Matt Berlin

Matt Berlin

Kenzai Marathon | Day 32 (Member)
Kenzai Marathon
Day 32
Program progress:
Back from Summer Break

First blog since end of May. No teams to train this summer and no Kenzai programs myself, equaled a break from the Kenzai blogs for the summer. Been keeping busy fitness wise thru all the summer bbq, beer & bourbon too. Mostly cycling and running, along with a mix-match of Kettlebell, Iron and Body-Life strength workouts here and there. Have several guys weekends coming up soon, and a large friends group trip to Napa this October, so no Kenzai Sept program for me. But planning to enlist in one of the October programs.

But Sept is here and am lucky to be called from the trainer bullpen to train a few teams this fall. So Iron-men and Iron-women, as well as you K-Runners, let’s get ready for Monday’s day 1. Time to get fit for fall.

Photo is a little grocery shopping envy. $1 an avocado. Lucky to have this available to us here at these prices. And yet so many people’s carts at the store were missing them.

Bells Swung! 

Kettlebells 1 complete! Like I said in the beginning, it had been hard to fit this program into my schedule for a while now, and had to force it into spring cardio season this time around to finally just do it. Glad I did. It was a great 6 weeks (I so prefer these 6 week programs over the 3 month slogs), and worked well since the spring has been so rainy and spotty on the weather front. So this worked to force me to do some indoor strength work, which I tend to drift away from in favor of cardio time when not on a program.

Solid program start to finish. It eased anyone new to kettlebells in nicely. Did I want more kettlebells and less bands earlier on? Of course yes, but it’s a smart approach with how the first 2 weeks start off, how the middle 2 weeks step it up with more Bells, and then the full on Bells assault for the final 2 weeks. Not to mention the constant speed roping. Since I’m not the biggest jump rope fan (gets too boring and doesn’t mix well with running for extra impact on the joints), I like the short spurts of the speed rope, as well as the small chunks of normal skipping in the earlier week cycles.

Glad to have this one in the completed column because I am really interested in doing Kettlebells 2. That looks like an intense and challenging 6 weeks. Now the question is when? Seeing that there’s not one on the fall calendar currently (unless maybe one can be added to the Sept/Oct schedule pretty please), I may have to wait until 2019. But regardless, I’ll keep swinging the Bells along with the dumbbells and barbells when I’m forced inside this summer to workout.

Until next time teammates!


Done! Did the final 5 kettlebell workouts starting last Sunday thru this morning (skipped the rest day and shifted the day 35 & 41 cardio workouts to this coming weekend). Now all set to hit the air for the long weekend to Chicago without kettlebells in the luggage. Got my running shoes packed for a few runs if the knees are up for it, and have a HIIT class scheduled there too.

Final thoughts on the program coming on the grad blog. Have a strong final few days Bell-mates. The last workout is a fun challenge (did mine all with the 40lb/18kg bell). Here’s my video compilation of it…

Oh yeah, and the 48 spider-man push-ups after the workout too...


Week 5 in the bag. 35 for 35 on the workouts. Was still able to get two-a-days in on 4 of the days this week with 2 runs and 2 bike rides. The weekend was a washout though, so Bells workouts only. I shifted Monday’s workout to Sunday, which worked well anyways because I’m planning on wrapping up all the rest of the Bells workouts by Thursday. We’re flying to Chicago Thursday evening to visit my brother and his family for 5 days over the long holiday weekend. So the cardio and rest days will be shifted to next weekend (hopefully some runs along Lake Shore Drive), and make Thursday my day 42 workout. And by judging how day 36’s workout went I did this morning, it’s gonna be a hell of a final 5 Bells and speed rope workouts.

As for the weekly challenge, this photo is from my Friday evening bike ride. No big climbs on this ride, but was still able to get a good view from the top of some of the rolling hills.

Good luck this week Bell-mates. This week’s workouts look challenging. Finish things off right!!!

Instagram @KenzaiFit

Recorded clips of Monday's cycle workout to check out my form on some of the exercises. Compiled it together, along with some bonus v-sits and spider-man push-ups for the monthly challenge. For those of you on Instagram but not yet connected to Kenzai on there, check out @KenzaiFit and @Kenzai_India.

31 of 31 workouts complete, plus the 32 spiderman's today too. Apparently Math Wizard Fish says we're only 27% of the way there on the spideys...damn you Robin!!!


The wife and I got a night out this weekend without the kids, so a good excuse for a few IPAs and bar food for the official indulgence.

Week 4 went fine. Swapped things around a bit to make it work schedule wise to get all the workouts completed. Had a few two-a-days with runs on top of the Bells workouts too, but not as many as hoped for. But it’s all that was available, so I’ll take it.

2 weeks to go team! Looks like less bands and more Bells, which is great to see. And some speed rope mixed in too. Looks like a strong week!

Happy Mother’s Day for all that celebrate it on the US calendar.

[post add]

Forgot to add the video self-accountability for Robin & Fish's Month of May Spiderman Push-up Challenge. Day 13. 26. I switched the form up today to give the barking shoulder a bit of rest, doing an abridged version. Figured it was better than nothing. This challenge is gonna hurt in a few more days. For any teammates interested in joining in the "fun", take a look at Robin and Fish's blogs for details (and the accurate form vs. this abridged version). Feel free to join in any days...any form...any number. Anything is better than nothing.

3 Up...3 Down

Or 21 days of Kettlebells 1 complete. 21 workouts completed. Got some lean protein batch grill prep done yesterday (plus some hot dogs for the son). Now ready for the coming week of the 4th cycle being added. Let’s start this second half strong Bell-mates!!!

KBells Week 2 done

Nothing fancy to report this week. 14 days, 14 workouts, plus. The workouts are stepping up nicely, but only needing ~30 mins to get the 3-cycles completed, still had plenty of time and energy to fit in the cardio double ups on most days. Fit runs & bike rides in, some during my son’s baseball practices, which works well getting the ‘Bells workouts done in the morning, and then cardio in the evening around the kids’ activities schedules.

Looks like we’re staying at 3-cycles for the coming week, so hope to keep the two a days going at least most of the week. Several new exercises being added, which is good to keep the workouts from getting stale. Did day 15’s workout today (Sunday) because I wasn’t up for running in 38F rain. Will take one of my runs the next few days as my day 14 free cardio workout.

As for the weekly challenge, superhero. Well I’m not sure how good he is at Kettlebell Swings, but I’ll take Pie Man for the humor.

Have a strong week Bellmates!!


Show me your ‘Bells! I posted my 'Bells set on my day 1 blog. And now added to the set are mama and papa bell (35&40lb / ~16&18kg) which got delivered this week. The mail person was none too pleased. Free delivery via those flat rate delivery boxes…no wonder the postal service is losing money. I’ll probably stick with these for the program, and just supplement with dumbbells/barbells for more weight as desired.

As for Head Trainer Thomas’ intro message questions:

1) What do you want to get out of this training?

Just like the Iron program, I want to add to my fitness equipment knowledge base. Fill-in those gaps of knowledge about Kettlebell training that I don’t have yet. And I’m very interested in doing Kettlebell 2 later this year, so I need to learn program 1 properly first so I can make the most out of program 2.

2) What do you need in order to make that happen?

That’s easy. 42 days, show up and get the workouts completed. That’s the easy part. Those Evening Snacks of Fruit (i.e. no beer or bourbon)…that’s the laborious part of training.

7 workouts complete so far, finished off with a nice 90-min road bike ride late this afternoon. Spring decided to arrive, so got out for a quick ride after the day’s family activities.

Now onto week 2. Previewing the coming week’s workouts, liking to see a good mix of new exercises being added in, and a 3rd cycle. Let’s go team!!

Finally Kettlebell-ing

Day 1 of Kenzai Kettlebell is off and swinging. I have struggled to fit this program into my calendar for the better part of a year now, due to the program start dates and other programs or training on my own I've been doing. And even now, I've been debating for the last week or so whether I have time for it presently. I've got other running and cycling training in progress and coming up this Spring. But I figured since the Spring weather is still crap around here (it was sleeting last night...April 15th and it's sleeting. I don't live in Northern Canada...), I might as well sign-up and make it work.

Day 1 workout done. 25 minutes with stretching time. That works time wise so far. I'll be able to double up the workouts with running/cycling as need in the first half of the program. And if I have to miss a workout here or there to fit in longer training days once these workouts really ramp up, I'll find a good working balance at that time.

So it's time to swing some 'Bells. Let's see what this program is all about.


4 week Ranger Challenge completed today. Final test results are in:

Army test standards: 16 (max before having to put feet back to the ground)
Kenzai Ranger Challenge: 27 (max in 2 minutes; 16/6/5 with feet down rests in-between ‘sets’)
Decent performance, especially since I laid off these mostly the last two weeks to let the barking shoulder rest. The 16 passes the Army recommended score of 12, so good enough. I’d still like to work toward 4 sets of 10-12 with 20 seconds strict rest…but not this week.

53 total (max in 2 minutes with no rests; stayed in plank position full time even during ‘breaks’, so it works for both standards); Passes the Army minimum score of 49, but far from the recommended score of 80. I slacked off on these lately too, and it showed today. But even so, 80 in 2 minutes with no rest is a tough standard. A good goal though.

102 total (max in 2 minutes); since Army standards are sit-ups, these crunches are only relevant to the Kenzai challenge; did 68 day 1, but I did those with a slower crunch technique which apparently wasn’t the method to go with. Did today’s in more of the speed crunch method to try to do more. Not sure if this is the best form though, so I’m fine with the 102, but I think crunches form can vary so much it’s hard to tell how much improvement there was or not. Good enough for the challenge though.

72 total (max in 2 minutes); we didn’t do these for the Kenzai challenge, but I did the Army standard sit-ups to get a better comparison to the Army PFT (aka Ren advised standards). The 72 passes the minimum score of 59, but short of the 80 recommended scoring. I like this for the test better than the crunches. More definitive form standard to go by to see if you’re doing them right for scoring or not. []

5 mile run (8km for the Kenzai challenge; 5 mile per APFT):
34:32. Almost the same as day 1’s 34:40. And seeing that the temperatures are still somehow in the mid 20F’s (IN APRIL!!!) as they were on day 1, it’s a good comparison. Was targeting sub 34 min, but with the slack diet and free flowing drinks on the menu lately, I can’t expect much more. Need to tighten things up if I want to improve some times. But the time passes the Army 35 min recommended score, so it’ll do for today.

That’s it for the Ranger Challenge. I didn’t give it my all, but with March Madness in the mix, I put into it about what I was expecting. Next? Not sure. Kenzai Kettlebells I, then II at some point. Have to see how the program scheduling works out to see if I can get both in this year. Ranger out.

**Final photo is for Rangers Fish and Ren. Look what I found locally. Ranger refreshments. Cheers!


Been quite busy, using all of my Kenzai time focused solely on the running teams I'm training. So my blog and keeping up with fellow Ranger blogs has been lacking.

No big updates on my training side. Keeping up with the Ranger Challenge (mostly), but will say I'm quite bored with the strength routine. The repetitive nature doesn't work well with my shoulder, so that doesn't help with the monotony either. So I'm keeping to a moderate level just to stay on the field until the test day. I've been focusing more on my running lately anyways, along with some indoor riding (since Spring doesn't look like it's gonna come until June this year). So test day I'll have to rely upon my running, and just get by on the other aspects.

Will try to find some time to catch up on some blogs, but with the kids home on break this week, extra time is a minimum.


Thursday: 6 mile (~10km) easy paced recovery run from Wednesday intervals workout; added the Ranger strength items in afterwards

Friday: 10 mile (16km) morning run completed. 6 mile Tempo workout with 2 mile warm-ups and cool downs. Felt good, but got a ways to go to increase the tempo target pace...but that's what training is for after all.

Now with the work done, time to ship up to Boston today for the NCAA East Regional basketball games tonight. 2 live games, plus hoping to catch the Cuse vs Duke game on tv or streaming. Don't have high hopes for Cuse but at least they made the sweet 16. Gonna be a fun afternoon, evening, night and late night of hoops and hops. Then I get to drive back for...

Saturday: get home, pick up our son, and drive out to Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. One of his Christmas presents from last year. A stay over 'Night At the Museum' trip to the Hall of Fame. I think I might be just as excited for it as he is.

Have a great weekend Rangers!


Second day of spring and still freezing around here. And the forecast ain't warming up anytime soon this week. But at least the nor'easter hitting the northeast today won't be traveling inland and north enough to hit us. So at least we're not getting another foot of snow like others I got that going for me.

Rangering and other personal running schedule has been going fine. Minor progress on the pull-ups, push-ups and crunches, but nothing impressive. The shoulder is acting up a bit more so not sure how much more I'm gonna push the numbers.

Was homebound with a sick child last two days, therefore no running time, but hit the indoor trainer for some easy cardio instead. Then was able to get the weekly speed workout (8x600meters) in this morning in the freezing temps. Did better than I was expecting given the temps, the minor aches in my feet/shin/knee last few days and feeling a little run down (not sure if I'm getting my kid's sickness or not). Was dreading the run this morning, but warmed up for 2 miles to see if the body was up for it, and since it was ok, got the speed workout complete. And as expected, I feel a ton better now having done it. Will ride the endorphins for the afternoon. Hopefully they'll fight off the virus germs.

Ranger Forward Team!


Since I did the Baseline test on Sunday for schedule reasons, I'm still shifted ahead a day on the Ranger calendar. Got a 7 mile run in on Monday, then the day 3 workout of jump rope and strength worked well during the Tuesday snow we had. The 4 sets of pull-ups were pretty easy to hit failure with. Then this morning I did an interval run, 12 x 400's. I have a separate running plan I'm on right now, so it won't be matching the Ranger running details per se. But the intervals more than sufficed for the day 4 Fartlek run workout. That's it for now Rangers. Good luck to you all with the Fartlek Run on your day 4.

End of Week 3



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