Friday, July 29, 2011

Coaching Class

NOTE: Anything underlined is a link.

So the coolest thing just happened to me this evening.

I had the amazing pleasure of being entrusted with teaching not one, not two, not even three but FOUR Hoboken Boot Camp classes.

FOUR CLASSES!!!  David the owner's wife was there with me (and she decided to even take the 7pm class) but I was the one doing all the barking.

When David and Jesse asked me I was insanely flattered and excited. What an opportunity for me and how bad ass is it that they think enough of me to entrust me with their clients?!

I wasn't at all concerned about the taking charge part.
I am not shy and tend to be loud and talkative and friendly.
I've done my fair share of theater and musicals and improv work.
Combine all that with the fact that I'm the mother of two little boys who often go stone cold deaf and need me to speak to them in my outside voice while they are indoors and standing directly in front of me.
Raising my voice, being assertive and telling folks what to do is nothing new or scary to me.

What was scary to me was that for the past 2 years I've been the one being taught and I've never had to direct folks in this sort of a venue.
Also remember that 2 years ago I was the sedentary slug who weighed over 200 pounds and got winded walking from my couch to the fridge.

Going from that gal to the one standing in front of these folks explaining exercises to them was mind blowing to me.

My beloved Mistress Jesse wrote out all the exercises on the white board wall at the studio. Nothing complicated or difficult to teach.
David is always fond of saying "Simple and Effective" I always say "Simple but NOT easy!" Fancy schmancy isn't part of the plan there.(Part of the reason I love them so damn much!)

Tonight we used the deck of cards which we haven't done in a really really long time and I was glad to see it on the wall.  I'd done it lots of times myself and immediately was at ease knowing I could teach it and actually know what the hell I was explaining.

4 exercises each coordinating to a card suit.
Hearts = Burpees
Diamonds = Star Jumps
Clubs = Trunk Twists
Spades =  ?????????? (Drawing a total blank)

Pull a card out of the deck and whatever the number on the card is that's the number of reps you do.
Face Cards are 10 reps and Aces are 11 reps.
Pull a Joker and everyone has to double up on the reps till another Joker is pulled.

Easy and requires minimal effort on the part of the person coaching the class.  The first class had only two women it in. One I know and love.
She's a Boot Camp rock star and is almost completely self sufficient. The other woman I didn't know but she didn't need any instruction or guidance beyond my explaining how the whole thing worked.

Despite  my dramatic ways and always loud mouth I felt slightly stupid playing motivational cheerleader to these two clearly driven capable women and told them as much.  I asked if they wanted to hear my positive chatter and they both declined so I left them alone for the most part.

At the tail end of class, the last 5 mins Maria and I decided to switch it up a tiny bit and we had them run two laps and come back in and do some leg work.

Our second class had 7 people in it including the only other student who has been there longer than I have. She's been with HBC since day one and she's one hell of a badass mofo.

Same workout with this class only this time I had to demonstrate what a Star Jump is and the alternate "lower impact" Burpee.
I also got to try out my positive banter on them.  I don't really think they gave a rats ass if I never said a single word. This class was focused and driven and started strong, and never stopped.
They were all self motivated to the highest power.

I'd give them small "Hooray! You guys are doing great" shoutouts but it felt stupid and forced and I felt like they didn't really want to hear it so I kept it to a minimum.
However I also felt like I wasn't doing anything if I just stood there.
Don't talk too much but don't be a mannequin either. Tough to find a good balance tonight. It will come with time and practice I suppose.

I encouraged them to all take their time, to tell me if they couldn't do something, if they had a question, needed something changed and I watched them all closely as they worked with the Kettlebells.
I quietly had to suggest to one gentleman that perhaps the weight he'd picked was a bit much for him and he might want to try one round with a lighter weight and see how it felt.  He did so and seemed pleased with the change.
(Lesson learned in that moment for me is when suggesting that a student, especially a man, use a lighter weight, tact and discretion are important. It also helps if you can blame the obvious struggle and fatigue on something other than their strength and ability like say...the humidity and the heat. Ego stays in tact and no one gets hurt. Total win win.)

After watching this class blow through the exercises I realized they were all strong and in the last 5 mins had the run two laps, come back in do 100 trunk twists and go back out for one more lap.
(Lesson learned in that moment is to be crystal clear that the 100 is done as a straight count. More than one student did 200 twists because I assumed they knew what I wanted and they assumed that I wanted left right one, left right two, left right three...)

