Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Diet "Tips and Strategies", 80/20

I'm not going to say I hate diet tips and strategies....you didn't hear me say it, did you?

There are a million and one diet tips and strategies, or maybe just a few, but interpreted a million different ways!  They are all good, and they all probably work if you DO them!  That's key, right?  Doing them, not knowing them!  I try and never offer tips as if they are easy to follow through with because I know that when it's just not time, it's just not time!  It seems that more often than not we have the best of intentions and then something happens....oh yes, I remember...

"It's all easy until you get hungry!"

Hunger of course can be a just a feeling, or indeed a fact.  The science behind weight loss, no matter what some popular books/authors write about these days, for me, comes down to calories in, calories out.  What it comes down to for you? Well, only you really know what and how much you eat, but this I know.  If I dropped you off on a deserted island and came back for you 1 month later you would weigh less, a lot less.  I'd put money on it.

I completely understand wanting more food for no apparent good reason other than it tastes good, and it feels good when I'm eating it, AND I can have whatever I want, when ever I want, pretty much all of the time. I'm spoiled.  Or, more accurately I may be, literally, spoiling (my health).  Anyway, enough with the know it all attitude and back to some diet tips!

As I posted a couple of days ago I tend to serve myself larger portions of food at meal times.  I know I'm doing it.  It's not a secret or a mystery, I admit I do it.  I'm not really liking doing it anymore so I think I'm going to change that habit.  Okay, I changed it.  Extra large portions also include second helpings!  But I think I may be ready to take it a step further.

I really, really liked Amanda's comment to my last blog post about stopping at 80% full!  I think I'm going to tweak it a bit, and change it to starting with only an 80% serving!  I think it's a pretty easy strategy to "eyeball".  In fact now that I think about it my portions have easily crept up by an additional 20%-50%, so cutting them back to "normal" is 80%! lol

This is something that I can feel good about right away. I got tired of lying to myself.  It's just not fun.  In fact, it would be funny if the science worked out perfectly and by cutting my calories 20% I would lose 20% of my body weight!  Hmnn...wouldn't that be a fun game to play?

Diet tips and strategies come and go...and then come around again!  Really, I only offer up some suggestions as I find my own way through the feelings and emotions that seem to be connected around my eating and the foods I chose to eat or not eat.

I prefer to look at tips and strategies as "rules".  To me it feel like rules have less emotion behind them.  It's much easier to actually not help myself to seconds when I take the choice out if it. I mean, I'm not making crazy rules!  Crazy rules are just crazy!  I never want to feel as if I'm punishing myself because I don't feel as if I've been "bad".  So I started eating a little too much, or maybe a lot.  I can change that, I have changed that, and that's that.

What have you changed?  What worked for you?  Do you have rules?  Do you have a strategy?

Or do you never think about eating and/or food?  I'm always interested to hear about "you"
people!  lol  What's that like?  I can imagine a time when I will feel the same.  Maybe tomorrow?  That would be nice.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Deals with the Devil....a mindless eating habit

If I had to admit the one habit I've gotten into, that is changing today (well, actually I changed it last night), it is that I make these 'deals with the devil' when it comes to portioning out my food at meal time!

I know full well what reasonable portions look like!  Heck I live with someone that eats regularly sized portions at every meal (yep, every single meal, always). In fact I always take notice how Mark can eat a single serving of yogurt, never going back for seconds, while I don't even bother with buying single servings because I know I'm not going to be happy with one small container!  I buy the big containers and then trust myself to make my own size portion...you know, a more reasonable size while still not eating too much...what a nice guy I am!

Speaking of yogurt...  Last night I decided to have a serving of yogurt.  I opened up my cupboard for a bowl.  I decided to use a small bowl and not have seconds.  Since I was not having seconds I also decided to give myself a little extra pinch of sliced almonds in exchange for "being good"!  This was the deal with the devil!  More almonds, no more yogurt...promise!  But still I wondered...could I keep that promise...this time?  In the past, especially the last year I'm pretty sure I never have kept that promise, going back for more yogurt and more almonds!  I knew full well what I was doing but didn't feel motivated to change it.

Will today be different?  Yes.  Yes it will.

I had a really interesting weekend, and before that some things had been lining up in a way that haven't helped make me feel good about a number of mindless eating habits I've let slip into my daily life.  Taking second, and third, helpings for really no good reason is one of them.

Oh, I could tell you an excuse.  The best one is the "reward" excuse.  You might know the one....."but I work so hard, I've been so good....and besides, it's healthy food!"  Etc...

Last night I got out my small bowl, and yes, I did have an extra pinch of sliced almonds, but I did not go back for seconds.  So there!  I proved I could do it and I didn't die, and I didn't go hungry!  In fact I felt pretty darn good!

I've gotten into a couple of other mindless eating habits that I will write about, but let me start here.  Today is a new and beautiful day to begin again.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mission Accomplished...well, one mission at least!

Really this is just a quick blog post with none of the messy details!  But here is a phrase that will, pretty much, describe the competition this weekend was not exactly a walk in the park!

"In Jiu Jitsu there's no losing...you either win, or you learn!"

Yes, I got the number I needed to earn my Level 1 ranking (the highest level before moving on to a heavier bell).  Were they what I wanted?  No. Did I get what I wanted?  Yes.

12kg 10 min Jerk

122 total reps
61 pts

12kg 10 min Snatch

197 total reps (90 R/107 L)
99 pts

159 1/2 total points earned
156 points needed

I was hoping to get over 165 points and need only 150....the rest of the story w/video and gory details coming!  To be honest, it's hard/painful for me to watch the video myself.  Not painful because I was suffering, painful because I knew I could have done so much better.  Unlike the phrase at the top of this post, I did win something....but I learned more!

ps, I'm sure Mark and John would say that I'm being dramatic, and at the end of the day I guess I am.  No disrespect to the 12kg, but there is plenty more real drama headed my way now that I get to tackle the 16kg!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Homemade Mayonnaise

It's been interesting keeping up daily Facebook posts on my fan page, The Swing, and trying to stay current here on my blog.  I tend to get wordy here because I have the space!  BUT a couple of days ago I wrote a post about coconut oil.  Within the past couple of years we have purchased coconut oil and coconut butter, both to which we (Mark and I) agreed that the trade off of taste was not worth the value....but now the dietary science seems to be rolling through the Reifkind household once again, but I'm not ready to get into all of the science of nutrition yet!  This post is about homemade mayonnaise!

