Wednesday, May 21, 2014

TSQ Chicago; 10 x 10's, and much much appreciation!

Where do I start?  I think I'm just going to start with the first 25 minutes of The Swing Quest Chicago workouts!  But then I want to share with you a short story of one of the amazing women I met and swung with, Gaby Ramirez.  

10 x 10 #1
10 2 hd sw x 4 sets
5 2 hd sw + 5 R x 2 sets
5 2 hd sw + 5 L x 2 sets
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets

10 x 10 #2
5 2 hd sw + 5 R x 1 set
5 2 hd sw  5 L x 1 set
5 2 hd sw + 5 R x 1 set
5 2 hd sw  5 L x 1 set
5 R/5 L x 4 sets
10 R one hd sw x 1 set
10 L one hd sw x 1 set

10 x 10 #3
5 2 hd + 5 R x 1 
5 2 hd + 5 L x 1
5 R/5 L x 1
10 R x 1 set
10 L x 1 set
repeat in the same order

Gaby already had my book and had been swinging on her own in the past but found consistency in practice to be challenging.  When she found out I was going to be in her area she decided to come to the Learn to Swing Class to meet me and to make sure her swing form and technique was correct. 

I only teach the two hand swing in a Learn class, but I wanted to make sure Gaby's one hand swing was solid before I left her to practice on her own at home.  I invited her to join us in the first part of TSQ, instructing her to take extra rest, not because she wasn't capable of doing more, but because she hadn't established a regular practice prior to the workouts and I wanted her to be able to walk the next day!  The kettlebell swing stretches and loads the hamstrings quite a bit and a beginner should always err on the side of less and not more!  In the half I suggested the sets I wanted Gaby to rest through, and the rest I simply had to trust her to do what she felt was appropriate.

10 x 10 #4
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
5 2 hd sw + 5 R 
5 2 hd sw + 5 L
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets
10 R
10 L
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets

10 x 10 #5
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
10 R
10 L 
5 R/ 5 L 
5 2 hd + 5 R 
5 2 hd + 5 L
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets

One of the best parts of the weekend was the smile on Gaby's face at the end of the workout.  Priceless!

(ps, I would have posted the entire 25 non stop but I couldn't get Youtube accept the entire video from my Ipad.)

I arrived in Chicago late Friday night and met Daniel Lona at the airport ( The events were scheduled at the studio Dan works at Lateral Fitness (, and seriously, if you are ever in downtown Chicago and need a trainer for kettlebells, or a place to workout, you would be crazy not to look him up!  The plan was to take a taxi to my hotel, but the line was over 30 minutes long just to get a cab so I suggested Dan show me how to take the train instead.  Suitcase, gym bag and computer, off we went.  We actually took the train most of the way, catching a cab for the last part of the trip once we got closer into the city.  After I checked in, Dan and I met his wife Val at the Hancock Tower for a drink and bite to eat, while enjoying a spectacular view from 96 floors up!  What a treat.  

The Swing Quest events weren't scheduled until 1:00 start time so we met early for coffee and breakfast at Yolk (  I knew I was going to need some carbs to get me through over 3 hours of swinging so I ordered the plain Yolk crepes slathered in butter and just a sprinkling of powdered sugar.  

First up was the Learn to Swing Class the first hour.  I never get tired of teaching the kettlebell swing, but I just wish we could spend more time with new students than the 40-60 minute limitations because of the caution learning a new movement like this requires.  More than half of the people that came had some experience learning on their own via youtube or my book/dvd's and where there to improve the skill....and to meet me, of course! (lol)  No surprise they all did well and learned new bits and pieces of the swing and how to train it.

The second part of the event was one that is brand new to me.  I was given the chance to do my very first lecture on losing weight and keeping it off forever!  True permanent transformation whether or not The Swing is ever your thing, creating and maintaining a healthy bodyweight is directly related to how much we eat, not so much what we eat, in my opinion.  I talked about how I decided to "reverse engineer" my own successful permanent weight loss of over 100lbs so I can help others achieve and enjoy the same freedom I've had for almost a decade now!

Everybody stayed to hear the lecture!  Both groups, the Learn to Swing and TSQ Workshop attendees listened, with what seemed like honest interest!   I'm only expressing my surprise because I have never really talked about this subject with more than with just a couple of people or just one person at a time via phone consultation.  The group consisted of some that may have wanted to learn what I had to offer for their own interest, and those who are in the business of diet and fitness that were interested in sharing it with clients, family and friends.  I will be writing more about it but wanted to share the most surprising result from the feedback I got on it.  

While I consider what I have to say to probably be the most relevant to those living experiences like I did, needing or wanting to lose a large amount of weight, it was someone that approached me the next day wanting to finally get rid of that "extra 5 pounds" that heard much value in my interpretation of what I think is the problem and the solution!  Wow!  I know all weight loss is the same, whether it's 5 pounds or 105 lbs (and more), it was just interesting having a "skinny" person ask a former fat girl how to lose 5lbs!  lol

On to the next half of the first day....

The Swing Quest 2014 Workouts!  This was the very first time I have ever lead TSQ event off of my regular schedule of every 3 months.  The last home event was the end of March, and the next one is the end of June (actually July 4 or 5 this year), so this one was "extra".  I have always used a 16kg because that's the appropriate weight for me to train almost 2 hours of swings with, nothing lighter, nothing heavier.  But this Quest was not for me personally so I planned on using a 14kg if available, of not a 12kg would be more than fine.  Well, a 14kg was not to be, and maybe that was a good thing, because the 12kg was in fact more than fine (although I did use a 20kg for the last 10 minutes of Sinister Swing).  I was beat up at the end (in a good way).  

