Where are you?
I'm in Hong Kong - been here almost 9 years - came from NYC for husband's job and still here!
How do you spend your time?
In addition to being a part time Kenzai Trainer, I'm a full time mom to an 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son. And I spend quite a lot of time exercising, dragon boat paddling, hiking. Love to travel - one of the benefits to being here in Asia!
Why Kenzai Mind?
I just decided I should see if I gain any benefit from trying to meditate...I'm not sold on it yet! I also think it will help me keep making mindful choices on diet and exercise as I set off on summer travels to the US with the kids.
How do you get here? Who introduced you to Kenzai?
Been Kenzaing for 7 years now! A neighbor had a great transformation on the program and I wanted to see if I could do the same! I was sold after my first program and psyched when we added more.
Are you facing obstacles to this training cycle?
Travel for sure! I'll be in a rental house from mid-next week through the rest of the program. While I will have my own space, I'll also have visitors, some side trips, and be exploring an area that I'm not very familiar with. That said, I think I ought to be able to set aside a few minutes for meditating and a few minutes for exercising each day - plus an active lifestyle!
I've been waffling about whether to tackle this program. I'm pretty sure meditation isn't my thing. But I suppose I really can't say that without giving it a solid try. So here I am!
Plus this time of year is always hard to manage a program. I've got 3 days of dragonboat racing coming up at the end of the week. Then I head to the US with the kids for a 7 week summer break. I'll be running the diet a little loose but trying not to go too crazy. And I aim to get in some exercise every day, so the flexibility of this program ought to be a good fit.
I don't think there's any excuse for not finding a few minutes to get in the meditation. And I intend to make it happen daily!
Chiseled? GRADUATION POST
Well, as planned, I didn't keep the diet super strict this round - probably 80%. And that explains why my weight is the same and so is my photo. But I substituted as necessary along the way on the workouts and came through uninjured. And when I was feeling a bit worse for wear, especially as the workouts got longer and harder, I missed some days because of dragonboat practices and races. So I'd call all of that a win!
I enjoyed the HIIT style workouts. Nice to have a change up. And I'll feel comfortable incorporating these into my maintenance routine. I've actually got 8 workouts left to do - so I won't be done until about the middle of next week. But that's just fine by me. Perfect timing before a last weekend of dragonboat racing (14/15/16) before heading off for summer holidays in the US on June 18.
Thanks for another great program Patrick! And to Scott for guiding us through! And to my Kenzai teammates and friends for the support along the way!
Stella is glad that the exercise mat has been making daily appearances. She runs away when the rope comes out, but as soon as it's gone, she heads right over and stakes her claim.
We had a team party on a junk boat after practice a couple days ago - very fun! And we lucked out that the rain cleared for most of the afternoon. Had a nice refreshing swim - even jumped off the top! But wow - it's like we've all been branded by our racerback jerseys!
Continuing on along here on Chisel - but with a couple more missed workouts. Don't want to overdo it with intense dragonboat training and racing this time of year. Body feeling much better - I'm definitely doing the right thing - even though it's killing me not to check all the boxes! But I will finish the workouts over the next couple weeks to make myself truly Chisel complete - gotta' EARN that stamp!
Hips and back have loosened up a bit in the last few days. Feeling much better and not having to spend quite so much quality time with my friendly foam roller.
Had a dragonboat race Sunday, complete with a couple hour rain delay which left us sitting around on the beach in wet clothes. Still fun...mostly. And we got a sweet trophy for making it to the finals (4th runner up).
I was bummed to miss the annual parents vs kids game for my daughter's soccer team on Sunday. But honestly my knees (and probably the rest of me too) is safer without it!
This time of year is always hectic but fun. Leaving parties, end of school year celebrations, dragonboat races and parties. I'm enjoying the balance of keeping the diet clean at home but more lax when out. And the workouts are helping keep that balance from tipping too. Scale staying put! But fitness increasing!
I'm running at about 3 days behind at the moment...and will likely lose a couple more this week. I'll hit the remaining workouts next week to make it feel more complete and work with my schedule!
Had a workout companion during Saturday morning's skipping...see photo.
OK OK, I'm listening. My lower back and hips are shouting at me!
As mentioned in my last blog, I was sore from Sunday's dragonboat races. But Monday's workout felt pretty good. Spent some extra time stretching and foam rolling. And Tuesday's dragonboat practice was mostly okay - bit sore and tight in the lower back and hips - IT band feeling better. Spent some extra time stretching and rolling. Tuesday evening I did the A cycle workout (still running a day behind) while my daughter was at dance class. I felt great. Practically flew through it. The 3rd set of burpees was tough but otherwise I was feeling fit! Spent some extra time stretching and rolling.
Wednesday morning I woke up with some lower back soreness. Felt tight and uncomfortable. I had planned to join some friends on a 3 hour moderate hike and I thought that might actually help loosen it up. It did! But by the afternoon I had soreness in my hip joints - not just the surrounding muscle and tendon - the joints themselves. So I realized I was being stupid thinking I was going to get in my B cycle workout. Spent lots of time stretching and rolling.
And today (Thursday) the whole lower back and hip area is just not feeling great. Dragonboat practice felt mostly okay. We didn't go too crazy as we're racing again on Sunday. But again I realize that I really shouldn't be doing a Chisel workout after that.
So I'm now 3 days behind. I think I'll have to go back to those after the end of the program. Just not the smart thing to do to try to fit them all in right now. I'll see how the next couple weeks go. Likely I'll end up pushing out a few more workouts - but I can do this as a 7 week program with all else I have going on.
I'm no expert on lower back and hips - and there are an awful lot of muscles connecting in around there. So now I'm off to do more stretching and foam rolling! Fingers crossed I find the right trigger point to release the tension!
After last weekend's busy schedule I'm still running a day behind. But no chance to catch up this weekend. The success was that I didn't lose another day!
Thursday morning I got in a workout before paddling because after practice I was headed straight to the Macau ferry - after a quick shower of course. Had a fun girls trip to say farewell to a friend who is moving back to the US. The food was not quite on plan but I wasn't too overboard...although I must fully admit that some drinks were consumed...as you can see.
But we also did a 2+ hour hike in the high heat and humidity, I got a full workout done at 6:30am both Friday and Saturday in a gym I had all to myself for most of it. And I'm sure I burned plenty of calories with laughter!
Got back Saturday in time to join the family and some friends at the HK Soccer Sevens for the afternoon - which was fun! And spent Sunday racing in Deep Water Bay. We placed 4th in our heats, which was about where we expected to be, given the tough competition. And then we took the Ladies Silver Plate - a nice piece of hardware for the team shelf in the AWA office! (see photo - me holding plate and coach!)
Definitely not seeing fat cuts - which is totally due to my extra indulgences - which I've planned/accepted for this training round. But feeling strong - 3x18 pushups - no problem!
Spent a lot of extra time stretching and foam rolling today. Yesterday's dragonboat races left me with a very tight/sore right glute/hip/IT band. Don't want to overdo that, so glad I was doing Saturday's band workout today, which didn't include much leg work. Will see how it feels tomorrow before I decide on whether I need to modify the workout.
Kids soccer from 7:30am-12:30pm both days! And we were lucky enough to be invited on junk boat trips both days! Luckily they were able to give us an early afternoon speed boat pickup and I got to enjoy some relaxation, swimming with the kids, and enjoying the beautiful weather. After a lot of rainy weekends lately, it was a nice treat. Plus Saturday night was my dragonboat team's race season party - roaring '20s theme and lots of fun.
But with all that going on, sleep suffered, workouts were non-existent and the diet was a bit off.
Do as I say, not as I do kids! :)
I made the choice to not stress over it and enjoy the weekend. I had a nice healthy dinner Sunday night and felt much better for it. Back on track today, even though it was a holiday here in HK.
As I NEED to check every workout box, I'll be running a little behind as I look for the right opportunity to make up the missed workouts. Today was Saturday's workout. Tomorrow will be Monday's workout plus Sunday's cardio (dragonboat training anyway). Not sure I can fit in a double on Wednesday, but possibly a morning and an afternoon session. Going to be traveling for a friend's going away party in Macau on Thursday/Friday. No doubt the diet will be off yet again. But I do plan to hit the gym! And Sunday we've got a dragonboat race, so that will have to suffice for cardio!
Wow - both photos of me show that I really need to spend more time in the sun in something other than a dragonboat racerback jersey!
Enjoying these Chisel workouts...although slightly afraid of adding a third cycle next week...nice photo hint Scotty.
