sugar to try and counter balance the tomatoes, then it became too sweet, argh!  So a generous splash of red wine vinegar and all was well again! In fact I think that made it one of the best chilis I've ever made!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Double "Swing Snatch", and Maribel's first ever 10kg snatch set!

I started a new swing/strength cycle this morning, only this one is only 3 weeks long.  It will ramp up quickly and aggressively and then end 7-10 days before my August 17th Kettlebell Sport competition.  It includes double 16kg swings (sets of 10), and it also includes minute long swing sets with the single weight (40 reps w/16kg), but instead of the 32kg I'm using the 28kg because the workouts are starting at 30 minutes (instead of 22.5) and will increase at least another 6 - 10 minutes over the next two weeks.  A 30-40 minute heavy workout is much more intense than a 22.5 minute workout...maybe.  In this cycle there is more rest, so taking that into account it's not as extreme as it appears.

The second part of this mornings workout was double snatches w/12kg's.  While Maribel warmed up for her 10 min 10kg snatch set I went ahead and did 10 sets of double swing/snatch (7 reps) per 30 sec work to rest.  I then helped her through her FIRST EVER 10 MINUTE 10 KG SNATCH SET!  I'm soooo proud! She smashed it (75 L/79 R), and didn't suffer near enough, so I know with only about 4 weeks until competition, no doubt, she will complete a 10 minute 12kg snatch set! ( I know I'm going to shed a few tears too!)

So, a short video of a new favorite of mine, "swing snatches", this time with doubles.  7 rep per 30 sec work to rest x 10.

I'll be back to post more about our heavy Thursday swing workouts, and the progress we are all making in preparation to the Orange Kettlebell Club Bay Area Championships!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Two Hands to One" Sunday Training

These past two weeks I've quite a few new clients needing to learn one hand swings, or improve on the one hand swing technique. One of my favorite ways to teach it (among many) is to start with two hand swings and release one hand, continue on as if nothing had changed!  Of course most new students/clients have not built the cardio endurance to swing much more that 10 reps, so R and L are done in separate sets.  For a beginner I never confuse them with ladders, we are still practicing, so I almost always simply stick to 5/5.  In the case of this workout "5/5" means 5 two hand swings, dropping one hand on the 5th rep, and continuing on with either R or L.

For an advanced practice starting with two hand swings, then transferring to one, is a great technique to swing a much, much, much heavier bell with only one hand, and still get in some kind of volume (and you know I like volume!).  So with having taught this so much these past few weeks I simply applied to my own workout this morning.

In the video workout that I am posting I've already completed on entire round of 10 rep sets (the first part), and have started to go through the "Two Hands to One" ladders again.  The video starts on the 5th of the first 6 sets of 10 two hand swings.  It was not my intention to post the entire video, so I'm not really "leading" you or explaining the workout as I go along, but if you take a quick look at my short hand I'm confident you can get the gist of it and follow along if you like.

Whether or not you are brand new to one hand swings, and therefore are using an appropriate bell (maybe one size lighter that a bell for 2 hand swings, or the same one, but be warned it may feel heavy when you release one of your hands!), or using a super duper heavy bell, the workout is equally challenging!  It was for me!  Enjoy!

All 10 rep sets are done at 15 sec work to rest intervals (15/15).  All 20 rep sets are done 30/30 (work to rest intervals)


10 2 hd sw x 6
5 two hand swings / 5 one hand swing R
5 two hand swings / 5 one hand swing L
4 2 hd / 6 1 hd R, 4 2 hd / 6 1 hd L
3/7 R, 3/7 L
2/8 R, 2/8 L
1/9 R, 1/9 L
10 R, 10 L (20 reps total, 30/30)
repeat starting with the first 6 sets of 10 2 hd sw (video demo starts at the 5th set of 10 2 hd sw)
10 2 hd sw x 6
5/5 R, 5/5  L
4/6 R, 4/6 L
3/7 R, 3/7 L
2/8 R, 2/8 L
1/9 R, 1/9 L
10 R, 10 L (20 reps total, 30/30)

180 2 hd sw
180 1 hd sw
360 total 24kg swings
18 minutes

Now I combine the two separate sets of 10 reps into a set of 20, still combining two hand to one hand swings. Each set of 20 reps starts and ends with 2 hand swings. The one hand swings are "sandwiched" in between.

5 two hand swings, 5 R, 5 L, 5 2 hd sw (whoops, I just watched the video and forgot I laddered down
4/6 R / 6 L/4
3/7 R / 7 L/3
2/8 R / 8 L/2
1/9 R / 9 L/1
10 R/10 L
20 2 hd swings ends the workout.

....whoops, I just watched the video and forgot I laddered down the one hand swings.  Here is the exact progression, in reverse;

1 2 hd sw, 9 R, 9 L, 1 2 hd sw
2/ 8 R / 8 L/ 2
3/ 7 R / 7 L/3
4/ 6 R/ 6 L, 4
5/ 5 R,/5 L/ 5
20 2 hd sw

50 2 hd sw
90 1 hd sw
140 swings
7 minutes

230 2 hd sw
270 1 hd sw
500 total 24kg swings
25 minutes

Geez! I could not have planned it better if I tried!  Sweet!

The rest of my Sunday morning training.

Started off 40 minutes with single and double swing/clean presses (16, 14's and 12's)
Tested Maribel and Meg, 10 minute snatch set
24kg swing practice (above)
Intermediate class (14kg)
"Power-ful" swing ladder routine (love this one!)
36 single power swings
56 "powerful swings"
10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 swing rep sets (all equal work to rest)
2 hd, 10 tr, 2 hd, 2/1 sw ld, 2 hd, 5/5, 2 hd (sets 1-7 done backwards adding on)
10/10, 5/5, 2 hd, 2/1 sw ld, 2 hd, 10 tr, 2 hd (8th set)
360 swings
452 swings total.  Really?  It felt like more, lol!
20 minutes of clean/press practice (students used dbls, I used single)

GS snatch practice for competition.
GS swings and insertion drills, + 4 minute set.

45 minute walk and tan!

Two crazy kids!

I just wanted to write a quick post about a couple of really cool kids I met a little over a year ago at my first book signing, James and Melisa McNeil.  Little did I know that I would develop a pretty close relationship with the two of them, especially Melisa as I had the chance to work with her swinging bells, going on walks and even making her go to yoga with me.

The two got married last year and training, exercise and diet became less of a priority until a few months ago when I got a call from James inquiring where to get a 24kg bell (I think that was the reason?).  His call came shortly after my first GS competition, and as soon as I heard his voice I had to tell him about the sport because I knew he would love the sport and thought he would be perfect for it.

Of course James got online and started researching it, and about 1 month ago came over to our garage gym to practice some GS technique with me.  The next week or so he met with John Buckley for the first time at Juno, and I suggested he bring Melisa with him.  Now they are both training for the August OKC Bay Area Championships!  I feel like a proud momma!

Yesterday we were all at Juno and it just kind of tripped me out!  These two crazy kids, for some reason found out about my book signing and came to meet me, and now here we all are!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

10 minutes to 16 minutes, I mean 18 minutes!

Looking at my GS sets today I had 16kg jerks, 32/32, which is a PR for me.  I did not have a time limit so all I had to do was complete it, period....which I was successful at!  More about my jerks later...

I'm a snatcher.  The tens of thousands of reps I've done in the past 6 years is paying off in a very tangible way.  (it's very possible I've done over 300,000 snatch reps, based on 50,000 per 6 months, conservatively).  I'm not worried one bit about the snatch test because I don't have any judgement about my strength or conditioning for that movement.  What I mean when I describe it is, if for some reason I don't complete a 10 minute set, from this point, it's got nothing to do with my strength, it would only have to do with having a "bad" day.  But that being said...

When I looked over my weeks' training I noticed what I thought said "16 minute 12kg snatch"!  What?  Sixteen minutes? That has to be a typo!  Sure, I've done 10 lots of times, I've done 12 minutes, and with a 14kg, but sixteen?  One-six, 16!  That's crazy.  Eight minutes R and L is 3 whole minutes longer per side than I have ever done w/12kg.  Three minutes is more than 50% of 5 minutes (the most I had trained before).  Wow, now that's a jump!

I do have the entire 18 minutes on video, but in addition to not wanting to bore you with close to 350 snatch reps, it was taken during Team training, with many other people in the background doing "their thing", so I do not want to expose that much of their privacy.  But I will share with you the last minute (or so) and at about the 14 minute mark because I think it's kind of funny!

I was apprehensive to begin with, of course.  But the worst thing that could happen would be that I would come really close to the goal of 8 minutes R and L.  Let me tell you...when three minutes passed and I realized this is the point where a traditional "10 minute set" would START, I had a itsy bitsy freak out, but then it was back to business.  8 minuets approached....I decided to keep snatching R, just in case I just didn't have enough gas on my L to complete another entire 8 minutes L.  16 minutes was my first goal, how I divided the workload was my second priority.

I still felt confident at 8 minutes to continue on another 30 sec...and then, still feeling sort of fine I decided to go to 9 minutes.  This left me with another decision.  9 min R, done. but is the priority to complete 16 minutes total? Or is the priority to complete at least 8 minute R AND L?  I call John over, my coach, to ask...and this was quite a risk for me at this point!  Talking and snatching, much less communicating a question was not exactly easy!  And the next part of the story explains more!

As I approach my 16 minute mark I'm not sure which goal is more important, so, I say...."John, come here, come here!", (video #2)

"So, I switched at 9 minutes because I wanted to make my 16 (min).  So, I will have only to do 7 minutes this side (L), should I even it up and go 8 (min)?

"Do nine! (9 min)"


"Yeah, do nine and take it to 18 (min set)!  That was one hand switch?"


"Yeah, finish it up you psycho!"

I kind of missed this part about "evening it up"!  I understood him to say, yes, keep going, complete the 8 minutes L....until it hit me...."do another NINE minutes and even it up"!  The "psycho" part I missed, but such a compliment, eh?

But shit.  Instead of another minute I had to complete another 2 minutes!  Okay then....

Afterwards John told me that he had thought I had switched hands more than one time because as he looked over at me, about the middle of my set, just before 9 minutes, I was still on my R....which he thought I had switched L once and back over to my he might actually be impressed!  Hence the surprise in his questioning!

As of this moment I sat through another 18 minutes of video, and no surprise the first count was a miscount.  "Official" count?  158 R/ 161 L = 319 (17.7 rpm)

Thank you to everybody at Juno this afternoon! You guys are the real deal, living examples of strength and commitment....and loyalty!  Characteristics we should all strive for!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Me and the Twenty KG (long story, long, and testing day for Brenda and Maribel!)

Ah, today.  Thursday is usually a heavy heavy swing day for me that includes double 16kg's and the 32kg, but last week I finished a 5 week strength and conditioning cycle and this is my week off before I hit it again next Thursday.  It is our "rest and recovery" week (10 days) from our training cycle, but for my two Thurs. training partners, Brenda and Maribel, it was testing day!  See below*

I'm trying to combine my HS and GS sets on Thursday mornings, but looking over my program a couple of days ago, I neglected to see that the 20kg snatch was part of my GS training today. Problem. I don't own a 20kg for our garage gym and my workout starts at 5:30am, the one I have access to is at the studio Mark and I work at, and I didn't know to bring it home the day before.  So, I emailed my coach, John, the night before and asked about replacing the 20/20 swing snatch w/20kg for an equivalent work w/18kg, which I do own.....  You know I wanted the 20kg though, right?  Decisions, decisions.  35/35 w/18kg? Tough enough for sure, but not the 20kg.

I chose to wait for the 20kg, and do some light (for me) swing training in the morning (and test my training partners) saving my GS sets for the late afternoon, so Mark could coach and count for me. I really love having Mark's expertise and energy, but to be honest it's always easiest to just piggyback my GS sets onto my early morning workout.  I'm already "on a roll", and warm, and I can get it done then go on to the rest of my day with no worries.  Fine, I'll sacrifice.

And then around 11:30 I got a text.  My hairdresser let me know that I missed my appointment on Tuesday and the only time she could reschedule was this afternoon from 1:30-3:30!  What?  No nap, no food, but no gray hair!  No brainer!  I was just going to have to hunker down and do what I needed to do.  After all, I made Mark drag the 20kg bell home!

Long story long, 4:30pm.  15 minute warm up and on to my 16kg jerk set was 24 R, rest 2 minutes, 24 L.  Not bad, although if I could only clone my right side onto my left I'd kill it!  But that's a different post (notice I'm not posting video of my jerks!)  Then "swing / snatch" w/20kg.  Personally I don't like making little jumps in weight as a warm up, and mostly I don't even do one snatch rep with the heaviest weight either.  I've got plenty of work ahead, so why waste it on a warm up?

A couple of sets with the 12kg, a couple/three sets with the 16kg and boom.  20kg, 20/20 swing/snatch.  The first ten felt light, the next ten? Still relatively light!  But the alternate movement of the swing, along with a bit of fear and stress, messed up my breathing pattern and it caught up with me as I switched to my left hand.  I never felt like I couldn't do it, it just got harder than I felt it should have.  As it got "harder", the first reminder from coach Mark was to slow down (relax), but I never really reorganized my breathing....and should I add in the fact that my middle back was killing me, and tight since the moment I picked up a bell at 5:30am?  It wasn't until I started to "warm up", my first 16kg jerk sets that it became clear as to the reason why.  The reason was the 10 minute 5x5 16kg jerk set I did on Tuesday, exacerbated by Bikram's yoga yesterday...but now I know!  But to be honest I was worried.  Mark gave me an back adjustment before I started my sets and that made a world of difference.  Once I got "warm" it was much less of a concern.

I have many, many things to work on, and I know this, but I'm fine with it! I never claim to know it all, but even knowing what I do know, and doing it can be two different things!  "It's all easy 'til it gets heavy!".....hmnn, where have I heard that before?  (my brilliant husband, of course!)  I can honestly say that 50% of what I know about technique went out the window!  Too much unpredictability beforehand and too much focus on just "getting my numbers".

Moral of the story?  All I could think about all day was how many times in the past I had to "rise to the occasion".  All three of my Certification courses that demanded me to train at a high level for 8 hours, three days in a row.  Or having to demonstrate and train super High Volume two days in a row because of video taping DVD workouts (1000's of swing reps).  I also thought about many of the athletes that compete Internationally and have to literally get off a plane and perform with jet lag and constipation (probably!).  I could not be that much of a weenie!  Maybe I'll post some of my jerk sets...nope, I AM that much of a weenie!

*Brenda completed her first 5 minute 16kg snatch test with a competition bell!  I should of had her practice with the comp bell more than just, well, this past Tuesday!  Anyway, she killed 105 reps in 5 minutes and I fully expect her to crush that number in the August OKC Bay Area Kettlebell Competition! Maribel, who just got back from 2 weeks vacation in the Yucatan, with only an 8kg bell to practice (she took one with her last year and left it there!), completed her very first 10kg 6 minute (one hand switch) set!  Fingers crossed she will compete with the 12kg in August for 10 minutes, GS style!  So proud of both of them!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Because They Taste Like Dirt!

I just posted a question and a picture on facebook about whether or not to peel carrots.