Most everybody learned the lesson of how important hand care is :(  Hands will give out before ability most of the time, especially if
one uses a very challenging weight.  Two things will challenge the health of the hands.  The sheer volume of swing reps, and the weight of the bell, both of which TSQ involves.  From now on I think we all agree that gloves should be either a preventative plan or a back up plan.  Although I gave out numerous pairs of socksleeves that I brought with me, and it they did give immediate relief, once the damage is done it's difficult to work past.  I ended up having to break out the tape the next day, but I was glad to give everybody a short tutorial of how to tape up!

Minutes before 5:00pm The Swing Quest 2014 was over!  Whew!  It was crazy!  Crazy fun!

Dinner, right?  Sweet potato polenta (, and Gumbo at Seven on Rush (  So wonder I didn't need dessert after dinner!  Did you get a load of the ingredients in that damn sweet potato polenta?  Good-ness!  If I would have known how good the collard greens were I would have definitely ordered those instead...oh well, next time!  Word to the wise...order the collards!

Day two, Programming the Kettlebell Swing

(Daniel Lona, Holly Snow, Valerie Lona, Kahti Toll, me, Jen Bruno, Angie Lyngso, missing is SJ Chapman who is taking the picture!)

No time for breakfast, just coffee and a bagel from the Hotel buffet (again, carbs for energy and endurance) If 2 hours of swings the day before weren't enough, then I had two more hours and the methods to my swing madness on day two.....and since everybody came back then I guess they wanted more!  Personally I think I need three hours, but based on past experience I predicted at about 1 hour 45 everybody will hit the wall!  That's why TSQ workouts are doable for most everybody because they last just about 1 hour 40, and believe it or not just an extra 15-20 minutes is enough to lose it!  I'm always reworking the progression of the workshop's "hands on bell" demos and at each event I learn how and what adjustments need to be made in the future.....which make me super excited for the next one!

I had one last thing to do on my first trip to Chicago....yep, deep dish pizza!  (  Dan and Val took me, and another friend, SJ, to their favorite deep dish pizza restaurant, Lou Malnati's where we thoroughly enjoyed "The Lou". Spinach mushrooms, roma tomatoes and three cheeses on top of a garlic buttercrust!  OMG...  I know it's hard to believe but there were actually two pieces left over and I invited myself to take them off Dan and Val's hands to bring back home for Mark!  I carried them all the way back to CA! 

This trip, this event, and the Lona's, my gracious hosts, were all part of an absolutely unforgettable weekend.  A trip I hope to make again, an event I hope to grow even bigger, and a new friendship I hope will grow stronger along with new friendships to be made.

Thank you all for your support, your interest in what I'm doing and have to offer, as well as your kindness and hospitality in your lovely city of Chicago.  Much much appreciation.


SJ said...

Thank you so much for coming out and doing a swing quest in Chicago! I hope you come back to do another one. It was such a joy to get to meet you.

ValerieLona said...


We all had such a blast! I was surprised and proud of myself for getting through the entire swing quest (with just a bit of scaling back). But what a great feeling you brought to all of us to be able to accomplish such a feat! You were of course, a ton of fun---please do come back!

Daniel Lona said...

Tracy - It's you who made this event so incredible! Mark was right - Chicago was very lucky this past weekend. And thank you for all the kind words.

Even though the event has passed, it's just the beginning. It's the beginning of even more Swing Quests across the nation. I have no doubt more invitations will be pouring in for you soon!

And I'm excited about the beginning our friendship. I can't wait to work with you again. There's so much work we can do to get people swinging and healthier.

This party has just begun!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Thank you so much for your comment :)

You and everybody at TSQ did a perfect job scaling the volume when needed (or not) to finish together. I'm thinking your swing practice is going to change a little bit from now on, and next time we see each other there's going to be a serious swing throw down!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Told ya! You should be proud! I hope this added a little fuel to your kettle bell fire!

Thank you for listening to the hours and hours of me babbling on about training and diet, you were a real trooper! And unbeknownst to you, you added some great value to my research :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


Ah yes, the party! I always have said that my swing workouts are my parties and everyone is invited!

Over the weekend I talked about hope and how that feeling can be a big motivator. I brought a lot of hope home with me on Sunday, and that's in large part to credit to you. Everybody that came to swing came because of your belief me and in this training. Thank you so much my new friend.

Gaby said...


I can't believe im on your blog! Ah! It was so amazing meeting you and you have really inspired me to make a change in my life, with my eating habits, and of course with being more consistent with my workouts, especially kettlebells. I find myself finally looking forward to doing them, because I know that with each one I get closer to the body I know I deserve. I want to be healthy and set a great example for my daughter and this weekend has really made it clear to me how much I really want this!

Thanks again and hope to see you soon in Chicago!

Tracy Reifkind said...


You're on my blog! I know huh? lol

How did you feel the next day? I wasn't too worried about you because you did so well and your swings were solid, and you had a bit of rest between practices, but I never know...

I can't wait until next time we meet, no doubt I will not recognize you, except for your gorgeous smile!

Please do not hesitate to comment here or on FB and let me know how your progress is going. It's such an exciting time for you! All the best!


Gaby said...

Thanks Tracy!

I hope next time you see me I am unrecognizable, in a good way!

I was sore but not unbearable and got right back to swinging that monday and have had 4 kettlebell workouts this week! Part of my brain(that elephant I now call it lol), sees the couch and it tells me just to sit and relax, tomorrow we can workout. But then I look at my kettlebell and it starts whispering what it can do for me and it has won out every time! lol! I think that kettlebell will scream so loud in the coming weeks that I won't even notice the couch is there!

This time it just feels different than other times I've done it. I have more confidence in my swings and that I am doing them right, thanks to you!

I will for sure keep updating you on me progress and continue to swing away!