Last night the meditation went quickly, and I attribute this to the fact that it was after midnight and I was exhausted from two companies reporting. I just kept repeating “now” and the thought chain was mostly absent.
Tonight I returned home to a big puddle and Fang stuck in the middle of it with her feet on a lower shelf. I took the dogs out and cleaned up the mess after. I wanted to watch the election coverage but did my meditation first. I settled Fang in a dog nest and put some treats in Fido’s bowl before settling down. I sat with my feet up and hands folded. My inclination is to close my eyes. Whereas last night I focused on “now” tonight I focused on breathing. But that allowed my mind to wander. I listened to Fang snoring. I tried to align my breathing with her snoring. But there was a backdrop of Fido chowing down. That led to thoughts about this blog. And so the struggle went. The problem was the breathing was deep almost naturally and didn’t require much thought.
That said, the 5 minutes seemed to fly by. I look forward to these brief moments of attempted peace.
NB Due to viewing of election coverage, workout didn’t happen.
So far so good. All six workouts done and diet completely on track since day 4. I was about 95% the first three days but did have some chips when I had to work late. I have continued to avoid the snacks in the pantry at work since Chisel, so that was not something I had to overcome.
I have been alternating skipping with some elliptical. So far 4 x skipping and 2 x elliptical. Last night I did 31 minutes and sweat a bucket, so I think it is equal to 15 minutes of jumping. Today I was happy to have the first 2 five-minute sets without a trip and the first trip came at 3:37 of the third set, so I guess I am back to skipping form.
As noted in the lesson, the exercises are easy, but I knew that going in. I have added a few reps but I am thankful the workouts are short. It definitely makes it easier getting going when one knows it will be well under an hour.
In honor of Fish’s plank challenge - which I won’t do - I kept the plank going through the 2 twenty second sets and the 20 second break for a 60 second plank. I don’t find 60 seconds hard but I know it gets tough around the 90-105 second mark.
The 20 second breaks between exercises is interesting. I find on K-Life the 10 seconds allowed for back and abs too short sometimes. But 20 seconds seems like an eternity, so I generally have been starting back in at the 15 second mark.
I am thankful to have the diet to follow and the exercises as my mother took a turn for the worse this week. I am pretty sure I would have been less careful with food had I not been just ramping with Reboot - I mean, who wants to slip up in Week 1?! Fortunately John is mending well, so that is a relief. I will be glad to get to Scottsdale on Wednesday.
My biggest failing this week was sleep training, especially towards the end of the week. I made up for it Friday night, and it was interesting to see my weight decline overnight. I am pretty sure it was water, but it continues to reinforce how important sleep is. Also, my ankle had bothered me yesterday as I stepped on my heel the wrong way going down stairs, which left me limping. Today it feels fine. So this coming week I need to focus on sleep training.
The photos are of my gym where I live in Tokyo...very boring but no way I am going to workout in the steambath aka Tokyo. The wood floor is forgiving on the knees and easy on the rope. Last night I didn’t get to the gym until after 11pm, so you can see the final as it approaches midnight. But the workout got done!
I will take some more interesting photos in Scottsdale, as the hotel I am staying at has some nice views.
Have a great weekend!
I finally returned home from my week spent in Indonesia and Thailand touring auto plants, ports and auto dealers. It was an interesting week, but it is always good to get home. It was 31C and humid, and the plants are not air conditioned. I find it takes a lot out of you walking around in the heat.
I will give myself a C for food and exercise. I got 2 workouts done for the 4 days (I head worked out early Monday before I left). Tuesday I had put on my gym clothes when I got back to my room, but had multiple conference calls in the window of time I had planned to workout and then a company I cover reported. And it took me until 11pm to write a note.
Wednesday evening I did get to the gym after getting to our hotel in Pattaya, and I was happy to discover there were bells. Thursday we had an evening event, and I didn’t feel I could work out 8 hours after the last workout. I had planned to workout Friday evening when I got to my hotel in Bangkok, but I was exhausted from the day of plant tours etc, so I ate dinner and went to bed. I got up early to go to the hotel gym and was delighted to find a corner full of colorful bells in lots of different weights. I ended up using the 6, 8, 10 and 12 kg bells.
After returning Saturday evening, John and I went to the gym and I did a second workout. As my heel has been bothering me, I did 10 minutes on the cross trainer to warm up and then subbed all the one minute speed skipping with 70 seconds on the crosstraineer (as I ramp up the speed and resistance before hitting start). I found it more a demanding cardiovascular workout than the one minute in the rope. On the speed skipping, my record so far is 173, and generally I get to the high 160s unless I trip. Yesterday I only tripped on 4 of the 12 minutes of skipping, and hit the 170s 3 times, which is good for me.
Food on the trip was mixed. Breakfast was fine as it was buffet style and salad was available. I did have pancakes for. For carbs in Pattaya as they had this fun little machine that pops out 2 small pancakes freshly made when you push a button (it takes a couple of minutes for them to cook). Lunches were out of my control. Bentos on 2 days and a selection of small Indonesian dishes the third. Two other lunches were on the plane and I had ordered the low cholesterol meals, which were steamed fish and vegetables with a roll. Dinners I had too much protein but otherwise pretty good. Satay two nights but I did try the peanut sauce. The party night I did have wine. And there were no fruit snacks during the day.
On the positive, no chips were eaten. Indeed, all the food was fresh. Nothing packaged. And nothing eaten from the mini bar. Fortunately all the chips were Pringles, which I find taste like salted cardboard, so not a temptation.
It is good to be home. A quiet day planned for Sunday. The upcoming week looks challenging. I think I will move the rest day to Thursday as Wednesday is a holiday in Japan, and I would rather take a rest day on a work day.
Hope everyone has a great final week!
As the first week of Kettlebells wraps up I feel like I am getting back in the groove of clean diet, resisting temptations and daily exercise. After the mid-week stumble with the chips, the diet has been squeaky clean and on track with the measured grams. No wine for 9 days, though no event that required me to say no, so that was easy.
Today we were out for lunch after an hour of squash for free cardio. Final day of AMAYW vegetables, which I will miss for the next few weeks. Great salad to start and a plain burger. Probably over in protein grams. The last hurrah - as was the biscotti that came with my skim milk latte.
I am really liking the cycle workouts. The second cycle is definitely harder after the second round of skipping. We’ll see how it goes with a third cycle this week.
We have ordered three more bells. I don’t see myself using the 16kg bad guy, but I can see wanting more than the 8kg. So we’ll add a 10kg and 12 kg as well as a 6 kg for me to aspire to on the crunches.
Bring on week2!
Hard to believe I was away from the blogs for much of the past month, with limited exercise and a diet that was expansive on the wrong food categories. I am finally reining it in ahead of the start of Kettlebells in a week. I got on the scales this past week to face the music. I didn’t need to check, however, as my clothes were already telling the story of over-indulgence.
To recap, my week in Scottsdale at New Years with my extended family was good on exercise with K-Life exercises most days but a diet of good quality that was heavy on protein, lots of wine, a few desserts and Mexican/pizza and similar indulgences that are typical restaurant fare in the US. Then the period of no exercise began, first visiting John M’s mom in PA, where it was too cold to go outside. Then back in CT where I was busy with a work project and getting ready to list my townhouse (at least my diet was clean for those few days). Then in Detroit at the motor show. Busy with work and lacking energy to go to gym. Diet low quality (more pizza) and then finally Hong Kong, where I focused on sleep and work. I did do a K-Life workout and it almost killed me. The century of diamond push-ups stopped at 80...
Back in Tokyo, I have been busy with work and some other stuff that kept me at work late. Too easy to just come home and collapse. But I was mindful that Kettlebells is coming up just as my busy period at work ends. So I figured I better regain my Kenzai focus.
First up, diet. I have avoided sweets at work since my return, but not salt. Aka potato chips/crisps. It doesn’t matter what they call them. They are evil goodness. Wine was limited to a couple of meals in good restaurants and a colleague’s farewell party. Last week I finally had two potato chip free days and I will work on more. Otherwise diet is pretty compliant.
Next, exercise. I read Patrick’s lesson early in the year, and did not want to over do it, but I also didn’t want to start K-Bells cold. K-Life is challenging. So last Friday I came home at lunch (my busy period starts at 3pm when earnings are released and continues until 1am in Friday’s case) and did Reboot days 1 and 2, but with just one lot of skipping. Yesterday I did 3 and 4. Today John and I played squash for 50 minutes and I did the two full body exercises for day 7. If I can keep this up for the next week, I will hopefully be ready for K-bells.
I am hoping this tough period is behind. There is a lot of lard to lose. It returns much faster than it comes off. A lesson I already knew. K-Bells should be a good six weeks. I have one week in Indonesia and Thailand where I won’t control food or schedule but I will do my best.
Great inspiration to catch up on the blogs Still many to read, but all inspiring. Thanks! Just what I need to get going,
The first week of my holiday is almost over. The Southwest has been spared the deep freeze that has hit much of the east coast and mid-west. The pool at the house we rented in Scottsdale has finally warmed up to about 75F, so yesterday I swam for cardio. As my youngest niece was in the pool with me, it wasn’t quite my usual focused laps, but I figure a fair amount of energy was expended in the 30 minutes in the pool.
After I got out of the pool I did a K-Life workout. I had done one before I left Tokyo and 3 more of the 5. On New Years Day I did the first of the new 5-day cycle. So that is 4 so far since I got to the US on the 27th.
The day I missed was busy with trips to Whole Foods and Safeway for shopping and picking John up at the airport. Also a trip to Toys R Us to buy the game Risk, which my son was anxious to play with uncles, cousins and me. US supermarkets are fascinating after so many years in Asia. They are so huge and the variety of food is amazing.
Food has been mostly healthy but copious in quantity. I have failed when it has come to saying no to wine, chipss and guacamole and the odd dessert or cookies. Breakfast is Kenzai friendly, and overall we are barbecuing most nights, so relatively good. My brother is a former chef and focused on healthy eating, so it could be worse. Eating at the house is better than restaurants. There have been some of those - a sports bar for dinner the first night (burger and fries) and Mexican for lunch another day. Nevertheless, I can feel the waistline expanding, so I as soon as I head east on the 4th, back to strict Kenzai diet.
I did consider doing the January Reboot, but I prefer the K-Life exercises. Also, from the 13th I will be traveling to Detroit and Hong Kong for 10 days, and it is hard to do an intense program like Reboot on the road. I will try to blog regularly to keep me engaged.
Sunsets are beautiful. Today’s photo is from the garden of the house we rented.
Happy New Year!
No sooner had I finished the final workout when I got very sick. It started on the Sunday night. I croaked through my Monday meetings, arriving is SF that evening. Monday night I had the sorest throat in memory. I felt there was no way I could get on a 15-hour flight to Hong Kong Tuesday. At 5am I was on the phone with the emergency travel line changing my flight to Tokyo for Wednesday. After my morning meetings, instead of heading to the airport I headed to the walk-in clinic and 2.5 hours later I had a pup,e of prescriptions to fill.
Before heading back to my hotel, I decided to get something to eat. For the first time in about 20 years, I went into McDonalds and ordered a small chocolate shake. Just what my throat needed. I returned to the hotel, slept for 5 hours, was up for 90 minutes and then slept the night. I almost missed my flight Wednesday due to what my taxi driver described as the worst traffic in his 27 years as a driver (due to an accident) but all was well and I was delighted to be heading home finally.
I am now well on my way to recovery after a very relaxed weekend. Saturday I did my first workout since Day 90. Somehow the K-Life workouts seem more challenging than KB 2 workouts. Just 15 minutes of skipping but wow...I can feel the 5 sets of 18 mini squats today.
Today John M and I participated in a 5.5 km run for charity sponsored by financial services companies in Tokyo. Cheered on Sean K in the 9.5km run that came first. Crazy Sean then did the 5.5km run with his son. Glutton for punishment. It was a lovely day for running, sunny, no wind and about 10-12C or just over 50F.
Sure as clockwork my son contacted me to inquire if I were back and invite himself for dinner. I will cook his favorite- lasagna- and send him home with lots of leftovers.
KB 2 - less than perfect but still some great takeaways GRADUATION POST
I signed up for KB2 Mach 2 knowing that I would be on the road for 7 of the 13 weeks, but there was such an awesome group signed up, I figured it would help keep me focused on diet and exercise. Ironically it was not the cruise early in the program that was a problem. I had lots of time to exercise and diet was relatively clean.
It was the business trips that posed the greatest challenges, including limited time to work out and many diet challenges. The willpower shield took a lot of hits from travel fatigue and poor options available.
I would never have done the program if it were my first go at KB2, but having completed KB3 earlier in the year, I was relying on my generally high level of fitness.
Although if any thing I may have gained weight (I will give myself a week of clean eating when I get home before I make final judgement), I generally made better choices than if I weren’t on program. Overall I have integrated the Kenzai diet into my daily life, so I am not sure it would have been much different not on program, but the encouragement of the Kenzai community was invaluable, both friends of many years and new acquaintances. Thank you for all your regular encouragement. I apologize when my blogging and comments were less frequent, but I focused on reading blogs over the lessons.
The proof of the success of maintaining my fitness despite missing numerous workouts the last few weeks was this weekend. Saturday I did the day 87, 88 and 89 cycles consecutively (just one round of skipping). That involved 9 sets of inverted V-sits! Sunday (today) I was suffering a little Kenzai soreness for my efforts but plunged into Day 90. I had no problem with the 2.5minute wall sit. I did max reps for everything except clockies ( managed the 6 but was pretty dizzy by then) and not quite the max for the scoops. My Waterloo proved to be the 3 minute plank. I don’t remember the last time we had planks on the menu (must have been on the days I missed) and I was out of practice. So I took short breaks at 1:17 and 2:12. Something I should work on over as exercises that I find less challenging.
I think given the workouts I missed I would have found Day 90 harder or even impossible if I hadn’t started with a good base of fitness from other Kenzai programs. It has reinforced the value of staying engaged in the Kenzai community both on and off program. I look forward to picking up on the K-Life workouts until my next program, likely K-bells in the new year.
Thanks to Thomas and Sara for leading us on. And thanks to the great Kenzai community.
Oops. Another blog reminder. It has been an even tougher travel week. I have hit CT, NY, Montreal, Boston, Des Moines, Kansas City, Chicago. Denver and I am currently on a flight to San Diego where my first meeting is Monday. I only got two of the cycle workouts done so far but aiming to do a couple more Saturday and attempt the final workout Sunday.
The diet has been shambolic. The US is one massive land mine. My only respite was being at my home in CT over the weekend. Carbs, protein and vegetables are all hard to come by. Fat and sugar are easy. It has been even worse than I remember. Or is it the Midwest?
More reflections in the final blog. Apologies for being a less than present teammate in the second half.
Enjoy the final workout and congrats on the amazing effort and results so many of you have achieved.
The past few days have been a complete skid as far as KB2 is concerned. Last week after my double workout Tuesday, I was late at the office Wednesday and Thursday (past midnight). I was determined to work out Friday night and got to the gym at 23:45. So I cut the 5 sets to 4. Saturday I was on a 6:34 am bus to Narita. I finally got to my hotel in Abu Dhabi at 22:00 local time, the wee hours on my body clock, so no workout Saturday.
Sunday I had meetings in the morning but did two more workouts with 20 minutes of skipping plus the 3 full body exercises for Sunday and later before dinner went for a swim of just over half an hour.
That is where the good stuff ends. Since then life has been a blur. Sunday night I was on an overnight flight to Geneva via Frankfurt. Quick shower at the airport and then off to meetings all day with an evening flight to Paris. I had thought I might work out Tuesday morning but the hotel is under renovation so no gym, and in any case after getting 7 hours of sleep, no time.
Since then my evenings have been either transportation or dinners and my days have started having to leave to get to meetings just after 7am.
Food has been off piste. Breakfast is fine. Lunch is usually sandwiches. No fruit snacks. Dinners have not been horrible (sushi last night) but vegetables after breakfast are limited, and wine has been consumed.
I knew KB2 was going to be a challenge with this trip, and it has been. But I guess the past 12 weeks have been better than they might otherwise.
I hope I get a couple of weeks of quiet K-Life and back to my diet routine when I finally get back December 8. Meanwhile tomorrow night it is off to the US from London.
I hope I get a chance to read a few blogs. Finish strong! I am cheering you on!
Following on my blog 5 seconds matter, I have continued to be frustrated with the call for deep burn on the easiest exercises. Really, why not give us deep burn for narrow push-ups? I hit that after about 3 or 4! The absurdity of it hit with the cross sit-ups yesterday. How does one ever hit deep burn? So I decided in the interest of time to substitute in the century (from KB3). I popped out 102 in a row (and still didn't feel deep burn....how many hundred would I have to do?) and called it a day.
Some of the reps I sub in for "deep burn" are just what the reps were when it wasn't deep burn. Sometimes it is in the interest of safety. For instance floor jumps after the butt kickers - more like knee destroyers. Even though I just do a little bunny hop for the butt kickers, I could feel the floor jumps reverberating in my right knee, so I limited to 16 per set. Going forward I think I will just sub in a century. Hopefully along the way I feel deep burn on some of them and I get it done faster.
The rest times seem extremely random. 10 seconds between half burpees and 15 seconds between other abs? Makes zero sense at all. As a result my half burpees are probably closer to quarter burpees.... Any trainers want to take a stab at the reasoning here?
Monday I didn't get the workout done as dinner was at 10pm and I decided starting a workout after 11pm was not in my interest. Instead I opted for sleep training. So last night after 20 minutes of skipping I did the day 71 and 72 workouts. We'll see what happens the rest of the week.... under some tight deadlines to finish reports at work before I hop on a bus to Narita at 6:34 Saturday morning.
Last week turned into the horror I expected....past midnight at work Mon-Wed, so no workouts done. I was bringing dinner but feeling very depressed about three meals a day heated in the microwave consumed at my desk. Needless to say, it led to some stress eating of potato chips, which have somehow wormed their way into my psyche.
I was therefore happy to see the indulgence...not because I needed an indulgence, but it was a good excuse to go out for dinner. We went to an Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. One of the problems with being on program so much is that we tend to eat in and there are lots of restaurants around our apartment we haven't tried. This one definitely is due a return trip.
I briefly considered the 15-vegetable salad to start but instead had gnocchi in cheese fondue. We shared a porcini pizza and entrees of beef and lake salmon with an Italian Chardonnay. Sorry....forgot to take photos. No room for dessert as we were stuffed.
I didn't even attempt to make up the missed workouts, following the advice of my fellow KBers. It was good to get back to them on Thursday... What I can't figure out is the rest times we get. The 20 seconds between sets is generous vs K-Life. I often shorten it to 15 seconds, but on the whole body exercises I definitely need the full 20. So I was dumbfounded when not only were the half burpees stuck at the end of the workout, but there was only 15 seconds between sets!!! What is going on there? Is it because it was considered an ab exercise? It was a cardio bang at the end. Really missed those extra 5 seconds....the final half burpees were not pretty.
It was a good thing Saturday's workout didn't come Friday or I might not have made it to the gym. Nasty workout if I ever saw one....Clock face planks to start and turbines to end. God I loathe turbines.....and to deep burn? How does one achieve deep burn with turbines? I sadly could do them for ever....until I chewed through my gums in boredom. In the interest of time, I limited it to 16 until the final set (usually I do the minimum required as I loathe them so much) and did a perfunctory 25 on each side to end it. I have limited time. (same issue on the side sit-ups....deep burn would have taken forever so I limited it to 20/side).
Overall I am not a fan of deep burn for abs as I find them boring (never done 8MA and hopefully never will) and rarely feel challenged unless it is something that involves using the body for resistance like side planks or inverted v-sits. I feel they are a waste of time (I know they aren't), but I don't get the same satisfaction as slogging through the full body exercises, which I find very challenging, so feel must be doing some good.
It will be a challenging 5 days at work and then off on my 3-week business trip. Thanks all for keeping me inspired. As forecast at the beginning, it has not been a perfect program, but it is keeping me honest.
Just a quick blog. Work has been very tough due to earnings season. I spent much of the three-day weekend working and have been working past midnight the past 4 nights. I missed workouts Wed-Fri and diet was supplemented with potato chips. Stress eating. Salt cravings. Call it what you will, it was completely not acceptable. On Saturday we had lunch out and in lieu of carbs I had the "frites" that came with the steak (there was a limited menu as we were eating "lunch" around 17:00 and the full menu starts at 18:00...my dinner ended up being at 25:40, when I got home.
