Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last workout of 2008

Resolution II:

I'm on to the intermediate level :)


KB clean and press ladder: 1, 2, 3, 4 x 12 kg
Pullups: 5
Deadlift: 5x115

That was round 1. Rounds 2-5 were just like that, except that I decreased the number of pullups and deadlifts by 1 each round, and added 5 lbs to my deadlift each round. If I'd gone a sixth round I would've been back to 5 pullups but still only one deadlift at 135 lbs, and I wasn't sure I could do the five pullups. Also, I think I want to give my body a little more time to get used to the higher volume on the clean & press ladders. My elbows are basically pretty healthy for an athlete in her mid forties, but at the same time I don't feel as though I can take them for granted, KWIM? I don't have tendinitis yet, but I can totally see the potential for getting it if I add weight and volume too quickly.

Since I had a little time left I tacked on another 12 days workout:

med ball carioca there, shuffle back (I reversed the order on these every other round in the interests of not being lopsided)
Add on: 2 med ball burpees
Add on: 3 med ball pushups (like diamond pushups but with hands on the ball)
Add on: 4 med ball jump squats
Add on: 5 med ball leg curls
Add on: 6 med ball plank rollouts
Add on: 7 med ball decline pushups
Add on: 8 med ball jump lunges (total, not per side--I was feeling lazy :))
Add on: 9 med ball prone tucks
Add on: 10 med ball swings
Add on: 11 (per side) spiderman climbs , hands on the med ball
Add on: 12 (per side) med ball twisty v-sit thingies ( I forget the proper name for these)

I used a 10 lb med ball, and it was a total sweatfest. I sort of made it up as I was going along, so if I had it to do over again I probably would change some things. Still, it was a nice little add on and kind of fun except when it wasn't.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Resolution I

This is the one with the clean and press and the swings. I made it to ten rounds last time I did the workout, so I was due to up my weights.

For the barbell press this time I went to 70 lbs (from 60) and for the swings I went to 30 (from 12 kg). I only had about 20 minutes between clients to work, but still managed to get in 6 rounds at those weights. I think I could've gotten a 7th and maybe an 8th if I'd had the full 30 minutes to work. But maybe not.

So, I cleaned and pressed 2100 lbs, and swung 54,000, for a total of 75,000 lbs moved in about 20 minutes. Not bad.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Noooo! Not another 12 days of fitness ladder!!

Yep. 'Fraid so.

Round 1: walking lunges there, bear crawls back (about 10 yards each way)
Round 2: see above, plus 2 pullups
Round 3: see above, plus 3 burpees
Round 4: see above, plus 4 plyo lunges each leg
Round 5: see above, plus 5 pike pushups
Round 6: see above, plus 6 skater hops
Round 7: see above, plus 7 mountain climbers each side
Round 8: see above, plus 8 spiderman pushups
Round 9: see above, plus 9 star jumps
Round 10: see above, plus 10 prone jacks
Round 11: see above, plus 11 bicycle crunches each side
Round 12: see above, plus 12 T pushups

They were all good pullups too. From a dead hang, chin up over the top of the bar, all that :)

Go, me.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Resolution III

I've already posted what this workout consists of, so won't bore you with the details. I completed 10 rounds in under 30 minutes, so next time I do the workout I'll be moving up to the intermediate level. My weights won't change, but when I do the clean & press ladders I'll be doing 1, 2, 3, 4 instead of just 1, 2, 3.

My pullups were pretty strong today, for me, and I'm very happy about that. One of my fitness goals for 2009 is to be able to do a set of 10 perfect pullups. Today I did a total of 30.

Yesterday was meant to be a rest day but I was feeling a little guilty about having overeaten on Christmas so I did supersets of Turkish getups and swings. I started with 1 rep per side of the TGU, then went to 30 swings. Second set I did two getups per side and 30 swings. Third set I did three getups per side, then 30 swings. And then I started over again at 1. I kept my rest periods short--about 15 seconds or so--so I was done in under 20 minutes. It was actually a nice little workout.

On Christmas Day I did a fairly horrible medicine ball circuit using a 10 lb ball. Lots of woodchoppers, bizarre pushup and prone tuck variations with my feet on the ball, and even more bizarre mountain climber and plank variations with my hands or forearms on the ball.

I'm still feeling the lack of a panda to assist me in my workouts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I have a pullup bar but no panda ...

so no assisted pullups for me today :(

Instead I did Resolution #3:

Round 1:
BB deads from floor: 5x135
BB clean & press: 5x65
DB farmer's walk: 30 yards approx., holding 35s
KB swings, mixed: 20x12 kg

The four rounds after that were the same as round 1, except I added 5 lbs to my deadlift and did 1 fewer rep. Reps and poundages on the other three exercises stayed the same. So, on my last set I was deadlifting 155. Barely got it off the ground; in fact, I missed my first attempt. I truly could not have gone heavier on the deadlifts and c&p, and it took me just about half an hour to get in my 5 rounds, so I was just where I need to be poundage-wise.

Also, if your kettlebells happen to be from PerformBetter, there's a nifty new product that's basically like a Platemate, only it screws into the bottom of the bell. It's 2 kg, which is brilliant for those of us who find it a bit of a struggle to increase our weights 4 kg at a time.

PerformBetter is a great source for exercise equipment. Not perfect, though.

No pandas :(

Assisted pullups, panda-style

If you've got a pullup bar and a panda, give it a shot!

Monday, December 22, 2008

3000 lbs

That's how much weight I cleaned and pressed today :)

10 sets of 5 reps, with a barbell loaded at 60 lbs.

Supersetted with 10 sets of 30 mixed KB swings with a 12 kg bell.

In slightly less than 30 minutes.

I am strong. I am invincible. I am fucking nuts.

This workout, btw, is Resolution #1. Next time I do it I need to up my weights since I got to 10 sets.

Yesterday's workout was a fun little thing involving a 10 lb medicine ball:

Superset: lateral lunge chop, 3x12 per side; one arm squat press, 3x8 per side

Superset: 1-leg pistol squats, 3x5 per side; elevated pushups, 3x12 per side

Superset: 1'leg hip extensions, 3x15 per side; McGill crunches, 3x10 per side

Tri-set: TRX rows, 3x15 (these were supposed to be body rows with feet on the ball, but those were so not happening); prone tucks, 3x12; rollout planks, 3x10

Burpees, 5x10. What made these special was, as I did the jump I tossed the medicine ball up, then caught it on the descent, dropping into a low squat. From there I set the ball down, did the squat thrust back, lowered my chest to the ball, then reversed the motion. There's something about catching the ball as you sink into the squat that I really like. Call me a disciple of Sacher-Masoch if you will. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday workout

I've decided to make strength my focus for the next little bit. So, until I come up with a better idea, I plan to use the Art of Strength Resolution series (appropriate for the time of year, yes?) as the basis of my routine. Resolution includes 3 separate 30 minute workouts, and the idea is that as you progress you add volume/density up to a certain point, and then you increase your weights and start over again. Today I did Resolution #2:

round 1:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
5 pullups
5 deadlifts @ 115 lbs

round 2:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
4 pullups
4 deadlifts @ 120 lbs

round 3:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
3 pullups
3 deadlifts @ 125 lbs

round 4:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
2 pullups
2 deadlifts @ 130 lbs

round 5:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
1 pullup
1 deadlift @ 135 lbs

round 6:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
5 pullups (actually, 4 pullups and 1 negative--the flesh is weak!)
1 deadlift @ 135 lbs

round 7:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
4 pullups
2 deadlifts @ 135 lbs

round 8:
KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3 per arm, using a 12 kg bell
3 pullups
1 deadlift @ 135 lbs

Next time I do the workout I'll go for a 9th round, and the time after that a 10th, so the only thing that'll really change will be my rest periods between sets since I'm only supposed to work for 30 minutes. Once I'm up to 10 rounds in 30 minutes I'll be considered "intermediate", at which point I'll add 4 reps per side per round to the clean & press and decrease my number of rounds to as few as 3. Once I can do 6 rounds in 30 minutes at the intermediate level I'll be ready to move on to the advanced level, which (you guessed it) means I will be adding 5 reps per side per round to the clean & press and working my way up to 5 rounds in 30 minutes.

I sort of have a feeling that because of the weights I chose and my general level of muscular endurance I'm going to be able to move through the levels pretty fast. That's okay; it just means I'll be starting over again at the "beginner" level with heavier weights that much sooner. I sort of deliberately decided to err on the side of caution because as I mentioned below, I haven't really been in heavy lifting mode for a while so I want to spend a little while getting my joints conditioned to handle heavy resistance.

Oh, I forgot to mention: I felt like getting in some intervals at the end of the workout so I grabbed my 12 kg bell and did 5 sets of 1 armed swings, 15 per arm, with 25-30 seconds rest between sets. So, about a 2:1 work/rest ratio.

What I'm tentatively planning is doing each of the Resolution workouts once per week on nonconsecutive days, with medicine ball or bodyweight circuits on my off days. I have a Turbulence Training medicine ball workout routine that looks great although I'll have to modify a couple of the exercises because I can't slam a medicine ball in my house and there's not really an appropriate space at the gym either.

In other news, I hit Sports Authority today to get some little fitness-related gifts for a few of my most dedicated long-time clients. I decided on pedometers since one of my mantras as a trainer is that fitness is a lifestyle, not just something you pursue at the gym a couple of times a week. When I tell people they need to be active every day, the first thing they usually say is, "Well, I can't get to the gym every day." As if activity were something that only happens at the gym! Unfortunately, I think that for quite a few of them that's the case ... but if they have pedometers so they can keep track of what they're doing outside the gym they may make more of a conscious effort to incorporate movement into their everyday lives. I'm hoping that'll be the case, anyway.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Heavy" deadlift workout

Okay, not so heavy really, but I haven't been in heavy lifting mode for a while so I thought it'd be best to ease into it. (Also, I'm a wuss. )

So, here's what it was:

Round 1:
Sumo deads ff: 5x125
BB clean and press ff: 5x55
Farmers walk: 30 yds holding 35's
KB swings: 20x12 kg.

I did four more rounds after that, each time adding 5 lbs to my deadlift and subtracting 1 rep, until by the final round I was down to 1 deadlift with the bar loaded at 145. All other exercises remained the same in terms of reps and poundage.

And that was that :)

Edited to add: okay, not quite. A client cancelled on me at the last minute (he's so getting charged for the session!), so I had an hour of dead time between appointments that I used to get in another mini-workout.

circuit 4x:

8 KB 1-arm rows per arm
15 pushups
10 KB snatches per arm
10 KB burpee deadlifts

I used a 30 lb kettlebell for the rows and burpee deadlifts, and an 8 kg bell for the snatches.

Oh, and later in the day I took a 90 minute ballet class. My shoulders and upper traps were a little achy from the snatches or maybe the c & p, so my port de bras sucked, which is probably why you never hear about ballerinas who're powerlifters.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So, I gave the EDT thing a shot ...

Ehhh ....

I think I like Alwyn's Metabolic (sorry, Wendy!) Density Training better. With EDT you're doing two exercises, alternating sets, for 15-20 minutes, taking as few breaks as possible, and with MDT a la Alwyn you're doing 3 exercises for 10 minutes, working continuously.

Anyway, I did a little of both today.

First up, double kettlebell clean & press supersetted with double kettlebell front squats. I used 20 lb bells and worked for 20 minutes, performing as many five-rep sets as possible. I think I got about 15 sets, or 75 reps of each exercise, in 20 minutes or maybe a little less. It was hard but also a little boring somehow, if that makes sense.

Then I did kettlebell renegade rows, followed by double kettlebell windmills, followed by double kettlebell swings, using 15 lb bells for all exercises. I did 5 reps per side of the renegade rows and windmills and 15 reps of the swings, and I completed 3 sets in 10 minutes. I had more fun with this drill, although fun is maybe not the right word.

Monday, December 15, 2008

101 Kettlebell Workouts

This little e-book is a very worthwhile 12 Days of Fitness freebie from David Whitley of It doesn't tell you how to execute the basic kettlebell drills so it's not appropriate for someone who's a complete kettlebell novice, but it's great if you know the exercises and just need some help putting them together in a routine that flows nicely. There are straight-set workouts, circuits, ladders, German volume training, escalating density training, kettlebell/bodyweight fusion routines, tabatas and other types of timed sets ... you name it.

On Saturday I did one of the routines, with some tweaks to bring it more into line with what I felt like doing on that day:

Circuit 3x:

Swings, 25x12kg
Burpee deadlifts, 10x12kg
Clean & press, 5 per armx12 kg

Straight sets:

TGU, 2x5 per side x8 kg
snatches, 5x10 per side x8 kg

Today I did one of the ladder workouts:

swings, 30 sec. rest 30 sec.
squats, 30 sec, swings 30 sec., rest 30 sec.
slingshot, 30 sec., squats, 30 sec, swings 30 sec., rest 30 sec.
clean & press, 30 sec. per side, slingshot, 30 sec., squats, 30 sec, swings 30 sec., rest 30 sec.
row, 30 sec. per side, clean & press, 30 sec. per side, slingshot, 30 sec., squats, 30 sec, swings 30 sec., rest 1 min

That's one round, and you're supposed to do 3-5 rounds. I only did 3, but I stuck with my 12 kg bell throughout so I don't feel I was wimping out particularly.

I'd like to try some of the EDT workouts next. Supposedly it's a good way to increase size and strength. The idea is, you pick two exercises for opposing muscle groups, and you perform alternating sets of 3-5 reps using a weight that would allow you to complete 10 reps with good form. You perform as many sets of each exercise as possible in a prescribed period of time, usually 15-20 minutes, and each time you do the workout you try to complete more reps than the time before.

Doesn't that sound awful???

Whitley has two upper/lower split EDT routines and one full-body routine. Not sure which I will try. Probably the full-body routine, except I might tweak it to make it more cardiovascular. As written the routine pairs double military presses with pullups and double front squats with swings (Workout A) and double floor presses with bent rows and swings with pistols (Workout B). I can see the merit of pairing exercises that work opposing muscle groups, but I think it might work even better to pair upper and lower body exercises. I'll try it both ways and report back.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12 Days of Fitness, plus Wednesday workout

The 12 Days of Fitness, in case you're smart and aren't on as many e-fitness mailing lists as I am, is a promotion that I believe was originally the brainchild of one Dax Moy, a UK-based fitness person who's got a program called The Elimination Diet. (FWIW I have a freebie version of his e-book, and if you think you might have food sensitivities his program looks like it'd be a worthwhile thing to do. Basically you cleanse your diet of all the common allergens--wheat, dairy and so forth, then gradually start adding them back in. When problems develop in response to a particular food or type of food--bingo! you know you're sensitive to it. Certainly it's not a new concept but Dax Moy does a good job of explaining how to go about it, and even helps out with a meal plan in case you're at a loss for what to eat if you're not having your usual Kentucky-fried gluten soy bombs or whatever. Yes, Dax's name is a bit odd, but I think it must be because he's from the UK. I work with a Brit who's called Jed--only he spells it Ged. Don't ask.)

Anyhoo, to get back to the 12 Days of Fitness, it seems as though every online fitness guru you've ever heard of, and more than a few you haven't, is participating, You sign up, and every day for 12 days, starting today, you'll be sent links to various and sundry !free! tidbits of fitness information. Many of which actually seem to be pretty worthwhile IMO. To access some of the information you do indeed need to supply an e-mail address and get on some mailing lists, but as I've said before, I don't mind that so much. The only thing I will NOT do is provide credit card information ("Cancel after 7 days and keep your !free! bonuses!!"), and I've not been asked to do that, nor do I expect to be.

The best of today's freebies were from Workout Muse and Troy Anderson/Josh Henkin, who are Arizona-based kettlebell/fat loss gurus. The Workout Muse bonus I actually already had since I'm on their mailing list already, and it includes a nice little mp3 download that keeps track of time during timed sets, along with some suggestions for circuit workouts. I think I mentioned it a few weeks ago and gave it a thumbs-up. The Troy Anderson thing is a 30-page e-book with a 4 week abs program you're meant to do as an add-on to your regular workouts. There are 3 separate workouts, each to be done once a week and each consisting of a full body exercise plus a more abs-focused exercise. Workout 1 consists of kettlebell front squats and kettlebell chops, Workout 2 consists of kettlebell swings and max hold planks, and Workout 3, which I did today as a finisher to my Turbulence Training workout, consists of Turkish getups and sprints. I love this type of workout and consider it far more effective than doing a bazillion crunches or whatever.

There also was a kind of cute-looking "laptop bag workout" with suggestions for using your laptop bag as a resistance prop when on business trips. Laptop bag swings, anyone? I can't imagine it replacing a regular workout, but if you're stuck in a hotel room and desperate for endorphins, why not give it a shot?

So, anyway, that's the scoop on the 12 Days of Fitness. I'll update as we move through December and I get access to more of the freebies. And once I've separated the wheat from the chaff (with apologies to those of you who're gluten-phobic), I'll be sure to let you know what I think is worth checking out.

Now, for the workout:

Usual warmup circuit

superset: DB split squats, 1x6x30, 3x8x40; SB rollouts, 1x6, 3x10

superset: DB RDL, 3x8x40; DB push press, 3x6x25

tri-set: BB squat, 3x12x100; SB prone tucks, 3x15, side planks, 3x45 sec.

core/cardio: KB turkish getup ladders 2x, 1, 2, 3; 200 meter sprint 6x. The way this worked was, you do one turkish getup to each side, then sprint. Then you do 2 getups per side, then sprint. Then 3 per side, then sprint. And then you start again with 1 getup per side and work your way back up the ladder. It took me a couple times to figure that out; at first I thought I was meant to do two TGU 1, 2, 3 ladders each set, but then I realized that couldn't possibly be right because, well, that'd be 24 getups per set, and with six sets to do ... well, that'd be overkill, especially since this is one of those workouts where each week you're supposed to add sets and reps. So, anyway, I ended up doing some extra getups my first two sets. Might try it with a heavier kettlebell next time I do the workout (I was using 15 today). Or, I might stick with doing some extra reps, as I have a little trouble stabilizing my left shoulder properly if I go too heavy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I taught cycling as usual but it wasn't much of a workout for me because a lot of people in class were having trouble with their heart rate monitors, and when that happens I end up having to spend a lot of time off the bike coaching them through the workout.

Later I did the following, which is a version of an AOS workout that I tweaked for more of a cardio effect.

KB clean and press ladders, 1, 2, 3 each side @ 12 kg
DB squat thrust to pushup to renegade row to mountain climber, 5x15
KB overhead/sumo squat hybrid, 8 kg overhead, 12 kg between legs, 5 reps each side

I did 5 rounds in about 20 minutes. Not bad. The original version of this workout is more of a strength builder, and calls for 5 pullups, 1-arm rows or renegade rows as the second exercise and 5 deadlifts as the third exercise, and I'm supposed to go heavy enough on all exercises that should take me a half hour to complete 5 rounds. Not that that doesn't sound incredibly fun, but it just didn't feel appropriate for me today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mistress Laura, um, does that high-density resistance training thing that elevates the heart rate and increases EPOC

(Yes, we need to find a new word for it.)

Warm-up circuit 2x:

10 squats
8 close grip pushups
12 SB leg curls
rest 30 sec.

Superset: DB high incline press, 1x6x25, 3x6x30, no rest; DB 1-arm row, 1x6x25, 3x6x37.5, 1 min rest
Superset: band assisted chins, 3x8, no rest; DB flat press, 3x8x35, 1 min rest
Superset, close grip pushups (form sucked on the last set so don't be impressed), 3x25, DB rear delt flyes, 2x10x12

Then for 20 minutes I did the following:

5 BB clean and press @ 50 lbs
20 swings, either 1-arm or hand to hand, @ 12 kg
5 box jumps at 18"

I think I got about 8 rounds. Since I was doing it as a finisher to another workout I didn't go for the full 30 minutes, but if I had I easily could've gotten 10 rounds, which means I need to increase my weights and the height of my step. Which means, unfortunately, that I can't do the workout at home because I don't have a kb heavier than 12 kg, and I don't have anything I can jump on that's higher than 18". Well, except for Paul, but that's quite different.

I haven't done BB clean and press for a while and I sort of enjoyed it. I think all the kettlebell training I've been doing lately has had a carryover effect.

With apologies to Wendy ...

Anthony DiLuglio gets metabolic:

If you can't bear to watch the clip, here's the gist of it: do rounds consisting of (1) five clean to press (from floor) using a log if you've got one handy (yeah, right), a barbell if you don't (2) 20 kettlebell swings, any type (3) five box jumps. Rest, then repeat. Start with 5 rounds, and work your way up to 10, decreasing your rest periods as you get stronger. Be sure to choose weights and a box height that challenges you, and--this is important--keep your weight selection constant as you increase your volume and decrease your rest. Otherwise the workout won't be truly progressive.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday workout

Warm-up circuit 2x:

10 squats
8 close grip pushups
12 SB leg curls

superset: db split squats, 1x8x25's, 3x8x35's; SB rollouts, 1x8; 3x10
superset: db RDL, 3x8x35's, db push press, 3x6x25's
triset: db squat, 3x12x35s, SB prone tucks, 3x15, side planks, 3x45 sec. each side

AOS Providence, 8 rounds only, substituting mixed KB swings tabata-style for rounds 3 and 6 (2 min. only) and finishing with a full 4 minutes of 1-arm tabata swings after round 8. Or something like that. Whatever I did, it ended up taking about half an hour :)

Dieter's edema?

If you're on the Turbulence Training e-mail list, you probably know about Brad Pilon and his Eat Stop Eat program. The idea is, you eat "normally" five days a week, and fast for two. I sort of hate the concept, but I'm sure it's effective at least to a point. I mean, if your weekly calorie intake is only 5/7 of what it was, you're sure to lose weight unless you also reduce your activity level, which to his credit Brad says you're absolutely not to do. His theory, which I actually think I basically agree with, is that as long as you stay active your metabolism won't slow down even if you skip eating for a day. Certainly that would explain why my metabolism hasn't come screeching to a halt even though I not infrequently have days like yesterday when for a variety of (mostly stupid) reasons my entire calorie intake from dawn to dusk consisted of a nonfat latte and a few almonds.

What I don't like about Eat Stop Eat is the tacit endorsement of a "normal" diet, because there's so much that's unhealthy about the way most people eat. If it was an eat-as-much-as-you-want-whenever-you-want diet that nevertheless emphasized healthy food choices, I actually think I could get behind it, because for some people--and to some extent I'm one of them-- being on a strict eating schedule and observing strict portion control is crazy-making.

As usual I'm getting off on a tangent. To get back to the "dieter's edema" thing, this is something that supposedly can happen as a result of too-strict dieting. As belly fat is lost, waterlike fluid allegedly rushes in to occupy the space created, resulting in abs that are "smooth" not "ripped." A reward meal will get rid of it, supposedly. And intermittent fasting will allow you to avoid it altogether. Supposedly.

Personally I'm skeptical. Very. I think we've all had the (discouraging) experience of starting diets, kicking our workouts into high gear, etc, and finding that in the short term we look no better. Worse, even, in some cases. I don't think it's dieter's edema that's at fault, though. Inflammation leading to water retention in the muscles, maybe. But the dieter's edema thing sounds like a made-up problem to me.

What do you all think?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

AOSX: The 1200 Workout

Art of Strength has a series of downloadable workouts, the AOX series. I was intrigued enough to purchase one of them, The 1200 Workout.

Not. Worth. The. Money. Even at the sale price of $29.95. For that kind of money I was expecting something I could actually work along to. But no. The video component ran slightly over 15 minutes, no longer, and consisted of Anthony demo-ing each exercise a couple of times, then telling us how many reps to do, then moving on to the next thing. I got very tired of having to stop my workout so I could put the video on pause while I completed my set. I appreciate that we were being tacitly encouraged to go at our own pace, but even so I would've preferred to miss a few reps instead of constantly having to pause the workout. Frankly once I'm completely at ease with all the exercises I won't be using the video at all, just the accompanying "workbook," which is merely a list of the exercises in each round along with the number of reps to be performed.

As for the content of the workout, it was fine. There was an interesting mix of kettlebell, dumbbell and bodyweight exercises, a few of which were new to me. Corkscrew pushups, for instance. You start out in pushup position, but with the feet a little closer to the hands than usual. You then bend at the knees and take the hips back toward the heels, as if you were coming back into extended child's pose, but with the knees still off the ground. Then you twist to one side and bring your body forward into chatturanga, untwisting as you go. Then you reverse the motion to the other side. That's one rep. If you really wanted to get creative you could keep coming forward until you were all the way up in upward facing dog before reversing the motion. Then it'd be kind of like a hybrid of a divebomber pushup and a corkscrew pushup. I don't know if I actually dislike any of my clients enough to make them attempt that, but it might be kind of fun :)

The one thing I didn't care for, content-wise, about the workout was the ungodly number of snatches. Each round ended with a set, and each round had you doing two more reps to each side than the previous round, so you started with 10 and ended with 20 per side (there were 6 rounds in total). That's a lot of snatches--180 total, unless my math is off. And that's assuming you only do each round once. That was what I opted to do. The advanced version calls for each round to be performed 3 times, and frankly that seems like overkill since even without taking any real rest between sets I needed a half an hour to get through each round once. I can't even see wanting to do the full intermediate version, which calls for each round to be performed twice.

I think since I prefer no repeat workouts anyway, what I may do is throw in a tabata every after every second round, using bodyweight exercises or kettlebell exercises such as clean and press that aren't included elsewhere in the workout. That'll give me about a 45 minute pretty intense--dare I say, metabolic?--workout.

In the greater scheme of things it probably doesn't matter much that the video isn't useful except for teaching exercises that may be new because I'm fine working out on my own and probably would opt to do that a good bit of the time anyway. I just think that for the price I should've gotten something I could work along to when that's what I want. Given what I suspect it cost AOS to put this downloadable workout together, I think it should've been priced a good $20 lower.

Rachel Cosgrove on the AOS Women's Page

I should've realized Rachel's gym was an AOS affiliate. Not that AOS Providence isn't a fantastic workout, but it's hardly the only good kettlebell workout available on DVD :)

But no matter. Rachel has a good article up on the AOS Women's Page re: metabolic resistance training for fat loss. According to Rachel it's even more beneficial than high intensity cardio intervals, which boost metabolism and burn calories but don't build muscle or increase strength. If your workout time is limited, Rachel recommends making metabolic resistance training workouts your main priority. Do up to 4 a week, and if you have time to do more, add in a cardio interval session or two. If you're really gung ho and want to do even more, you can throw in some steady state cardio, which will burn calories while you do it but won't build muscle or increase metabolism. But that should be your absolute last priority.

The foregoing assumes, of course, that your primary goal is fat loss. If you're looking for premium muscle gains or you've got an endurance event like a triathlon coming up, you'd want to train differently. But if what you really want is to see your six-pack abs, you should train as Rachel recommends.

(There's a nice picture of Rachel and her six-pack, showing that her program works. I think she's a great physical role model because she looks healthy-lean, not extreme. A body that's fitness-model lean isn't something a woman should try to maintain indefinitely if she cares about her health, but a body like Rachel's is a totally appropriate thing to strive for. Not to mention, if that's where you maintain, you'll already be 3/4 of the way there on those occasions when you DO want to have more of a fitness-model extreme look :))

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The peanut cancer link

Okay, turns out I've just been kidding myself by buying all-natural, organic peanut butter. Aflatoxin (major, major carcinogen) is in the stuff regardless, although it's most prevalent in peanut butter made from peanuts grown in more humid parts of the world. Valencia peanuts, which are grown in Arizona, have the least, so if you're going to have peanut butter that's the kind to get. But even so, it's better to consume it in limited quantities. Which apparently I am not capable of doing, so I really probably need to cut it out altogether.

Le sigh.

Oh well. The first few days will be the hardest. And, who knows, maybe I'll find myself feeling much better once I'm off the nut. In the meantime, though, it won't be pretty. Pretty soon I expect to be seeing pink spiders dancing the Cold Turkey Tango with Mr. Peanut.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I survived, and moo

I spend most of yesterday slumped in an easy chair with my laptops (the Dell and the Siamese) close at hand. I was multitasking: putting together a plan for my spin class plus workouts for my Tuesday and Wednesday clients, and watching bad movies on mini-mode. You know a movie is bad when not even Hugh Jackman can save it. I made it through almost an hour of "Van Helsing" before finally giving up and switching to "Sphinx." Gorgeous leading lady (Lesley-Anne Down), even more gorgeous leading man (Frank Langella, who was hotness itself back in the day and could actually act, not that the movie required him to do so), and fabulous cinematography of Egypt. Moose gave it two paws up, but thought there should have been more about Bastet in the film. She is quite right, of course. Never argue with a Siamese. It will get you nowhere.

Anyway, my day of sloth seems to have done me good, because I'm feelimg quite a bit better today. A couple Dayquil and a quick squirt of nasal spray and I was good to go. My morning clients didn't even notice I was under the weather, and when you consider that I'm someone who routinely gets asked if she has a cold even when she doesn't (thank you, rosacea), that's major. Also, my voice held out during cycling class--fortunately it was a smallish group and they were all people I know well, who are all at similar levels of fitness except for the pregnant lady, who knew how to modify, so I didn't have to give a lot of instruction on form or offer a lot of alternatives for different experience levels. That makes my job so much easier.

Also, we've started using heart rate monitors in class so I had an excuse to get off my bike and check in with people to see whether they were in the zone or not :)

The moo is in reference to my weight, which is a little higher than I would like it to be. I tend to eat more than I should when I have a cold and my throat is sore. I crave the comfort of something cold and creamy slipping down my inflamed gullet, and even if it's nonfat sugar free yogurt and frozen berries instead of ice cream, too much of it makes me fat.

Whatever. I'm hoping that one more good night's sleep will have me feeling almost back to normal by tomorrow.

Oh, and the more I think about it the more I'm wanting one of those re-loadable kettlebells. I might want the guy version, though, even though it's not pink. Unloaded it's only about 9 pounds, filled with sand it's about 20-25, and filled with shot it's heavier than I'll ever need ... but Paul might dig it. He was asking me this morning about kettlebells in a way that made me think he might enjoy adding them to his routine. He likes functional stuff and hates anything bodybuilderish, so kettlebell training would be a great fit for him. I've actually been telling him that for a while, but I think maybe he had to read a few articles about kettlebell training in Men's Health for it to sink in.

Anyway, I think I would have a blast taking my empty bell to the beach, filling it with sand and doing my workouts there. Clients would love it too.

The other good thing about the bigger bell is, when it's only partially full the center of gravity constantly shifts, making the exercise even more challenging.

Of course the bad thing about the bigger bell is, it's bigger. The larger size wouldn't be a problem for Paul, but with my tiny frame I don't think I could get a bell that was 8" in diameter into a good rack position.

Also, the bigger bell isn't pink.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday's half-assed workout

My cold's a little worse today :( I'm so dreading tomorrow--I hope there aren't a ton of people in my cycling class, because I don't think my voice will hold out if I have to shout to be heard in the back of the room.

I did a little upper body weights thing thinking it'd make me feel better, but evidently it didn't work. I still feel like a disgusting fat slug. Isn't that ridiculous? But there you have it, and I know you all know exactly what I mean. It has nothing to do with how my clothes fit or what the scale says, and everything to do with the fact that I think someone crept into my house in the dead of night and replaced my head with a water balloon.

Anyway. Here's what it was:

warm-up circuit 2x:

10 squats
8 close grip pushups
12 SB leg curls

Superset: DB incline press, 1x6x25, 3x6x30; 1-arm DB row, 1x6x25, 3x6x35
Superset: band assisted chins, 3x8; flat DB press, 3x8x30
Superset: close grip pushups, 1x25, 2x25 onto bench; DB rear delt flyes, 3x10x10

(This is a Turbulence Training workout, one of the ones included in the basic TT for Fat Loss manual. It's meant to be followed with intervals, 20 sec. RPE 9 -10 max effort, 40 sec. RPE 3 active recovery 8x, but that didn't seem appropriate for me today given how feeble I felt during the weights portion of the workout.)

Staci's Metabolic Workout

This is from the AOS website.

Tried to embed, but it didn't work :(

The routine is as follows:

30-60 sec. undulations (a towel makes a great substitute if you don't have ropes handy)
30-60 sec. KB swings (substitute a dumbbell if you don't have a kettlebell)
30-60 sec. dumbbell snatches (substitute a kettlebell if you'd rather)
30-60 sec. dumbbell clean and press (again I see no reason why you couldn't use a kettlebell)
30-60 sec. dumbbell rows
30-60 sec. hops (these look to me like plyo Siff squats--quite a balance challenge and probably killer on the calves, but if you've got knee issues I'd recommend doing regular jump squats instead)

Repeat 3-5x

(I totally want one of those pink adjustable-weight kettlebells! The price is a little ridiculous, but it's pink!!!! And it can weigh from 7 to 22 lbs depending on how much shot you put in it, so if you don't have space for a lot of kettlebells in different sizes it's kind of a practical thing to own. And, well, it's pink!!!!! And AOS is donating a share of the proceeds to breast cancer research. And did I mention that it's pink???)