Matt Berlin

Matt Berlin

Kenzai Marathon | Day 32 (Member)
Kenzai Marathon
Day 32
Program progress:

Week 1 of Mind went smooth. Some days the mediation practice was 'easy' and flew by, and then a few others were thought chain mania sessions. But kind of like a week of working out, some days are strong and some are just punching the clock ones.

I did the first week's practice in a chair. Figured it would be a better start for my posture, and then wait to see what the lessons said about cushions, sitting, posture, etc. Week 2 I'm going to try out this new cushion and compare the difference.

Breath on Mindmates.

Mind First

Changed my Mind. Called an audible this morning and decided to go with Mind this January instead of Reach. Since it starts 2 weeks earlier, and is 2 weeks shorter than Reach, it'll free me up by mid February in case Patrick releases any of the new programs coming this year sooner rather than later. Plus I figure Reach might work better this summer during full on cardio season instead. So let's get to work on this monkey brain and see if it can improve the cognitive skills during runs, workouts, and life.

As for Starting Photo, since body shots seem irrelevant to this program, starting off with a photo from my run yesterday. Running water seems appropriate for some mindfulness.

Image Credit: Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox

New Year...

It's been 8 weeks since wrapping up Bells 2. Been keeping active with winter runs, some indoor cycling/spinning, and oddly enough I've been keeping a good balance of strength workouts going too. When I'm off program, I drift more to cardio, and the strength workouts drift into the background. But these last two months it's been an equal balance. Started off with a few weeks of Kettlebell 2 workouts mixed in with Bands/Bodyweight workouts. And now the last 3 weeks I've been hitting 3 days of Iron workouts a week. I'm liking the balance. And mixing in some good rest days too. Now off to ride the trainer in the basement on this cold, sleeting day, and then do day 54 of Iron to keep the cardio and strength balance train moving forward.

What program next? Maybe Reach in a few weeks, unless there's any of the talked about new programs added to the January/February schedule. Reach would fit into the running/cycling/Iron routine right now, so we'll see how the next two weeks unfolds.

Looking forward to seeing the blogs fire up with programs kicking off Monday. Get at it Kenzaites!

Earn the Bird

Had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving at home, with just my wife, our 3 children, and my mother. No stress. Perfect!!

Weather has been bitter cold the last few days, so finally motivated to get the bike trainer setup on Wednesday. Kicked the indoor season off with a session of Short Sprint Intervals. [KNote up today has the workout; reposted below too]. Simple structured workout, gets the heart going for over an hour, and leg fatigue really picks up in the 3rd and 4th set. Adaptable to the bike and rower. Earned some of the Thanksgiving meal with that workout.

Annual Turkey Trot again this year. Just me and the son this time. Older daughter's friends didn't want any part of the -6F wind chill temps, so she passed this year, and too cold for our younger daughter too. Pretty impressive showing the number of people in our town that showed up to participate in the temps. Always a fun way to start Thanksgiving Day.

Hope everyone in the Kenzai world had a Happy Thanksgiving for those that celebrate it.


Try this Short Sprint Interval workout the next time you’re on the bike or rower.

First, let's orientate you to some basic concepts central to interval training.

RPE: Rate of Perceived Exertion - exercising effort scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being your easiest effort, and 10 your maximum effort.

AR: Active Recovery - easy pedaling/rowing, giving your body a break between intervals, but avoiding stopping motion completely.

Let's begin.

Warm-Up: 10 minutes at level 4-5 RPE

Burst: 40 seconds at level 9-10 RPE, in a medium to large gear/resistance

Recovery: 20 seconds of AR

Repeat that sequence 9 more times, that’s 1 Set

4 minutes at level 4-5 RPE in between sets

Complete up to 4 sets during the workout

Cool Down: 5-10 minutes at level 4-5 RPE after Sets complete


6 weeks swung! This time in double style. As I said in the beginning, I’d been wanting to do this program for a bit, and am glad to finally be able to add that Bells 2 badge to the complete list.

Really liked all of the new exercises this program added on top of Bells 1. Using one Kettlebell at a time is a good way to introduce Kettlebell workouts for the first program. But the addition of the second Kettlebell is essential to your development, so it’s a must for anyone looking to build upon their ‘Bells skills.

I liked how the program didn’t ease in, and jumped right into it week 1. 6 weeks is short so no time to waste, so that was good. I was surprised we peaked at 3 cycles for the program, but understand the rationale to it and the addition of more exercises per cycle was a good replacement to just more cycles.

My one critique that keeps this program off my top 4 favorite program list is too many active recovery days. Body 3 has 13 cross training days out of 90 days in the program (~14.5%), Iron has 11 cardio and 1 rest day out of 90 (~13%), and Chisel has 5 cardio+challenge days out of 42 (~12%). Bells 2 has 11 active recovery/free cardio days out of 42 (~26%). Way too many for an advanced Kettlebell program in one trainee’s opinion. And this is coming from someone who prefers cardio for his main workout source. But for this program, being an advanced one in the Kenzai catalogue, I think it would be more effective for a 6 week stretch to drop ~5-6 of those non-Bells days. That’s how I will go about it at least when I reuse the last few weeks of these workouts in the future for maintenance purposes.

Today was also Burpee day for Team Kenzai Fundraising Challenge for Wade’s Army.

Completed 55 Push-up Burpees after the Bells workout to go towards our team’s fulfillment. Fish dropped a double nickel leading the team off, so I followed suit. It felt like doing a Bells 2 and Chisel workout back to back, hence had to break the burpees up into sets of 10. Fast forward video loaded to youtube.

Great to train with everyone. It was a good bridge program into the fall/winter season. What’s next? Not sure yet. Have to see how ready for winter running my knee is up for. Until next time!


Get out and vote today in the US. No excuses not to. Flex those civic muscles too.


Tomorrow, All Hallow’s Day, my wife and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. I pulled up some photos from back then that have the Halloween theme to them. We honeymooned in Hawaii, and then on the way back stopped in San Francisco so we could go to an Oakland Raiders game (wife’s team and her idea) and sit in the Black Hole. My brother bought us some masks so we could fit into the crazed them of the The Black Hole and presented them to us at our wedding reception during his toast. Think I still have that monster mask. Should dig it out for our anniversary date night dinner this weekend.

Kids are all primed up and ready for the candy haul. We’ve got: 11 from Stranger Things, a Mets player (some kids have to learn the hard way), and a Snow Princess for Halloween ball last Friday and maybe a Butterfly for tonight (both improvised since Amazon F’d up her Belle costume delivery…twice!). Good luck all on keeping those candy piles from calling you late night. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups stuffed with Reese’s Pieces…what?!?!?! My god who invented that torture device. Those aren’t gonna help the Bells 2 final photo one bit.

Beware of hungry pumpkins...

Active Recovery Run

Choose a chilly 10K morning run for active recovery day. Had very little motivation to run today, especially with the 31F feels like temp, so I had to resort to the “just lace them up and go” mindset. First 5 minutes are always the toughest on these days but after that you’re out there and it’s easier to just keep going. Now it’s done, workout checked off, and finishing up with the Legs Up the Wall stretch to add some recovery into the AR day.


3 weeks complete...3 weeks to go. Wrapped up week 3 with a Saturday double of day 20’s Kettlebell workout and then an afternoon bike ride in the crisp autumn air. Haven’t been able to get a lot of bike time in lately unfortunately, so it was great to get out for a bit.

Then some Saturday evening fire pit action, with some of Jim M’s Rhinegeist (and a few others) for indulgence (even though the CA trip was an indulgence in itself, but I digress).

Sunday turned colder quickly, so the bike was swapped out for a chilly and windy 7 mile run. Out of running shape for sure, but happy to get out for some outdoor cardio to close out the week.

Second half is here for us Bellmates. Let’s get at it!!!


1)“What is one of the hardest times you ever laughed?”

Maybe not the hardest, but it’s a story that can still crack me up anytime I think of it. College years, one of my buddies John, who is a big, tall Irishman. We’d all been out drinking, and he came stumbling home with a group of us to crash at our apartment. He was zig-zaging (staggering) across the apartment and heading towards a bedroom to sleep. Just inside the doorway was a wooden standing drying rack for clothes. He proceeded to trip/fall right into this drying rack, in what seemed like slow motion, and crashed to the floor, making that rack a pile of toothpicks, with pieces flying everywhere. He was totally fine…rolled over and crawled to a bed. I wish I had a go pro video of it, but it’s almost like we do in our minds.

2) “What is the most meaningful interaction you've ever had with a stranger?”

12 years ago, our oldest was in the hospital, very sick at 2 months of age. Scary as hell for us as first time parents, but she was just temporarily sick, luckily. I remember the doctor saying to me, “your daughter is sick, but she’ll get better. Some of these kids in here, they aren’t gonna get better”. Talk about perspective. And there was one little boy there in an adjacent room, about 18months old at the time. He was very sick. Very. But every time he went by on his push-tricycle in the halls to get a break from his room and procedures, he always had a beaming smile. Can still remember that smile to this day. I followed his blog his parents kept on him for a few years, until he passed from his illness. It’s the smile I always remember…and always helps me find perspective on things as a parent. Thank you Hunter.

Back Home

Back to reality. Vacation living is way too fun. Miss it already.

Was a great trip top to bottom. And was able to keep to my exercise goals for the full week. Capped it off with the sunrise trail jog/hike which was worth the early rise for the views it provided. Even had the wife and a few of the group of friends join in too.

Got all caught up with my teams I’m training last night and today, and just read all our teammates blogs to see how everyone is doing. 2 weeks down. Has been a strong program already, and looking forward to what else is in store for us the next 4 weeks. Will do another blog for the QOTW.


In the middle of a 5 day vacation to California with the wife and a group of friends (no kids!!!). 1 day in San Francisco and now a few days in Napa Valley. Getting plenty of the fruit grams in...liquid style.

Been keeping the exercises going each day this week. Hotel in SF had a few Kettlebells at least so I was able to get day 13’s workout in, after a great 7 mile run around the SF Embarcadero. Then a fun sightseeing bike around with the wife to the Golden Gate Bridge. This morning got a scenic 7 mile run in around wine country. Beautiful scenery and sweet smell of grapes. Great way to start a day (and work off the Bacon Bar from last night). Tomorrow the plan is for a sunrise group run/jog/hike up a trail near our place.

Be back on the blogs next week to check in with the team. Have a great weekend Bellmates!


To answer Kettlebell juggling sensei Ward's team questions:

Who are you?
I’m Matt, one of the trainers here at Kenzai. Live in upstate NY, a few hours north of NYC. Here with my wife (who’s also on this team), and our 3 kids.

What do you do with your time?
Family, road cycle, run, shuttle kids to/from their endless activities…

What is your temperature? In other words, are you rolling into this course with a ton or energy or are you weary?
Lots of energy for this program. Been wanting to do it for a while to build upon Bells 1. Finally got a time slot in the calendar to make it work.

What's your favorite Halloween candy?
No brainer…Reese’s Peanut Butter cups! End of discussion.

What are your goals?
Focus on strong form while learning some new moves that I don’t yet have in my Kettlebell repertoire.

What is the best version of you look/feel like?
Not sure, although I’ve improved a lot fitness wise, I’m hoping I still have the best version ahead of me.

Photo credit: The Hershey Company


And we're off! Excited to see how this Kettlebells 2 program develops. Have seen nothing but rave reviews while watching other teams do it, so pumped to finally get a taste of it.

Day 1 was a good start. Workout done in the morning. After the last two weeks of doing 4 workouts from 'Bells 1 week 5 the previous week, and 5 workouts from 'Bells 1 week 6 this past week, it was nice to have a short and sweet 25 minute all in workout to kick things off, versus those 50 minute ones.

Picked up a new toy for a new program. The RX Kronos heavy jump rope. Did the first 4 minute cycle with this beast. Wow did I underestimate the centrifugal force a 1 pound heavy cable would produce for the shoulders. Did the second 4 minute cycle with my normal weighted handle rope. Felt like I was spinning just a piece of string around me after that Kronos. Nice to finally have a true heavy rope in the arsenal.

Here we go Bellmates!!!


7 days to go until the last Kettlebell 2 program of the year begins. All signed up. Anyone else interested? Lots of Chiselers and Sculptors out there hitting grad days just in time to join Bells 2 Monday!

Completed 4 workouts with the Bells last week (day’s 30-33 from Bells 1). Targeting another 4-5 days this week (started Monday with day 34’s workout) to get the body prepped to the regular Bells day to day routine coming for 6 weeks.

End of Week 3



Kenzai Marathon
Kenzai Marathon


Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k

Kenzai Run Half
Kenzai Run Half

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Iron
Kenzai Iron

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind


Kenzai Run
Kenzai Run

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready

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