Elissa Imran

Elissa Imran

Kenzai Mind | Day 7 (Member)
Kenzai Mind
Day 7
Program progress:

Allow myself to introduce myself.

1. Where are you located?
I’m in Hong Kong – moved here from New York City just over 8 years ago.

2. What do you do?
In addition to working for Kenzai part time, I am a stay at home mom to a 10 year old daughter and an 8 year old son. I love that they go to school all day. And I also love that I get to spend my afternoons, evenings and weekends with them.
I am an avid dragon boat paddler. I picked up the sport when I moved to Hong Kong, and I'm just starting my 9th season with the AWA Globe Paddlers. It’s fun being on a team of amazing women!
I love to travel. One of the perks of living in Asia is seeing so many places I never even imagined getting to. We are raising our kids to be adventurous travelers. We spent 2 ½ weeks in Thailand and Laos at winter break. It was an awesome trip filled with elephants, zip-lines, staying in a tree-house, playing in waterfalls and much more!

3. Why are you here?
I heard about Kenzai from a neighbor back in 2012 and did my first program in September of that year. And I started working for Kenzai in 2015. I keep coming back for more because I love the lessons, workouts, diet plans and most of all the community. I have completed multiple programs and aim to hit a couple more this year - probably starting with Kettle Bells 2 in February.

4. What podcast or playlist would you recommend?
I recently got into podcasts instead of music during exercise, although I sometimes switch over from Stitcher to Spotify playlists. Recent favorites include Dirty John, Bag Man, Serial (season 3), and Caliphate.

Happy new year!

I’ve been traveling in Thailand and Laos with family and friends for over 2 weeks. And as our trip comes to an end I’m starting to think about what to tackle in the new year.
I brought workout gear and a jump rope but it hasn’t really gotten used. We have hiked and climbed and biked and been fairly active overall. But I’m ready to jump back into some good workouts in the coming week. Between k-life and dragonboat I’m sure I’ll be sore a week from now. And the big upcoming decision - do I Chisel or Bellz2?

Much needed rest!

KB3 workouts all completed. And other than a couple more dragonboat practices before the holiday, I'll throw in a few light workouts...but otherwise continue with some much needed rest.
I've taken a bit of a break from the Kenzai site this week as well. Too much time sitting at the computer working on details for both winter and summer break (Anyone in/near the Berkshires? I'll be there for 7 weeks in summer '19!), plus all the other admin that crops up this time of year.
Will be popping back through some of the missed blog posts over the next week or so to see how everyone is doing!

My knee is doing much better. Shoulder back to 100%. But damn this right QL keeps throw things out of whack. It seems to be getting better and then hits me again the day after each dragonboat practice. Off to the physio for a follow up next week. Hoping for some good exercises to tackle over winter break and try to re-align a bit!

I may go a bit quiet here as I have travels ahead. The family and I will be heading to northern Thailand and Laos for 18 days of adventure. Really really really looking forward to it!


That was a tough 90 days! Enjoyed the workouts...although they got quite long the last few weeks!
I got just what I wanted from this program. I've been getting lots of compliments on looking very toned and fit. I feel strong. My endurance is up.
Looking at my photos, I think I see the shorts look a tad looser and the mid-section looks a tad leaner and the upper body looks a tad more toned. All of that makes sense given that I've only lost 1 kilo. But I've also found a pretty good balance on the diet. I'm not 100% strict. I have been imbibing and indulging a bit. But I keep things about 80% clean and I don't go crazy on the other 20%.
Now to find the exercise balance. Getting in an hour plus workout daily on top of dragonboat 2-3 times per week and some hiking and such as well is just not sustainable. I'm a bit burned out and having lots of little niggles (much improved after a week off...and I will still make up those missed workouts!). So the quest continues to keep up the fitness / life balance! KB3 was a great step towards figuring it out.
Thanks to Ward and my Kenzai team and friends for the encouragement and commiseration along the way!


About a month ago I was getting some pain in my left shoulder - pretty sure it was the tendon on the rear deltoid. After a few nights of disturbed sleep because of it, I headed to the physio. It took a couple weeks to get it to about 90% and a couple more to be back to full health. So glad I took care of it quickly and dialed back the resistance on the shoulder exercises in the interim.

But to add injury to injury...I started getting pain in my lower right back around the SI joint. I'm sure this was a combo of dragonboat and Kenzai. I was having this problem last spring but it resolved on its own. Since I was already visiting the physio about once a week, I had her take a look. She diagnosed it as a combination of tight quad and IT band along with a tight quadtratus lumborum - a muscle in that area. With some good massage and a few exercises, that has been improving gradually.

And just to keep things interesting, I did a stupid thing. My knees, which have been problematic since ACL tears in the mid-90s, have been totally fine all program. But I sub in lower impact options for the jumping exercises. Since all was going so well, I decided to try a few sets of floor jumps, butt kicks, knee slappers. And yeah...that was stupid. I have learned from experience that these just cannot be in my exercise repertoire. So lesson learned yet again as I've been having some tendinitis in the right patellar tendon and quad tendon. It's improved a bit after yesterday's physio. Been doing lots of foam rolling and stretching. And I know that it will take a few more days to fully resolve.

So with all of that going on, I've decided to be extra smart this week. I need not check every box! I've had dragon boat training (Tue/Thu) and some long dog walks and moderate hikes. I've done some physio-prescribed exercises and lots of stretching and foam rolling. But I've not done this week's Kenzai workouts since Monday (that's 3 missed so far). This is a hard choice for me to make. But I want to finish strong and nail Day 90! So I've decided to skip Days 86-88. Tomorrow I'll do some cardio for the Day 89 workout. And this weekend I will do the Day 90 workout - probably on Sunday since I have dragonboat training on Saturday. And next week I'll go back and do the missed days - because it makes me happy to check the boxes.

Training smart for my body - something I need to keep in mind!


I am having serious difficulty motivating for the workout today. We were invited to another friend's Thanksgiving feast last night - and it was excellent! But to much food and wine...makes for a slow morning.

We also had a full day Saturday - about 6 hours watching kids' soccer tournaments to start. Then it was Citibank family day at Ocean Park. It was much better than expected. We got a VIP pass that allowed us to skip all the lines - thanks to Shafi I for being a VIP! And we had to plan our afternoon/evening around a corporate show at 6:30pm. Shafi got to help hand out lucky draw prizes. And then our kids (and us with them) got selected to help in the sea lion / dolphin show.

With all of that going on, I had to count the hours walking the park (and riding rollercoasters...it's a core workout I'm sure :) ) as my alternative cardio. I added the other exercises on to my Sunday (which was Saturday's) workout. So yesterday's workout was seriously brutal!

But despite my low energy and procrastination, I am about to lace up my shoes and bang out today's workout. Right knee has been niggling a bit - quad tendinitis I think. So we'll see how it feels on the leg work...will dial it down if necessary. Just a few days to go - not letting injuries and niggles stop me. Have been in physio for some shoulder and back stuff (combo of paddling and Kenzai methinks)...will have her take a look at the knee when I go Wednesday.

Definitely ready for this 90 day beast to be over. But feeling so good that I've been able to get through it without any major injuries (couldn't say the same for the last round 2 years ago!)! So this Thanksgiving I've been very grateful for good health!


I love Thanksgiving! Even though I miss being with family in the US on this American holiday, we have always managed to get together with friends for a great celebration - this was our 9th Thanksgiving abroad.
I nailed my workout earlier in the day, including a great dragon boat practice (posing as turkeys in the photo).

I kept my portions pretty reasonable, but I did have a sliver of each of 3 pies (pecan, pumpkin and lemon) and I did drink a bit too much wine!

And now we've been invited to a friend's for a Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday evening also...so I plan on a repeat! Better keep up my workouts and keep the diet clean otherwise!


It's been an exciting week here. A nice little gathering for some Kenzaites with Ren visiting from Tokyo. And when I mentioned I could get him a seat on the dragonboat, he jumped at the chance. Despite his claims of lack of coordination, he did very well. A good example of what great fitness can do, especially for some of my teammates who are nearly finished with KB1!

The dragonboat team also had a fun outing Tuesday after practice on a junk boat. We actually had a pretty healthy spread of food - lots of veggies and lean protein - but also a fair amount of wine! And wow do I need to work on my tan lines!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling a bit burned out on KB3. Body is tired. But that's not stopping me. Workouts are happening. I did have to claim a couple hours walking around the Hong Kong Wetland Park with my son's class as my cardio yesterday, but I got the rest of the workout done after and still had time to clean up for dinner! I really struggled with motivation to get in the rest of the workout today after dragonboat practice. I was a bit crunched for time so my negatives were more like a 5 count than a 10 count. But I got the whole thing done!

Diet hasn't been stellar, but I'm still holding pretty strong on the 80/20 plan. Some extra indulgences, but healthy meals at home and mostly good choices out. Nailing my snacks, even if it means eating them on field trips, dragonboats, hikes, shopping, on the way to physio, etc. Preparation is key!

With just over 2 weeks to go, I plan to continue on this path and finish feeling fit (even if not thinner)!


I've swapped out cardio day a few times - moved days around that is. And I think I had to do a double up once...meaning I missed a day and combined a cardio and strength day (including that cardio). But I have hit 100% of my workouts to date (Day 68!). This is the way that works for me. As soon as I miss a workout, I'm tempted to miss another. 90 for 90 or bust.

But today's schedule is nuts. I've got parent teacher conferences back to back from 8-11 this morning. Then I need to pick my son up from a playdate and get to the American Club to meet some of the kids' friends for lunch at 12:15 and some playtime after. I'm bringing my workout gear, but it will depend on what they choose to do with their playtime whether I can head up to the gym or if I need to keep an eye on them. Then I've got to take my daughter to her first volleyball clinic from 3:30-5. And she really wants me to stay since she's a bit nervous about it.

And we've got a dinner booking back at the American Club for 6:30 (Diwali buffet night!). So certainly there's enough time to get in a shower between volleyball and dinner...but not really a workout.

Going to have to be creative to make it happen today. Especially since my left shoulder has been giving me trouble - will have to save that for another post. But suffice it to say that I'm not skipping rope this week. And alt cardio takes a lot of time!

Stay tuned for whether I find the time! Not so sure I can fit in a double up this weekend!!!

25 days to go!

I'm seeing muscles popping out a bit more. 100% on workouts! And I'm feeling strong and fit. But definitely not burning off those fat pockets...

So I'm sitting here thinking maybe I should go all in on the diet for the remainder of the program and bust up the fat stores. But then I look at the calendar - book club, Diwali buffet, husband's birthday dinner, soccer moms organizing wine and nibbles during girls tournament, dragon boat team junk boat party, dinner out with friends - and that's all in the next 10 days.

And I realize I don't want to be more strict than I already am. I am almost 100% on diet at home (where I eat about 75% of my meals). I've only snuck 2 pieces of the kids Halloween candy. I nail my 5 snacks every day. And I allow myself mindful indulgences when I'm out (not hog wild at those other 25% of meals - sometimes pretty close to fully compliant even). Combine this with killer workouts...and I seem to be maintaining just fine.
It's always a trade off. And for now I'm pretty happy keeping the extra 5-10 pounds of fat in order to keep my lifestyle as is.

Maybe when we head back to bathing suit season I'll do a little round of focused fat burn!


I signed up for a hike today on Lantau Island. It’s a bit of a schlep to get there - bus to subway - over an hour and a half. But my schedule was open enough to make it work today. And I’m so glad I did.
The weather was so perfect I even took a photo from my balcony first thing in the morning. And even that beauty didn’t compare to the trail. We did just over 10k at a “social pace” - about 3 hours. Followed that with a nice lunch (almost Kompliant - steak sandwich and side salad). And i didn’t even mind the ride home - ferry to bus - also about an hour and a half.
Very nice group of women to chat with too.

But my plans for the rest of my workout when I got home were foiled by the needs of my kids - homework and preparations for “make-o-ween”. So today was alt cardio and I’ll just move the rest of the week’s workouts back a day. Hope I won’t be regretting that too much come Sunday!


I've had a few too many social occasions lately...and not been turning down the wine/beer. But diet is on point when home. And workouts are 100%!
I'm definitely not losing weight (scale sitting steady) but I'm seeing some muscle growth and thus I must at least be cutting a bit of fat.
I've got 2 extra dragonboat events this week - one for a sponsor and one for the American Women's Association. While in a usual practice these days we are hitting around 6-7km (Tue & Thu) and today we hit only about 4, it's still a pretty decent bit of cardio and strength work combined. 4th paddle of the week is tomorrow. And as I skip the skipping on those days, my calves are appreciating the break. Although I have been adding in the speed rope, time permitting. 4 minutes feels like a lot more than 3!


Nailed every workout this week and kept the diet pretty clean...in preparation for last night's big plans...Oktoberfest at the American Club. Invited new Hong Kong arrival and Trainer extraordinaire Cecelia to join in the fun. Lots of friends. Great food. Free flow Erdinger beer. To be honest, I expected the party to be a bit more lively than it was. But with good friends in attendance, we all made the most of it. There were some party games and an oompah band. Maybe best of all was just the excuse to buy a dirndl.

Busy week!

It’s been a busy week since we got back from our fall break trip. I haven’t had a chance to read blogs at all. Sorry team! I will catch up this week and be a better teammate!

I missed Monday’s workout with our travel day. So I’m running a day behind but I will catch up tomorrow with a double up of today’s workout and cardio day.

I’m feeling stronger overall but workouts are long and tough! I’ve been using a timer app (GymBoss) for the negatives. I find it keeps me honest when I’m tempted to rush through, especially by the final set. It also helps to keep count!

Hope everyone is doing well as we near the halfway mark!


Entering the Singapore Airlines plane in Dhaka felt like re-entering civilization! Quiet, calm, clean, fewer odors...such a nice change to be in Singapore now!

We are staying with friends in a beautiful old black and white house. They have an amazing garden, pool, house with guesthouse. Had a fabulous workout this morning in the back garden. Skipped on the decking by the pool, used a palm tree to anchor bands, spread a towel on the lawn for ab work.

Yesterday we took the kids to Universal Studios, so diet was a bit off and I decided to consider that walking around all day my alternative cardio. Got in my ab work in the evening. But yesterdays’s workout happened today and today’s will happen tomorrow, so I’m still pretty well on track for a perfect record through the end of week 5.

Enjoying the food here - lunch at a big hawker bazaar was not on plan! But also looking forward to being back home and cleaning up the diet for the remaining 7+ weeks!

Starting Photo



Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind


Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Reach
Kenzai Reach


Kenzai Sculpt
Kenzai Sculpt

Kenzai Kettlebell
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Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel