Friday, February 15, 2013

Enjoying my 100s workout.

Above is the blog I looked at to guide me, and start working this deceptively difficult workout (for the experienced exerciser). I don't think most know how many reps they are accomplishing until they try this. Then...they don't know how tough it is to get 100 reps in under 5 minutes. Talk about working up to the highest level of intensity possible! How many people do that?? I can count them on one hand.

I altered it a bit for me and my girls. I'm not much into jump rope lately (or ever. How will I ever do Parkour? haha) We started with some glute activation: deck squats, (rock the spine and come to standing),  T-raise (body goes parallel, on one foot, in yoga it's Warrior III), pistol squats (oh my gosh these are so hard!) and about 20 push-ups. (If I'm feeling crazy, maybe I'll raise this number to 100.) Then it's 100 sit-ups. This right here, is enough of a workout for most people....but then add those swings and wait for the fun to begin.

According to Master RKC Phil Ross, you perform 100-2 hand swings, (to me that means holding one kettle with two hands), 100 bottom up squats, (turn the bell upside down and hold it by its horns. Add a mint sprig. And maybe an obituary. Enjoy.) then 100 kettlebell snatches. Well let's just stop right there.

...100 snatches??? Now I can't say any of my workouts have seen quite that many snatches, but maybe today is that day. I'm not willing to give up, that's for sure. But in reality, if I've gotten to 30 snatches during this workout, I'll be surprised. I should probably count that tonight.

Kelly, Jess and I will begin recording our workouts with a bit more diligence. I cleaned up my nutrition, and now I'm cleaning up and intensifying my workout. Pray for me, wish me luck, and please send high vibrations, spells, invocations and meditations. I'm gonna need all of it, because the quintessential athlete draws from all wells to drink. Until then, happy workouting. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kettlebell Valentine: Birth of a new Workout Era

This is part two of my Valentine post about how I first fell in love with training with kettlebells.

So there I was, the healthy eating vegetarian, doing yet another set of preacher curls and another lunge-curl-press in my set of 6 to 12 exercises, with my NASM cert, yoga certs, AAFA certs...realizing that I didn't feel any bit stronger, and that it was all I could take. I wasn't a size two after hours of training. haha. I could not sustain my strength with 8 mid-to-highly impactive aerobic style workout classes I was teaching many hours per week, and this was a reduced schedule. Not funny anymore. My body had been through enough, and it was time for a real change with real results.

When I began teaching for World Gym, I no longer taught with music. Even though I was initially attached to my music and sad about this, I realized that it brought me into a new world of exercise opportunity. It was then that I restructured how I taught all my fitness classes, and began to bring a level of evolution into my teaching. When Mike and I fell in love with learning bellwork, I realized I had to change. When I failed at keeping a regular bell cycle, and kept defaulting to what I knew with no return on my investment, I felt forced to

It was then my new quest, that I dragged the girls onto, kicking and screaming. There was no way they knew what working out hard meant!! I don't even think I truly knew anymore, since my body had adapted to everything else. I started really researching kettles and bought Mike and I a book, Enter The Kettlebell.

When you become consumed with something you feel very passionate about, it overtakes your life, and you begin to not only wonder how you lived your life without it, but everyone catches your vibe and follows you up on your path to the enlightenment your passion teaches you.

The lights went on. Working out became a challenge again, a real journey. I was excited to get to the floor. I even named our workout cliche Smash Team, based on this transition from a snatch we do that just looks nasty. (I call it wrecking ball). But if another person came up to me calling the kettlebell a cardio workout, I was going to swing the thing at them! No! It is NOT just another cardio workout, and who ruined this sport's good name? It, to me, is an athletic practice that improves all other feats in one's world. It even combines yogic practice into the lift. (In fact, John Du Cane of RKC, lived in a yoga community in India for a bit.) The more I practiced, the more Mike showed me his findings and I mine, the more we noticed how much there was to learn, and how far ahead of the curve and simultaneously, innocently ignorant we had been, about it all.

