This is the first kettlebell book that my wife has purchased. I have a row of them on my bookshelf.
I came home for lunch one day and caught my wife researching Tracy Reifkind’s new book The Swing!: Lose the Fat and Get Fit with This Revolutionary Kettlebell Program
During the “rise of the kettlebell,” most if not all resources have been “how to’s,” abstracted from the people who benefit from using them. How to do a swing, a Turkish get up, how to program snatches, etc. There has never been a detailed account of how these how-to’s have affected and changed the life of the person who uses them.
We’ve seen bits and pieces of how kettlebells have helped people lose weight, gain confidence, improve health, cure joint issues, etc. on the blogs but we’ve not seen the proverbial microscope take on one subject’s change in detail in a 200 page book.
That book has arrived. “The Swing!” gives you the details of these three areas:
1.) Tracy’s personal story and the psychology behind radical transformation
2.) How to swing a kettlebell and how to program your swings into your life in only 2 sessions per week – and how to build up enormous volume quickly and efficiently
3.) How to eat right – from fast food garbage to nutrient rich home cooked meals (at home or on the go)
Despite the title,Tracy’s progressions for teaching the swing and how to program it from radical changes in weight loss (Tracylost 120 pounds in around one year’s time), and muscular development (Tracyis now ripped) are one third of this book.
The first third is Tracy’s personal story and how she came to the point in her life where she committed to losing weight and reclaiming her health and life back. I have never come across such a detailed look into the psychology that goes into this kind of transformation.
Tracy says that when she was overweight, she was “numb” to her body. She paid zero attention to it. She bragged to her co-workers “I can eat whatever I want,” yet secretly she was growing more and more frightened about the state of her health. Not only was she overweight, but the digestive problems that come with being so overweight were getting worse. The threat of heart disease loomed and occupied her thoughts more and more with each day. But on the outside these fears were hidden.
So how does someone in such a state go from this:
Something I’ve noticed about transformations is that the person’s will power subsists prior to the transformation, it just hasn’t shown itself. The person’s will power is hiding, looking for the opportunity to act. This is true of Bonnie (who went from immobile “Frozen” shoulder to certified HKC in her 60s) and its true of Tracy.
Tracy relates how even though she was overweight and totally disconnected from and disinterested in her body, she had a competitive spirit. She enjoys the TV show “Survivor” and secretly wished to be able to compete in the show even though she knew she couldn’t because of her poor physical condition.
So when a weight loss office pool came together with a cash prize for whoever lost the most weight came along, Tracy KNEW she would win. She writes that the others didn’t even suspect she would want to enter the competition, let alone win it.
The spirit, or will power, of the “Swing Queen,” as Tracy is now called, was there before the physical transformation took place. That coincidental office weight loss competition was the opportunity Tracy was waiting for to begin her transformation. She confesses in the book that she didn’t know how it would happen, but she knew that is would happen.
Tracy’s powerful transformation with the kettlebell (and diet) has now spilled out into the most widely distributed kettlebell book ever published. I never thought I’d see the hip hinge taught at the front shelves of Barnes and Noble.
“The Swing!” will be the occasion for hundreds if not thousands of new physical transformations – from overweight and dull – to chiseled, fit, and almost super humanly strong and conditioned.
There are so many other stories and revelations in the first third of the book that I’d like to write about, but don’t want to give too much away.
The second third of the book is devoted to teaching the swing and how to program it. I’ve been around the kettlebell swing for awhile and was surprised to pick up quite a few new tricks and insights into ways to learn the swing and how to effectively program it. Tracy uses these same progressions with her own private clients, so you know they are the best.
Tracy gives you what the swing is and what it isn’t and how to distinguish a real swing from an imposter, with big pictures and simple instruction. She shows how to get the motion of the swing without picking up a bell and what to do when you’re waiting for your kettlebell order to arrive, so that you can start your own transformation the second you put the book down. She shows you helpful stretches and how to fix tweaks in shoulders and back that can come with the learning the skill of swinging a kettlebell.
The programming section is every bit as transformative as the body that uses it. Tracy shows you how to go to a few sets of “air swings” – swings without a bell – to behemoth workout sessions that, according to my count, have you doing over 500 swings in a single workout.
Since two handed swings smoke the grip, yet have the advantage of being a more symmetrical lift, Tracy shows you how to mix in one arm and other swing variations in combination with the classic two handed swing so you can get the most out of two arm swings. I found this very helpful as two handed swings quickly smoke my grip.
For Mark Reifkind fans (Tracy’s husband – a former powerlifter, bodybuilder, strongman, gymnast – basically an encycopdia of knowledge of the human body), he makes several appearances to break down complicated concepts such as aerobic vs. anaroebic work and its relation to the swing and how to get BOTH through working up to a certain point using Tracy’s progressions. Tracy and Mark have a gift of making difficult subjects easy to understand.
The training log lingo that Tracy uses might take some time to get used to since most people aren’t in the habit of logging workouts and using the special abbreviations that make journaling easy to use. My wife had some questions about it and I was able to explain it to her based on my years of experience of swinging a kettlebell. Its just a matter of getting used to it.
If you want to know how to go from a totally neglected body, overweight, weak and tired body to –literelly- super human work capacity with the lean, muscular body that comes with it, then Tracy shows you every detail in this section of the book.
The last section is about diet and nutrition and how the two are essential for transformation. If you aren’t squared away on exactly what food provides the most nutirtion, how to control your calories for weight loss or “super fast” weight loss, then this is essential reading. There is a section on a general food outline that shows how the different kinds of food are processed by the body and how to take advantage of the science for faster body transformation.
If you already have this background and want some recipes and ideas of how to program nutritious and delicious food that fit your schedule of calories, this book has a lot of ideas.
Tracy has gone from reliant on fast food to preparing her own nutrition plan using…real food. Like most Americans she was stuck in a carb first, vegetables last habit of eating. She shows how to turn this paradigm upside down, how to program it, and how to learn to love cooking nutritiously for yourself and/or your family.
There’s a lot more in this section but don’t have the space to review it.
Who’s it for?
Get this book if you are not satisfied with your diet and/or kettlebell training. The psychological, physical, and practical tools that are contained in this book are invaluable.
What I like most about this book is seeing the diet information and kettlebell information converge into one comprehensive lifestyle. I hope to see more books with both of these facets in the future.
The value here is pretty outstanding.
Click here to pick up a hard cover copy on amazon for under $20: