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New Year Update

Started back training with my trusty kettlebells on the first of the year and trained so hard I done went and hurt my back. Have lots of new videos of my progress this year (was lazy for most of December and ate a lot of trash) on my youtube channel. I overdid it and definitely felt it.

With my newfound determination to be Russian Kettlebell Challenge-ready by next year, I went to Dragon Door, the best kettlebell resource I know of, to look for someone in my area certified in RKC. I found Christian Washington and his gym, Paramount Strength & Conditioning right away, read a favorable review for Mr. Washington and went to check them both out. How lucky was I that the gym was having an open house tonight!  I got to meet him in person and show him my 2-hand swing and turkish get-up with an 8kg kettlebell. How great to get such invaluable feedback! And positive too. 🙂

Here are some pics of my friend and I deadlifting 135 pounds tonight. I am 130 pounds right now, and this is my first heavy-ish deadlift, ever! So awesome! The gym was so nice and the people were incredibly friendly and helpful. I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone & everyone.

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Paramount has a program that just launched this month called Beauty by Barbell, and I am really excited to try a class! I have been wanting to get my hands on a nice, heavy barbell for quite a while now, and I think this might be the right place to give it a try!

Really happy to be eating healthy again and working toward my goals, feels good.


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Diet Update & Extreme Walking :)

I am feeling really good and strong this fall! Been working hard and training since the beginning of the year, and I am maintaining a weight of 125 and still losing fat, by and by. Last year I spent the last three months eating and not training at all. I think I had burned myself out! I ate pie, donuts, whatever I felt like eating, althoug I have to say my appetite has steadily shrunk, I don’t know if it’s due to limiting my food whilst semi-dieting or just because I’m getting older (speeding towards thirty!). I didn’t gain much weight during my healthy lifestlye hiatus (around five pounds) and I attribute this to heavy kettlebell use in the months before. I did start exchanging muscle for fat at the very end of the year, and snapped out of my funk immediately. I did NOT want to backtrack and start making serious gains again!

D i e t   U p d a t e   F a l l   2 0 1 2

This year I have dabbled in paleo, and am still very interested in this way of eating. I gleaned a lot of information when I was studying up on primal/paleo. I eat more fat, and from better sources. I fast intermittently. I eat more vegetables, and a wider variety. I’m very nutrition-oriented. That said, I haven’t opted to go full on paleo at the moment, because I just cannot afford it! There, I said it! I can’t buy grass-fed butter or beef. I can’t afford coconut OR almond flour for when I want a treat. I can’t shop at Whole Foods and buy organic produce. Even almond butter is hard to make room in the budget for! Not to mention the fact that I haven’t yet sold my family on living grain-free, and I don’t even think I’ve sold myself on the idea.

When I read Sarah Fragoso’s “Everyday Paleo” I was struck by some facts therein. Gluten is pervasive when consumed and stays in your body for a long time. To truly reap the benefits of a paleo diet, you would have to abstain from grains, dairy and sugar completely for months on end. I don’t know if I can commit to that right now. I still want to eat pancakes occasionally. I still want to eat pasta occasionally, and I don’t want to stress myself out avoiding the foods I want to eat. I think eventually I will be ready to make a drastic overhaul of our diets, and that day is not too far off. I am making more room in the budget for food, so I can really strive for my whole family to eat better.

As of right now, I am trying to make simple changes, such as, we eat more veggies than ever before, at every single meal. We don’t eat out a lot. We eat real food only. We don’t consume polyunsaturated fats, or trans fats. We don’t eat beans or soy products. We don’t use artificial sweeteners.

I, personally, am carb backloading. This is what my day looks like:

5:00 am   – Wake up, get ready, drink coffee, catch bus.

11:30am – Consume some protein(hard boiled egg/lunch meat), fat, and vegetable or something like blueberries

                     (this meal is very small)

12:30pm – Train kettlebells or walk or do sprints or jumprope or a combination (5-6 days per week)!

2:00pm   – Post-Training – A large meal that is mainly paleo, meat and vegetables and fat. Sometimes cheese.

 6-9pm     – Feasting period – Whatever the hell I feel like eating, but still mostly prepared in a  nutritious, clean way.

