Saturday, June 28, 2014

Evolution and Overeating Triggers and a Thursday 10 x 10...okay, okay, a couple of days late, but hey, I've been busy!

Yikes, it's barely been two weeks since Mark and I came home from Italy and now we've been in Sweden since this last Wednesday.  I wanted to get something posted before I left, but spending time with my granddaughter last weekend, preparing my house, arranging care for the cats, and of course packing was of greater doesn't mean I missed any workouts though!

I confess that I did not train this past Thursday other than taking a long walk.  Mark and I left on Tuesday afternoon, arriving in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Wednesday night, so technically Thursday was still Wednesday back home!  We slept off some jet lag and woke up late Thursday morning, then chilled out most of the afternoon until we left to test the weekend's SFG assistants at the site of the Certification course (Vagnhallen Crossfit).  Friday rolled around and I felt fine except for a slight food hangover from a bit too much to eat at dinner, and eating much too close to bedtime....I really really do not like eating late (past 5-6:00pm)  The only thing I dislike more about eating late is buffet style restaurants, but more about that later in this post.

For now, let's get back to some international 10 x 10 fun, SwedishStyle!  Again, I roped another unsuspecting soul into my swing madness!  Henrik Andersson, one of the SFG candidates was looking a bit too comfortable during the lunch break so I invited him to play along!

I wanted to get to those 10 one hand swings sooner and do more of them than last time, but I gave Henrik's hands a break for the last two sets because he had already been practicing with the 24kg (and double 24kg's) for 4 hours by this point!  High volume swing training can be challenging for the hands and grip, but add to it a heavy weight and it increases the stress.

10 2 hd sw x 1 set
5 2 hd sw + 5 one hd sw R x 1 set
5 2 hd sw + 5 one hd sw L (or visa versa) x 1 set
5/5 one hand swing x 1 set
10 R
10 L
10 R
10 L
5/5 x 1 set
10 2 hd sw x 1 set

100 swings, 5 min.


Oh, I haven't mentioned The Swing Quest much but it's next weekend! Yikes!  I'm hoping 2000+ swing will help to work off some of the jet lag.


Evolution and Overeating Triggers

I used to try my best to avoid using the word "trigger" to describe certain situations, conditions, or environments (etc.) that induced and lead to sometimes crazy, out of control, unwanted eating behaviors/actions, or really any kind of old habits that I really would not want to act on.  But I'm getting over it, and in fact I  actually may be over it, since I'm using the word/term here in this post.  At one time, to me, using that word meant that I was claiming to be a victim of being "triggered", and I didn't want to surrender to admitting that I had given up the power of my own free will to make the choices that help me feel good about the things I do, and how I live my life.  But I have a better and deeper understanding about some of those triggered behaviors that may in fact be hardwired onto my evolutionary make up, instead of thinking that I was acting on some kind of psychological damage/hurt from the earlier years of my childhood or life.

Meals served buffet and all you can eat style can trigger all kinds of feelings that can lead to overeating, and in fact promote not only eating too much but eating foods you don't even enjoy.  As smart as I know I am, and as healthy as I know I like to feel, buffet style eating too often rears it's ugly head and can take over my right mind!  I know what I have to do to change this habit of this particular's just a habit.  A habit is "behavior auto-pilot", and it could be a good thing and a bad thing!  In this case I'm learning how to change it from one to another, and I'm closer and closer to flipping it around than I've ever been before....isn't that nice?  And what a relief!

Since I'm referring to buffet style eating I'll write specifically about the things I'm doing to change the way I used to let it affect me.

The first thing I can do is to simply never put myself in the situation. When I'm at home I would never, ever choose to go to a buffet style restaurant, period, or take friends or family to one.  In fact knowing what I know about this particular trigger for me and for most people I'm even changing how I decide to arrange my own holiday dinner parties for my own family.

Another thing I might/would do, if/when I have to go, to is to not go hungry!  Unless overeating is the point, going to a buffet feeling hungry, or God forbid starving, is a recipe for my experience and opinion. Overeating is the habit that I want to change in the first place, whether it's at a buffet or in my own kitchen, so making sure I never force myself to NOT eat when I feel hungry, if I can avoid it, and it is something that I'm paying more attention to these days by giving myself permission to eat!  More about this another time.

Most of the other common strategies for not over eating at buffets that we all may be familiar with can help us work towards changing the habit, if that is something that you want to change that is.......and I, for one, do.

Don't sit close to the buffet tables.  Chose a table far enough away that you can't even see the food if you can help it!

Take a small plate, and don't use multiple plates, and don't allow used plates to be bused away.  Stay aware of how many platefuls of food you are eating if you go back for seconds, thirds or more...yikes!  In fact research shows that you might not go back as many times for more food if you are aware of how much you eat along the way.  Empty plates remind us :)

Take some time and scout out all of the food before you make your choices.  Once you know what all is being offered get into the habit of taking only your most favorite things, limiting the variety.  Trust in the fact that you will eat more of the foods you actually enjoy and eat less of the foods you don't enjoy as much, or may even find you don't like in the first place!

There are others, but I find these are the most helpful things to think about and to put in place for me.

While Mark and I were in Italy I only put myself in the position of a buffet style, all you can eat meal one time...whoops, two times.  The Saturday night SFG dinner and one hotel breakfast.  The Cert dinner I really couldn't not attend and I didn't want not go anyway, but the hotel breakfast was offered every morning for six days, and I chose to partake only once, which was a huge change for me! And when I did I made much better choices than I had in the past.

On this trip so far there have been three occasions to eat at buffets, and another one, the fourth, tonight.  The first one I did not go hungry, the second one I did.  I ended up hardly eating anything the first time and regretfully eating too much the second, the worst eating foods I didn't like that much to begin with.  I forgot most of the strategies I listed above, knowing now I may have to keep a mental checklist of rules until I replace old reactive triggers with new ones.

The third buffet meal I simply passed on!  I wasn't that hungry in the first place, but why take a chance anyway?  Tonight I know the dinner will be another buffet!  Where I don't know, but what I do know is that I will eat a small amount of food before I go, food I know I like and enjoy, and I will also take my mental checklist with me.  With many of these strategies I still might eat more than I want to, but I might not either!  What I do know is that I'll have a much better chance of the evening turning out exactly how I want it to.

At one time during evolution overeating may have served a purpose, but I believe now those triggers to eat too much is counterproductive to our health during these modern times.  I believe instead of thinking about everyday survival from the threats of food scarcities we should be thinking about survival of food abundance!  It is not in the best interest of our health and longevity to overeat when it leads to overweightness and certainly not obesity.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Croatia; Destination Certification, and this week's Thursday 10 x 10

Barely two weeks will go by since returning from Sfg Italy and in a few days Mark and I are leaving for Sweden!  Mark is teaching a Level 1 SFG in Gothenburg and then we are will stay close to home during the summer before traveling to Croatia in late September for another Level 1 SFG.  Speaking of Croatia, and other International SFG Certifications.....

(omg...watching this video I almost forgot how totally awesome last year's SFG Croatia was!)

Have you ever, or are you thinking about earning/training for an SFG Instructor Certification?  Well, if you have, or if you, are I highly recommend you think about attending and participating at an event in another country, and experiencing a "Destination Certification" about Croatia?  Croatia is hosting it's second SFG Sept 26, 27, 28, just over 12 weeks away, plenty of time to get ready, right?  lol

Croatia is a lovely country and the Croatian SFG community, like all the others, is represented by some of the most committed and passionate Instructors/athletes I've had the pleasure to meet.  Along with a strong sense of community, Croatia is still somewhat inexpensive to visit with many apartments renting for under $50 a night!  Mark and I hope to stay at the same apartment we did last year, which came with a separate kitchen, and washing machine, and was within walking distance of the Cert location, restaurants, grocery, and even nearby nature reserve.  We hope to stay in the same place again this year and it has three other apts. on the same floor that will be available to rent, would you like to join us?

Sasa Rajnovic is a SFG Team Leader and is the host of the event, along with Alexander Miketa, a level 2 SFG assisting.  I had the pleasure of meeting both men last year, and met up with them again in Italy this last trip, where the two also helped assist at the Italian Cert (picture on right), and we talked about the upcoming Croatian SFG and how it could be possible to organize some guided sightseeing and tours for people interested in combining their SFG with a vacation. How nice would that be?  Three days of intense training and learning, and then a few more days of relaxation, good food, and adventure!  I'm also working with both men about organizing some other incentives to intice you to want to come and bring a spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, friend, or family member with you, like swing lessons/workouts with me and other day trips for them while you are attending the SFG Cert!  So look for more information and updates in the next few weeks, or please comment here or email me with any questions you might have if you are interested in learning more! (


This week's Thursday 10 x 10 is in preparation for my next Swing Quest 2014 event, July 6th, the weekend after we return from Sweden.  This next marathon swing workout will start out with 5 rounds of 10 x 10's with the focus being on more and more one hand swings.  I've often admitted that I prefer the two hand swing to one hand swings because I just feel, for me, it's a stronger position.....which is probably why I should do more one hand swings!  So here I am, practicing two hand and one hand swings, leading up to my least favorite....10 one hand swings at a time!

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 R
10 L

I'm very excited about the next Swing Quest where I'll be asking two special guests lead me through a 10 x 10 of their own design! Who will they be?  Come and find could be you!

The Swing Quest 2014, Sunday July 6th 8:00am
2 hour Kettlebell Swing Marathon, cost $40
Noxcuses Fitness 2741 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto CA (
email or call me for more info (408) 421-8293

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

International Training Food and Thought....The Food!

Ah, the food.  It's been only 8 months since our last trip to Vincenza and there were many meals that we enjoyed that are still fresh in my memory, but if I had to choose one to repeat, okay, two (because it would be a tie) it would be the seafood salad platter at Ai 2 Fogher's Ristoranti Pizzerie, and the Gelato at Il Gelatraio.  Nothing else really mattered to me at all, which was a good thing!  On our last trip to Italy my old habit of overeating out of fear of missing out on something almost got the best of me, in fact it kind of did, resulting in a gain of 6lbs.  I was able to keep it from getting totally out of hand by balancing some of it out with under eating/intermittent fasting and of course some hard training, but I'll go into all of that in my next post.  (here is the post I wrote after my last trip in regards to the food and eating for comparison).  This trip was entirely different. 

We arrived at the Venice airport around lunch time (12 noon), but of course still being on California time it was still the very early hours back home (3am), which meant I was no where near hungry.  Master SFG Fabio Zonin, super gracious host that he is, assumed we would be ready for a meal and our first stop was my absolute favorite restaurant in all of Vincenza!  The pasta is crazy good, the pizza amazing, but nothing comes close to the seafood platter Fabio introduced me to during our last trip.  I have dreamed about this dish for months.  It has steamed mussels/clams, a super juicy giant scallop, shrimp salad, deep fried giant prawn, but my favorite (next to the mussels) is some sort of cold marinated squid salad.  Man, the last thing I wanted to do was eat an entire seafood platter at 3am in the morning, but I had to make an exception!  DAMN IT!  It's a tough life, but somebody has to live it!

Knowing what I know about balancing over eating and under eating I knew dinner was completely out for me later that night, which was totally fine.  I'm good with a glass of wine and a breadstick if need be!  In true extraordinary super host Fabio fashion we did indeed meet just hours later for dinner!  Ouch.  But one of the best tips I learned from my last trip is that they do indeed give out doggie bags in Italy!  Is that wrong of me?  To ask for a doggie bag for food that was paid for by someone else?  Hmnn...thoughts anyone?  After a very small green salad and a glass (or two) of wine, I ordered, and took a couple of small bites of, the shrimp gnocchi and some grilled white fish of some sort, and wrapped the rest up for lunch the next day.

Thursday Mark and I got some decent sleep and I stayed back in our room to do some work while Mark and Fabio went out guessed it, lunch!  I wasn't close to being hungry, and had leftovers from dinner in the small fridge in our room.  It was perfect actually because throughout the entire day I took small bites and even then, when dinner came around I still wasn't that hungry.

Dinner was at the most amazing Pizza Pub in town, and lucky me I've learned some new strategies to lessen the possibilities of "accidentally" overeating....they worked!

