Stephen H.

Stephen H.

Kenzai Member
Punching the ticket...

Came down with some lurgy yesterday - sore throat and quite high fever. Post-workout. So today is a duvet day and that includes Beach Blast! Keeping up with lessons and diet though.


Hi everyone, I've decided to do Reach for a number of reasons.

Simple first, I haven't done it before and I'm always keen to try a new Kenzai course (all about the badges!)
It seems like a great way to maintain a strict diet without strenuous exercise. This is perfect for me because I'm training for a triathlon off the back of KB3 and I want to make sure I maintain a low body fat.
Because I'm training, I need to stretch! Boy, do I need to stretch!
Finally despite my inflexibility of body, I'm flexible of mind and want to see what Reach has to offer on the mental side. I've always been interested in mindfulness but have never got into a routine in that area.
My only concern is the time allocated. I hope I can fit the stretching in properly in between the training and the rest of a busy life - I guess I just have to make the time!
I haven't really done the flexibility assessment yet. I got to the gym on Monday (a Pure in HK), the place was packed and I had no one to help to take photos. Helpfully one of the trainers suggested I book a session with one of the "stretching trainers". Nice try, mate. Will do again at the weekend with Beverley my wife as the photographer - I'll be running plenty with her as she started Run 10K the same day.
Final thought for now - some of the morning stretches are very Tai Chi, aren't they? I guess the elderly Chinese know something about this stuff...


Progress report
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Despite a few slips, I'm happy with progress so far. Got on the scales and recorded my lowest weight of 2017 - lower than the end of the Kettlebells program and dropping about 5lbs to date. Checked my Week 5 photo back against the same day in 2012 (when I was on the same day in the original PCP - below) - about the same stage, although I've a lot less flab to lose this time around.


(KB) 1,2,3... GO!

Okay. The photo's up, 2 days of exercises down, starting to clean up the diet in the middle of HK's never-ending Bank Holiday. The start of this KB a bit special for a couple of reasons.
On Day 7, I have the small matter of a Ironman 70.3 race in Busselton, Western Australia. I've raced off the back of a Kenzai course before but never done one at the start, so I'm interested to see how I cope in Week 2 when I'd usually be kicking back and "rewarding" myself.
Second, it's exactly 5 years to the day since I started this Kenzai journey with PCP/KB1, so I'll be closely re-reading those experiences, making sure I'm keeping pace and noting any differences.
As the last step on the KB journey I'm resolved to make this the best yet.


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Was patting myself on the back during the week. Despite late nights at work the diet clicked in pretty easily and all workouts done.
Friday night though saw the Metallica juggernaut roll into HK for the first time ever and this 42 year old headbanger hitched a ride. Big night out which for me did not end until 430am. Also had birthday drinks with a friend the next evening which saw more amber nectar and staying out late.
Thankfully have avoided the junk food hangover binge cravings, coached Mini Rugby this morning and now taking the kids for a hike.
I guess the best thing I can say about this is that it was a bit special to finally see that band take the stage in Honkers. I'd been looking forward to it for months and after the metal-related banter on the blogs all weekthe timing of the gig seemed appropriate. It also helps me name my bell. It Tolls For Thee! Meet "Cliff".
Time to get serious...


More travel

I was away in Singapore all week, this time with work. Really enjoyed the cycle workouts and their additional cardio intensity. Diet was "okay" but I was eating on the run and the dinner portions were too big - especially one night's steak and mashed potato at Morton's. And a Morton's steak always needs red wine...
Still managed to lose a little bit of weight and body fat and definitely looking more toned.
It's been a great program.
I'm just about to do my final workout and then take my final photo. Well done everyone!


On a family holiday in Sentosa this week. Diet wise, this has advantages and disadvantages. At least I'm off the egg white dinners this week.

Nearly every meal we have had is in the hotel buffet. This makes access to the right things easy but makes portion control harder, at least for me in the protein department. It's been easier to make sure half the plate is veggies but have tended to incrementally add protein - a piece of chicken tikka here, sashimi there on top of a pre-selected protein choice. Not the greatest sin in the book and I have avoided all the big pitfalls (desserts, booze) but the daily lessons this week are hitting home on trying to achieve perfection on the grams!

Indulgence was "date night" at an Italian restaurant. Food and portions were pretty on point (stuck to fish) but I had a dessert, some prosecco and some white wine. I enjoyed it all and didn't feel like I'd overeaten but definitely would have hit the 800 calorie target.


... Day 6 never really happened as I flew out at 130am Saturday morning and landed in HK at 430am Sunday.

Day 4 started well but got seriously derailed in the evening as I met some old university friends and we quickly regressed into bad habits!

Started Day 5 with a hangover but still managed to do the workout and eat the usual relatively healthy breakfast. Lunch was the planned indulgence with another old friend. Martinis, oysters, NY sirloin and some nice wine. Suffice to say I didn't eat again until somewhere over the Arctic circle.

A great trip but glad to get back to basics in coming days...


So far so good with KB2. Having my wife back in HK has really helped on the diet front as she's also keen to get back on the straight and narrow after three weeks' holiday in England. She's also done KB and Reboot and she knows the score, so we've organised a 2-week rotating menu, which should see us through to the end - Lunch and Dinner for her, just Lunch for me when the egg whites come!
Cravings have been well managed - to be honest I haven't really had many and I've promised myself that when I'm at home/in the office I will be 100% in control, as there will be inevitable slips during business travel. The only diet challenge is trying to consume >600g of fruit daily. I'm not a big fruit fan normally and have usually missed one snack per day this week (usually in the evening), just because I'm not hungry.
Exercises have been improving every day as I recover from the bike injuries. The Kenzai app has been a helpful tool in managing my weaknesses - disciplined rest times, completing all exercises (including ones I don't like) and stretching. The one improvement I would suggest is to be able to keep the jump rope timer going when the device screen goes to sleep.
Finally I swapped Day 13 and 14 so that I could have my free cardio day on a Saturday to go out on the bike with the usual chain gang - I was out for 3 hours. Interested to hear from Thomas whether this has any impact on the training or diet. I managed the diet pretty well throughout the rest of the day and got some good sleep afterwards.


