Nate Belle Isle

Nate Belle Isle

Kenzai Kettlebell 2 | Day 21 (Member)
Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Day 21
Program progress:

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


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.

I hit what I'm pretty sure is a new PR for 1 minute of timed speed rope:


Pretty pumped. About to tackle today's workout, (9pm! gah!) let's see if I can beat it.

In all fairness, I can honestly say this number tapers off significantly with each set of speed rope, and each cycle. Probably by a lot, and I don't count after the first cycle. hahah

Not the best showing

I've realized that my fatal flaw these past couple weeks was planning. I had a bit of a crazy work schedule, and some other events, and didn't do my best handling and juggling everything.

Then, I got a weird stomach bug that had me calling out sick to work and sidelined my workouts.

Honestly I'm a bit bummed at how this program went. I had every intention of having a really on point training cycle, after all, I need it!

So I'll be repeating Kettlebell again after this graduation, and in the three weeks in between I'll do a skills course!

Plus, I now have a little less than a year until I turn 30. Which means I have to get my butt in gear, and really keep a tight ship if I want to realize my "Fittest by 30" goals.

So on that note I begin the first phase of that journey, "Plotting the Course." My grad post will get into more details, and I'm going to lay out my plan, and the tools I am going to use moving forward to stay on track.

So while my first run of Kettlebell as a trainee wasn't a 100%, this year will be my healthiest year yet. Who's with me?

Side note: I've had TWO more double yolks! I guess twins run in the chickens on this farm haha!

Photo: A beautiful monarch at Starbucks that I was able to snap a decent picture of as I went in to get my Kenzai classic, a short latte!


OK, so I've cracked THOUSANDS of eggs in my time. Most in recent history from local farms. I have never had a double yolk until today! I was unreasonably excited.

Everything is going well. Had a stressful couple weeks, but am always reminded that healthy choices help to mitigate stress, and gives you a deep well of energy and calm to draw on.

Was able to visit with our best friends who came to town, Jason and Cassie! Did not have a very compliant day, but we only see each other a couple times a year now, so no regrets.

Here on out I'm doubling down (heh, the yolks) on keeping things tight on both the diet and workout front. I have a bit of motivation by seeing some growth in my traps (see weekly photo). I definitely need to rock this rest of the program if I want to be the fittest I've ever been, by 30. The midsection needs a lot of work, haha.

Loving the kettlebell workouts however. Cycles are my jam. Thinking of repeating Kettlebell after graduation before hopping into Iron once it's on the table!

Hope everyone else is doing well! I'll be here swinging with you.

Rocking into week 3!

So it's the time of year for fresh from the farm strawberries! My favorite.

We tried out a new CSA this spring, and really liked it! We have the option to get everything from local organic or IPM grown fruits and veggies, to free range eggs, grass fed yogurt, local bread, and all manner of free range and grass fed protein (duck, chicken, pork, beef), and locally roasted and ethically sourced coffee. It's so cool to get nearly everything you need grocery wise from local, healthy, fresh, responsible sources. We are avoiding the cheese option, for now. ;)

Here's the fruits, veggies, yogurt, and eggs we got this week. Strawberries, Swiss chard, kale, field greens, spinach, green garlic, and scallions! We split the fruit and veggies with Miranda's family, so this is just our half. On top of all the other benefits, not bad for 20 bucks!

Hope everyone is having a great week 3!

Shout out to my Barite trainees, you guys are doing great! Not every group is as engaged, energetic, and as social as you guys and that's really going to help you get through the next ~65 days! Almost a third of the way there, keep going!

Final Photo



Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2


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