Nate Belle Isle

Nate Belle Isle

Kenzai Member
Reach 2.0

Reach has the honor of being the second program I’m doing a second time. I was going to do Iron again, but i decided Reach meshing more with my current headspace and goals. I want a good 2 months of the grounding a good yoga/mobility practice provides, while I focus on diet. On top of that, a goal I have this year is to cut back on media consumption and electronics usage. So why not make that even more weird by throwing in some ten minute forward bends?

I think I’ll tackle Kettlebell 2 next, then Iron again.

Happy to be reaching with everyone and kicking off 2018 with a flexible, mindful beginning!

The flexibility assessment went well. I’ve maintained some mobility gains but slid backwards a bit overall. I think I’ll make it all back pretty fast and I excited to see where this program ends.

I picked Crow Pose as my weekly photo. Not part of the assessment I know, but I want to work on inversions and balance so I can finally master the handstand. So I hope to have a deeper, higher crow by the end that I can hold for a good chunk of time. I’ll be throwing it in to the daily mix.

One other goal: correcting the imbalances in my posture and flexibility. Especially my shoulders.

Namaste everybody! Have fun Reaching!


I might not have graduated with the full glory I expected, but at the same time I think I've learned my lesson it's a bit too much to be training in a program, writing a program, and working full time. So next year, I plan on taking some time off to just focus on being a trainee. Especially because 30 is around the corner, and my best laid plans have not been executed as well as I'd like. So, Jan-June is going to be about getting my act together, and getting back to Peak condition!

That said, Iron was a great program and I will repeat it. I'm thinking Iron, Reach, and then Bells 2 back to kick off the first half of 2018! It might kick my ass, but it will be what I need to get into the shape I want.

It was a joy training with everyone! And I am having a blast with the Bells 2 Beta! It's very rewarding to write a program, and I do enjoy it even though it keeps me hopping!

I hope everyone has a great 2017 finale! I'll see ya'll in 2018!

Much love to all!

Final week!

Trying to salvage as much as I can at the end here.

It's gotta be said, I've fallen into a strange pattern of crushing a program at the beginning, but then fading towards the end. I really want to shake that. I guess this time a round I do have the added excuse of just being so freaking busy. No trying to make excuses, but I knew my schedule would be like this and I just didn't plan the best. There may have been a better time for me to conquer Iron! So January launch, here we go! I want to jump right back in and put all my focus on my training in the new year.

Great to see everybody else crushing it though! And I certainly think this was a great addition to Kenzai. The new year will be full of Iron, Bells, Reach, and hopefully Chisel to top it all off! Looking forward to it.

Shout out to all my Bellers who are doing the sometimes rough job of Beta testing Bells 2. I know it's been kicking your butt guys! I'm sorry! But all the feedback is wonderful, and I think it will shape up to be a worthy sequel of Bells 1! Just some tweaks are needed.

In the vein, to share with my Bellers, last weeks question was who is one of your best or most influential mentors? I would have to say by high school art teach Bill. Bill was an awesome dude. First of all, he made us call him Bill! haha. Secondly, I spent so much time withe guy over the course of 3 of my years in high school. His class room was always a haven for misfits and strays, and it was this awesome place where all these kids who might never be friends, got along, and really had a good time with each other as we created. Bill was super talented, loved teaching, and there were many times he said or did things that stuck with me for a long time. Not to mention I've never seen anyone ever have the ability to pull each persons individual talent to the surface. I can only imagine how hard it is to teach people something as subjective and personal as art in the first place! But to do it in a way that got to your own authentic creation, without making it his own? To teach you how to be better but unlock what YOU the student is after, not what the teacher sees? Man, I wouldn't be surprised if there's only been a couple hundred teachers in history that mastered that ability like Bill.

I've lost touch with Bill, but this post makes me want to send him an e-mail. He's since retired. While I think I took opportunities to let him know how much I valued his guidance, I think it would be awesome to let him know how frequently I still think about his class room, my time spent there, and how I can emulate his manner. And who knows, maybe I can still learn a thing or two from him! Actually, I'm sure I will.

Have a great final week of Iron everyone! And rock on Bellers!

Having a hard time keeping everything well balanced at the moment. Grams aren't perfect, but eating clean. Iron workouts have been a bit sparse this past week. I already know that I want to do this program again, and do an even better job, but I still want to finish right, so planning to rally for the finish.

Not an excuse, but working a full time job and writing a new program keeps you hopping! So there are definitely days where I truly feel like I don't have the energy to workout. I want to fix that though as when I do workout I generally feel like I do indeed have MORE energy, and greater focus. So Hopefully I can find a balance here at the end.

In the new year, I'm thinking I might do Iron again, right away, then Reach again , then Bells 2, then maybe my annual repeat of Run 10k. If I do that the end of Bells 2 should land right around when I turn 30, and hopefully that trio will be a potent way to get the results I want. I may not be where I wanted to be at the halfway point of this year, but I have made a lot of strides getting healthy internally, and addressing issues that I had been facing. So maybe the second half can be more about the physical changes I want to see.

For my Kettlebell 2 Beta group, this weeks challenge makes me think of a fresh memory! On our most recent vacation, when in Asheville, NC, I went up to this young guy sitting on the sidewalk with a typewriter that said "Poems on Demand." Long story short this guy, Phil Krell, has been paying his way around the country by writing personal poems for strangers that he meets. Miranda and I spoke to him for a bit and we had a nice little convo where we opened up about our lives to him. Something was so nice about his energy and demeanor, and it really had that potent feeling of sometimes it's really easy to be honest to a stranger. After the chat he wrote a poem, on a legit old school mechanical typewriter, recited it back to us, and then gave us the poem.

The poem was amazing. It was really good, flowed nicely, and it was personal, emotional, and touching. I seriously got choked up as he read it back to us. There's no way I ever would have been carrying enough cash to pay him what I think that whole experience was worth, but we gave him everything we had. It truly was so nice and powerful and really engaging, and I'll be remembering that brief intersection for the rest of my life. And now Miranda framed it in an awesome frame in our living room! So cool to have a tangible reminder as well.

Hope everyone is doing great! Keep on swinging and lifting it until the end of the year!


Time flies when you do a terrible job at blogging at uploading your photos!

I imagine it's kind of how doctor's are the worst patients! Haha. I have to hound people all the time to blog and upload photos, but I'm terrible at it myself. Go figure.

Things have been busy! Kettlebell 2 has one week in the books! Woo hoo! The Beta trainees are doing great, and I think we will have another fun chapter of Kettlebell to share with the rest of you in the new year.

Iron update: Doing well. Seeing some progress. Determined to dial it in. Weekly photo showcases both my triceps gains (yay!) and my badge of honor from front squats, bruises on my arms! haha

Health update: Doc visit today, and got some good news! Been struggling with some hormone imbalances (main feature: low testosterone), but finally seeing some great progress in that area. What a relief! It's been a long road to get there. Not finished, by any means, but for a long time we couldn't get the numbers to budge. I see a Functional Medicine doctor, so she's really great. Holistic, total body approach. Looking upstream for the causes of problems, rather than just treating the symptoms. So while it took some trial and error to find what works for me, I'm glad we finally made some progress. She and I both agreed that lifting a bunch of heavy crap is probably good for boosting my testosterone too! So thanks Iron!

For my Beta trainees: Our weekly assignment? Tell about one of the hardest times you laughed.

It's safe to say that almost weekly I have have one of those really good gut wrenching laughs with Miranda. Usually when we are either do a horrible imitation of a British accent while watching the Great British Bake Off, or just being silly and laughing about our experiences, a funny show, or just being silly. The cats think we are crazy!

But, for a specific story, one of the hardest times I ever laughed was just hanging out, playing Kings with a group of friends. Let's just say that it resulted with our borderline Narcoleptic friend (seriously, he goes into sleeping comas just randomly during the day) disappearing after the game. We find him sleeping in the basement. My wife and her friend (now his wife) try to wake him up and drag him back upstairs, only to have him fall asleep again at the bottom of the stairs. Like a STONE. Mind you, this is not passing out from alcohol, none of us were that far in the bag, he's just a freak. Seeing the two of them try to wake him up and move him was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I'm still laughing while I type this. To top it all off, our friend had been complaining about heart burn that day, but refusing to go to the doctor about it. Miranda worked for a GI doctor at the time and the two of them were yelling at him to wake up, and to "Go to the doctor because untreated heart burn can lead to cancer!"

I don't know. Like most of these stories you had to be there to laugh the same way I did. But it's totally a story we revisit almost every time we hang out together. So friggen funny.

Have a great week everyone!

Bonus: Picture of my weird cat

Vacation times and DOMS

So here's some of the highlights of our trip!

We had some great beer (Holy City, Burial, Wicked Weed) some good spirits (Dark Corner) and phenomenal food and cocktails (Husk, Sovereign Remedies, Nightbell).

Husk and Sovereign Remedies are both in my top 5 best places I've ever eaten. I love the revival that's happening in the south with food and drink. There's something to be said for restaurants that understand the basic concept that superb food starts with the highest quality ingredients you can find. And true southern cooking is a delight. It's veggie-centric, fresh, seasonal, and comforting, and so many of these farm/forest to table restaurants can give you such a great meal that leaves you happy, full, and delighted but still feeling light, fresh, and not bogged down by loads of salt, fat, sugar, and carbs. Great stuff.

In fact during our second day in Asheville Miranda said to me, so when are we moving here? So we shall see, it's definitely a town I could see myself enjoying immensely! Probably won't be anytime soon for a permanent move, but we will definitely make it a frequent place to go, as I think I left about a dozen places on the table I want to visit. Plus, I might get to drive Miranda's uncle's Porsches again! :-D

In the Iron front, I can't believe what a shoddy week or two of inconsistent lifting can do to make you feel behind! I haven't felt DOMs like this this week 2. But it feels good to get moving, and I really want to build some muscle mass over the coming months, so I think Iron will continue to be my focus through the winter.

In others news, Kettlebell 2 Beta groups launches Monday! While I still feel woefully under-prepared in some ways (I think I always will), I'm super excited to develop this next chapter. Writing Kettlebell 1 was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I'm sure Kettlebell 2 will be the same! And I think everyone who did Kettlebell 1 is going to really like how much 2 will expand their kettlebell horizons. We got 80+ new exercises for you!

Alright guys, hope all is well! Lift on!

I’m alive!

Hey gang!

Sorry to let you down on the blogging front. Everything is great! And I’ll be catching up on everyone’s blogs here shortly.

I’ll post a fun vacation blog here soon. Had a blast on vacation, made some good choices, made some bad ones, but over all feeling good and ready to get back in the groove this week.

One interesting thing I noticed is my body is changing differently with iron than usual. And not just in building muscle mass, that’s a given, but I feel like my love handles and gut are hanging on longer than the fat around my lower chest/upper abdomen. It looks a little funny to me, but it’s a good reminder that sometimes the in between stages of fitness can be as awkward as your pre-teen years haha. But I’m sure as I continue to build mass and lean out I’ll be happy with the final product.

Hope everyone is doing well. Keep on lifting compadres!

Photo of me and miranda with King Henry VIII who hated Hops. How could he?!?

Busy Week

Had a pretty crazy week. Just busy and felt a bit run down and lacking in motivation. I guess hitting a bit of a mini valley! Doesn't matter how many times you do a program, these ebbs and flows are always there with you.

But my sights are set on a solid week ahead. We leave for vacation in a week (Charleston, Greenville, and Asheville, NC), so the routine will be disrupted, and it's been a trip planned for a long time, with some special dinners (It's our 4th anniversary!) and visits to breweries in my top 10, so it's not going to be my best offering! So I'm determined to really have a solid week, and then hit it hard when I get back for the rest of the program.

Busy working on Kettlebell 2 as well. The plans are laid, workouts are created, and everything is taking shape. So I'm super excited to bring that to the table soon! Only major setback was a power outage that happened while I was making a week of workouts, and a good 1/2 of my work was lost for that week and I had to do it all over again! Boo! But it's been fun to get this going, and I think everyone is going to really dig the majorly expanded library of kettlebell exercises coming.

Keep on keeping on team! It's great knowing I have you at my back when I drag my sorry self to the gym at 5:30am to lift some Iron!

Rounding out month 1

Feeling good. Still feeling a lot of muscle soreness day to day as I try to push myself in every exercise. The weight I'm using is still creeping up, and I'm starting to feel a bit like I actually know what's going on

There's definitely some social awkwardness in the gym setting if you aren't used to it, and while I haven't really befriended the regulars yet I feel more comfortable. Yay!

Definitely see I got some muscle and strength gains, and I love that I have this tangible way of tracking progress through the weight of each lift.

Hope everyone is feeling great as we cruise into week 5!

Eating seasonally

This is my favorite time of year. If the days weren't getting shorter, man could it get any better?

One of the best things is diving into the produce of the season. So grateful we have so many local growers, makers, and crafters to have access to almost our whole diet locally. This is what our CSA has been the past couple weeks! (Don't worry we don't get the cheese) Plus there's pretty much every protein option you could image besides seafood, all ethically raised and butchered local, pastured, grass fed, etc. And now we can even add things like local honey, pasta, polenta, or dried beans. Gotta love it. I hope our food system keeps going in this direction, because it's awesome!

Day 17 - Changes

So here we are, not even 3 full weeks in, and I'm already feeling some changes. In fact, they are measurable!

I've been keeping detailed notes, for how many sets/reps I can complete for each exercises at a given weight, and I'm trying to really dial it in to that sweet spot of slowing down and struggling a bit on that final rep or two. So far so good, and in many cases I can look at what weight I did last week, and add 10 pounds for a barbell exercise, or 5 for a dumbbell one. Sweet!

I'm also taking some body measurements this time around. I haven't done that for the entire duration of a 90 day program for a while. And hearkening allllll the way back to my first go at PCP, I found it keeps me motivated. But opposed to ending PCP having shrunk in every measurement, I think on Iron I'll be able to also track muscle growth, in some areas (biceps, calves, possibly thighs). I measured on day 1 and 14 and already saw some shrinking around the middle, and growth for my biceps. Not much, but it's there, and with just two weeks work? I'll take it.

Hope everyone is enjoying this as much as I am! It's my first dedicated weights cycle, and I could get used to this I think.

GIF from Rick and Morty. Ward's question about extra terrestrials made me think it was quite fitting.

So I grabbed a gym membership at a little spot about a 1/2 mile from my house. It's not a special gym, in fact it's a tad hole in the wall-ish, but it has everything I need to get the job done in Iron. Plus it has 24/7 access!

I've been going early, about 530am, and the gym has been sparse at this time, which is awesome! Besides a couple regulars doing cardio, and a couple regulars doing weights, but mostly on the nautilus machines, I pretty much have the free weights to myself. Score.

The main things I've noticed so far is that while being there almost every day I am, I'm not seeing the best physical specimens. It just goes to show how much the guidance of a Kenzai program helps, especially the nutrition aspect as I'm guessing that's what's lacking when your a gym rat, but not in the best of shape.

The other things I've noticed is lacking of warming up with cardio before lifting or stretching. Almost everyone does neither of these things, at least not that I see. Also, the big dudes, with the guns that I don't necessarily want, but still am intimated by have terrible form. It does make you cringe a bit to see someone curling 50lb dumb bells, but arching their lower back and swinging them up every rep.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not being judgy here. I'm not satisfied with my own physical fitness and performance, that's why I'm doing the work just like everyone else. I'm also a total noob to lifting and have learned a lot from observing the other gym goers. But it makes me thankful I found Kenzai and I have the education from being a personal trainer as well. The structure of a program, the knowledge and research behind it, the details for each exercise, the diet plan, and having a real community backbone with all of you that have all that in common makes going to the gym a much more effective tool.

