Elissa Imran

Elissa Imran

Reboot | Day 19 (Member)
Day 19
Program progress:
Bellz2 Bonanza! 

This program was tough. First couple weeks felt so good - short workouts - tore through them with gusto! Middle couple weeks they started to get a bit longer and I started to feel some fatigue. Last couple weeks workouts were painfully long - some days I totally dreaded them. And yes I'll be honest that using my dragon boat training days as my active rest and cardio days might have been a bit much! Wouldn't have been sustainable for a longer program. Been getting some niggles in the hips, knees, wrists. Body is ready for a break! But 42 for 42 workouts - COMPLETE!

Final workout was a fun one. Did a nice little few minutes to warm up mixing in some jogging in place, jumping jacks, scissor jacks, high knees, butt kicks. And then I tore right through the cycles with an 8kg bell in each hand - under 30 minutes start to finish. Was able to tap the screen with a finger without putting down the bells. Did feel so good to put them down for a minute rest between cycles though! Love the sticky finger workout as finale!

I was unsure at the beginning whether I'd overdone it on the bellz purchase, but I think I was spot on. Needed the 4kgs for a few exercises. Used the 8kgs most. Was able to row and one arm swing and some others with the 12kgs. Swings with a 16kg. And yes I did use the pair of 16kgs - for deadlifts. If they were available I might have liked to have some 6kgs for some of the bicep/tricep exercises where 8 was pushing it but 4 was light. When I was at the gym I sometimes subbed dumbbells for those to get the in-between weight. Why is it that bellz here seem to come only in 4kg increments???

As far as the diet - I was around 80-90%. I ate clean meals/snacks at home, always. Although here and there I will admit to sneaking a bite of chocolate. Very rarely missed a meal or snack. There were a few meals out that were in the Kenzai spirit but not the letter of the law - especially when on egg white and veg dinners - I didn't even try to keep that clean when out. And I will freely admit that I did not cut out drinking. I was more conscious/mindful of the choices. I don't drink at home. But when out with friends, at social events, dinners - if there is wine, I am in. Although I never let a hangover stop me from tackling my workout! (Or taking the kids to early morning soccer games!)

So that bit leads me to the question that I'm still trying to answer for myself. Is this the right way to do it? Have I found the sustainable balance? I didn't go into this program trying to lose weight but rather just to continue to work on my fitness. My weight stayed the same - it hardly fluctuated throughout from 161 pounds. According to my very inaccurate BIA scale, my muscle mass increased a touch and fat percentage decreased a touch - I don't trust the numbers themselves but the trend over time is there. And it's pretty in line with what I see in my weekly photos.

Would I be somewhat happier with the way I look if I lost 10 pounds? Yes.
Is it worth it to keep a strict diet almost 100% of the time? For the balance I want in my life, I don't think so.

Now the challenge will be to see if I can stay right here when not in a training cycle! I'll report back in a month - before I start Chisel!

Sorry for the long post! Thanks to Patrick and Nate for writing another great program! Thanks to Matt for guiding me through! And thanks to Team Nurmengard and my Kenzai friends for your support throughout!

Enjoy the post-workout muscle shots! Strong and proud! I am woman - hear me roar!


Was struck by it when I saw it in an email and decided to try it out - with some modifications of course.


Used a bit less butter and oil. No cheese.
Had to estimate the amount of broccoli and orzo (veg & carb) based on the weight of the broccoli before cooking. Also added extra steamed broccoli on top and more shrimp than the recipe called for.

My son had it without the chili flakes and didn't even complain about the broccoli because he liked the dish so much! My daughter doesn't like shrimp so she had it with chunks of chicken breast and really liked it too - she loves broccoli but complains about meat - chicken cooked similarly to this shrimp recipe was flavorful enough to elicit a compliment.
It's a winner in my house so thought I'd share!


4 workouts remain...38/38 so far! Enjoying the bellz but ready for a change. 6 weeks is definitely the right length for this one!

Photo of me dripping sweat with the post-workout thank-heaven-it’s-over buzz. And Stella with the getting-groomed-is-exhausting face.

Got in some extra cardio in the form of dog walking today. Took Stella to the groomer. Walked there - 20 minutes or so. Bussed back as I had groceries. But walked both ways for pick-up. It’s a gorgeous day here - 75 and sunny with a nice breeze. I usually get in around an hour to an hour a half a day of dog walking...nice to do more in good weather as certainly I’ve had some rainy days lately with less - not great for me or Stella.

Let’s finish with a flourish!


Trainer extraordinaire Jess is in Hong Kong this week, and I was lucky enough to get her and her hubby out on the dragonboat yesterday. Since we're into fairly serious training mode at this point, we had to stick them at the back of the boat to muddle along. But they kept up okay and had fun.

And of course it was great to meet an online friend IRL. We snapped a photo will all the members of the team who were present for the practice who are doing or have done a Kenzai program. It's a fit crew!

Meanwhile, I'm feeling pretty fatigued at this point. Knees and hips are a bit sore. Procrastinated a bit on getting the workout done today after a mid-morning meeting that threw off the schedule but just finished it. It was actually the Day 30 workout as I've been moving the days to suit my dragonboat schedule - did Day 32 yesterday. Ratcheted down the cardio to half and went for minimum reps on most sets. Will get in some extra cardio around the track this evening while the kids are at soccer practice. Needed to check that box...but also needed to go a bit easy. I think I made the right choice.

Feel like I'm seeing some slimming in the midsection and toning in the upper and lower body. It's working!

Healthy Weekend

This weekend seems to be centered around kids activities. And with enough time between them to eat at home.
So while my weekends aren’t usually too far off plan - this one is particularly clean.
Plus some extra exercise. Played a bit of keep away on the football pitch this morning - coach was running late for my son’s U9 tourney. So their warmup was the squad of half a dozen or so boys against a couple of the dads and I. Was fun and worked up a sweat! And thankfully I held my own well enough! I’ll be in trouble in a couple more years - the kids are improving!
Then took my daughter and her friend for a little walk down the nearby trail that ends near their requested destination - Starbucks. Only about 20 minutes but nice to get out in the great weather. And while I bought them Frappuccinos - I had nothing!

Pictured - today’s lunch! Which is still digesting...Bellz workout beginning around 4 today I think!


Went to a potluck a few days ago. Brought an enormous veggie platter with my favorite healthy dip. Kept me fairly clean on the diet...minus all the champagne. Oops.
Had lots of fun. But definitely some regret the following morning. That's the worst hangover I've had in awhile. But after a healthy breakfast, lots of water and a couple cups of coffee, I still dove right into my workout. Once I got going, I crushed it. Although the jumprope was pretty sloppy. Legs were very heavy.
Putting that over-indulgence behind me!
Halfway point today! Time to make the 2nd half count!


I had this question pop up from someone I haven't trained with before, so thought I'd pop up a short post for anyone interested.

There is all sorts of history behind this sport - started in China a long long time ago. But now it has really spread to many parts of the world. The boats and races vary slightly from place to place but the idea is the same.

Here in Hong Kong our standard boats seat about 20 paddlers in rows of 2 with a drummer at the front and a steersman at the back. The newer boats are usually fiberglass with wood planks as seats. The paddles are usually wood or carbon fibre. The stroke is an intense powerful drive down into the water and pull through the water. The key to getting good power is to use the whole body - pressure from quads and glutes, rotation from core, strong shoulders and a bit of arms. And the key to getting the boat to move fast is to have all 20 paddlers in time!

I've been paddling for the AWA Globe Paddlers for almost 9 years now. We aim to be competitive but still have a lot of fun. Here are a couple shots from some recent filming. I'm in row 7 on the right side with the black jacket and orange headscarf. In a race we would have a dragonhead on the front of the boat (and tail on the back) plus a drum in front of that seat at the front...with a drummer!

It's a great workout. And great to be part of a team!


Wow those weighted squats and lunges must be working. I have some sore glutes!

Shoulders are feeling it too with all that overhead bell work!

Definitely enjoying the bellz workouts, although that 3rd cycle has certainly upped the time they take. Did the Active Recovery day today before dragonboat practice. And then we got thunderstormed out! Honestly my shoulders probably needed the break.

Diet pretty much on point. And I’m seeing the mid-section flattening out a bit. Yay!


My parents were here for the last 12 days. We've had some good meals...including quite a bit of Chinese. Plus it was my daughter's 11th birthday. I wasn't totally off the rails on the diet but definitely not as clean as I'd like for a 6 week program. Hitting all the snacks. Meals at home are on point. Meals out...not horrendous....

I'm experimenting with the workout schedule this week. Dragonboat practice is Tue/Thu...and it's fairly intense. So I did my Active Recovery workout yesterday before practice. Tomorrow will be my Cardio day, i.e. just paddling. Today I'll do yesterday's workout. And so by Sunday I'm all caught up - just a bit out of the intended order. I'm aware that without real recovery days I may end up a bit too fatigued. Going to try it out this week and next and see if I need to make a change when we get into the even tougher/longer workouts in the 2nd half.

And I have not gotten this week's photo up yet. My shorts that I'm intending to wear for each picture are still in the laundry. Hopefully ready tomorrow for a quick photo! Oops!

Dragonboat team warmup - wall sit with gun show!
Chinese private kitchen dinner - complete with a pigeon each (and gloves to tear into it without getting our hands dirty)!
Dim sum lunch with the fam - yes I did eat one of those minions buns filled with egg custard - worth it!
Treats for my daughter's class - 32 Cinnamon Toast Crunch treats made with lots of butter & marshmallows - I had only 1 bite of hers at her insistence that I try it!
Daughter's birthday dinner at Din Tai Fung - we sang happy birthday over a piece of steamed cake (she loves it) but I didn't have any myself. I think I did enough damage with the dumplings!


While it hasn't been long since I posted an intro for my Kenzai Body 2 trainees - I'll chime in with my intro for my Kettlebells 2 teammates! Loving the program so far. Short but tough workouts. I've had to pull on the gloves as those exercises with rotation of the bellz were giving me some blisters - and I do not want callused hands! Also tried putting on some wrist sweat bands today for a little extra protection for those rack position exercises - I was getting a bit of a bruise just above the top of my wrists. It seemed to help.

1) The Basics: Where you live; What you do for work and/or play.
I live in Hong Kong (moved here from NYC over 8 years ago for husband's job) and am a stay at home mom to a daughter who turned 11 yesterday and an 8 year old son. When I'm not dragon boat paddling or hiking or spending time with the family, I'm a Kenzai Trainer!

2) How long have you been around the community and what program(s) have you enjoyed the most?
I first did Kenzai Body when it was still called PCP back in September 2012. It's hard to pick a favorite program. I really like the classic Kenzai style workouts with bands and body weight exercises - I can easily carry my workout in a bag and get it done anywhere. But I also really like changing it up from time to time with Sculpt, Reach, Bellz. Periodization in training for good total body health and fitness!

3) What did you like the most from the Kettlebell 1 program? What did you like the least?
I liked the change of workout style - cycles. And I liked the use of kettlebells for something different. I least liked getting blisters on my hands and bruises above my wrists. I'm a delicate flower...so I'm trying to fix that this round! I also find it a bit more difficult to have to be home or at the gym for a workout. Sometimes when the day is busy I get it done on the sidelines of my kids' soccer or at the park while they're in an activity nearby. I may have to hit some early morning workouts on those days...and that's not my favorite.

4) Why did you sign up for this program, and do you have any specific goals for yourself?
It was time for a change of pace after KB3 in the fall. I've got a little winter fluff to burn off. And I'm all for continuing to increase my fitness and strength.

5) Anything else you’d like to share with your teammates?
Looking forward to meeting more Kenzaites! I love the Kommunity here! I've got a very busy KB2 crew at the moment, but I'm hoping to still make time for being a good teammate!


I'm excited to be starting this program. Have been a bit too lax since mid-December...as evidenced by the fluff around my middle...
Time to reign in the diet and push hard on the workouts!
I've invested in some new bellz - twin sets of 16kg, 12kg, 8kg and 4kg. I actually did today's workout at the gym following the superbowl breakfast we went to. So it will be fun to break in the new bellz on Day 2!

I'll be balancing this with dragon boat training twice a week. Will see how I can shuffle the days a bit here and there as needed.

I've got my parents visiting this week over the CNY holiday - have some meals out that will certainly not be on diet. Will be super clean otherwise and ready to really go strict next week!


I spent the weekend in Bangkok with my daughter's U12 soccer team and other parents. We had a great time!

The girls played well - came in 4th of 10. And more importantly they had good sportsmanship, camaraderie and fun!

I may have had a bit too much fun...including the free flow wine at the Saturday night banquet! I think only in Asia would that be included for the parents at a kids' soccer tourney!

I did manage to get in a workout on Friday evening. But I opted to spend my other free time taking her to a foot massage. It was great bonding and a great massage.

Back in the swing of things. Catching up on blogs. And ramping up workouts in preparation for next week's start of Bellz2!

Oddly Tempting

I was asked to make an odd recipe for my kids’ classes this week. They are reading a book chapter by chapter - one book one school - in advance of the author visiting in a few weeks. This week’s portion includes a recipe for Extra-Gooey Marshmallow Cheeto Treats. Think rice crispy treats but with Cheetos in place of the cereal.
I bought the ingredients thinking “Yuck!” But once made I was oddly tempted to eat some. I resisted all but a tiny taste of the cheesy marshmallow goo stuck to the pot. It was pretty tasty! Good thing I’m shipping it all off to school with the kids tomorrow!


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?

End of Week 2





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
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind