Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fitness is an exercise in Greatness.

     Too often, people come to me asking how they can lose 30 pounds or the last 10, and they begin to transfix their thoughts around these numbers, how many crunches they can do in a minute and what the best exercise is to tighten and lift their derrieres. What's the skinniest food with the least amount of calories that will still make me feel happy? How much weight can be lost to get me to a size two?

    It's been said, but bears repeating. You are exercising greatness whenever you put on those shoes and your resolve. Period. Every time you squat, walk faster, drink more water or lift a weight, you are placing a meditation on your best self and physically speaking an intention into existence whenever you go through the act of becoming that better you. Having said that, even though most of us fitness professionals always profess to have that goal in mind, the act of working through that goal must be challenging and fun to conquer.

     Do you like feeling stronger? Did you feel good knowing you ate a healthy meal? Did you enjoy spending time trying on a new fitness outfit? It's all about the expansion of greatness that grows inside you, everytime you stick to the plan and follow through.

      I remember after I had my baby, that moment of panic. I immediately replaced that with a welcoming solution in how I would begin my weight loss goal. After that moment I smiled during all of my workouts and felt so exceedingly proud at myself for achieving the goal which was to lift something, every day. In short, exercising your greatness, and knowing that you are better with every breath, step, squat, lift and veggie, is what makes you what you want.

Light Day Workout...And not at the gym.

     All you really need is a pair of good shoes and a kettlebell. That's it. Okay, you also need a little bit of motivation. But then that's it. I think most people think you have to go through some incredible strains to get your exercise needs met. But not really. You just need to want to do it, on some level of your being. If it takes a cup of Bulletproof coffee to get you going, so be it. Just make sure you get up and do it.

     The winter holiday season is always a long-awaited time for me. It signals the end of the year and all of its goings-on, but it also establishes a sense of comfort in knowing I can sit down with a hot cup of something, usually tea when I begin writing, and I compile a list of notes, thoughts and documentation of the work I do, from physical training to energy work. It tells of the entire body of work for the year. It also spells a moment or two in which I go into the dark night of the soul. In order to keep myself from digging too deep into the muck and mire, I usually stop myself and head out for some depression-relieving sunshine.

     I don't like to be cooped up in the gym everyday, but it is my sanctuary. I go in to get work done and I leave out. There is enough drama there to have me consider never going in, but I would not let anything stop me from attaining my fitness goals. In celebration of the fact that we have sunny skies and mostly clean, fresh air to breathe, a walk sounds good for the soul.

     And so I go, lacing up my shoes and heading out. On my path I run headlong into a park, where I grab some earth and deeply reground. At this point I consider finding a yoga class but realize I am the class. I perform my class then and there, complete with some hip openers, then I head back home. At home I grab my kettle and begin.

Here are some hip openers with Tara Stiles. This is pretty much what I do to open my hips. This should be a video of me, as soon as I shoot one. Motivation for 2014.

Performed with a 25 pound kettlebell...
300 swings, 1 or 2 hand (not all at once, crazies)
3 sets of 10 cleans on each side
3 sets of 10 clean and presses
around the world (swing the kettle around your tree trunk stance of a body)
Lateral swings (10 each way, 1-2 sets)
60 swing squats (swing the bell as you squat. Powerful fun...)

...That's a long routine, but since I'm on vacation, I have a little more time on my hands (and feet).

The Three Hour Workout. Nonsensical but Awesome.

     I worked out for three hours yesterday. It started out innocently enough, with my desire to do a really bomb session. But I noticed it became longer and longer. It didn't even have to, but I ended up trying a number of new exercises that I love now and will incorporate into my next class session to keep it fresh. There's so much out there to experiment with that it's worth it to keep researching and trying new things. Your body will not regret the changes you put it through.

It began with a 20 minute run, a yoga session in the park, and a 30 walk back to the house...followed by Mike's class which I ended up teaching, because I found all these awesome Indian club exercises. I ran them through some new kettlebell progressions and offered a fancy wall hip stretch.

The Indian club exercises were effectively done with two five pound dumbbells. They reminded me of my old short flag exercises. The funny thing is that I had no idea how awesome these exercises were at strengthening my shoulders and upper back quadrant. I mean, of course I felt the pain of a long flag twirling practice, but it did not occur to me how rehabilitative these exercises prove to be as I progress through.

I'm learning a lot of the moves through this awesome survivalist/naturalist/nutrivore and trainer called Zenkahuna, and he works with Coach Tara. They both have pretty awesome channels and give a visual demonstration of a progression using a variety of tools, in this case, the Indian clubs.

This is free advertising for this guy. ...You're welcome. You're awesome.

Here's another video that continues to explain clubs.

Anywho, after going through those changes, Zenkahuna also brings to me this very awesome set of practices that offer a flowing kettlebell sequence that definitely takes the practitioner into all planes of motion with the bells. 

After having done all three sessions, the next day's planned workout...at least a walk, didn't happen. Had I been able to move, it may have happened.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tonight's post-Vegas Fasting workout.

Who fasts while in Vegas??!?? ...I kind of did.

It wasn't really my intention. But I sort of just didn't eat. I don't know exactly why, but it seemed to be the thing to do. I mean after all, we weren't there to ruin our girlish and boyish figures, but instead to have fun. And right in the midst of learning to do a new thing with my fasting, was not the proper time to even come to Vegas. So I made the best of it. I also made a new decision to find a similar stride next time, as the food options at the Luxor were slim pickings.

The continuation of my food commentary is in Chronicles Of Food blog.

Apparently Vegas doesn't lift, bro. But at the same time, it does, if we wanted it that way. I just never seem to want to find the time to do a good lift while on vacation. And Michael insists that we don't travel with our kettles because of the weight and gas money on lugging it around. Besides, I don't know of many people who are willing to spend their hard-earned free time off work on weightlifting, even if it is at the core and lifeblood of our existence. But let's not get too crazy here, and allow ourselves to establish a vacation as exactly that.

Having said that, here's a 10 x 10 workout that I put together while reading an email from Pat Flynn, who speaks kettlebell-ese and biomechanical sense. He says that a basic lift program can be based on the 6 or so movements of the body that we need with some regularity. In this program we pull, grind, press, rotate, create locomotion, squat, lunge and use our abs in multifunction exercises. This about covers basic functional anatomy. From my NASM training I believe in working the entire body CTBSL style (chest, triceps, back, bicep, shoulders and legs) with multijoint exercises, throwing in some additional abdominal work for ego. Yoga works from the six ways the spine moves for greater daily health (forward, backward, sideways, transverse rotation on both sides.) And now finally kettlebells encourage greater metabolic conditioning, rehabilitation and mobility from all planes of motion, initially in the sagittal plane, and then beyond.

What I'm really trying to get to is two things. One, if you exercise in all planes of motion or six movements of the spine, whatever terminology best assists the explanation, you will find yourself doing an easily inhabitable and efficient workout routine, complete in minutes. ....Or, well, you get the idea.

10-2 hand swings
10-1 hand swings
10 deadlifts
10 lunges with rotation
10 squat thrusts for locomotion
10 kettle ups (I call it a get up sit up) Or a bar up with the body bar.

....It was a nasty, gnarly climb to the finish, but we got our 300 reps and well quite frankly, if you want to do some crazy awesome and challenging metabolic workouts for a while that get you nice cardio surge, follow this plan. It's good.