The first I already mentioned.....doggie bag!  The second is to limit my choices and really think about one or two things I want to try.  Instead of sampling all 9 different pizzas I chose two, I almost got away with one, the melon and ham, but the olives on another were too tempting so I grabbed a slice for, you guessed it, my lunch the next day!  I asked to have the leftover salad and two slices of pizza packed to take with me.  By the way, the lettuce was amazing!  Yes, the lettuce!  Since it was a Pub, beer and spirits were the only drinks on the menu, no wine!  I had a shot of scotch, a some antipasto (Burrata cheese, ham, lettuce) a slice of pizza and called it a night.  A perfect night actually with my focus on good times and conversations with new friends, not so much on how much food I could stuff in my mouth for fear of never getting another chance at this amazing pizza!

Mark and I slept horribly that second night, unbeknownst to us Mark would end up with a horrible stomach flu like feeling for our entire trip. The next day was the first day of the SFG Cert and I pretty much crashed and burned with jet lag.  Lucky me I had my lunch packed from the night before, and I still had a few food items leftover that I had packed for my flight, which was a good thing because when Mark finished up his 10 hour day he went to bed without any dinner while everybody else met at the hotel restaurant that evening.

Saturday.  Finally I got some good training in!  Still not really hungry for some reason, I had the chance to do a little site seeing in the afternoon, but not before gelato!  I could foresee the chance of missing out on a trip to Il Gelataio for a flavor of Greek Yogurt gelato I had a taste of last year, based on the fact that Mark was not feeling well, and we only had less than two days left before we had to return home.  I asked Fabio if he would instruct our driver to take me and my new friend Emily to get gelato before we drove 30 minutes to our first destination, Marostica.  What a fabulous idea that turned out to be!  All Emily and I could do while eating our gelato was moan and groan about how delicious it was!  By the time we got to Marostica we weren't hungry at all.  However, on our drive we noticed all of the cherry stands (ciliegia), cluing us into the fact that it was cherry season!  Of course we had to stop and buy some!

After a full afternoon of walking a ton we ended the day back at the SFG at 6:00pm, in time to listen to Mark give his speech on "What is the SFG?".  The group dinner was arranged for 7:30pm and I knew it was going to be a humongous buffet...and I was right.  Yes, I went in with some strategies....but not nearly as successful as the rest of the trip, and you know what?  It was fine!  Really the only thing I overate without really enjoying it was the cake!  By the time the cake was presented I had filled up on the yummiest roasted potatoes ever, along with plenty of other stuff, that my tummy was almost stretched to it's limit....almost!  I was triggered by my old habit of overeating, which was fine, but I wish I would have enjoyed the cake, which might have meant less potatoes....or maybe I should have just passed on the cake! OR maybe I should have simply taken a piece for breakfast the next morning?  Darn!  I could have done that!  Duh!  Oh well, live and learn...or should I say, eat and learn?  lol

Sunday, the last day.  I forgot to mention, because I'll write more about it in my next post, that our hotel did offer a small free breakfast every morning until about 10:00am.  I had brought some dry oatmeal with me in case I needed a snack, planning on making some overnight oats, so I took a couple of small yogurts and a piece of fruit one morning.....yep, a breakfast doggie bag!

Mark was still sick with stomach cramps and ate very little, in fact losing 4lbs during this trip.  Not only was he not hungry, but he couldn't even go out for a meal to socialize because he felt so bad.  When the SFG Cert ended around 3:00pm the only reason we went for gelato (my second time, his first), was because like me he remembered how freakin' amazing it was from our last trip, and if there is one thing Mark likes, it's good ice cream!  Even though I was still not very hungry I was forced to eat 4 more scoops of gelato before our trip ended!

Mark, exhausted and sick went to bed without dinner, again, and so did I.  Instead I spent an hour or two packing up to leave the next morning.  I had a few snacks in the fridge to get by on.  Some fresh cherries from our site seeing trip the day before, some mulberries I picked from a tree at the Cert site (pictured at left), and a piece of deep dish veg pizza I brought with me from home (believe it or not!).

