Cecilia A.

Cecilia A.

Kenzai Member
Trainer
My Camp Family
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I've been involved with the Laurel Foundation (aka Camp Laurel) since 2006. They are an amazing organization based in California that provides services for children and families impacted by HIV/ AIDS. Simply put, Camp Laurel provide a place where kids get to be kids. Somehow this organization through its donors and volunteers and lean staff create a magical world where racism, poverty, discrimination, bullying, and hate cease to exist for a few days. I know it's hard to believe, but it's true. And they do this several times a year. This is the elixir that draws back so many of the volunteers year after year, season after season. Once you've tasted the nectar, it's hard to stay away. Once introduced your soul recognizes and attaches to this environment of love and light and unicorns.

The children that we serve are sassy, feisty, playful souls some of whom have gone through more obstacles than most kids their age. Some have behavior issues, but for periods of time, they too are able to enjoy the goofy joys of being a kid at camp. I returned a few days ago from being a camp counselor and once again, it was an wonderful life affirming experience. I have been around long enough that I am now seeing some of the former campers return as counselors and wow... to see a little rascal grow up to be a kind and motivated college student who is studying biology, playing music, and running the LA marathon just swells my heart. #swolheart

However, hand in hand with Camp is a phenomenon know as Post Camp Withdrawal (PCW). Am now in the height of PCW and I have it bad. Am also detoxing from a week of junk food and no sleep which also serves to aggraviate the PCW. But be the change you want to see right? Instead of staying in bed until racism and inequality are obliterated and a cure for HIV is found- let me drag myself up from my the laces of my sneakers, eat some vegetables, and go forth in the world with love and positivity. And maybe sell a few houses along the way. Bills need to be paid after all.

I leave you with this little gem about dancing penguins. Soldier on friends, soldier on. http://goo.gl/PKnYxJ

(There are no kids in the video or photo due to privacy protection.)


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I fell in love with yams/ sweet potato when I did Kenzai back in 2012 and the love affairs has continued to this day.

Meet my friend, Mr. Purple Yam. I first discovered him at the Asian supermarket down in Los Angeles and lucky me, I was able to find him up here in SLO as well.

Here is what you do: Use an angry fork, stab it meanly a few times, and throw it in the oven at 375 Fahrenheit. Check back in an hour and when everything is slightly oozy and you can poke your fork in it easily... you know it's done. Beautiful gorgeous delicious yam. I eat it plain (with the skin). It's a vegetable, it's a dessert... it's a treat!


Fancy seeing you around this part of town again...

It's been nearly 2 years since I started my Kenzai (f/k/a PCP) journey and things have progressed basically as Patrick Reynolds predicted in his Day 90 message. I'm pretty sure he has a crystal ball- I never slipped back to my pre-Kenzai level of eating or non-working out and I just keep building higher and higher peaks. Vanity? Perhaps or maybe... I really did start a new lifelong journey with Kenzai.

In the years since Kenzai Body, I moved back to the States and am currently based in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. And where daily temperatures of 72 Fahrenheit means I can skip rope outside year round. Which is pretty much what I did for a year until I got bored/curious/brave and searched for other ways of staying fit.

It was awesome the first time I showed up to a Muay Thai gym(Thai kickboxing) and I could keep up from an athletic standpoint. Seeing the power and strength built from floor jumps, duckwalks, and ab exercises translate into a Muay Thai roundhouse kick helped bridge the gap between being in shape for vanity's sake and being in shape for the sake of being strong, healthy, functionally fit. Muay Thai led to additional body conditioning and now, kettle bell deadlifts, snatches, and military presses are a part of my fitness vocabulary. If you told me this 2 years ago, I would have laughed in disbelief.

A whole new world opened up to me as a result of completing Kenzai Body, which is pretty damn cool.


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Kenzai, You Complete Me 
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PCP has got to be one of the hardest things I've ever done in my entire life.  Also hands down one of the most worthwhile journeys I've been on.  How does that saying go- give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him, his friends, and his entire village for a lifetime?  That's exactly how I feel.  

Patrick and his team made good on their promise- I am ready to fire him because I now know how to take care of this body- I know how to get healthy, stay fit, and eat right!

I came into the program with zero fitness history, a lifetime of inactivity, and a deep love for sitting on my ass.  Oh, and eating.  But I had a dream.  I wanted to be fit, I wanted to be lean and strong.  I wanted to look like the many, many women in the hall of PCP Completes- healthy, toned, and transformed.  I tell you this so you would know that PCP is not just for the former skinnys or college athletes.  It's for anyone with a strong desire to get fit and willing to make some changes in order to get there.  Even someone like me with no prior experience of exercising was able to hang tough on the daily workouts.  And see the results!  It's not like now on Day 92 I suddenly love the idea of hiking or other forms of physical activity that people do for "fun" (I don't), but I can tell you that I will continue with my jump rope and band exercises because I like the effects on my body.

Your life will change when you do PCP, no doubt about it.  At first it seems to be just superficial, deprivation changes like not eating out at restaurants as much or giving up soda.  But somewhere along the line, almost imperceptibly, the mental shift comes.  I don't WANT that Coke Zero, and I don't want to eat out at restaurants so damn much (no matter how well reviewed the place might be) because of how it affects my body.  I am more in tune with my body than I was 90 days ago and I can choose to listen to it today.  The roar of all the fat and preservatives and chemicals and salt and sugar in my diet before was deafening, and drowned out any SOS signals or cues that body was sending to my brain.  I just sat with not feeling good all the time.  I didn't know what else to do about it.  

That was 90 (ish) days ago.  It's no longer like that.  It will never be like that again.  Ignorance is not bliss.  I have basic knowledge about health and fitness and a solid foundation of a strong body from which to build for the rest of my life.  I can't tell you how empowering this feels.  There is also growing acceptance that Gwyneth Paltrow and I don't share the same body type and that is OK.  We're all unique beautiful snowflakes in that way.    

The online community that each group is centered upon is amazing.  I read everyone's blogs and each member's blogged experience helped me through another day.  SO MUCH CYBER LOVIN'.  The comments and conversation with each other and the trainers have been so invaluable.  I've learned so much from all of you- how to age gracefully and catch chickens, how to raise loving and healthy daughters, how not to ride your motocycle, how to make a breakfast of the champions, how to have a sense of humor, how to make lambchop, how to travel the world in 80 days, and how to write a haiku and a heck of a lot more.  I'm not sure I could have completed PCP without the online community of Team Cerite.  It certainly wouldn't have been nearly as fun and POSITIVE.  Sean, Helen, Suzanne, Jessica, Angela, Anna, Darryl, Sharon, Sid, Pam, and Sarah- fistbumps and highfives all around.  Thank you so much for your support and encouragement and your blogs!    

I wasn't able to go back to Pure and weigh myself on their fancy machine, because I'm no longer a member there but incredibly, Ms. Former Bean Counter ain't so concerned.  I know what I see in the mirror.   Every pair of pants/ shorts/ skirt that I own are now too loose on the waist and thighs so that should speak for itself.  Roughly speaking I lost about 13 pounds (5.9 kgs) not sure how many percent in body fat.  I'm going to take some time to rest and maintain where I'm at but hopefully by the end of the year, I will have reached another peak- that of the Great Abs Peak.  

Two days done and I haven't gone nuts on the food other than our breakfast at the Mandarin yesterday.  Yesterday I inhaled many a crossant-like carb (both in its savory and sweet form) but I was no longer drawn to the ham or bacon or sausage.  Ms. Porkbelly Queen no more.  But I will say that sugar will probably be my downfall if I don't watch it.  Just because I don't like chocolate doesn't mean I don't have a sweet tooth!  But I'm not too worried.  Today, all I've wanted was some simple protein and veggies and fruit and have stuck to the 80% maxim.  I know how to fish!  It ain't so hard once you get the hang of it.  I never thought I'd say that.  It felt really hard for most of the program, and then it clicked.  Had to go through some dark storms to get here of the mental and emotional variety but wow, feels good to stop the emotional eating and just dealing with the problem in front of me.  

Team Cerite, I hope you all feel as proud of yourself as I do.  Ninety days is a long, long, longass time and we did it!!!  90 days of workouts, 90 days of PCP training diet, 90 days of working, thinking, listening to our bodies.  Completing this program takes some major mental and physical endurance and discipline.  Please don't ever doubt that you're tough as shit and you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.  For all the new people who's starting PCP or considering this journey, know that PCP will be really hard but it will absolutely work if you work it!  Good luck and godspeed.  


Day 89: My Rocky Moment

Faced down on the mat in a quivering sweaty mess of muscles, not exactly heroic, but triumphant all the same!  Super supersets, I owned your ass.  

The tyranny of the shoulders/biceps/ triceps triumvirate reign felt like eternity and I hit failure basically around 10 on the da vincis and forward raises.  There were moments where I cursed Patrick and his (unborn?) offsprings. It was the longest hour of my life (not including cool down stretches).   But did I mention how awesome I felt for getting through it and just being done with today's insane workout?  
I can't believe it's day 89!  I really like PCP but am so glad it's almost done, mentally I need a little break.  I am sooo looking forward to 8 am breakfast buffet with Sean on Day 91!  


Day 87

Supersets were super fun!  Day 86 with the inclined pull ups and chest dips I was climbing up, ducking down all over the playground gym- it was like a PCP obstacle course with the drill sergeant in my head going Go, Go, Go!  Kinda fun.  

Before the workout, I was a zombie going through my day.  My head ached, my muscles so sore, and I couldn't walk right because the leg workouts killed me on Sunday.  I don't do well with 4 hours of sleep but after the exercises, wow!  Reading Suzanne's blog right before I started my workout really motivated me.  (Thanks Suz!)  What a blast of energy, I was so high on endorphin and my day started anew.  I showed up for a work event after the workout totally On and totally rockin the mountain pose.  

Day 87's workout came and went at 7 am.  I don't get a pre-workout snack so I was starving by the time the Da Vinci's came around.  My mind kept telling me that I can stop and save the rest for the evening, that I should eat breakfast but I powered on.  After the last set of side crunches, there was such a burst of joy and sunshine and puppies in my soul- I'M DONE FOR THE DAY, AND NOW I GET TO EAT YOGURT & FRUIT!!! I was in such a good mood, filled with love for all of humanity.  Really, no joke. I literally had that thought, "I love everyone and everything."

I can't really walk down any stairs now without grimacing, but whatever I rejoice in this pain.  Besides, them thighs are going to look good in a thigh-hugging skirt/ jeans/ shorts/ buff.  

How high we're soaring now makes me realize just how low I was before!  And may be how not hard I was pushing myself for the last 2 weeks.  Yikes.  THREEEEE MORRRRREEE DAYS!!!! 


Sabotage!

I am so excited for Super Sets, I can't sleep.  Really!  Sometimes this happens to me.  I get so excited for all the stuff happening in the week that I can't sleep on Sunday nights.  It's like I'm a six year old.  

It's 3 am in HK and I've been tossing and turning for the past 4 hours.  A 6 am workout is looking highly unlikely.  Along with a decent night's sleep.  For shame!  I was really looking forward to getting super freaky on my Super Sets.  

At this point, I'll be lucky to just trudge through afterwork tonight.  Annoyed face.  


Day 85: Counting Down!

My awesome PCP community, I am so sorry I have been amiss.  It feels like for the past 80 days, I've put many aspects of life on hold and really made PCP and blogging a top priority.  But the past 5 days, I've just been slammed from different directions- I found and signed to rent a new apartment and will be moving on day 91 among other things!  

I've kept true to PCP work outs and the diets... mostly.  About 80% on the diet- had a major slip last Wednesday at a home cooked authentic Thai dinner at a dear friend's going-away.  I wasn't even hungry! Talk about lack of self control, Jessica, you ain't got nothing on me.  But that was my first slip (not counting the over indulgent indulgences!) in 80-something days so I didn't feel too bad about it- just afraid of me going back to my old ways whenever I'm out with friends!

Mentally, I'm finally climbing out of the valley, but I was really in the black black tar pits of PCP hell for a while.  

Switched back to music during the skips instead of listening to NPR, and it has made a difference.  I'm still tripping quite a bit, but skipping is fun again.  I danced around and did my version of the boxer shuffle and a few other little tricks.  I'm still double bounce and don't think this brain of mine can ever get the hang of single bounce skips.  

It hasn't been as hot and humid in HK these last few days so my heat rash is getting better as well.   Gave it all I got during the leg exercises today, by the time the shoulder raises came around, I was basically almost done.  Felt like throwing up midway through, made my way sloppily through the rest of the sets.  Chicken wings a bit better and I was back to form on the shoulder flys. I will finish strong although I really doubt I'm going to LOVE my final day 90 result.  I know I've come a ways, but not quite where I hoped to be.  It was probably an unrealistic fantasy but still, the disappointment is there.  Sorry for the negativity, but just got it lay it out there.  Sean and I will be doing Chisel, just gotta decide August or October... hmmmmmmmmm.  


Day 80

Did my full sets of bicycles today, which is a big victory compared to my cop-out last week (I quit after the first 30 seconds on set 1, not my proudest moment).  But today, I completed them and I'm giving myself a gold star.  The bicycles were killer, I could barely walk afterward, my upper thighs, my lower abs were all just wiped out.  In fact, when I swung up my leg to rest my foot on the short wall to do my usual cool down stretch, I almost missed the wall entirely.  My muscles were just so tired.    

Confession: I listened to This American Life during the bicycles to get me through (it's a public radio show on NPR in the States).  I know we're not supposed to distract ourselves from the PAIN but I really needed Ira Glass to get me through the 60 seconds.  I did this for the planks as well yesterday.  I try to check in on my form during each set though.  I'm weak, I'm sorry!

I was in full grumpy mode for most of my workout, ok, the ENTIRE workout (poor Sean can attest to this) but was sooo happy to be done and eating my yogurt & berries snack afterward. It was heaven.  

This fruit & yogurt combo is seriously the highlight of my day:  High from the exercises, Pride that I got through the entire workout, Relief that I don't have to exercise again for another 24 hours, and Joyous that a big bowl of delicious cold sweetness is in front of me.  NOTHING could be better.  When I told this to my coworker, his look of puzzlement did not match my level of excitement for yogurt & fruit.  It was bizarre.

The training messages have always been spot-on and I'm especially looking forward to the next 9 messages.  I'm excited to not only maintain this fit physique and life style but also to continue to make deep structural fat loss on my own.  I don't need 12% body fat and a six pack or anything, but just a bit more to go in the midsection.  Maybe Chisel in August or October is the best route?  I'm sure Patrick & team have this covered in the next few days.  I do love this PCP program.      


Rash!

The appearance of ghastly rash all over my arm and underneath is preventing me from taking my week 12 photo.  Gotta draw the line somewhere.   But boooooooo.  Hope this will clear soon!  

Still don't feel like I have a good hang of my new diet, especially when I work out after work- it's A LOT of food to crush through before bed.  As a result, I feel like I've gotten BIGGER in my midsection again.  Ugh.  So much more proteins and I always try to eat more veggies than meat, so I end up with a lot on my plate in the evening.  

For one reason or another, morning workouts have not been happening.  Mostly because I've been having trouble sleeping and since I do try to get at least 7 hours of sleep- I haven't been able to fit in the exercises before work.  I miss them morning workouts, they were a great way to start the day.  

Counting down to Day 90, I've laid a great foundation for the rest of my life- muscle memory baby- but am sure that Day 90 will not be my Peak.  It's all good though, I've come a long way.  The bands I ordered from the US FINALLY arrived today.  I placed the order before the program even started and now that we are near the ends, I have 6 extra bands in all sorts of color.  I use them to count my sets.  

Roasted 1 huge yam last night- cubed and sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon.  45 minutes in the oven at 240 C.  A tiny tiny tiny tiny bit of oil on the bottom of the pan.  I usually dab it on with a paper towel.  

A huge yam shrinks down to nothing when all the moisture gets sucked out of it.  And now it's all in my tummy.  All of it.  Breakfast and dinner.  Oops.  


Day 77: Final Indulgence!
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Sean and I went for some amazing Korean BBQ beef, seafood pancake, japchaei, assortments of Korean appetizers, plus some rice.  Didn't go crazy on the portions, but it was way heavier on the proteins than anything else. For those of you who has never had Korean BBQ, let me tell you that they marinade the beef in some delicious sauce (crack + sugar?) of some sort and it's sooo tender.  It was all sooo good, and it didn't taste too salty at all.  The salt didn't hit me til afterward- in fact I'm still feeling thirsty. I also ordered a coke zero at the end of the meal, which I couldn't finish.  

An hour later we headed out for coffee and cake at Cova and two (small) pieces of chocolate with some friends. And this is when things took a turn for the worst.  Started to feel full and an energy drop and was sooo tired and heavy by the end of the hour.

Once again, forgot to take pictures of the dessert as we demolished those as soon as they were set down in front of us.  Oops!!

I'm sitting here cramped and full and it's been FOUR hours since I put that final piece of chocolate in my mouth.  Skipped dinner because I'm in Indigestion City.  I'm glad I did my skips this morning, can't imagine jumping around when my tummy still feels soo heavy.  Jeez Louise I feel awful.  Can't wait until this food is out of my system and I can be healthy clean on PCP compliant food.  It really does feel better.  Doing this might be ok once every 30 days though.  :)  

Am getting excited to crush these last 13 days!!!

  

 


Day 75

I'm still here!  Work has been massively busy, actually life has been massively busy and wish I had more time to devote to my friends and relationships instead of PCPing all the damn time.  Today is Sean's birthday and it's looking like the celebration will have to be postponed since I have to go exercise after a late work day today.

Our quarterly work dinner was last night, I booked us a table at Lupa (yep, by the same Mario Batali) and watched my coworkers indulge in amazing looking pasta and cheeses and charcuterie and decadent dessert.  I had two very blah salads and some steamed fish and a fruit plate.  It was rather sad looking/ tasting and much blander than what I could have whipped up in my PCP kitchen.  True!

I haven't done my exercises today yet as I got home too late from the work dinner and so needed to sleep in.  I really do try to get over 7 hours of sleep.  For PCP but also for the general wellfare of everybody involved.  
Exercise will have to wait until after work where a good colleague is leaving the firm. There will be Cake & Beer time for her farewell.  Neither of which I will indulge in- saving my allotment for Sean's birthday meal.  

But here is the description of the farewell cake from Cova- it's a mix fruit creme dome:  3 layers of chiffon sponge cake with mixed fruits in fresh cream / pastry cream.  I DIE at that description.  Today's message is only half right... I'm not nearly as excited for the savory food indulgence, but I do look forward to the dessert!!!  

I can't believe my skips are still so, so shoddy on a daily basis, but no matter, getting my 20 minutes done everyday. I guess those neuron connections just isn't happening.   

And now ladies and gentlemen, I too have a confession- I didn't do my bicycles on Day 73!  I attempted 30 seconds and decided I just couldn't do them.  I did 8 minute abs instead.  Bad I know.  I also had one or two or 5 pinches of cheese at Lupa last night.  I don't feel that bad.  

There's always some part of my body that is tight and sore almost constantly now... really looking forward to day 90.  I am tired and looking forward to a small rest.  

Good news:  My work pants continue to get looser, and now am sweeping the ground.  Should I start wearing 4" heels to work?  Yikes.

Bad news: Much of the midsection/ back/ arm fat most definitely still there.  This might be a year long project!


I so, so, so needed to hear Sarah's message just now.  I've been plodding on, but I've been feeling my motivation lagging.  I've made some great changes, but I didn't think I would reach my peak condition on day 90, maybe on day 180 but not 90.   I started to make peace that the stubborn belly fat & wings under the arm were still going to with me for a while longer yet so it has been harder than ever to give the workouts my all.  And like Sarah said, I was a bit in the mode of this is as good as it's going to get.

I've been PCP compliant even in the face of some delicious home-made chocolate covered pretzels that a girlfriend made for a party, but the exercises have been a drag.  Sarah's video totally called me on my deflating motivation, and once again reminded me that I ain't no snowflake and what I'm going through mentally is normal.  And also most importantly, more CHANGES are coming my way if I continue to push.  And push on I will and am hoping I'm climbing out of the valley now.

Am loving the new diet tweaks, my fruit allotment has increased 3 folds, and I now get an amazing bowl of yogurt and fruit after my exercises!  Will try to focus on this instead of the 5 sets of 60 second bicycles coming our way tomorrow.  

As I am typing this, my biceps are jellooooo, AWESOME.  It was hard pushing the standing o's to failure, I should probably look at the video again to make sure I'm doing it right.    


Day 67: Ch-ch-changes

My diet is changing slightly... finally had enough of my lactose-related bloatedness  and discomfort.  I basically go from mid-morning to the time I sleep in the painful, painful state of feeling my lactose intolerance.  I've been toughing it out, but those days are over.  Will come off of yogurt and substitute it with milk and see if that makes a difference.  
This is sad news as I love my yogurt.

Manfriend Sean was over last night and helped me take my Week 10 photo, he also took a picture of my back which I compared to a Day 1 shot.  Wow is all I have to say.  Tunnel vision gone!  I will post a comparison shot on my final blog.

Looking at the photo, I once again realize I'm a strong girl.  I'm getting lean but I am strong & healthy looking.  I don't know what body type it's called, but it's the strong muscular one.  AND IT'S NOT A BAD THING.  I can either accept that this is my body and grow to love it as never before... OR I can continue to live in a distorted fantasy and feel bad/ less than because I'm not waifish or Gwyneth Paltrow slender.  Serenity will come when there is true acceptance.  And acceptance might only come a day-at-a-time.  Today I am good in my body.  

Kung fu sit ups were a hot mess yesterday, I kept slipping off of the bar (with gloves on no less!).  I think I did 3 sets of 3 and finally gave up.  Bicycles were not great, didn't make it to 60 seconds on any of the sets but I gave it my best shot.  Did 8 minute abs right when I got home from the park so hopefully sorta made up for my dismal abs workout.  

Been eating a lot of baked yams, maybe 60 grams at each meal along with other veggies.  I love it and hope it's not bad I'm eating it everyday, at every meal.  I rationalize that I'm eating plenty of other veggies along with it, but.... 

Will be pushing hard these last 24 days, I may not have a perfectly flat tummy but gosh darn it, more abs will be revealed and I will have nice guns.  Go Cerite!


Day 65: All Good
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All good in the hood, under the hood, looking good in the hood.  

The sets are getting looooonnnggger, really had to use every mental trick in the book to get through them.  10 more... ok, how about 5 more?  Psych! Give me 3 more!  

Like a few others, I'm a little nervous about the reintroduction of a proper dinner, as I would like to continue the deep fat cutting, but the trainers know exactly what they're doing so I'm trusting them on this.  

Our buddy Mike, from the Diamond group, had us over an amazing PCP lunch on Saturday.  It was sooooo good.  I can eat like this for the rest of my life.  There are moments where I can really glimpse a healthy, PCP life style going forward.  But I can't look that far yet, I can only focus on the 7 sets of inclined pull ups in front of me for tomorrow.   


Jun 8th, 2017

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