                    – Lately this includes cereal, pumpkin pie, potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, pasta, or bread, all consumed with protein. Sometimes coffee, wine, or beer.

                    – Lots of calories consumed during this period.

All of sudden my abs are popping out, I am slimming down, and I feel like She-ra! 

Interesting….very interesting indeed!

My once-cumbersome 20 kg kettlebell is now easy to swing. I can now clean and press it as well. I can sprint with ease and pretty fast, too. My body feels like it’s functioning very well. I am energetic all day long. I never feel sluggish, and I’m completely satisfied with the food I’m eating.

In conclusion, this is the best way for me to eat right now. I don’t feel deprived, and that is a big thing. I am so active and so busy that I don’t want to be stressed out because I can’t eat what I want. When I can afford higher quality ingredients, I want to expand our nutritional horizons even more and find ways to eliminate more bad guys from our eats. But we are making progress, and all of us have lost a little weight. Winning! 

T r a i n i n g   U p d a t e:

Extreme Walking!

I started something I call “extreme walking”. I do this once or twice a week, and it is very invigorating, and burns shit-ton of calories.

I suit up and plug in my earphones on full blast. I walk from my job to Wal-Mart and then back, which is five miles round trip. I stop at certain spots where there are little half-walls and do  step ups on each leg, usually a set of 10 on each, sometimes 20. Sometimes, lately, I run a sprinting interval around 30 seconds or 2 neighborhood blocks. I walk at a pretty good clip (3-4 mph). Sometimes I stop and do 10-20 elevated leg push ups, on a hill or half-wall. Just walking alone, this jaunt would burn around 300 some calories, according to my calculations. But the killer is the middle part, at Wal-Mart on the side of George Bush Turnpike is a very steep-grade concrete hill. I run up this 10-15 times, as hard as possible, walking on the downgrade. I need to get a Body Bug, so I can figure out exactly how many calories I’m burning, but I know it is a lot. The high intensity bursts of sprinting and uphill runs increase the fat burning element.

I did this yesterday, on Friday, and finished my 5 miles in an hour and five minutes, a new record. Today is Saturday so I just did some kettlebell freestyle practice.

I repeated each of these 3 times, with plenty of rest and attention to form.

  • 2 hand heavy swings (20kg) (sometimes 10, sometimes 20)
  • 20 kg goblet squats (6)
  • 16 kg roundabout swings (30)
  • 16 kg cleans (5)
  • 20 kg clean & push press (1 R/L)


  • Korn – Got the Life
  • Rammstein – Ich Tu Dir Veh
  • Kanye West  – Monster
  • Tool – Lateralus
  • Metallica – All Nightmare Long

Not too hard, and not too easy work today! Love playing with my bell. And I can still pay attention to my kid in between sets 🙂 This is the first time I’ve tried cleaning and pressing the 20 kg. Very excited to do it some more.

Happy snatching!

– J

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swingin’ sweat bath

All I really felt like doing on this rainy Saturday is swinging, so I decided to do 500 swings.

Round 1 (200 swings)

30 seconds work/30 seconds rest 

5 sets 2 hand swings with 20 kg

5 sets 2 hand swings with 16 kg

20 swings each work interval

Round 2 (100 swings)

15 seconds work/15 seconds rest

7 sets 2 hand swings with 20kg

3 sets 2 hand swings with 16 kg

10 swings each work interval

Round 3 (100 swings)

Using a “power swing” method I learned about watching Tracy Reifkind on youtube.

5 sets of the following:

5 power swings (20 kg), hold hip hinge position with loaded hamstrings for 10 sec

repeat 4x then rest 30 sec.

Round 4 (100 swings)

As little rest as possible between sets.

5 sets, 10 two hand swings (16kg) 

5 sets, 10 two hand swings (20kg) 


Lamb of God – Walk With Me In Hell

Korn – Throw Me Away

Prodigy – Breathe

Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

Children of Bodom – Children of Bodom

Good ketttlebell-swingin jams! Feel like a million bucks.

Oh, and this was my first workout in my Chuck Taylors and I dig them. Different swinging in shoes that aren’t five fingers, but I think it will work. Cheers to Pavel Tsatsouline 🙂 


Me, my kettlebell, and the first day of fall.

One of the greatest things about kettlebells, in my opinion, is that you can create a workout from scratch. Just picking up your kettlebell and practicing your skills can segue into a kickass sweat session.

Case in point, yesterday I took my awesome daughter, Celeste, to the pool for a little while. I had a choice between laying poolside and knockin back a few Pabst Blue Ribbons or bringing my kettlebell with me and working out before we went to dinner. I made a good choice and brought my 16 kg with me instead of the cold brews. I had no plan at all, but I have been following Tracy Reifkind (KETTLEBELL GODDESS!) closely lately, and have been focusing on my swing, and integrating high-volume swing workouts into my routine.

I did a joint mobility warm up as usual, which is energizing and feels good in itself. I love warming up like this! Here is a video that I found a long time ago, when I was first starting with kettlebells, and I still follow this template almost every session. Check out this woman’s other videos, she is something else!

Here’s what I did, off the top of my head:

-2 Turkish Get Up, R, L


I repeated the following circuit three times, and was sweating real nice.

-5 One Arm Swings, R, L

-15 2 Hand Swings

-5 Cleans R, 5 Jerk R

-5 Cleans L, 5 Jerk L

-Walk around pool to cool down

-20 Box Jumps onto pooldeck

After this I did some more messing around for a bit:

-3 sets of 5 windmills, R/L

-3 sets of 20 2-hand swings

-walking around the pooldeck with the kettlebell in overhead press position

-elevated feet push ups

Lately I end every session with glute bridges and backbends, something I picked up from Girya Girl, Adrienne Harvey. It feels great to bend like that after all that swingin! I melt into corpse pose at the very end, and feel so strong and happy lying in a pool of my own sweat. 🙂

But the whole point of this post is that kettlebells are so easy, and are a no-brainer. I didn’t need anything but one kettlebell and a little less than an hour to get in some good, hard work. I rested as needed, and my heart rate stayed in a nice place for fatburning. I walked away to talk to my daughter and her friend when I was summoned, or when I just took a small breather. Perfect for moms! If you’re tied to a cardio machine somewhere, or a TV screen, you can’t enjoy the beautiful outdoors and your child as you train. I find this unique and empowering.

Please check out the awesome new Facebook community created by Lauren Brooks (KETTLEBELL QUEEN!) and friends, Strong Kettlebell MomsVote for my picture in the contest (Jacqi Guillory), if you have a second, por favor!

Here is my latest form check video, but I have already made some improvements. I am working on my range of motion (reaching back further between my legs, and bringing the kettlebell to eye level on the upswing). I also want my upper body more parallel to the floor on the down-swing and to keep a neutral spine consistently. New video to come soon!

Kettlebells + good music = training heaven.


the return of the queen

Okay, so I’m going to start blogging sometimes again, but I’m not making any promises as to the frequency or quality of my posts. Feeling frazzled lately, and really just trying to take it easy whenever possible. My job is such a crazy, wonderful place that never, ever stops hoppin’. When I get over-stressed I get off my nutritional path of excellence… and then start to miss workouts.. and finally, disintegrate into a puddle of slovenly, sad mess. It is a cycle I loathe, but it’s good to be so aware of what’s happening because I’m able to nip it in the bud when I see it starting.

I actually have still been working out quite a bit, just not as hard as I was when I was doing Marianne Kane-style workouts 5 days a week. I lost my gymboss! And I still have to buy myself a new one. So I have still been utilizing intervals but with a wall clock, which I feel is much less effective than the timer, because I’m partially distracted by watching the clock. Gymboss= awesome. I do tabatas, kettlebell work, long walks, run sprints, and jump rope. I’m very happy with this combination and always have fun training. My torture of choice of late is heavy (20 kg) goblet squats.

friday wod

– 2 cycles of tabata with the following exercises:

  • 16 kg high pulls R
  • 16 kg high pulls L
  • 20 kg tactical lunges
  • push ups
  • 20 kg goblet squats
  • 16 kg one arm swing R
  • 16 kg one arm swing L
  • leg raises

– another cycle of tabata doing squat-tap-taps (deep sumo squat touch floor, then two jumps, legs together, in place.)

-descending push up ladder, as little rest as possible 10-1 (ouch!)

– 3 x 3 16 kg windmills each side (oof!)

-4 sets of 25 fast sit ups (30 sec rest between sets)

-.4 mile run to park and back to work

-10 leg raises

– streeeeeetch and backbends

starting a whole 30 sept 1st, who’s with me??

Results of a so-so diet (more good than bad) and 4-5 kettlebell training sessions per week.

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the legs, the butt, and nothing but

jac’s wod

5  –  1 0  –  1 2

I know I said I would do a workout from MyomyTV.com today…I lied! I was looking for one that didn’t include too much shoulder, chest, or arms in general cuz I’m a little fried. Finally I just jotted something down that seemed doable. I brought my16 kg and 20 kg kettlebells with me to work and did this on my lunch break.

Warm up: Joint mobility and 2 turkish get ups on each side with 16 kg

Part 1

2 rounds, 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest intervals

alternating kettlebell tactical lunges (14, 16 kg, 20 kg)

single leg deadlifts left (8, 16 kg)

single leg deadlifts right (8)

kettlebell front squat left (8, 16 kg)

kettlebell front squat right (8)

2 hand kettlebell swings (didn’t count, too focused, 20 kg)

Part 2

1:00 hip extension stretch R leg

1:00 hip extension stretch L leg


2 sets of 10 5-second isometric holds

20 kg kettlebell glute bridge (these look a bit risque…)

bird dog

lying abduction

s       t      r     e     t     c     h

Pavel says in his book, “Relax Into Stretch”, that Americans don’t have the patience to stretch properly. So, to try to prove him wrong, I stretch for at least 20 minutes and damn, does it ever feel good.

I love stretching my glutes after doing the above glute and leg work that I got from Bret Contreras’ article on T-Nation,  “Dispelling the Glute Myth”.  The workout seems simple but my glutes scream for mercy by the end. I always think about my butt as I’m doing the movements, and I try to use the glutes as much as possible. It may sound funny, but I really do believe it is lifting, growing, and tightening my rear like nothing else has. Now I just need to start deadlifting and squatting some real weight (on a barbell!) to hopefully see some Beyonce-caliber hypertrophy happening on my backside!

I definitely won’t be doing any pull ups tomorrow, I am going to rest instead, as I am super sore in a nice-feeling way. Peace out!



I’m still here…

jac’s wod

5  –  9  –  12

Warm up: Joint mobility, followed by jumprope/hi knee tabata

Taking it easy on myself today! I love this style of conditioning session. Used only my 20 kg kettlebell today, and tried to use my very best form, AS ALWAYS! 😀

Part 1


Every minute on the minute:

-10 2-Hand Kettlebell Swings

– 5 Push Ups

– 1 Squat Thrust

(active rest till end of minute)

Part 2

Suitcase Deadlift

Farmer’s Walk 25 ft., switch hands

Suitcase Deadlift, opposite side

Farmer’s Walk 25 more feet

Sprint to start, then back to kettlebell

Repeat x5

Part 3

6 Goblet Squats

1:00 rest

Repeat x5

Lastly, I did 10 burpees for the hell of it, and to make sure I still could! I think my Crossfit experimentation days are probably behind me, I much prefer doing simple strength and conditioning workouts with my kettlebells and walking.

I am currently rereading Pavel’s “The Naked Warrior”, and am going to attempt to get really good at pistol squats and maybe, just maybe,  pull off a one-armed push up or two!

I really get a kick out of getting stronger and Pavel’s advice is always practical and easy to follow. I will write more about my new, improved strength practice soon.

After a paleo (I find myself actually desiring paleo-style meals more and more often, yay!) dinner my baby girl and I went for a nice little walk and stopped in at the gym where she acted silly and I did a descending ladder from 6 of dumbbell deadlifts using two 50-pound dumbbells.

Tomorrow I think I am ready to tackle an awesome Marianne Kane workout. I haven’t had the gusto for one of hers lately, but I think it’s time to dust off my little blue notebook and do some hard work, Irish style!

On Friday I am hoping to go to the park to do some sprints and pull up practice, using “The Naked Warrior” tension techniques.