Ed Center

Ed Center

Kenzai Member
Assistant Trainer
Spartan Complete!
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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
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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)


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Happy Mother’s Day y’all


Accountabilibuddies
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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.


Progress
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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.


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Chiseled 
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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.


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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!


Grams
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"Eat all your grams, Daddy!"

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


In the Groove
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I'm definitely not feeling the apathy or dread described in our So Close! lesson. The two weeks ahead don't seem to stretch forever, instead I'm feeling a bit of "Shit I only have two more weeks to get the results I want - is that enough time?" I'm feeling confident and in the groove with the program.

I had a great week four - diet was totally on point except for some weekend wine, and I nailed 100% of the workouts and added in some extras for my Spartan Race training. Part of the race is running up short, steep hills. Fortunately San Francisco provides these in abundance. First pic is me mid-way up the brutal Presidio Stairs. Such a pretty environment for torture.

I'm definitely noticing body progress. Fat is starting to melt away, I see more defined abs and chest, shoulder and arm muscles. In the next two weeks, we'll see what progress I can make with the stubborn lower belly fat and love handles. When I think that we only have two weeks left, I'm not sure that I have enough time to get the progress I want. But when I think that we are just a month into the program, the progress seems good. After Chisel, I think I will take a week off from the diet, and then do the last month of KB3, which like Chisel has pretty amazing workouts.

Do yourself a favor and watch the new Queer Eye series. The show is both entertaining and heart-warming. I find myself getting at least misty-eyed emotional most episodes as they help people find both their outer and inner beauty. The avocado and grapefruit salad pictured below is a recipe I Kenzai-adapted from the show. So easy to make - just slice both avo and grapefruit and cover in a dressing of grapefruit and lemon juices with smoked paprika and black pepper. Off training season I'd add some olive oil and a touch of simple syrup to balance the acidity.


Avoiding Willpower
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In my blog last week, I listed out the numerous diet temptations I would face, then documented my adherence through the week. All in all, I did pretty well, but not great.

Tuesday was a pretty typical example:
Tuesday: Friend's bday dinner - taco Tuesday with margaritas. I did great - I ordered ceviche and ate some grilled fish and veggies off of a taco (a friend was happy to eat the tortillas for me). I had about 1/3 of a margarita.

Nothing too crazy. Stayed mostly kompliant but wasn’t perfect. Most days, I resisted gluttony and made a smart compromise. These compromises probably added up to an extra 100-200 calories each day. Now the counterfactual isn’t the Chisel diet, but rather the 500-1000 calories I would’ve consumed had I jumped into fried fish tacos and three margaritas. I feel good about my decision-making in that sense.

At the same time – this is a short program that relies on diet restraint. The small compromises are not going to get me where I want to be. The proof is in my weekly photo - no real progress between week 2 and 3.

This week, I’m hunkering down. I spent a lot of willpower last week putting in situations that required restraint and thoughtfulness. This week, I plan to avoid situations that require willpower. It’s pack my lunch every day and dinners at home.

I’m enjoying the workouts – actually excited to see the three cycles come up. This means I’ll need close to an hour for my workouts. No more morning procrastination – so it’s time to end this blog and get outside with my jump rope.

Found a good set of monkey bars near my house for my Spartan Race training. Here’s a photo from below.


The Temptations of Ed
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This pic is my favorite reason to work from home. Avocado toast from Jane Bakery nearby. Lovely hunk of bread, avo mash, poached egg, pickled jalapeños and onion.

As I mentioned in my last post - this week is filled with temptations for me. For accountability, I'm posting a list of them, along with my progress against them.

Sunday: Soccer team hosts fundraiser at a bar - Success! I had soda water with lime.

Tues - Work lunch 1: Amazing Mexican food. - I packed a Tupperware with my Kompliant lunch and stuck to it.

Tues - Monday after Easter: Mom's in town. She drinks red wine every night. - I had about half a glass on Wed night. Need to avoid that - it's not even good wine. Thurs, I had a sip but no more.

