Monday, July 29, 2013

Who Invented Sunday workouts?? Not this girl.

And then there were two hours of what was a normally relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Let's see if I can remember what kettle Hell I put Kelly and I through....

We warmed up with a long set of

10 swings, 5 cleans, 5 clean and press. Switch sides.
12 front racked squats (6 each side).
5 shoulder presses each side, then 7 forward leans each side.
12 front racked squats.
Around the world (slingshot) 20 times each side.
Alternate it 10 times each side. (push it back in the opposite direction, bring it tummy level. This one hurts.)
7 high pulls each side.

We threw one minute plank test in for entertainment, a total of three minutes of hardstyle planking, as my certification would call it.

...And that was the first set without any breaks.

Next set to follow two minutes later: the snatch prep.

1 swing, 1 high pull, 1 snatch (3 sets), pass it to the next side.
Then, 5 continuous snatches and pass to the next side.


...then I decided to take us through a one minute snatch test on each side, with positive and negative snatch movement intact, no racking. We did a total of 21 snatches on each side with no rest and in 51 seconds. We started to give out right around that 45 second mark. It was grueling, but I could see us training into higher numbers with our performance. I hadn't even considered nitpicking form today. It was more about pulling in high numbers. I'll correct form in tomorrow night's session.

Next was one arm, one leg kettle planking practice, correcting form through hip placement.
We kind of wanted to kill each other by this point, but we pressed on. I had a whole second total body program to run, and run it we did. When I run the floor I follow my NASM cert guidelines, bringing the worlds of both my HKC and NASM certs together in one grueling session:

CTBSL (chest, tricep, back, bicep, shoulders, legs).

Kettle chest press with 30 and 35 (12 reps and 2 sets)
Overhead tricep press (25 pounds)
kettle rows with 30 and 35
reverse flye with 25s
Gorilla curls with 25 and 30
deadlifts with 40 and 45

Okay so then the fun really began when we decided to jerk 40 and 45 3 times each side, much to our surprising success! Afterwards we racked two kettles and took a lap around the gym, adding in 5 squats. I think this finished us for sure at that point. Yeah. I just wanted to eat a house after that. I think I did...

Post workout drink: strawberry spinach walnut smoothie with date sugar and lemon juice

Later on, I consumed:

2 slices of Ezekiel bread with avocado mayo
Vegan Celebration Field roast, two slices
lots of water

About 3 hours later, I had a piece of wild caught snapper and a big bowl of sauteed green cabbage. I forgot to have my tomato with my fish. It has been my favorite latest quirky thing to do, almost as quirky as buying a sprouted grain bread you haven't touched in months, just because you made an avocado mayo that you can't find a marriage partner for. Grains and avocado 1, Connie 0.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

June 1 Retrospective: The HKC Victory.

Of 30 participants, I made it.

The day was plenty grueling. The test consists of several major elements: the swing, the get up, and the goblet squat. The two instructors, Andrew Reade and Joe Chalakee, both senior RKC instructors, were excellent and gifted instructors, showing us a very promising finish to a rather grueling day of pushing the gamut, so to speak.

We started with an eloquently executed progression that began with the proper alignment for a dead lift. We learned the difference between the pull and the grind. (Pulls are great for metabolic conditioning and endurance, grinds good for resistance training and strength gains, lower body building.) Using sticks to keep the spine completely in alignment and the tailbone lower than the head, is an important step in attaining the 45 degree angles for training that need to be maintained during the exercises. We had a great time building the dead lift and then doing successive exercises with good mornings, dragging the kettle into dead swings and full 2-hand swings.

I had a very entertaining workout partner who had this absolutely gorgeous body, but was too stiff to perform the exercises with grace and fluidity...more proof that the perfect physique is not necessarily anatomically and functionally useful. It was also proof that most people improperly train their bodies, often missing out on the professional help that makes them safe and structurally sound. This staves off injury.

Quite possibly a million reps later, we learned a proper plank, which took me back to my early days of training where we almost clench the flutes and place our heels right next to each other, right and flowing with the natural curve of our spines, drawing everything in so tight that someone could have kicked me and I would have stayed solid. It was hard.

And now even more surprising was that I had been doing the get up a shadow off what it really is supposed to be, but was shown a kicksafe structure that withstood the test of any heavy force coming upon me...a triangular pyramid shape that holds strong, just like a building built on a triangular base. It made a lot more sense than what I was doing before.

Lunch came and went, but I couldn't eat too much because of the examination that was coming. They basically expected perfection, and they were going to get it.
But I was SOOOO SORE!! Oh wow, I don't think I had been fatigued like that since the marathon days...luckily for me, I restate that I was one of the 6 out of 30 who actually made it through. Everyone else had to send in a video of their corrections. Thank goodness I had been practicing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yoga is NOT just for stillness.

I know. Before I hear it for posting about something as slooooow as yoga, let me tell you something.

It's anything but...and yet it's stillness training.
(Because after all that difficult work, all you want to do is be still.)

I think the stillest thing about yoga, is that you have to sit and listen for your breath. You also have to find the patience to take in all those deep breaths and patterns...most importantly you have to deal with the energy that builds and releases around this practice. But once you've established that, you begin the physical practice.

A strong yogic practice that I conduct begins with pranayama and meditation. The prana, or breath, is the energy we use to live. If not established, we will suffer and die. Well, eventually, not immediately. But if we aren't breathing, we are definitely running down our experience of life. We are taking in less of life than we truly need, and eventually begin to feel fatigue, illness or disease filling the body. So we need to breathe.

Next,  the physical practice warms and lifts and builds the bodily processes until there is a strong flow of energy towards the middle of the practice session. Once you get through those first few sun salutations, the body begins to feel really open and fresh. You are wringing out the tissues, building synovial fluid in the joints, and in combination with the breathing, building a sense of ease in the body. It opens the fascia and connective tissues in order to release emotional and physiological energy and information that gets stored in the tissues. You may feel a deep sense of release, pain, memory or simple relief come about as a result of practice. You may even feel sad, angry or tired, depending on your experience.

At this point, when I'm teaching, after the body is relaxed, I give you balance postures, open the heart, the hips and I turn you upside down, to gain new perspective. After which, relaxation sets in and hopefully a deep sense of peace is felt.

If you do enough sun salutations, from the western perspective and way of life, it will rock you into stillness, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. This is so much so, that when you spend time in this yogic state, you will find yourself being able to meditate more and more....

If not, keep practicing...

The moments that take your breath away.

Man, I could list a bunch of moments that have taken my breath away.

...Kai, my son, telling me that he has found his calling, and wants to draw for a living.
...My boyfriend Michael calling me on the phone. The phone!! That is magical, and unheard of.
...Seeing myself for the first time as super strong and lean, looking more and more like I lift, bro.
...Jessy lifting a 35 and 40 over her head, half pint...and Kelly doing the same, though I expect it of her.

...Sina my close friend (who doesn't have any besties) laughing her head off and smiling. What a joy.
...Valerie, one of my besties who will let me call her that, finishing my logo. I love it.
...Going to HKC and being 1 of the 6 that passed, out of 30.
...Being able to work out for 2 and 3 hours at a time without so much as passing out.

...The magic of receiving whenever I ask the Universe for something.
...Seeing how magnificently smart and handsome my son is.
...Becoming more clear about my life purpose, and getting work done around it.
....Being more productive.

...Finding more love for my animal brethren.
...Going to bed at night!!
...Establishing a regular cooking habit, and cooking for the family without complaints.
...Unconditionally loving my man and my son. Seriously. Never thought I'd get there.
...Establishing a regular schedule to work out with frequency.

...Building a business out of my passion for fitness and health.
...Finishing a health coaching program and learning a ton around it.
...Stacking up many goals and meeting them.

And how could I leave out this moment of breathlessness, where my friend Madlen (whom I would consider a bestie) daringly jumped in a car with me to Vegas, partnered up in business development crime, and just decided to share her incredible photography and do headshots that came out better than I could ever have hoped for.

But the moment that takes my breath away the most, is how many people truly appreciate me and let me know this with regularity. I can't thank them enough.

Pulling and Grinding 40s.

I cannot wait until we build our own gym.

If only for the purpose of holding the most awesome classes ever, and having a huge set of kettlebells, then so be it. I know what I have to do tonight: dream. Since I have my HKC certification, and I am planning my RKC certification, I have to be ready for this moment, and I mean completely ready. I need to put my information on my website and make building my client base a priority, one that has already been in full effect. Gotta take it to the next level.

So, I'm in the gym right? And I am suddenly inspired by one of the videos I have seen from one of my favorite guys I subscribe to, Pat Flynn. How do you pave a way in this market? You get yourself qualified and put yourself on blast. Good blast. So anyway I'm looking at all these videos. And while I don't subscribe to every move I see, some of them really make great sense. I take the ones that seem the most fun, interesting and challenging to perform.

So I'm watching this pretty cool progression, and I know there is a systematic way at which you are to attack the scenario, but I decide to do it my way.

So I get 5 bells: 25, 30, 35, 40, 45.

I begin with two swings, one clean, 2 front squats, and one thruster, all left hand, 25 pounds.
Next, I go up to 30 and with my right hand, same thing, all repeated.
And so on.

I did the same with double swings (swing clean press combo), high pulls (3 reps each side up and down the chain) and single and double snatches. Let me just say that it was a freaking tough set to pull, but we did it. Even my little one, who's become super strong with her lifts. Jessy is crazy strong! I am proud to be training her. Hopefully she remembers me after she wins her first kettlebell meet.