Helen L.

Helen L.

Kenzai Member
Plans when travelling

So far my Kenzai plotting has worked well. Ate all the food I packed and have just purchased veggies and fruit for tonight from the Uni shop. Will be staying away two more nights this week - just need to keep my resolve. People are noticing the change which hasn’t really been a feeling I’ve had for a while. Better legs get attention.

My plan for tonight is - prep tomorrow as usual and ask for scales if I need them. Do my workout after prepping food. I’m very underslept but still have some work to do tonight. Mean to keep it to under 45 min.

I’ll also need to carry the right food on Thursday as a job interview was successful and I have been asked to an induction session. Which is yay in a way but oh no in the sense of getting the workout done that day.

I sometimes suffer from decision fatigue in these programs and when life feels busy it gets worse. Any suggestions on how to get round it? Simplicity is one idea and getting enough water. Sometimes I don’t need a decision as I have ‘what I do’ - Friday I’m going to a party and have zero issues being on the mineral water.

Any guidance welcome. And enjoy the fabulous bunny girl derrière from Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There sits one who did her barre moves.

Chisel Day 10 - Soreness

Sleep is needed right now. I have that slightly slammed feeling of being on the start of a diet clean up and hard exercises.

My cat continues to wander up to me when I’m doing life threatening activities. He is 18 so hardly has any spare lives at this point.

Sticking to the diet has been easier because I have a house to myself and I also have been sticking to one carb only, bulgur wheat. It has enough bite and chew to go well with everything.

I always tend to overestimate how much 🍉 weighs and have a glut and the opposite for veggies with a tendency to go through the ones I find satisfying. Have my first packed meal of the program as I’m out tonight at a volunteer training evening which ends at 9, so I have made spuds, avocado and salad topping to go.

Pleased with results even at this stage, my sides and back seem more toned, so a mild groove seems to be forming!


It was nice to dig into longer sets yesterday although after Kenzai Bells I had got into the habit of one! The energy level continues to be very up and down. Didn’t manage the morning work out as work up late and it was raining but found an evening window. Really enjoying not training in humid weather!

Food was definitely in the transitional phase yesterday - going to spend some time preparing for the next two days today.

Kettlebells final

Kettlebells graduation

The final workout was definitely something I could not have done six weeks ago. I enjoyed the swings and felt like I could meet the challenge. Did the whole thing with an 8 kg bell. I didn’t quite follow the whimsical note about what animal got lifted but the main thing is I moved myself around pretty consistently.

This time around on Kenzai I really did not get on with the diet. It does show in the final photo. Something to work on next time and maybe with a go on a food specific program.

I am proud that I kept going, have taken steps to get help I need dealing with this phase in life and learned a new tool for fitness.

Thank you again to the team and community for the love and cheers. Keep on swinging! I’m


Thank you to those who have supported me through the first part of Stretch. With the change in where I am living and now being half way through my Siberian adventure, I felt it best to step down. I did get a lot from the weekly prompts and now I’m on the road, the Kenzai habit of cooking is serving me well. Supermarkets are a good way to learn a culture.

Things from Stretch and generally are

1. Even in places and situations where everything feels upside down, the body has its needs and it is best to keep a rhythm as much as you can. Then you get supported.

2. Tasting new foods is important but it isn’t the only goal of travel for me.

3. Like in Japan, when I feel stressed I want to binge on carby and caffeinated things. This is a good time to learn my natural rhythms of the day and in fact, my body is a good clue to mental states.

I loved Mongolia and Russia is pretty lovely so far! Plan to work in some walks around cities and some musical performances.

All the best to everyone.


Training has been 50:50 and I’m feeling better and longer in my body.
The theme of openness relates to information and clarity for me just now.

I wrote a longer post that promptly failed to upload. This is a placeholder to stop me being booted out!

I have also requested another copy of protein diet and points.

Been away from home this evening saying goodbye to a friend of 6 years here. Managed to avoid a restaurant and get Subway sarnies and now I am getting eggs and veg for breakfast!

day 4 Shaping up

Already I feel more put together and my shoulders are feeling better.

Having daily exercise again has helped with keeping my mind calmer.

I would like the relaxed diet. And I WILL get my photos up this week. Thank you.

Stretch Redo

I enjoyed the limber morning work just now.

I decided to do this program because it was transformative when I did it in 2016. And also the next 8 weeks will see me leave Japan on a boat and train and make my way back to the UK and I want something to do to help me stay fit in the middle of the craziness that is leaving a country you lived in for over 15 years.

Starting photo and assessment to be done at a studio today.

Good luck to everyone.

Day 3 - Posture

Sitting on the train reading the lesson about posture. I often notice that I have to correct my ‘Nekose’ or cat back and that I notice it with others. How can I make it something connected to awareness? I guess I can use times I see a mirror as a cue.

I like seeing others standing up or sitting up in a relaxed but economical way. Somethings I correct and then go back to slumping immediately afterwards. Any hints on how to avoid ?

Day 2

Noticed that the thought chains veered around a lot and I often started trying to work something out usually with numbers or dates that I dislike doing. And imagining objects I like. And so on.

The workout part was another bike ride and i slept so well afterwards! Love my bike. I’m

Mind Day 1

Excited to try this course to finish the year. Who couldn’t do with more time and support to practice meditation and mindfulness? Good luck to all starting today.

Feeling great. Day 90 Kenzai Body 3 Graduation Post 

Had a go at writing this earlier around 10 am after getting through the workout and nearly cried...

I am simply amazed to have arrived here finally, after a whimiscal jumping on the program in April because I was fed up of getting out of shape. It has been the hardest program I have completed, doing this while in the fourth month of grief for my mother. I haven't been that active on the blogs; this time round, it was hard to know what to say. I work with words, yet words fail me, so I went to the body.

One person who always seemed to know what to say to help was Ward, from 'let go of the guilt' and 'at least it is carbs, not cocaine or McDonalds' (sorry, Ward for paraphrasing) and I want to thank him sincerely first off.

I also am grateful to all the people who kept looking and commenting and encouraging me to show up, here and at the workouts and in the kitchen. You know who you are. Thank you.

In terms of food, I got over carby cravings in the afternoon and found my way into a solid eating pattern and enjoyed preparing food again. I loved the Base Protein program. I've been a vegetarian for just over a year now and it feels a fundamental part of how I show up in the world. However, until the BP diet, I wasn't sure if I would build muscle and be well...I think my photos show that I did get my protein grams!

One thing about grief is that I felt very tired mentally and physically and I did not have very much left to push into areas where I found tough. I haven't got into pushups or tricep work like I did on other training cycles and much of the diamond pushup century was done on my knees. I am fine with that. I am still shocked that I made it at all - and today it has been 35 degrees in Tokyo (worked out at 8 am!)

Again, the memory of my mum is ever present. Although she suffered a slew of illnesses, she was enthusiastic about my efforts to run and get fit. She herself had enjoyed lifesaving and iceskating as a teenager, so this might be something to enjoy as a way to connect. People don't leave, they become 'present differently', as Hallmarky as that sounds. And I feel that an achievement like KB3 is a good way to pay tribute to the life I was given.

Okay, tears starting again. This whole KB3 has been done through lots of them. And your support. Congratulations to all finishing today!

Deep Gassho.

day 86 - barabara

Just finished the workout quite late. Had a private student late in the day on the other side of Tokyo. Glad the workouts are lighter this week because the heat is getting tiring. Did my jump ropes in my apartment today. If I can get up early tomorrow and beat the heat, it would be ideal.


Been able to get up at 6 am and more or less do 10 minutes of jump rope straight. Got the evening one done - far from perfectly but done and crashing out quickly. This has been the third time. On PCP I often was up at 5-5.30 and loved it.

Diet is also more enjoyable with the proteins in it - using natto, hemp seeds and agedofu - and feeling more interested in food again.

Sunday reflection week 9

A skill I have learned over the last five years is to make bread. Yes, I know there is a theme here in my posts.

I make it by hand, not a machine. The catalyst was when a friend and wife of a fellow Kenzai-tie kindly gave me an oven when they left Japan for the US. Over the winter break of 2013 to 2014 I played around with making bread. My first attempt was way off - more like making wallpaper paste. I learned to measure and then it got much better. I found the process way easier than everyone imagines and branched out into bagels and beer/Guiness breads too but the easier way I have now is a kind of minimalist bowl to oven system. I was proud that I persevered through the initial disastrous attempt and then sailed into competence and then my own style, playing more with flour mixes, oil, seeds. For a while, it was the main thing that occupied my thoughts and I was making and giving bread away to friends. I even dreamed up names for a bakery ‘Bread of Heaven’ or a delivery service - ‘The Bread Lady’ or ‘Bagels, Bitch’. In another life, I would be a baker for sure. I am having guests over on July 7th and it is still on program but I might bake something to share as most normal humans enjoy warm bread.

Final Photo





Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body


Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k

Kenzai Reach
Kenzai Reach

Kenzai Run Half
Kenzai Run Half

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel