Cece Aiello

Cece Aiello

Kenzai Member
Trainer
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The days are short and the work is long. Often the only times when I have time to eat my fruit snacks are when I'm driving on the road. Bananas are great for that. But a girl can only eat so many bananas in a day- two to be exact- and with the pre-workout banana on the menu, I need to find more road-friendly, on the fly options. The second best fruit for life on the run... drum roll please....

Kiwis!

I learned a while ago while doing research for a K-Note that a kiwi can be eaten whole, fuzzy peel and all. This was news to me as I have been eating it my entire life with a spoon- digging out the flesh and throwing away the skin. Because really, who wants to eat brown fuzzy peel even if it packs a mean punch in fiber and vitamin C?? Alas, desperate times call for desperate measures. When there's no time to weigh out/ prepare your fruit snack (cut/ core/ peel) and your oversized bag cannot possible fit another item- especially precious cargo that could get smashed- it's time to bust out the kiwi.

It's compact, it's self contained (no peeling necessary!), it's not overly juicy so unsightly juice stains are not the norm, and there's not a whole of variance in size so they all pretty much weigh the same. It can be eaten safely with only one hand while the other steers the car, and perhaps most importantly, it won't mess up the lipstick too much when done properly. So many virtues. And it's green! Who doesn't love a good green fruit? It's so fun to eat. The fuzzy peel doesn't bother me at all. It's pretty good actually. Next time you're in a hurry, just grab a couple of kiwis and head out the door- you'll be golden.

30 Day Check In:

Weight: STABLE.
I am bringing up weight because often trainees get pretty demotivated about the scale not budging downward after working so hard for a month. We probably sound like a broken record player at this point, but it bears repeating- the scale really doesn't matter!

I am crushing so much more food now compared to pre-KB2 and still the scale still has not gone up. Not that the concern was based in reality, just that sometimes old thinking still sneaks up on me too. In the months leading up to KB2, my diet was crap- not in what I ate but how much I ate. I was eating enough to survive and that was all. But now I am eating to *thrive.* Such a world of a difference eating to survive vs. eating to thrive. Thrive mode feels good- Body feels stronger, weight is stable, and clothes are fitting looser. I trust that more gains is to come, absolutely.

Waist: DOWN 0.5 inch.

Diet: 100% pure love (this week)!

Current Mood: Awesomesauce and motivated.


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If my life was a rom-com feature, wouldn't this be about the point in the story arc where something disrupts the budding romance between the protagonist and the numero uno love interest? You know, to create dramatic tension, punish hubris, and provide opportunities for growth. Blah blah blah. Well, dear readers, I aim to not disappoint... I have been withholding some information about the Professor...

But first, let's talk about these white jeans. I've always loved white jeans- to me they scream casual Hamptons chic- a look that is particularly hard to pull off when one has never been to the Hamptons and so for all I know, the beautiful people of the Hamptons don't wear white jeans at all. But I digress. I've always loved white jeans but have never owned a pair because they are very, very, unforgiving. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.

But I bought these jeans online a few days ago and I purposely bought them 1 size too small. The pictures do not do them justice, so you just have to believe me- they are so dang tight right now. My very Chinese mother would call them sausage casings. So the challenge is for me to confidently and comfortably strut around in these jeans come Day 90, without invoking any pork-related metaphors. The key to motivating someone is finding their driver- well made, WELL FITTING, beautiful clothes motivate me to the moon and back. They are fully refundable in 60 days but Lord knows I love spending money so I hope I don't have to return them!

So yes, the Professor...well. The fact is that this dear man is...

Not completely single. Not legally at least. God, that makes me sound like a tart. So here’s the low down: The man filed for divorce in April after TEN years of marriage (!!!), and it will be finalized at the end of this month. On my birthday, incidentally. Of course I didn't know any of this when I agreed to meet him for a beer for the first time that fateful night in August.

Against my better judgement, a beer turned into a date turned into a 3 hour tour. But now I'm afraid that the tour has come to an end.

It all came down to a simple, single disruptive word- BROWNIES. Just kidding, it came down to Timing! Oh Timing, you got me good here- but we gotta do, what we gotta do. The farewell was very amicable and as a true sign of friendship in this modern age, we've agreed to be Facebook pals.

Dating and Kenzai is a combustible duo and it has forced me to be super selective in who I share my food grams with and less generous in determining who is worth the extra calories for a glass of wine. While the Professor was worth it, I can’t say I’m dying to jump back into the game this very second. We train too hard to just blow it! A friend messaged today with a man’s picture and said an architect was waiting behind Door Number 2, will I open it? I don’t know… maybe I will just focus on fitting into those white jeans for a bit.


Day 27: There's the Rub
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Coffee grind (medium coarse), paprika, cumin, and pepper- hold the salt.

The dessert the Professor had planned for us to make together was actually my least favorite in the entire universe- brownies! I don't like brownies, I don't understand the appeal of brownies, I don't like the density of brownies, the color, or much about it. Every time I eat brownies, I just wish it was fluffier and more cake like, and I end up resenting the fact that I'm not eating cake instead. After he picked me up and told me the dessert menu (home-made brownies and ice cream), I almost started crying. Really.

I felt terrible- terrible that I was about to waste my precious indulgence on a dessert I hate and terrible that if I said something, I would be the world's least grateful dinner guest. Oh, and I'm lactose intolerant.

Do I suck it up and just roll with it? Or do I say something and be judged as a high maintenance ingrate?? I'm an adult, is dessert really that important? Is he going to hate me? Why am I such a brat? Where's my voice and how am I going to use it? How is not really choosing my indulgence going to impact my will power? These were the thoughts racing through my mind as we drove to his house.

Honesty is the best policy so I bit the bullet... we stopped by WholeFoods and picked up an Apple Tart & Tiramisu to share after dinner. It was divine. Along with the wine and steak and fish and veggies. Wine not withstanding, everything was weighed to my lunch grams. Nothing is sexier than busting out the food scale while plating for dinner.

There's A LOT to be said about effort and intention but sometimes, direct feedback can be helpful- at least from my perspective. We'll see if he calls again!


I had recently written about the power of Visualization for Kenzai Life— so putting my money where my mouth was (or the keyboard in this case) I decided to sit down for a few sessions and give these visualization exercises a whirl. The twist here is that I’m visualizing the absolute impossible.

The idea is that by visualizing the most far out of scenarios, we unleash our imagination and the creative powers of the brain. When we get creative and experience the impossible in our imagination, the brain gets momentarily very confused about what is real and what is not. Briefly, all the rules that our higher functioning brain abides by falls away- and what happens when there are no rules? Chaos! Freedom! New possibilities! By experiencing the impossible, more of the “possible” that you didn’t know about can make itself known. Sounds rather hokey pokey new agey doesn’t it?

I gave it a try anyways. I like hokey pokey new age stuff. Come on, as I mentioned in one of my group introductions, when I have a yacht, I’m naming it Manifest.

I set my timer for 5 minutes (because I’m a busy, fully calendared woman) and sat crossed legged on the floor to do some extreme visualization. This week alone, I’ve been an ice skating Gold Medalist, trapeze artist extraordinaire (like Cirque du Soleil level good), and finally a flying bird woman with a 10 ft feathered wing span. Each time I really focused on imagining the coldness of the ice, the tightness of the leotard, the swoosh of the air, the hardness of the bar gripped under my fingers. I focused on feeling the sting of the air from 10,000 ft elevation on my skin and how having wings would feel. (Awesome, it would feel awesome.) It was all quite exhilarating really. The wind beneath my wings felt oh so good.

So I’m here to tell you that this kind of visualization really did work to remove cobwebs from the creative corners of my brain. Within minutes of my alarm going off on the 1st day, bringing me out of my aerial flying fantasy, a solution popped into my head for a business problem I’ve been stuck on for months and months. Suddenly, I had a cool new idea to tackle this challenge . A shift in perspective is always such a miracle for a fixed brain like mine.

So what the heck does this have to do with Kenzai? I’m getting there. I was thinking about all the different goals and hopes that bring people to Kenzai- whether it’s Body, ReBoot, or KenzaiBody2, or KenzaiRun… we want to be healthier, to be fitter, to challenge ourselves, to be around for our children, to have hot bods. All wonderful goals. But I wonder how often do trainees (myself included!!) have really just imagined themselves as insanely, talented world class athletes? This identity as a “fit person”, as an “athlete” for me is a recent evolution as I’ve blogged about in previous posts. Something that happened in my 30’s. So I’ve never ever imagined myself as being someone with amazing athletic abilities. Maybe some of you have, heck I bet there's even a good number of you who were college athletes! But maybe there are others like me where this athletic identity is still new and shiny.

There’s beauty in body acceptance and being OK with what’s possible at whatever stage of life we are and working within the confines of age and abilities…BUT!

But what would happen if for 5 minutes a day, we just imagined ourselves smarter than Roger Federer in tennis? Faster than Rhonda Rousey in an arm bar submission? Scored more points and played better defense than Lebron James? [Insert your sport icon of choice here] Look, a 5 ft 8 Asian woman who can’t dribble is not going to beat LeBron in basketball. Those are IMPOSSIBLE things. But how would my training change if I allocated a small portion of my brain to the fantastical, to the unreal, to the extreme? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. Care to join me? Keep the dream alive!

In other news, workouts continue to be 100%. Diet hovers around 90%- I did the math, 2 off color meals out of 21- not as terrible as I thought!

Day 25 Indulgence card will be cashed in with the Professor tomorrow. We’re making dinner, including dessert! And by we, I mean him. I’ll be bringing my A game to chopping tomatoes lest you think I'm taking advantage. He’s been bragging about his dessert skills for weeks, and tomorrow it’ll be put to the test. I'm visualizing a tiramisu, apple pie, strawberry shortcake with fresh cream, and walnut pecan bars in my belly. Stay tuned.


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Finally looked at the handstand tutorial on Youtube last night which took about 10 minutes then another 2 hours watching Taylor Swift videos. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.

Stage 1: Climbed/ walked my way into a wall facing handstand. Not too shabby on the 1st set! I 'learned by doing' that I must complete the handstands practice *before* I start the strength workouts or risk injury as I did on the 2nd set. Sweaty palms ain't doing me or my knees any favors. Goal is to hold this handstand for a minute and then move on to next progression.

Today's diet was a bit wonky as I made a new friend (not that kind of friend) and she was worth the splurge on eating out. Came home from the girl date famished as I missed my carbs and fruit grams and proceeded to binge on frozen figs and roommate's dried seaweed and kettle rice crackers. This is what my life has become- it's so...GOOP. Next I will tell you about how I finished off a pint of organic tofu ice cream. Just kidding, I didn't do that. I don't like tofu.

Turned down a date from a 3rd degree connection as I quickly discerned that he was probably not worth my dairy grams for a coffee date or any other part of my precious food allotment. #snapjudgements

Kenzai: helping single ladies stay single, longer!


Day 12 started off innocently enough- worked out, massage, breakfast, errands. A hike with the Professor was on the agenda to be followed by dinner.

Well what I though was a hike was turned into more of a long stroll on the beach (there might have been hand holding) with a picnic complete with fruit, veggies, hummus, and chilled wine. The setting was really quite perfect: the 80 degree sunny weather, the impossibly blue sky, the damn ocean waves- the kind of perfect that would have me rolling my eyes if I wasn't an active participant in the scene. I mean, come on- cliches exist for a reason right?

I kinda squealed (internally) when he took out the veggies. No cheese, no crackers, no chocolates. He was listening! Yea, he didn't get the memo on chickpeas and ALCOHOL but the effort was sweet. So I had a glass of wine. With pomegranate seeds. It was lovely... if I had stopped there.

I'm a big sharer of food and the whole communal eating experience- it kinda gutted me that at dinner we had to order separate and non-sharable apps/ entrees. There's nothing like biting into delicious food together and comparing taste notes. Look, nobody wants to try a dry salad with no dressing, no matter how much they like you. I could see the joy sparkling in his eyes as he tried to be mum on just how luscious his goat cheese fig pizza was. I made him tell me- he gushed a little bit but call it a woman's intuition, I could tell the bastard was holding back on me.

Dinner was on point... unless you count the part where my if-it-fits-your-macro thinking won out. I rationalized that if I traded dinner carbs for a beer- a divine Peanut Butter Milk Stout- I would maybe be in the green (and if I wasn't, I'd be in the pink, def not red zone) since I was far under on the lunch carbs. This is called BS Magical Thinking that is popular in some corner of the fitness world but not here at Kenzai. Then there might have been a small, tiny glass of port for dessert.

Was I Kenzai perfect? Not by a long shot. Did I consume far less food and drinks than I would have prior to KB2? By a lot actually. Do I need to learn to have non-food/ alcohol centric experiences? YES.


Day 10: Oh my god Becky
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Yep, about sums it up.

In the meantime, also been throwing in extra glutes-centric exercises in after the strength workout. The gluteal muscles, like abs, needs daily attention & TLC- such a prima donna.

Obsessed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reTx5sqvVJ4


My teammates inspire me so dang much.

From Elissa, I learned a new breakfast sandwich combo to try for tomorrow morning. From James, I was reminded to give blood. From Ward, I was shown what cool couples do together. This was just in the last 3 days.

From Jess, I'm inspired to learn how to do a handstand. Found some tutorials so hopefully, I'll be able to debut my handstand before the end of the 90 days.

For my alternative cardio today, I had planned to ride the bike around the neighborhood. Then I got outside and looked at the bike (my landlord's) and I realized, holy crap- I don't actually know how to ride a grown up bike! One with an elevated seat! And gears! It's embarrassing but I didn't even know how to begin climbing onto the monster. My short legs made touching the ground with my feet impossible. Impossibly scary. Clearly, I have some fears to work through in terms of the metal beast. So for my second goal, I'd like to learn how to ride a grown up bike... and while I'm at it with the bike, I'd like to learn how to pedal standing up, a move that I've long envied in others. Believe me, I know how elementary this goal is but hey, if I want it to stick, I have to make it public.

We all know that a byproduct of working hard and following the KB2 program is a banging physique (yes please) but it'll be up to me to bring together athleticism with a fit body. Yes, I'm looking forward to being able to say I can do 5 sets of 20 pushups and skip rope for a million minutes but I'm more looking forward to how that translates into the the handstand and riding a bike.

Post KB1/PCP, I kept the good eating habits and clean diet for the most part-ish. I've continued to workout regularly but it was often very sterile and compartmentalized (not counting my brief but heavy flirtation into Muay Thai). So for my 3rd goal, I'd like to make an even deeper shift in my lifestyle- to finding joy and fun in being active. This encapsulates my first 2 goals I know, but this is kinda the granddaddy of it all. Practice makes perfect, right?

Excited to start the real diet tomorrow and how that's going to impact date night with the Professor. Over the course of several dates, we've so far bonded over our mutual appreciation for his wine collection and his bloody fantastic culinary skills. Homemade pasta, rib eye steaks (medium rare with a coffee rub), paired wine (one for each course, naturally and don't get me started on the dessert wine)... so beginning this week, it's going to get interesting. And real. Real interesting.


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Thanks for leading the charge James! Went and gave blood today- the phlebotomist who took my blood said I was healthy as a horse. Yay! Afterward, they make you stay in the rest area where THE ONLY snacks are Oreos, Hot Coco, Chex Mix, and fruit juice concentrate. Now I understand that they're trying to give me a quick dose of sugar and carbs- but damn, lets not kill the "heroes" who are giving blood with a poor snack options.

Workouts been getting done first thing in the morning followed by a Kenzai approved breakfast. Soft boiled egg plus eggwhite plus veggies plus avo on toast plus a poor man's cafe au lait (microwaved 200 gm of milk + coffee). I can eat this everyday... oh wait, I do. I'm going to miss my AMAYW veggies.

Have a date tonight, we're firing up the grill for steak and veggies as he wanted to be supportive of my clean eating. We'll call him The Professor. We'll see if there are more stories to tell about him soon enough.


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Jump rope jam that got me over the hump at the 5 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Mighty fine to find myself here as a trainee! The timing couldn't be more perfect. I feel so emotionally, mentally, and physically ready for this awesome commitment.

So stats (as we all know I'm kinda a numbers brat):
weight: 134 lbs
waist: 27 inches

I ended Reboot in July at 138 lbs and have continued to drop a few more pounds as a result of the Breakup Diet, the younger, less committed sister of the Divorce Diet but still pretty bitchy.

It's what happens when you realize that the only thing that stops you from wallowing in poor decision making is work and well... work. Exercise went out the door as did normal eating habits. I didn't eat junk.. I just didn't eat. There's no time for eating or exercising when there's 15 hour work days to be had! And whiskey, because that's what friends are for.

