fredag 31 december 2010

Secret bonus

I have already stated my goals for 2011 and I have set up a plan on how to accomplish them. But I also have sort of a bonus goal. Something that I have never seen anyone do: juggle three kettlebells. I figure it is basically the same technique as in juggling with clubs. Not that I know how to do that but I have watched some tutorials and I'm starting with two 8 kg bells and will take it from there. Progress will be filmed.

torsdag 30 december 2010

Pressing in the dark

And listen to 'Because the night' performed by Patti Smith, written by Bruce Springsteen. Brilliant song.


Burning rubber/ That's what I'll be doing!

It turns out that I have an inflamed biceps tendon so I'll be laying low with presses for a while. I Guess Kettlebell Muscle Program wasn't for me after all. But oooh how I be working the rubber! Rehab is always more fun when you get to buy something and how I love my new rubberbands. They come in happy colours and with a funny booklet of instructions. Listen to this:

- Do you exercising in a well ventilated room
- Attach long hair so as not to be hindered during exercising
- Do not let children or household pets play near the appliance when you are training (Fredrik, maybe you should keep that one in mind next time, and for the rest of you look at his latest vid.)
- Consult you doctor before undertaking the exercises (Or as Fredrik says: Ask your doctor if getting off your as is right for you)

I'm not so frustrated as I usually would be though. Am taking some well deserved rest, playing with photshop (see below) and planning for how to train the coming year and trying to come up with a way on how to achieve your goals without getting injured. Everybody seems to do it but me. What's the key? Sometimes I think my body wasn't made for training at all. But what do you do?

I'm thinking maybe one of the solutions is to set up long-term goal. Really long-term so that there's no need at all to rush things. Am following Jons example and am setting up goals for the whole year to come with #1 being staying whole. Will be getting back for the rest of them in the days to come.

Well, it's not the most intense workout I've ever undertaken. But it's kinda nice. I like it! And I've lost my rubberband virginity too!

Very important to stay focused and really isolate the...the...tounge?

By the way; you big lifter guys who spent your teenage years in on your back in the benchpress, or did one dumbell fly too many, you must have had the same problem at some point. Any advice on rehab? Or rather, any advice in general?

Kettlebell Catalunya

Not sure this will be the official KBC-logo. But it's at least a sample of whats to come. For our Barcelona readers you will recognize the pattern from the paving tiles.

Am working on the webpage for Kettlebell Catalunya. You will find the temporary page here. Come and train with us! New years day there'll be no training but from wed 5/1 we going on strong as usual.

onsdag 29 december 2010

Goals 2011

Ten years have soon passed since the black monolith should have been found on the dark side of the moon but things are pretty much as they always has been. 2011 will however be a year of immense change.
Just read my blog post from a year ago and it struck me how little my training has progressed. It felt a bit sad really. I mean, a lot has happened this past year. I do think that I am a better athlete and I am for sure a much better teacher but I don't know if I am that much stronger. This, however, makes me even more confident in what I should do this comming year: set up clear goals, program for them and write a training log. So here they come. My 11 goals for 2011:

1. Deadlift double bodyweight. This should be one of the easier goals since I already has lifted 160 kg at 82 kg bodyweight. Have to wait to start training it for real until I find a proper barbell. Our two 56 kg kettlebells will have to do meanwhile.
2. Squat double bodyweight. I have never tried out a 1 rep max squat so I really don't know how hard this is going to be but I'm starting to work it with double kb front squats while I'm still in Bcn.
3. Benchpress 1.5 x bodyweight. Have never benchpressed 100 kgs so this will be interesting.
4. Pistol. It's just a shame that I can't do it already.
5. Press double 36s for 10 reps. I prefer to keep on doing the double kb work since I hope it will even out the imbalance I've got between left and right side.
6. Flip double 36s for 10 reps. Love the double kb swing flips. Did 325 of them with th 20 kgs and are now bringing the 24s to the park.
7. Pull-up +50 kg. It's a shame that I haven't progressed more in the weighted pull-up during the year. Have done 45 kgs so 50 kgs shouldn't be a big thing.
8. One arm pull-up. Everybody needs a mountain to climb...
9. Comfortably put the palms in the floor with straight legs. I probably should have more flexibility goals but I don't.
10. Snatch test with 32 kgs. Haven't done the snatch test since the RKC but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a problem. Movin up. It feels more interesting to increase the weight than to do the SSST with 24 kgs.
11. One minute handstand. Yepp.

That's it!!! If I reach these goals in the coming year I feel I'm pretty much at a good athletic level for a 38 year old.

tisdag 28 december 2010

Inside the true electric circus

I have written before about circus. Or more specifically: Contemporary Circus. The contemporary circus artists really are a sort of role model of athleticism for me. They are well rounded in almost all aspects of the word (except maybe when it comes to cardio vascular capacity). Kudos to them.

Contemporary circus as art or performance however is often another story. Pornographic in the the sense that it uses a story a a framework for the show that is at best secondary to the tricks - the money shot. The story also has a tendency to be quite pretentious dwelling on such subjects as mental disease, fractals etc. Until a few day ago I thought that this was the destiny of contemporary circus: cool tricks loosly connected by a story that just might include a pizza boy or the pool boy. I like it when I'm right.......but I love it when I'm wrong. And boy was I wrong!
Went to see Oscar and the other guys performance the other day and I completely blown away. I haven't laughed this much since ........ (insert optional whatever).

The show really doesen't tell a 'story'. It has a framework in that you sort of recognize
the narrative: Four guys being guys. That's it. No Fibonacci numbers, no Wittgenstein, no paranoia. Just very well performed physical comedy.
I am certainly out of my element trying to unwind the historical background of comedy but for me the success of the show has something to do with it not taking the cirkus as a whole as a mould for its structure but rather the clown.
Contemporary circus usually comes across to me as really beeing traditional circus were the different numbers are connected not only by the tent, the ring, the sawdust or history and tradition but also by a 'story'.
This performance however takes the figure of the clown and enhances it to a whole show. The clown as being the most versatile figure in the circus, capable of performing a large variety of tricks bound together not by story but rather by character.

For me this is a oh so much more intelligent approach than the 'let's tell a story' one. There is no gasping between the tricks and there is no 'youtube trick fatigue'. As an audience you get so involved in the characters that the tricks no longer are you just tricks that might or might not have seen before but rather tricks performed by someone that you know and care about.
Bravo, bravo, fuckin BRAVO!!!
If you're in Bcn, go and watch it.

lördag 25 december 2010

Rip my chest up/ Tear it open like a bag of potato chips

It's all good working on splits and other spectacular flexy moves but I've recently realized how ridiculously tight my upper body is.

I guess you could say that I'm the equivalent to guys who practice only their show-off-skills forgetting to work on the basics. Guys with an upper body of Conan but with legs like Goofy who can do one million chins but who can't even perform one decent air squat. Yup that's me. Only when it comes to flexibility.

The ballet classes have been an eye opener when it comes to this. In second position when arms are held out to the sides I can feel it really pulling all the way from my fingertips, through my biceps, shoulders and chest and I'm suddenly realizing what Jon's talking about when he says that some stretch poses just feel so bloody akward.

Well, I'm not exactly here yet. But these are the arms I'm talking about.

I believe that the biggest cause are all the internally rotated lifts on the pole. But then presses, push ups and pull-ups probably play a part in it as well. So externally rotated chest/shoulder/arm- stretch. Here I come!

We started christmas day morning with some yoga and then huffed and puffed in some quad and hip-flexor torture. But then I was left to my own devices with the rest. I'm really trying to open the chest, lower the shoulders and reeally externally rotate the arms. That's where it feels tightest. I'm also trying diffrent positions with the head as I'm suspecting that some muscles in the neck and even trapezius is part of the blame.

So, if your arms are pulling in Deuxième - Don't be that guy. Join me for some non-extraordinary moves.

Extra ext. rotation w. the dorsal of the hand against the wall. High elbow, lowering opposite shoulder and looking away.

It doesn't look like much, but ooh this, for me, is pulling like fu*k. I think shoulders should really be kept level. Easier in front of a mirror. Palms up btw.

And this one's my latest favourite, I'm trying to kepp my chest high to achieve a stretch across the whole chest and not let my torso hang down like some people do. X-mas pressies in the backround!

Just hanging out. He he. Trying different angles through bending/straightening my legs.

söndag 19 december 2010

Murder in the park - x-mas challenge DONE!

Yes. I do belive in movement quality. I belive in stopping when or before movement gets bad/changes/slows down. Not all the time though. What I most firmly belive in is listening inwards, to your own body and mind and to find joy in movement this way. Most of the time I aim for my training to be controlled and precise but sometimes.... well sometimes I just want to see what I'm made of.
Last sunday Anna found this workout that seemed absolutly horrible in a simple and....well horrible way. We posted it as a challenge to some of our friends who responded - if at all - with some slight hestitation. Well, hestitate no more for we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
It is originally done with a 28 kg kettlebell. I did it in the park where I have only two 20s available so I had a choice: Do it with one or two bells, with 20 or 40 kgs. As an old philosopher I went for the third choice though: double 20s with flip. That way I get to practice my double juggling skills at the same time as the workout gets less boring.
It took me around 50 min. After I got to around 20 burpees/6 swings I started to feel my wrists so I changed from burpees to roll ups. Not the same but better than nothing.
In hindsight I can say that it is not the kind of workout I would do on a daily basis or even once a week. But here and there when you just have to smoke yourself, it works just fine.

Murder in the Park from youmakelovingfun on Vimeo.

Christmas finale at the stretch class

After hanging out in deepest sidesplit for the whole duration of 'Oh Holy Night' by Mariah Carey (ha ha ha, it's true) it was time to evaluate our progress over the past three months. The measuring method was putting the heels up to a line in a split. Then folding over as far as possible (with control) with a pen in your hands and putting it down as far away from the line as possible and then measuring the distance between the line and the pen.

Unfortunately I wasn't there the day when we measured the initial data so I had nothing to compare to. But now I have a measurement for the next check up. Some of the less flexible people had massive improvements, up to a 20 centimetre difference in reach! Although everyone but one had improved their reach singificantely. Around six centimetres in 2 months must be regarded as a pretty good increase for an already flexy person.

My flexy status have been very turbulent lately. Or perhaps it's always been like that. (Note to self: must learn to keep a flexy diary.) By the end of the summer I reached a "touch-down" in my front splits in one of Marinas of North Pole Studio amazing (think russian gymnast coach style) stretch class. I was happy as a schoolgirl with full score in a spelling competition but pretty soon after that I could feel how I started to stiffen up. Of course I refused to acknowledge it and kept going beyond my limits and further in the stretch classes here in Bcn and I think I managed to pull both of my hamstrings slightly some 1 1/2 months ago. My legs have been felling like logs and stretching for splits have been out of the question for a while.

When we are trying to improve ourselves, be it in flexibility, strenght or whatever I think there are two very common mistakes most of us make. At least I know I keep doing them over and over again! One is thinking that someone elses road to succes is the path for you. The other is being way to eager trying to get where we want that we are running the risk of hurting ourselves while focusing too much on the goal and forgetting the journey which is half of the fun.

These both two things are certainly applicable on me when it comes to stretching. I've been strecthing for a long time. Well, at least in one way or another for the past - say - 12 years. There's been dancing, yoga, yoga again, poledancing, and now dancing and yoga again and I think that it might be that it's only now that I'm starting to get the hang of what type of stretching is right for me. And I think that it's only now that I'm learning not to rush myself too fast forward because I know it's gonna hit me like a ton of bricks the day after.

To post exactly the kind of stretching that I think is right for me is perhaps a bit contradictory scince I'm advocating to try and find your own path and keep away from other peoples succes stories. (Although - with my, in comparison, lacking flexibility - this is of course not a succes story.) But if I weren't writing about my own experiences of the shit I'm trying out and thinking about, why then keep a blog in the first place?

I've found that for me, number one when stretching is not to go too far. I have a pretty high pain tolerance when it comes to that kind of agony and going beyond the point where I probably should stop happens easily. I guess for some people it's the opposite. They have to learn to push themselves further but for me it's about holding back and never ever try to impress someone and go a liiitle bit further than you know you should (ehhh, yes it's happened).

Number two is to alternate light and hard practice. The periods when I'm more flexible than ever is when I'm doing yoga (i.e. light stretching) more or less every day and then have one or maybe two hardcore days per week. No more.

And number three is to be really warmed up when working. I know some people don't really need it or they do a quick little warm up before they leap into a stag-jump. I need to be so warm that there's sweat dripping down from my nose before I spread my legs. Ha ha.

Yours truly with a very rounded back, and Gegelys skinny feet!

Now that I've come so far as to write down the rules for my elongating program I'm hoping I can be so mature as to follow them, (especially the holding back part) that I can enjoy the journey and that I will learn even more from my body from doing that.

Let me finish with a last disclaimer. This is, like I said earlier, what I've found works for me, (through years of trail and error - mostly error) when working leg/hip flexibility for splits. I shall post some thoughts on what I belive is right for people who need to learn reach their toes or release their tight hip flexor some other day.

Thank you for reading this lenghty post!
(no pun intended)

torsdag 16 december 2010

My super-man

I was really impressed with my dear husbands viking warrior skills yesterday. And a bit jealous as well. I too want to snatch! But I'm waiting for my shoulders to feel A-OK and for the last viruses (or bacterias which one is it?) to leave my body before I throw myself into the snatch pond. And also, I'm a bit annoyed because I'm pretty sure that if I was to do the Vo2 protocol for the first time in a year, my results wouldn't be half as good as Jons.

I think that snatches are coming my way soon. There hasn't been much cardio work for me lately and I'm feeling the urge growing. I guess the burpee/swing workout that I posted earlier is some kind of premonition of what is to come. And I'm not talking about the Messiah. When it comes to the above mentioned workout I was planning on doing it on sunday, I hope to feel better by then. But if I don't, you'll just have to wait a few days. Doing 325 burpees (Jesus Christ!) in one workout if your not feeling well is probably like asking for a heart-attack (yes mother I'm exagerrating). And i'm not trying to kill myself here, remember. I'm trying to get better, faster and stronger.

Well, back to Jon and his superman performance when casually testing the Vo2 yesterday. I guess that's all well and good but this, my friends, is the broken down piece of meat he turns into after ca 20 minutes of Asthanga Yoga.

Viking Warrior re-visited

Had a gap in my schedule before the training session in Parc Ciutadella yesterday and decided to revisit the Viking Warrior 15:15 protocol for the first time in more than a year (did a little of it at the RKC-cert but that was just about 20 min or so). It took me a while to complete it when I worked with it last autumn and I remember it as fairly gnarly. It is good to have something to return to and compare your present level of work capacity.
15 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest doing 8 snatches/interval with a 16 kg bell.
I totally blew it out of the water! Well perhaps not totally. After a little less than 30 min i quit since I started to get a blister under my left pinky finger. At this point however I felt nothing. A little sweaty of course but heart rate barely raised at all and no problem what so ever of holding the cadence.
It makes me think why. How can something that I struggled with a little more than a year ago be so easy today? I can think of a few anwers that can be combined:
I did a lot of snatching up to the RKC cert to ensure that I would pass the snatch test. During last spring I safetly did 100 snatches with the 24 in under 4 min.
Since the RKC cert however I have barely snatched at all except for a little very heavy snatching with the 32.
My cardiovascular capacity got a real boost with the first 4 months of training at Crossfit Nordic. I think those combined with the training leading up to the RKC pushed my work capacity (especially cardiovascular and muscular endurance) to a level that I have not reached before. My long distance running capacity (8-10K) has been a lot better but that was a long time ago (10K in under 35 min when I was 19 - "If you are not now, you never were") and getting times around 40 min on 10 K really isn't about cardio, it's about running, running, running. Since summer I have had very little focus on cardio.
Kettlebell Muscle has made me stronger. I imagine that especially my trunk strength has increased quite a lot the last six weeks. That should make it easier to snatch a lot.

After I completed the 15:15 protocol with the 16 kg last autumn I started to play around with the 24. I don't think I ever completed more than 10 min. Now I think I'm going to try it with the 20 kg. It feels like it just might work.

tisdag 14 december 2010

Some urine with the sugar

Consumed MASSIVE amounts of sugar and coffee yesterday so sleeping when it was time for that seemed as a hunch of a distant memory of a dream of a fairytale told in a long lost language. Distant that is. Nothing gets you thinking like caffeine and refined sugar though so here's a recap of my 3/4 conscious stream.
As a personal trainer you are to some extent responsible for the well being of your clients. You will not allow your clients to do something that you think might hurt them. This responsibilty is of course limited. It is not possible for you to know everything about your client. This might be tackled through asking the client to see a doctor before engaging in any training. No matter how many precautions you take there are however always an element of insecurity. Also, the client has a responsibilty of his/hers own. If you tell the client not to train while in pain and he/she does it anyway it is really not your fault.
All this notwithstanding if your client gets hurt while training with you, you have some responsibility for this. On the flipside: if your client has great results you can take some cred for that.
That about training individuals.
What about writing training programs or doing programming for a faceless crowd? What happens when you start doing programs not for individuals that you regularily meet and see train but for people that you have never met and will not see executing your program?
All training programs boasts about their results. They have given people superhuman strength, racehorse work capacity, elite fitness, fixed broken shoulders, burnt kilos of fat and built even more kilos of muscle in no time. No training programs boasts about the risks involved in following them (except maybe Crossfit and when it comes to tearing a blister or two RKC). The risks and potential injuries are however as much a part of the program as the potential benefits. So if I write a program that I want everyone and their mother to do for at least 12 weeks how much responsibility for my followers do I have?

For example:
I have come up with this new awesome program for muscle gains. It looks like this:
Do three days of training for each rest day. Day one is deadlifts. After warm up do five sets of five reps working your self up to a max on the last set. Aim for an assisted rep or a failed rep as the last one of the last set. Day two and three are the same except with squats and bench press.
Do this for 12 weeks. During these 12 weeks eat as much as you can focusing on meat and avoiding sugar.

There is no doubt in my mind that a lot of people will gain a substantial amount of both strength and muscle doing this program. There is also not a shadow of a doubt that a lot of people will hurt themselves doing this program. The reasons are simple. If you lift a lot of weight with these basic movements and eat loads of calories you will gain muscle. If you do it with bad form, you will get hurt.
This program took me less than 30 s. to figure out. How much should I bang my chest for the people sending me e-mails in 12 weeks saying: "Maaaan! You're program was awesome!!! I gained 8 kgs of muscle, lost 10 kgs of fat and are now getting laid every day. Thanks duuuuude!!!!"
I will probably put this e-mail on my web page as an example of how brilliant and ground breaking my program is.
This e-mail however I will not put on my web page: "I tried your program for 12 weeks and it left me with a shoulder impingement, lower back pain and knees that hurt like hell on cold days". Rather I will tell this person that he/she has done too much too soon, that he/she probably has a lousy squat/bench press/deadlift and should have done more mobility work. I might even rant a little about this idiot on my web page and get some Huh Huh Huh's from my devoted followers.
But the question then is this: How can I take cred for the people that have succeeded with my program if I doesen't take responsibility for those that have failed?
General programs are a double edged sword. On the one hand it enables people to try new things and to learn by themselves without paying an arm and a leg for private sessions. On the other hand it leaves the programmer with absolutely zero control over his/hers creation.
So how do we solve this dilemma? Well I don't know. A good start however might be to start thinking about what the potential consequences of a program is when it hits the general populace. Things that work for an elite athlete while being superviced by professional coaches (read olympic lifting) might not be the best choise for any geek off the street starting to do the last fitness craze in his/hers backyard. The creator of a program have a responsibilty for the consequences of following that program. No matter if they are positive or negative.

Sweat on the dance floor

First day of getting back to normal rutines after the hellride with the Spanish Flu. Although I'm not quite well yet. Felt like I was gonna faint from exhaustion and dehydration halfway into contemporary class today. But I managed to stay on my feet and even got a girl to take some pictures of our choreography rehearsals.

söndag 12 december 2010

Pre x-mas mini challenge

Couldn't sleep last night and found this while frustratedly surfing the endless bloody internet.

It apparently goes under the extremely stupid name 'The kettlebell sissy test'. But it looks gruesome. Oooh, as soon as I get well, Jon and I are gonna try it out. Oh my. The superfit guy who posted this (Bradrants) did it in over 45 mins with a 28 kg bell. As we don't own any 28s Jon is saying he's gonna do it with the 32. Shit! That means I'm gonna have to go for the 20.

Anyone joining us? Laszlo? Fredrik? Mads? Númi? Post your times in the comments field. Wooha!

Burpees / Kettlebell Swings
1 / 25
2 / 24
3 / 23
4 / 22
5 / 21
6 / 20
7 / 19
8 / 18
9 / 17
10 / 16
11 / 15
12 / 14
13 / 13
14 / 12
15 / 11
16 / 10
17 / 9
18 / 8
19 / 7
20 / 6
21 / 5
22 / 4
23 / 3
24 / 2
25 / 1

*Done for TIME

Star Students Swinging in the Sunset

...and by the way: GSP anyone?

Dawn of the dead

Proof of returning to life is when you find yourself sponateously shadowboxing while making your morning porridge or when you are practicing contemporary dance moves in front of the bathroom mirror while brushing your teeth. The exhaustion from the shadowboxing nearly killed me though.

lördag 11 december 2010

Back to the grill again

Read a blog post by Adam T. Glass that caught my attention and got me thinking. As you already know, if you have been following this blog for a while, we tend to discuss the meaning of such words as "fitness" and "functional" quite a lot. I will not go through all of mr. Glass post here and now but I advice you to read it. His point (one of them) is however that the "functional" in functional training is dependent upon what you are aiming for with that training. If you are aiming for world domination in powerlifting then a lot of powerlifting is probably functional. If you are aiming for having a back or knees that doesen't hurt some other type of training is probably more suitable. Nothing new under the sun here. If you in any way have taken part of the functional training debate the last couple of years and have an independent thought once in a while you most probably will have questioned what "functional" really means yourself. You might have tried to find or formulate a definition or you might have settled with thinking that functionality is dependent on situation and/or aims.
Myself, I tend to go for the second option. I do however try to look for some redeeming qualities in the "functional fitness" crowd.
Why is it so important for people to say that "their" way of training is functional? Well, the obvious answer is that they cannot say that their training is disfunctional. It is a version of the "Do you still hit your wife?"-dilemma. But hasn't there historically also been another reason for labeling training functional? I don't know what it is like in the USA or other parts of the world but in Sweden when I grew up training ment either sports, jogging or bodybuilding. I settled for jogging (well maybe running) and bodybuilding (not that I ever were big but that was the kind of weightlifting I did). Lifting weights ment, for everybody except for the extremely few who competed in weightlifting - training like a bodybuilder, i.e. getting really good at supinating the wrist for maximising the biceps peak. I trained more or less like that for a LONG time. It wasn't until I started using kettlebells that I really started viewing my body as a whole rather than as a compilation of muscles. I'm pretty sure this story isn't unique for me.
Now in Spain I look upon how regular people train and I see them on vibra plates and on treadmills. I see a fear of lifting heavy weights (haven't seen a place to deadlift since I came here and hasn't seen a decent barbell either). I might not have a water tight definition of what functional training is but I sure know what it is not. To say that any training can be functional depending upon what your goal are is a bit like throwing the baby out with the water. Half an hour on a vibra plate is NOT functional training.
There is a way of using the concept of "functional training" in a meaningful way and that is in the way it was probably used from the start. As a way to separate it from training that looks at the body as a collection of parts rather than as a whole. With time however, this concept has been used in so many different ways that it has totally lost it's meaning. If you for example look at Crossfit with an forgiving/understaning gaze you will see that there is something there which correctly might be described as functional. Doing METCONS every day, paying homage to Pukie on you Rhabdo T-shirt however is not functional in any way. Functionality must in some way or another be tied to the demands of everyday life and elite fitness is not everyday life.

Again, Adam T. Glass:

"So – functional training is only functional if it meets your goals.

If it does not meet YOUR goals, it is not functional."

"Make up your own goals, build your own program, test out shit, lead yourself."

This, of course makes sense. But how are we supposed to do this? I'm currently following Geoff Neuperts "Kettlebell Muscle" program. This is the second time in my life that I follow a program. I'm far from sure that I like it but I will follow it until the end (6 more weeks) because I want to be able to say to myself "I tried it, I did/didn't like it". Following what other people tells us are necessary. It is the only way of learning without reinventing the wheel over and over again. "On the shoulders of giants" y'know. There is no training method/philosophy that I subscibe to a 100% but I have found parts of bodybuilding, running, Crossfit, Convict Conditioning, Combat Conditioning and Hardstyle useful. Going through all those training methods thinking that "this one might be the shit" has learned me everything that I know about training.

I think that there often is too much focus on results in training. As a trainer I should of course be able to help people reach their goals and the results they long for but I find that I also need to teach them something else: the joy of training itself. I have personally always (as an adult) found great satisfaction in training not as something goal oriented but as something with a value in itself. The point of training isn't always to get better, faster or stronger but also just to train and to get to know yourself better through training. My friends on this path has been numerous: my gym teacher when I was 17, bodybuilding magazines, Jean Claude Van Damme, The Russian, Laszlo, Pavel, Anna, the guys at Crossfit Nordic, Fredrik and Adam T. Glass etc.

