172 172 178
172(1) 177(1) 175
180 180 178
182(1) 178(1) 191
So, well, food wise breakfasts are on point but the rest of my meals are not. This was to be expected in rural Thailand at a wedding week.
But at least the workouts are on point and I am getting plenty of extra cardio through snorkeling and Scuba diving. But when you are on a dive boat and starving during your surface interval you are definitely not going to skip out on chicken curry with white rice.
I hit a low of 66.7kg in Bangkok when the tail end of not eating enough just before I left Tokyo kicking in. I have gained some food and beer weight back so am around 68kg again but I do keep tacking on muscle so I look better even as the belly is not quite shrinking. That's okay.
Everyone at the wedding is amazed I get up every day, hop on my rental scooter and ride to the local gym to pump itok with the Muay Thai boxers and the Eastern European beefcakes. I think they feel a bit of shame for lacking the discipline and want to enjoy their vacation without feeling guilty so I try to join them for the first evening happy hour at least and not be the party pooper.
The gym is interesting and that story I will save for my next entry.
Oh but how about the fresh grilled seafood.
One of the fun aspects of Kenzai is that in the quest to make many varieties of foods that stick to the diet, you learn knew things.
This week, I learned how to cook my own fresh bamboo shoots, a spring specialty here in Japan.
The yield relative to the effort involved is not great, but fresh shoots are delicious. Nothing like the canned variety. And it was fun to try cooking something new. Now I know how.
And, I suspected they would be full of good nutrients and health benefits. Sure enough, it seems like it!
Well, so much for a "rest day." 30 minutes of jump rope was a breeze with the cooler weather. But then came the challenge. I knew which one would present me the most trouble because of my puny chest muscles, so I chose to do the pushups. Lo and behold, the A cycle today of course has the same exact pushups. Great...
Worked in 20 first set, then 10s up to 70 and after that it was generally failing around 5 or 6. I must have used my arms too much late as today it isn't the chest that's tight but my biceps, particularly the right side.
The cycles last week were more effective, I think. Not a fan of the crab walk at all--just way too much wrist impact for my tastes, but the rest are pretty good. I have upped the ante and am finishing a workout in about 27 minutes, so I am keeping my heart rate up. Early on, this was a failure on my part as I was moving from exercise to exercise too slowly (checking phone to see what I need to do next, etc.). Now as I am more comfortable, I can get going.
Weighed in on the scales today. After the initial weight loss due to water from cutting the salt out, my weight has not changed at all during the course of this program so far. Steady 155lbs the past 10 days after 158lbs to start.
As usual, it does feel like it's my arms and shoulders leading the chiseling, and not the pecs, abs or legs, even though I dedicate more energy to them, I think.
Anyway, long post as this is a catch-up on the week. I attended a funeral on Friday, and that was the only disruption to my eating schedule. A long day, I missed out on my morning snack, and lunch was presented at the funeral to family members (which I was). That said, the Japanese are very healthy...it was easy for me to pick out sashimi (no soy sauce), steamed vegetables, grilled fish from the bento box, and leave the tempura (damn it!) and soup and white rice alone. So I probably took in a bit of salt, but otherwise was pretty healthy. Funeral gave me pause for thought. It was for someone who was like an uncle to me when I was a kid. Only 78, a judoka--fit--his bones were strong (Japanese funerals end with cremation, but they always leave the bones--don't get me started on this creepy practice). But cancer took his life. If I live about as long as he does, I am halfway done. Sobering thought. And you really never know. I have done a lot of early damage to my system, I think. I'd like to try and stay as healthy as the universe will let me, and do what I can on my end.
That said, I do miss having a glass of wine on my porch at the end of the day. I am missing all the nice spring weather. I try with a glass of water, but it's not quite the same. Ha ha.
Okay, so I am going to introduce weapon number two here today, and get into why it is so effective for Kenzai that I think it ought to be in the next Kenzai kit, in my next post. I can make soft-boiled eggs, a roast beef, and two chicken breasts of different flavors at the same time. Having done a few programs over the years, this device is a gamechanger for me.
Just like that, the cold, rainy weather in Tokyo is gone, replaced by July-like heat and humidity. We hit 28C today and we could reach 30C tomorrow. From unseasonably cold for May straight to unseasonably hot.
Unfortunately, it appears the heavy rains and the suddenly warm weather have replaces Spring with Mosquito Season. The little buggers are attacking already, and it's a trade-off between baking in the sun outside to do a workout or dealing with the micro vampires in the early mornings or evenings. They've even evolved to where they can fly swiftly in between skips of the rope to attack. I recall the days when you could see or hear them buzzing softly closer, but now they are more like stealth bombers--they are some of the most adaptable creatures on Earth!
It's been over seven years since I first did Kenzai, (or the PCP as it was called back then). Never did I ever get a "no carbs" for dinner diet during that or Reboot, I think. So that's interesting. I realized I might have even though of myself as a little bit "special" in that regard. No longer! Ego bubble is sufficiently burst, ha ha. (I am kidding, in case you couldn't tell).
I am also a lot older since then, I guess. I never really think of my age--I feel like nothing's really changed since I was 25, but of course that's not true. Fortunately, I don't drink as much as I used to then, or put myself through as much duress--but those years probably took their toll. I have more joint aches than last time-- groin, biceps, back, wrists. Most of it is good--muscles stretching out. The wrists I am a bit more cautious on. None of this is a complaint, however. It needs to be done. But I'm not much of a fan of the crab walk in terms of how much stress on my wrists it places, relative to the burn (I can keep butt up and crawl around easily for a minute without feeling any burn, although I know the little obliques and stabilizers are working--I can tell). I've taken to strapping my wrists up with boxing tape for crab walk and chest dip days, but we shall see.
Anyway, I mentioned two secret weapons in my last post. The second is the more powerful of the two and I will dedicate a post to that, but the first is that this time around I have a friendly neighbourhood baker, who makes fresh bread every morning using an imported French oven. Delicious! He makes a 100% whole grain loaf of bread as well, about 1 metre long, I kid you not-it's a big loaf. Cost to buy the whole thing is not cheap--about 4,000 yen ($37). But, they slice it up for me in 30 gram slices, and this yields about 2 weeks' worth of delicious bread, all sliced up. I bag them in 3 day increments and put them in the freezer. If my carb allotment changes, I can adjust by the slice. Bread is made with salt, but I spoke to him and the next go around, since I am ordering by the loaf, he will make it with significantly reduced salt for me. I love brown rice and bulgur wheat and all the rest, but a couple of slices of toast for breakfast definitely keep me in a good mood and ready to face the day.
So my first weapon--befriend your neighbourhood baker!
We had three days of unusually cold weather, with high temperatures stalling in the upper-50s (14~15C) and a lot of rain. Yesterday was supposed to be sunny all day and zero rain in the forecast...you can see the picture evidence of a screen grab off my phone at 10am. 11am, however, it was raining cats and dogs with thunderstorms. They don't usually get it THAT wrong here in Japan. The second pic is at the precise moment when a garbage truck flew by and splashed through a puddle at high speed. Oops!
Anyway, that meant a far later workout than I was planning--evening time-but the second go-around on the first cycle was good. Knowing the exercises and patterns, I was able to do them at a much faster pace than on Day One--I am sure that's by design--do the same thing a second time and you will get more out of the cardio portion because you can keep your pace and heart rate elevated vs. the first run when you are feeling your way through.
Looking forward to seeing what the diets will look like. I have a few secret weapons with me that I did not have on the last go-around, so I am looking forward to it. Will introduce them as we go along.
All the best to everyone and happy Friday!
Back in the saddle, Day Two of Chisel. It was one of those workouts in the rain where you think to yourself halfway through:
"This is alright; heck, maybe even it's easy."
You strip off your wet workout clothes to step in the shower and as your rain-soaked shirt clings to your back you tug at it over your head, exposing your belly in the process.
Why you let things get so far out of whack before you got back in the saddle is beyond you. You tell yourself you will keep it up.
In my case, I have not yet figured out how to not burn out after a program. Yes, yes, I get the whole "maintenance" thing and keeping up light exercises and diet and all, but after 30, 60 or 90 days of rigorous discipline, the process still burns me out to where even the idea of maintaining anything at all, even slight, is exhausting. It's not the physical fatigue--it's the mental one.
Anyway, I am planning on Chiseling straight into the first week of Kettle Bells, which is my real goal (but I did not want to wait for June), so back to the grindstone it is.
The View from the Saddle is...just fine.
Photo of me in New Orleans, by Mark Lipchinski.
End of the line... GRADUATION POST
Well, not really, but my resistance band snapped today. It was really the end of the line in that respect. How appropriate.
The big thing I would say was that I got through the wedding last night without any booze and had heaps of salad and a small piece of salmon. The salad already had dressing on it--if I ever get married, I am going to be nice to my guests and leave dressing on the side. I am not much of a sweet tooth anyway so the cake was of no temptation.
More importantly, I can get through a weekend like this with people respecting and understanding my choices, and even being curious as to why I am "on a diet" despite being slim.
I want to say that I want to take the next week to rest a bit, as my calves are still tight from skipping, but I know just how quickly you can fall into bad habits. I know that the biggest challenge for me remains eating AS MUCH as the course prescribed for me. Most of the time, I didn't. It's just too much food and with my schedule (I need to set a timer for myself) I just am not eating all the snacks I am supposed to.
I kept doing pushups to failure the last two weeks. Think next time I will add that old 8-minute abs video as well.
Decisions, decisions. Do I have the energy to take a week off and then go straight into KB2 and spend the entire summer like this? I am not sure. I would almost rather start June 1 or something- 2 days off and back at it. That's reasonable. What's everyone else thinking? Also, are the KB2 exercises going to be intense like the last week or so of Reboot or is it back to a lower level? Because I don't want that either. Who's got some honest feedback for me. You don't have to sell me on doing it because eventually I will do it. The question is when. So if you have some thoughts, that would be helpful. Would I be better off doing more exercises similar to Reboot and using Kenzai Life and continuing on this path for another month or so before giving it a try?
P.S. My final pic doesn't actually look very flattering. I think I look better than that, to be honest, but I didn't have a tripod with me or decent time to set up this shot vs. the others. I haven't weighed myself, either.
They say "Two's company, three is a crowd."
So my rule for myself: "Only ever drink with a crowd." That means 3 people or more and it's a social gathering to have a glass of wine.
2? Not enough, and of course never alone. And so it keeps me on the disciplined path.
Pre-wedding dumpling brunch at legendary Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung....tough to resist but I am! Had one, small, non sauce dumpling (gone in one bite) and then plain cabbage and brown rice.
Good Asian food doesn't exist in Arizona so it is no small thing I am giving up. Feels good though. :)
50 degree weather makes for good skipping. :-)
So far avoiding all the wedding traps and continuing strong.
I have an idea for the weekly challenge. Will scribble it out and post later.
Was on the road and I missed my chance last week. So... without further ado:
Sorry about the lack of an update. It's been hard. I've now put down 2,600 miles (4,200km) on the road in a little over a week. Having my mother visiting also puts additional pressures on the time and eating patterns. Being on the road and staying in motels, I took an electric stove with me and pots and pans and cooked where I could along the way. It wasn't always possible.
Without exception, I ate compliant food I either prepped myself or had made at restaurants where they could accommodate me, but the timing and quantity? Much harder on the road. Eggs and egg whites, etc., especially. The workouts were good, except no pullup bars to be found--anyone come up with an idea for pull-up bars on the back of their truck yet? The truck is perfect for all the resistance band stuff, though. Chairs are a challenge because they are different everywhere you go. Some are great, some flimsy, some really hurt your hands to push off on. I did miss one day in there, Day 17. Had to just keep going. Sorry!
I have done plenty of extra cardio through walking/hiking several miles a day as well. I can say with certainty I am NOT a morning skipper. I try to get up early to do it before we head out and I just can't get through without about 100 trips. Brain takes a while to function, especially when arriving at new locations after a long drive at 1030pm or so at night, cooking a dinner, then falling asleep around 1130, then waking up at 6 to go again the next day.
I think my body looked in peak shape in Santa Fe after one of the more aggressive workouts. Maybe high altitude means more tone? Ha ha. Not sure. I know diet is 80% of the battle, but that amount/timing of the food on the road is tough. Like I said, I did not cheat, I did not eat non-compliant things, but the quantity and timing was not great. I did supplement occasional protein mixes at your suggestion when in a pinch.
I checked the scales yesterday. Weight hasn't fluctuated much at all--half a pound since the start. But like I said, I felt like about one week ago was when I had the most muscle. Since then, with the challenges of the road--unlike in Santa Fe last week every waking moment was spent touring a site or then being in the car again so I did not get to eat properly on a regular schedule, I feel like I may be dropping weight (ie, burning muscle). Just speculation on my part, but I was up to 153 pounds a week ago and back to 150.5 yesterday so that might be what's going on. Mom leaves today, but then I am off to Seattle Thursday for a wedding. More travel--just what I did not need (but flying is much better than road-tripping).
However, I will say this, even though my results aren't going to be "ideal" I wasn't expecting much out of this 28-day program. Even though my body changes aren't going to be much, as predicted, it's still been good to keep me focused and not eating bad food as I go--something easy to fall into as a habit.
P.S. Photo is of the sunset in Sedona on Thursday evening last week.