Mayonnaise is categorized as a "sauce" or "dressing". A sauce or dressing has fat, acid, and something that emulsifies and/or thickens the two, like mustard, or egg....and to be honest I could be totally wrong about this!  I'm just a home cook looking to understand the methods and techniques of cooking and preparing foods!

I've been wanting to make my own mayonnaise for years now, after spending time with my best friend, and former professional Chef, Fawn Friday, who always makes her own mayonnaises and aioli's (garlic mayonnaise).  The only problem is that I don't particularly like mayonnaise enough to eat much of it!  So therefore I don't use a lot, and getting into the practice of making it so that it becomes effortless and efficient just doesn't happen often enough.  The only tricky part about it is that there is a particular technique which, if not adhered to, will make a sloppy broken up mess of a good amount of costly ingredients!  The best way to make sure that you don't mess it up is to practice!

You can find a TON of mayonnaise recipes online, but the technique is the same.  Start with egg, lemon (acid), mustard (emulsifier), salt and pepper.  Using a blender or food processor drizzle in oil (oils) a drop at a time so it all comes together, until you can start to "stream" the oil in as it is blending (or processing). It really about technique and not so much the measurement of ingredients.

Okay, so back to MY story of coconut oil mayonnaise!

I needed mayo because I was out!  Since I don't use that much it's been on my grocery list for about 1 week!  This afternoon, with all of the recent coconut oil usage in my house, I started to think that there must be a coconut oil version of mayonnaise.  Fat is fat, right?  Well, kind of, but mostly yes.

Using a basic recipe I pulled out my blender and went to work.  Lucky me I have pastured eggs in the fridge and I had some good quality oils (both coconut and olive).  I only had stone ground mustard (not Dijon), but it's just cooking, right?  The key...the key, until you get enough practice, is that you start adding the oil as slowly as humanly possible for the first minute or two while your blender is on "low".  Then a steadier stream can be tolerated.

If you screw this part up, your sauce, your mayonaise will "break", never to come together again!  And it ain't pretty, or edible!  The chances of you throwing a good amount of $$ down the drain (literally) is pretty good!  lol

But at the end of the cooking day, the practice, successful or not, will be worth it!  Jus think about the possibilities!  Garlic mayo, fresh herb mayo, avocado mayo, bacon fat mayo....good God!  If you google flavored mayonnaises the sky is the limit!

Please google some recipes, try them and report back!  Or maybe it's something you already prepare?  Please share!  Me?  I'm a total convert!  Never, ever, store bought for me anymore!  Oh, and what a great excuse to use cute little jars!  And talk about a nice hostess gift!  I promise, if you invite me over I will bring you some!  lol

Here are some popular posts with more details about technique.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

That's All She Wrote

I knew I had my last GS scheduled workout to do this morning but I hadn't figured out exactly how to fit it in. I decided to do my regular training first and end the morning, after all classes and clients, with my last set of GS snatches....um, at least that was the plan.  By the time I got to it, well, that's all she wrote!

Basically my advanced high volume training was long sets and fast sets.  I used only three swing, and swing/snatch combinations (I've posted them many times in this blog.  Maybe serach Hardstyle Ventura for the examples, or Youtube for Tracyrif swing/snatch combinations)

7:00am Advanced High Volume
warm up with 12kg swings, I believe 5 sets of 20 reps (30/30)
100 swings, 5 min

warm up 30 sec snatch combinations
1 sw/snatch.tr R/L x 6 x 2
1 sn/transfer x 8 x 2
5/5 sn x 2
6 min

Work sets (all sets 1 min/30 sec)
1 sw, 1 tr x 20
1 sw, 1 tr x 22
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 12
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr x 14
1 sn, 1 tr x 16
1 sn, 1 tr x 18 (later increased to 20)
9 min

1 sw/tr x 20 + 1 sw/tr x 22 (all sets 2 min/1 min rest)
1 sw/sn/tr x 12 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 14
1 sn/tr x 16 + 1 sn/tr x 20
9 min

1 sw/tr x 20 + 1 sw/tr x 22 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 12 (all sets 3 min/1 min, uphill/downhill)
1 sw/sn/tr x 14 + 1 sn/tr x 16 + 1 sn/tr x 20
1 sn/tr x 20 + 1 sn/tr x 16 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 14
1 sw/sn/tr + 1 sw/tr x 14 + 1 sw/tr x 20

16 min + one additional minute rest (17 min)

The last two sets combine all 6 sets in an uphill, then downhill ladder.  6 minutes work/ two minute rest in between.

1 sw/tr x 20 + 1 sw/tr x 22 + 1 sw/ sn/ tr x 12 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 14 + 1 sn/tr x 16 + 1 sn/tr x1

1 sn/tr x 20 + 1 sn, 1 tr x 16 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 14 + 1 sw/sn/tr x 12 + 1 sw/tr x 22 + 1 sw/tr x 20

14 min

Each one minute work set equals:

1 sw/tr x 20 = 40 swing reps
1 sw/tr x 22 = 44 swing reps
1 sw/sn/tr x 12 = 24 swings, 12 snatches
1 sw/sn/tr x 14 = 28 swings, 14 sn
1 sn/tr x 16 = 16 snatches, 16 swings
1 sn/tr x 20 = 20 snatches, 20 swings

172 swings, 62 snatches per 6 set rotation. (warm up + 100 swings)
7 rotations 1204 swings, 434 snatches

total workout 54 minutes, not including 12 min warm up

Onto another 20 minutes of 30/30 sec sets of cleans (bottoms up singles and doubles) presses (singles and doubles) squats (singles and doubles), 20 sets in total to finish up 90 minutes of training

Intermediate class

15 minutes of swing/clean practice

25 minutes of swing/holds

swing warm up + 2 hd sw to a goblet hold (I also call this a two hand clean sometimes)

Work sets consist of 3 sets of 10 reps with the option to put the bell down and rest OR clean and hold any way you want to.  Take as many or as few rest/holds as each individual wants to. Personally I held my 12kg bell in some sort of clean for the entire workout.

10 1 hd sw R (15 sec rest OR clean hold R)
10 1 hd sw L (15 sec rest OR clean hold L)
10 2 hd sw (15 sec rest OR goblet hold)
x 10 sets each = 15 min, 450 swing reps, 7.5 minutes of rest or holds.

Finish class with 15 minutes of lunges done 4 ways.  Completely unloaded, loaded in clean position and loaded overhead.

Time for my 9:30-10:00 coffee break!

2 hours of privates....

.....so wonder I was unsuccessful in completing my last GS workout.  I was scheduled to do one 12 minute 12 kg snatch set, but my hands and grip were much worse off than I predicted they would be at the end of the day.  Lesson learned.  BUT I did, in fact, try to gut it out anyway focusing on technique as much as I could instead of reps/time and managed to complete 4 minutes R, only to transfer L and after 1 minute decide it was stupid to go on....I didn't give up, I gave in.  I have mixed emotions about it really.  But the bottom line is that prioritizing my training is the only way I will see any success in GS sport.  Lots to think about as I go into next weekend's competition.

Photo above; I reluctantly put the bell down after 5 minutes total.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

week 2 Sinister Ladder

Well, sometimes you never really know how things are going down! Without looking at the notes/plan I wrote last week I still had a good idea about the Sinister weight ladder for this mornings workout.  I knew all rounds done with the 20kg-32kg would be uphill (no downhill), but I couldn't remember if I also changed the size of the single bell rounds...so I chose to stay with the 16kg alternating and added one more complete round. (800 lb moved for each 50 rep round, 5 rounds instead of 4 = 4000 lb)

For the weight ladder compared to last weeks 50 reps/32kg, we did 80 reps today, 50 w/28kg last week, 60 today, 60 w/24kg last week, 50 today and 80 w/20kg, today 50 reps.  So 5640 lbs moved versus 6440 in the same amount of time.  A total of 8840 lb last week, 10,440 lb this morning...and that was just the first 25 minutes!

4 more Sinister rounds alternating these two variations

5 w/16kg
10 w/dbl 16kg's
15 w/16kg
20 w/16kg

5 w/16kg
10 w/32kg
15 w/16kg
20 w/16kg

3840 additional lbs moved

on to double snatches
12kg's 100
10kg's 24


12kg jerk
48+48 (4 min/4min)  ummm....not that easy!

16kg jerk
6+6 (1 min/1min) ummm...not that easy!

16kg snatch
30/30 reps (about 3 min total) ummm...not that easy!

Yikes.  Today's practice with the 16kg reminded me of Mark's phrase;

"It's all easy 'til it's heavy!"

Ain't that the truth!  Seriously.  But maybe it had something to do with the 8 tons of weight I moved earlier?

Now I'm off to Sonora to become a "Junkie"!  Teaching class at Brandi Loyd's Junkyard Training Center in the Sierras!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday Training

I'm still trying to make everybody happy!  Tuesday mornings at 6:00-7:00am I have a class that I teach/lead with a wide, super wide, variety of skill levels, not to mention I have my own wants and needs when it comes to training.  (lucky me)  I lead my group through a Top 40 version that was scale-able on at least 4-5 different levels, I, myself, opting for the advanced versions of more work to less rest using the 14kg.  After my 1 hour class I usually go for a 30 minute walk and off to visit some private in home clients before returning to the Studio to finish up my own training, and sometimes more 1 on 1's.  Lately I've been coming back to do a few GS sets, and/or clubbells, handstands (against the wall), etc.

But yesterday instead of going for a 30 minute walk after group training I did what I used to do, which is more kettlebell ballistics!  A "Beyond Max" 30 minute snatch workout to be exact.  Well, it was all fine until I returned to the Studio at 9:30am to complete my GS set of 50 swing/snatches with the 12kg.  My hands were fried!  Crispy and weak from these snatches;

8/8 x 10 (80) (traditional Max Vo2, 8 reps R, rest, 8 reps L, rest 15/15/15/15)
9/9 x 10 (90)
10/10 x 10 (100)
16 x 5 (80)
18 x 5 (90)
20 x 5(100)

540 12kg snatches, 30 min

really?  Geez...it's been a while since I did a full 30 minutes of anything based on Max Vo2.  Needless to say that the last 5 minutes or so tore up my hands.  That's what speed work can do.  I'm not blaming it all on the speed, sure, technique has something to do with it too (as I'm learning with GS).  There was no way I could do any more training with kettlebells.  So I went for an hour long walk, doing an errand or two along the way.

Wednesday Training (video above)

This was supposed to be a day off from any kind of kettlebells.  BUT I had to get my GS training done as I'm scheduled to compete next weekend in near Seattle WA.  Some joint mobility (15 min), a comfortable walk (30 minutes) and this 50/50 rep 12kg swing/snatch set.  Whew!  so much easier than yesterday!  In fact, I couldn't even do it yesterday at all!

I was surprised at how easy it felt.  I did not switch hands for over 4 minutes, completing the 50/50 in 9 and 1/2 minutes.  It was still 100 reps R and L before switching.  Although it might not be obvious in the video, I had a couple of things I was focused on as I watched my form and technique in the mirror in front of me.

Using more of my back and not my arms, at the "right" time.  Breathing of course.  I'm just glad I got it done.

Lots of stuff going on in my life.  Lots of really positive, great things, and some really sad things.  If only "life" would just tell me what to do and I would do it! Having to figure it out on my own can feel a bit dicey, but I'm doing the best I can....or am I?

Tomorrow morning will be hell!  And when I say "hell" I mean "fun". LOL!  Sinister ladder!  Bring it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sinister Swing Ladder Cycle

Before I get into this swing workout let me preface this training post with a couple of things.

#1 This particular Sinister routine is designed for advanced kettlebell athletes, but in no way is it NOT scalable to any and every level.  I would never suggest anyone do this before establishing an "equal work to equal rest" ratio of interval training using the kettlebell swing.  AND once established I encourage training the Sinister routine with only one bell multiple times before moving on to a ladder, especially a ladder that includes this kind of increase in weights.

#2  Being at an advanced level you should know how to scale it!  Although these are my exact numbers doesn't mean they are your exact numbers!  In fact, I may change the routine slightly as the weeks go by, paying attention to the total workloads of my other training and schedule.  This is a template.

#3 I trained for my 20kg snatch test using a heavy swing program, not a heavy snatch program.  My ultimate goal is to do the snatch test with the 24kg (there, I said it), but beforehand I need to lay some serious groundwork.  I need to test the 20kg multiple times before moving forward.  Once I finish this cycle, and maybe one more 4-6 week cycle, I will test the 20kg again.  From that point I will test it more often, maybe every 8-10 weeks, before seriously setting my site on the 24kg.

#4 I did NOT use my Sinister swing routine to train for the 20kg snatch test and I have yet to journal and post my training that lead up to the success with the 20kg, so before I do I wanted to train for it one more time using this protocol as part of the progressive strength and endurance build up so here goes, on to the workout....

For the details of my Sinister routine here is the original blog post where I first introduce this protocol.


Sinister is basically an "equal work to rest" ratio, BUT reorganized in a much more difficult, should I say 'Sinister' way?  Most of the work piles up in the last two sets challenging your grip and cardio endurance before granting you a full 30 seconds to recover for the next round!  50 reps in total are completed in 2.5 minutes.  Sure you could do 5 sets of 10, but that wouldn't be as hard...I mean as fun!

Each set is started "on the 30 seconds"

5 reps
10 reps
15 reps
20 reps
30 sec rest

All reps are done with 2 hands, OR double bells at an advanced level.  Here is how I made it super advanced without making it super duper advanced!  lol

Using 5 progressively heavier bells, 32kg, 28kg, 24kg, 20kg, I used an uphill and downhill ladder alternating with a medium difficulty weight, 16kg for each "round" of Sinister.  A total of 8 rounds before scaling back to the last 4 rounds using one more difficult weight, but not THE most difficult weight!  That's coming!  Don't be in such a hurry!  lol

Ladder down

32kg 5 reps
28kg 10 reps
24kg 15 reps
20kg 20 reps

16kg, 5, 10, 15, 20 reps

Ladder up

20 kg 5 reps
24kg 10 reps
28kg 15 reps
32kg 20 reps

16kg, 5, 10, 15, 20 reps

repeat one more time

400 reps, 20 minutes

24kg, and dbl 16kg's (intermediate heavy weight, and now I've forgotten the exact distribution..yikes!)
4 rounds, 5, 10, 15, 20

200 reps, 10 minutes

A total of 30 minutes

This was the exact routine I shared with one of my training partners, Brenda.  My other Thursday morning partner, Maribel, used:

uphill and downhill
alternating w14kg for a full round

She finished her last 4 rounds w/20kg and dbl 10kgs (I think!)

Next Thursday we will pick up where we left off and for the next 5-6 weeks I will design the program that will end with mostly 32kg, 24kg and 16kg reps, eliminating the 20kg and 28kg, still only training 30 minutes.

If you are a strong male the weights I would suggest are

alternating the 24kg for an entire round of Sinister


alternating 20kg for an entire round

Next Thursday, and potential progressions

#2 No downhill ladder, only uphill!  alternating with the intermediate weight, 16kg for the first 8 rounds.  The 4 final rounds yet to be determined.
#3 Back to uphill and downhill ladder, replacing the intermediate weight with the 20kg instead of the 16kg
#4 no downhill ladder
#5 Uphill and downhill ladder, geting rid of the alternating intermediate heavy rounds altogether.
#6 Uphill ladders.  Ouch!

This is just "theory".  I have not tested it so I'm completely open to the plan changing.  As long as the cycle climbs upwards over the set amount of weeks is all I care about.  I'm not training for the Sinister Olympics!  I simply want to challenge myself every week, increasing workloads based on what I did the previous week.  Once it's completed I will take a full week to 10 days off, training much lighter until the next cycle.  I may choose to test my 20kg, 5 min test again, or I may wait to train another heavy swing cycle, I haven't yet decided.

Everyday I get to wake up, start again, and decide who I am and who I want to be!

My training is pretty much all over the place right now, and my life and my body are going through some changes simultaneously...coincidence?  Hmnn...  I don't really care, I just want to be on some kind of solid ground.

Looking at my calendar, SFG was just 4 short weeks ago and physically I haven't been the same since. I came home with a hamstring injury that was not caused by the Certification weekend of training and practicing, in fact I'm pretty sure it has to do with my Bikrams practice, but that's another story, but obviously it has greatly affected my life.  Although I still go to Bikrams yoga, my practice as I knew it before SFG is no longer.  Emotionally, after being pissed and angry now I feel sad and a little lost when I let myself.  And of course the thoughts of "this is happening for a reason" keep me looking for the good in this experience, and I can think of some good but I don't care about the why's I just want to feel better!

"Starting again is not the same as starting over. Everytime we start again we don't lose the experience of our first steps, we bring them with us. We don't forget our beginning, we learn from it. Our beginnings give us the base to define where we are currently, and where we need to go. I just need to keep moving forward and simply readjust the speed of the journey, of the adventure....of the experience" (Jan 2008) Decide who I am and who I want to be!  (April 2013

I wrote those words this past January to remind myself that life is what you make of it. For me, focusing on the things that I do know, instead of trying to figure out and worry about the details life has yet to bring. (March 2008)

Why is it that the thought of having to start a new kind of yoga practice piss me off, but starting a new kind of kettlebell practice doesn't?  Why is one exciting and the other depressing?  I guess it's all how you choose to look at it.  I'm not saying that at times all of it never feels painful, both emotionally and physically, because I have had those painful, angry, and lost, feelings and thoughts.  So on a positive note....

I'm still going to my yoga practice, but enjoying learning some of the postures 'the right way'!  I'm going to be stronger than ever!  Because I really do like my practice...or I should be honest and rephrase it by saying I really do like being good at my practice!  So I will be again.

I started a new 'heavy' swing/snatch cycle yesterday using my Sinister Swing protocol, and I'm excited to share it with all of you, no matter what level you are at!  I also have started to write programs for my 'Turn up the Volume' training and, fingers crossed, I get the details for The Swing Quest worked out asap.  I love creating training programs!  It's who I am and it's what I do.

My GS training is fun in a very challenging in a rewarding way!  Basically I suck!  And it's fine, it's more than fine, it's good!  Of course I suck!  I've only been doing it a few weeks!  I've always had a high respect for the sport and the athletes that train it, so how dare I think I could just walk into something without putting in my time and energy.  For me my experience with this sport is so much deeper than the physical movements and every workout reminds me of that fact.  It's bringing out the best and worst of me!  Ick...I really need to quit with the whining! It's not who I want to be!

I love my two new super big dressers I bought from Craigslist last week and I'm feeling hopeful about finally being organized and free from clutter.  Mostly mental clutter!  Funny how cleaning up one cleans up the other!  I will have a comfortable home again.  I've missed it, maybe I've never really had it, but I will have it.  I can feel what that looks like.  I can see myself there.

Everyday I wake up I get to start again. I decide who I am and who I want to be.

here is the original blogpost I wrote 5 years ago about 'Starting Again'.  (interesting that much of the post is about keeping a food journal...more about that subject too!)


Saturday, April 6, 2013

I'm never bored with numbers! And I always save my favorite for last!

...unless it's tax time, lol!

Today's training was long and light.  I never picked up anything heavier than the 12kg on purpose.

warm up
2 sets x 10 2 hd swing (15/15 x 2)
1 set 20 reps (30/30)
1 set 40 reps (1 min/1 min)
4 min, 80 swings

10 min set, 40 reps per minute = 400 swings
2.5 min rest
9 min set, 41 rpm = 369 swings
2 min rest
8 min set, 42 rpm = 336 swings
2 min rest
7 min set, 44 rpm = 308 reps
2 min rest
6 min set, 42 rpm = 252 swings
2 min rest
5 min set, 40 rpm = 200 swings

59.5 min, 1945 swings

Ouch, just 30 seconds under an hour!  If I had planned it before I showed up I might evened it up, but to be honest my first plan was do to 3 sets 10 minutes long with a 2.5 min rest and play with a faster pace.  I then changed it to 10, 9, 8 and after the warm up I thought, what the hell, right? Let's take the sets all the way down to 5 minutes!  And really the reason was because I had it in my head our workout was only an hour, and then I realized it 90 minutes on Saturday! duh!

I can only do these crazy ass long sets with my two students, Meg and Maribel so too bad for them they had to ride with me this morning!  I chose the 12kg because I strained my elbow flexors on my right arm due to overuse (go figure!).  Anyway, I would love to do this workout with the 14kg, but honestly speeding the pace of the swing up as fast as I did in three of those sets with the 16kg is out of my league!  I may have been able to do almost 2000 reps within an hour with the 16kg if I took shorter rest periods, but not faster swings!

I altered my Roundabout swing progression slightly and came up with another killer combination that I will share with you soon!  But I did purposely swing more on my left arm than my right, and 50% or more of the swings were with 2 hands.  By using a version of the Roundabout I did not pay attention to rep count for the entire set, only for each and every minute did I made sure to hit my faster pace, so I counted all of the reps within each minute and then, just now, multiplied the pace by the length of the set.

On to some easy and light squats and presses, 25 min. (goblet, front squats, presses)  I knew I had to practice jerks at Juno in the afternoon, so I didn't want to do any more ballistics, and this was the only day this week I had a chance to do squats....I made my next class do them too!

8:30-9:30 Intermediate class.  Cleans, lunges, squats, swings...a few more lunges at the end.

10:30-12:00 private sessions

1:00 Juno w/John wild Buckley.  12 kg jerks, 4 sets, 2 min/2 min  15 R/ 15 L (30 reps x 4 sets)

I made my lunch to take with me knowing I'd be hungry while driving back from Berkeley at 2:30-3:30.  I don't normally eat until around 12 noon on a Saturdays, but by 12 noon I'm pretty hungry.  But I can't really eat anything heavy or that requires my body to go into digesting foods before I train!  So, coffee with cream before and after classes, a 2 oz piece of dark chocolate around 11:00.  On the dive up to Juno I had a small piece of sliced roasted chicken breast and a couple of slices of Kabocha squash.

Ahhhh....on my way home I was soooo happy to eat the rest of my lunch!  Started off with the chicken, went to the asparagus and ended with my favorite of all! The roasted squash!  Funny how we all eat out favorites in different orders!  Mark will eat his favorite first, while I always save my favorite fot last! There is some sort of phycological reason depending on your order of birth (me?  middle child, him? youngest!), and or if your family was "better off" (him) or not so much (me!)

Do you eat your favorite first?  Or last?

ps, I took a packet of mayonaise just in case I wanted to stop and buy a bread roll and make a sandwich out of the chicken, asparagus and squash!  I almost always want bread after a long day of training, but today I didn't!  I did come home and finish off the rest of the squash!  I'm a pretty happy girl after today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Plain Yogurt and Oats. Savory, Sweet, or Both?

I love plain yogurt, full fat if I can find it and, in fact, now that I think about it, if I can't buy full fat then I usually pass, there are a lot of other really good, healthy and tasty foods.  It may be because what I enjoy about plain yogurt is it's salty tangy "cheesy-ness" and when the fat content is lower it's more gelatinous.  I think our Farmers' Market starts tomorrow in which case I should find my beloved sheep's milk yogurt!  uh oh!

Today I kind of ate my meals backwards! I had roasted chicken and mashed cauliflower for breakfast at 9:30 (5:30am yoga), and for dinner I'm eating oats!  Steel cut oats, another food traditionally eaten sweet can also be prepared as a savory dish. The two together, steel cut oats, plain yogurt with a little lime and good pinch of salt is fine just like that! But I did add some raisins because savory sweet is really good too!  And then I remembered I had some pumpkin seeds....I probably didn't need both (no, I definitely didn't need both!), or either, but too late!  It was so delicious!

Do you like, or eat plain yogurt?    99% of the time I add lime (acid) and a good pinch of kosher salt to bring out the cheesy nature of the yogurt.  I've added corn in the summer, sliced almonds, oats (of course!), farro (another fav) and/or other grains, and I've even tried beans (not so great!)  I'm thinking maybe adding in some salsas this year along with the grains (cucumber salsa?), and fresh herbs for sure....now that I'm into the herb thing!

Do you eat savory yogurt meals?

I've posted a couple of recipe ideas for savory steel cut oats, my favorite is topped with feta and a grind of black pepper.  Maribel, one of my training partners was the first person to ever suggest it to me (thank you!) and you can find many other savory oat recipes online.  I've not added any veggies to oats though...

Have you had, or do you have your own recipe for savory oats?

ps steel cut oats take 5 minutes in the pressure cooker, which is great when you don't have 25-30 minutes.  Being able to make them quickly probably saved me from eating the bread pudding I brought home for Mark from the Mexican market!  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday, Me and Maribel, the exact workout (approximately!), and my new schedule!

Unless someone is truly interested I'm only posting this training session to journal it, not to explain it necessarily.  I have a private blog I usually journal my own personal workouts in, using my own shorthand, but I've been a bit lazy about it for over a year, maybe two, so I thought if I made some quick posts here, it would motivate me to keep a better history.  These are my "hardstyle" workouts that sometimes include a bit of scheduled GS training.  I'm really happy to have figured out my new schedule (I think)

Sunday, completely off (unless I feel great, in which case I may decide to go to yoga)
Monday, Get ups, GS, yoga
Tuesday Hardstyle (classes and private appt., no GS)
Wednesday, GS and yoga
Thursday, Heavy HS ,including dbl snatches (Maribel and Brenda), GS, two classes and privates
Friday, yoga (NO kettlebells at all)
Saturday, high volume HS, including squats and presses, 2-3 hours, privates, GS at Juno in Berkely at 12:00noon.

Started out w/ warm up and video taping "turn up the volume"

100 12kg sw (10 x 10)
100 16kg sw (10 tr x 10)
160 16 kg sw (100 5/5 + 60 2 hd sw)

260 swings, 15 min.

transition appx 5 min.

Snatches w/16kg

warm up

12 kg 1 sw, 1 sn 1 sw x 1 minute (12 sn + 12 sw)

14 kg 1 sw, 1 sn 1 sw x 1 minute (12 sn + 12 sw)
24 sn, 24 sw

transition appx 2-4 min.

1 min/1 min all out 16kg snatches x 6 sets  half of them done with the compbell, in fact the first three done with DD bell and the last three with the comp (me and Mari went 'I go you go', picture above!).  I'm going to change it next time and alternate.  One with more speed and then straight away to the comp bell.

11 R, 10 L, 7 R = 28 (11 was probably a mistake, meaning to do 10) (Mari R17, L 16)
10 L, 10 R, 9 L = 29 (started with the left hand on purpose, even though I did not want to!) (Mari R 16, L 16)
5 R, 5 L, 5 R, 5 L, 5 R, 3 L = 28 (Mari R 16, L 16)

comp bell (30 sec R/30 sec L)

13 R, 13 L = 26 (Mari R 15, L 15)
13 R, 13 L = 26 (Mari R 12, L 13)
13 R, 14 L = 27 (Mari R 12, L 12)

164 16kg snatches, 12 min.

transition appx 2-3 min.

24kg 2 hd sw 20 sets of 10 = 200 (15/15 = 10 min)
22 kg 2 hd sw 5 sets of 10 = 50 (15/15 = 2.5 min)
20 kg 2 hd sw x 5 sets of 10 = 50 (15/15 = 2.5 min)

300 swings, 15 min.

Total workout appx 55 min.  Afterwards I said to Maribel, "I can't belive we train for 90 minutes on Saturdays!"  55 min seemed plenty tough this morning before the crack of dawn (5:30am) and in a muggy 50 degree garage!  lol

584 swings
188 snatches

I finished my own workout with my GS practice.  A couple of warm up sets (5/5 x 2 maybe) with the 8kg comp bell in preparation for my first 12 minute set at 20 RPM.  Appx 20 minutes.

120/120 8 kg snatch one hand switch at 6 minutes.

240 sn

11:00 swing class was the next on the list.  12kg appx 570 swings.

Thursday total reps
1154 swings
448 snatches

And this was a light day.

Friday is yoga and not even a little finger on a kettlebell until Saturday morning!

"Turn Up the Volume" video workout!

Here it is!  Do it once, do it twice!  Follow me or follow Maribel, you choose how high you want to turn it up!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

'Use It or Lose It' Cooking

On Monday I went through my cabinets and fridge and threw out a bunch of crap!  Snacks and plain old junk that until that morning I didn't want to waste, but I wasn't ready to eat it either.  I was hanging onto it just in case, God forbid, I ran out of food I guess.  I also had to take a good look at some of the winter hoard I was treating the same way.  A couple of butternut squashes that I bought when I didn't need them out of fear of needing them and not having them....again, in case they disappeared off the face of the earth!  The almost moldy purple Japanese yams that didn't taste as good as I remembered, so there they sat in case of an emergency!  I think I am ready to stop buying food I don't need or can use within a few days time.

The grocery store is just so intoxicating sometimes!  So much affordable luxury and designer foods!  But really, I can, and should, only eat so much and i'm getting better and better all the time about not overbuying.

Still left with plenty of food, early this morning I decided to use some of it, or lose it!  We all need to make a list of meals/dishes that we can cook using all the week's leftover veggies and other stuff sitting around on the kitchen counter or pantry!  Since I've been making meat pies, this is my contribution for the day!

Yes, I could have made a pastry crust and, let me tell you, I wanted to!  But those yams and butternuts were crying out to be saved from next weeks trash!  So in Shepard's pie fashion I topped my meat filling with a Garnet yam and butternut mash.  The potato and squash took 2 minutes to steam in the pressure cooker with 1/4 c rich beef broth (more about that in a sec), into the food processor they went with 2tbl butter and seasoned with salt, anh oh yes, the chives I bought last week for something else that I never got around to using!

I made the meat filling with the leftover beef stock from the neck bones/meat I cooked in the beer and coffee sauce. It came out super rich because of all of the bones and already seasoned from the Montreal spices that were in it.  I defrosted, in the microwave, 1lb of ground beef from the freezer, browned it in a large pan, pushed it to the side and added;

5 mushrooms
10 brussels
1 lg carrot
4 celery stalks
and 1 lg onion

When onion was translucent and veggies were starting to get soft I added 2 tbl flour (cook off the raw flour smell, 2 minutes) add 2 - 3 c. stock.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for about 5-10 minutes while making topping.

Pour meat filling into casserole or pie dish and spoon mashed veg over top.  Spread with spatula and bake 20-30 minutes until filling starts to bubble through topping.

I forgot Mark is not a big fan of sweet potato/yams argh!  So I guess I'll have to make another with either a pastry top, or try the mashed cauliflower again.  The only thing is I used up every last veg in the fridge!  I do have some peas and corn in the freezer, and I always have onions!

What are some other meals you make out of anything and everything left over?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Advanced "Turn Up the Volume", Tracyrif's 'work into rest' swings

Tuesday morning, The Swing Quest just a memory.... a great memory but back to regular workouts.

My Tuesday morning class starts out with 30 solid minutes of swings.  I lead my students through a minimum of 500-600 reps, but there are many different "levels" of kettlebellers.  Some need more rest and less reps, some it's just right and then there are some that have been doing this a long time and like to do as many reps as possible!  In fact I don't doubt they would go nonstop.....hey, it's been a while amybe we should give that a go.....maybe not!

It's rare these days that I take the highest volume option because I'm the leader and I want to swing side by side with everybody, but mostly with my students that are unsure how to scale back and I want to make sure they do not overdo because I want them to #1 stay safe. #2 have fun! #3 come back often! #4 feel capable and confident not matter how many swing reps they do.  Showing up consistently and working to your own level is the only thing I care about!

Because I scale back my reps I usually increase my bell size, this way "equal work to rest" is completely appropriate.  My EWR bell weight starts with the 16kg and may go up.  My 2-3-4 to 1 work to rest is the 14kg and 16kg.  And just so everybody knows when I know I have to swing thousands of reps over a 2-3 hour period I use what I call my "marathon" swing weight, the 12kg (DVD's workshop), because I have to talk and intruct the entire time, although I do pick up and demo with a heavier bell for about 25% of the time..

Today's workout was crazy high volume, so much so that I think I can include this in a group of workouts I'll start calling "Turn Up the Volume"!  In fact this is the first time I'm writing it and counting up the reps, so here is is!  All rest periods, ALL rest periods are only 15 seconds long.  Using a method of increasing workloads while decreasing rest I call "work into rest".  This means that instead of resting you continue on, swinging another 10 reps through the rest period onto the next work set of ten!  How many rest intervals you choose to work through are completely up to you!  There are 10 works sets, 10 rest sets and in this version only four of the ten rest intervals, a total of 1 minute per 5 minutes of swings were not optional to skip.  Personally, today, I chose to work through all of the ones that weren't mandatory!

Foundation before you 'Turn up the Volume'

10 2 hd swings x 10 sets (15/15)
all rest periods were mandatory during these first warm up sets

100 swings, 5 min.

This is the base, 10 sets of ten work sets and ten "rest" sets.  I have numerous workouts that give everybody the option of swinging through a "rest" set (interval).  If you could visualize the work and rest intervals they might look like this:

Set 1, rest 1, set 2, rest 2, set 3, rest 3, set 4, rest 4, set 5, rest 5, set 6, rest 6, set 7, rest 7, set 8, rest 8, set 9, rest 9, set 10, rest 10 

(rest # 1, 3, 6 and 10 are always mandatory in this workout)

If you are working at an equal work to rest ratio, or working up to it, you only want to focus on the 10 sets of 10. DO NOT do any extra reps during the rest periods!  If you do "work through a rest", then you NEVER get that rest back!  So it's not like yo'll ver get extra rest for working more!  You just get to work more!

10 swings, rest
10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, rest (30 reps, 2 sets of 10 working through one rest interval)
10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, rest (50 reps, 3 sets of 10 working through 2 rest intervals)
10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings, 10 swings (70 swings, 4 sets of ten working through 3 rest intervals!)

So basically it's
10 x 1 (15/15)
30 x 1 (45/15, 3 to 1)
50 x 1 (1.25 min/15 sec, 5 to 1)
70 x 1 (1.75 min/15 sec, 7 to 1)

160 reps, 5 min

After the initial 10 sets of ten we started optional "work into rest"  I did not take video, but I may on Thursday showing how I used my swing combinations in the work sets and 2 hand swings as the optional rest/work sets.  Here is an example, and actually the exact workout!  Why not share, right?

10 tr, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr

(I will post a video demo of this rotation tomorrow if anybody is interested)

5/5, rest
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, rest
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, rest
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5

10 minutes, 320 reps

To make it harder...like it needed to be harder...I repeated these same combinations only I laddered up slower by alternating tr sets and 5/5 sets.

10 tr, rest
5/5, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, rest
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, rest
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, rest
10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr, 10 2 hd sw, 10 tr
5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5, 10 2 hd sw, 5/5

To make it even harder?  All two hand swings of course!  I did take a one minute long rest before this last round of work into rest!

10 2 hd sw x 1 (15/15)
30 2 hd sw x 1 (45/15, 3 to 1)
50 2 hd sw x 1 (1.25 min/15 sec, 5 to 1)
70 2 hd sw x 1 (1.75 min/15 sec, 7 to 1)

160 reps, 5 min

total workout
900 swings, 31 minutes

If you did continuous swings for 30 minutes that would equal out to 1200 swings.

For more about "work into rest" you can find it on my first DVD Programming the Kettlebell Swing


Monday, April 1, 2013

TMI My second ever 10 minute snatch set 196 reps (one hand switch) "whoop, whoop"!

Good-ness!  This morning I completed a 10 minute long 12kg snatch set, one hand switch at 5 minutes, for only the second time ever, so I guess I had a PR (personal record).  On March 21, just a few weeks ago I completed my first ever 10 min, one hand switch 12kg snatch set!  This is kind of a big deal because I've been interested in the mystery of this sport, Kettlebell Sport, for a number of years but there were a few things holding me back from looking into training it more seriously.

The first is that I did not want to give up my own style of training based on "Hardstyle" kettlebell movements, or really what Mark calls "Tracystyle"!  What is the difference?  Well, Mark explains it pretty simply by defining "Hardstyle" as focusing on power and acceleration in the quick lifts and maximum tension in the "grinds".  "Girya Sport" (GS aka Kettlebell Sport) as focusing on maximum efficiency of movement.  A few other reasons but that is the main one.  I love my own training and once I realized I did not have to give one up for the other I was "in"!

Much more to come about this addition in my life, and I describe it as an addition not a replacement.  Back to my workout this morning.

Since I've had an interest in this method of training long sets of snatches and jerks with only one hand switch I started playing around with "pacing" years ago.  Pace work added to my own style of training beautifully!  And wow!  It has given me tons and tons of really great workouts.  In fact way back in the really early days of teaching my style of swing training I recognized the importance of pace and included a pacing drill in my very first DVD Programming the Kettlebell Swing, and of course many times what works for programming the swing works for the snatch as well!  Because of all of my years of training pace I have a pretty darn good timing but never really went beyond 2-3 minutes without switching hands.....because I could not go longer!  I had practiced it enough times to know I could not do it!

Knowing what I know about progression, my first goal was to do it with the 8kg!  I was successful a handful of times with the 8kg, but I was inconsistent.  And to be fair it wasn't my main gig, it was just challenge and play.  I'm pretty sure I did it once with the 10kg...that must have been a good day!  But because I knew how freakin' frackin' hard the 8kg was, I knew how hard the 12kg would be!  I had total respect for it!  Total!  This is why, at the last minute, when I, for some crazy ass reason, agreed to "try" the 10 minute 12kg jerk I was scared as hell!  I had total respect for this sport and never once did I ever think it was going to be easy.

Fast forward...kind of....

January 29 I had my very first GS coaching session with John Wild Buckley.
January 30 I got sick, no practice
February 1, I left for a workshop in Columbus Ohio, no GS training but hundreds and hundreds of swing reps (maybe over 2000), and still not feeling 100%
Feb 3rd, back home, Sunday, no training.
Feb 4th, I better get my ass in gear!  I'm going to be on a platform in less that 5 days
Feb 9th, my first ever 10 min jerk set!  Whew!  Did I really do that?   Tears of joy!

Feb 11th, Monday and completely sold on the whole competition experience!  Sign me up!

Feb 16th, first private session at Juno....what?  What did I get myself into?  Good God I still have to train and survive SFG in Houston in a couple of weeks!
Feb 25th-March 6th, my first week of training GS in addition to all of my other Tracystyle workouts and SFG practice (heavy shit!).
March 6th, the day before I left for SFG I completed my second only 10 minute 12kg jerk set (forgot how many reps but I have it written down)

March 7th, leave for Houston
March 8th, first day of SFG, having fun, feeling strong and happy, pull hamstring at the end of the day....argh!  What?
March 9th second day of SFG, not really happy.  Worried about hamstring and the rest of my life.
March 10th, third day SFG.  5 minute 20 kg snatch test, killed it, and all of my other strength requirements for certification!  Whew, now back to regular programmed schedule, right?


Hamstring pull.  No yoga.  I need my yoga.

Blah, blah, blah.

Not much of any, what I consider, "real" training until Tuesday of last week.

March 28th finally back at Juno.  And what am I treated to?  Oh yes, I'm treated to a whole other world of swings!  GS swings!  One hand swings, 10/10 w/32kg and 5/5 36kg  (80lbs).

March 30th, The Swing Quest! Awesome!  This is what I love about my life!  The training, the practice, the teaching. the coaching, the leading, the following!

Monday, April 1st, GS workout, 10 minute 8kg jerk (I mistakenly did 12 min set, 6/6), and 10 min, 12kg snatch.  Whoop, whoop!  Yikes!  Last week I was scheduled to do a 12 min set! Yeah right!  I managed 8 minutes (4/4), but today 10 min was on the schedule.  Boom!  As my coach would say (and did I might add).  196 total reps!  103/93, blowing away my first ever 10 minute set on 3/21/13 of 84/77 (R and L)!

Now until a possible GS meet in Seattle in less than 4 weeks...should I go?  I'd be competing in the biathlon, 12kg 10 minute jerk and snatch.  One thing I know now is that I'm not scared.  I'm not scared at all!  It's just 10 minutes, 5/5.  I have plenty of respect for the time, but I also have respect for myself.  I am the one that will show up.  Nothing is handed to me or anybody else in this sport, or any other competitive sport for that matter.  The heart does the work, the body follows, and so does the mind.  Do the work, nothing else matters. You can't buy a life, you have to live one.

PS one of the funniest things....if you post video of yourself training GS be ready for all kinds of amateur coaching!  Amateur coaching is when someone tells you what they think you are doing wrong, but doesn't tell you how to fix it!  If you don't offer corrections then you are simply criticizing!  And besides, did I ask you?  I've been doing this for only a few weeks, give me a break!  

"whoop, whoop" is when cardio, grip and technique all go out the window!  Why do I love this stuff?

For your copy of a really great DVD, "Programming the Kettlebell Swing" here is the link (and geez, I was so young!  God bless having videos of when you are younger!  lol)  Although it is not listed as a "work along" video, it was taped during a live workshop that includes over 1000 swing reps!