I have needed others to learn and I will keep on needing others to learn. My history has turned me into who I am so I will not frown upon it. So maybe none of the "systems" that I have adhered to has been able to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth but they are all parts of my path and I will respect them as such.

Finally, here's a new film shot in Parc Ciutadella the other day. Anna asked me why the fuck I need to use all those different filters and make it so arty. The answer is of course: Because I'm learning, it is a part of my path (well really, it's because I wan't to use my cool new apps).

Untitled from youmakelovingfun on Vimeo.

fredag 10 december 2010

Will self destruct in 3-2-1

Aaaaaaaaarrrghhh. I thought I had caught the Man-flu when a couple of days ago I started to feel feverish and had a very sore throat. I was lying in bed moaning and whining while Jon was looking after me like a stewardess at Thai Air.

Well, it's been all down hill from there and my fever turned out to be nothing less than frickin' fullblown ebola! I'm in bed not knowing whether I am Anna 26 or the dry and broken birdsnest (!) that I've been dreaming I was for the last two nights. During which (i.e. the nights) I've lost about half of my bodyweight through some severe perspiration. I'm pretty sure that some mad scientist could probably create a doppelganger of me from all the biblical proportions of sweat that's been absorbed by my matress and sheets. Nice!

OK, so it's not really ebola, my best friend was like "But Anna, you don't really have ebola, do you?". Aaaha ha ha ha! But I'm so bloody ill I can hardly get out of bed. And I don't even want to. You know it's really bad when one doesn't even have the wish to jump out of bed and try some chins. Oh my god that's sounds soo peachy. Almost as wholesome as the all-american cheerleaders that have been entertaining me today on 'So you think you can dance' between fainting into feverdreams and trying to study some spanish anatomy terms.

But I have had some frontseat tickets to watching my supersexy husband do weighted chins. That made some blood rush to my head before I dozed off again dreaming that my womb was tumbleweed.

torsdag 9 december 2010

Status Report - Churros month in Bcn

There are pros and cons with following a program. Among the pros are that you don't have to think a lot (or is that a con?). Haven't had much heart for my own training the last few days and then it is nice to just do what the program tells you and head for the shower. This flipside is that this slight boredom might be a result of following the program.
I'm on week six now and all the pressing is really getting to me. The first couple of weeks I really felt that I was getting stronger but lately I have reached a plateau and even feel that I am moving backwards. My cardio is stagnating and I feel weaker in my press. Legs and trunk feels stronger though. I suspect that double 20s are slightly to heavy for my presses. Going down to 16s would make it way too light on the rest of my body though.
Anyway, after this week the program will go into second phase and I hope it will get my progress going again. As always I should eat more.
The pull-ups are moving along fine though. This week it is 5 sets of 5 reps with a 24 kg kettlebell and 90 s. rest between sets. No problem! I'm not sure what the jury says but I don't do them full ROM. In the top position I pull to under my chin but in the bottom I keep my elbows slightly bent (very little) and I keep my shoulders in their sockets. Why? Because I feel that total extension in the bottom position is a great way of getting problems with both shoulders and elbows, especially when doing weighted pull-ups.
I have also started doing some yoga everyday. Nothing fancy, just 5 sun salutations of each. I want to make this into a habit and ease my way into better mobility and flexibility.
Yesterday I had two classes. One at the beach as usual and then for the first time another one in Parc Ciutadella. Anna has is ill and I had to do the classes by myself so no pictures this time.
Being able to train outside in the second week of december is awesome. It's between 15°C and 20°C here now and even though Barcelona is trying to get into Christmas mode with markets, light arrangements, churros and turron I'm not really buying it yet, except for when you through some of the small back alleys in Born and you get that "Lady and the Tramp" feel. After some initial set backs we also found a churros place that seems great so I'm looking forward to this weekend and trying them out.

måndag 6 december 2010

Mama didn't raise no fool

As much as I love to do the kettlebell muscle program it unfortunately has taken the best out of my shoulders. The five weeks I've done so far have given me deltoids worhty a swimmer and I guess that's one of the points of the whole thing. But unfortunaletly the KBM-work has also brought back some of the impingement feelings in my shoulders that I had this spring.

It might seem obvious that pain is a bad thing. But there are so many idiots out there who take pride in pain. Perhaps a few years ago I would have childishly shouted along with the 'pain is temporary/pride lasts forever'-choir. Today I know better. Strenght, speed, endurance and flexibilityis cool. To work hard to achieve that is cool. To be stubborn and not to stop when it gets uncomfortable is admirable adn to test your limits and push them forward is commendable.

But working through pain because your vanity is telling you to is just stupid.

If you are reading Adam T Glass' brilliant blog 'Walk the road less travelled' you've probably read one or two posts on his opinion and thoughts on the matter ofyou should not hurt pain. In a post he wrote a couple of weeks ago he wrote a few things that caught me. First one regarded how training should make you feel: "You should not hurt. Anywhere." This also might sound obvious but imagine what would happen if we genuinely followed that creed. I guess it would turn around our fitnesspractice altogether and revolution our ability to listen to our bodies. And of course, that is just what Adam T Glass advocates with his biofeedback principles.

The second thing he wrote was that if you hurt after training "you are doing what someone else told you to do, not what your body is telling you to do." And it's evident isn't it. If we woke up each morning and was to decide what kind of training we were going to pursue today, we would certainly not do military presses if our shoulders were hurting. So why do we keep doing things that hurt and why do we keep hurting ourselves? I think the quote above explains a lot.

Last week when I started go feel ny shoulders I took a break from the neverending presses of the KBM program and taken a step back. I'm doing things that feels good in my body, at the moment that's deadlifting and I've reaturned to a practice that I know always makes me feel strong, supple and balanced. Ashtanga yoga. I'm hoping to get back on track on the program soon. But if I don't, that's just the way it is. Maybe some other time. Meanwhile I'm tappin into what this precious little body of mine is trying to tell me and not what Geoff Neupert has written in some paperback book.

torsdag 2 december 2010

Making the Iphone work

Ha ha. It turned out that our version of kettlebell muscle was a little different than the original. Not going into too much detail it is sufficent to say that we have been working a bit harder than mr. Neupert had intended us to do. Good news I suppose.
No kb-muscle today though but a continuation on my new pull-up program. Did 5 sets of 5 reps with 2 min. rest between sets and a 24 kg kettlebell between my legs. Made a small film with the iphone. I find it absolutely amazing how much you kan do with that little gadget (no, I'm not sponsored by Apple. I wouldn't mind though).

The stretch squad has spoken

I sat down to write a post on stretching but instead I started to read Mads Jacobsens blog. He is one of the coaches at Crossfit Nordic in Stockholm and a hot shot in the world of Crossfit. He is back in the blogosphere after a break and his thoughts on training and crossfit are a great read. One of his posts (read it here) addresses the tendency within crossfit (or among CF atheletes) to favour olympic lifts and to disregard weaknesses and neglecting to work on fundamental elements like mobility and complex but basic bodyweight exercises. It is a topic that I occupies me and that I've been meaning to write about for some time now. What happend was that what was supposed to be a comment on his blog turned into a nearly full fledged blogpost on the matter. As it is somewhat near to what I had planned on writing it will serve as todays reflection:

Regarding the unbalanced fitness of many crossfitters; don't you think that the crossfit boxes and their programming is part of the blame? I hear a lot of talk about the importance of flexibility but never see coaches at boxes put as much love into mobility work (if any at all) as they dedicate to perfecting a clean for example.

In programming, the numbers, reps or times for the wod are usually stated clearly and precisely whereas when it comes to mobility work you are (at best) usually given a sloppy "spend 10 minutes stretching". I imagine that if the mobility work was as precisely prescribed as the wods people would follow it with better discipline.

And would coaches, not only emphasize the importance of mobility, but actually state an example with their own training, I think the atheletes would be sure to follow.

What I would like to see at crossfit boxes is classes dedicated to mobility work and stretching and perhaps other classes with focus on complex movements like pistols, handbalancing and pirouettes. Maybe that's when we become crossfit. For real.

onsdag 1 december 2010

KB-muscle, week 5, hard day

This is getting hard now. Week 5 hard day means 5 cleans, 5 presses, 5 front squats, 5 push-presses and 5 more front squats with double 20 kg bells. 6 sets and 1 min. rest between sets. It's really the short rest that is getting to me. During set 3 I have to start pushpressing the presses and from set 4 and onwards I need to put down the bells a few times during the set.
Week 6 is calling for an even shorter rest which will be impossible for me, or rather it will force me to put the bell down even more often during the sets which sort of defeats the object. So I have decided to stay on week 5 for another week. I manage to do easy and medium day unbroken so if I give it some time I should be able to fix hard day soon too. It is different though since it puts such a great emphasis on the presses. 60 presses and push presses with 40 kgs in less than 15 min. is a lot for me. Well, I'll get there.
The real problem is what I'm going to do after week 6 since I don't know what the program looks like then (no I haven't got the book). I would like to stay with the program for the full 12 weeks but if I can't get a hold of the remaining 6 weeks I'll probably just write a program of my own in the same style as Neuperts.
Yesterday I did some weighted pull-ups for the first time in a while. 5 sets of 5 reps with the 24. A lot of rest in between - Grease the Groove style. Will stay with the weight and the reps but will get the rest down to a minute before I switch up to the 32 kg bell. Ought to be pretty soon if I stay with it.

söndag 28 november 2010

Re - Spect - Walk

Woke up to an amazing Barcelona morning with the sun glittering in the kettlebell dew.
Enrique at Barcelona Eskrima Group had ok'd me to demonstrate some kettlebells at todays class som I tied up one 20 in my old Karate belt and swung it over my right shoulder and picked up one 12 kg with my left and started walking. This would prove to be the main theme of the day: walking. First to the tube, than from the tube to the gym, than back again to the tube and to the apartement. Rest and eat a little and then walk to the beach with the 20. To put a spice on things I discovered that the 12 acctually was a 16. All in all I walked somewhere in the vicinity of 4 K.
At Eskrima practice we did some swings and get-ups. It's a great feeling when people get the swing almost immediatley! Hope to see the guys down at the beach soon.

Playa Barceloneta 2010-11-27

fredag 26 november 2010

Not all workouts are pretty

It's not easy to maintain the Kettlebell-Barbie look through the last set of presses during hard day of kettlebell muscle program.

Circus = Porn (+ other stuff)

Yesterday we went to the circus. It was set in a tent and it had a director but the director didn't have a top hat and there were no animals. In other words: not classical circus but "contemporary" circus.
I am certainly no connoiseur but I have seen a few shows of this kind. One thing always strikes me:
Circus = Porn and Contemporary Circus = Arty Porn.
Classical circus consists of a variety of constellations performing tricks accompanied by music that either is just there to fill a void or to emphasize the tricks. There is no story that tries to bind the tricks together. Rather it is obvious that you come to this kind of circus to experience the tricks and perhaps eat some popcorn. It is perhaps not art but it is honest. The equivalent in porn is the highlight reel: "200 girls in 90 min, slam bam thank you mam, if-I-wanted-to-se-a-movie-I-would-have-rented-Schindler's List". The purpose is simple and single. It is more a tool than something else.
Contemporary Circus however is a different story. Contemporary circus "tells a story". It has a unifying theme other than just presenting a ton of awesome tricks.
Yesterday this unifying theme was the Fibonacci sequence (yes, it's always something like that).
So rather than just "TADA!" it is "mmblablaTADA!blammmblablaTADA!!TADA!!!" This might of course seem commendable, to not just do some tricks but to incorporate them into a larger context. The problem however is that this context, this story always plays second fiddle. Nobody really wants to tell a story or really wants to listen to one. The story is subordinate to the tricks and hence becomes uninteresting. The car breaks down and I need help. The plumber comes to fix the pipes, the pizza boy to deliver the pizza, the pool guy, the housemaid...etc. Feel the fast forward finger itching? Mental disorder, Fibonacci numbers or the car breaking down at a remote location are all just bad excuses for showing us what we really want: 30 minutes of having our breaths taken away. Otherwise we might just go to the theatre.

Ok. Enough ranting (well, not really. I will just shift my focus).
Before we went to the circus yesterday I started working on a post elaborating on a theme that has become somewhat of a soundtrack of this blog: What training should or could be.
Let me try to present a definition of fitness: To develop all aspects of the human body's ability for movement.
What I generally miss in definitions of fitness:
1. Asymmetric and off-balance work
2. Fine motor skills
3. Improvisation

1. I have touched on this before so I will just go through it briefly. Using the body asymmetrically and/or when not being in balance is something that is done in all sports and all the time in everyday life. It needs to be practised!
2. In sport specific training fine motor skills often play a major role. Think about the extremely fine tuned movements of a race car driver, a pool player or a table tennis player for example. They are never trained as such though. Fine tuning the nervous system in this way should be as much a part of fitness as being able to put a weight over your head (not that putting a substantial weight over your head does not include a fine tuning of the nervous system, it is a different kind though).
It struck me while watching the circus yesterday that the kind of fitness these people display are the closest someone comes to the way I'm thinking about fitness these days. Doing one arm handstands, walking a slackline while playing the violin, climbing a pole, somersaulting from a rope trapeze, etc. It is really a display of the kind of versatility that I am talking about. Not CrossFit but CircusFit (Ok, maybe some more cardio wouldn't hurt. Or what do you think Oscar?)
But that brings us to my third point because this is one thing that I miss even at the circus:
3. Improvisation.
Life is NOT an endless highway of repetition. If your life is I suggest you give it some thought.
Repetition is a major part of life though. It is only through repetition that we learn. But what is the point of learning if we just keep on repeating? Don't stay caught behind the bars of 21-15-9 forever, break out of 15:15, (20/10)*8 and 5/5. These wings are not wings to fly but merely vans to beat the air. Improvisation is - as all musicians know - something that needs to be practised. So once in a while, after you have mastered a skill, set it free and play with it. It will reward you.

torsdag 25 november 2010

Stretch routine

Jon: Live blogging from Annas stretch!

They gathered themselves together... fight with KettlebellCatalunya under he night skies of Barcelona with the Mediterranean at their feet.

You can't bring us down!

Obviously Youtube, a.k.a. "Big Brother", have a problem with the combo Iron and Rock in some parts of the world. But there ain't no stoppin' a flood. So here it is again from a different source:
Kettlebell Flood.

Kettlebell Flood 2 from youmakelovingfun on Vimeo.

No rest for the wicked

For the ones who didn't do their kettlebellwork during the day remains only doing it at night.

onsdag 24 november 2010

Kettlebell Flood

Tada! Here it is. The world premiere of our new action packed mega block buster movie. Think "contemporary Riefenstahl a la mid 90s Jerry Bruckheimer production". Think "mindblowing special effects, breathtaking scenery and super cool one-liners". Get ready for the ride of a liftime, for a motion picture that will define a generation and change the world. Get ready for Iron. Get ready for THE KETTLEBELL FLOOD (a Bergqvist/Celsing production. All rights (except for the music which Youtube found out very quickly) reserved).

Squatting in style

These days, all I want to wear when I train is this beautiful blue pyjamas that I found the other week. But since Jon has banned me from wearing it in public it can only be admired exclusively here at You make loving fun.