Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer
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Hey, newbies. Hello experienced Kenzai assassins. Time to make with some intro love!

First and foremost. I used to be a plus size model. Model of chaos and excess. Things have changed. Thank goodness.

Now, then. I live in Maine. My professional background is in the helping professions - nursing, counseling, coaching, yoga, and wellness education.

I train because I like it when my pants fit well. I also like to move fast and compete. I'm kinda like a puppy that needs to run around to be happy.

The three year anniversary of tearing my ACL on my snowboard in the woods on NH is coming up. I learned the hard way - the tree always wins. Other than that, I have no major injuries or obstacles to Kenzai success. Though I did just have surgery to remove an octopus shaped mole the size of an orangutan on my torso.

Stitches come out in a few days. Not working out has become far more challenging than working out for this Kenzai devotee. That's been a five year journey.

I'll be rocking Kenzai Run starting January 14th! I am a winter guy - pale as hell and love the snow. Wearing a bad sweater and a mustache is socially acceptable during the winter months here in Maine. So running in the snow is just a natural extension of that.

I am inspired by the great mother - nature that is. And my beloved Boston Celtics.

Enjoy your program, whoever happens upon this post. New beginnings are great. Ride that bump in motivation that comes in January. But be warned, those energies can dissipate. Great habits though, they endure. Lock in!

Song of the Day: Gold Lion by Yeah Yeah Yeahs https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=jMMkP_ofpXg


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Wicked Tough!  
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As they say in Maine, that workout was a pissah, bub!

I've done KB3 before. And I am very obviously privy to all the top secret workouts and Kenzai related intel. Plus, I looked at the freakin' workout at the beginning of the week. So you'd think I wouldn't be surprised by how hard the final push up the mountain was.

And yet. I'm a dub. I guess I edited out the hard in my head. No doubt in self-preservation. So I was a bit surprised once I was knee deep into the century fog mull! 1,000 reps. Talk about a good larrup!

So, that was hard. Fun hard? Sure. Near black out hard? Sure. Glad the gym wasn't empty in case I slipped my wind.

And maybe, just maybe, rolling in on snowboard blasted legs was less than ideal. But, now that it's over, I'm feeling fatter ’n a settled minister. Which is a good thing, so I've been told. Ayup.

Happy xmas. Pleasure to Kenzai with, at, near, adjacent, proximal, and towards you Bisons! Top shelf crew. Without a doubt. Now it's time to tear up the slopes!

Ward Decoder Ring: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/13/living/everybodys-heard-about-the-maine-words/

Song of the Day: Oom Sha La La by Haley Heynderickx https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=ZyvYIYwLzTw


Final Push Up the Mountain
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I'll be honest, I took my weekly photo on Wednesday before the Turkey Day chaos got her hooks in me. Feeling good about my result to date. Feeling like I could have exercised a touch more restraint over the holiday. Sigh.

Yesterday, I recorded a video shout to introduce the last week of the workouts for the team and dubbed them as a tapper week. Today, having tucked into a workout earlier, I'm like...okay...they are a bit easier....but they sure as hell ain't easy.

Oh Kenzai gods, you are tricky devils indeed. That said, to think about how far I've come since I couldn't do a proper push-up or pull-up during my first 90 Day course, is truly remarkable.

Firm reminder. We cannot control the weather. Politics? Not so much. But how you train. What you eat. And how you show up for others. These things are within our grasp! Kinda dope.

Photo Credits: Homeboy Eli http://burakianphotography.com/

Song of the Day: End of the Line by the Traveling Wilburys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMVjToYOjbM


There and Back Again
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Dope trip to NYC. It was stunning. We touched a lot of bases.

Day 1 - Land at JKF. Tromp to the Bronx. Hit Noches Mexicanos for some grub. Got shut out of the Bronx Brewery (I know, I know) as they were filming an episode of Instinct (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcuN4vCVaVg). From there we took in the Nets vs Heat and finished the evening in our under pants watching LeBron James roast the Trail Blazers on the tele while tipping Modelos and eating ruffles potato chips (I know, I know).

Day 2 - A trip to Wall Street to see the Fearless Girl and the Bull. From there we hit Columbia University for a tour of the campus from step son Evan. Then a trip by foot to Washington Heights to meet his roomies and we topped off the evening at Harlem Public. Think Hogwarts with burgers and beers. This is when the snow came and all hell broke loose in NYC. For Mainers...it was a breeze.

Day 3 - A glimpse of the New York Public Library Reading Room (we're nerds), Grand Central Stations, then a trip to the High Line. Turns out there are trees in NYC and you can actually walk for a couple miles without hitting stoplight. We finished off the whirlwind mid-week trip with some food at a stellar Italian spot serving....wait for it...Maine beer. We opted for the cab, gnocchi, and hanger steak salad (I know, I know)

I can't tell you the last time I settled into 48 hours without a laptop. Turns out vacations - even short ones - feel as good as smashing a workout and eating some veggies.

Further as a hip hop head and film buff, it's bonkers to travel across NYC. Just the street names alone invoke such a visceral response. It had been 20 years since I had popped to Gotham and I can't wait to get back.

Now, I'm looking forward to a happy and festive Turkey day, as well as a rousing finish to this training cycle. One love to all. And hope you enjoy some photos from my jaunt. Just snapped a shirtless photos (take it easy) and I gotta say, despite the off piste chow, I'm feeling good about where things are as I swing into the final lap.

Song of the Day: Mass Appeal by Gang Starr https://youtu.be/y9lNbNGbo24


Headed to NYC
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Man. I love going north. The mountains. The snow. Less people. But I'm not going north. I'm headed south. To New York City. New York scares the hell out of me. Course, I adapt quickly and I don't just train to avoid being a chunky monkey, I train to have the stones to do shit that makes me nervous.

Headed out to smash a KB3 workout pre-flight. Tonight, I'll be going to see these guys at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn which will be DOPE:

The Fro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjKMiwpbxg8
Sweet Joe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWkqOCqXvSk

Song of the Day: Just Like Tho Thumb's Blues By Bob Dylan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeA_GPiG_eg


Friday Flip Flop
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I've been regularly moving the end of the week cardio day to Friday throughout the fall to take advantage of the stunning autumn weather here in the Eastern United States. Yesterday was no different. Here's a photo from my hike in the Moat Mountains of New Hampshire. Views to the snowy summit of Mt. Washington.

Off to the gym to shake off the DOMS and smash a KB3 workout! Next week will find me headed to NYC for adventure with my wife and to visit our kiddo at Columbia University. Gonna run it ultra tight before the variables get a bit less predictable.

Song of the Day: Mother Earth by Neil Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Fg4QFd8fOo


Ski Boot Intro Sample
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Cuz if you don't know, now you know, suckas!
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I live in Maine. My professional background is in nursing, counseling, coaching, yoga, and wellness education. I train because I like it when my pants fit well. I also like to move fast and compete. Plus, I'm kinda like a puppy that needs to run around to be happy. The three year anniversary of tearing my ACL on my snowboard in the woods on NH recently happens this season. I learned the hard way. The tree always wins.

I won't be training alongside you doing Ski Boot workouts, but I will be rocking Kenzai Body 3. So we'll be walking the straight and narrow together. I am a winter guy. I'm pale as hell and love the snow. Wearing a bad sweater and a mustache is almost socially acceptable during the winter months here in Maine. And when I hit the karaoke bar I'm belting out Young MC's Bust A Move

Song of the Day: Bust A Move by Young MC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZQQGX24Teg


I got a letter!
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Whoa. I got the coolest thing in the mail the other day. Yeah. Like the proper mail. Not a DM on IG. Not a message on FB. Not even an IM on Kmail. This was a parcel. From a trainee (you know who you are)!

Said trainee had smashed KB3 over the summer (right?). And now, here I am working to put the same training cycle in the books. Truth is, I don't lack for workout motivation. This wasn't a rara type of mail. But it mos def gave me a lift. More of the 'humans are still cool' type of lift, not just a 'stay in the game' type of lift.

So this is a shout out to all the many trainees (and one in particular) that grind with Kenzai the world over who have not only put in the work to change their bodies, but allow themselves to be known. That takes courage. Especially in this seriously fucked up place called earth.

As a show of my gratitude, for gratitude shown, I've placed the non-letter portion on a very important place. A-oooooo!

Song of the Day: Edges Run by Mipso https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Iv81OKGBus


Happy Halloween Kenzai!
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Belinda (https://kenzai.me/belinda/blog) did the good one! But she committee a cardinal Halloween sin. She bought M&M Peanuts (my kryptonite)! Fuuuuuck.

Song of the day: I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoXVYSV4Xcs


Boo!
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Hey, Kenzai. What's scarier than being trapped in an elevator with three guys on a high protein diet (I'm thinking Scotty B, Fish, and Ren)? Nothing.

But tis the season for scary. So, when the days grow dark, evening energy levels drop (those work outs!), All Hallow's Eve approaches, and I try to minimize the trips to the pub, it becomes movie time.

I'll out myself as a bit of a horror film junkie. While my mates in the Northern US tuck themselves into the Red Sox trip to the Series, I'll carve out a few extra minutes in the week to take in a few super spooky flicks.

So, what's in your queue? Do you have any family favorites? Things that make you jump? Lingering nightmares from a misspent youth watching late night cable? Are you down with Freddy, Mike Myers, or Jason Voorhees? How about some new school stuff?

And what about a challenge? Ed C. has something up his sleeve. Have a look rock stars: https://kenzai.me/edc/blog/hear-ye-hear-ye-the-perfect-fortnight-challenge-come-one-come-all

Song of the Day: Dragula by Rob Zombie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqQuihD0hoI


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Warning. This shit is long.
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According to Urban Dictionary, a gym bro is:

Usually a male, the typical gym bro spends most of their time in the gym, fails to follow gym etiquette, and/or is prone to bad gym habits. They are the character-foil of a gym rat/pro, well-known for spending a lot of time in the gym, but does so inefficiently and/or obnoxiously.

In a gym bros life they must make at least one trip to California as this is where gym bros originated. Almost all gym bros communicate via the word “Bro”.

If you've been to a gym, you've likely encountered one. Or several. They are exhausting and hard to ignore. So, what's worse than a gym bro? A batshit, crazy, wild eyed, sweating gym bro!

Let me set the scene. I work out at the local university. They have everything you need to get down. No drama. It's off the beaten path. Gym bro sightings are pretty rare. And grunting is typically at a minimum, but not always: https://kenzai.wistia.com/medias/rlzj5vwiki

Here's the thing. This gym has a drop in rate of 5 dollars a day. It's the best bang for your buck in Southern Maine. It's a sword that can cut two ways.

On Monday, I rolled in late for my KB3 workout. I typically grind around 8:30am. By then I have a few calories on board, my muscles are warm, and the workouts happen as easy as inhaling and exhaling. It's taken me six years to get here. But I'm here. When the routine requires a switcheroo, the work outs can feel like work. Factor in a less than compliant Sunday (out in front of that Day 45 indulgence, bro), and you got a 'need to regain momentum' type work out. Which are the hardest ones.

So, I'm about to open the locker room door, when A batshit, crazy, wild eyed, sweating gym bro! appears out of nowhere demanding that I get out of his fucking way! For better or worse, within me is a bit of a brat and contrarian. I immediately drop into California cool mode (every thing happens way slower out there, bro), and slowly hand him the door handle.

Dude goes from Yellow Alert to Orange Alert as he runs through the doorway. In his hast, he manages to smash his left thigh on a concrete pillar. I'm like, shiiiit, that's gonna leave a mark!

As you can imagine, I'm completely perplexed. One half of me drops into reptile brain and thinks, I'm going to confront then strangle this dude. But fortunately, my frontal cortex intervenes. Ward, this dude is bonkers and might gauge out your eyes. Ultimately making that Day 43 workout considerably harder.

So, I saunter over to my locker to let by gone's be by gone's, put on my Kenzai cape, and smash the workout. It's then that dude goes from Orange Alert to full on Red Alert. He begins to smash his fists into the lockers adjacent to his repeatedly growling, "I said get out of my way. People need to listen to what I say. Motherfuckers need to listen to what I say." Then dudes runs out of the locker room, still sweating profusely, and heads back into the workout facility.

WTF? I thought a birthday party hangover and DOMS from Sunday night hoops were the major hurdles between me and this workout. Now I got a very loose cannon to deal with.

As I make my way out of the locker room I bump into a gym staffer. I say, I just had a really strange interaction with a young man in the locker room. She says to me, is he the one on the treadmill?

I carefully peak through the glass partition between the hallway and the workout space and I see Batshit, Crazy, Wild Eyed, Sweating Gym Bro! on the treadmill. Dude has the thing running at full blast. At this point, I basically expect him to fly off the thing or disappear Flash style into another dimension: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd2ItNB_Ob0&t=28s

I look at her and simply say, "I'm a train mental health counselor. That dude isn't safe and needs to be removed." She exits stage left.

I walk into the gym, keep my head down in hopes our guy is very committed to running the speed of light, and less committed to stabbing yours truly in the neck with a barbell sharpened with his incisors.

Fast forward five minutes and the police arrive. Everyone in the gym is like...the police? Then all eyes move toward The Flash. He looks up, sees the police, smiles, stops his treadmill, and hops off. He walks calmly toward the door knowingly. He even holds the door for the cop. And leaves. Like this shit happens to him EVERY DAY!

With a new lease on life, I grind out the workout, and offer some quiet well wishes to BCWESGB! (and mental health providers everywhere, bro!)

Just another Monday in Maine.

Song of the Day: Bang Your Head (Mental Health) by Quiet Riot https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_1ruZWJigo


These guys!
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Just a quick check-in. KB3 workouts getting done daily. Adventures in the mountains have been replaced by adventures in strategic planning, Kenzai style.

I ripped this photo from Patrick Reynolds' instagram. Dude is throwing down interesting photos of his KB2 journey over there: https://www.instagram.com/patrickcantype/?hl=en

Hit him with a follow to enjoy the ins and outs of a 90 Day training cycle with the inventor in chief of the 'Kenzai method'. Like the heimlich maneuver only less messy and more egg whitey!

Song of the Day: Word to Do by Average White Band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g45Ljqgijiw


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KB3 asks us to go deeper. In the workouts. In our understanding of how our body-minds work. And in our reflections.

The Day 21 lesson (not to be confused with the advanced exercise 21's were in relationship with this week) asks us: What activity makes you lose track of time?

When do I lose time? Hmmmmm. It's gotta be when I'm walking in the deep woods; rambling along a mountain ridge; preferably in the rugged mountains of Northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Especially in autumn.

When does time really lose all meaning, shape, tone, and structure? When I'm walking in the woods with this lot (see photos of my non Kenzai brethren) ! Mandatory indulgence taken...at altitude!

Photo Credits to Dan the Man, JRoc the Funky President, and Ultra Eli. Cap tip to Kevin de Fer and Benny Appletreat for their various contributions to a weekend well spent!

Song of the Day: Harvest Moon by Neil Young https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPqv_N2mOGE


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I'm Ward. I reside on the coast of Maine. Fall is budding here. Few things are better!

I'm a former nursing student, counselor, coach, and yoga teacher. Now, I handle Training Operations for Kenzai. I'm an active person. I meditate, play hoop, hike, and ride bikes.

I have a clean bill of health currently. Any time I train, I am looking to get stronger, faster...to win more games on the hoops court and keep pace with my yahoo buddies on the slopes, trails, and high peaks of New England. My achilles heel is GREAT BEER. We make a lot of it in Maine.

If I were a professional Wrestler stepping to the squared circle, I'd strut into Jef the Brotherhood's Black Sabbath rip off, The Melting Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVnBaj0Xcbw


Weekend Warriors
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Dragged Jack the Dog out of his native habitat (the couch) for a few whirlwind laps in New Hampshire's White Mountains this weekend (Hancock's on Saturday, Potash at dawn on Sunday).

Dude told me it's not polite to count the number of other hikers you pass...out loud!

5 outta 7 KB3 workouts in the books this week. And 2 Days of mountain smashing fun. How you?

Song of Day: Southside Of Heaven by Ryan Bingham https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHnSj9Ls6pU


End of Week 7

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Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body

Reboot
Reboot

Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k

SkiBoot
SkiBoot

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