Jenny Haddle

Jenny Haddle

Kenzai Member
Assistant Trainer
KB2 in May

I've committed to KB2 in May 2016. I will finally be back in training mode after six years off! If my memory serves me right (and I'm not sure it does nowadays), I started the PCP in May 2010. It seems appropriate to kick it off on this anniversary and my daughter's one year birthday. Puts me one year post-partum and ready to get my body back in good condition before I commit to the next pregnancy. A bonus for my baby is all the super clean breast milk she'll receive while I'm on the Kenzai diet. I've decided to keep nursing at least to her second birthday, unless she weans herself. Just so many health benefits to continued breastfeeding.

I'll still be on the Kenzai Life program building up my strength until that time, but I'm really looking forward to some serious food, workout and team action in the future!

The Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor muscles are apparently these super important muscles that provide support for your pelvic organs and help maintain the continence of your bladder and bowel. They can be strained or injured by the following: not keeping them active or over working them, being pregnant and having babies, a history of back pain, ongoing constipation and straining to empty the bowels, being overweight, obese or having a body mass index (BMI) over 25, heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym), a chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, smoking or hayfever, previous injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy) and
growing older.

What happens when your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, over-stretched or too tight? A whole host of unpleasantness including accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze, needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time, constantly needing to go to the toilet, finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel, accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel, accidentally passing wind, a prolapse or painful sex .

Why aren't these muscles talked about more? I'd venture to say that most of us take them for granted until one day, they fail us. At six months post-partum, I'm still suffering from a few of the embarrassing symptoms above. To add to those symptoms, I decided to try my first post-partum Kenzai workout this morning and found that the Ring of Fire was near impossible for me...and likely a really bad idea for me to be doing if my pelvic floor is not yet fully recovered. That sent me on a quest to figure out how to rehabilitate my pelvic floor faster and to determine what types of exercises I should avoid until that time.

Apparently, the kegel is still the basic way to go to get that pelvic floor back in shape, but the first step is to identify the muscles involved in a proper kegel. You can do this by visualizing the need to urinate or pass gas and pull up on the muscles to stop these actions. Nothing above the belly button should be activated, and you should be able to breath easily. Holding 10 kegels as long as possible a few times a day is the recommended way to get that pelvic floor back into shape. The only problem is remembering to actually do them!! Any recommendations for how I can do that?

Pelvic exercises to avoid include sit ups, curl ups, crunches, abdominal exercises with medicine ball, V-sit, hundreds, double leg lowers, and plank position on hands and feet (eg ‘hovers’, full push ups). Great! All the best stuff! However, there's modified versions of these that I can, I'll continue my research and sub those in for the hard-core abdominal exercises until I can actually hold my pee while I jump rope. Also, any leads on effective, fun pelvic floor exercises is highly appreciated.

Ballerinas - true athletes

Ballerinas amaze me. Their elegant strength always makes it seem like what they are doing isn't IMPOSSIBLE. But, Kenzai peeps, what this ballerina can do on a stripper pole is most definitely impossible for normal human beings. Just wow.

Skinny Jeans...WIN!

My skinny jeans officially fit over my ass again. They are a little tighter than they were before, but in Zambia, it's okay for jeans to be a little too tight. Much better than wearing too big jeans that show my crack when I bend over. So, I consider that a big WIN! I'm now down to 117, that's about a 10 pound fat loss in 3 months. Not bad, not bad. I'm still struggling to keep my exercise regimen consistent with the unpredictability of my little girl's sleep schedule, but I'm fitting it in at least a few times a week. Also, this past weekend was a huge indulgence weekend as I traveled to South Luangwa National Wildlife Park for wining and dining and lots of game viewing. We got the rare treat of spending an hour watching a pack of wild dogs and their 10 puppies lounging and frolicking in the dry grass around a water hole. Wild dogs are few and far between. I felt blessed.

As a side note, when I googled "skinny jeans win" to find a fun picture to go with this blog, I discovered this one on a page advertising the skinny jeans telesummit. Who knew?!


Yes, that is me nine weeks into the Peak Condition Project in 2010. I LOVE this picture of myself. I exude confidence and ease with my body. I miss those days. Before I took on the PCP, my body/self image was at an all-time low. I decided to make changes and found that eating well and taking care of my body translated into a positive body image, or so I thought. Looking back, I know that even in that body, I suffered from self-doubt and the need to constantly improve my body in order to boost my self-esteem. Five years down the road as I struggle once again with a negative body image, I wonder if I actually learned anything. Why do I feel the need to rely on the state of my body as an affirmation that I am indeed a worthy human being? Ummmm…I’m not going to attempt to answer that question other than to say, it’s complicated and I don’t know. I’m sure it’s a mixture of past karma, upbringing, societal pressures, etc.

What I do know is that I’m tired of it! Buddhism tells us that there is no fixed self. The self we think we are is constantly in flux, ever-changing. The person/body/mind I was in that picture was only in that moment, and I will never be there again. It’s not worth it to suffer because I am attached to the person I was in that picture. My body now, with its extra wrinkles, scars and sags, is as perfect as it was then and communicates all that I’ve accomplished in the last five years. This is not to say that eating healthy and staying fit aren’t necessary and important, but I want to stop using them as tools to perpetuate a cycle of positive/negative self-image. I know this won’t happen just because I’ve said that I want it to happen, but at least, now, I can see the cycle clearly and endeavor to stop clinging to my physical appearance as an ego-booster.

Side-note: I think my husband would particularly enjoy if I made progress in this area so that he no longer has to suffer confusion when my mood takes a turn for the worse after trying on my old skinny jeans and not being able to fit them over my ass, after which I'm forced to replace them with jeans that make me feel dumpy and unattractive.

Morning Pause

My 5AM workout this morning was interrupted by my mother-in-law knocking on the door and asking for my husband. She was dressed, ready to go back to the village and wanted me to wake up Andsen so that he could take her into town. I almost let the interruption derail my workout, but I moved myself into my room to listen for the little one and continued huffing on. And, it allowed me to spend a nice morning pause on the porch with my daughter after the workout. No one else home. Just me and my baby, a cup o'joe, the cool breeze and a peaceful view our little valley. A nice substitute for my formal meditation.

I love RAPE!

Did I get your attention? Yes, that's what I said, I love rape! Instead of whining about the things in my life that make it difficult to stay Kenzai, I wanted to write a quick post about the ways in which Zambia makes Kenzai Life easy.

Rape (pictured here) is one of the most common greens available in the local vegetable markets. Other interesting greens include Chinese cabbage, pumpkin leaves and sweet potato leaves, just to name a few. Greens are cheap. A bundle to serve three costs about ten cents, and tomato to flavor them with costs about five cents. Zambians eat some kind of green daily with their staple, nsima. Therefore, I eat greens daily now, and I love them. Tasty, affordable and awesome. What's not to love???

Harder than I thought...

I traveled to Lusaka for work last week, and all of my Kenzai Life goals went out the window. Being a working mother is the most difficult challenge of my life. I don't sleep enough resulting in sluggishness and grouchiness. I wake up multiple times in night for my little girl and look over resentfully at my sleeping husband. I gave him a good smack last night, just because I was tired of being the only one awake. Ari only wants Momma at night, so I can't really blame my husband for sleeping, but it sure does piss me off! Was there ever a time when I slept through the night? I can't remember what that feels like anymore. Something tells me it feels pretty damn good.

I missed all my workouts last week. I ate OK but not great since I was on the road. The good news is that, despite all that, I'm still losing about a half pound to a pound a week as a breastfeeding mother. I may not be building up new muscle, but at the very least, I'm burning off pregnancy fat. I'm now down to 120 lbs from 127 lbs at the end of July.

The Non-Schedule Life

***Post written offline on Sept. 3 - living the less connected life in Zambia!***

In the past, I’ve relied upon a schedule to put me in the habit of regular exercise. I find a time that works for me. I commit to that time. I exercise daily at that time. End of story.

A clear schedule is an effective way for me to establish a habit, but I’ve found as a new mother that a defined schedule is nearly impossible. Sure, some people advise putting babies on feeding and sleeping schedules, but I, personally, disagree with this advice. Babies, especially infants, don’t understand schedules. They understand needs. I imagine a baby thinks something like this, “I’m hungry, feed me! I’m tired, help me sleep! I’m not feeling well, comfort me!” A baby feels these things when she feels them, not on our schedule. My personal parenting philosophy is to set up a pattern of behaviors that are constant through the day and adapt the timing based on my daughter’s needs. The result is a sometimes frustrating non-schedule for me, but I trust that as my daughter grows she will discover her own schedule as I demonstrate this pattern. For example, we wake with the sun and sleep with the darkness.

My challenge with regular exercise is trying to find a way to fit it into my daughter’s less defined schedule. She wakes anytime from 4-6:30 in the morning. I like to exercise during this time slot. Without my daughter, I’d set my alarm to 4:30, get myself up and ready and start exercise around 5:00. With my daughter, I don’t set an alarm and try to follow her natural rhythms and needs. If she wakes at 4:00 and cries for food, I nurse her until she falls back to sleep then get up and do my workout. If she wakes at 5:00 ready to greet the day (the sun rises early in Chipata, Zambia), I nurse her till she’s comfortable and carry her with me to play with her own small toys while I work out. If she wakes and needs more of my attention, I forgo exercise to tend to the needs of my daughter. I’ve tried to make peace with the fact that I may not get my workout in every morning at this stage in her development so that I don’t find myself building resentment towards my little one.

With this strategy, I’ve managed to complete my three allotted workouts this week and anticipate adding in one more over the weekend! So far, so good in my first couple weeks as a Kenzai Life member!

Returning to the Fold

Hello Kenzai Community! I am finally joining Kenzai Life after being gone from the community for almost five years. Back in 2010, I completed the Peak Condition Project and Kung Fu Body, back to back. I immensely enjoyed both programs and the results of a strong, healthy body. I remember feeling as if every step in my peak body was like dancing on air. Not long after completing KFB, I joined Peace Corps and moved to Zambia. I continued to stay committed to exercising regularly, using a hybrid of PCP and KFB workouts. I gained a few pounds from the change to a high carb/high oil/high salt Zambian diet…some things you cannot control when living with a host family in Peace Corps. However, for the most part, I kept in great shape...especially when I moved to my village and started carrying 10 liter and 20 liter water containers on my head to my hut. In the end, I was at peace with the sacrifice in diet for the richness of cultural exchange.

To make a long story short, I met a man, fell in love, got married and stayed in Zambia. One year ago, I became pregnant and four months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Arianna. Today, I’m 15 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant, but more important than the weight gain, my muscle tone is gone. My core muscles and pelvic floor were crushed by the trauma of pregnancy and childbirth. Don’t get me wrong! Pregnancy and childbirth are miraculous, awesome experiences, but one can only refer to what they do to the body as traumatic. The first time I tried jumping of any kind (about seven weeks post-partum), I literally peed myself. I was dumb-founded. How was I supposed to take up jump roping again if I had to remember to install Depends in my skivvies before every workout? Though at 16 weeks post-partum, I’ve regained a good portion of my control…I still have not attempted jump roping. I think it may be time, hence my decision to join Kenzai Life.

For now, I’m not ready to take on a serious training program like Kenzai Body or even Reboot as I’m still nursing and feel my top commitment is to my baby. However, to care for my child properly, I need to make time to care for myself. This leads me to my goal for Kenzai Life: find some balance in my life, which oddly, or not so oddly, was my original goal when joining the Peak Condition Project years ago. The specific actions I will take to reach this goal are modest and are as follows:

Fitness: I will exercise at least three days per week.
Nutrition: I will eat a variety of vegetables with every meal.
Spirituality: I will meditate at least three days per week for as long as possible.
Community: I will post to my Kenzai blog at least once per week.

For now, I don’t have any weight loss goal as I am certain that as a side effect of adding exercise, I will naturally lose weight. I’ve already lost four pounds in the four weeks I’ve been home in Zambia (after maternity leave in Americaland), just from changing eating habits (i.e. no fast food readily available or daily ice cream desserts).

Ok, enough talk. Time to get my body movin’!

End of Week 3





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