Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer

Team Portland Maine hit the park at 700am today for a Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready vs. Kenzai Chisel throw down. For good measure all combatants closed out the proceedings with 3 sets of ten burpees.

Kenzai Roll Call:

Ward - https://kenzai.me/ward/blog
Belinda - https://kenzai.me/belinda/blog
Peter - https://kenzai.me/peterf/blog
Thomas - https://kenzai.me/thomas/blog
Moe - https://kenzai.me/moes/blog
Kate - https://kenzai.me/kateo/blog
Steph - https://kenzai.me/stephanied/blog
Tuck - https://kenzai.me/tuck/blog

One love and egg whites! And cap tip to the Lady in the Shadows (https://kenzai.me/brek/blog/kenzai-body-graduation-scandal) for capturing the Saturday morning fun.

Song of the Day: Masterpiece by Big Thief https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0E5vMkDfOI


I spent much of the week with family in New York City. Highlights included:

*Stepson Evan graduating from Columbia University with a Master's Degree in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
*Evan accepting with joy and enthusiasm his graduation gift...a Kenzai membership
*Rubbing elbows with Jim Matt: https://kenzai.me/jimm2015/blog/may-20-surprise
*Going 7 for 7 in the workouts
*Tearing into a few Manhattans with the hipsters in Brooklyn
*Crushing some jerk chicken and tacos in Harlem
*Seeing Kenzai All Star LBW's (https://kenzai.me/liz/blog) pal Pos in a play in the park

Week Three was always going to be a mixed bag. Some celebrating. A little vacation flavor. And some Kenzai. No regrets at all. Will be pushing hard for home. Blast on, Beach goers.

Song of the Day: Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z https://vimeo.com/29885705

Sweet Sweet Sleep

These workouts are kicking my ass. And yet, I am feeling very little in the way of DOMS the next day (and the day after that). I think this has everything to do with banking that buff sleep. Alas, that is a sword that cuts two ways. On the one hand...no DOMS. On the other hand...not watching the NBA Western and Eastern Conference finals in totality is a bit of a bummer. But this hoops head is putting first things first. Zzzzzzzzzzzz's if you please.

Thought of the Day: "Sleep is by turns ominous, alluring, and reassuring; it mimics death yet offers rejuvenation."

Song of the Day: Sleep by Max Richter live in Berlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02AYmDbp5t4

On Diet

Five days. Only two beers. Two small bites of ice cream. All other nutritional inputs nailed. I've been riding my Kenzai Mind diet from last program until the official one dropped yesterday. It doesn't take long to see and feel the difference great choices make. Compliments (You look younger) from some of my Kenzai besties (Thanks Sharm and Sara.) received with love and gratitude. I do it for me. But kind words will put a spring in your Kenzai step.

Favorite Exercise: Inchworm
Least Favorite Exercise: Tie - Timed East West Push-up Squat Jump, Timed Salamander Push-Ups

Album of the Week: Kedr Livanskiy — Your Need https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuqlu6nBmU0&t=1715s


Let's do this!


Okay. So I don't beach much. I'm a child of the trees and mountains. But the aims of this course fit super nicely into a plot I'm hatching to make my life fantastically and joyfully miserable!

On the quick. Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready is Stage 2 of Project Mayhem. Project Mayhem for the uninitiated is listed in some detail below:

Stage 1 - Jan to May - Enjoy a chill winter of making snowboard turns, playing hoops with the homies, rocking some Iron and Kettlebell workouts, and honing the MIND through metacognitive practice in an effort to have fun and establish a new fitness goal. COMPLETE.

Stage 2 - May to June - 3 days per week Iron workouts. 7 Days per week Beach Ready workouts. Two Days a week hoops or hitting the trail on the mountain bike. And most importantly, cutting fat. INCOMPLETE

Stage 3 - June to September - 3 Days per week Beach Ready workouts. 5 Days per week Marathon prep. Maintain fat loss. INCOMPLETE.

Stage 4 - Mid September - Complete The Danathon (DIY marathon with my pal Dan starting in downtown Boston to the Blue Hills Reservation. Map included for your pleasure: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1WJW0qx5ARQKzjwMeoc23u3uc83JEHQBA&ll=42.28384599502427%2C-71.08865749999995&z=12

I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. Now, who has the sun tan lotion?

Song of the Day: morgxn By the XX https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2naPvBtHHs

Be of Sound Mind 

Hey, hey. That is a wrap on 42 days straight of looking through the Kenzai Mind lens. It is a great course. The lessons hum and Patrick's drawings were a nice departure from the usual photos.

Here are my take aways from the course:

1. Ward you work out every day. That is pretty incredible.
2. Ward you read every lesson on this program every day for 42 days. Sometimes you fall behind. Not this time.
3. Ward you were reminded that you are not your thoughts. You are something else altogether.
4. Ward you didn't do real well with those longer sits. What's your hurry, man?
5. Ward you liked meditating with your eyes open and not leaning on mantra. That was a complete surprise!

As I look ahead, I'm keen to continue to sit. For ten minutes a day. I just like lots of stuff and am not willing to devote more time right now. But that could change.

If you are thinking about Mind, take the course! If you are looking for a program that gives you permission to choose your own exercise adventures, take the course! If meditation scares the hell out of you, take the course!


What's next: Finishing the back half of Iron with Thomas Doyle and maybe rocking Beach Body concurrently. Also....eyeing up a Marathon in December. Whoa!!!!!!

Song of the Day: All Nighter by Yung Bae & Flamingosis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGFY6BOhf08


I was just headed toward my meditation cushion around 900am this fine Saturday morning when my ears perked up at the sound of potential chaos. I heard what sounded like a leaky pipe. This is akin to a death rattle for a homeowner. Man...that's the last thing I need is a busted pipe, I thought.

When I listened more closely, the sound could most aptly be described as a five beer piss. If you've taken one, you know what I'm talking about. Good news. Bad news. Good news the sound wasn't coming from inside the house. Bad news. It was loud.

To my horror, the piss was coming from the second story window of the building next to me. When I looked out the window, I spied a young buck hanging his bits out of said window. The terminus of his cascade was my mf-ing driveway.


Meditation has calmed me down. Some. Not so much that I didn't fly off the f-ing handle at the pisser. Seems he's from out of town. An Air B N B type. Dude was young. He did apologize. Sorta. And I'm fairly certain I'm getting my payback for years of mischief.

Shiiiiit. At least I didn't need to call the plumber.

Song of the Day: Don't Eat the Yellow Snow by Frank Zappa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLIppgE45wM

Meditation is work

I'm a proud graduate of yoga college. Spandex was optional. One of my besties from my 200 hour intensive, when I caught up to him many years later, stopped practicing yoga. He practiced seated meditation exclusively. When I asked him why the change, he told me yoga wasn't physical enough. At the time, this blew my mind. I was like....come on. Asana is tough. Now, as the seated work gets longer in the tooth for these Mind sessions, I'm getting a feel for where his sentiments originated from. I can feel my core, back, shoulders, and neck bearing some of the brunt of it, as well as the invitation to make friends with those sensations. Matt, you were onto something, bro. Hope you are well. Wherever you landed.

Song of the Day: The Killing by Das Mortal https://youtu.be/GjwO4b9vihI


Minders. Guess what? We're not the only crew in town. A fresh batch of Minders just started. They are grappling with week one of the course. Kinda cool to think about how far we've come since week one. We've navigated from what to do with our hands all the way to Metta Meditation. Progress and growth are kinda dope.

On the subject of sitting. Today I settled into my session and invited an issue I've been struggle with into my mind's eye. Sure enough....a little bit of unexpected (is it unexpected if the lesson says it's expected but then also tells you to try not too hard to expect anything to happen) magic happen. I discovered that 'my heart softened' a bit towards the people involved in my struggle. If you've experienced this feeling, then you'll know what I mean. If you have not....hahaha....try Kenzai Mind!

My weekly images have shifted recently. I bebopped by a teammate's blog and noticed that she took some salient Kenzai advice and posted some nature images to the weekly photo slot. Great idea! It brought me a deep sense of calm. Things are busy these days behind the scenes at Kenzai. I was shocked that just those images helped me chill. I'm gonna follow suit. For the remains of the program...you get the Wilderness of Ward's Mind Series.

Don't fret. This doesn't mean I'm dining exclusively on Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Maine IPA's while parked on my ass watching hoops and hiding behind some tree pictures. Not a bad idea though and I do hope in a distance universe Ward 4234.96 is enjoying that lifestyle. In fact, workouts are getting done (big time people) and the diet is tight. I'll be wheeling into the back half of Iron (currently hitting the gym weekly with Thomas) once this party ends. Weights + Meditation is a really nice combo. The Mind surprises just keep on coming.

Song of the Day: To You by Andy Schauf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqw2C5vRAtA


It's time again! The annual right of passage to swing you into Spring is here. It's the Kenzai Ranger Challenge, people. The what?

The Kenzai Ranger Challenge is a 28 day challenge that kicks off on Monday, April 8th. If you sign up and commit, workouts will land in your email inbox every day. This is a challenge and not a full program with diets and daily lessons. But you will get a dope customized banner for your blog, exclusive to Army Ranger Challenge participants only!

*On Day 1, you complete the ArmyRanger Test as a benchmark of your current fitness.

*You do 7 workouts per week featuring a mix of running, jump rope, and rugged body weight based movements.

*You control your diet as you like. This isn't a fat loss course, it's a physical challenge to push your limits.

Sound good? Jump in.

Big Jim Matt is this year's Drill Instructor. To sign up for the challenge, send an email him jim@kenzai.com before the start date. The cut off is firm. No stragglers will be accepted. Rigor and an epic result await.

I'm not in this year. I'm full on with Mind and blasting Iron workouts daily with Head Trainer Thomas. Looking to see a new graduation class though...if you can hack it!

Song of the Day: Turn Down For What? By Dj Snake and Lil Jon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUDVMiITOU

Moment of Zen

There are plenty of internal and external distractions when you try and anchor your attention to the breath. Few are as ridiculous as this guy.

Jack the Dog doesn't know what to make of his favorite playmate sitting quietly for ten minutes. He'll howl, paw at me, or bring me one of his favorite toys and deposit it in my lap. Fair enough, one cannot feed, coddle, or cavort with a furball while meditating.

So...the evening shift, following the kangaroos jaunt to bed, has been my meditation go to time. When do you quietly do you, Minders? Morning? Noon? Or night?

Song of the Day (dedicated to Jordan Bentz: https://kenzai.me/jordanb/blog for having just completed his three month Portland, Maine Kenzai work intensive): Uber Everywhere by MadeinTYO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcyFJLrBVhA&list=OLAK5uy_nRD0z9NYneJRFUIlRk2oNymhgrrOvWHHM

On Diet!

They say a photo is worth 10,000 words. Hehe.

Good news, this photo was taken just before Mind started. So far, only one off piste Day during Week 1. Clothes are looser already. Banking some Iron workouts with Thomas Doyle. Love me some Kenzai!

Song of the Day: Dylan Thomas by Better Oblivion Community Center https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzReYLuavg&list=RDUXzReYLuavg&start_radio=1

Thought Chains

The Day 2 sit was far more serene than Day 1. It likely helped that it was only half as long. I opted for closing my eyes seated on the floor just prior to climbing into bed to read (and after imploring my fidgety partner in crime that she would need to be quiet for five whole minutes).

As I dropped into the meditation practice, I listened to my breath and my mind was clear. It felt good. Until. Boooom. Thought chains! It went something like this...

Hey, I wonder what Bunny Bentz (the PET! of our former Community Manager Jessica Bentz) is up to?>What if I was a paramedic?>If a building was on fire would they bring me the bodies or would I need to go in and get them?>Wait>WTF did you just think?


Song of the Day: Man in the Box by Alice in Chains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAqZb52sgpU


Iron. Easy. Chisel. A snap. KB3. Pleeeeease. The real program to fear....KENZAI MIND!

That's right, the day has arrived. Time to examine the layers and inner workings of my MIND. Kenzai style. I KNOW this path won't be easy.

My goal is simple. There are a few strands of thought that I'm looking forward to putting down. They don't serve me well and I have a suspicion that this course will help me do that.

I can't tell you what they are exactly. It's not because I don't know. I do. I do. But that would be like....a level of internet exhibitionism I'm not yet ready for. But I'm scribbling them down someplace safe (twitter) for future reflection. Hehe.

Celebrated one year with The Rascal (see photo) in my life over the weekend. I've been forbidden to feed him beer by my better half. So I hoisted one to celebrate him and St. Pat's. Ya-ya's out. Bring on clean living (thinking and being).

Song of the Day: Something For Your Mind by Superorganism https://youtu.be/2K49QKVR0p0?t=415

Founder Visits

Patrick Reynolds is in Portland, Maine working on...wait for it.....the new Kenzai app!

Dude has been working around the clock with the design team. Fortunately, he let me drag him out to take in a few of the local attractions:


You can see right there at the end of the video he is reaching for some veggies and an egg white.

Seven days 'til Kenzai Mind starts. Can't wait. Serenity now...er.....sooon!

Song of the Day: Motion Sickness By Phoebe Bridgers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sfYpolGCu8

End of Week 7





Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body


Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k


Kenzai Run Half
Kenzai Run Half

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Reach
Kenzai Reach

Kenzai Sculpt
Kenzai Sculpt

Kenzai Iron
Kenzai Iron

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready