Last night I made fish tacos for the first time. They turned out magnificently. For the last several years now I have photographed many of the meals I make at home. It was the beginning of my healthy food journey and the attempt to end an excuse I used to use for poor food choices – “I don’t know what to make.” When I made a healthy meal I enjoyed, I photographed it, and soon became a catalogue of delicious healthy meals I love, and therefore no more excuses. I used to think taking the picture was enough. That I would see it and magically remember how I prepared the meal. I was so naive. Lol.
I’ve since realized I really need to copy this shit down. I’m not getting any younger, haha, so better to record this stuff as soon as I remember. That way the general public also has the option of trying too, if they want. 🙂
I used hard corn tortilla shells I bought at the grocery store. Judge away, they were yummy and are very low on the asshole scale (imo). I used a shredded cabbage/kale/lettuce mix as the first layer in the taco. On top of that I placed warm, baked tilapia fillet chopped into pieces (preparation described below). On top of the fish I added some sliced avocado, and finally topped it off with pineapple-mango salsa. Did I mention it was awesome?
Preheat oven to 375
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place tilapia fillets on parchment paper and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with chilli powder, Montreal steak and chop spice mix. I brushed a bit of chipotle aoili, and squeezed one lemon on top before putting in the oven.
Thanks to Alex and Dave Preston for the Montreal steak and chop spice mix. I never would have thought of putting it on fish and was just being uncharacteristically impulsive. Lol. Paid off huge. Fish was sooooooo tasty!!!
Bake for 15-20minutes until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.
Pineapple- Mango Salsa
1/3 cup of cubed mango
1/3 cup of small pineapple chunks
1/2 red pepper diced
10-12 cherry tomatoes quartered
smallish hunk of red onion finely diced
fresh cilantro (to taste)
dressing – juice of 1 squeezed lemon, 1tbsp coconut aminos, tsp of sriracha (or use cayenne pepper to taste)
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Longer the flavours marinate the better. Stores well in fridge for several days.
We baked the taco shells in the oven for about 5-7min at 350. Then we took them out and sprinkled a layer of our coleslaw/kale/lettuce mix, on top of this we added the baked fish while it was nice and warm, on top of the fish we added some sliced avocado and topped it all off with the mango-pineapple salsa that barely fit!! Lol. It was delightfully awesome! Defintely making it again and needed to record what I did for when I forget! Lol.
Wow. I see that my last post related to kettlebell training was on January 27th, 2015. So much has happened in the last year. There is too much to explain, so let me sum up: Over the last year I went in a new direction with a new coach – Abigail Johnston from Scotland. 2015 was a time of transition so I did not put any unnecessary pressure on myself in terms of competitions. I tried to save some money and did not travel to as many places, or as far away. I just enjoyed my training and playing with long cycle, and biathlon.
My 2015 Competition Schedule looked like this:
April – Agatsu Competition, Toronto, Canada, 20kg OALC, 89 reps (CMS Ranking, KETA)
June – Niagara Kettlebell Sport Open, St. Catharines, Ontario, 16kg Snatch (5min) – 91reps (Rank 1, KETA)
July – Bells on the Beach, IKFF Comp, Rochester, NY, 16kg biathlon (170 jerks, 128 snatches) (Rank 1 IKFF – biathlon, CMS for jerk only)
October – Agatsu Competition, Toronto, Canada, 20kg jerk only, 134 rep (MS rank, Agatsu/Keta), TALC – 12kg, 84 reps
December – North Texas Kettlebell Sport Open, Frisco, Texas, 20kg, OALC 93reps (CMS Ranking, KETA)
The transition to a new style of programming took a few growing pains, but even still, I managed to set personal bests at every competition. Three competitions I performed events that I had never done before on the platform. The year ended with me feeling very optimistic and confident in my lifting.
So enough living in the past. Here’s 2016. What’s up is my first competition is in 6 weeks. In the winter I really need a long training cycle. There are so many events and commitments I have as a teacher between October – February. It’s insane. It challenges my ability to stay organized and my commitment to staying prepared and doing what it takes to meet my goals. As anyone who juggles a career with kettlebell sport (and for many parenting as well) will tell you – it ain’t easy to keep a consistent sleep schedule, and nutrition on point when you have so much to juggle at once. At any rate for me, I prefer not to add the extra stress of preparing for a competition during these months. Instead, in the winter, I hunker down like Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV. It’s a great time to just lift. In some ways I know I have used my time well and I can feel and see some growth in my lifting. On the other hand I am disappointed in how my mobility and flexibility routines have suffered.
Hahahahaa…..and it really only took THIS long to get to the point of this post. Lmao. When I don’t like the way something is working – I change it. Instead of wallowing in the disappointment of my current state of mobility (and nagging wrist injury), I am getting proactive with shit. I’ve made a plan for the next 6 weeks to make the following TOP priority no matter what else life throws at me:
1. GMB Hip and Shoulder routines on lifting days
2. GMB General Routine/+Gymnastics homework on non-lifting days
3. Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) twice a week (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
I have a few movement benchmarks that will let me know how I’m progressing – e.g. sitting in lotus, shrimp squats, and animal walks.
LLLT brings in a new addition to my support team (lol). Colin Badali is a RMT+CSCS+LLLT and friend who I once worked with as a personal trainer at Strengthbox. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Colin as he begins his career. We are both data nerds and I am just as excited to see the results as he is. Colin is also one of those people I feel is a natural healer. He has a very calming presence and usually offers a more conservative and safe approach which for me has traditionally been the most effective long term. LLLT is fairly new to me and I must admit that I do not know more than what’s in this video, and this youtube video. What I do like is that is is pretty non-invasive and therefore allows me to train while still doing these sessions. I’m optimistic that it will help my preparation over the next 6 weeks, and my hope is it will heal up this issue with my wrist and let me get back to handstands and crawling activities 🙂
This is my formal public declaration that I am committed to resolving the weaknesses I have in my lower body. My mobility/flexibility routine is not an option but something I MUST be committed to working on every day. Over the next 6 weeks as I prepare for the Agatsu competition in April, I will be reporting in on the progress I am making with my 3 new areas of focus. Thanks for reading!
I like to photograph my meals as a visual idea bank. Looking at a photo is all I need to remember the recipe and steps I took to prepare a meal, or remind me which cookbook it came from. The down side with posting them publicly is that then people want the recipe. Lol!!! I don’t mind sharing, I’m just too lazy to write/ type it out. So here I will post a few things I have made recently that are slight variations on recipes I found from others. They are so easy they definitely occur in my regular rotation. What I love most about them is their simplicity. It’s fantastic when you can make something yummy without it taking up a huge amount of time.
This recipe is a simplified version of the one from Diane Sanfilippo’s Book, The 21 Day Sugar Detox.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
For the Crust:
1lb grass fed groundbeef
1tbsp coconut flour (almond flour was what Diane’s recipe called for)
1 egg beaten
1tsp granulated garlic
1tsp ground black pepper
2tsp Italian seasoning
1tsp Himalayan sea salt
To make the crust combine the above ingredients in a mixing bowl. I used a plastic ziplock bag so I could mix with my hands without them getting messy. Mix thoroughly and form into a ball. On a parchment lined baking sheet roll out the meat dough into a circle about 8-9inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 15-20min or until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 425.
For the Toppings:
Do whatever you like!
I used :
2tbsp tomato sauce (pesto would be awesome too)
3 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1 small tomato sliced
6 spinach leaves
1-2g Sharp aged cheddar (optional- leave out if you’re paleo)
I prepped the toppings while the crust was doing it’s thing. Once it was out of the oven and cool enough to go near, I put on toppings and then baked in the oven for another 5-10min until the toppings soften just a bit.
2. Sweet Potato Buffalo Chicken Caserole
I hear the word caserole and I am in! A meal in a bowl! A bit of work to prep but then always keeps on giving in the servings you get. This recipe is so dead simple its a no brainer. Best part is I can just post the link from the fine folks at Preppy Paleo. No recipe for me to type out! Lol!
3. Rogan Josh
This picture doesn’t do it justice but this meal is so comforting! I love it so much. From Melissa Joulwan’s book “Well Fed” I can once again be lazy and post the recipe from her blog. I like to serve this on cauliflower rice. There are a few different ways I like to make my cauliflower rice. Usually I will zap a head of cauliflower in my food processor until it is rice consistency. Then I will put it on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and ground black pepper, maybe a sprinkle of sea salt.
It has been years now since I have replaced grain pastas with vegetables. Spaghetti squash is my usual “noodle” but lately we have loved our veggie spiralizer and love making zucchini noodles. I still use the same sauce from Diane Sanfillipo’s book “Practical Paleo.”
Most of my food ideas weren’t original ideas of mine….I just saw something someone else did and wasn’t afraid to try it. Pinterest just blows my mind. I’ve only just begun to tap into it. When I take a picture of a healthy meal I made I throw it in my Eat Like A Champ photo album and the ideas grow. It reminds me that I can do it if I take the time to care about the way I’m fueling my body.
Although I have read no scientific literature on it’s absolute necessity, I have always held the firm belief that body weight training is mandatory for anyone that competes in any form of weight lfiting. Afterall, why would I ask my body to support substantial external loads, if I am incapable of supporting myself? Initially I wanted to write this post as a research based article on either the importance of gymnastics as a form of physical therapy for kettlebell sport lifters, OR the importance of body weight training to weight lifters. Instead of nerding out reading as much peer reviewed literature as I could find, I decided to just train. I conducted my own experiment and this post is a summary and reflection of my results and where I plan on taking things next. Of course the overall big picture of any goal I take on is improvement. In some way it has to make me better – and right now if there is the potential to help improve my efficiency as a kettlebell sport lifter, I’m going to be open minded about checking it out.
As a kid I was always obsessed with gymnastics. During the summer Olympics, I would say without question- track and field, gymnastics and swimming are my top 3 sports I LOVE to watch. Not gonna lie – when I was growing up there were next to no role models I could relate to in either gymnastics or swimming. They were sports I thought were made for skinny white kids….lol….but I was always envious and in awe of the control, skill and grace these athletes had in addition to a ton of strength. By the time I was able to see more diversity within the sport and even see some successful Canadian role models, I felt way too old to participate. I was clearly wrong. Upon discovering kettlebell sport and making the decision to be a competitive 40+ year old athlete I decided right from the start to do things right. Here there are also many amazing role models. Multi- world champions Sergey Rudnev and Sergei Rachinskiy are similar to my age and known for their physical feats with their own body weight as well as with kettlebells. All the things I ignorantly took advantage of in my youth I was going to make a priority – eat well, sleep well, respect the warmup and the cool down and put time into a flexibility program.
Over the last 3 years I have consistently worked on my mobility and flexibility and definitely give it credit for keeping my body healthier than just lifting kettlebells alone. Even with these awesome changes however, all is not right in the House of Cyn. I still have weaknesses and imbalances I need to be working on daily. Ofcourse I am not going to sit by and watch myself struggle in the same places or feel sore and weak in the same spots….nope. I tackle that shit head on. If you ever attend a workshop or certification with Shawn Mozen from Agatsu Fitness – that dude can lay some pretty dope advice if you are a good listener. He pretty much gives away the secret to being successful when learning any new skill, and you can tell (if you follow any social media) who does it and who doesn’t quite easily. My summer experiment was to enroll in a gymnastics class, which was going to make me confront head on my feelings about being too old to try it, combined with forcing me to confront the weaknesses in my lower kinetic chain and poor core control.
Words of Wisdom #1 – Spend time with people who are better than you. For the 8 weeks of summer I decided to take a gymnastics and focused flexibility cert by one of Gold Medal Bodies (GMB) lead trainers – Kirsty Grosart. I have known Kirsty for a couple of years now so I know what a phenomenal athlete and coach she is. If I was going to confront the issues in my lower kinetic chain and core stability I needed some hands on help. The skill development and learning curve I made this summer has made me feel more confident to try out other amazing people I know in the handstand and flexibility world such as Sara-Clare Lajeuness from Agatsu and Andralyn Zayn from Deflying Fitness. I have a 3-5 year plan of courses I would like to take with each of them in addition to the yoga teacher training with Yoga Detour. So much time….so little money. Lol. Seriously though, if you want to learn to move your body better I recommend all of these people.
Words of Wisdom #2 – Invest the time to develop a consistent practice. Often times I hear people say “I want do more pullups, or I want a muscle up….or I want __________________.” They say this, but then put no real effort towards their goal. They don’t reaallllly want it! For 8 weeks I had the accountability of attending class twice a week for 2 hours. On the days I wasn’t in class I incorporated movements into my lifting warmup and cool down. I realized it was as simple as adding 4 extra movements to my routine to see improvement. Moving forward I feel much better equipped to maintain my routine and keep progressing.
Short story – the words of wisdom work. End of story. No real need to read further. Below I will post some pictures and highlight what improvements I noticed. I’ve divided my results into 4 sections. These are areas I think not only address my weaknesses but also important areas required for kettlebell sport. I am definitely going to continue to use photos to monitor (and hold myself accountable to) my progress as I continue forward with my practice. The process has also made me more curious about GMB’s programming and something I look forward to learning more about.
On top is my beginning pic and below is after. This was already a strength for me going in, but after 8 weeks I did notice more openness in my shoulders which allows for a better shape and ability to kick over. Moving forward I want to be able to work on going in to bridge from standing.
Hips, Knees, Ankles, Hamstrings
This section was the toughest for me. I did notice improvement in my hamstring flexibility but I still have significant work to do with my hips and ankles. Overall I think my progress was slightly hindered during the this testing period because I had done a kettlebell competition only a few days before these photos were taken. Still, to be completely honest and accountable I didn’t practice my lower body drills as much because of the discomfort and challenge. Moving forward I am going to attack this more tenaciously.
This one bums me out a bit because I did try to work on my shoulders much more diligently during this 8 week period. Again I blame a little bit on the timing of the pics falling after a competition and will admit my shoulders were feeling sore. Still….this is something I will add extra focus on my next training cycle.
A part from working on my weaknesses, adding some variety to my gpp, having serious fun acting like a kid and doing things I haven’t done in decades…I was hoping this work would really provide assistance to areas that would make me stronger and more prepared for kettlebell sport. The competition I had towards the end of this training cycle was my first 16kg biathlon. I pr’d by 10 reps in my jerk with a 170 total and did 128 snatches for a personal best total of 298. Although still a long way to go I did notice improvement in my core control and glute activation. I definitely do not attribute any negative impacts from the gymnastics training on my lifting. I do feel confirmed in my hypothesis of its importance and I will continue to strive to improve my badassery of physical autonomy for life! 🙂
So…I’m feeling so guilty I have been a horrible human being! I am notorious for being addicted to buying books that I rarely get around to reading, or only read about 1/3. Such was the case when I purchased Cindy Sexton’s amazing cookbook “Paleo Takes 5-or-Fewer.” Cindy is a fellow teacher who is one of the most blessed people I know to have more than 1 career. Her blog and now cookbook inspire me not only to maintain my healthy “eat like a champ” lifestyle, but also to pursue all things I am passionate about. Naturally it was a no brainer when it came to purchasing her book….I was just a dumbass who didn’t read it right away!
Last weekend I finally dusted her book off my cookbook shelf and started reading it. I then started cursing at the yummy new ideas I could have been eating…and then I got all the way to the end and saw in the Resources section she listed my blog!!!!
I truly feel like an asshole for taking so long….please forgive me Cindy!!!! Lol. My first of many of her recipes I intend to preview is the bacon -crusted chicken strips. I love the simplicity in the instructions and a way of using bacon I hadn’t thought of. The proportions for the coating were bang on perfect. I used every last bit with no leftover and got ample coverage on all of the chicken. Usually I run out or have too much.
Cindy is fantastic for so many reasons…but what I love most is how passionately she pursues her interests and lives her life. Anything she is involved with is gold. She’s an outstanding and committed educator, a talented writer – and for a teeny package she’s one feisty woman!
Thank you for the shout out Cindy!!!
WOW! It has been way to long since my last post. There are so many things I should share. First, the reason for my long departure I must confess was the victory of some people close to me who turned out to be haters. I was made to feel ashamed for the way that I am – honest, genuine, hard working. I finally decided that I needed to let go trying to please everyone, especially people who clearly don’t actually care about me. I will say I have a nasty habit of trying to please people who are never satisfied, and who ultimately will never be pleased. Now that I am over gaining the approval of haters, I am ready to get back to the business of sharing my love of movement and keeping on top of what was supposed to be my virtual training diary. Before I continue I do want to give a shout out to those people who have stood by me since the beginning, and are still standing by my side now. You know who you are, and I thank you for some of the most real and honest friendships I’ve ever had. Please know how much I appreciate and adore you!
Initially I had intended on doing a comeback post that reviewed 2014. It was a great year for me as far as kettle was concerned. Emotionally however, it was a very tough year and one that I would prefer not to review. Instead I have chosen to move forward. My lifting season basically ended in October at the Agatsu Regional competition. I had a great result – another CMS ranking, and only 2 reps shy of MS.
Since I did not know what direction I wanted to go in for 2015 I decided to spend the rest of 2014 working on my snatch. As it crept into 2015, and I still was not sure where to take my next platform attempt I decided to continue with snatch. The time has now come where I will need to make a decision and I’m still not certain. The whole progression to snatch has been amazing. There was a time last year I tried snatch for a little bit and I was terrible….could not last even 2min an arm with 12kg, and managed to build to an 8min set with 10kg. Since then however, I have taken several workshops and a sports camp with world champions and received a lot of instruction on snatch that I hadn’t had the opportunity to put into practice yet. Here was my chance. I also began doing a fair bit of coaching in 2014, and most of my lifters were female snatchers. I decided if I was going to coach snatch I wanted to have a CMS rank as a minimum.
My progressions with various weight bells has been much quicker than I imagined. Trust me, I respect this sport and I respect the bell. I am not one to be a jumper. Just look at my long cycle resume. I have been groomed to respect technique above all else. I spent over a year working on 16kg OALC, even though all around me girls were jumping from 16kg to 24kg in a year. All I know, is that today, I do not lift like they do, and I prefer it that way. I intend on being the same way with snatch, but I will say I made significant progress in 4 months to close the gap between the discrepancy of what I can jerk and what I can snatch. I’m excited for the day they are equal. I feel much better about my relationship with the bell and feeling the way it moves, and the way I move around it. I have learned to create moments of relaxation, and to use checkpoints on every rep to make sure I recognize where energy leaks may be and try to correct them on the next rep. I’ve come a long way. No more over gripping, no more early grip fatigue…now just exhausted legs! On a proud note- not one hand tear ever! Lol! Below is a re-cap of the progress I have made so far.
10/1/2014 14kg/8min/133reps (67R/66L)
17/1/2014 14kg/10min/175reps (88R/87L)
24/1/2014 16kg/5min/81reps (43R/38L)
I am committed to this snatch project for another 4 weeks. Towards the end of February I will try my hand at my first 10min snatch set with 16kg. What I am most proud of about the work posted above is that every set is a pr for both reps AND time. They were all sets I had never previously attempted (unless you count the 12kg…I had attempted that before and failed miserably – but that was before any real GS snatch instruction). Once I go back to training for long cycle I fully intend to keep up my snatch work. I have become so fond of it I am actually thinking thoughts of biathlon.
As for GPP I continue to make goals for myself and work on improving my mobility and flexibility so that I will be able to compete in kettlebell sport for many years to come. I love this part of my training. Still riding high off of the Agatsu Movement camp in the summer I decided to make flexibility a challenge for me this year. I started off doing a splits challenge that I found on facebook. Twice a week for 2 months I religiously dedicated time to stretching. I followed a program I purchased on-line from Deflying Fitness. I hope to do some flexibility and handstand workshops with them soon. I wasn’t able to progress to the point of touch down, but I did develop a consistent practice and I definitely noticed improvement!
On the left is the beginning of my journey and on the right the end. In addition to this work I also spent time getting back to my barbell goals. Ever since the Cali Open Sport Camp I have wanted to 100reps at 100lbs of deadlifts, backsquats, front squats, jumping squats and good morning. This cycle I was able to cross deadlifts off that list. Not as cleanly as I wanted to do it but we built it up probably a week faster than we should have. Still I am super proud of the achievement and I can really notice the benefit it has added to my lifting.
WATCH OUT EVERYBODY! I am stronger, more efficient and more stoked than ever to set new pr’s and accomplish new goals in 2015. I have some exciting announcements to make in the upcoming months as well. If anyone is reading this – THANK YOU! I look forward to sharing my new kettle adventures with you.
I was sure I had already posted a blog about this, but since I cannot seem to find it I am going to take the risk and post what I should have about a year ago 🙂
Last year Carl and I decided to embark on some pretty major home renovations. This included a new kitchen. Ofcourse the project you think will take a month takes 4…and maybe still has some incomplete elements a year later…at any rate, going that long without a kitchen almost drove me insane. I was completely stressed out about what I would eat and how I would maintain my weight for competition. Turns out it wasn’t thaaaaat bad 🙂 One awesome feature to our renovation was getting a gas line outside so that we could bbq hassle free 🙂 It was basically like having an outdoor oven and stove. I also had to overcome my apprehension toward bbqing…definitely a growth experience 🙂
I found breakfast time to be the toughest. Microwaved egg variations on a paper plate became my instagram theme for quite some time. Then with the help of my friend and nutritionist, Summer Innanen I was able to awaken some creativity and breakfast kabobs were born.
Houseofcyn Breakfast Kabob 1
Marinade: pineapple juice, olive oil, sriracha, cinnamon
Houseofcyn Breakfast Kabob 2
Marinade: coconut milk, curry, cinnamon
It was so easy to whip up a batch of these. They also made great snacks. I think this will easily become a new food genre. 🙂