Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer
All Out

The Kenzai Illuminati has been in Portland, Maine. You'd think we'd be passing the egg whites and veggies 24/7. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our team, in full, assembles in person about once every two years. It's been more bacchean than Kenzai clean. So it goes. Seriously, no drama here.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Following my anniversary this Saturday things will simmer and I'll be aiming for four perfect week's to close this chapter of training (I probably shouldn't have opened in the first place).

In terms of challenges. I'm on point with the planks (can't disappoint the Fish) and have locked down 14 sessions of 8 minute abs since July 27th. The goal is to hit 50 by October 6th. It's gonna be close!

Songs of the Day: MAH Live on KEXP by US Girls https://youtu.be/PGN3XBy_1m8?t=9m55s

All In

I was on the fence about another training program. And then I thought two things:

1. Ward, you love being fit, you love the way eating right feels, and you know you have only begun to scratch the surface of what you are capable of.

2. You have road races coming up Aug., Oct. and Nov. You have a monster hike at the end of August: https://kenzai.me/ward/blog/trip-report


So I've sign up for Bells II. I'm running the 1.5 miles to the gym and back every morning. I've hit the 8 minute ab and plank challenge. 4 for 4.

Song of the Day: Get in My Car by Broncho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramIDfACLOg

8 Minute Ab Challenge

In a program? In maintenance mode? In Alaska? In flagrante delicto? Whatever the case, you are invited, for the next 72 days, to take the Kenzai 8 minute ab challenge: https://www.kenzai.com/pulse/8-minute-abs-kenzai-style/

The premise is simple, do this - https://kenzai.me/angelas/blog - every day for 72 straight days. Well, do it as many times as you can and keep track. Why 72 days? That's when the Saturn session of KB3 ends. Angela S, up on KB3 now, started this adventure and I plan on keeping pace.

Who else is in? You can join us at any point along the way to see how many times you can get in an ab session by 10/6/18.

So far we have:


I'd like to see this list grow. I mean who couldn't use a little more core strength and structure to their wellness game!?! And who can't make 8 extra minutes per day to get this in!?!

If you are game, drop me a note and I'll keep the list. My goal is to get at least 50 days!

Song of the Day: We are the Music Makers by Aphex Twin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIXYPjIWPGY

Exit Stage Left 

Chisel is in the books. And this shit works! The final workout was a nice glimpse of how far my fitness has come in 42 Days. I crushed it and considered imploring my lovely to do a 2nd cycle, but I was afraid she might never speak to me again.

My fitness is booming - on the bike, on the courts, and in a workout. I could still dial down my body fat a bit, but doing so requires a pretty complete commitment to hermitude. That said, I've seen some nice gains in terms of my biceps, chest, quads, calves, and belly. My surgically repaired left ACL/knee held up like a champ. One legged burpees were a blast!

I'll always be swimming upstream in terms of my DNA, but I've gathered plenty of "Dude, you are in monster shape this summer" to make Chisel more than worth while!

Cap tip to Patrick for snappy, succinct lessons, and workouts that blend a little fear with a whole lot of fun! I love training alongside my wife. She is a pistol and a peach. Wait 'til you see her final photo: https://kenzai.me/belinda/blog

Now, my house demands my attention. Interior and exterior painting, landscaping, and building an interior wooden sliding door will be my cross training for the next few months.

The Kenzai big wigs will be rolling into town in August for some Maine fun. I'll continue to mix in Iron (x2) and Chisel (x2) workouts in maintenance mode in case those punks want to hit some workouts with the mistaken idea that they can keep pace with the 'Stache. #goodtimes #tonguemostlyincheek

I'll be back for another pass at Chisel in September and Reach in January. Of course, there might be a new program or two come then...so as my homie Klaus says...plans are for shit. I'll just take it a day at time.

Be well, Chiselers. Can't wait to start handing out those COMPLETE stamps and CHISEL badges.

Song of the Day: Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5kisPBwZOM


Ward, what scares you?

Your limitless potential.
Someone hurting your dog.
Double Hang Time.
Being smushed like a bug on your bike.

Kenzai, what scares you?

Song of the Day: Vortex by John Carpenter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YZ60mQA4Q8


I was gearing up for my cycle workout this morning, when for the life of me, I just couldn't find my other sneaker. I was itching to get into the workout. But one shoe just doesn't cut it.

After a minute of looking around, I finally found it. Yup. It was already laced up and on my left foot.

You just gotta love the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that comes 5 Weeks into a rugged training cycle!

Song of the Day: Here Comes Your Man by the Pixies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPgf_btTFlc

14 More Days....

Dang. Only 14 more days of this fun. Chisel is a repeater for sure.

