Ed Center

Ed Center

Kenzai Reach | Day 43 (Member)
Assistant Trainer
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Things I Learned Along The Way 

  • May 10th, 2015 at 4:22AM

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The main lesson of Kenzai hit me on about day 50. It's that this isn't about fitting into the skinny shorts or seeing abs (although I like fitting into the skinny shorts and I see my abs almost peeking through). Kenzai body was learning what fitness looks and feels like for Ed at 43. I learned that I'm not going to have the body I had at 25. And I definitely am not going to be able to eat the shit I ate then and still have that waistline. But I learned what it takes to feel powerful, athletic, sexy and healthy at this age. I learned that I can do it with a busy career and a family. I learned that it will take a lot of work. I learned that it is impossible without a community of people to cheer, motivate, support, and critically, make fun of me along the way. Here are some other things I learned.

Fat is not the enemy. Neither are carbs. I knew this before, but all that low-fat shit from my formative years in the 80s and 90s had an impression on me. For the past three months I've had half an avocado, a poached egg, two pieces of toast, about half a steamed sweet potato and a cow's worth of yogurt to START my day. And the inches fell away and the energy shot up.

Restraint is hard. I have major FOMO. I live for experiences and often those experiences involve eating and drinking. The main reason I engaged in Kenzai was for an exercise in restraint. And I didn't suck, but I wasn't the best at it. I snuck glasses of wine and non-compliant meals. The siren song was always a combination of salt, alcohol and socializing. I thought I would do better.

Discipline is not perfection. While I did succumb to temptation, I was always able to recognize when I had gone off track and correct myself. And over time, I realized this long term focus is what it's about. I cheated and had alcohol 4 times in the final month. I was drinking 5 times a week before Kenzai. That's a huge life change and I can see and feel the difference.

Social media matters. If I am to believe my Facebook and Instagram, all my friends have thin waists, perfect skin, and spend their time eating fried chicken and doing day trips to Napa Valley. Kenzai blogging flipped that script. We showed ourselves to each other almost naked on a weekly basis. We shared triumphs and fails and the banality of daily life and somehow it mattered and was interesting.

I'm really good at exercise. This was my strength coming in and it stayed with me. I did more sets and more reps than the max each time. I exercised for 87 days consecutively. Unfortunately, a grueling travel schedule on day 88 killed my streak, but I'm really proud of that accomplishment.

Jumping rope is really boring. I've gotten really good at it. I go around the block for a change of scenery. I'm looking forward to going back to running which I love doing.

Eating healthy is fun. Eating healthy is boring. I've learned to crave my avocado breakfasts. I'm excited that I tried some new recipes that were thrilling and healthy. But I'll be real, no matter how many Cora L or Naoko P recipes I try, there comes a time when I'm eating steamed chard again and i would kill a man for a burger.

The C spices are my best friends: cayenne, cumin, curry, cinnamon, cardamom. Smoke paprika is pretty helpful too.

My biggest inspiration. It didn't come from Patrick or our trainers. It didn't come from those who made the most physical progress. It came from Meghan J, who struggled from day 1, who hadn't exercised consistently before coming to Kenzai, and also had to overcome arthritis. Who had numerous typos along the way including binging on chocolate chips in the last week. Who was really honest with us about her struggles and triumphs. Meghan - in witnessing your two step forward, one step back progress, I really saw what the journey to health and fitness feels like to someone for whom this isn't automatic and easy. And you MADE it. You did this program for a quarter of a year! And each time when I was thinking - I'm bored, I'm not getting the results I want, I hate these damn bands, more f----- metronomes? ugh!, I don't want steamed broccoli! I saw you plugging forward and somehow I felt like I had made a tacit promise to plug forward with you.

Some more shoutouts. Malia H - trainer to all, and friend to me. We've been training together since high school soccer, and I would've dismissed Kenzai as a fad if you hadn't endorsed it. Thomas and Nate, our personal trainers extraordinaire- I love the style of cheerleading, consistency, patience and humor that you bring. Nate - your perfection challenge was very helpful in moving me out of the valley. Sum D - my Kenzai sister. I've really enjoyed getting to know you on this journey. When I started, one of my biggest fears was how boring it would be to read blogs about working out and eating bland food. You figured out how to make these hilarious and interesting. Can't wait to have those glasses, let's be real, bottles of wine together when I visit for the Australian Open.

This is just the beginning, right? I'm going to go have a burger and a glass of Dry Creek Zinfandel (Malia, I'm writing that to incite jealousy) with my boyfriend to celebrate today. Tomorrow I'm having a big mothers day brunch. Monday, I'll be back to avocado toasts and steamed veggies.

Onward.

 
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10 comments

Patrick ReynoldsPatrick ReynoldsKenzai Member
Founderover 4 years ago

This is a great final post Ed, thank you for taking the time to lay all of this out so thoughtfully. It sounds like you found that balance we want for every trainee, a clear-headed, determined but not not obsessive relationship with clean food and daily exercise. A little secret here is that we set the expectation at 120% knowing that in the real world stuff happens and you'll "fail" down to a level of 100%. And as you see even with some sneaky treats you're well within the error bars. Thanks for engaging with the blog and your team so deeply, this is my hope for every trainee, not to look up to any guru but to look across the room to peers and friends and pull ourselves up together. So, basically, thanks for being an ideal trainee, you made our job easy! Congratulations and a big COMPLETE for your efforts!


    Malia HirschmannMalia HirschmannKenzai Marathon | Day 1 (Member)
    Trainerover 4 years ago

    A few months ago, we were sitting in my kitchen (yes, drinking a pretty good bottle of Napa Cabernet) and discussing how it sucks to get older. How the usual tricks to drop extra weight didn't work anymore. How it was harder to avoid injuries doing the sports we love. How drinking really took it's toll with each passing year. I shared with you then my passion about Kenzai and how it gave me a sane and practical way to deal with many of those issues. But, as you laid out in your final post, Kenzai is really so much more. But I couldn't just TELL you that - you had to experience it for yourself. Everyone's Kenzai experience is unique! I am so proud of how you embraced yours - typos and all. Looking so forward to celebrating with you in June!


      Janice W.Janice W.Alumni
      over 4 years ago

      Ed, thanks for providing the humour and motivational kicks when we needed it! Huge congrats to you. You are looking great!


        Mills M.Mills M.Reboot | Day 15 (Member)
        over 4 years ago

        Congratulations Ed, I've been following your blog and it's been a joy to read. Be proud and huge congratulations.


          Thomas DoyleThomas DoyleKenzai Member
          Head Trainerover 4 years ago

          You're the best!
          To be honest I'm always a little wary when guys kick the program off already in great shape. Because, it's not going to be the new found muscle definition that drives their motivation. Been there done that.

          But, you dug deeper. You saw through the usual social media BS, embraced being one of the spark plugs for the group, which gave back to everyone (trainers too), you took your fitness to a new level, and overall just clearly got it!

          Thanks for bringing vitality to your's and everyone's Kenzai Training!
          Congratulations with Kenzai Body see you in K Life!


            Meghan J.Meghan J.Kenzai Sculpt | Day 15 (Member)
            over 4 years ago

            I have to say, I got a little teary reading this and thank you for the kind words! You have been an awesome source of good humor and "telling it like it is" for the past 90 days. Doing this program couldn't be easy with a small child around especially as the workouts ramped up to an hour or more but you made it! I'm sure there's a margarita with your name on it in SF this week! Congrats!


              Angela D.Angela D.Alumni
              over 4 years ago

              Ed you have been like the kenzai matriarch, always pumping us up. Thank you and congratulations!!


                Nate Belle IsleNate Belle IsleKenzai Kettlebell 2 | Day 22 (Member)
                Trainerover 4 years ago

                Ed, this post says so much. It was great having you in the group, at times it felt like we had another trainer! You encouraged honesty, teamwork, and helped your little group stay motivated and enjoy the program. It was really awesome to see what worked, and what didn't, for you for these 90 days and to see what motivated you and what results were valuable beyond just physical improvements. You were in great shape day 1 and amazing shape day 90, so it was awesome to see what you took away from Kenzai beyond just the working out and losing weight which are primary goals of most trainees! I really hope you stick around . Enjoy the burger and Zinfandel! Next time I have a Sazerac, it'll be for you man! :) Congrats!!!!


                  Aimee J.Aimee J.Alumni
                  over 4 years ago

                  Congratulations Ed! Your posts definitely kept me checking in on the Kenzai blogs and motivated me along the way. Hope you enjoyed a very indulgent week-end.


                    Rachel J.Rachel J.Alumni
                    over 4 years ago

                    Well done! The road was long, but it was definitely livened up by your blogs, which I've really enjoyed reading over the last 3 months. Great final post, thanks for the farts and giggles...!


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