Life is super busy these days between end of school year stuff, dragon boat races, my big KB2 crew, and of course Chiseling! Diet has been 90%ish - clean at home - slightly more relaxed when out. I know I may not see much in the way of fat cuts with that choice, but I'm not necessarily looking for that. Just continuing to improve my fitness. Already feeling/seeing the difference there!
My dragonboat team competed in the Stanley Warm Up Race on Saturday. It was cool and misty all day with very rough water. But we had fun with it. Unfortunately we missed making the cup race by about a third of a second. We flubbed our start in the first race - a common issue for us in the first race of the day with newbie jitters and such. Although possibly a rogue wave was to blame a bit for this one. But the upside was that we won our two women's plate races by several seconds each. Feels good to cross that finish line ahead of the pack!
Celebrated my son's birthday Sunday and Monday (his actual birthday) - he's 9! We had Five Guys burgers for lunch on Sunday...not ideal...but dinner was a small veg soup and minced chicken lettuce wraps at the American Club - so I felt like I balanced it pretty well, where often Sunday night dinner goes a little bigger than it should with the buffet. I made 2 pans of M&M Rice Krispy Treats to bring to school Monday. And after being so proud of myself to not even have a taste while making them Sunday night, I did succumb to one after dinner Monday as we celebrated as a family.
Dragonboat practice got called off at the last minute this morning due to rough seas. So now I've got time to get in my workout before lunch instead of cramming it in with a gym stop during my daughter's dance class this evening. And as I'm still a bit sore from Saturday, I think it's probably for the best!
Chisel workout notes from the past week:
Day 8: Lunge Jump – I did this as an alternating lunge – I may up the difficulty next time by adding some weights.
Day 11: Burpee – Same as before but I do add the little hop at the end – just not very high. If you’re doing the stability ball variation then just skip the hop. It’s minor in the scheme of things.
Day 12: Double Hang Time – In place of the big knees up high jump, I just did a little hop. Harder than without it but still easy on the joints. If you’re doing the stability ball variation then just skip the jump up. It’s minor in the scheme of things.
East West Squat Jump – I did these as squats with a Fakie type of jump in between. Kept it low impact but still had the added oomph of a jump between the squats. I know from experience that squat jumps and my knees cannot be friends.
It’s Labor Day in HK today - feels so strange to have a Wednesday off school/work!
A couple friends invited me on a little hike this morning and my son decided to join in - from 9:15-10:45 or so. It’s warm and humid but luckily we had cloud cover. It was a fun one with some scrambling over rocks and pushing branches aside to navigate narrow paths.
Got home and crushed today’s workout before heading to the American club for poolside lunch and a swim with the fam (also spotted 2 other Kenzaites...I’ll be watching to make sure they are making good choices). 😜 Had a poke bowl for a fairly compliant lunch option. And think I might have to take a little nap soon.
I’m definitely facing some DOMS throughout the upper body...need my muscle recovery sleep...of which I got 9 hours last night!
Hope everyone is having a great week!
Feeling good about crushing all the workouts this week! Plus 2 tough dragon boat practices, lots of dog walks, some running around with the kids, and dancing!
Ready to lock in the diet tomorrow. Had a few too many indulgences this week, including at last nights AmCham Ball. Had lots of fun dancing until midnight to a great band with many friends. Sore feet after wearing heels all night...don't do that often anymore!
Got a little more air on my 2nd attempt at Hang Times - landing softly-ish on the couch. That hack seems to be working well for me. Knees hanging in there so far!
Additional workout notes from this week:
Day 3 - Lunge Jump Twist – I did this as an alternating lunge with the twist – no jumping.
Day 6 - Heel to Butt Jump – subbed with reverse lunge to step up onto a chair (from Sculpt) – not quite the same but fairly full body and tough on the legs. I like this exercise as a sub for tough jumping ones - it's hard and works up a good sweat but stays low impact.
Apologies for so many posts, but I believe a few people might be interested in these and wanted to post after completing my Chisel Day 2 workout. Plus - hot off the Kenzai press - an excellent resource for subs for Full Body Exercises! Save it, bookmark it, read it, love it. http://bit.ly/fullbodysubs
I enjoyed today's workout. And it was over in 25 minutes including a nice stretch session at the end. I'll take it!
Day 2 workout notes:
Hang Time – I’ve got 2 sub ideas for this. I tried them both out today (one per cycle).
First cycle I did them as prescribed except with my couch behind me. I did the explosion up with the feet (although not nearly as high as Patrick gets!) and then brought my feet down onto the couch. This kept me with pretty good control of the downward motion and avoided the lower section that would have been more of a fall and thus not a soft landing. My feet landed pretty softly plus the couch is a nicely cushioned landing spot! I would not advise this with any object that is not very very stable! My couch didn’t move but a dining chair or the like might have slid or tipped. I think I could also do this at the gym with a weight bench – being very careful to get the spacing right so that my feet land on the bench! Also, it's important to keep the core tight to avoid letting the hips/back sink down after the feet land - that would not be good for the lower back.
Second cycle I used a stability ball for a pike/tuck. It definitely gets the shoulder/chest/core workout without the impact but does lack the leg workout that comes from the jumping up. It was easier but not easy – definitely a good alternative for those who cannot keep a soft landing for the Hang Time.
I think something similar with just a tuck would be suitable as a Half Burpee alternative too.
Starjumps – no problem – just don’t jump any higher than needed and keep the landing soft with soft knees.
Fakie – I also felt this one was okay as I was able to keep the jump very low and land softly.
That's it for today!
Who are you?
Elissa Imran - a Kenzai Trainer part time and a mom to 2 amazing kids, now ages 11 and almost 9, full time. Also a dragonboat paddler / enthusiast. I love to travel, spend time with friends, and to curl up at home with a good book.
Where in the world are you?
Hong Kong - on the gorgeous south side of the island! (see photo)
Been here for almost 9 years now, although originally from the good ol' US of A!
Why did you sign up for Chisel?
I just finished Bellz2 a couple weeks ago. I feel like I gained some great strength but also a little bit of muscle bulk. I think Chisel will be a good balance to tone that down (or up!) a bit. Plus it is dragonboat season, so life is busy. I'm looking forward to these shorter intense workouts for the next few weeks!
What do you want to achieve by the end of the program?
Just looking to continue on the path to being my best self!
When was the last time you tried a new activity - what was it?
That is a tough one! We've done some pretty amazing things on adventurous holidays here in Asia. In December we stayed in a treehouse in the jungle in Laos for 3 days in hopes of seeing gibbons (which we did from very very far across the valley) - accessible only by zipline!
Came back mid-afternoon Monday from a long weekend in Singapore for a kids soccer tournament. It was a fun but tiring weekend. And then was being the good wife accompanying my husband to a reception on board a US navy ship that is docked in HK at the moment. Not that it was exactly a hardship but I was tired and feeling busy...I did try bail on him but he was persuasive.
In the short time between those 2 things I needed to get everyone unpacked and prepared for the week...plus shower and put on a dress. The workout was the casualty. So today I did Day 1. And shortly I'll be heading to dragonboat practice. So I'm going to call that Days 1 and 7. And by Monday I'll be on track!
Day 1 workout notes:
I was able to do the half burpees with a soft landing - so I think I'm okay with those.
Mini starjumps were fine too - I keep them low so the impact is minimal.
Yahoo jumps - I'm not quite sure what to call my version - I still start with a sort of bent over squat and try to get a bit of explosive force upward - but I keep one foot firmly planted - arms and other leg up and out just like the photo. Halfway through the set I switch to the other foot. Obviously this is not as tough as the jumping version, but I still felt it and feel like it was a pretty good alternative.
Excited to start Chisel today. I’ve been planning to do this program for awhile but have been a bit daunted by the high impact exercises because of my knee issues. I’ve finally decided to tackle it but be smart about modifications. In fact, I’ll be taking some notes on what I sub to share with the Kenzai powers that be so perhaps we can use that to help make this program more approachable for others who need lower impact. As I like to tell trainees, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth it!
Timing ought to be pretty good as I’m returning today from a long weekend in Singapore where the kids were in a soccer tournament. I’ve had too much beer and not the healthiest food options at the tournament venues. Today’s breakfast (pictured) was a start at cleaning it up. I have no major travel scheduled in the next 6 weeks. It is dragonboat race season so there may be some occasions for imbibing a little bubbly. But I plan to keep it reasonable.
Heading into summer in a chiseled bod! Whip us into shape Scottie B!
And I’m training a big KB2 group that starts today. Going to be busy but I’ll still aim to be a good teammate to the Thoth crew!