Three more days of this. I did do two workouts on Sunday, including 40 minutes of skipping in two lots of 20 minutes. But two workouts behind. Trying to decide whether to just move on....but I hate missing more scoops and clockface planks.
Power on everyone.
This morning we bade farewell to our helper, who has worked for me for 6.5 years, including 5.5 years in HK and a year here in Tokyo. I originally hired her to help look after my aging dog Lucy, who was 13 when I moved to HK. Lucy died a little over a year later, but Sarita had already made herself invaluable to me. When Kenzai came along, she was even more invaluable, making sure all my meals were ready to take to work (breakfast, lunch, fruit snacks, egg whites) and dinner in the evening. She was my secret weapon of success to my over-packed days.
When I moved to Tokyo, she took over care during the day of John M's dogs and expanded the cooking to the two of us. Over the years she has seen my sons grow from university students into working, helped look after my parents when they visited Hong Kong. I in turn supported her when her son died of a drug overdose in India.
She is now retiring after many years working as a helper in Singapore, HK and the past year Tokyo. Her daughter had a baby a year ago, and she will go and look after her grandson as her daughter, a teacher, returns to work. She feels she missed much of her own children's growing up, and she doesn't want to miss her grandson's. Her husband works in Dubai. It is a tough life leaving one's country to look after others in order to save money. I am grateful to the 6.5 years she has given us and our dogs, and I am happy that she can now go and spend time with her daughter and grandson.
We have found a new helper, and hopefully she will work out. Sarita spent three days teaching her about cooking Kenzai style, weighing our food - and of course how to look after the dogs. Hopefully Imelda will become as invaluable to us as Sarita was, but these transitions are hard. I feel fortunate to have someone to help look after us, especially with food prep. I had all those years paying for a nanny to look after my sons when they were young (lucky then, too, as I had the same nanny for 9 years). With no tuition bills to pay, it is time to look after myself (and John) and free up time for exercise by not having to worry about cooking etc given our long work hours.
As it was last night I had to shorten the workout as I didn't get home until 9:30pm. I did all the skipping but cut the fifth set on three of the exercises and did the minimum reps for turbines, an exercise I loathe (not because it is hard, just tediously boring and I don't feel much benefit other than a stiff shoulder from time to time). Scoop push-ups on the menu tonight. Yippee!!! (not)
As the KB2 exercises ramp, I often look at the daily menu of exercises and wonder how I am going to get through. This is never more so than with chest exercises...so when I saw the 5 sets of push-ups followed by 4 sets of chest dips, my heart sank. The push-ups were hard. My usual tack is to do 10 regular push-ups and the final 2 on my knees, but for the final set I did the final 6 on my knees. I was spent. The plus is I can go deeper on my knees than the regular style. I then thought there was no way I would get through the chest dips, but they were not so bad. Lesson learned - the body is often ahead of the mind.
As I had missed Wednesday's workout, I was a day behind the latter half of the week. Saturday I didn't get to the gym until 11:30pm. My son from Osaka was in town and we had lunch at a Michelin 2 star restaurant he had booked - my indulgence. The portions were small and it was all real food - oysters followed by fish that was slow cooked, duck and the chestnut dessert with a passion fruit mousse on the side. I had not planned to drink but enjoyed a glass of champagne that seemed to go with the food.... I then went to the office to tidy up some loose ends and ended up not getting home until 9pm. So we had dinner first, hence the late workout.
Sunday I decided to double up and get the Saturday workout done. Mostly because it was chest day. I had skipped a chest day workout the previous week, and as I hate them, I felt I better do it. I then did a 40 minute jog on the treadmill, which left me soaking. I had no gas in the tank for the full body exercises. Did the mountain climbers fully and limped through a minimal effort with the next two.
Both sons were over for dinner, a rare treat ....steak, roasted vegetables and rice for the men, including John M's massive 230g portion of carbs. Nice when the kids don't mind eating Kenzai food (my visiting son requested avocado toast for breakfast....easy to fulfill that request).
So it was a good weekend despite the heavy pounding rain as another typhoon hit Tokyo. A bit scared to check the workouts as I had a pre-workout banana and post workout fruit added.... That bad eh?