So, while I've never been a fan of the gym, I like being able to go and lift some heavy stuff. And when my inner, sensitive ego, worries about how I'm hardly benching anything, it's at least satisfied knowing I'm doing it with impeccable form, and a diet to back it all up.

New tools!

Been wanting to refresh the cutlery in our kitchen for awhile. After doing a lot of research, and then being able to capitalize on an awesome Amazon sale, started building out the knife block with some new, quality steel.

Got all the sharpenening stones I need too to put a proper edge on all my knives. Good, sharp tools make all the difference when you are doing batch prep! Maybe I'll blog about that the next time I have to sharpen everything.

Also, super surprised at how darn muscle sore I've been after these workouts. For not doing a lot of exercises, and for the workouts being pretty quick, it's really tearing me up. But that's the point right?! And I have to say it feels good to lift some heavy stuff.

Adventure Awaits!

Here we are, excited for the kick off of Iron!

I didn't stick to my goal of frequent blogging, literally the hardest habit I have to re-adopt. For some reason I have a mental block, so it's a goal of mine to do better with Iron. There's just a lot going on right now, and I think the blogging often takes a back seat due to time constraints, and feeling like I don't want to phone it in with wimpy, posts, but not having the emotional energy to really rap about what's going on in Nate-town!

So that said he's the TL;DR - Project fittest by 30 has gotten off to a slow, but pretty consistent start. I have been working out with the regularity I hoped but Iron will fix that. Diet has been good with the occasional indulgence, usually in the liquid sort. All in all a steady maintenance mode has been maintained, but I'm excited for Iron to be a hard core kick that I need to really start making progress and getting as fit as I want.

I haven't blogged about it much, but the past year and a half or so have been an in depth attempt at figuring out and resolving some health issues. So both the issues, and the methods of resolving said issues have muddied the waters of energy, motivation, and stress mitigation (and quite obviously not being in the shape I want to, and should be, in). I spent the last couple months really working on a routine to stay on top of the various things I have to do to treat the issues, and I'm starting to notice the positive effects. The good news is I've done so much blood work I know tons of cool stuff about my body now! I'll geek out on some of that in future posts.

With that said, I'm happy to be training with everyone! Looking forward to seeing how our bodies change vs. a standard Kenzai program lifting all this metal!

Be well friends. See you on the blogs!

GIF courtesy of Community! One of the best shows of all time, just saying. This will be my deadlift face,

Kettlebell in the bag! Planning the next stage. 

Not my best effort. I've been struggling these past couple programs to nail down every aspect of a training cycle. I don't know if I have too much going on, or what exactly is the problem, but I need to do some digging to find out!

It was fun to do this program though. I already came into this with a love of Kettlebell workouts (no way! Haha), and man sometimes I was cursing whoever made up these cycle workouts. ;)

But I definitely didn't come close to 100% despite my best intentions and efforts.

That said I started the Meditation skill course yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I think a practice of meditation is something I need to nail down.

I'm also taking this week to dig deep, really refocus and think about where I'm at in life, and in fitness, and to plan my course of action.

So the conclusion of Kettlebell comes with stepping out into week 1 of a year of dedicated, goal oriented training.

Week 1: Plotting the course. I'll be mapping, planning, and plotting. Meditating every day. And getting in some of the Kettlebell cycles I missed. Next week I'll have a new post up with my working road map, as daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.

It was great training with the whole group. Have an awesome rest of the summer and swing on!

Bonus picture of my cats, I didn't have a better photo to post haha.

Final Photo





Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body


Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Reach
Kenzai Reach

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Iron
Kenzai Iron

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2