Nate Belle Isle

Nate Belle Isle

Kenzai Kettlebell 2 | Day 20 (Member)
Trainer
Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Day 20
 
Program progress:

Again. Man have I just struggled with this the past few programs! I don't know if it's because I'm getting older so time is going faster, but it does not feel like 10 days since my last post!

I can definitely see a major improvement in my flexibility, I can't wait to do that final flexibility assessment. Heels touching during down dog, hands almost flat in forward fold, all great stuff!

And definitely much improved when it comes to balance, and isometric muscle power too. Holding these poses, getting grounded through the breath, and connecting with the body during the sun salutations have definitely created a net proprioceptive gain for this human. Great stuff gang.

One week left, time to crush it and get geared up for the next program!


Be with the Pain

When I did Kenzai Run 10k, I delved into a world I was not only unfamiliar with, but thought I HATED. I've never been a runner for the sake of running. Of course, I graduated that course unveiling all new personal limits, and with a strange appreciation and joy for running I never thought I would have.

When doing that program I came up with (probably stole) the motto, "The pain is a lie." It helped me keep running when I wanted to give up, knowing that my body was merely lying to me to get me to stop. I had everything in the tank I needed to complete those runs, I just had to push past those boundaries.

With Reach (a program that is expounding on my already developed love for yoga and stretching), I'm definitely experiencing pain. These PNF stretches and the long evening stretches, are taking the practice to a whole new level! Phew! I'm definitely no yogi, but I felt pretty confident in my ability to do this program, but I found myself needing to return to "the pain is a lie" mantra to stick with those longer sessions.

However, something doesn't quite sit right with me with that mantra, in this program. So the other day the following mantra came into my head, and it felt like a much better fit:

BE WITH THE PAIN

The pain might be a lie, but I feel like the whole point of this practice is to learn how to acknowledge the pain, follow the pain, and BE with the pain.

There's probably a life lesson buried in there too. Maybe I can wait for Kenzai Mind to delve deep into that one. ;)

Reach on fellow Eagles!


Traveling!
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Traveling this weekend to visit some friends in Indianapolis! While I must confess switching over to the "relaxed" diet for the weekend I can boast some group Reach sessions, and a good bit of extra walking in this 70 degree sun!

Also, one of the side benefits to Reach I think I experienced was a much more comfortable car ride. 9 hours driving and I felt pretty lose, relaxed, and calm. Great stuff!

I'll post more when I'm home and catch up on my teammates blogs. Reach on people!!

#wealwaysmimicstatues #nailedit #noshameitwasinpublic


Reach Progress!
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So this weekend was a but off course as Miranda posted, but all in all I think we struck a good work/life balance so to speak! Some drinks were had, some grams were out of place, but it was a mindful decision to celebrate and would've gone way worse if I wasn't in a program!

Thoughts on Reach so far:

I love it! I definitely am experience whole new things, especially with the long poses. This past year I explored yoga more than in years past, but with 20-50 minute vinyasa videos I followed along with. So a lot of breath work, and moving form pose to pose, but not a lot of long holds in a static pose. I really think it's working though and my weekly picture for this week (forth coming!) shows a bit of improvement.

I do have to say, that coming into the program the wide angle forward bend is what I wanted to improve them most, but it's also the pose I find the most frustrating! Isn't that the way it goes? I think it's that if I was already more flexible I would feel I could sit there and relax into the pose, but right now for me I have to keep fighting to have proper form, and maintain the stretch. A pillow under the bum has helped, but it's still a rough one!

But usually the path you find resistance down is the one you should travel, so I will forge on!

Ordered some yoga straps and blocks too, excited for those to come in the mail!

For the weekly questions, I have 2 I'm supposed to answer! So behind. Again, I aim to be better about the blogging, but honestly it's the last thing I want to do some nights. So I'm going to answer the questions below, and then I'll be caught up and try to do some smaller blogs more frequently!

1. What feels closed off?

This is a tough one. Not only do I think I have to sit with this one a little more to really identify a proper answer, all of the things I've thought of don't necessarily seem to really fit what's being asked.

The best I came up with is that I think my ability to self love and forgive is closed off. I'm somebody who has a really hard time disappointing others (well really FEELING like I disappointed others, important distinction), so I can be very hard on myself. It doesn't manifest in any sort of "type A," rigorous self flogging behavior haha, I'm a pretty laid back guy, but I think I often let my assumptions of what other people think and feel about me, dictate some of my actions. This comes from my own internal standards and demands, that I project on to other people, while in reality when I feel I let someone down, I probably didn't!

And if we want to get REAL therapy about the whole situation, this behavior comes from my childhood, it's something that's been kind of imprinted on me for my whole life. I think this kind of thought/behavior pattern closes off my ability to forgive myself, and really treat myself the way I try to treat other people.

I gotta say trying to type this stuff out seems to somehow make it make LESS sense! haha. I talked a bit about this in my KB3 grad post too, so that's all I got. I've made it a goal of mine to work on this for this year.

2. Trends?

I've seen a trend of attention splitting. I think I've slowly grown less able to focus my attention. I'll be cooking dinner, commenting on blogs, talking to my wife, and watching a show in the background. Or I'll be watching a show while browsing my phone or working out. That kind of thing. I catch myself doing it, and I don't like it. I want that to change and I want to be mindful of focusing my attention on one thing at a time.

For a positive trend however I want to say I'm doing better with listening to my body, and actually being mindful of my choices throughout the day. I've felt pretty present and in training mode for Reach, and while it hasn't been perfect it's definitely a step up from the funk I was in for KB3. So that's good! I think I've also been a bit better about breaking down my bigger goals into smaller steps, and in this way make more progress towards them.

Like we always say around here, progress, not perfection!

Alright guys, happy REACHING!!!


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I just want to say I'm am totally digging Reach. From the morning to the evening exercises, it's a well constructed program and a blast to do!

My biggest takeaway so far is how much of a workout it can be to hold a pose for 5-10 minutes. While I'm fairly flexible, and have some experience with yoga and stretching, I've never done these long form static postures and holy crap, I feel it. Great stuff!

For the first weekly question, I'll answer it here, and do another blog this week for the second.

What beliefs and philosophies do you base your life choices on?

I think a lot of us would say the same things, and everyone else's answer I've read I thought were great and resonated with me! Instead of waxing poetic and going on and on, I think I'll just focus on one thing.

The value of bourbon, scotch, and other whiskeys.

I kid. Really it's one simple thing:

Be curious.

I think striving to be a curious person can help you focus your mind in a way that is geared towards growth. In a sense, curiosity is a soil that all sorts of good qualities grow in.

A curious mind in interested in others. A curious mind is always looking for answers and information. A curious mind find novelty and wonder in everything. A curious mind doesn't get bored. And a curious mind always seeks to understand more about itself.

Now as much as I believe what I just said, it's still a practice to cultivate. Just like our lessons about returning the breath to get the most out of our stretches, you must exercise mindfulness to return to a place of curiosity. That's something I would like to do more of, and I think that it goes hand in hand with this program. So for that, I am excited!

Here's to an awesome week 3 guys! 1/4 of the way done!


Oh Yeah! Reach Time!
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So excited to be in Reach!

Seems like such a great program and it's taps into the core knowledge base that makes up so much of the Kenzai expertise! It's going to be great to do this program with everyone in my group, and along side my lovely wife Miranda! We are getting back into the groove, and are totally ready to rock a major Kenzai year this year.

Reach feels like a great way to kick it off! Some introspection, and quite moments every day will be really nice, and different from my normal workout routine. Plus, while I've gotten more flexible this past year, I really want to have more mobility than I do.

I do plan on adding in some basic kettlebell stuff, along with the warm-up. And I don't want to miss a single day of exercises! Even getting sick won't be an excuse that should work, I'm sure I can still stretch right?!

Anyway, it's great to see the site hopping with so much activity. Special shout out to any of my Vallum groups that are rocking KB1! You guys are doing great!

Here we go!

Bonus picture: My cat topper hanging out while I do my Kenzai work. It's his new favorite perch.


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The final post! 
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OK so I'm not really sure to take this one.

I've discussed at length about how this program tanked for me, and the very valuable lessons I learned from it. So I don't feel a need to re-hash how the program went, or didn't go haha. But I do think it's important to me to reflect a bit here on this experience.

It may be totally hypocritical to state the following: I'm not one to vent and talk too much about external stresses in my life here on the Kenzai blogs. It's not that I don't think it's the forum (I have respect for people who can be so open) and it's not that I don't think I would get support (I know I would!). But short of something like a cold, or injury blowing up my game I just have a hard time gushing about my life. Now that's the hypocritical part, or at least the part of me that resists the notion of posting such things to a public forum. See, I think the reasons is because I like to shy away from being the center of attention, so even saying "I don't like to talk about my stresses or issues whatever they may be because they draw attention to me," I know will draw attention to me! It's a weird cognitive dissonance and I"m doing my best to explain it.

Listen. Nothing is that bad, I'm not dying of cancer, my house isn't getting foreclosed on, my wife isn't ill. But these 90 days were a tad of a perfect storm of left hooks and upper cuts that were kind of driven to keep my off my game. In fact, this whole year has had it's challenges to say the least!

Since I don't like drawing attention to those things, or dwelling on them, I think I convince myself that I don't have a good reason for not doing a good job on the program, and I get pretty down and upset about it. That's something I totally need to work on. Especially knowing that without being in the program, I'm sure things would've gone a lot worse!

So besides keeping my diet tight during the off season before my next program, and getting in a good amount of kettlebell sessions, I want to work on myself as well. As in the "self" not just my body.

Self forgiveness is not something that comes easy to me, I hold myself to high standards. And I think sometimes thankfulness falls out of my grasp.

So to close out this blog, training season, and year I'm going to list some things that I am both thankful for, and happy about!

- My wife Miranda! Through everything she's a partner and a balance. We've been through a lot and we make a good team.
- My family. When people accept you for who you are, support you, and unconditionally love you, it's an amazing feeling. Like a safety net. That's what defines the people I consider my family, I don't care what sperm and egg brought you into this dimension, haha.
- My health. I have some things I need to improve, but heck, even being able to walk, poop, pee, see, hear, taste, smell. On my worst day I have it better than many in this world.
- Kenzai. My wellness would be nowhere near as good without the training programs I found from PCP, and then Kenzai. Special shout out to the architect! And of course to my fellow staff mates, and trainees. This support system is incredible
- I experienced pride in myself this year for building Kenzai Kettlebell. I didn't do it alone, but sweat and tears went into that project (and many hours). And it was done I felt good about it. As someone who has a hard time ever calling one of his paintings "finished" or "good," it was awesome feeling to have and empowered me to have more confidence in myself. Especially my writing abilities.
- My cats. Seriously. Kittens are awesome therapy.

Of course there are so many more. But as I move forward I want to leave this wreck of a KB3 behind me. Not because I can't bear to look at my failure. Not because I'm embarrassed I didn't do a good job. But because things just got crazy, and man that happens sometimes. It's not a big deal! I'll punch KB3 in the face the next time we meet. Or I won't, and that's OK too.

Each day, I will meet with my best, for that day.

See you in 2017 everyone! It's Reach for me in January, and blog silence until then. Time for a much needed break.

Bye!!! :)

GIF courtesy of Parks and Recreation featuring America's Sweetheart, Chris Pratt.


Home Stretch!

Not too long of a post, I've just been delinquent (again!) and wanted to get a blog up to appease illustrious Head Trainer Ward and the Autobot!

The last 2 weeks I've been able to refocus on the diet, not 100% on the exercise. I've been thinking long and hard about the struggle I've had this time to have anywhere close to an acceptable training program, and I think I've identified some of the problem areas and am going to continue to course correct to hit 2017 running, and rock out an awesome year of training!

