I did it! GRADUATION POST
I have so many things to say about this last 90 days, and many mixed feelings about reaching day 90; pleased to have achieved so much, but sad to move on from the comfort zone of KB1.
I've discovered muscles I've not seen for 25 years! Biceps are bigger, triceps actually do something, my quads eventually stopped hurting, my deltoids have appeared from nowhere, I've lost a stone and a half, 2 inches off my waistline and everyone says I'm looking thinner. I feel good. I'm now a dab hand with egg white smoothies, I now eat breakfasts, I don't cram sugary stuff after hours at work. In the supermarket I always feel like the healthiest guy at the checkout - I love that.
In reality though, this programme for me was not about becoming Mr Universe - that was never going to happen. But I wanted to change things having reached 50. Let me rephrase that .... I needed to change things. KB1 has done that and I'm already thinking about what programme to head for next.
So the term 'graduation' doesn't feel quite correct right now - I see this as 'work in progress'.
In true Oscar style, I want to thank a few people. Firstly a big shout out to Adelyn and Nate for their support all the way through and their patience with waiting for my blogs. Secondly thanks to team Lepus - I've really enjoyed reading all your blogs and feel I've got to know you as friends; really impressed by all the results everyone has achieved. Last but not least I want to thank my good friend Jonathan Berney over in HK. He got me into Kenzai and I really appreciate that. I'll be watching his progress as he works his way through KB3.
That's it from me - I'll leave you with a view from my final workout. Missing you all already! 😢
Unfortunately the last two weeks have not gone well for me on Kenzai. Week 11 was half wiped out due to feeling really ill, and although I managed to push through the exercise, I only hit 3 out of the 6 sessions. But I kept to the diet.
Then week 12 I felt better, but have been on vacation. I travelled with the bands, mat and and skipping rope and managed 3 sessions out of the 6, but most of the days were very active with quite a lot of walking. But having started the week with great intentions to stick to the diet, by day two I had succumbed to the large communal evening meals and the diet slowly went out of the window. That said, I managed to avoid most of the sugary stuff but couldn't avoid having a beer or two.
So I arrive in this last week off the back of two really poor weeks. This has made me incredibly determined to get this week right and finish as strongly as I can. What has become really noticeable is how depressed I feel when I don't get the exercise sessions under my belt.
Anyhow, this last week I have enjoyed some nice scenery - with training outside, the picture here is of my gym buddies last week. These guys would getting very interested in the skipping. Luckily there was a fence between us!
Frustratingly, just as I want to up the effort, I find myself aching and dizzy - not from the failure sets but because I've come down with a virus. Tried to sweat it out by training yesterday morning, but I feel worse this morning and am having to sit the training out. Going to see how things are this evening. I hate being ill, and this is rubbish timing.
I took a decision that to get the most out of the last 25 days I'm upping the effort by (carefully) taking the bands up a level or two. So far everything feels good and I can feel the extra burn. Although the sessions have always felt effective, I kind of wish I'd done this earlier, but better late than never.
Since we went over to timed skipping my ability to skip seems to have gone out of the window. Don't want to 'break the rules' here, but I'm seriously thinking about going back to counting sets of skips. And I'm pretty sure I'm doing a lot less skipping now than before.
The other thing I have noticed throughout the programme is how the thing that stops me skipping for a long time isn't breathlessness, not my back, nor my knees, but my calves. It's difficult explain, but the burn I feel in my calves isn't like any other muscle burn when you feel you're really working them, but this is more like they just suddenly tighten up and it's impossible to push through. I've tried stretching them beforehand, stretching them in between sets, but nothing really makes a difference. They've done this since day one so nothing new, although I suspect it has got a little worse as time has gone on. It just seems to be the thing that stops me from skipping progress.
My home from home this week has been a small hotel in Aachen, Germany, and sticking to the diet has been really tricky but I've tried hard. Barely a boiled egg or egg white to be seen here. So I have had to adapt the hotel breakfasts as best I could. Having been taken out for lunch every day, I managed to be really good and stick to the salads, but on Friday I'm afraid I couldn't avoid the Snitzel any longer. And boy was it good.
Travelling back home today, so I can get back into the diet properly again.
Exercise has been good though. I travelled with the bands but forgot the skipping rope, but as the hotel had a small fitness suite, I replaced the skipping with the elliptical machine. Now when I say fitness suite, it was pretty small, but I still managed to do the Creep - just praying that nobody saw me!
Made it! Halfway, and I must admit I am already worried about how day 91 is going to feel. Pushed out in the wide world without someone telling what to eat. My biggest worry is that I'll end up in some crazy junk food fest in McDonalds.
So yesterday's exercises were interesting, or at least the V-sit. I loved the video which shows how not to do it - because I'm pretty sure that is exactly what I looked like! I'm slowly building up a small collection of exercises that I classify as 'I'll get this in the end'. And the V-sit goes firmly onto that list.
I've been very pleased lately with the lunchbox I bought online so I thought I'd share a photo.... perfectly proportioned for Kenzai portions...
One of the things I really like about the exercise instructions on Kenzai is the little diagram which shows which muscle groups an exercise is trying to target. I find that this lets me know immediately if I need to adjust things slightly if the wrong muscle groups are doing the work. Nearly every time I can get the right muscles working. However, oddly there is one exercise, the 'Close hand downward row', that I simply can't target at the lats. For me it's almost all bicep work going on. I'll keep trying with it though when it pops up in the program.
Ok, I admit it - I'm not a prolific blogger and it's taken me a while to get back to the keyboard to send an update. Last week I found myself getting busier at work and my workouts got later and later, so much so that I had a couple of nights skipping in the dark with just bats for company. Then while I was negotiating the added twist of lightning one evening I decided to change things around and start to do my training in the morning. Better - much better.
I've noticed some nice changes with the exercises. When I was first presented with the triceps dip some weeks back, I simply couldn't do it and replaced it with another tricep exercise. Then last week I figured I'd just try it again - and to my surprise it was 'easy'. That was a high point.
The low point though must have been trying to eat scrambled egg whites. Once I twigged that making the things disappear in a smoothie was much more convenient then life improved.
Sorry for not writing sooner - I've been plugging away in the background and sticking to the plan. Even right now my family are eating apple strudel, while I am sizing up exactly which vegetable looks tasty enough for a snack... 😩
Ok, I appreciate that to some more expert skippers out there this may sound a little tame, but last night I think I finally sussed out this skipping business and got through 100 without stopping. Next target 150.... by day 90, I want to be skipping like Muhammad Ali !!
Like everyone else, I'm determined not cheat on any of the exercises and have been giving all of them maximum effort - but last night one of them defeated me completely; the negative pull up. When you're a heavy guy looking for a lighter future, like me, there's a time and a place for this exercise - and I'm just not at that point yet. So what I'm looking for is a replacement exercise for the time being.
This last three weeks of skipping have been a bit of a journey for me. Now I've never been great at skipping, but I'm learning fast. After two weeks I found I was experiencing back ache and very stiff knees and I figured it was the skipping, especially as that's when the back ache starts. So, before I saw the lesson on skipping I figured out one or two things that have really helped:
Firstly - get the length of the skipping rope right - nothing to do with the back ache, but certainly helps me do more reps without tripping up. Record so far is 53, which may sound low but for me that's a lot.
Secondly, don't skip on a hard surface - now I drag the gym mat outside and skip on that and it's seriously improved things;
Thirdly, look straight ahead - I'm pretty sure that I was bending my back and looking at the floor, and once I focussed on this issue then the back ache tends to stay away during the skipping;
Lastly, take care - still sometimes the back ache starts to creep up on me if I try to do too many reps in one hit - what I've found is that if I do the skipping in blocks of 50 reps, with say 15 second breaks, I can keep the pain at bay but still get the heart racing.
So the back ache is now getting better, but the knees are still stiff. The exercise tends to loosen them up, but sometimes when I kneel ... well I can't. It's not actually stopping me doing any of the exercises as there's no pain - ironically it is the stretches that are mostly affected.
I already know that my big mistake for years has been comfort eating; I've invested a lot of money to get a body like this! So that one statement in today's lesson really resonates with me - "stop approaching food and drink as coping mechanisms and start using food as fuel and medicine". Nice.
So this week makes me really nervous, as it's all about changing some long established habits and actually getting myself in front of the oven rather than the microwave. In my favour, I don't drink too much alcohol, so giving that up shouldn't be any problem. But just in case, like a condemned man, I treated myself last night to one last bottle of cider ...
Those otter kicks are the one exercise that surprised me most - I guess I knew the others would hurt but the otters looked sooo simple but by the final rep I'm really feeling it, which I didn't expect.
No pain, no gain!