Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Reverse Rest" and an answer to a question about progressive workouts :)

Today's workout is something that I've played around with before, but I've never posted a demonstration of it.  It's what I'm calling "Reverse Rest"!  My usual way of designing progressive work sets is that after you do a set amount of work, say 10 reps = 15 sec, you get to rest for the equal time of the work, which is 15 seconds.  20 rep = 30 sec work/rest, 30 reps = 45 seconds work/rest, 40 reps = 1 min work/rest, etc.  It's always worked fine, but it makes going from a set of 10 to a set of 40 challenging in it's own way.  Resting only 15 seconds before having to work or an entire minute is doable, of course, but more fun for some than it is for others :)

In the warm up sets I give you the extra rest before and after the first sets of 20 reps, mostly to give me time to explain this method to you. Then in between the 3rd and 4th round I lead you through the reverse rest progression, or maybe "regression" would be more appropriate.  The warm up does have slightly more rest than work, but I do believe it's still 160 swing reps, all with two hands, and it should take under 9-10 minutes.  Rest up, because when we get to the workout there's no "extra" rest, and by the time we get to part 2, last round, I actually lead you through less rest, by reversing back to my original way of timing work to rest intervals....enough explaining, now doing!  Enjoy :)

I also thought I'd take this chance to share with you a recent email question I received from Lori Storfer, who learned about my training via Heather Robertson's Half Size Me podcasts (look Heather up if you are interested in weight loss success stories!). Lori's question was about workout progressions;

"Hi Tracy, 
I bought and read your book and have been loving my swing workouts. Presently I am watching your YouTube videos and I'm up to workout 6. I want to buy your workout DVDs but I'm not sure which one to buy. Is there an order that the DVDs should be purchased/utilized? Also, how do the DVDs coincide with the YouTube videos? 
By the way, I learned of you via the 2 Half Size Me interviews you did. 
Thank you so much, 

this was my answer;

"Hi Lori :)

Thank you so much for taking the time to email me :)  You ask a great question, and yes, there is a sort of progression to my workout dvd's, and I'm loving how you are thinking "progression"!  That's is absolutely the critical key to learning how to train yourself, never get bored by challenging yourself on a regular basis!

The first dvd I would suggest is Give and Take, then Top 40, or Give and Take 2 would come next.  Dirty 30 can be quite difficult as it includes some sets that are "more work, less rest", and the same with Side by Side.  Of course all of them would be more difficult if you did two, of the three, workouts back to back (they all include 3 workouts), but that could be said of The Swing workouts too!  I do have to add that Top 40, D30, include a joint mobility warm up (10 min) that I love, and a 15 min OTM beginners workout, similar to workout #1-4 of The Swing.

My Youtube videos are random :)  If I recorded every original workout I did it would equal over a thousand (and counting)!  When I record a video, mostly, it's my own training, and my own training is of course mapped out in advance progressively, but it would be almost impossible to put a thousand workouts in order.  The more you train with me the more the "groups" of progressions become obvious.  My group swing/kettlebell classes reflect where I am in my own training, which is how I'm able to "program" larger groups. 

For instance, lately I've been talking about a "rep theme". 10, 20 , 30 or 40.  This is all part of a new business I'm launching soon to help people program their own workouts, either using routines designed by me, or making up your own, but educating you about the process.

All the best, and keep swinging!

What a great question, huh?  You can find links to all of my DVD's right here on my blog in the left side bar.  And if some of you have trained to my dvd's and have an opinion based on your experience please share :)  Thank you all for your interest and support through all of these years :) I'm so lucky that I found this training and it never stops being fun for me.  It may not be fore everybody, but everybody can do it,or find something, some way of moving that inspires them to keep showing up!

"Consistency trumps intensity, all of the time"
-Mark Reifkind

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Main Gig :)

Wanna swing?  Here is the workout that I'll be leading in class this weekend, it starts with a 10 minute "warm up", starting with 3 sets of 10 reps, progressively working up to the workout's theme of 30 rep sets.  I never to a "second take" when I practice, so bear with me as I stay in order best I can :)

The workout consists of 10 sets of 30 reps.  It is a classic TracyStyle "one hand swing sandwich"!  Each set starts with two hand swings, completes a one hand swing ladder, and ends with more two hand swings!  Enjoy :)

30 two hand swings :)

My own kettlebell workouts, on average, take about 90 minutes.  This old body needs at least 15 minutes of light swings to warm up, and then, depending on what's on the agenda, swings, snatches, presses, squats, the next 30 minutes will focus on one or more of those skills.  There is always at least a 30 minute swing routine, which, if I'm training the other skills will come at the end of the workout. Since my 16kg snatch Sport set is a priority these days, after my warm up I spend 20-30 minutes on sport, then I'll continue on with that days skill practice.

1st workout
GS snatch volume
swings (14kg, this is when I practice and design the week's class routine)

2nd workout
GS heavy snatch
swings (double bells and super heavy two hand 24kg-32kg)

3rd workout
GS speed snatch
"Snatch Vo2"
presses + complexes
swings (16kg +, then 14kg for 30 minutes in class)
Get Ups
yoga (this is the only time I do KB's and yoga on the same day)

If I wasn't training sport I'd simply increase the time I spend on the other stuff by about 20 minutes, which is easy to do when you''re having so much fun!  I haven't made it 100% consistent, but I also do some pull up practice, both strict and kip, push ups, barbell presses, sandbag, and I just added one legged step up in preparation to train my pistol again.

I'm going to be posting videos of my sport sets, but I will not be including much commentary. They are really for my own study and archive.  My main gig is using kettlebells for exercise, health and fitness, this sport stuff is completely different, but requires thoughtful programming and a critical eye on technique.

I really, really, really want to start posting about more than training again.  So much cooking, and now baking, so little time!  The nutritional side of health and fitness is about more than the food we eat, it's how we eat it and how we think about the food we eat :)  Health and nutrition for our bodies as well as our brains, combining the physical with the non physical for general well being and longevity. 


I did not get a chance to write or upload video from Saturday's speed practice.  It's a combination of Hardstyle and GS (sport).  After my warm up I practiced and ladder up short 15 second sets of 8 HS snatches, with fast and light GS snatch.  This is my last round, top of the ladder, 8 sets of 8 12kg HS snatch (15/15 work/rest), with a two minute set, 29 R/31 L

8 R/ 8 L x 1 (2 sets total) + 30 sec set, 14 reps
8 R/ 8 L x 2 (4 sets total) + 1 min set, 28 reps
8 R/ 8 L x 3 (6 sets total) + 1.5 min set, 42 reps
8 R/ 8 L x x 4 (8 sets total) + 2 min set, 60 reps (video)
This was my first week of speed training, and again, it was to take some baseline data.  Not counting my warm up reps the workload equalled 304 snatch reps.  Looking over the results I will plan the next 7 weeks progressions and post them this weekend.

Tuesday volume

Whew, I'm soooo glad this workout was already programmed!  It made going in the gym at 5:00am so much easier knowing I didn't have to think, I only had to do!
25/25 x 4 sets w/14kg
60/60 x 1 set w/12kg
This was a very humbling workout!  200 snatch reps before I got to the last 120 was a bit much, but it was an important experience in the fact that looking at next week's progression I think it's going to be "just right"!  It was more challenging that I anticipated, and I'm fine with that :)  Reviewing the video I caught a HUGE error in technique on that last set of 25/25.  I tried to correct it best I could on my set of 60/60 with the lighter weight.  Now I'm so grateful I saw it because since I'm practically starting from scratch again I'll get try my best make the correction while I'm using the lighter weights.
set 1

set 2

set 3

set 4

set 5 60/60

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Make What's Important the Priority, and Do It First!

"Make What's Important the Priority, and Do It First!" - Mark Reifkind

Words of wisdom.  Hearing exactly what you need to hear at exactly the right time.  There are a few things I need...I mean, want to get done, and my excuse is either no time, or no energy when I have the time...yep, same as everybody else :)  But Mark called me on the carpet and in doing so lit a fire under my ass to get my priorities in order!

Snatching the 20kg 100/5 min is not a priority.  I'm close enough any day of the week, so it's back to my sport set, for my own personal satisfaction.  In order to get it done I have to put myself first, my own training, which I haven't been doing.  The other priority is getting my regular yoga practice back.  Enter the "luxury of no choice"!

Training on my own first of the week I'm changing my KB practice to Monday, instead of Tuesday.  The workout starts with GS snatch and I have the next 10 weeks planned out already.  Thursday workout starts at 5:00am, instead of 5:30, when the girls get there, so I can get my sets in before they come...brrrr, it's a hell of a time to start earlier too!  Darker and colder, in fact out in the garage it'll be freezing in a few weeks.  Saturday I already start before my first client/workout, but new target, new focus, Max snatch will be on the agenda from now one else likes to do it but me it seems :)  So, I'll do it on my own, it's easier that way anyway.

Thursday heavy 16kg GS snatch

typical warm up w/12kg and 14kg, but I only have about 15 min

16kg swing snatch x 25/25
16kg 1 min R/ 1 min L x 2 sets (1 min rest between)

I decided to do a "swing snatch" set to see where my grip was w/16kg.  I'm not sure the last time I did a long set, maybe 40/40 was around or before my birthday, and the last time I did a longer set was months before that one, so baby steps....  20/20 was the plan, which is 40 reps per side, but when I got to 20 it was easy, so I made the executive decision to go to 25.  I could have done more, but that's not the point....t's not time to kill myself just yet!  In fact it was enough on the easy side that with the few minutes I had left I wanted to see how a simple 1 min R/ 1 min L felt like, so I finished with 2 sets, one minute rest between.

Wow, it exposed the challenge.  I'm plenty strong enough, until my cardio starts to come into play.  Nothing makes you weaker than no oxygen!  Okay, so now I know better what to expect and where I need to put some attention on.

Here is my swing snatch set, the other two practice sets you can find on my Youtube channel:

The girls arrived and I continued on with squats being the focus practice for their/our TH morning practice, sandbag clean and squats and some barbell presses, finishing off with double bell swings.  I have some baseline skill/strength targets for this coming year, and I want the girls to have the same, so no avoiding squats, so in the next two weeks we'll be building some flexibility and depth in that movement.

I'm seriously proud to say that I made it to yoga 4 days this week, changing half of my practice to that 5:30am class time!  Ouch!  I'm my least warm and flexible that early in the morning, but I have to get it done first!  Id rather be making cookies!  But too bad for me :)  (more about the cookies coming soon :) )

What have you been putting off?  What have you been wanting to make a priority but haven't committed to taking the action needed?  Mark gave me the words that inspired me to take the responsibility and make the changes I needed to far, so good :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giving Up is not the same as Letting Go

I love the morning.  I have my clearest thoughts in the mornings. I get the most done and feel the most energized.  I've got a solid 10 weeks to train without interruption of travel so what to do...what to do?  As of this writing I only have Tuesday workouts figured out.  I can only have so many strength goals at one time and since I have the luxury of training by myself for a while I thought I better hit some GS sport numbers that still have my name on them ,16kg 100/100 10 minutes.

So, I know where I want to go, now I just gotta figure out how to get there, and the first thing is to find out where I am, right now, today.

In order to get to the 16kg I've got to go through the 14kg, so that's where I'll start.  Something relatively easy so I can ramp up and through it quickly. 20/20 is easy, but 5 sets of them add to the difficulty, so 5 sets it is (although I felt strong enough to double this workload this morning, more is not necessarily better).  My last set was a lighter and longer set for my grip, again, nothing too challenging, I don't want to rip up my hands.  My hands are a big priority to me lately, more about that another time.

So the plan?  The plan is to increase the rep count and length of set w/14kg over the next few weeks, with a longer lighter set at the end for grip.  Thursdays will be heavier, slower, 16kg snatches and holds, Saturdays will be speed, light and fast.

(set 1)

week #1
20/20 x 5 w/14kg, 2 min work, 1 min rest = 15 min
40/40 w/12kg, 4 minutes.

week #2
25/25 x 4 sets w/14kg, 2.5 min work, 1 min rest = 14 min.
60/60 w/12kg, 6 min.

week #3
35/35 x 3 sets w/14kg, 3.5 min, 1 min rest = 13.5 min
80/80 w/12kg, 8 min

week #4
50/50 x 2 sets w/14kg, 5 min, 1 min rest = 11 min
100/100 w/12kg, 5 min

week #5 (no 12kg)
60/60 w/14kg, x 1 set = 6 min.
40/40 + 20/20 + 10/10 + 5/5 x 1 set w/14kg = 10 min

week #6
test, 10 min 14kg snatch

week #7 take off
week #8, repeat week #1 w/16kg and 14kg, set numbers for the next 3 weeks.

This may seem like too long of a ramp up to the 16kg, but I'll be training with the 16kg and heavier on Thursdays, so the heavy stuff will be on that day.  I really don't believe in not paying my respect to the lighter weight, but maybe that's just me.  It's not like once I reach my target I quit :) , the joy is the ride, and I love, love, love seeing progress over the weeks and earning strength and conditioning with consistency :)

Complete workout
12kg warm up, hard style
40 2 hd sw x 5 sets
swing/snatch progressions, 1 min work, 3 sec rest x 4 sets
16 min.

(set 5, for sets 2, 3, 4, go to my Youtube channel)

GS practice (above)
19 min.

14kg swings
warm up 100 swings, 5 min
20 rep theme, practice for classes ( see my Youtube channel for part 2 of this workout :) )
total of 50 minutes of swings

(part 1, 10 min, 180 swing reps, fyi :) )

Oh, so what does the title of this post have to do with my workout?  At some point during my workout I started thinking about a client of mine that recently decided to give up. Give up on some of the things she truly wanted only because she believes that she can't have least that's my interpretation of it. And my interpretation only matters to me, it may or may not actually be the case to her, and so as I was thinking about that I realized it paralleled the reason I chose to go back to my sport training this morning.  I'm not going to settle for giving up on something I absolutely can achieve, and that I actually want, but I will let go of doing it in order to "prove" something.  (as if anybody else really cares!  lol)

It will be fun when I do what I set out to do, it will be fun all along the way, and it will be fun to move on to something else after I get there...or maybe it will be such a nice place to be that I'll stay there for a little while!

My purpose is to feel the joy, the hope, the inspiration, and the belief of, and in, the process :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

First Tuesday Morning 11/3 Workout, pre Pensacola

Just getting home from 8 days in Veitnam, now here in Pensacola I'll wait to set some training goals for next week.  In the mean time I want to get my reps in, break a sweat and challenge myself appropriately (not too much because there's no hurry, and not too little, I don't want to get too far behind where I was, or where I've been)

12kg warm up
40 2 hd sw x 5 sets = 10 min, 200 sw

warm up sets
10 2 hd sw
20 2 hd sw
10/10 + 5/5 + 10 2 hd sw
5 min., 100 sw

work sets
10 x 10 2 hd sw
5/5 sn (30/30)
5 swing snatch R, 5 sw sn L (45/45)
10/10sn (1 min/1 min)
10 swing sn R, 10 sw sn L (1.5/1 min)
12 min per round, 130 sw, 60 sn
repeat round, only using transfer swings instead of 2 h =d sw for 10 x 10

end with one last 10 x 10 2 hd sw

total work w/14kg
360 sw, 120 sn

pull up / kip practice

24kg swing
100 continuous reps (video)

I haven't done this in a while so I wanted to test it as a baseline to train for the 28kg, which is going to seriously be a big goal considering this set was much harder than I anticipated as far as cardio challenge.  I couldn't even count my heart rate pulses correctly after the set because they seemed as if one was running into the next.  The grip or the weight was not a problem but my heart rate was through the roof.  Not sure how I'm going to adapt to the workload of the 28kg, but I'll start that program this next week, hoping to hit that training goal before the end of the year.

The first video demonstration above is of the snatch portion of work set rounds, adding on a continuous set at the end
5/5 sn
5/5 sw sn
10/10 sn
10/10 sw sn
repeat with no rest between progressions.

The theme of the workout this morning was "10".  As I designed the snatch sets I knew I did not want to focus on speed, but instead do a little grip endurance work in anticipation of getting back to some sport sets when my travel schedule calms down.  Although 10-20 reps is hardly any kind of test for eral grip endurance for me now, I remember quite clearly that at one time it was!  Everybody has to start  somewhere!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

the best ever 10 years.

I love November.  November is the month of my favorite holiday (meal!), Thanksgiving, my wedding anniversary, and 10 years ago this month I celebrated a weight loss of 100lbs in 11 months time!  Since then, 2005, November solidifies many more favorite things about my new life that I love, including my yoga practice, and November seems to be perfect timing to rev things up and get some great momentum to swing through the holidays, much less affected by all of the former feelings of obligatory eating of foods given, presented and shared by well meaning friends and family in the "spirit" of the holidays :)

I love November!

I'm thrilled to not have anything take me away from teaching my regular Saturday class, or my own weekly training schedule until after the first week of about you?

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to come and train with me, or take my Saturday morning Swing Class in Palo Alto just email me!

January 1st, 2016 might not ever look so good for you!  Start your best ever next 10 years!

picture at top was Nov 2005, 100lbs down. picture on the right was Nov 2006, 1 year after, total weight loss of 120lbs.