Today, we're gearing up for a Sunday hike. Aiming for a super tight Week Five. That belly fat is starting to mobilize. Team Leviathan rising!

Song of the Day: Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World by The Ramones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Xae9jsqxU


If Kenzai says it, it must be true! Haha. But if you are looking for some proof that deep breathing is a potent fitness hack, tune into the World Cup.

The most savvy footie vets, mid game, are finding ways to buy themselves a few precious moments to drink in a bit more O2 to keep pace with their sprightly rivals.

I'm thinking KDB aka The Pink Man, snuck in a few extra breaths along the way to herald this potent and heartbreaking (sorry Japan) final second attack: https://tinyurl.com/yawtx4sc

Chisel on friends and breath right!

Song of the Day: Elevator Operator by Courtney Barnett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa1uup8n0OQ

Beer Snafu

Workouts crushed. 7 for 7. Plenty of extra credit going on too. Hoops, hikes, weights, and I busted out a 5 mile trail run following a bit of culinary carnage.

See, my dude Movie Phone (trail name) was in town Tuesday night. Ten years ago we smashed the John Muir Trail (https://www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/john-muir-trail/) in 14 glorious days leaving a plume of chaos and hilarity in our wake. So it was that a visit to Portland would include some off piste fun.

No drama. Back on the horse and loving the results. Chisel is leaning me out. HIIT...pardon the phrase...is the shit!

Album of the Day: The Hawk is Howling by Mogwai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEJcSvuZ3cE

No Drama, Mama

Week 2 of Chisel done. Things are about where they should be. Sore. Sleeping like a dead man. Food's tight. And I'm getting skinny.

Gonna digress from the Chisel relate izzle to bring you my favorite excuses from my pals for the reasons they haven't tried Kenzai or feel that they don't need Kenzai. I never push. I never initiate these conversations. And I always try and smile when the bonkers shit starts flowing.

Here we go....

1. I can lose the weight anytime I want to (Sure!)
2. I'm already in really good shape (Everyone thinks their in really good shape!)
3. Gyms are too hot in the summer (Who said anything about a gym?)
4. I'm cool. I usually eat only an apple for lunch then have 3 or for drinks with dinner at night. It's cool. (What?)
5. I'm injured (Bro, you've been injured for 3 years and I don't see a limp!)

I'm empathetic. Truly. These comments often speak to one's desire for change. And we are all stuck somewhere in our lives. I want to read more. Make more art. But I had to vent. Come summer I just see waaaay more people at social events and Kenzai frequently comes up.

Plus, if I can't bring that shit here then I might end up smashing people over the head with the Kenzai doctrine or worse, a raw egg!

Song of the Day: Egg Man by the Beasties Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x5NCDYB1Lc

*Photo property of Business Insider http://www.businessinsider.com/

Papa Was a Rolling Stone

Being a step-dad is kinda weird. Being any kind of dad is kinda weird.

Being a good dad takes work. Though being a good one doesn't feel super hard. Certainly in American culture the bar isn't exactly set sky high. Cap tip to all the moms out there.

That said, anytime you do good work it's great to get a little love. I got a lotta love on papa's day and it felt great.

I won't bore you with ALL the details but there was: early am doggy walk to the beach, gifts, black coffee, Kenzai work, Kenzai workout, World Cup soccer, beer, grilled hot dogs, father'd day pick-up hoops throw down with a quorum of lunatics, hugs, grilled steak, and a movie with the step-lads.

It was a Viva Las Vegas, baby kind of day! It was the perfect exclamation point to the end of a tight week of a training. And it was the perfect papa's day.

Now, my game face is back on. Diet is in the queue. Dad stash. Check. Dad bode. No way. Bring on the Chizz!

Song of the Day: Papa was a Rolling Stone by The Temptations - Soul Train Style https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXbP4JBf8To


Like Chisel workouts, this blog will be quick and dirty.

Introduce yourself: Who are you? How do you spend your time? What makes you happy?

Ward here. Portland, Maine. Kenzai Head Trainer. Hoops enthusiast. Soccer fan. Mountain bike riding head. Parent to a cute ass dog and some smart ass step kids. I'm generally happy, even though life has handed me something like a shit sandwich in 2018. As a pal says...dude it could always be worse. And if you wait long enough, it probably will be. Hahaha. That dude is hilarious.

Goals: What do you want to get out of this training cycle? Why Chisel?

I really want to be swinging Kettlebells. So I'm doing Kenzai Chisel. That should tell you everything you need to know about how my brain works. Plus, a sober world cup. A little less fluff. Why not?

Barriers: What obstacles do you anticipate? What injuries do you have? Lady issues? Guy stuff? Work stuff coming up? Family stress? If it is sensitive in nature, you don't need to put it on your blog, you can contact me 1 to 1 .

I'm cool.

Weird stuff: If you were a professional wrestler what would be your entrance theme song?

It would be dope to strut into the ring to Jurassic 5's What's Golden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZKrctSDaw

A Tremendous Loss

Don't read this if you're having a bad day.

I'm a loud mouth, effervescent, trickster. I'm also an incredibly private person. For weeks I've been struggling with how to talk, write, and think about the loss of a Kenzai community member. The trouble is, that this isn't just someone out in the vast Kenzai cosmos, this is my friend, my step children's god mom, and my wife's familiar.

Kristin Gilbert (pictured second from the left) trained with Kenzai for the past several years while juggling some significant health issues. Her final KB1 post gives you a glimpse of the light, love, and service to others she embodied: https://kenzai.me/kristeng/blog/i-m-so-sad-it-is-day-90

Kristin died on May 21, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts from complications related to brain surgery. I first met her at the Portland Maine home of Belinda R. , Evan and Ian S. , and their cat Beezle. 

I was dating Belinda and had come to know the boys well. I won’t list the number of odd ball games we invented. But there were a lot of them. 

When Kris came to visit it was clear she was pretty protective of this family and a bit leary of me. This came as no real surprise as it became quickly evident that these people weren’t her friends. They were a part of her. Like one of her more functional limbs! Girl was always injured.

In time we grew to know and respect each other, happily sharing in the family we both had been welcomed to join. 

Our love for Evan, Ian, and Belinda was just one of many common things we shared. We were both outdoor enthusiasts, middle level educators (a unique breed to be sure), complete goof balls, and very protective of this family of which we were now both a part. 

I was reminded recently how protective I am of my family when I came home from a Sunday night hoops game and mistook the pizza delivery man for an armed thug trying to break into our home. Turns out, not an armed thug. Ian just ordered a pizza! 

It’s just this kind of silly misadventure that we’d cover at length any time Kristin and her partner Darla would come to visit our home. It’s incomprehensible to think that I won’t ever again sit across from Kristin to swap stories or watch her lose horribly at some board game she clearly doesn’t understand.  

Not seeing Kristin again is going to be really tough. That’s the hard thing about death. We are faced so immediately with the impermanence of life. 

I’ll take solace in listening closely to the wind for the echo of all those happy occasions shared with her. I know she is running somewhere now, with sturdier ankles, and a big smile. 

And I know I'll run with her again too. And laugh. Maybe in a dream. In a memory. Maybe when I hear a certain song. Look at a photo. Or when my turn comes to make the journey to the other side. 

When that time comes, I can’t wait to hear about all the troubles she’s managed to get herself into! Kristin we miss you so much.

Kenzai, thanks for being different. Thanks for being a part of Kristin's life these past few years. She grew to feel comfortable here. That's something special. Something we shouldn't lose sight of.

Song of the Day: Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_a46WJ1viA


From the Desk of Patrick Reynolds:

A few years ago I created a program called Kung Fu Body to help people discover their speed, flexibility, agility, and balance. I was never happy with how the program turned out so I put it on the shelf.

Kenzai Member Watson Jordan (https://kenzai.me/watsonj/blog) recently approached me with the idea to run Kung Fu Body again as a community challenge - 60 days of Kung Fu Training over email using the old materials. Sure, why not!?

This will include daily email lessons and workouts sent to your inbox. It won't include diet or trainer supervision, it's a self led course. The program will start June 4th and run for two months.

If you're curious what a Kung Fu Body workout looks like, check out this link for a preview of the Day 17 exercise plan. Of course the lessons will explain how all of these movements are meant to work!

Want to sign up? Email info@kenzai.com and tell us "I want to sign up for Kung Fu Body!" and we'll pass on your information to Watson who's handling the daily mail schedule. It's a different and fun way to get to know your body and what it's capable of!

Who's in?

Song of the Day: Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmfudW7rbG0

Stick Itchy Itchy 

I love Bells. I love training with Team Valhalla. This has been a crazy stretch. Highs (Evan's graduation) and lows (the passing of a great friend). All the while, my Bells and Team were there as a touchstone. That's the way it should be.

In terms of next steps. I'll be on the bike and in the hills as much as possible. I have some plans to use this space to roll out some new bells moves to demonstrate how the principles of the sticky bandit workout can be applied to "flowing" with bells. It'll also force me to up my tech game and keep me out of a program. Which isn't a goal suitable for everyone. But I'm ready to lean on all I've learned over the past three years for a few months of maintenance fun.

Stay tuned, friends!

Song of the Day: Ring the Bells by The Kinks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrFoWZ311zE

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
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Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Reach
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Kenzai Sculpt
Kenzai Sculpt

Kenzai Iron
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Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Mind
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Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready