Sunday, November 7, 2010

So, what is your excuse???

Do you train regularly? If not, why? If you let feeling tired and a busy schedule get in your way, I want you to think about these two women. Jennifer and Sarah are both over 8 months pregnant. Both women started training with me before pregnancy. Both women show up at least once a week to train on Saturday. Pretty impressive, huh? Regular, consistent training is the only way to move forward and improve.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kettlebell Clean

It is important you learn how to get the kettlebell from the floor to the shoulder safely. The movement of the kettlebell from the floor to the shoulder is call "Clean" the position on the shoulder is called "Rack". So, you would clean the kettlebell to the rack position. Lots of movement happens from the rack position; presses, front squats, etc. Plus, the movement of cleaning the kettlebell itself is an excellent way to build posterior strength.

Steve Cotter teaches the Kettlebell Clean

We will start from the top, with the kettlebell in the Rack position. It is important to have the right GRIP. With your arm pressing close to your ribs, elbow bent and thumb on your collarbone hold your kettlebell deep in your palm with a STRAIGHT WRIST. This means no bend at all in the wrist, just like you would if you threw a punch.

From here we are going to move the kettlebell to the floor. Simply push your hips back (as if you were going to preform a swing), keeping the kettlebell close to the mid-line, let the kettlebell roll down your body to the spot on the floor between your feet, thumb pointing to the wall behind you.

Now you are simply going to reverse the movement and add a little zippy. Starting with hips back, and chest up, snap your hips forward (just like a swing). Keeping your elbow close to your side, guide the kettlebell close to your mid-line, allowing the kettlebell to roll around the forearm landing softly on the sweet spot between your for arm and bicep.

Lauren Brooks teaches the Kettlebell Clean

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Swing

The swing is the king in kettlebell movement. If you are looking to lose fat, gain strength, learn explosive speed, or tighten up that saggy bum, than look no further! The kettlebell swing is easily the simplest and most effective way to burn calories and gain muscle tone at the same time. My best friend Tracy Reifkind is the queen of swing. Tracy lost 120lbs 6 years ago, her main tool; the kettlebell swing.
Here is a video of Tracy doing a simple swing workout...

Here is another video of Franz Snideman explaining the basic breakdown of the kettlebell swing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ellen Stein

Fitness is the Fountain of Youth!

Monday, June 22, 2009

What is the Meaning of Life?

Easy, the meaning of life is survival! Stick you head in a bucket of water, in moments the only thing you will care about will be getting a breath of air. Luckily, most of us are not spending our days fighting for a breath of air, or fighting for survival for that matter. Most of us are surviving just fine. So, then what is the meaning of life? Happiness. No one wishes for a long, miserable life.

I was lucky enough to listen to an interview with Dr. Claudia Kawas and Dr. Ron Peterson on Public Radio. The discussion was mental acuity into old age.

Of course it was easy for me to see how kettlebell training and aging well have a strong connection. What are we all training for when we show up for KB class? Kettlebell training is proven to be beneficial for fat loss, strength gains, it will improve sports performance, and kettlebell training has certainly given me an edge in Powerlifting. Kettlebell training also prepares for happiness in old age and a good quality of life.

Here are some things discussed regarding mental acuity and aging...
  • Exercise, of course. Exercise as you already know helps with coordination, balance, circulation, stress reduction, and stimulates elimination (better out than in, right?). Plus, kettlebell classes build a sense of community, being socially engaged is good for brain health.
  • Everything in Moderation. Alcohol, in moderation. Caffeine, in moderation. Treats, in moderation. Getting shit-faced, eating candy, cookies, cakes, packaged foods and drinking a pot of coffee for breakfast is not a health benefit.
  • Moving Well. People who have a quick walking pace, a good seance of balance, and who are coordinated tend to have better brain function. Kettlebell training certainly teaches us new movements, balance and better coordination.
  • Breath! Of course we all breath. Studies show people who have higher levels of oxygen in their blood retain their memory better. Makes sense... our brains need oxygenated blood. The cardiovascular aspect of kettlebell training will cause new growth of capillaries all over our body, including our brain. If you are a shallow breather or tend to hold your breath, STOP! Teach yourself to take deep breaths, especially if you are stressed or fatigued.
  • Chill Out! I think it is common knowledge that stress is extremely hard on our bodies. Long term stress damages our vital organs, and certainly does not increase happiness. Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress. Swinging a kettlebell, well, that is even better.
  • Diet. Eat food (not treats), mostly plants, and not too much. Good nutrition is important. If you are opening a package to get to your food, it probably isn't food, it is probably a treat. If you are getting digestive distress, you are eating something you shouldn't. This topic deserves it's own post. Diabetes and dementia are linked.
  • Sleep Well. This is a big one... sleep time is when your body cleans and repairs itself. Stop cleaning and repairing your car, see how long it lasts. Exercise helps us to sleep better and more deeply. Usually one of the first things you will notice if you skip classes, you won't sleep as well.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Salad Dressing Recipe

As some of you might already know I am an ex professional cook. I cooked fine dinning at some of the Twin Cities best restaurants. I loved cooking, but my love for physical movement won over a few years ago and I made a career change. I am not as keen as I used to be in the kitchen, but I do have some foundational knowledge that will never go out of style.

Today I have a basic salad dressing recipe for you. Store bought salad dressings are usually made will cheap oils, preservatives, stabilizers and other unwanted ingredients. Dressings are super easy to make, and you can flavor them how ever you want. Here is a simple emulsified vinaigrette...

First you will need ingredients... Vinegar, Oil, Salt, Mustard (an emulsifier), Garlic, and maybe some honey (also an emulsifier).

Balsamic Vinegar is slightly sweet and a favorite by almost everyone. You can use any vinegar you want, such as; Cider, Red Wine, White Wine, Sherry, Rice, etc.

Oil is also up to you... Olive has a very "green" flavor, and is very good for you. Walnut oil will give your dressing an nutty flavor, Grape seed is very neutral and will let the other ingredients shine.

Avoid Corn, Vegetable and Canola oil.

The classic ratio is 3-4 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
In a blender add:
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (according to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt (sea salt is best)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (optional, skip with Balsamic Vinegar)

Next you will need to measure out one cup of oil. I like to use a combination of 50% Olive Oil and 50% Grape seed oil. This way I get all the health benefits of the olive oil with a mild flavor.

Fire up your blender with the Vinegar, Salt, Garlic, Mustard... SLOWLY pour in the oil.

If you've done everything right, your dressing will look something like this in your blender.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Something about Fat...

Fat Cells

My last blog entry for SPKC was about diet and losing fat. Mike Sampson (crossfitter, powerlifter and kettlebeller) sent me a great article explaning the effect of fat and carbs in the body. This link will explain much better than I did why Paulette's diet worked so well for her. Mathiew Lalonde talks about insulsin resistance, simple carbohydrates, fat and obesity.

Here is an excert of the link article above...

But even then, things aren’t that simple, right? Right. Treating the human body like a motor completely ignores all of endocrinology; the hormones involved in the mechanisms of energy storage and release. Therein lies the real flaw of the “calories in, calories out” hypothesis. When endocrinology is ignored, it is easy to think that fat people are fat because they don't exercise or they eat too much. For some folks, that is true. But for people with metabolic syndrome who suffer from chronically elevated insulin levels and insulin resistance, the opposite is true. Taubes' genius lies in the fact that he was able to properly identify the cause and the effect. If someone has chronically elevated insulin levels or insulin resistance, fat stores are not accessible for energy. In this case, fat people don't exercise because they are fat, or eat too much because they are fat. Obesity is the cause; lethargy and hunger are the effect. Everything gets turned on its head.

So what about “a calorie is a calorie”? "A calorie is a calorie" is simply incorrect because it also ignores endocrinology; in this case the food’s effect on human hormones. The source of the calories is just as important, if not more, than the total number of calories itself. A common cause of insulin resistance and elevated levels of insulin in the bloodstream is excess consumption of refined carbohydrates. If individuals with chronic insulin resistance try to lose weight by simply cutting calories or exercising without changing their diet, they will end up losing muscle mass as opposed to fat. On the other hand, if someone with a diet consisting mainly of insulin-spiking foods (sugar, starch, bread, dairy, etc..) switches to a diet consisting mainly of lean meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, no grains, no dairy, no legumes ("Paleo"), then weight loss may occur even if the diets are isocaloric (i.e. have the same amount of calories). This becomes apparent when high-carbohydrate low-fat diets are compared to isocaloric high-fat low-carbohydrate diets. People on 1,500 calorie high-fat, low carbohydrate diets lose weight and feel better than people on the same calorie high-carbohydrate, low-fat diets. In fact, cases of severe dementia as the result of 1,500-calorie low-fat high-carbohydrate diets have been documented, while people on a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet have excellent biomarkers of mental and physical health.

Everyone should read the article in it's entirity... I would love to hear your feed back.