I knew of Steve Cotter and his training style, but nothing like what I know now. Using his technique to rebuild my swing was potent information. It really helps to get into the research of a sport and find the art and science. What was originally considered "cardio" at that point, turns it into something real, untouchable, poetry in motion. Learning more made everything I did before, almost obsolete. 

Enter 2013. Enter "Resilient," a DVD by Pavel. Again, it was shifting our workout paradigm. Swinging had gotten us all through some hard times. It became the clarifying moment in my day to swing that bell. Even yoga wasn't making the same impact anymore. It was the integration of the two forces that began to provide for me the best benefit. I'm not knocking the years of yogic practice that I still feel is so highly valuable. I just saw the kettlebell as a tool for yogic expansion...maybe by the time Mike and I are ready to enter the RKC, or IKFF, we will finally be ready to start at a beginner's point. Hm. It's beginning to sound a  lot like yoga.

My New Kettlebell Valentine

At first I thought Mike would be a little jealous that I chose my kettlebell to be my Valentine...but then I saw him buying a card for HIS kettlebell and hugging it, and that's when I knew that all was forgiven. Hee hee. Only kidding about the card.

It's time to tell the story of how our love affair began, just in time for  Valentine's Day. ...I'm still talking about my kettlebell and the workout it gives. When I was teaching for Total Woman for the last 8 years, I was always on the cutting edge of fitness, giving my students what killer sessions they could bear. They were getting the best workout out there, every time they came to my classes, because that's how much work I put into my sessions. I was so pumped and so prepared, other instructors would often mention how much they liked the way I did things. I was also the first instructor in that building to not only teach for 3 hours a week straight, but to offer my students a kettle-style workout. Of course I found out later, that I was doing it all terribly, terribly wrong.

...Okay so I'm exaggerating...a little bit... because when you feel the explosive power of a kettlebell swing, and then you feel the incredible rush of feeling the power course through your veins when you actually get a rep correct for the first time, you finally understand, after years of solid diligence, what it means to throw 50+ pounds of iron through the air. Thing is, you probably didn't even get THAT rep right. All you know, is that you loved trying. I daresay that is a might bit different than any staid, standardized weightlifting workout routine. I almost want to cry, thinking of all the time wasted, not building my body into healthy kettlebell submission. The bell has truly transformed the way my body looks and thinks.

I have to give Mike some credit for my inspiration. We had many talks about the bells, and how we wanted to incorporate them into our lives. Then after a series of discussions, World Gym, our teaching and training home, agreed to buy a set. Once this began, they asked Mike to teach an exclusive kettle class, and proceeded to buy more kettles! We were absolutely stoked!! (Mike more than I, at the time. I didn't know any better!) Once the kettles landed, it was a choice: me or the bell. It was so incredibly difficult that it turned me off, after training hard for several months. I gave up!! But lucky for me, there's nothing like failing to assist you in your greatest achievements, and I think I am, two years later, finding that to be true for me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our New Little Kettlebell Bundle of Joy!!

Mike told me I needed to find a name for our new baby.

Yes, my shiny new kettlebell is here! It's like a new car, or a shiny new penny; unblemished, smooth and polished, ready for action. What a swinger my kettle is! I'd be surprised if I didn't carry my portable gym with me. It really is a moving monster. It may not be the lightest piece of exercise equipment ever, but it certainly is a greater workout than using exercise bands. Imagine the 10 minute blasts I can do with this gift from the Russian workout gods!

The thing is, once you begin swinging with this baby, not only will you feel muscles you've never felt, you will experience pain you've never had...then a glory for lifting you've never possessed, not until this moment. Rocking the bells is a completely different athletic experience than what is accomplished with traditional weight training. My lifts at least doubled in every way, including how much I could lift, how long, and how many times per week. I stopped wasting too much time on muscle wasting cardio workouts and began focusing on what was most important: bringing all components of strength, endurance and power together in one powerful workout that may last you from 10 minutes to 45 if you train hard enough. The more you pack into a short amount of time, the better results you get.

It's so worth it, I have to let this post sync in before I tell you more. Just go look at the site and find their blog. If it doesn't resonate with you, hang in there. I'll hook you.