Ed Center

Ed Center

Kenzai Reach | Day 45 (Member)
Assistant Trainer
Kenzai Reach
Day 45
Program progress:
UnChiseled, but Content 

My previous post was essentially my graduation post. As I mentioned, I didn't give Chisel the focused diet effort that I had planned to, but it kept me from running off the rails.

I'm in my month-long summer holiday in Hawaii enjoying unrestricted food and less intense exercise. I already feel the effects in my tummy pushing against my pants. Man, things can go off the rails quickly. I'm going to continue enjoying unrestricted diet through August.

I haven't done a three month program yet this year. I've decided to take on Iron in Sept. I've wanted to do this program for almost a year now, but the timing hasn't been right.

I'm going to give this one 100%. Full focus, no excuses, get that great dialed in Kenzai feeling back.

Thanks to my great teammates on this program and to Ward for your encouragement.

End of the Road

As planned, this is basically the end of my Chisel program. My Hawaii vacation started last Friday. I will continue to workout every day, but for the next month, I'm going to enjoy all the foods of my childhood and lots of wine and cocktails.

My heart wasn't fully in the diet and community part of the program this time around. I was really lazy on the diet and the results show. I'm not mad about it - I know Kenzai is a permanent fixture in my life now with ebbs and flows. So I didn't obtain the beach body I wanted, but I also feel fully comfortable shirtless.

This pic is the first day on the beach with my son and our borrowed dog. We are house and pet sitting for Kenzai Malia and Peter H from the Kenzai community, and my kid fell in love with their awesome dog in about 3 seconds.

To get a sense of my Hawaii diet, the other picture is a Portuguese sweetbread and linguica casserole that I baked for the World Cup final which was at 5am here. What a great game!

Chisel workouts are perfect for family vacation- it's great to get up and get them done in a short time and then get on with the day. I'm going to do that right now and then head out to a beach!


Folks in our 40s and up will find this familiar -
- I tweaked a muscle in my back.
- How?
- I have absolutely no idea.

So I have a minor muscle tweak that showed up on Saturday. I'm going to skip the Cycles on Monday and Tuesday and go running instead. Honestly, I've missed my runs, so I don't mind the change of pace. I love the intensity and brevity of the HIIT workouts. But I don't get that peaceful, meditative flow that I often experience while running.

The back pain has gotten better over the last two days so I expect to be back to burpees on Thursday.

This is my last week of diet since my family vacation starts on Friday. Looking to be fully kompliant this week!

I Hate the Horse Stance

Right now the horse stance is winning.

Today I fought with high pitched groans bursting through gritted teeth to hold it. I made it to 50 seconds before needing to take a microbreak.

I know it's mostly mental. I have lots of leg strength and muscle endurance from soccer. It's the stationary aspect of the exercise that has me in my mind wondering why it's so painful and why time passes so slow. Goal for next time is 60 seconds.

Vocal Fitness

On Saturday, I met up with this Kenzai trainer and pillar of our kommunity to do a different type of fitness- exercising our free speech rights at the #familiesbelongtogether march in San Francisco.

Our family tradition in the Trump era (that is painful to say) is to attend rallies with 12 dozen donuts and pass them out to marchers. We make signs on the boxes with puns - Donut Support Trump, Donut Separate Families, Donut Support Xenophobic Policy. We passed out 144 donuts in 6 minutes. Okay, maybe not 144. I might have eaten 2. My son may have had around 4.

Then after marching a few blocks, we stopped at market for some unkompliant beverages and marched upstream to a park where the kids could play and we could drink and eat sushi. It was such a civilized way to express our first amendment rights.

As exemplified in the above anecdote, my diet has been loose and free this past week. Lots of alcohol and lazy decision-making. The World Cup has me at pubs with friends which is a perfect environment for poor caloric decisions. Vowing to tighten up today for the next two weeks when the Hawaii trip commences.

Sunday is pancake day at our house. I don't allow maple syrup because I'm an evil overlord and I don't want the kid to start off the day with that much sugar. So he douses his pancakes with applesauce while I make this Sunday version of avocado toast.


I think for the first time in three years of Kenzai participation, I got the auto email notifying me that I'm a blog and pic delinquent. I'll spare the excuses, but I'm here and I've been faithfully on program with all the exercises and maybe 80% diet.

I've been loving the workouts. It's been only a couple months since I completed my first run through Chisel, and I'm happy to find that my conditioning from that program is mostly still there. So I've been ramping up the workouts doing a few more reps with each exercise and adding and extra cycle if I have time.

I've also been staying focused on the grams, but it's summer and I like my rosé or bourbon on a big ice cube. Apparently I like it so much that I had a dream that head trainer Thomas took a break from his year in Central America to visit with me and tell me that bourbon is actually a wonderful part of a healthy diet. So if the dream head trainer says so, it must be ok!

Despite the evening drinks, the diet and exercise are having an impact and I see some nice progress from the last two weeks. Progress pic coming soon.

Back at Chisel

Excited to take another crack at Chisel. I think it's my favorite program to date. I love the intensity + the efficiency. As a busy working dad, getting out in the morning and dripping sweat but getting it done in 35 mins really works for me.

Since I finished Chisel 6 weeks ago, I've gotten just a wee bit softer in the middle, but no biggie. The goal is to stay on diet for a month with the exception of some wine and cocktails with friends maybe once or twice a week. This is summer after all. A month into the program I'll start my family vacation in Hawaii (beach time is a key incentive for this program). At that point the diet will be off - I can't resist the delicious unkompliant foods that I grew up with - chicken katsu, malasadas, shave ice! I'll have to do a killer program in the fall to make up for it.

Special thanks to my accountabilibuddies - Jolene, Sarah and Nikhil from my last Chisel team. We've been tracking diet and exercise on a spreadsheet and cheering each other on.

Spartan Complete!

Last Sunday, I completed the Spartan Race that I’ve been working towards for about eight weeks. Here’s what I learned:

Altitude Sucks. I had trained for the obstacles and I had trained running up hills. I was in no way prepared to do all of that at Big Bear ski resort. The race starts at the ski lodge at 6700 ft and promptly proceeds straight up the mountain for about 4 kilometers. Less than a kilometer in, I was gasping for breath. I yelled at my teammates, I’M WALKING THESE HILLS, and that was the last major breath I was able to get out that morning. My younger teammates seemed less impacted by the lack of air, but were nice enough to slow their pace and stay with me.

Obstacles Rock. The main features of a Spartan race are the 20 or so obstacles that challenge the racers. I saw these as opportunities to stop running for awhile. I successfully completed 17 out of 20 obstacles. I was particularly adept at jumping and strength obstacles – thank you, Chisel. I was disappointed that I didn’t get up the rope climb even though I had practiced for it.

At some point doing the race, I shouted to my teammates, “Their motto should be, ‘SPARTAN RACE: It’s fun in retrospect!’ That’s actually how I feel. It was grueling. I hated so much of it. But I would absolutely sign up for another.

At sea level.

Cruising Along

I'm really enjoying training in my Accountabilibuddies group. Thanks Sarah, Jolene and new team member Nikhil for the camaraderie and support.

I definitely went off program this weekend - enjoyed the wine and some extras. I had some great temptations like free tickets to the Taylor Swift concert last Friday (yah, I ate a hot dog and a beer), and friends popping buy over the weekend with rosé. It's spring and I'm not technically on program so I enjoyed the indulgence, but in general, I'm exercising every day and staying close to the diet.

I have my Spartan Race this Sunday. Wish me luck.

(image is my new fave version of cauliflower rice: turmeric, smoked paprika, coconut oil, furikake)


Happy Mother’s Day y’all


After a great run in Chisel, I knew that I would need to continue to stay focused on diet in order to get summer body ready (Hawaii, we are coming for you!). I have a hard time doing that without Kenzaccountability. Jolene O and Sarah R from my training team had similar feelings, so we decided to team up and do our own program together. Jolene and I are doing the last 6 weeks of KB2 and 3 respectively. Sarah is doing her own workout program (Chisel, HIIT, boxing; she's kind of a bad ass) and using a Kenzai diet.

Our main accountability structure is a spreadsheet on which we log our exercise and our diet compliance. If we exercise, have kompliant meals, and avoid extras (no bourbon or m&ms, Ed!), we log a perfect day.

In typical Kenzai fashion, we also leave little notes of encouragement on the spreadsheet for each other. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Kenzai is the most uplifting little corner of the internet.

So in the first week I had no perfect days. I exercised 6 of 7 days, but missed the mark on the diet, of course. I'm okay with that. This was a unique and challenging week - I took my son on his end of first grade family camping trip, and we also had our huge annual benefit for work - we raised $14M USD to fight poverty! So yah, there was some drinking and celebrating. Being on the program still meant I made better decisions. For example, on benefit "practice" night, I knew we would have pizza there, but I brought my own Kenzai dinner in a tupperware.

This week, I'm looking to lock it in and my goal is to have 4 perfect days.

If anyone wants in on the training group, let me know and I'll share our google sheet with you.

Here's a pic of me and a friend at the Benefit. My suit did NOT feel tight at the waist and I have Chisel to thank for that.


From start of RunHalf in Jan to final day of Chisel yesterday. Not dramatic in photos, but definitely have mobilized body fat. Less softness and jiggle in the belly, one notch tighter on the belt and feeling really proud of chest and shoulder musculature.

Going to spend May working to get one more belt notch and lose lower tummy fat + training for Spartan Race.


In line with the lessons, last week I struggled to stay on diet. This week was a breeze. I was fully compliant with little effort, nailed every workout and then some.

Feeling great about what I accomplished on Chisel. There's a little bit of reserve fat at the bottom of the abs and in the love handles. I'm excited to keep pushing. Jolene and I are going to take a week off and then jump into the last month of KB together to keep our progress going. If you want to join in let us know.

This was a fantastic program, and one that I can call back frequently. I look forward to experiencing Chisel again soon.

Photos: my last burpee, and my pancakes with syrup that I enjoyed on day 0.


Even though I felt confident at the beginning of last week (Week 5), my resolve weakened by Wed and I had about four days of a less than perfect diet. My meals were compliant, but at the classic times – 4pm and 8pm – I made the classic bad decisions – m&ms, goldfish crackers, wine. It was like I was devoid of willpower and went on autopilot. These aren’t huge sins; typos rather than errors, but in a 6-week program these can be costly. I also wonder if these crap extra calories prevented me from getting the most of a new body recomposition cycle like we’ve learned in the lessons.

Which leads me to my reflection on Kenzai programs in the "member" era. When I did Kenzai in my first and second year, I just did one body program a year. During those three months, I was totally focused. While I had occasional typos, getting back on track wasn't a problem. Staying on diet was the norm.

Then last year, Kenzai switched to the membership model. This opened a bunch of options - for a little more money, we could do as many programs as we wanted. What a great way to have more fun, more community, more time "in program" and focused on health. Because I'm now in a program for 5-7 months a year, rather than 3, my goal is to have one or two programs where I'm fully focused on the diet, and the other programs, I eat healthy but I let myself indulge. But the lack of clear boundaries is working against me. This year, I have noticed that even when I tell myself that I'm "totally in," I start straying on the diet - especially in the afternoons, especially when my mom is in town with her every evening cheap red wine habit, and especially during social occasions. This program I told myself that I would stay tight and kompliant. I haven't accomplished that. I haven't been awful either. But I definitely haven't done Chisel justice or given pushed myself to the level that I can get.

I wonder if others have similar struggles or solutions to figuring out how to be totally on program when we are now in program a lot.

Photo: made chicken broth in the Instantpot. Used that as base for ramen for my family, while I made a noodle-free version for my carb-less dinner. It was quite tasty!


"Eat all your grams, Daddy!"

Of course that sweet potato was in his mouth a second before he shoved it in mine.

May 12th, 2016



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