Jess Swarbreck

Jess Swarbreck

Kenzai Member
Nearly half way...

...and I feel as though things are firming up so am glad about that. Got the work out done against the odds today as have been feeling ill most of the day. Have hardly eaten this evening which is a sure sign that I'm not well. I never skip meals!
So glad its Friday tomorrow!

Reboot day 8

I'm back to it after a slightly wobbly weekend which was spent at my soon-to-be in laws where I never find it easy to stay on diet. I was up super early on Saturday to work out though which was good. We then had a long day of clay pigeon shooting which was a pretty intense shoulder workout.
Just got home after a long day at work and worked out but am finding I have a lot more energy this week after some alcohol free nights sleep. It really does make all the difference!
Have a great week everyone!

Whole grains headlines

A couple of days ago a radio show I was listening to casually reported that a scientific study had just found that ‘whole grain bread is no better for you than white’. As a nutrition geek it got me all riled up. This is completely against conventional science and some of the most simple reliable nutrition advice. I was sure that this must have been a study funded by some food company and conducted very badly and yet this ‘lie’ was being reported in on the BBC as well as in one of the most widely read newspapers. ‘What a joke!’ I thought. ‘No wonder we’re facing an obesity crisis.’

As I delved into the claim being made, I was surprised that the research had actually come from a very well respected institute and one that’s pioneering research on gut bacteria on the cutting edge of nutrition science. Not only this, the scientists had proved their null hypothesis meaning that their results had completely shocked them. I was familiar with much of their similar research but had never heard it reported in mainstream media in such a sensational way that really seemed to miss the point.

‘Swapping your whites for browns’ is a really simple, and in my personal experience, effective way of managing energy levels and appetite; the mechanism thought to be behind this is that whole grains stimulate less of an insulin response to refined grains meaning that they promote more balance in blood sugar levels. However, this study found that this balancing effect was true in only half of the participants eating brown bread. In the other half, it actually had the opposite effect! Yes, half of the participants actually had a higher insulin response after eating wholegrain bread than white. Furthermore, the scientists found no differences in other markers of health in the blood such as minerals and liver enzymes between the two groups. Interestingly, the scientists were able to develop an algorithm to predict which participants would experience which insulin response based on the composition of their gut bacteria. This could mean that eating whole grains could be good for some of us, but not others. Essentially, this research is telling us that simple dietary advice like this might not be a one size fits all affair. In the future, our gut bacteria might be routinely screened to look at what foods are best for us and which ones to avoid.

HOWEVER, that time is not here yet but this is what should have been reported and the reporters who sensationalised this piece of research should be ashamed. This was a very small study, conducted over two weeks. The scientists themselves recognised the simplicity of the study and were explicit about how the results are not based on long term wholegrain vs refined grain consumption. If we look at the body of research on whole grains and dietary patterns including whole grains, there are a host of far more comprehensive studies linking the intake of whole grains to better health and decreased risk of things like bowel cancer.

I can just imagine how many people would have read the headline ‘brown bread no better for you’ and thought ‘Urgh! Science keeps changing its mind!’ So, at Kenzai, I hope we can do our part to keep things scientific and honest. We always have the power to delve into the research ourselves. Don’t believe everything you read, especially about nutrition!

Alternative cardio

Took my beloved on a run round the block today instead of skipping. As you can see, he was totally into the idea.

Reboot time!

Naturally I made day 1 as difficult as possible by hosting a bbq last night. At the point where I was ready for a cup of tea and bed I thought ah better have another glass...while I can. Rookie error. Today has been hell! Nevertheless, got home and worked out and now chilling out which feels amazing.
Excited to reboot. It's time to put down the mayonnaise.
Have a great one team!!

New jump rope!

I love this time of year - its by far the best time to train in the UK. The weather is good and the days are long. I got bored of my running route and decided to switch back to jumping rope this week which has been challenging in all the right ways.
Happy Wednesday y'all! And here's to everyone taking on programs this week. (Especially KB2. You guys are the best ones ;) )


I hope everyone is getting on well and still enjoying Reach. I've loved it but unfortunately am not managing to keep up with all aspects of the program and am going to have to duck out early.
It doesn't feel good not completing a Kenzai program but it feels worse doing it badly. Various things going on at home and long hours at work have meant I just haven't been able to prioritise this program, particularly in the evenings. It sucks, but it is what it is!
And to anyone considering doing Reach, I say do it!! I'm looking forward to giving it 100% some time next year or in the summer when schools out.
Peace out for now. Namaste.

Tired but ticking along

All my spare time this week I've just wanted to sleep. I don't feel ill at all, just tired- its weird.
I'm still enjoying Reach - it feels good to be working on things that have been neglected for so long.
Hope you're all having a good week!

Is this really so hard?!

I can't say today's lesson resonated with me, I feel SO good after each session, even the incomplete sessions.
That said, I have been wondering why I'm struggling so much to complete the evening stretches to the allotted times. Is anyone else finding that? I'm barely making it to 2 minutes on any of the stretches.
I'm laughing at myself now but mid stretching last night I was cursing the program thinking it was ridiculous to ask someone to stay still for 10 minutes. I realise that is crazy.
Maybe its all just too emotional and I'm avoiding it!
I realise I need to re-apply myself. It'll piss me off if I genuinely don't have the discipline for this.

