Thursday, July 19, 2007

Aerobic Threshold Training by Mark Reifkind

Tracy @ 131 lbs. 7/16/07

I am amazed that more people wanting weight loss aren't looking more closely at what Tracy has been doing, from an energy system and calorie burned per minute perpective. Many people have lost 100 pounds or more. Some have even kept it off for two plus years or more. But I surely haven't seen anyone loose 125 pounds and end up to lean and muscular with body fat levels 20 year old females would love to have.
Now I write this NOT because she is my wife and I am proud of her but because as a strength and conditioning professional I am amazed at what I have seen her do with her body with her training and I am intrigued by what is actually happening.

She built up quickly to two minute swing sets, which is a feat in itself, with two minute rest intervals. She started with four work bouts( 8 minutes of actual work) twice a week and built up to being able to do 800-900 swings with the 16 kg in 30 minutes as a throwaway workout- no big deal. or 1200-1600 swings in a hour two or three times a week.

The work( in a physics sense) being done here is off the charts ; and yet it is available to so many. yet so few seem to choose it. It is very hard but ???? It is obviously working.At whatever sport I decided to compete in I always approached it the same way. I started at the top and looked to what the best were doing. I would try to emulate them and build up to what they were capable of.If my goal were to lose a lot of bodyfat and get as lean as possible I would be doing these hellacious swing workouts Tracy is doing. At least I would HAVE to try.Start at the top and work down.

When she started doing them and I noted how well they were working I called them "aerobic threshold" sets. In an energy system sense, under two minutes of work is mostly anaerobic, requiring more white fibers, glucose as fuel and by nature higher intensity.Think sprinting.

Pretty much after two minutes the energy required to keep things going is primarily fueled by the aerobic energy system.The anaerobic threshold is the level one can work at and NOT go into oxygen debt.The aerobic threshold is the level one can work and NOT go aerobic.I'm sure Kenneth Jay can school me on my exercise physiology mistakes but one thing is true: it does work.
SO these multiple two minute work bouts she does is just of short enough duration to keep a high degree of white fibers involved but long enough to start tapping into the aerobic( more fat, less sugar as fuel). That's my theory and boy it sure seems to work.Now that she is doing heavier, shorter work bouts she is not losing weight but gaining muscle. The one to one work to rest ratio keeps the entire time spent training shifted towards the aerobic system so she is as lean as ever. Way cool.I am just suprised more people who's primary goal is weight loss are not emulating her training.



fawn said...

Another excellent message Mark! Funny you should talk about Aerobic and Anaerobic... I was just trying to explain to one of my clients today that doing 10 snatches was not an aerobic work out, it taxes the cardiovascular system, but is not aerobic. Snatching for two or more minutes would be an aerobic workout.

May I cut and paste this message to pass out to some of my clients? Tracy is becoming the Kettlebell fat loss poster child.

Mark Reifkind said...

absolutel fawn and thanks.

Royce said...

Rif back me up here man. T-nation has these monthly photos called "powerfull images" this photo should be there!

tryer said...

Hello Mr and Mrs Tracy

A while ago I posted on here (from Australia) saying that I was on the verge of "letting go, weight-wise". Since then I've taken a keen interest in mr and mrs tracy's websites, kettlebelling carefully but, without a clue about what works and why. The last few posts on mrs tracy's blog have been great - mrs tracy showing us what to do and mr tracy telling us why.

Don't stop - please.

Elizabeth said...

As soon as my kettlebell arrives, I will be a Tracy Rif copycat. :-)

Tracy said...


I'm so glad you like me!! lol

Tracy said...


Mark and I definitely compliment eachother, we always have. I guess that's why we've lasted 20 years!
I'm glad you are finding the info in our blogs to be helpful.

I'm still working on the "letting go" thing (food), and the great news is that I'm closer than ever to feeling freedom from that, so good luck to you!


Tracy said...


Swing on!

Charley said...

Simple, elegant, and it works. What more could you ask for?

Mind if I cut and paste this and pass it along to a friend who could use some convincing?

Guy said...

Mark and Tracy you both Rock! My GF has asked time & time again "Why don't the Reifkind's have a training DVD?"

I think she's right! It would definitely sell.

Jordan said...

You put down on paper (electronically) what I have thought many times. I routinely send people to Tracy's Blog so that they will see I'm not just some lone nut. She is the perfect example of bringing all of the pieces together and making the puzzle of fitness become something attainable. I agree on the training DVD. I would have all of my clients buying it.

lokityrus said...


Spot on, for a joint-DVD for Mark and Tracy, I would be willing to pay $50-$55 U.S, worth as much as my A.O.S DVD's easily and would be more inspirational.

Kori Bliffert, RKC, NASM-CPT said...

Rif funny you should write about this because that is exactly what I am doing...following in Tracy's footsteps. I am doing a lot of her past swing workouts and making up some of my own. BJ told me if I wanted to get lean I should follow somebody who has and has succeeded wonderfully.

Mark Reifkind said...

wow great feedback, I guess a training dvd should be in the works soon then.

Tracy said...


As Mark always says, simple, but not easy!

You can lead a horse to water.....

Tracy said...


In my spare time, I'll produce the DVD, lol!

Seriously though, It's something that has been thought about, but hasn't moved past that stage :(

Ideally, a workbook/DVD would be a great combination.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Tracy! I've gotten so motivated reading your blog I dropped 4 pounds just by stepping up the pace of my workouts. Can't wait for the kettlebell to arrive.

I hope that you and your husband are able to produce those work-out dvds! Let us know when we can pre-order. ;-)

Tracy said...


4lbs..great! Keep me posted.

Now....If I could only get, say, I don't know, maybe a couple hundred people to pre order, maybe I can quit my job and get that DVD produced! LOL