Class three was similar to class two and I had them do the same routine. They were also total rock stars and aced the whole thing.

Class four and the last class of the night was just one lone gentleman who I felt awful having him do the entire deck of cards all by himself so I had him do cards, go for a lap come back in do more cards and then when I determined he was in good shape and not going to crash and burn on me I had him do a walking overhead press with the 8kg Kettlebell two laps on the dock. 100 trunk twists one more lap and he was finished and so was I!

4 classes, everyone did an amazing job, no one laughed at me or asked who the hell I was or why was this fat chick teaching class.
(Don't laugh. David and I have had a conversation about it. Folks come to class and see me and assume I'll never be able to keep up. They usually change their minds when I'm the only one in class doing single handed swings with the 27 pound Kettlebell or doing one handed overhead walking presses with the 35 pound gal.)

I had a lot of fun teaching and it was really weird being on the other side of the clock. When I take class I have no concept of time at all. Today I had my phone in my hand and the timer counting down for each class. I also realized that doing and being able to explain how to do are worlds apart. Sure, I can do a Burpee or a Trunk Twist but can I put how to do it into a quick, concise explanation? Discovered it's easier to show than to explain. Even easier to do both at the same time.

Hoboken Boot Camps is so special and important to me and such a part of my life that I really want everyone that attends a class (or classes) to realize and experience how different and unique and one of a kind it is. I took the time to chat with three of the female students from the second class I taught and it turns out that most of them are rather new to the classes. They agreed that it's a great place and told me they are hooked.

Hopefully the feedback is good and David and Jesse will allow me to coach again. (Hell, even if the feedback isn't good. I hope they will let me hear it, learn from it and coach again!)

As a small aside, the folks at Hoboken Boot Camps are truly my second family and often the only thing that pushes me to class is to see all their happy shining smiling faces.

When I put up on Facebook that I had had a really good time teaching Jessie posted a comment that simply said "Welcome...".

I immediately thought of this scene in one of my favorite movies "Freaks"

"We accept her, we accept her, one of us, one of us, gooble gobble, gooble gobble, we accept her, one of us, one of us"

Hopefully my fate is a little better than that of the beautiful Cleopatra they are accepting. The freaks attack her at the end and disfigure her so she too becomes a member of the side show as "The Human Duck"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Today's Lame Ass Workout

I haven't blogged much lately because we've switched up how we are doing our training.
David felt that we were over training doing our private training after doing a Boot Camp class.

We decided that we would either do class or training and I've been trying to get in 2 days of Boot Camp and 3 days of training.

This week was BRUTAL with the heat. Our studio has no air conditioning and this week the temps have been in the upper 90s and even over 100.

I've come to realize that I lose all my super power in the heat. I feel so weak and tired that I'm absolutely struggling with the same 27 pound Kettlebell that I was rocking (sort of) a few weeks ago.

VERY frustrating.

Today it was just my husband and myself and our kids. David has kindly given Mike a key to the studio which allows Mike to hit the heavy bag and do his thing when he can.

Since we haven't been doing a separate after class training I haven't been able to videotape anything I've done.

Today was the first chance.

Here ya go...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kiss Kruise

Hubs and I are taking the Kiss Kruise as our second Honeymoon-ish sort of thing.

and while I'm celebrating countdowns how about one to the first day of school?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Today was the most crap day at Boot Camp in recent memory.

I struggled from the second I set foot in the studio right through till I walked out the door.

I had zero energy to get through class and for the first time in a long time found myself shaving numbers off reps to get through them or completely punking out on exercises all together because I just couldn't muster the energy to get them done.

By the end I was done, over, finished, kaput but I really hate missing a day of training so I attempted it and it was a big old flop.

My 100 swings got broken down to about 30/5 thanks to a phone call I had to take and then the 4 sets of 10 Clean & Presses we were supposed to do was chaotic, low energy, bad form and no where near the numbers I was supposed to do.

Snatches were more of the same. Unfocused and sloppy.

The only good thing I did today was focus on my feet and keeping them planted during the moves. I tried really hard not to roll my ankle and foot over.

David suggested that perhaps at this point we are over training. That taking a full Boot Camp class and following it up with a training session is too much and the reason we are struggling with the training.

I think (as usual) he's right on the mark.
Pushing too hard can be as detrimental to a body as under training.