Reach - Day 1

My dear friend Kate called me up at the weekend and suggested we do Reach together starting Monday.
Knee jerk reaction which I'm glad I kept to myself was fucking hell no, i don't have time to do anything else! I am.
Really excited to try this.

I used to think I had quite good flexibility but have realised recently that my ankle/calf flexibility for one is terrible.
Looking forward to doing the assessment later to see what else I suck at.

Let's do this!


Meet Bo. 11 weeks and finally today allowed out of the garden.
We took her for a very short walk (all she's allowed at the moment) and I carried on from there on a run.
I've been putting off working out properly since Christmas as its been so cold and wet- felt great to get out again today and blow out the cobwebs.
I'll thank my amazing KB2 teams for inspiring me to do so...and my new pup who I could not be prouder of!
Woof! xx

KB3 and a year of Kenzai challenges!  

Another epic challenge from Kenzai which has once again brought the highs, the lows, and the unexpected to a 90 day 'journey'.

Its amazing how much happens in 3 months. Once again I find myself in a very different place to when I started. I knew I was in for a big challenge, both with Kenzai and in my personal life 3 months ago. I was perhaps the most nervous I've ever been about getting through it all. College work, professional qualifications and exams and a new job.

I knew KB3 was the thing to keep me on an even keel but perhaps one thing I hadn't factored in was needing to balance all this with things at home which are all pretty new still. Having moved a long way from London, making new friends and keeping things sweet with loverboy at times have stolen the limelight from Kenzai. At first, I found this very difficult (see blog 'downturn') but since then I've managed to balance things out a little more.

Last Saturday marked the final hurdle with my college finals which I'm pleased to say I got through. Needless to say the final three days of my holiday were the most enjoyable days I've had in some time! (See photo!)

Of course, the result of not being completely strict with myself in these final few weeks is that I'm not at my leanest. I'm ok with that, even if its not what i intended at the start. I always find, after several weeks of hard training, that I become much happier in myself and the need to push things to extremes dissipates. I'll never find it too much of a struggle to work out or eat right but I do always struggle with body image when I'm being lazy about training! I've realised during KB3 that self acceptance is easier the more I train, and the more I watch others train. Not rocket science, is it!?

As I talk about often, my key motivator for fitness and healthy eating has always been mental health and sharpness. I'm just so much better when I'm focused with training in this way and I'm grateful to Kenzai programs for over a year of being on consistently good form. I've got a lot done in a year!

A lot further back on my blog I've talked a bit about my struggles with ADHD over the years and I was quietly celebrating last month which marked a year of being completely medication free. Again, I have Kenzai to thank because, the day Thomas took me on as an assistant trainer was the day I finally took the courage to let go of a crutch that I'd relied on for so many years. Aside from a little bit of weight gain, the rewards of this have been really positive and I'm happier about my health than I've ever been.

I've loved KB3, thank you to each of you in the team for your encouragement along the way, and I'm sorry I've not been as present in the later stages as you've been for me. Thank you also Thomas and Patrick for your support.

Here's to the next challenge :)

On holiday

Sorry for the radio silence guys. I'm away with family in France. Lots to celebrate with big birthdays and being all in the same continent for once. Beautiful day today- which was dads birthday so we did a very Kenzai friendly bbq.
Not able to enjoy things quite as much as I want to as I have my big exam on Saturday. Still, training wise things haven't fallen to pieces. Been on a couple of gorgeous runs and lots of swimming. Won't say I've totally avoided the rosé 🙄
Anyway, just checking in!

Brexit :(

A very sad week for the UK, and I'm feeling pretty depressed about it.
Having moved back to England 4 years ago, I've only really felt settled recently but have spent this week quietly wondering what kind of a future we have here now. It's early days and who knows what will be but for now this sense of uncertainty is my overwhelming feeling and the only thing I can write about.
Waiting for assessment results and counting down the days to final exams is of course exacerbating these feelings so I'm trying to keep things in perspective.

I had an awesome work out yesterday and can now manage about 3 half pull ups- progress indeed! I now love back day as it always makes me focus. We also had a great weekend with my dad (one of the original PCP graduates... ) and of course took a rare opportunity to work out together which was fun! Things are ticking along and one thing I feel very settled in is training mode! There's never two ways about it- I train, everyday, and thats just how it is!

I saw this photo on instagram earlier and had to share it. If Brexit does one positive thing, let it be to warn Americans that the unthinkable can happen. Don't forget to vote!!!

Busy busy

Just home from an incredible weekend at a wedding in Spain. Here's a photo of my sister and me all scrubbed up! Of course a wedding is one of those situations you'd be crazy not to enjoy so, needless to say I'm needing to re-centre and put the effort in even more AGAIN this week. I'm not entirely happy with the way KB 3 has taken a back seat as of recently but it's all continuing to positively contribute to every aspect of my life. So I'm not complaining.
I do want to step things up a gear but it's into another busy week-a busy work week, a final assessment for a course all day on Thursday and then my amazing Dad arrives from HK on Friday for the weekend. I will do my best.
Happy Monday team.

Jan 8th, 2018





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