Tuesday: Friend's bday dinner - taco Tuesday with margaritas. I did great - I ordered ceviche and ate some grilled fish and veggies off of a taco (a friend was happy to eat the tortillas for me). I had about 1/3 of a margarita.

Friday - Work lunch 2: Will pack lunch. - ended up eating restaurant food and navigating it really well. Salad with just vinegar and a piece of grilled fish over veggies. Probably some excess salt and oil, but I can live with that.

Fri/Sat: At brother-in-laws for Easter - he has the good bourbon. - Friday night was a total fail. B-in-law had set out Thai food for our arrival after a long drive to his house for Easter weekend. I avoided ladling out sauce over everything, but I jumped into the pad thai and curried veggies because I was hangry and weak. Oh and there was wine. And my sister's birthday cake. Okay, so fail, and refocus.

Sunday: Easter brunch. (I plan to take an indulgence) - And indulge I did. Had a wonderful meal and a glass of wine.

The exercises are going well. Like others, I'm enjoying the efficiency of them. Get up, get them done, get on with my day. My hang times actually have air now.

Speaking of athleticism, here's son #2 taking his first steps.
https://vimeo.com/262326409


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Sunday morning is slow time. Hanging out in pajamas time. Blankets on the couch, coffee + music time. We keep the tv and other devices off on Sundays. No screen Sundays is our rule. The older son protests every time but ends up enjoying creative play with his dads. Our favorite new game is Baby Monster Chess. We play chess on the rug and if the baby grabs your piece it's gone. So we protect our own side while throwing Cheerios at our opponents queen.

Sunday morning is time for the slow breakfasts. Bacon, waffles, the scrambles. But Sunday breakfast and Kompliancy are not natural partners. So here is my Kenzai solution. A pancake with avocado and egg and a side of veggies. The rest of the family had bacon and syrup.

Moving into week 3 feeling confident. I had identified weekends as a weak time. However, I got through the weekend almost totally playing within the rules despite many distractions.

This week will bring a few more distractions. 1. My mom is coming to town which means cheap red wine gets opened every night. 2. We are hosting two work lunches at a restaurant that I love. 3. Spending Easter weekend at the in-laws, and my mother-in-law is a damn good cook.

I have strategies for all of these: I'm packing my lunch for one of the luncheons, I'm special pre-ordering steamed veggies and rice at another. I'm telling my mom and Chris that I won't be drinking, and I bought two yummy herbal teas and some sparkling water as a substitute. Finally, I'm going to enjoy Chris's mom's Easter dinner. I'm going to cook some plain asparagus and there will be plain white rice. But I'll enjoy some of the ham and her brussels sprouts are the best (because they are friend and have bacon). I'll take the drive home which means that I won't drink beyond one glass of wine. I'm confident in these plans, but also realize that's a lot of willpower to expend.

Photos: 1. Cauliflower rice made with turmeric, smoked paprika, pepper and lime juice 2. Roasted veggies


Kenzai Kruelty
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A Kompliant idea for your family Easter morning.


Poke Bowl
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The recent ubiquity of poke (say POH-kay) bowls on the US west coast has given me a great new option for Kompliance on-the-run.

I grew up eating poke in Hawaii. It was special event food - usually seen at luaus and family gatherings. The concept is simple - take cubes of the freshest raw fish and marinate in ingredients of choice, often shoyu, sesame seeds, seaweed, chili pepper. In my youth we ate it as is, with chopsticks from the bowl.

A few years back, someone came up with the brilliant idea of putting poke on a bed of rice, greens, avocado, etc. Veggies, carbs, fish - sound like a familiar combo?

Poke bowls aren't a perfect Kenzai meal - almost by definition, the fish is marinated in salt-heave soy sauce. Added sauces to the dish include ponzu sauce (which I take) and various mayonnaises (which I refuse).

But my standard order - Salmon and tuna on a base of half brown rice, half lettuce, add avocado, and dash a little ponzu and furikake on top, makes for a pretty delicious and close to Kompliant meal served in a takeaway bowl in 2 minutes.


The Princess
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Since there were requests...


May 12th, 2016

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