Tonight I was doing some veg prep for a pot of lamb and pinto bean chili first thing in the morning, and while I was cutting and dicing my veg I decided to go ahead and cut up the rest of my carrots and celery for snacks.  When I prep, pretty much, any recipe I start with the basics, onion, and celery, peppers (red bell, jalapeno), carrot, chard stems and leaves (also kale), scallions, etc.  Any scraps of the onion, celery and carrot are stored in the freezer and become what I call my "scrap pile" which I will use in stocks and broths (my bones become part of my frozen "bone yard").  I always peel my carrots, as tempted as I am to throw them into the scrap heap I don't!  Why not?

I met my BFF Fawn Friday, former professional Chef 5 or 6 years ago, and I've clung to her for cooking and food prep advice ever since!  I can't remember exactly the time, I think it was her first time coming and staying in our home because it was me doing the cooking...anyway...

I was making something with carrots (what doesn't have carrot?) and started to dice them without peeling them first.  She looked at me with surprise and asked my why I don't peel my carrots first!  I told her that I thought I was adding extra nutrition by using un peeled know, like eating the peel of an apple! And then I asked her, former professional Chef that she was, why would you not want to use the peel?  To which she blatantly said, "Because they taste like dirt!".  And you know what?  I think she's right!

It was a done deal from that point forward!  Since then, I always peel my carrots!  And I do NOT use the peels in my stocks or broths either!  Who wants to taste dirt?  (notice I didn't say, who wants to eat dirt!)

What about you?  Do you peel your carrots?  What other cooking habits have you incorporated that you think (or know) add nutrition?  And would you, or do you, sacrifice flavor for nutrition?  How?

PS  I'm loving the photo filters on Instagram!  This is a picture I took of 2 carrots I peeled with a 10 year old vegetable peeler in my 75 year old kitchen sink!  Yikes!  lol

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I MADE IT! My first ever 10 minute 16kg GS Snatch set! And Tuesday Training

Today was a big, big, huge deal!  It started out a bit shaky though.

Tuesday workouts are pretty good, and by good I mean hard!  I get to the gym about 30 minutes before class and warm up with some odds and ends, sometimes I work out video swing routines, sometimes I throw a snatch test in.  At 6:00am I start an hour long group class that starts out with a solid 30 minutes of interval swing training (600-800 reps).  We then move my group on to some overhead skills, and combine them with goblet and front squats as ideas for the last 15 minutes of class. This last part of class consists of everybody pretty much putting together the skills we practiced into combinations that they need most in their workouts/practice, still adhering to intervals, usually 1 minute long w/30 sec rest (or longer work, sometimes continuous 5 and 10 minutes).

My group leaves, and I then may do a GS set (or two) if I've not worked too hard.  I have a couple of private sessions, and somewhere in between or afterwards I do 15 minutes of Get Ups, 30 reps total, light bell (10-12kg), just practicing the movement, not really "training" it (yet).

First thing this morning I knew I had to complete two 10 minute GS sets at some point today.  It was my intention to get to the gym early and complete a 16kg jerk set (30/30 done 5x5, in 10 minutes), train with my class, take a bit of a break, and hit the 10 min 16kg snatch after some coffee and sugar! (usually whipped cream in my coffee!). But I woke up with my back feeling too tight to warm up sufficiently in time to leave me enough time to complete a 10 minute set...oh, but I also realized as I got to the gym I forgot my lifting shoes at home!  And I don't mind snatching all day without lifting shoes, but my shoes are kind of my security for jerks.  So two strikes, actually three. Tight back, no shoes, no time.

I know if push comes to shove I can take a nap early afternoon, wake up and have Mark coach me around 3:30-4:00pm....and that's what I was going to have to settle for.

After I did my Get Ups I decided to head for home, got my second cup of coffee (with whipped cream) and felt a second wind coming back...well, enough of a second wind!  Not perfect, but better than waiting out the rest of the day to finish what I knew was going to be a momentous set.  My very first 16kg GS snatch set (one hand switch).  All by myself (well, and my IPad!), I got home, went straight into the garage gym, put on my shoes, and started warming up (again!)

First my jerk set.  That's another blog post in itself so I'll keep it short.  I managed 5 minutes on my R, and only 4 minutes on my L.  So, 9 minutes total.  My goal for the August meet is to complete the 10 min set, and I'm confident that I will, in fact, do that.  But, if the jerk were only as easy as the snatch (for me!) then...well, then I'd have to move up to the 20kg!  So I better enjoy where I'm at! lol

OKAY!  Finally!  A 20 min rest between with a few snatch sets of 10/10 w/12kg.  I decided to not even pick up the 14kg.  I mean why?  What for?  I had enough work coming.  I guess now is a good time to mention the last shaky variable.  I've been so consumed with keeping the callus build up on my hands at a minimum that I think, no, I know, I shaved the skin on my palms potentially too thin.  They were like a baby's butt!  Not exactly good either.  I could feel the tenderness with the 12kg, how could I expect the 16kg to feel? Well, I kind of knew the answer to that question, but too late. I had work to do.  What's a small tear anyway?

91 reps R (switch at 5 minutes), 72 reps L

It's really the last minute that is entertaining.  Nothing like attempting "dead snatches" to show commitment to not giving up!  lol

Although it would seem looking at these numbers that my R is stronger than my L, the opposite is true!  But I've already been snatching for 5 minutes by the time I get to my L, so I find myself slowing down at the hand switch, not really recovering...something I've got a plan for.  As far as my technique.  I know my 20kg snatches showed better technique, but for anybody tempted to critique, please take into consideration that I am brand new to this sport and I have a lot of "hardstyle" patterning to contend with.  I also have a lot of "hardstyle" strength that allows me to power through much of what my technique lacks, and I know that!

The points of technique I was focused on during this particular set was the timing of getting the bell to float in front of me so I could skip my palm and spear the handle so it would land in the correct position.  I find if the bell does not land in the correct spot I simply cannot hold onto it at the top of the snatch, so it kind of takes care of itself!  The nice thing about the snatch as opposed to the jerk is that you have a chance to reposition your grip with every rep!  In the jerk, it's very difficult to reposition, at least it is for me.

Breathing was also at the top of my consciousness.  The rest?  Well, the rest came and went!

All I know is that I MADE IT!  And I will improve and, I WILL MAKE IT IN AUGUST!


Tuesday group training

I came across an old video of my "Hungarian Hundred Snatch workout" from almost two years ago!  I forgot how much fun it was so I incorporated some of it into my group class this morning.  The bulk of the workout was: (w/14kg)

360-480 swing reps (
160-240 snatch reps
42 minutes

I may journal and post the entire workout because it was so much fun and scalable to most..but for now I just want to celebrate my first 10 minute, 16kg GS snatch set!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saturday...I mean Sunday workout!

I'm so in the habit of posting "Saturday" workout!  Last weekend was the first weekend I committed to going up to Juno in Berkeley for GS team practice with OKC on Saturday, switching all of my high volume and group classes to Sundays!

Until I have more time to elaborate on the how and why I started to train this new (to me) combination of "double swing, clean, press" (or any overhead dbl skill, snatch, MP, pu pr, jerk following a swing first) here is what my Sunday morning workout consisted of;

misc warm up w/12kg

10 2 hd sw x 2
10 2 hd sw + 10 tr x 2
1 sw, cl/pr/tr (1 min/1 min) x 2
7 min.

Work sets double swing/cl/ press (30/30)

dbl sw cl/pr x 5 w/12kg's x 5 (25 reps total of each movement)
dbl sw cl/pr x 10 w/14kg's x 10 (50 reps total)
15 minutes

1 sw, dbl cl/sgl pr R, 1 sw, dbl cl/sgl pr L x 10 x 5 (50 dbl sw/cl, 25 dbl pr R, 25 dbl pr L)
10 min. (1 min work to rest x 5 sets)

(This is the video demo of the 3rd set (of 5) Since these sets were 1 minute in length, and I had never done them before, I decided to train them with the 14kg's this week, moving to the 16kg's next week.)

dead snatches 1 R, 1 L x 10 (I go, you go w/Meg)

15 minutes Max Vo2 w/14kg
240 snatches

Swings!  2 minute sets w/1 min rest
1 set w/14kg, 1 set w/16kg alternating (using a downhill progressive one hand swing ladder)

10/10 x 4 = 80 x 2
8/8 x 5 = 80 x 2
5/5 x 8 = 80 x 2
4/4 x 10 = 80 x 2
1 sw, 1 tr x 40 = 80 x 2

800 swings, 30 minutes (400w/14kg, 400 w/16kg)

Onto my Intermed class "work into rest"....
30 minutes of swings (including double swings, thanks to Matt)
clean/press practice (including doubles)
bottoms up clean and press practice (including doubles)
Get up practice

GS Snatch practice w/8kg

Saturday GS @ Juno

I had two sets to complete.  24/24 16kg Jerk in 4 minutes (12rpm).  I went a little fast on my R side completing the set in 3 min 40 sec.

16kg swing snatch, 10 minutes!  My first 10 minute set w/16kg!  Almost....yikes!  Damn!  20 sec left on my L side and the bell just ripped out of my hand on the snatch descend, falling to the floor behind me!  I just couldn't grip it tight enough to get at least one more snatch rep!  But I was thrilled with my rep count!  60 R/48 L. Even though these were not all snatches, a "swing snatch" is two reps, so 120 reps R and 96 reps L ain't too shabby!

And for those who are not familiar with Girya Sport, there is always only one hand switch per set, whether it's jerks, snatches, swing snatches (sw/sn are only done in practice).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It may not be what you eat, it may be how you eat it.....don't let it "eat you"!

I was going to title this blog post simply "It was a chocolate cake kind of day".  I felt it coming on yesterday and talked myself into resisting it in exchange for some potato salad.  I don't want to make this a long involved post, only to offer up the facts of some of what I let myself feel today.

I knew soon after I got up this morning that the craving for some Valrhona chocolate layer cake would have to be resolved, but still I found myself with these old feelings of guilt.  Guilt for wanting chocolate cake in the first place.  I let myself have these guilty feelings for thinking somehow I needed to first "deserve" it  Had I even earned it by being"good" enough the rest of the time, had I worked hard enough (training/exrercise), had I dieted well enough, had I ate nutritiously enough the rest of the time to justify eating a piece of cake (or two?).

After class this morning I pretty much announced to everybody leaving that I was going to eat cake all day long!  To which I got some nice responses.  What I mean by "nice" is that everybody was light about it.  No one was all that serious as if I was about to commit a crime.  Meg offered up that if I ate cake and felt better, then it was just a matter of eating cake, but if I ate cake and I felt worse, then it wasn't the cake that I was craving....not exactly in those words, but a brilliant way to look at it nonetheless!

But still, in my mind, I had not really earned the right to eat cake all day.

I wasn't skinny enough to eat cake all day.  And that is really what it came down to.

But still I wanted some cake.

As Meg suggested, was it the cake?  Or was it something else?  I knew it wasn't going to make me feel that state of mind....

The state of mind that I was in told me I didn't need it, that I didn't deserve it, that I hadn't worked hard enough for it, that I should feel like shit for even wanting it in the first place.  The state if mind I was in told me that it was going to screw up my whole day, my whole week, my whole life.  That "good" people don't walk around wanting chocolate cake.  "Good people" never even think about chocolate cake.  Why can't I be like that?  Why can't I just never think about it. Where was this coming from?

I ate the cake.

But before I "allowed" myself to eat the cake I went down fighting.  I fought with some barbeque peanut candy (I know, weird huh?) a bag of caramel corn, a toffee cookie...and then the cake.

The cake was the white flag, I had to just surrender.  Why didn't I just do that in the first place?

Then...the predictable guilt.  The regret.  The "shoulda, coulda".

Personally, in the big picture, in the biggest picture, "my life", a piece of chocolate cake, or a whole chocolate cake is not necessarily a "treat",  and for sure is not an everyday treat, which is why I don't find myself wanting it very often.  What I want more than cake is the freedom of judgement.  In fact, it's not the cake that I don't want, it's the feelings around eating the cake that I don't want.  I don't want those guilty, undeserving feelings, especially when I'm eating it!  Goodness, how much does that suck?

This is a very emotional post that I'm writing. I could choose to not mention the fact that my eyes are filling up, and spilling over, with tears, but they are.

I totally get this eating thing.  I completely understand that this small irritation in my life is so close to being over. Not the wanting of cake, not the eating of cake, but the resistance of thinking I can't have it because I haven't earned it by being good enough.  I am good enough.  And I know that when I feel that way, when I feel my best I'm not even thinking about cake.

I want to feel good enough.  I do feel good enough.  Really I do.

The cake may have been part of it, but it was only part of it.  Note to self: Feel good enough first!  And if you still want to eat cake then eat cake, but don't let wanting to eat cake eat you!

ps I was going to post a picture of a luscious slice of chocolate layer cake, but I really dislike being assaulted with food porn myself and in good conscious I try and stay aware of contributing to glamorizing desserts and junk foods in general.  I believe that a good nutritious diet absolutely can include chocolate cake, but I want that to be your choice, without any reminders from me!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Cooking

We are currently in the longest heatwave that I can remember.  Not really a big deal since only two of the past 5 days have been closer to 100 than to low 90's, and I'm not complaining, I'm just reporting!  It's been a while since I felt we had a real summer around here and it's prefect timing for the 4th of July weekend!

Mark and I have no plans, just our usual life, and that's perfectly fine!  Thursday is  regular training day for me and so I'll be up at 5:30...oops..I just realized something! Maybe my training partner doesn't have to work and we can start at 6:00am!

Anyway, the point of this post is about not turning on the stove or the oven after 9:00am!  Good thing I prefer to cook in the mornings anyway, but Mark's usual stir fry of onion, spinach garlic and eggs isn't really good if it's pre made.  So it's time for Quittata's again!  A cross between a quiche and Frittata it also give me a chance to use up the little bits and pieces of veg, cheese and creams/milks.

I only had a handful of mushrooms and 1/4 of a red bell pepper, and shockingly there was no cheeses....or so I thought.  A more thorough look see and I came up with a chunk of parmesan in the freezer that I had to grate (ick), and a chunk of some creamy La Serena gourmet cheese (the bits of melted white fat you see on top!)

I had to poach another whole chicken for more chicken salad that everybody seems to be devouring faster than I can make it!  I'm convinced it's the homemade mayo!  And more mini meatloaves.

Surprisingly I haven't been making a whole lot of regular salads.  And still, I don't own a grill!  What do you all have cooking these hot summer days?

for more details about Quittata

Monday, July 1, 2013

"D30" joins The Swing Quest!

Here is an alternative workout that can replace the last 213 reps of The Swing Quest.  Currently The Swing Quest ends with 4 rounds of Sinister Swing, here using this version is a companion to Dirty Thirty.

If you are doing any of The Swing Quest workouts (or all of them) you won't need the short "warm up" that I demonstrate in the Intro, just move on to the workout demo.  If you are using this workout on it's own, you may want to practice the swing combinations with me before moving on. The warm up demonstrates 8 sets of 10 swings (80 reps).

In the main workout I give three scalable swing rep options.

3 sets of 10 swings (beginning level = 120 reps)
1 set of 10, 2 sets of 20 swings (beg/intermed level = 200 reps)
1 set of 10, one set of 20, 1 set of 30 (advanced = 240 reps)

You chose, it's your workout!  Enjoy!