Goals for KB2? Not really here for weight loss this time around- but let's see how toned I can get! And always working towards my life goal of doing a pull up. I would give up cheese for the rest of my life if it means I could pull my body weight up and over a bar.

Haven't touched the rope (or weights or bands) since early July so appreciating the slow ramp up.

Over and out!

(My jump rope corner in SLO, California... pretty sweet, even on an overcast day. )


New Moon, New Regime

With a mixture of anticipation, fear, excitement I clicked "submit"- I am onboard with KBII!

Watching the inaugural class of trainees go through the program so far has been nothing short of inspiring. Those kids are sweating it out, tearing it down, partying it up! Do I have what it takes to play? I've done it before but circumstances were different.

For one, a boyfriend and I completed KBI together- but this round I will be going it alone- Welcome to Singledom! It was easy to be a social hermit and stay on course when one's partner was home with you popping egg whites and munching on veggies. Now? Well, dating and meeting new people is fun... and a priority. I really don't want to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs on Friday nights for the next 3 months but what will Dating While Training look like?

How does one date without the ancient rituals of breaking bread and raising a cup of conscious altering beverage together? Fine, buck the trend and go hiking, go kayaking, go walk a dog. How many activity dates can one go on??? The sharing of glorious meals and libations are embedded in the social DNA across many cultures for a reason right? And here's the question that may lie at the heart of all this- how to juggle the desire for social/ romantic connections without sacrificing training goals? These and more questions shall be tackled. I am firmly in the camp that life has to be lived fully and deliciously at all times- no pause button! Though perhaps there is much to be said about seasons? I will report back.

But what better way to usher in Q4 and all that a new regime can embody? Looking forward to structure, reaching for the sky, and general badassery for the next 90 days with a crew of likeminded folks.

T minus 5 days. Time to take some selfies for the Nutrition Master.


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ReBoot Complete! 
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ReBoot delivers on exactly what it promised it would- I got back to a great rhythm with the diet and workouts in 28 days. The community support was huge and it was great to experience that again firsthand as a trainee. It was so much fun to do it with my fellow trainers.

I was not a perfect trainee but I am *super* happy with my gains and this journey! Perfectionism and bean counting tendencies were things that got highlighted in my first PCP journey so it's been a great lesson in learning how to be ok with myself when things don't go as planned this time around.

My starting stats:
146 lbs
waist: 29.5"

ReBoot Finish stats:
138 lbs
waist: 27"

Oh yea, those Hong Kong pants I mentioned on Day 1 of Reboot? They fit AMAZING again, Mission Accomplished!


Not really tunes... but a podcast! Not sure why it didn't occur to me before.

Terry Gross (of NPR fame) has been plugging TED RadioHour pretty hardcore the past few weeks so I finally gave it a try. It's no RadioLab but engaging enough for me to keep that rope turning without the usual bout of boredom for 19 minutes (and three 20-second breaks). Podcasts & skipping rope- This is a whole new world!

My favorite podcasts:
1. RadioLab
2. This American Life
3. FreshAir
4. Invisibilia
5. PlanetMoney
6. Death, Sex, & Money


What can I say friends? I've fallen a bit off the wagon- I've let personal stuff get in the way of my training. At the end of the day, what is more important- a fitness program or saving a relationship? But ah, that is not the real question.

The real question is who is more important? Not, "what is more important?" The question, as cliche as it is, is- do I put myself first?

It's interesting the trade offs we make in an effort to salvage what we kinda know needs to be released. Food, bad habits, relationships. The lessons of Kenzai actually goes beyond the getting fit and strong. Do we as trainees, as people, as individuals commit to ourselves first? Physically, mentally, emotionally.

This has been a good lesson for me. Not really one I wanted learn necessarily on this stage but here it is all the same. Here I go, picking up mentally where I left off mid last week and determined to end strong! For me. Go Team!


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BOOM! I think this is from 10th or 11th grade. Yay braces! Yay marching band!

Did I mention that the only reason why I joined marching band was to get out of gym class? Yep, I hated exercising THAT MUCH. I really meant it when I said Kenzai Body changed my life 3 years ago.


Jun 8th, 2017

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