Elissa Imran

Elissa Imran

Reboot | Day 20 (Member)
Day 20
Program progress:

Ended up with a packed schedule today - getting daughter to and from choir retreat in the morning (9-11:30), will be stopping at urgent care after lunch to get her thumb looked at (recycling bin accident apparently), rushing back to catch most of son’s soccer tryouts (2-4). Plus I had a pedicure appointment at 10, which was supposed to be after a leisurely coffee. But extra addition to the schedule meant I needed to squeeze in a workout. With only 45 minutes including shower time, I cut the skipping to one 5 minute set (vs 3) and raced through the rest of the workout. I’ve been getting extra cardio almost every day so seemed like the right sacrifice for today!


Pretty healthy meatball recipe. Husband and I had it over zoodles. Kids had it over pasta with a side salad. Whole family at it all up! Yum!
Need to do more recipe research and add some life back into the menu!

All rolling along with the program. Definitely over 90% on the diet. And 100%+ on the exercise. Feeling great!

Got out on the water with a group for SUP and kayak this morning. Taught some newbies how to SUP. Did some nice strong paddling to catch up with some kayakers who had gotten up ahead of the rest of the group. Felt like a badass. ;)

Recipe - https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/meatballs/


All humming along great! Resisted the wine at Sunday night AC buffet dinner. But did have a wee chocolate cookie and bite of my kids’ chocolate cake with my fruit - pretty successful considering how out of hand it can be.
And results showing! Less DOMS. Down 2 pounds.
Left knee niggling a bit - started after skipping yesterday - maybe too much too soon after not skipping all summer. So today I’ll go alt cardio and see how it goes in the next couple days. More foam rolling on the agenda too!
For throwback I don’t have much with me here in HK - so have to resort to photos from the digital age.
Can’t remember if I’ve shared this photo before - when my daughter was an infant. I gained a lot of weight in my pregnancies. Ugh...was a challenge to take it off.


I am seriously patting myself on the back for a very clean week since returning from the US. I did have 2 glasses of wine one night...but otherwise have been pretty damn close to 100% on diet and exercise. I'm almost caught up on the workouts - will be by the end of the week.

Today we had a dragonboat event - more of a come try out dragon boat paddling for AWA members than a team practice. Got in a bit of exercise, but I was in charge so spent much of the time sitting at the front of the boat explaining things and running drills. It was fun introducing the sport to a dozen newbies! And I knew the challenge to have lunch out would fit perfectly with this, as I was choosing the lunch spot for after we got off the boat. We went to CaliMex and I had my usual - grilled chicken burrito with only a little rice, no sour cream, add guacamole. It's obviously slightly light on the veggies and heavy on the carbs. But I think not a bad dining out option in the neighborhood - where there are not a lot of options!


I have extra respect for those who keep things on track in the midst of international travels. Jetlag is a beast.

Had a bit of an eventful start to the travel. Had planned to workout Wednesday morning but found out my 6pm flight was canceled, scrambled to get another routing. Success meant that we flew at 4pm instead - Hartford to Chicago to LA to Hong Kong. Still got on original LAX/HKG flight but with extra travel and layovers in between. And with the rush to finish packing, clean up the rental house, run a last couple errands en route to the airport - the workout lost out in the priority list. Lost a full day in travel (Thursday). Spent half of Friday unpacking and then took the kids to the pool for the afternoon to try to stay awake and get on schedule. Success on that front as we all slept pretty well Friday night. But again the workout lost out in the priority list and exhaustion.

So I thought today (Saturday) would be back on track. But I still had some work to do putting everything away, cleaning up emails, signing kids up for activities, filling out paperwork and making photocopies for passport renewals, running errands - next thing I knew it was 3:00 and all I wanted was a nap. So I took the kids to the pool for a couple hours. Success...except the workout didn't happen.

Now I'm pushing to stay awake until 9pm but no energy for more than a dog walk for exercise this evening. I think I'll double up a few of these short workouts to catch up in the next few days...at least the strength training portion. On a positive, diet is 100% since returning, and I was pretty good about my intake during the travel - even passed on the booze on the flights! And I felt pretty strong slinging around my 6 50lb suitcases! Getting 300 pounds of luggage in and out of cars and airports is no small feat!

Ready for kids to get back to school mid-week so I can have more me time again!


I've been spending my summer in the USA - in Litchfield County Connecticut. It's absolutely gorgeous here. And the weather has been pretty close to perfect with highs around 80 and lows around 60. But tomorrow I head back to Hong Kong - with weather I appreciate much more in the winter than the summer. The photo is me on the SUP I bought to use on the local lakes and ponds this summer. Not a Kenzai workout, but it's been my primary form of exercise this summer. Today I will be dropping it off in a friend's basement (along with my kids' summer camp duffles) to store until next summer. Bittersweet. But I also am looking forward to getting back to routine - including in diet and exercise.

Yesterday I did my Day 1 Reboot workout on the grass by the town beach (on a local pond). It was my first traditional Kenzai workout of the summer (with rope & bands) and I realized I'd kind of missed it! Heading out to the front yard to do today's as soon as I finish this post!

A quick intro:
Moved to HK in 2010 for my husband's job. Kids were born in NYC but now at 9 and 11 they have lived most of their lives in HK. When I'm not working as a Kenzai Trainer, I'm spending most of my time with them. I also like to hike, kayak, SUP, dragonboat, and generally get out and enjoy the world around me. Living in Asia has given us the opportunity to travel to amazing places around the continent, with more to come!

Reboot Required

If only I could just hit the restart button for this necessary update!
7 weeks of too much indulgence and low key exercise has let the pockets of fat plump up and the muscle tone down. But I head back to Hong Kong later this week - leaving on Wednesday and landing on Friday. So I'll probably miss a workout or two later this week. But otherwise I'm all in on this 4 week plan to get back on the right track.


As summer holidays are nearing an end (one more week in the US!), I'm looking ahead to the fall to get myself into tip top shape for dragonboat season again. And as usual I have let myself go a bit more than I'd intended. 7 weeks in the US is tough - totally out of routine. It helped being in a rental house instead of staying in others' homes. I cooked most meals and kept things pretty Kompliant. But the meals I did eat out included too much pizza and other things I miss from the NYC area. And summer meant too much wine and ice cream...total willpower fail on those fronts. I did get in some hiking and SUPing for exercise, but I did not get in much of the traditional Kenzai style exercise. The rope and bands stayed tucked away in my workout bag.

So now it's time to get back into gear! I don't have a scale, but I know from the way my clothes fit that there is some fluff to burn. And I know from the bit of exercise I have done that there is some rebuilding required. Of course it comes back quickly but I need to be smart about it. So I'm going to Reboot in August. That will mean a couple week break before September Beach Blast, another week break before October T-Shirt Blast, and rolling straight into Ski-Boot in mid-November (I don't ski but it'll be good for the legs!). So that's my planned recipe for being fit and fine when we head to our South African holiday for winter break!

I Did It? 

I've been debating what to write in this post. I have completed Mind in the sense that I have read every lesson. I have gotten in some decent exercise almost every day. But I have not meditated most days. Going back to my first post here, I was sure that I would be able to make that commitment. So mostly I'm questioning now why I didn't. I can make the excuses that I was busy with travel, kids, family, and on and on. But when I look past the excuses, I have no one to blame but myself. I am religious about ticking every workout box during a training cycle. I like being able to feel the good I'm doing for myself and my body and my health and wellness. But when I meditate, I feel none of that. It feels like a chore.

I discussed this with some friends over the last week or so, some of whom do meditate regularly. We questioned whether some minds need more calming than others. Although certainly to say my mind doesn't need calming doesn't feel quite right. In any case, I said maybe I'll revisit this program down the road. And maybe I will. But in the meantime, I feel more educated about meditation, so I'll take that as a win. It's something I never would have read up on or tried to understand were it not for Kenzai Mind.

And with those thoughts written down, I'll also apologize for being a terrible teammate past the first week or two here. As I blogged before, I have learned the lesson that this is not a good time of year for me to tackle a program. Keeping up with my Kenzai trainees was about all I was willing to make the time for here. I'll be returning to Hong Kong in just under 3 weeks. And I'll need to get everyone settled and the school year routine underway. And then I'll be back for more Kenzai fun! Thinking I'll tackle the 2 new Blast programs this fall!

I have learned a lesson...

That this time of year is just not a good one for tackling a Kenzai program, even Mind. I am getting my body moving daily. And I am meditating more than I would be otherwise...but I can't claim it's been as regular as it should be. Some days I just completely forget to read the lesson and get it done. And playing catch up just isn't the same as consistently showing up every day. I can partly blame it on just not being into it. But I'm also lacking discipline at the moment. And maybe that's okay...it's just not giving the program it's due chance to teach me something.
Anyway - I will stick with it enough to get through to the end. But I'll own that it's been a half assed effort.

On a positive, the kids look happy in the camp photos, even if their very short letters home (written only on the twice weekly required "letter writing day") don't tell me much. And I'm loving being here in the Connecticut Berkshires. It's around 60 degrees when I get up in the morning - perfect for some outdoor cardio. And it's around 85 degrees in the middle of the afternoon - perfect for a stroll in the shade or a paddle on a lake/pond. Tomorrow will be the end of 3 out of my 7 weeks here. Time is flying and I'm not sure I'll be ready for it to end!

Oh and go USA! Had fun watching the final Sunday with a friend from college who lives nearby-ish (I drove an hour and a half each way to meet him at his local favorite dive bar with a beer selection that was totally worth it!).

Summer solo

Somehow I still feel busy. My to do list (mostly shopping for things to bring back to HK including kids' clothes and various toiletries) still feels long. Plus of course I have to exercise every day, meditate every day, watch Women's World Cup soccer games, make food, eat food, scour the camp photo site for glimpses of my kids. The list goes on.

Seriously though, I'm not complaining. But I do apologize for being a terrible teammate this round. The little blue circles on my teammates and friends are just too many to look at. And I'm not sure that's time I want to spend right now. I'm enjoying my solitude!

On a positive, I've been making some pretty decent meals I think. Enjoying them. And even more, enjoying that there's no time pressure to get them done before scheduled activities or kids' bedtime or anything else! I'm not batch cooking exactly but for dinners I'm making 2-3x what I need so that I can cobble together leftovers for other lunches/dinnners. And the fruit here this time of year is amazing. Gorging on strawberries (that we picked!) and blueberries and peaches. Feeling kinda' proud of myself - I'm sure the expats with helpers can relate!

Yesterday I took out my new SUP for the first time. Someone recommended a lake that is in a state park about 30 minutes drive from here. It was the perfect spot - a swimming beach, a snack shack, parking (free for all with CT plates - which luckily my rental car has!), lots of people out. It took me awhile reading instructions, fiddling with pumps, etc. to get the thing inflated. But now that I know what I'm doing (after also doing another bit of fiddling when I got home), it will be faster/easier next time! It was a gorgeous locale. SUPs and kayaks can be launched anywhere outside the roped off swimming area. But the area for motorboats is totally separate, so no concerns about others' wake or the like. There was a gentle breeze, but it was mostly flat. And despite having not been on a SUP in quite some time, I didn't fall! I did sit down on my board in the middle of the lake, bravely take my phone out of the dry bag for some photos, have a little snack, and then continued on my way.

I think I'll go again today! After I meditate!

My SUP view
Proof that I was there
Is that a heron?
Perfect breakfast - the avocados and tomatoes are so good here!
Seared ahi tuni and roasted cauliflower with garlic for dinner
Leftover tuna with cucumber, radish, lettuce, carrots and a dash of ponzu makes great tacos for lunch!
Leftovers stir fried together - enough for a lunch and a dinner (with some pasta added for lunch and a salad added for both)!

Getting back in the groove!

Short post as I've got places to go and things to see! But I dropped the kids at camp yesterday and am now flush with free time! Did a big grocery shop yesterday - chicken breasts, shrimp, lots of fruits and veggies, whole wheat pasta, rye bread. Looking forward to reacquainting myself with cooking (because I have domestic help in HK)!
I'm exploring the area where I'm renting a house for the summer. And getting in some good exercise. Plus I ordered an inflatable SUP, which arrives tomorrow. Excited to get out on the local lakes/ponds to bask in the sunshine!
More soon re: Mind / Meditation - I'm sure it doesn't help that I wasn't super consistent the last couple weeks, but I'm still finding it's not really for me. Will see the program through though!

No Time!

Travel, jetlag, rental house, getting kids ready for camp, parents visiting, brother/sister-in-law and their 3 and 5 year old kids visiting...feeling super busy! Kenzai has fallen off the priority list for these past few days. My brother and his family leave in 2 days and life gets simpler. So I'm just accepting this hiccup. I'll have to do some catching up then. And once the kids go to camp in a week things really get simpler!
We are quite active though - hiking, swimming, playing in the yard. Just need to get past this jetlag and get more sleep too!
So sorry to all that I'm a bit MIA here. I'll be back with you soon!

Weird Week!

Things have been a bit off kilter here this week. The protests caused the big international dragon boat races that were supposed to take place over the weekend in Central to be canceled. So some dragon boat clubs put together some fun races - there were teams that had come in from overseas so it was nice to give them some racing opportunities! My team went to Shatin Saturday and Stanley Sunday. Both were pretty casual fun events.

Kids finished school this week, so I've been trying to keep them entertained. Since we leave tomorrow for 7 weeks in the US, it was nice that they got to spend time with dad over father's day weekend - he won't be joining us for 5 weeks!

Unfortunately I started getting a sinus headache Saturday afternoon, which turned into quite the nasty cold. Not ideal timing with so much to get done today and long flights tomorrow! Been trying to get extra sleep and pounding cold meds and water. Hoping I'm feeling much better by tomorrow evening...otherwise the flights will be extra miserable.

Been keeping up with the daily meditation. Does it count as thought chains if it's about meditation? Last night I just kept thinking about why am I doing this.Is there a benefit to meditating, clearing the mind, etc.? I can see benefits to spending time meditating over a question or concern or something - but just trying to be blank - I'm not so sure what that does. Plus it was hard to stay awake!

Don't think I'll be getting in much for exercise today or the next couple days...maybe a dog walk or two...but mostly extra rest is on order!


...introduce myself!

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!

End of Week 2





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