Ed Center

Ed Center

Kenzai Reach | Day 45 (Member)
Assistant Trainer
Kenzai Reach
Day 45
Program progress:

Being an American, I first heard the term "fortnight" from the 1980 flick Little Lord Fauntleroy with Sir Alec Guinness and Ricky Shroeder. Since then, I've tried to use the word as often as I can without sounding like an a-hole. In the US that's basically impossible. But not this time. Fellow Iron Warriors (and in fact any Kenzai person in program right now), I invite you to the Perfect Fortnight Challenge.

This virtual competition starts Monday, 22 Oct and finishes in a fortnight on Nov 4.

Many of us experience mid-program lull. This competition for Week 6 + 7 of Iron is designed just for fun, to bring a little spice and energy to the mid-program doldrums.

Here’s how it works – one can earn 10 points per day for doing the stuff you should be doing on program. Multiply by 14 days for a total of 140 possible points. Here’s the daily point breakdown:
3 perfect meals - 3
All snacks perfect - 1
No non-compliant food or alcohol - 1
Workout completed - 1
Warm-up AND Warm-down done - 1
Commenting on at least 2 Blogs - 1
Minimum 7 hours* sleep - 2
Daily Max Points - 10
*As sleep needs vary, individuals set their own minimum; it should be the amount that helps you feel rested and energized in the morning.

Most of us are nailing the exercises but when we slip, it's around diet, rest and community involvement. So this competition is designed to focus on those things.

Prizes: The winner from each team gets bragging rights, and Patrick will mention them in a video shout. I'm also trying to get a Kenzai t-shirt from HQ. TBD. In event of a tie, I’ll flip a coin.

All contestants will track their own results on a shared google doc. If you want in, message me or send me an email (to ed.center@gmail.com) and share your gmail address with me. I’ll enter your name and share the google doc with you. You can message me up through Tuesday, Oct 23 and retroactively enter your points. The google doc is also great for leaving notes to encourage each other, or talk smack.

This should be motivating and fun, not stressful. Smack talking and playful teasing are highly encouraged! Join in and bring your results from rags to riches like Little Lord Fauntleroy over the next Fortnight.


I saved up my indulgence, and cashed it in yesterday. I hosted a potluck gathering of friends from Hawaii. Both food and company lived up to expectations: lumpia, grilled steak, and veggies (I brushed the corn with butter and coconut milk to avoid any semblance of kompliance), spam fried rice, various smoked meets and a stunning dessert of shortbread topped with layers of coconut pudding and sweet potato - it was heaven. Definitely a nice break from egg whites and steamed chard.

Matt, your reminder about the mid-month lull came right on cue. I've noticed a lull in my attitude. I'm not in The Valley; I'm just not particularly excited about the program right now. I'm a veteran, so I've been here before and I know it will pass after a couple of weeks. As part of this lull, I snuck in some lazy non-compliant calories last week. Nothing major - but, for example, I worked really late on Wed and had some m&ms and goldfish crackers in the office. I know that this kind of slacking won't fully sabotage my program, but it will impact my final result if I don't curb it right away.

My goal this week is to nail 7 diet days. I'll track my results in comments. Another goal is to cook something new from the Kenzai recipes section to spice things up a bit. Maybe something Indian or Thai or a new way to cook fish.

The shoulder injury has been healing nicely and I've been doing my modified workouts every day. Totally on point there.

Have a great week Kenzai warriors.

Protein Powder

I've been using protein powder throughout his program. Since my breakfast and post-workout meal are one. I make a smoothie of protein powder, yogurt, sweet potatoes, and half a banana. I know it sounds weird but it's delicious. I pair this with my avocado toast and it's just easier to consume some of the breakfast mass by drinking it.

This little guy is my smoothie partner. When he sees me break out the Vitamix, he comes running over and I have to prepare most of the smoothie with him in one arm. Then he gets to turn the blender on, turn it up, turn it down, and turn it off. He also gets a little bit of the portion. It's our every morning ritual.

Down but not Out

I've been semi-sidelined for a week with a shoulder injury.
Last week Monday I played in a soccer game and hurt my shoulder. For most of last week, I wasn't able to raise my arm to the side more than about 30 degrees. And trying that caused considerable pain.
We hope it's a contusion deep in the deltoid muscle. The doc said that if that's the case, the muscle is asleep and will wake up... in less that 6 weeks. Huh? Seriously? That must mean for mere mortals, not me, right?
The worse option is that it's a mild rotator cuff injury.
My orders were to sit tight for a week and see if my mobility increases. Fortunately, that happened and I can now raise it all the way, although slowly and with effort.
The frustrating part, other than being sidelined from upper body stuff, is that I've been specifically working on shoulder mobility for the last 6 weeks. Ugh, the irony.
I've been continuing to workout, but focusing on lower body and flexibility.
My mood is pretty good. I'm 46, I still play soccer, sometimes shit happens.

I appreciate The End of the Free Ride lesson we just had. We've been in this program a month now, and with the injury set back, I can feel some of my motivation wane. I was considering moving to the Sculpt program because I could focus just on lower body. I now realize that my brain was craving a new, interesting challenge. I got this. As an athlete and a parent - I certainly know how to grind. So I'm sticking with a modified Iron program, and know that with continued workouts and a strict diet, I'll see some good progress this month.

Happy grinding, teammates!


Damn, I broke my no alcohol streak. After almost two weeks with no drink, I found myself in this situation:
- I played an all day soccer tournament on Saturday. It was about 180 minutes of 4v4 soccer. What tastes good after a soccer tournament? Beer!
- Two of my best mates came up from LA for the tournament. What do best mates do? Drink beer!

So I went out with my mates after the tournament and had two beers along with a mildly non-compliant dinner. Sure, I probably made up for it with all the extra cardio, but I broke my streak in an unplanned way and I’m not thrilled about that.

The next night I went to a 94th birthday party. They busted out Cristal champagne. You’re damn right I had a glass! (it didn’t taste any better than other sparkling wine)

I could retroactively claim an indulgence, but it wasn’t planned for, so that’s cheating. OK, so I had some slip-ups. I’ve also been really consistent with the diet and workouts and community involvement since the program started. I see progress in pull-ups, weight lifted, increased musculature and less tummy fat. I’m not going to harp on the mistakes. Instead I’m going to focus on the consistency and keep going.

Workouts: 22 of 22
Clean diet days: 14 of 15
Days with no alcohol: 1

Goal is to abstain from alcohol until Oct 27 when I have a special occasion.

Chen is Mean

Chen is the Chief Nutrition Dude at Kenzai.
Chen decides our dietary fates during training season.
Chen is mean.*
On Sunday, Ed made a beautiful batch of homemade, Kenzai-klean, marinara sauce using early girl tomatoes from the farmers' market (see pic of pretty tomatoes).
Ed had visions of great pasta dinners with just 75g of whole wheat spaghetti, and cheating with a little bit of goat cheese.
Chen had other ideas.
Chen looked at Ed’s love handles in his baseline photo and declared, “Oh my, Ed had a great time in Hawaii this summer, didn’t he? I hope he enjoyed those days of chicken katsu and nights of mango mai tais. Because now Ed is in program and Chen is in charge.”
Ed said, “I’m comfortable with my curves.”
Chen said, “Not on my watch.”
Ed said, “But I’m going to…”
Chen said, “Shut up and eat egg whites.”
Chen crushes dreams.
Ed shut up. Ed is eating egg whites doused with early girl marina sauce. There is no cheating goat cheese. Ed does not like Chen.

At least not until Day 90 final pic. Then Chen is Ed’s best friend.

*In truth, Ed has met Chen and he’s really affable. We even ate pizza together. But he is a nutritional sadist.

Song of the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAzTO8GMZhk

9 days without alcohol. This probably prompts me to write bitter blog posts.

Pull-up “pr”

Ok it’s not a real PR. But I did the most pull-ups I’ve done in at least 3 years. I’ve been maxing it at 3 for awhile. Last week I got to 5. Today - 6!

I’ve been putting in effort for the last couple months. It’s nice to see it pay off. My goal is to get to 10 by year’s end.

5 days with no alcohol

Thanks for the lesson on cheat days on a Friday. This is a great mental reinforcement heading into the weekend. I have a few temptations including my good friend’s 40th bday party on Sat and we got a sitter. I’m confident I can navigate the food Kenzai-ish, but the temptation to drink will be strong. I’ve sabotaged program success with alcohol before, but I’m not doing that this time.

I’ve been using this app on my phone for a few years to track weight workouts. I like the easy to use interface. It has the effect of nudging me when I look at the weight I’ve grabbed, and then I see that I’ve gone higher in the past, so I push myself to go more. It’s a bit tricky to toggle back and forth between this and the Kenzai app, but it’s doable. I recommend this for anyone who wants to record their workouts digitally.


Is it just me, or is the amount of team chatter fairly low for the beginning of a 90 day program?

At some point we are going to get a lesson on sleep. Sleep is the under-discussed thing in all Kenzai programs; the lynch-pin that brings all the training components together. Proper sleep helps us recover from the daily workouts. I know this is especially true in a weightlifting focused program, as the muscle tissue repair happens during deep slumber. Having said that, I’ve got to figure out a better routine. I’m waking up each morning at the unholy hour of 4:45 so that I can get to the gym and still get home to help get the kids ready for school. So, in order to get my sweet spot 7 hours, I have to get to bed at 9:45. Man, that’s really hard. I do about 20 minutes of stretching before bed, then a little reading until I’m nodding off. For the past two weeks, I’ve regularly been an hour late to bed.

I haven’t figured out a good tactic to get to bed on time and I know if I don’t it will undermine my progress (as well as my temperament during the day).

Extreme Weather

Sending love, health and SAFETY to all our Kenzai community impacted by typhoons and hurricanes in Hong Kong, the Philippines, China, and the US Carolinas.

I hope you and your friends and loved ones are safe. I watched some videos yesterday and it looked really scary out there.

Anyone on program is definitely allowed a couple indulgences this week as a coping mechanism.

Kenzai Iron Intro

1) The Basics: Where do you live; what do you do for work and/or play?
San Francisco, I work for a poverty fighting non-profit, I love soccer, running, generally being social. My nerdy hobby is raptor bird watching (it's currently migration season and there are some great watching spots in San Francisco). My husband and I have two sons ages 7 + 1.5. We call ourselves the #houseof8balls
2) If you’re new to Kenzai, how did you find out about Kenzai and why did you decide to join? If you’re a Kenzai veteran, how long have you been around the community and what program(s) have you enjoyed the most?
I think I'm in my fourth year of Kenzai. I know this sounds like a wussy answer, but I've really enjoyed each Kenzai program on it's own merits. Reach is different from Run is different from Chisel, all in great ways. Having said that, I think Chisel will be my go to program for awhile because of the results one can get in a short period.
3) Do you have any prior weight lifting experience?
I started lifting my senior year of high school. I've been pretty regular since then. I'm in this program not so much to learn about weight-lifting, but to do it in a focused way with the support of the community and the diet. Having said that, the lessons on Bench and Squat were great form corrections.
4) Why did you sign up for this program, and do you have any specific goals for yourself?
I'm focusing on gaining some muscle mass while dropping a little of the mid-section fat I gained over the summer. I also have some performance specific goals that I'll save for another post.
5) Do you have any weight lifting or training role models?
I like watching Jordan Yeoh's videos. They are fun, effective, and he's easy on the eyes.
6) Anything else you’d like to share with your teammates?
The Kenzai community is what keeps me coming back. At this point, I know how to workout and diet. But the accountability and fun of the team is what keeps me coming back. I'm thankful to be on a team with you all. Also super psyched to have Coach Matt who is one of the most knowledgeable and thorough in the Kenzai family. Coach Sara will bring us more support, TLC, and tons of fun. We are poised for a great program.

Early fall is a great time to hit Kenzai in northern California. This pic is just part of my farmer's market bounty this morning.


When Coach Matt looks up at the camera and says, "I know a couple of you skip those stretches - don't do it! Don't cheat your muscles, you will pay for it!" and I feel like he's talking directly to me.

Okay, Matt, I hear you... *slinks into the corner and stretches*


Baseline photo is up. After a fantastic summer of travel, great meals, and loads of cocktails and wine, I'm definitely at a high body fat percentage for me. I'm not mad about it - I wanted an indulgent and Kenzai-free period knowing full well that I no longer have the metabolism to sustain that kind of eating. The advantage is that I have potential for great before and after pics come December!

Our lesson was introduction to the bench press. I love that it says, each week you will deepen your relationship with the bench press. I have a strong relationship with this exercise, so I guess I'm renewing my vows. Having said that, I haven't increased my max on this exercise in probably 10 years. So I'd love to see a small new personal record over Iron. But form first!

Pump it up!

I've been excited for this program to start. I haven't done a full 3-month program in over a year. I want to give this one my full attention and go 100% with the diet, exercise and connection to community. Thrilled to meet new teammates already and I'm confident we will make great progress together.

So do we have full permission to engage in awful gym bro language like, gainz, pump, guns, and leg day? We could spend the next 90 days communicating with some truly terrible memes.

Shoulder Flexibility

As long as I can remember, my shoulder flexibility and mobility have been low. The hips too, but that's a different story. I'm going to spend the next six weeks working on this. Kind of my mini-Reach that is focused on my shoulders. I'm committing to 10-20 minutes every day focused on shoulder stretching. Here are my baseline photos.

I'm going to be following the video below, with some help from Baby Daddy who is a yoga instructor.

I'd love any advice (or just encouragement) you all have.

May 12th, 2016



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Kenzai Reach


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