Jim Matt

Jim Matt

Kenzai Member
Assistant Trainer
2019 Year in Review:

So 2019 was a very good Kenzai year for me. Started off with KB2 January-March...I really liked the program and it was what I consider a good step up from KB1. We had an awesome "dream team," on Team Aspen with rockstars Kathleen, John, Jon-e, Jean-Marc, Margot, Elodie, Amy, Shane, Cora, Lynn and all the rest. Leaned up going into the spring.

Then came the Ranger Challenge with Kenzai stalwarts Martin, Fish and Jon-e. Got some great running in at the BEAUTIFUL Lunken field loop, a 5 mile mainly flat track where I was able to maintain a sub-8 minute mile for the duration of the 5 mile final exam.

After that was some maintenance workouts, kettlebells at Home Base®, various workouts at Carter Fit, One More Rep, yoga at Move Your Hyde, some running here and there, outdoors stairs and the like.

Visited some friends in GORGEOUS Boulder, CO at the end of May. Highlights were running the Boulder Boulder, hiking up in the snow to Hallett Peak (12,713' ASL), and general hiking shenanigans.

In June, Aimee and I visited Iceland for 10 glorious days of camper van lifestyle fun!

Late July I hopped on Beach Blast for 28 days of fun, sweat and general leaning up before late summer arrived.

Late August-> Early September I met some friends in Jackson, WY and we climbed to the summit of the Grand Teton (13,776' ASL). No small feat, this is a technical rock climb that has a long approach with a heavy pack, and variable weather. Shortly thereafter my brother-in-law Jon-e and nephew Ethan met me out in Colorado. We managed to bag the highest peak in Colorado (Mount Elbert, 14,439' ASL). We also hiked a few 13ers and finished off the trip with a multi-pitch technical rock climb...Jon-e and Ethan's fist multi pitch climb and also their first climb outdoors. I also hit the Colorado fitness testpiece Manitou Incline hard and set a PR of 32:52 up this .88 mile and 2000' vertical "trail."

Late September I was back in Colorado for some hiking, more Manitou Incline shenanigans (where I destroyed a coworker who challenged me to an Incline, "race.") Great American Beer Fest followed, which is always a good time.

I got talked into signing up for Kenzai Run in October and actually really enjoyed it. Until I went to participate in a 27K trail run race here locally, where I broke my ankle. Definitely the low point of the year.

Not to be deterred, I jumped on T-Shirt Blast in early November. This was just what the doctor ordered, I was very happy with the program and the results.

In December I had some surgery to remove varicose veins in my left leg. It left me with some discomfort for a few days, but was back to HIIT, Maintenance and Kettlebell workouts with only 3 days of down time.

I probably could have slid another program in there somewhere, but the timing just didn't work out. If Kettlebell 2 had been offered in late June or early July I would have hit that for sure. But another time.

2020, I am looking forward to kicking it off with Chisel on January 20, followed by either KB3 or Iron in April. Then I will look at doing a new program perhaps in July or August, slot a Blast in late summer, then finish the year with a re-do of Run.

I had the great pleasure of a few IRL meeting last year: Miranda and Nate in May in Rochester, NY. Wardo in June in NYC, and Watson "Pepper," J in October in Asheville. I'm looking forward to more in the future for sure!

Last but not least, it was a great year being able to be AT on KB2 early in the year, as well as an AT for group of KB1ers who wrapped up shortly after Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to training some programs again in 2020, if they'll have me!

Happy New Year everyone! This will likely be my last post on the old site, trying to fully migrate to the new app!


Down here in Navarre Beach (near Destin, FL) for a wedding this weekend. I’m not much of a Florida fan but I’m quite adaptable. Got a nice 4+ mile walk in near the water yesterday. The hotel gym is small, yet well equipped so I was able to get some decent cardio in plus a slightly modded Day 18 T-Shirt Blast! workout as well as 8MA. Wedding is today and Aimee and I are pre-gaming at the moment.


In other news, I’m a huge fan of traveling as most of you know. I subscribe to a service that alerts me to cheap flights:


Anyway, there was an alert to Tokyo from CVG (the airport that serves Home Base®️). The price was about $700 round trip, still not tempting enough for me to take the plunge. But I got to looking online, and there are flights in October that would only cost me 40,000 miles plus $60, total roundtrip price. Since I have 130,000+ on American Airlines, I took the plunge. Trip is from Oct 14-24, CVG to Tokyo (into Narita, out of Haneda). Only one stop on the way out, two stops on the way back but I do not care! Looking forward to meeting up with the Tokyo Kenzai faction for sure, and restraint WILL NOT be exercised, I may be Fish’s drunk dude passed out, and I hope to get a workout or two in at his gym. If they let me in, of course?

December 26-27:

No workout yesterday but we did have a massively satisfying meal at Sotto Cincinnati with my wife,
Step-son and his friend Mio from Tokyo. Didn’t go too overboard but we destroyed everything that was put in front of us (bread, pasta, salad, steak, Branzino and dessert). We only went through one bottle of wine for the 4 of us so that was the saving grace.

Back at it at Carter Fit AF this AM. Nate smoked us! Jumping heavy rope slams was new and challenging!

Heading off to Florida for a wedding this weekend. Hopefully the hotel gym is decent!

December 25:

No gyms open today so I threw around some Bellz...Bellz 2 Day 1 workout to be exact. Felt great!


Strava also sent me a summary of elevation gained (and lost) in 2019.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidaze everyone!

December 12

Sticking to the plan this week. Tuesday got some HIIT training in at One More Rep, followed by light upper body T-Shirt Blast workout. Wednesday was cardio and heavy upper body workout. Today was Carter Fit AF HIIT and body weight workout. Tomorrow I’m planning the Super Heavy Upper Body workout. Still feeling good but noticeable DOMS for sure.

New sleds at Carter just for funsies:


My KB1 trainees are done so all is fairly quiet on the blogs for now.

T-Shirt Blast Graduation post: 

As promised, Day 27 workout done at the Blue Ash Y yesterday. 35 minute Stairmaster then Heavy Upper Body workout done pretty much as RX.

Today off to the Duck Creek Y for the grand finale. 5 min of jumprope with ZEUS…unbroken. Welcome back my old friend. Knocked the rest out in 15 min, really felt the burn! Got the push-ups done in one set of 50.

This program was great. It came along at the perfect time shortly after I broke my ankle. The impact exercises were easily modified and the heavy upper body workouts were challenging and effective.

I’m a slow gainer, but I had spent most of the year getting and staying lean with KB2, Ranger Challenge, Beach Blast and run. I was glad for the opportunity to put some muscle on this time of the year. I’m also a big fan of the periodization model where we work hard in one aspect of fitness then move to another, then another, making a full circle and elevating overall fitness constantly, just in different ways.

I definitely gained some weight, about 2 kg, mostly muscle but a little fluff from what I can tell. Totally on me…if I had run the diet tighter through Thanksgiving and also skipped our big lab outing it would have been better. But I’m more than satisfied with the results!

This week I’ll be doing HIIT tomorrow along with the light upper body workout. Wednesday is cardio and heavy upper body. Thursday HIIT and body weight workout. Friday is cardio and super heavy upper body. Saturday will be HIIT and heavy upper body. Sunday will be cardio and yoga. My vein surgery is scheduled for a week from today so timing is good.

What most everyone else said about the app is true…lots of potential, a few glitches, but the biggest issue is the disconnect between it and the Web site.

It was great training with you all on Team Kern. Good to meet up with some “old,” friends (Kathleen, Beth and Martin), meet some new ones (Monica) and especially my buddy Dermot. The blogs are always better when you are a part of them.

Just remember this mantra when you don’t feel like working out: WWDD?! He would smash it! 🔨

Next up for me is Chisel in January. I have a month long trip to Australia and New Zealand planned for March. Then either Iron or KB3 starting in April. Probably will sprinkle a Blast or two in over the summer, Run in the fall but also looking forward to seeing whatever HQ has queued up that is new and exciting.

Have a great holiday everyone. Stay safe, indulge wisely and see you on another program soon!

Been keeping the blogs going on the new app but will post a weekly summary here.