Starting tomorrow Linda and I are going to skip class and just focus on training for the Workshop.

We are getting together at 9am at the Studio and will most likely just train outside while the 9am class does their thing inside.

Hopefully this will help us both get back on track.

All I know is tomorrow come hell or high water I'm going to have more energy than I did today and attack the training like a rabid dog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Double Kettlebells & Turkish Getup

This morning I had a Doctors appointment so I had to miss the 10am Boot Camp but I was able to get to "The Playground" in time to do our 11am training.

It was just David, Mike, myself and David's dynamo younger brother who is totally deceiving. He looks like a little guy but he's crazy strong and powerful.

In the 2 years I've been Boot Camping I think I can count on one hand the amount of times we've done work with double Kettlebells.

I love it because it's a challenge and leaves me feeling super strong and bad ass (and we all know how intensely I desire bad ass status.)

Absolutely no excuses but I've been feeling really tired and I'm almost positive I've got a virus or something running through my system.

My brain wants to go, but my body is having a rough time keeping up with the brain. 
Today was the first day in over a week that I felt like I had some endurance.  In other words, today was the perfect day to do double Kettlebell work.

I didn't set the camera up to video at the start of our workout because I feel like I've become a little bit of a pain in everyone's asses with the camera & the videos.

I thought I'd give them all a break from my paparatzi ways today. Untill we started doing the workout and then I knew if I didn't tape it, I'd be mad at myself.

We did double swings and a round of double snatches before I had a break where I could gallop off and get the camera and set it up.

You will see that I guess at the angle of the camera placement  and it's a crapshoot what my camera will really get on tape.

Today I got the handle of a bouncy ball that I didn't even notice was there.  You can see me and David but not much of poor Mike or David's brother.

Sorry about that. You can still see what we were doing today.

During the double bell work requires a much wider stance which is tricky for me and my short legs. I really felt my right foot rolling over each time I brought the bells down.  Someone with longer legs would be able to just squat  while in a wider stance but my body shape doesn't allow for it.

I think I need to work on the squat and my foot plant in single bell work but I'm truly not sure if I can do anything to correct it during double bell work. It's one of the things I will be asking about and working on during the weekend workshop.

The other thing we did today that I'm so so glad we did is the Turkish Getup.   As with anything new, the first few times are ROUGH and it's going to require lots of practice to get comfortable with it.

You will see me fall over at one point because it requires lots of balance and balance is not my strong suit.
I've asked David if we can work on these again tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yesterday's Practice

So I've told you how exhausting yesterday's Boot Camp was and I didn't put up the video I shot because it's certainly not us at our best.

We were all so exhausted that I had to push everyone to do just a few reps.(David actually told me he wasn't going to train and I mocked him for it. You see him pick me up and toss me over his shoulder as his response)

We did 100 swings broken down to 2 sets of 50 and I had to go lighter with the weight.

We then did 20 snatches on each side. I was only able to do 20 and 12 with the light weight.  I decided that wasn't acceptable and went for 10 on each side with the 27 pound. It was a total struggle but I got it done.

I notice something I'm doing during my Snatches that I need to correct. When I bring the Kettlebell down at the end of a rep I swing it to get the momentum and I lift up my heel which means I'm just bowing my legs rather than squatting which I need to correct.

That is why these videos are so damn important to me.  I can't feel myself doing that little move but it's there and it's wrong so it needs to be something I work on.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hurty Arms

I missed class yesterday thanks to a small human that was misbehaving and needed to be picked up from school early.
This is my little Lion and I. Lion is my littlest son having just turned 6 in May. Lion keeps my life crazy interesting and I adore him.

Once upon a time he LOVED going with Mommy to Boot Camp:
and if you catch him in the right mood he will come to class and not cause chaos and havoc but more often, he's hating on the place and has made the declaration that he wants to destory Boot Camp.  Since I've seen him at his evil best, I take this threat seriously and try not to bring him with me.

So I missed yesterday's class and training session.
Today I went back and gave it more than my best. 
David told us to grab a Kettlebell and I made the split second decision to go with the 12kg bell and do as much with it as I could.
If I had know the entire 35 minutes would be devoted to Kettlebell work I might have gone lighter.

This was the perfect example of one of those times that ignorance was truly bliss. 
We did swings, overhead presses, trunk twists, sit ups, halos, and more. 
I really did dig deep and with every lift, every swing, every twist I kept telling myself
over and over again.

