Elissa Imran

Elissa Imran

Kenzai Member

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!


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)!


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!

Don't mind if I do...

...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!

Healthy body and MIND!

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!


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!

Still plodding along!

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.

Slowing down...sore hips

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.

Hectic weekend!

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!

Whew! Bedtime!

End of Week 3





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