Breaking my ankle during the Run program sucked, it took a lot of wind out of my sails and I felt...well...sorry for myself.

Once I heard T-Shirt Blast was rolling, the self-doubt came into play. Can I? Should I? Then I saw my mate Dermot signing up, so that sealed the deal. Not to mention good Kenzai friends Kathleen and Martin.

I was wondering how I could mod some of the Blast workouts, but that has ended up being a non-issue. I look at the workout while making espresso in the morning and figure out what exercises require low impact mods (turns out it is usually only 1-3). Cardio has been going great mixing in the Stairmaster, rowing machine and Versaclimber:


Feeling good and really feeling like I am getting a lot out of this program. The muscle mass had taken a bit of a hit during the time from late August -> late October. I feel like I've added a little muscle mass while maintaining good cardiovascular conditioning.

1 hour on the Stairmaster today followed by 8MA and 15 minutes legs up the wall pose was a great way to wrap up Week 2.

Next week will be a challenge with Thanksgiving here in the States. Formulating my plan to not fall off the rails but indulge intelligently while still keeping to the spirit of the program. Of course, maintaining the workouts all along the way. Also keeping that diet super-tight early in the week Monday -> Wednesday before family arrives.

Knote from last year:

I thought I would repost this for some of my teammates and trainees alike.

Staying Compliant During the Holidays!

It is that time of year when people are celebrating all around the world: Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. This can create quite a challenging situation for someone on a Kenzai program. How do we navigate these potential dietary minefields without totally falling off the rails?

Here are a few other tricks I've picked up along the way:

Set Your Intention: Whether it is to stay totally compliant to the gram, keep within the spirit of the program and eyeball healthier options, or go for a small glass of wine or a sweet treat, make sure your intention is clear and set before going in. If you set a vague intention such as, “I will do the best that I can,” then this won't keep you accountable. Too often, non-measurable goals are excuses in disguise!

The Company You Keep: Have a friend/family member/spouse who knows that your are on a training program close at hand. They can help support and encourage you while you are making some sterling food and beverage choices over the holidays. Having a supportive person in the room can make all the difference.

Eat This, Not That: There are always healthier options that you can run with instead of less healthy ones. Fill up on lean meat, veggies, and fruits instead of cheesy potatoes, rich sauces, sausage stuffing, and pumpkin pie.

Portion Control: Take one plate of food and don’t go back for seconds.

Remember, YOU are in control, and although peer pressure can mount, especially at this time of year, you are doing something for the benefit of your wellness. Don’t lose sight of that. Every positive choice that you make will inch you forward to that goal that you have in mind and every indulgent choice...well...you know!

Happy Holidays everyone!


Good but busy day today. Up relatively early (for the weekend) at 7 AM, off to do grocery shopping. Then off to the Blue Ash YMCA, 1 hour of the Stairmaster is in the books. I had not done that much cardio in one shot since breaking my ankle 3 weeks ago. Felt great! Finished with Kenzai 8MA, then 10 minutes of legs up the wall pose.



Some meal prep done, cooking on the Big Green Egg (chicken, Chinese long beans with some chili-garlic sauce), a mountain of salad. All of the good stuff. Oh yeah, the corkscrew has been hidden, thanks to my wife Aimee. Little does she know a few bottles in the cellar have a screw top… but I would never take advantage of that!

Oh yeah, had to include a couple of pictures from our “offsite meeting,” at Sotto…it was awesome!


Up at 5:30, over to the Duck Creek Y shortly after 6. Ran through 22 minutes of easy elliptical training, ankle mainly felt good but the Stairmaster is gentler on it and I get my heart rate up much higher on it also. Therefore, I will not often be using the elliptical trainer for cardio.
Warm-up exercises done, blasted through the 2 blast segments. Scissor jumps subbed with these:
Super Heavy Upper Body workout went as advertised. I got the weight dialed in pretty much off the bat…even upping the weight on the last set for most of the exercises. DOMS will be present tomorrow, I am sure!
Metronomes during the Ab section and I did them as Fish suggests…use dumbbells on either side to anchor your hands. Brilliant. And I could hear the ticking in my head with each rep of the beloved metronomes.


Different day, same routine. Over to the LOVELY Duck Creek Y for the workout. 20 minutes on the Stairmaster. Then the workout portion, subbed Muay Thai Cross-knees for the knee cappers. Crab Cake 🦀 walk no problem, subbed reverse lunges for the Lunar Lunge Jump. Also added the stability ball into the fray for inverted V-sit. Some minor DOMS here and there for sure! Also, I didn’t have time for the prescribed amount of time for the jump rope this AM (I’m not jumping rope, but 10 hours seems excessive?) I did report it to Ward. 👍.


Got over to the BEAUTIFUL Duck Creek YMCA this AM for the workout. We had a little snowfall overnight, early in the season for us but it wasn't anything to be concerned about.

30 minutes on the Stairmaster for cardio, no ankle issues so this is good news!


For the rest of the workout, I made a couple of minor modifications.

Since there are no regular or BJ (Box Jump or Broad Jump or...) Burpees on deck anytime soon so I was jonesing for a new low-impact version. Enter the BA-BOSU Burpee!


Subbed Muay-Thai outside knees for the knee cappers. Also subbed turbines (4 sets of 12 reps per side) for the side-planks.

Feeling good, hope y'all are as well!


I'm planning to cross-post the blog via the Web site as well as the new app, so here goes!

Last night Aimee and I had dinner at home, I made a Wagyu beef strip steak on the Big Green Egg, also grilled a TON of veggies. We also decided to imbibe a little before the official start of the program. It was a very good bottle of Rioja for sure, paired perfectly with the steak.

This AM, got over to the BEAUTIFUL Duck Creek Y (for the first time in awhile) and got the workout BLASTED....but yeah, it was a long one!

15 minutes on the rower, ankle felt good.

Star-jumps:managed to do those pseudo-one legged, all good on that.

Subbed walking lunges for floor jumps.

Mountain climbers modded a bit: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4ufdMaBkCJ/

Could not put my full weight on the side of the foot for the beloved side planks, so modified that one a bit also.

The one legged floor touches were wobbly, but do-able! If I were at 100%, this would be something I would try on the BOSU for extra fun. No way jose these days!

Everything else was done as RX. It was a great workout and way to get going!

Bring it on Team Kern, we are going to crush it!!

PS- Wearing my Bolder Boulder T-shirt in honor of my teammate Martin since he moved to Colorado recently.


It has been a hell of a 14 day stretch here with the ankle issues, some minor issues at Home Base®️ as well as the normal ebbs and flows of life. I’ve been doing a great job of stress eating and drinking over the past 2 weeks, which is something I usually have a handle on. Workouts have been good, but as we all know, one cannot out-train a poor diet.

But this morning I woke up with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. Getting signed up on T-Shirt Blast really did the trick as well as being on a team of superstars which includes Kathleen, Martin and Dermot (just to mention a few). Pre-program is done, got a heavy maintenance workout in, 8MA to finish. Im ready to beta test some no-impact cardio tomorrow. It is all falling into place.


Aimee and I are headed out for a mega grocery shopping session/date at the famous Jungle Jim’s market here in town. Yes, it is crazy but so am I!


The ankle has really made a lot of progress this week (see photos taken just 9 days apart). Got many subs already mapped out for some of the high impact exercises on T-shirt.

Thanks for all of the support my Kenzai friends. The grey clouds have parted and now it is time to party T-Shirt style.

PS- T-Shirt is being run on the new app but I’ll be sure to cross post the blog on the Web site as well as on the new app.

Bring it!! 💪🏼

November 7, I’m back!

Signed up for T-Shirt Blast today because WTF not? I’ll have to modify the impact exercises or anything that puts pressure on my ankle but I feel confident that I can do it. There is Thanksgiving and a lab recognition outing planned during the course of the program but should be able to stick to the diet well other than during those 2 “planned indulgences.”

The main motivator for me is the fact that my buddy Dermot is also doing the program.

Bring it!!👊🏼💪🏼👍🏻

Final Photo





Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready

Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready
Kenzai Blast: T-shirt Ready