It also takes some effort to not be swallowed by the guilt that comes from a poor training program (both internally, and for the terrible example I set for my trainees!). So remaining positive, and understanding the factors that led to my KB3 demise has been crucial. A lot of outside factors were outside of my control, and indeed, as I've told many others, there is a time and place for a dedicated training program. Sometimes it just not the right time.

Alright fellow Cheetahs and Kenzaites! I'll see you in a few days with a grad post! Press on!


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So the last week has been about getting back on track, and I'm making it there. I still cannot call this KB3 program a success, by any means, but it's still be fun! And I'm glad I did it.

However, some MAJOR leaning out is in my future, and I'm actually looking forward to the month of downtime that will come at the close of this round of programs. Time to have more time on my hands, and be able to focus a little more.

OK, now for the weekly questions I've neglected! Spoiler, it's most of them. Lightening round!

What activity makes you lose track of time? Anything where I'm working with my hands, but mostly drawing, painting, crafts, cooking. Also, video games!

What do you consistently put off, but know is important? House maintenance. I'm the WORST homeowner. Broken doorknob? Better wait 2 years to fix it, in spite of the fact it's in my to-do list the entire time. Cleaning? Totally on it. Repairs? I'm a broken human.

Have you ever experienced a breakthrough moment when you gained sudden clarity? Yes tons of them. Do I remember most of them? No, because I forget about 90% of my life, but I hold on to pointless facts like a pitbull haha. One I can remember is about my wife. I was never a "kid" person, couldn't ever see myself having them. Cool uncle? Yeah! Father? :/ I knew that I really loved Miranda, and could see myself with her forever, and I large part of that was realizing that she made me want to have kids. And not just in the "rile your pheromones" way, but in a heavy, real way. I not only could accept being a dad, but I wanted to, and I knew we could do a good job of it together.

I thought I said lightening round? Let's go faster!

What sacrifice is the most painful when you're training? Beer.

What's a saying or motto that you live your life by? There could be a lot. Funny, serious, and whacky. But to encapsulate both I have to turn to stealing a quote from my man, Louis C.K. "It's not your life, it's life. Life is bigger than you. Life is not something you possess, it's something that you take part in, and you witness." And second place? "Life is too short to be an asshole."

What food or drink is your Kryptonite? Beer. The second time. Well alcohol I guess. And tasty pastries.

What's something you can do now that you couldn't do five years ago? Be a personal trainer! haha. Make beer and wine. Drive an electric car! :)

Where have you always wanted to go? The Netherlands. It's really hard to choose one though, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Belgium, all top the list as well.

That's it! Thanks for reading guys. See you around!


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Hey guys, the update I long since promised is finally here.

I learned a really important lesson with this training run: There is such a thing as a wrong time for a program.

I went into KB3 knowing I had all sorts of special events, travel, responsibilities, business, general craziness, but I just underestimated how much pressure that would really add up to. Ultimately I've been pretty hit or miss with the diet and exercises for the past 3 weeks. I've been able to reign it in and regain some control, but I still have to dial it back in to come anywhere close to where I want to be.

Ultimately I think that I should've saved KB3 for January, and rocked out a less intensive program this fall like Reach, or Kettlebell. But I think I had veteran trainee/trainer hubris and thought "Eh, I can do it!"

I won't get into all of the nitty gritty of what I've done wrong, or what I've manage to get right, I'm just going to leave it at this:

This run of KB3 has been my worst training cycle, but if I wasn't enrolled in the program things would've gone EVEN WORSE. So, I'm sticking with it, going to finish as strong as I can, and be thankful that I've at least done enough to maintain.

The plan moving forward is this:

Finish KB3 --> Do self-guided Kettlebell workout to close out the year --> Reach --> Kettlebell --> Repeat KB3

This chain of events will bring be to just about my 29th birthday, giving me one more year to get into Peak Condition by 30.

Along with this general goal will come some metrics I will use to evaluate my progress. And I'll blog some more on that to come. Basically it will be various body composition, strength, and performance goals in various applications.

Anyway gang, I would be lying if I said that I didn't carry some shame, guilt, and anger for doing such a crap job at this training cycle (I've also never gotten so many missed blog warnings before!). But I'm putting it behind me, and moving forward doing the best that I can.

I also wanted to say one more thing, in light of the recent political events here in the states (the blogs have been abuzz!). Kenzai is unique in the way it gives us a wider, diverse global web of connections with people of all different backgrounds. It's a safe place where people offer support, kindness, encouragement, and compassion as we share our journeys to become our best selves. So, no matter what political, or social environment you may find yourself in, we can all take heart in knowing that while we strive to make ourselves better people, and help others do the same, we are making the world a better place on a level that politics can never touch.

Much love to all, and happy final third of the program to my fellow Cheetahs!


Cranking Away
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Still here everyone! Sorry for being MIA on the blog and photo front. Busy, busy, blah blah, yadda yadda.

Bigger post incoming about all of the ups and downs of training for the last 2 weeks. The weekly question, where I'm at, the perils that travel and extra indulgences pose on a successful round of training, choosing the right time for a program, what I'm going to do to correct it, and my next steps, all to come! Not whining, I promise, but an honest appraisal of some things I've done wrong, some right, and some that I could've done better. Stay tuned. It'll probably be a long one, so advanced warning. I'll be sure to TL;DR it.

I think that's actually one of the reasons I wish I blog more often. I don't like word vomiting out a novel, but I feel like I want to air everything out, so maybe moving forward I can keep myself to more frequent, shorter posts.

Later Cheetahs!


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Hey guys! Let's go over my situation!

So again, not sticking to my once a week blog qouta. Shame. Shame. SHAME!!!

In other news, I popped up the answer to my own mini-challenge for my fellow Cheetahs. A 5 minute, 12 second wall sit! I'm pretty proud of it. It might not be the longest wall sit in history, but it's mine, and it's a new PR. How about the rest of you Cheetahs??!! Time to GET SITTING SON.

Also, hit a bit of a mini-valley round these parts. Having a hard time staying motivated, but I'm still doing the work. So that's good. I guess I can drive my meat suit with ruthless efficiency, even when it protests. The good news is I see some light at the end of the tunnel.

So I'm also now officially a crazy cat person. Can you blame me? Tulsi and Topper are just TOO cute.

Finally, I'm still working in kettlebell and mace action into my daily workouts. It's leaving me a fair bit more sore than just body weight and resistance bands, even though sometimes I have to drop the reps a little. While my extra indulgences have interfered with my leaning out, I'm definitely building muscle. Miranda and I are heading out of town for a nice anniversary weekend to Philly, (which is gonna be awesome! Food, Drink, Liberty Bell, History, and The Head and the Heart!) but after that the schedule is clear for some solid, indulgence free training. So I guess you could say for the first half I was bulking up, and now it will be time to lean out!

Interesting fact, I'm doing 100 kettlebell swings before every workout (days 1-6). I just upped it to 35 pounds as well. At the end of this week I'll have done about 3,000 swings, totaling about 81,000 pounds. or roughly 6 African elephants worth of kettlebells. Crazy right?!

Cheers Cheetahs! And special shout out to Ward and Belinda, it was great connecting for a couple hours over the weekend.

Peace!


Weekly(ish) blog
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I said I was gonna blog once a week.

11 days later . . .

Ahem. Anyway . . . Glad to see my Cheetahbros/gals rocking it out and doing so awesome. KB3 is serious! And I think everyone is already showing gains.

I wanted to mix up my weekly photo because I think I can finally seem some progress from mixing in the kettlebells. Forearms, triceps, and traps seem to be bigger, so I know I'm building some muscle underneath my layer of blubber! So while my stomach still lingers on, I feel good that some changes are taking shape.

Navigated a couple of my other planned, but unauthorized, indulgences. One was a night out at my favorite restaurant, and for this occasion, aptly named "The Revelry." We took our best friends out for a celebratory farewell dinner. While we will be seeing them again, the soon are moving about a 10 hour drive away. So we had to go out with style! (Also, Ward knows all about the Revelry, so be jelly bro!)

Got a tad behind this week as I had a couple crazy days. I'm intent on checking all 90 boxes this program, but sadly this will involve doing what we advise all our trainees not to do, doubling up. I will be doing that on my "rest days" though as I know my limits and a 5k + a full body integration day ain't too bad.

Gearing up for my week 5 shout for the Cheetahs, and not sure what it should entail, but I do have an idea for a small challenge for the group?

Any requests for my shout?

Alright guys, see you around! Keep rocking and rolling and being the awesome peeps you are.


Juggling Balls. And Bells
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Hey there fellow Cheetahs!

Got a lot of balls in the air right now, but the goal is one blog a week and I've been OK at that. Lagging a day or two behind my weekly photo though. Will get that up tonight.

Everything is going pretty good. Got my first 5k in the bag (for those that didn't see, I'm trying to run 10, 5 k's during this program to see how I improve. Welcoming other entrants! Ward and Sharm so far are in!). It wasn't too shabby for not doing much running in, oh, about 6 months.

I'm continuing to sub in some kettlebells for the resistance band work. Tossed a 12kg in each hand for the lunges, did the gecko push-ups with the bells as the push-up bars, stuff like that. I'm also trying to get in 100 swings a day. Time to pump those traps and get a rocking posterior chain!

All-in-all I could be dialing in the diet a bit more, and I need to get into a better workout routine. It's been mostly evening workouts, and motivation is hard to find some days and I find myself rushing.

What would I change? My gut! I don't know if it's genetics or what, but even at 132 pounds at the end of PCP I still didn't have a full six pack. By far the majority of my blubbah goes there. Hopefully this hardcore KB3 session will make meaningful inroads into that fat again.

This also folds into my fit by 30 plan. KB3 is really the first step, as well is having a regular, yet moderate, running routine. I want to have decent muscle mass and be pretty trim, so as far as I'm concerned day 90 is going to be my new foundation, not my "peak" condition.

That wraps it up for me, for now guys! Thanks for reading and happy training.


Week 1 Thoughts!
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Feels good to be back in the saddle and fired up. A training program does wonders for the mind, body, and spirit! Made me think a bit of Chris Trager. Credit goes to Parks and Recreation for this gif.

Had my first of planned indulgences, and this one came during week one so honestly it doesn't come with a lot of reservation, it's "technically" in the rules! haha. My family has an annual clambake so I couldn't pass up the chowder, clams, beer, brisket, and other goodies. I was feeling it the next though . . .

For my 90/90 challenge I had to do a bit of juggling. One of my days got all haywire so I doubled up yesterday to compensate for a missed workout. I know, trainer hubris, but it wasn't too bad at this stage and I don't wan't to see a single unchecked box on day 90.

I really like the balance elements, and I hope there is more of that down the line! I know Reach might delve a bit more into that realm, but I wouldn't mind if KB3 keeps going down the agility/balance path with this full body work. Cool stuff!

I'm also subbing out some kettlebell work for the resistance bands. Nothing too scientific, but if I'm feeling it, I'm doing it.

I also have another goal, and it's a challenge I pose to my fellow Cheetahs! I want to run 10, 5k's during the program. I want to shoot for one a week, on cross training day, but I know I might want to do some other cross-training too, so at least 10. Anyone else game? I'm just really curious how my time would improve week to week and want to see it in real data, over the course of this program.

Finally, a shout out to KB1 groups Hydrus, Vulpecula, and Serpens!! You guys had an awesome week 1 and we are going strong into week 2. Keep at it dudes and dudettes! Also a shout out to our Iron Mountain gang (Clan Amarok) who are running the first official Kettlebell group. Swing on buddies!

Oh! Almost forgot. Some of the best advice I ever received (read, or heard, but I don't remember where). "Everything in life is a lesson." Good times, bad times, boring times, stressful times, all of it. Because of this I can sometimes remember to slow down, and not miss the value that hides in all of my human experience.

Sprint on fellow Cheetahs and Kenzites!


Final Photo

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Current

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Completed

Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Reboot
Reboot

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