Jesper E.

Jesper E.

Kenzai Mind | Day 13 (Member)
Kenzai Mind
Day 13
Program progress:
Day 9: The eyes

Useful lesson today, have been wondering what to do with the eyes. Surprising to read that it's better not to close them, but definitely makes sense. Spent about 20 minutes trying to find a blank white wall in the apartment - didn't quite succeed, but turns out it didn't matter too much. Am finding more and more moments where I can concentrate on breathing and the posture. The moments are't long (like, literally, moments), but they're more frequent. Still struggling to shut down out the thought chains , although more and more they're just individual thoughts that pop up - I feel like I'm able to stop them before they become bonafide chains (well, sometimes).

Hope the program is going well for everyone!

Hi everyone!

Where are you? Tokyo, Japan.

How do you spend your time? Work (university), Family (kids' soccer games, movie-night, date night, walks with the dog), Hobbies (skiing, guitar, running)

Why Kenzai Mind? Curious about learning how to gain greater focus and awareness, while also gaining deeper insight into how the mind works, and why I sometimes do the things I do.

How do you get here? Who introduced you to Kenzai? Started Kenzai January of 2018, cheered on by Brian S, Fish, Bill W and others. I saw notice about the new Mind program in an e-mail and felt it would be a great switch after doing KB1.

What's your favorite season? Why? Fall (the colors and the crisp air) and Winter (the skiing)

Are you facing obstacles to this training cycle? No particular obstacles, but my biggest concern is that I will start to slack off on the physical side of things (my mind has a predilection for laziness and chocolate chip cookies) so if I'm not careful the weekly photographs will be Kenzai in reverse.

Look forward to getting to know everyone and reading the blogs!

Just finished my seventh day of meditating in Kenzai Mind. I'm happy with the program thus far, but it's definitely not easy, as advertised in the lessons (on point and helpful, as always). Understanding the thought chains has been an "aha" experience, particularly the recognition that these things have lives of their own, largely out of my control. They're constantly forming, and I find it difficult to keep my focus on the breathing for any longer than three to five seconds. In fact, I often find that it's the breathing focus itself that triggers thought chains ("there's the breath, going in and out - sounds kind of like the wind - remember that time it was windy when skiing - mmmm, skiing, too bad the season's over - mmm, seasonal beer, etc...").

There were moments during the past week when I had a fleeting sensation that I was able to keep the thoughts at bay, but inevitably they came back. I would probably have gotten frustrated with this, but today's lesson on "less is more" and just showing up was helpful, as was the guided meditation yesterday which extolled "calmly observing where your mind takes you, and then gently leading it back to the breathing." The guide made it sound like my mind was an obstinate child that refuses to sit still - pretty much spot on. I'm still trying to find my most comfortable position, most likely in a chair. Also curious that there hasn't been any discussion of when to mediate (I assumed it would be first thing in the morning), but I'm sure it's coming.

Looking forward to seeing where the program takes us next!


Just finished KB1 and am happy to be diving into this program, and looking forward to seeing where it takes me. Given that I'm joining up a bit late I did all three of the lessons sequentially this afternoon. Pretty sure that breaks all kinds of meditation rules, but couldn't resist (yes, I know it will get more challenging later). As usual, the Kenzai lessons are on point - the thought chain kept forming. Also found that it got worse when I closed my eyes - mainly because I would start to drift off to sleep. The fact that I'm doing the meditation mid-afternoon may have something to do with it...will try to reschedule for the morning tomorrow, right after the workout.

KB 1 - check! 

It is DONE! After 90 days it feels great to be graduating from a "real" Kenzai program, as Fish calls it. I've previously done the Run programs, as well as Reach, and while these have been great I must admit KB was different - longer, tougher, but also more in-depth and life-changing. I wrote in an early blogpost that my goal was to change underlying habits and become more aware, and this is where I feel KB1 has definitely had the most impact. I will most certainly part take of unhealthy foods, but it will never quite feel the same, and that is an accomplishment.

Our team has been great, a big thanks to Kim and Ed, but also to all my teammates - more than once your encouraging comments and inspiring blogs got me up in the morning to get the exercises done. Well done everyone for sticking with it! Also a big shout out to Fish for his tough-love, as well as Brian, Erik S, "Louise" and of course my kids who were overjoyed to find out I was finally done.

And as promised, here's a picture of those seven chocolate bars I bought at Whole Foods. Which one do I start with?

Two more days!

It's the final week and I'm looking forward to the finish line! I read the Senioritis lesson and that gave me a bit of a boost, but at times it's been a bit of a slog, I must admit. However, just finally made some time to go through everyone's blogs and they were a big motivator. It's been a long program, we've all had our ups and downs, but we're at the finish line. Good job everyone, let's keep it going just a few more days!


Interesting read yesterday, I think I’m a meso-morph, leaning towards ecto. But with one exception - the abs region is definitely from planet Endo. How do I know? I had a bit of an end-of-program slump this week, missing out on one workout, waffling through another, and then indulging in both beer and fried foods over a dinner with good friends. It was only once, the rest of the time I’ve been spot on, but the slump definitely shows in the mirror, which is a bit surprising (and depressing). To compensate I threw in a long run cardio and an 8-minute abs for the choose-your-own-adventure challenge, but it helped my conscience more than my midriff. So yeah, hard to get those abs to show themselves, but at least now I know and can keep expectations in check. And there’s still one week to go for it - onward!

There's a t-shirt slogan you don't see every day, but it really feels like I barely made it out of the Aloha state alive. One of the great joys of visiting the U.S. is the sheer multitudes of product offerings to choose from, especially when it comes to food! The steaks, the burgers, the toppings, the chocolates, the craft beers...! Japan isn't too shabby on this front, but pure Americana plays in a league all its own. But of course, ALL of these riches were off the table during this past trip, which was quite painful. I think I literally cried a bit at Whole Foods.

The good news is that I persevered, mainly by experimenting with the still impressive supply of plain yoghurts, fruits and vegetables that were Kenzai compliant. As far as the blow-out meal goes, we had one night where the entire family got together for a huge barbecue, so that was the obvious choice. Kept it mostly in check (although I did have seconds on the pavlova). Interestingly, I found my favorite IPA in a local shop and was looking forward to drinking it all night, but when the big moment came around I found it way too sweet, couldn't finish it. The biggest fail of the trip was the flight home - I had packed fruits and a compliant lunch but still ended up getting crazy hungry, and the only option was snacking on my kids' sugar-coated pretzels. In all of the above instances, I felt pretty bad afterwards, must admit. So yes, I made it out, but only barely.

And as for what I'm going to do when the program is done? I'm going to open up the seven bars of chocolate I bought at Whole Foods. I'm sure they'll taste terrible.

Onward team!

The easiest part for me has without a doubt been the diet. I’m not saying it’s always been easy (we’re using the adjective, not the noun), and yes, I did complain about the steamed chicken and fish. But nonetheless, I’ve managed to keep things largely in check. One big reason is that Jan-March are slow months at work (Japanese universities are on holiday) so I can concentrate on the program, make my own lunch boxes, etc.

All this makes this week’s indulgence challenge (yes, I called it that) all the more interesting and harder. We’re in Hawaii for a week on vacation so maybe, just maybe, I will manage a pulled pork sandwich with some lava cake and a homebrewn IPA. We shall see...

Muscle fatigue

Cynthia wrote something earlier about giving her muscles a rest because they're exhausted - definitely starting to feel the same! Left shoulder's been aching a bit last few days so have had to take it a bit easy on some of the reps (nope, didn't quite reach failure), and I'm also pushing today's usual morning session to the evening in the hopes that it'll give me some extra time to recuperate. In other words, I'm feeling the buuuuuurn!

On that note, yesterday's lesson was a revelation. I realize that I've been operating on the implicit assumption that by week 10-11 things will be smooth sailing - you're fit, used to the diet, got the exercises down, so it'll just be cruise mode to the finish line. But on reflection, makes total sense that this is NOT what should be happening, because then there's no progress. In the end, I've had to reset my mindset and dig in for the last three weeks in order to make sure I'm not checking out early. The challenge continues!

Slow end to the week

This week's been busy, have managed to keep up with the diet and the exercises ok but unfortunately not the blogging or comments, sorry everyone! Exercises are going ok - am pretty sick of the jumpropes but took some advice from the lessons and have started to plug into Spotify playlists with titles like "Punk rock for workouts" and "Heavy metal lifting." Seems to be working, am getting through!

The weekend was a bit off track unfortunately, had some dinners that made it impossible to keep completely compliant. Kept it reasonably in line - had one glass of celebratory champagne and a few thin slices of French cheese delivered fresh from Paris, but I did manage to skip the really bad stuff (No jaeger shots, thank you).

Feels like I'm in a weird place where I definitely feel like I'm stagnating in terms of physical progress, but on the other hand I'm actually ok with it because I can see how far I've come. So the end result is that my mind slips into "you're doing great, who cares about the defined abs, it's ok to have a glass of wine or two, not going to hurt." I'm also starting to get a bit of flack from the kids and others who feel like "Ok, we get the point, now please get off program and become fun again." So in sum, the last few weeks are going to be a journey of some mental will power, but I'm in it until the end! Let's go team!!!

Energy roller coaster

The Kenzai lessons never seize to amaze they, it's like they know exactly what to say, and when to say it. "How are your energy levels doing?" Let me tell you... Energy has definitely been THE key word over the past 10 days or so. Last week was especially slow, with a nadir on Friday and Saturday- got the workouts done, but just barely. On Sunday, however, things started picking up - took the jump ropes in stride, felt great afterwards. Yesterday was fantastic, leapt out of bed at 5:00 for my regular routine (I've found a better place to do the skipping, so no angry neighbor), hit the jump ropes no problem, crushed the workout (which was tough!). Things were on a roll!!!

This morning I feel like a train hit me. Managed to get out of bed, but body was aching all over and screaming for food. Did some warm up stretches but for the first time I actually threw in the towel and headed downstairs for breakfast instead of doing the workout. The interesting thing is that I mentally WANTED to do the exercises but physically it just wasn't going to happen - everything is exhausted and heavy. Part of me thinks the morning routine isn't making it easier - as per the blog, I'm waking up hungry (hunger is a constant for me, I'm definitely abusing AMAYW to the max), and as the workouts get tougher it's a challenge to get them done on an empty stomach. So, in summary it feels like I have to figure out an adjustment here - eat a bit before the workout, move the workouts to later, or just ride the energy roller coaster and enjoy the good days, push through the bad?

I haven't given up on the workout for today, the plan is to get it done this afternoon/evening when I come home from work (yes, I know exactly how slippery that slope is). And now I will go eat some more fruits and vegetables. Hope everyone's energy levels are recovering!

Half-way though week...8 is it? Can't believe how far we've come, feels pretty awesome. But yes the valley is a bit of a drag, and I'm definitely feeling the muscle fatigue from the tougher workouts. Am thinking about changing my routine to doing the exercises later in the day, just because I'm finding it harder to get up at 5:00 a.m. to get them done before kids prep starts. Another reason for the adjustment is that I ran into my neighbor today - he's usually very cheery and friendly, but today he gave me a scowl and barely said hello. That's when I realized that the room where I do my jump ropes is very likely right next to his bedroom. So from today the exercises have been moved to 8:30 a.m.

Diet is holding up ok, with only a few occasional missteps. I'm particularly proud of this as the rest of my family has chosen Gordon Ramsey's MasterChef as their new favorite cooking show. So every night I get to watch reruns of ordinary people make amazing food, and then I get to go down and boil my chicken. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But rest assured, I already have a few recipes in my head lined up for the April graduation party.

Keep it strong team, we're on our way!

A less than ideal day

Yesterday was not a super Kenzai day. Woke up super-tired and very UNmotivated to do the workout. Convinced myself to just do a little jump rope, and then a bit more, and gradually got through the whole thing, but was pretty exhausted. I also managed to aggravate an old injury, which resulted in a constant stabbing on my left side, plus a stiff neck, for most of the remaining day. And to top it off, I had a distinctly non-compliant Chinese dumpling extravaganza for dinner, then sat up until midnight to finish some work. So, not poster child performance.

Today has been better, managed to stay on point, even at a big event organized by our friend which featured hot dogs and lots of beer. To give the back a rest I did the cardio session today and will do today's regular workout tomorrow afternoon. Keep going, one foot in front of the other. If you fall down, get up. Now repeat.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

Over the midpoint

Halfway done on the program! I can’t decide if it feels like forever since we started or just yesterday. On the one hand it really seems like a lot less time has passed than a full 7 weeks. On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time I ate a meal that wasn’t baked or steamed.

Actually, that’s not true, because last night my wife and I went out for dinner at a local restaurant to take advantage of the half-way indulgence. Have to admit that I initially didn’t WANT to break from the program (why ruin good thing!), but I get the point about testing to see how we react to our old diets. So I went all in and had grilled fish, mountain potato croquets, mushrooms, pickled horse radish and a rice soup, plus a few sips of white wine. I think I was able to control the amount reasonably well - left satisfied, but not too full. The biggest difference I noticed was the SALT - tastebuds were at times a bit overwhelmed. But it was a good meal and evening, thanks Kenzai!


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