A trip to the oesteopath

I came off my bike 10 days ago - the result was a load of horrid road rash and a sprained AC (the bit that joins your collar bone to your shoulder blade). It could have been a lot worse - my tyre got stuck in an expansion gap when I was going downhill at 50km/h - but I haven't been able to do all of the exercises each day so far because of the injuries.

Luckily I know a friendly oesteopath who specialises in cycle injuries. Yesterday, with a massage and a few unnerving clicks of my neck, I'm feeling a lot better. Got a good night's sleep for the first time since and managed today's full set of exercises.

So far, this week's diet has been 100% on point. I haven't struggled with any specific cravings except for some minor longing glances at other people's bottles of beer on the 8pm ferry home. That said, at this stage it's easy to rationalise away: I've had three weeks living on my own in HK and have had a very indulgent time with the other stay at home dads - plenty of trips to the pub and eating out. Family gets back today so KB2 coincides with a "back to school" attitude for me.

This annual term time migration does present challenges, however. As Cris said, all of a sudden there are lots of social gatherings and reunions. I'm sure I can work my way through this carefully. A bigger risk on the horizon is a week in NYC in two weeks' time. Airline food, jet lag, lunches, dinners and drinks, more airline food and more jet lag. Better get mentally prepared in advance.


...but also hard!

The "easy" part was the exercise. While I couldn't complete everything due to recovery from the bike crash two days before I started, I breezed through the jump rope and leg exercises and used Patrick's FatpocaIyse as additional inspiration. I enjoyed getting back into the Kenzai vibe and went through some old blogs of mine and friends. This gave me the inspiration to get back to where I was four years ago, or even push beyond that.

The "hard" bit? While during the week I cleared the cupboards and fridge of "unclean" items, I had quite a "social" weekend, catching up with friends I rarely get to see. I had planned it this way but yesterday saw a "free flow" brunch move inexorably into afternoon drinks and an unhealthy evening meal.

The line has now been drawn and today was 100% compliant on diet and exercise.


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KR2 Complete - in a deluge! 

Apologies for the delay in posting. I did my 21km run on Sunday. It was scheduled to start at 2pm but that coincided with a serious downpour in Hong Kong. After waiting 15 minutes the rain had subsided (slightly) so I started out in the kind of wet weather only HK can offer. That was important training - I just told myself that on the day of the race (Cairns on 12 June), it may well be like this. I've raced in the rain before, I can do this.
I completed the run just before 420pm so did it it in just over 2 hours. I was happy enough with this. I felt strong the whole way round, at least in the core and in terms of form, if not speed. I couldn't push it too hard as - contrary to KR2 advice - I had kept to my overall tri training program and done a 3 hour ride and a 1 hour run off the bike the day before. Running a distance on tired legs was actually the effect I was tring to achieve.
What are my key takeaways on KR2? I thought it was a great course and - as I progressed - it helped me focus more and more on the diet aspect of training. As I wrote a few days back, I was aiming for a "perfect" final week and I achieved that.
This week I'm on business travel in Australia and have been dialling back the exercise and letting a bit looser n the diet (just off for a steak!) but I'm super motivated to nail it down from next week onwards again. In that sense something has clicked.
My only regret is that I did this great course in tandem with my tri training and I have not given the running the full attention it deserved - unlike KR1 when I just focused on that single sport for 6 weeks. In future I won't combine tri training with a Kenzai course. It's one or the other and I think Kenzai generally fits better into my pre- or post-race downtime. That said, I would recommend these Kenzai Run courses to anyone who is serius about honing their run.
Thanks to Malia for her great coaching and advice and well done to the rest of the team! No doubt we'll meet each other again in the world of Kenzai.


Perfect final week?

I overcooked myself last week. Did all of the training, plus additional bike work (4hrs bike in total). By Sunday my legs were lead so I eased back from the asphalt and did the 18km as a gentler run/hike round Lantau. Not KR2 specific but I was too tired and sore to push it. Feel much better today after a good stretch after the strength session. Aiming for a perfect final week - 100% on diet and exercise. This will set me up for a final training build before the 70.3 in June. One day down, six to go!


Me vs Lean Me...

I'll admit it. I have struggled with the diet element of KR2, more so than on previous Kenzai courses. This is in part due to work pressures, having the in-laws and old friends in town, bank holidays and the dreaded Sevens. Also we have good friends leaving in 3 weeks time and they have an endless bucket list of things they want to do or repeat before they leave HK. Much of these involve food and drink. I've been good during the week and the diet has been clean but haven't managed to be anywhere near 100% at weekends. Plus I'm training on the bike and the pool on top of the running... I'm loving the exercise element but I'm mad at myself for not having the diet nailed. At the end of the course, I plan to re-set the clock and repeat the diet again, alongside the final six weeks of IM 70.3 training.


Strength exercises

Just to say I'm really enjoying the strength days on KR2. I'm finally getting back into the jump rope in a way not seen since KB back in 2012 and the new leg and feet exercises are making me feel a lot stronger. Have a great day everyone!


Final Photo

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