Monday morning.  I had made two small containers of overnight oats w/yogurt for breakfast.  One of which I ate on our way to the airport, and one I ate on the plane.  I also had packed some fresh fruit for the flight, but mostly I decided to simply eat the food they would serve us on the plane.  It was fine.  In fact all was fine until we hit the Atlanta airport......and that, my friends, is when some crazy stuff went down!  But I'll save that for part 3, the "thought" post.  I'll share with you my thoughts about old habits and behaviors around food and eating based on "fear and lack", and what did and didn't work for me when some of those old triggers reared their ugly heads.

I had a wonderful trip full of good foods, great friends, new and not so new, some wonderful workouts and finally the best of all I got to share all of it with my brilliant and wonderful husband. One of these days I hope I can share it with my kids too.  That would be even more amazing!

Basic food/eating schedule:

Every morning we had espresso with cream I packed in our suitcase and brought with us!  You can actually find it and order it from Amazon;

Wednesday; Full lunch, seafood and salad.  Super light dinner with wine.
Thursday; Light lunch with leftovers provided by dinner the night before.  Light dinner with friends.
Friday; Leftover pizza and salad for lunch.  A couple of cookies from the plane, and a Luna bar I brought with me.  A couple of apples late in the afternoon from the Cert.  No dinner out. 
Saturday; Apple for breakfast.  Two scoops of gelato for lunch!  Cherries for snack.  Super huge dinner buffet with a lot of wine and cake.
Sunday; A juicy orange and some mulberries I picked. Gelato for lunch again, but four scoops this time!!!!  No dinner out, instead finishing up some of the food and snacks we had in our room.
Monday; overnight oats before we got on the plane.

We arrived back home late Monday night after traveling for 20 hours.

Friday, June 13, 2014

International Training Food and Thought. First the Training.

Let's start with the training!  Mark and I left home Tuesday morning and arrived in Vincenza (40 min west of Venice) on Wednesday afternoon.  I had swung a quick 30 minute Sinister Swing workout before I left and wasn't scheduled to train again until Thursday.  I had decided beforehand not to get too obsessed with working out w/kb's while I was away, besides I knew I'd be walking a ton.  Fabio offered to take me to the gym, but I had to catch up on some work so Mark went with him to see the Cert venue and talk business.  I caught up with them later for lunch, meeting James Breese and his girlfriend Emily Wakefield, from the UK, so no workout, which was totally fine!  Dinner with other Team Leaders and assistants later in the evening where I met Alexey and his girlfriend Samantha Olieric from Paris, and then before I knew it it was Friday!  The first day of SFG Italy!

Friday morning jet lag hit pretty hard!  I was exhausted and felt really sorry for Mark, who had to start his day at 7:00am and teach until 6:00 that evening.  So I forced myself to get up at the same time....I should have slept in.  Mark left at 7:00 and I stayed behind at the hotel planning on walking the 1-1 1/2 mile to the Cert site, which I did.  I dressed in workout clothes planning on doing some sort of training later in the morning.  Certs always start with teaching the swing, and of course it's my favorite part so I rarely miss watching it!  Needless to say I did not get around to working out before lunch, and in fact around 11:00am I started to 'hit a wall' pretty good!  I knew I had to get back to the hotel for some lunch and to rest.  No swings for me, but I decided to walk back while carrying a 12kg the entire way.  It was brutal!  Or I should say it felt brutal!  My only goal was to not put it down at anytime.  I could rack it, I could suitcase carry it, I even had to resort to a sloppy two hand carry, if you can imagine that!  I made it!  Ate some lunch and passed out later.  No dinner out that night!  Mark was exhausted and I had a nice lunch (leftovers from dinner) so I wasn't even hungry.

Saturday morning, again, Mark left early for the Cert and I followed afterwards, about an hour, walking to the venue.  I felt much better and knew at some point I would get some solid swings in for the day.  When I arrived the first thing I did was to approach Samantha with the idea of getting her to translate a 10 x 10 in French!  She agreed, so roping Emily into the video as well the three of us snuck outside and taped a quick 100 swing workout!  (above)  It's a ton of fun including other people in my videos, I love it!  (so watch out if we ever meet, lol)  Here is the 10 x 10 written in my shorthand:

10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
10 R
10 L
5/5 one hd sw x 2 sets
10 tr sw x 2 sets
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets

100 swing reps, 5 min.

I wrote it out for you because it is the exact start of a more advanced workout that is coming next.....!

On Friday, the day before, I had the pleasure of meeting two SFG's from Czechoslovakia (yes I had to look up the spelling!), Pavel Macek and his lovely wife Justyna Mackova.  Both have very successful training businesses, Pavel working exclusively with men and Justyna with a female clientele.

Here is a link to what her strong Czech ladies are doing, check it out!  They both were familiar with my story and my training and asked to interview me later during the weekend for their website, so I asked them if they would join me for a video workout....why not, right!  What fun!  I knew I'd have a swing workout translated into French and now I'd have the opportunity to get one translated into Czech!

After I taped the 10 x 10 I met up with Pavel and Justyna for a lunchtime swing workout.  Pavel was totally game, and Justyna a bit shy, but here we are:

The workout start out with the same 10 x 10 above and continues on with 5 sets of 20 reps, and ends with one long set that connects all of my swing combinations together.  It was supposed only be 50 reps!  But by accident (I was a bit distracted) it ended up being 60 reps...ouch for Pavel who was swinging a 24kg!

20 2 hd sw x 1 set
10/10 one hd sw x 1 set
5/5 x 2 x 1 set
20 tr sw x 1 set
20 2 hd sw x 1 set

video demos

10 2 hd sw + 10/10 + 5/5 + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (It should have started with 10/10, leaving off the first 10 2 hd swing...but  oh well!)

260 swing reps. 15 min approx.

I went on to complete the rest of my workout to total 1000 swing reps.  100 swings with Samantha and Emily (12kg), 260 swing reps with Pavel and Justyna, and another 640, using many of the same combinations listed about (14kg).  Wow!  Did I feel a ton better!  I only had the hour during the lunch break so I decided to just swing.  Swings would be the best use of my short time, and besides I could save other kettlebell exercises for the next day (Sunday).

After my "awesome" workout (inside joke, you'll have to watch the video) I took a quick shower back at the hotel and met up with my new friend Emily to go get some gelato and do a bit of sight seeing.  We got back for the end of the second day and listen to Mark's "What is the SFG?" speech and then prepare for the group dinner.  (more about that in the next post!)

Sunday morning.  Although I never did use the 12kg I carried back to my hotel room for a workout I had to get it back to the Cert, so I carried it back that morning.  I don't know it it was because the walk is at a slight downhill decline (therefore on Fri. it was a slight incline), but it felt like a breeze walking back with it!  Seriously!  On Friday I was dying, but on Sunday I could have walked another mile with it!

As soon as I arrived Pavel and Justyna asked to do the interview we had talked about, and we sat down a for coffee and a talk.  During our talk one of the questions they had for me was what, in my opinion, was another kettlebell exercise I thought was of second importance to the swing.  I took this to mean what in my training, was of second importance.  Just having finished a heavy snatch training cycle that ended with my second successful 20 kg 5 minute snatch set, it reminded me how important Max Vo2 snatch training has been for me over the last 5 + years, and how not including it in my last 6 weeks of training for the 20kg snatch test was a big mistake!

My usual weekend training is a double bell practice, which I managed to get done first thing that morning, before the interview, but afterwards I was inspired to video tape a snatch workout that is also my exact progressions that build up to a Max Vo2 cycle for beginners.  When I say "beginners", what I mean is a beginner to Max Vo2 training so you must already know how to snatch because this training will focus on speed.  Speed adds an intensity to the workout that is not for beginners just learning the movement.  But even if you are a beginner you can use my Max Snatch progressions to gauge exactly where you are and build from there.

In the first video I demonstrate only one set of each progression, but explain how, in a regular workout, you would repeat each set two times.  If you were using these progressions as a workout in themselves, which is perfectly fine, in fact, it's more than fine because it's a great workout as is, then either repeat each set twice and then repeat them again twice, OR repeat each set four times before moving on to the next progression.  I've posted these progression many times before, but here they are written in my shorthand:

1 sw, 1 tr sw x 10 (20 reps total)
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr sw x 6 (12 swings. 6 snatches total)
1 sn, 1 tr sw (8 swings 8 snatches total)
5 R sn/ 5 L sn, paced into a 30 second interval (10 snatches total)
6 R sn/ 6 L sn, paced into a 30 second interval (12 snatches total)
7 R sn (15 sec work/rest)
7 L sn (15 sec work/rest)
8 R sn (15 sec work/rest)
8 L sn (15 sec work/rest)

As I said before, this is a great workout in itself!  One set of each progression equals 40 swings, 66 snatches and takes 7 minutes to complete!  So repeated twice = 80 sw, 132 sn, 14 min, three times = 120 sw, 198 sn, 21 min, and four times = 160 sw, 264 sn, almost 30 minutes!

This next video explains and demonstrates more about how to find your exact scalable starting point taking the reps back to 5 at a time, but moving those 5 snatch reps with speed.  In my own personal experience as a Instructor I find most students start with 5 reps, but done as quickly and powerfully as possible.  These videos and the reasons why I am posting them will require much more explanation another time.  If you are interested in incorporating this kind of training into your regular kettlebell workouts then please start here and I'll be back to explain and demonstrate more in another post soon. Please, if you have any specific questions leave them for me in the comments section and I'll be sure to address them and include them in a follow up blog post.  Enjoy, and let me know how your practice goes!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sinister Swing, Italian Style.....and a very Sinister Swing Ladder workout!

The first time I went to Italy was in 1998, I was the first person in my family to travel to Europe!  Well technically, since I invited and brought my mother along I guess we were the first two, in our family, to travel to Europe.  In 1995, when I was 32 years old I was determined to learn how to cook, and my determination turned into a passion.  My new passion inspired me to book an Italian cooking vacation in the hills of Tuscania!  Here is where we stayed  It was then I started dreaming of traveling to and experiencing other countries and cultures.

My next trip to Italy was two years later and 40 pounds heavier, my third trip, the following year, I topped the scales close to 260lbs, and was as fat as I ever would be.  I almost made it my duty to eat as much authentic Italian food as I possibly could and coming home on the plane I truly felt as if my skin was going to explode....and I'm not kidding.  But that was then and this is now!

Now?  Well, now it's been ten years since that last trip and I've lost over 120lbs.  It was Italy and the desire to do more international travel that fueled my desire to finally get rid of the unhealthy state of my body. After discovering the kettlebell, a major change in my diet and a clear understanding of my eating behaviors (overeating) I can still enjoy every kind of authentic Italian food I want!

With the help of my friend Julie Petrantoni translating, in preparation for our trip we did a quick and hard 10 minute workout of my own original "Sinister" done Italian Style!

Tracy Reifkind's Original Sinister Swing

Four sets started every 30 seconds with a full 30 second rest after the fourth set.

5, 10, 15, 20

Each round takes 2.5 minutes and equals 50 swing reps.

My co-swinger and student Julie has gone through a bit of a transformation herself, now 20 + pounds lighter!  When Julie started training with me, after reading my story in Tim Ferriss's "The Four Hour Body", she discovered strength, muscle, and a leanness she didn't know she could have, and look at her now!  Last year she cut back on her professional job as an attorney and now is a full time mother of three small girls but she still finds the time to workout regularly because with kettlebells the training is quick and efficient.  Barely 40, Julie is proof again that it's never too late to start, and that it is definitely possible to look better and feel better no matter what our age. (ps, this was the very first time Julie had ever done my Sinister Swing routine!)


Tuesday morning after packing and before leaving for our trip I knocked out a quick Sinister Swing Ladder in our garage gym.  Knowing I had limited time, but unlimited sizes of kettlebells I decided to complete 1 round with 6 different weights each, from the 12kg up to the 32kg and back down again, completing 11 rounds in total.  Excuse my appearance, but I had to basically roll out of bed to get this done, but training (for me) ain't a beauty contest!  Here is the second half of the workout starting with the 32kg, laddering down to the 12kg.  I don't do much talking until I get back down to the 20kg and finally have some extra breath!

One round each w/12kg, 16kg, 20kg, 24kg, 28kg, 32kg, 28kg, 24kg, 20kg, 16kg, 12kg.