I hung in with every move as long as I could with the heavier weight and it seemed that each time I couldn't do anymore and had to change weights we would be instructed to put the bell down and we would start a new move.

I would start the cycle all over again and I was able to get through class using the heavier weight.
By the end of class my biceps were rubber.

Of course, beacuse I'm a crazy bitch I insisted that we do some training since I missed yesterday.

I knew I had to go lighter so I did my swings 50/50 with the 8kg Kettlebell. David informed me he was going to bail and not do any training. 
I talked him into doing snatches. 20 each side and that would be it.
I was able to do 20 on the right side and only 12 on the left.

I took a small break and decided to do 10 more on each side and be finished for the day. I grabbed the 12kg Kettlebell and somehow (and I truly have no idea how) I did 10 on each side with the weight I didn't think I had the strength to work with anymore today.

Found a couple of quotes that I love that sort of sum up my mindset for the certification:

"Crystallize your goals. Make a plan for achieving them and set yourself a deadline. Then, with supreme confidence, determination and disregard for obstacles and other people's criticisms, carry out your plan."

"Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person. "

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today's work out and training

It is currently 89 degrees but feels like 91 with 55% humidity. I dropped the kids off and by the time I'd walked to Boot Camp I was already soaked with sweat and exhausted.  Yesterday I struggled with serious low energy and today wasn't much different. This heat is my Kryptonite. It just sucks all my energy and leaves me so so tired and feeling like I can't do anything.
This was our class today:

Because I've promised to push myself hard every day I did the 40 trunk twists with a 25 pound Kettlebell. Normally I'd struggle a little but today it was absolute torture. Once we cycled through all of this once we went out for a run (I don't run. I power walk.) and came back in where David told us to all grab a Kettlebell.
I was searching for a lighter one but David nixed that and told me to use the 25 pound gal.

We were told to do half circles with them, hold the kettlebell on one side (we were seated) and go up and over your head in an arc or half circle so the bell landed on the other side, then same thing back the other way.

I did about 10 before my arms couldn't lift that weight anymore. I asked Coach Mike to grab me a 15 pound gal and even with the 10 pound lighter weight I was struggling.

Then from there we did seated overhead presses and at this point my arms were howling at me. This time it wasn't my brain that wanted me to quit. It was my muscles. I tried so hard to tune them out and focus on my goals (Bathing  Suit is top of the list followed closely buy those cute halter tops in my closet and then the upcoming Certification. Clearly my priorities are in order.)

He finally told us to put the Kettlebell down and pick up the reistance band he had placed by each of us. I was so thankful that he'd given me a black one and not the thick orange or purple.

We stood and pushed the band up overhead and slowly pushed our arms out from vertical to horizontal. This work usually destroys my arms and leaves me crazy sore the following day but for some reason I was okay today. Then we put our arms up overhead again with the band and got down into a squat.

There was more that my brain has decided to dump for self preservation but the end of class was another 20 Burpees.

That's a total of 130 Burpees in a 35 minuite period in high humidity and heat, not including the other stuff we did inbetween. 
The sweat was dripping off me and I was so exhausted and just wanted to lie down and sleep.

I knew though that if I didn't force myself to do the 11am training I was going to regret it.

100 swings broken down to three sets of  40/40/20. I started and completed the first 40 with the 27 pound Kettlebell but that was it. I knew I had to admit that I didn't have the strength to continue with that weight and go lighter. I grabbed the 17 pound Kettlebell and did the remaining swings with that.

After the swings David had us do 10 sets of 5 clean and presses on each side.  The only thing that  kept me going is that we were talking throughout the whole thing. Actually David and I were yapping. Mike and Linda were focusing their energy on the work. (Smart kids they are)

I though my tank was empty till David declared he was doing snatches. I demanded to know how many he was doing. 20 on each side was the reply.
This immediately got my competitive blood flowing and I said "ME TOO!"
Somehow I dug crazy deep and found the energy to get 20 on each side done.

David then said was going to do 15 on each side. Again I cried "ME TOO!" and stopped thinking and just started doing snatches. I got 12 on the left and 10 on the right.

I'm proud of myself for today. I pushed hard but wasn't stupid and didn't let my ego get in the way.  I knew when my body had really really had enough and knew that rather than walk away and throw in the towel that I needed to push forward but with a lighter weight.

After a class that left me feeling drained, exhausted and weak I was still able to do , 100 swings, 50 Clean and Press-es on each side and 35 Snatches with my left arm and 32 with my right.

I really want to go and sleep for a zillion years now.

Linda summed up the way we all feel about Burpees perfectly:

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Let me tell you people, I am freakin TIRED. Last week I sent an email out to the coaches at Boot Camp who are taking the Kettlebell Certification with me telling them that we NEED to get serious about training.
No more fooling around, no more excuses. If we (I) want to have a hope in hell of both surviving the weekend course and passing the certification we  (I) needed to start training every single day.

I guess I struck a nerve because everyday this week I've been taking the 10am class and then at 11am (We usually start earlier) we train for about 40 mins to an hour depending on what time we start.
The time constraints are mine. My kids are in the summer enrichement program at school and it gets out at noon.

I'm loving this 11am training session. I love the groove we all have and how dedicated we all are to this common goal.  Do we spend a lot of time yapping and horsing around? Yup we do but we are working hard so it balances out.

Since there is no physical way I can drop 80 pounds in a month I will have to use the 12kg Kettlebell during the certification and workshop (There is a rule that if you are under 45kg you can use the 8kg Kettlebell)  so I've really been trying to use the 12kg weight for all the Kettlebell work we do in class and in training.

12kg = 27 pounds.

I know 27 pounds doesn't sound like a whole lot and in a different circumstance it might not be but when it's concentrated in an iron cannonball it feels like a million pounds after a very short while.

My swings are okay. I've got the strength and confidence to rock out the required 100 with no trouble. I think I'll be okay with the squats as well but the clean and press and the snatches are what I'm currently struggling with.

On Wednesday I realized that I've been so focused on the testing portion of this whole weekend I've not even thought about the rest of the workshop that will be non stop intense work. I'm guessing it's going to be more intense than anything I've done before. 

From what I've read they do a lot of  work with timed cycles. After I read one guys blog about his experience I was sorry I'd read it. What I read scared me a little. Okay, it scared me a lot.

16 minutes of 1 hand cleans? 4 minutes of 1 handed swings with only 1 hand switch allowed? 12 minutes of snatches?! 2 minutes of squats?!

I knew I was going to have to really step up and seriously seriously push myself in class as well as during practice. I was going to have to learn to drown out that voice that whines when I'm working hard and convinces me to quit before my body is ready and really focus on listening to my muscles and only quitting when they are at their breaking point.

So that's what I've been doing for 6 days straight.
As a result the palms of my hands are a war zone. I have broken blisters and more new calluses than I can count. I have multiple new bruises on my legs and the muscles in my arms are not speaking to me anymore.

The blisters are presenting a problem that I didn't anticipate. It HURTS to grip anything. Really, really hurts. Like tears to my eyes hurts.
Coach Mike picked us both up gloves and while they might help to prevent futher damage they don't help the pain of what is currently going on with my paws.

Today I was doing 1 handed swings and the cut on the palm of my left hand made it just that much harder to get the work done.

Not practicing isn't an option so I have to suck it up and push on through. I'm hoping once I reach the other side of this journey I will be just a little bit tougher than I am today. I'm making an effort to not whine and bitch to my family since this whole thing is my own doing and my own choice. I'll just whine and bitch here to you guys.

The video from yesterday's training. It's on the long side but I'm really proud of myself for the work I did. Yesterday was the first day I decided to push and ignore that voice in my head and go till my muscles couldn't anymore.

We started out with 2 sets of 50 swings and then when David arrives we did 5 sets of 20 swings.  Then we did the Clean and Press and we did 5 on each side, then 6 on each side, then 7 on each side, then 8 all the way to 10 on each side.

Remember that prior to this I did a full Boot Camp class:

that left my arms tired so I'm surprised I was able to last as long as I did with the 12kg Bell. 200 swings, work with the ropes and I'm still able to do about 35 C&P before the muscle exhaustion forced me to switch to a lighter weight.

What you don't see because the camera died is that after we were done with our Kettlebell work David decided it would be a ton of fun to do wheelbarrows with each other. Linda and I and he and Mike. We did 3 sets and by the last one where I was the wheelbarrow portion I thought for the first time in the 2 years I've been going to Boot Camp I was going to throw up. My body was so exhausted and my muscles had absolutely had enough.  Thankfully I didn't lose my breakfast but to get to that point is a whole new place for me!

David keeps attacking me with the grip chalk and I'm plotting my revenge on him...