Thursday, May 15, 2014

It's been a while

Holy crap.  It's been about half a year since my last post.

Nope, it doesn't mean I have given up training and let myself go.  Far from it.

It's just that training-wise, everything is being taken care of.  I've stopped overthinking things, stopped being obsessed over which exercise is best, stopped confusing myself.  In short, I've stopped majoring in minutiae.

I follow whatever programme is featured (I follow Jason Ferruggia's programmes) and try to stick to it to the letter.

In the event I can't do a certain exercise due to lack of equipment or physical limitations, I just substitute it with an exercise that has a similar movement pattern or targets the same set of muscles.

Easy peasy.  No need to fret.

And over the past 6 months, I've buried myself deep into research on health related stuff.

As you may know, I have suffered from eczema since my late teens.  And I have also heavily depended on antibiotics and steroid creams to keep it under control.

Bad move.

It took a nasty infection to make me realize that while I have always thought that I took care of my body by exercising regularly, I was in fact abusing it by popping pills and slathering drugs and other dangerous chemicals on my skin.

So yeah.  My blog may be active again.  But it won't be centered around training much after this.  It'll serve to record my journey in countering my auto-immune disease.

I'd love it if you'd stick around.  But I understand if you won't.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Embracing Minimalism

Being the nerd that I am, I read a lot of fitness and training-related articles when I first started my gym rat journey.  And while I caught on fairly quickly about the philosophy of training, nutrition has always left me dumbfounded.

....Drink a protein shake post workout.

Eat 6 times a day....

....More protein, less carbs.

Anabolic window....

....You're a hardgainer, you can eat junk food to get more calories in.

And so many others I don't even bother to mention here.  The irony is, I made my biggest and healthiest gains when I tuned out all but the most basic of information.  All I do is:

....Drink a vegetable juice post workout

Eat only 3 square meals per day...

....Cut out soy drinks and reduce dairy intake

Follow a basic, natural supplement regime (probiotics and olive oil)...

To sum everything up, I am at my healthiest and at my 'biggest' when I:

  1. Follow a good training programme
  2. Eat clean as best as possible (although I am not nearly as stringent as most people)
  3. Cook my own meals
Goes to show too much information can be counterproductive.  You're more likely to suffer from analysis paralysis.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Back Squats revisited

I think I have not done any back squats for more than a year.  After the hiatus I have finally decided to incorporate them once again into my training albeit with much lighter weights than before; which is saying something because I never was good at back squats and  the best I could muster was 55kg for 5 reps.

I'm up to 40kg for 4 reps now.  Feeling steady and sturdy.  Knees aren't hurting.  That's a good sign.

One tip that I've started to follow is to do a few sets of leg curls first to get those hammies warmed up and pumped before I hit the squats.  It has worked like a charm so far.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


So... it's been a while since I last updated this blog eh?  When I first started this blog, it was to write about my learning experience in my journey as a fitness junkie wannabe.  Initially I learnt a lot of stuff and was excited to share it with whoever that cares.

As my go forward with my journey, this particular quote from Bruce Lee came to mind:

"Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick."

Not to say that I have learnt everything that needs to be learnt.  Far from it.  But I have come to realize that we often tend to overcomplicate things.  Life should be so much simpler.  If I were to summarize what matters to me (fitness-wise) in a nutshell, they are:

  1. Incorporate some kind of squat, deadlift, pressing and mobility work in your programme and you're golden
  2. Eat (or drink) your greens.  Raw is better.
  3. Cook your own meals.
  4. Spend less on unnecessary materialistic stuff and spend more on good quality food
  5. Read a lot
  6. Try not to take any sort of modern medicine.  Natural is best.  Refer to #2
  7. Discipline

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Using straps when front squatting

I'm not the biggest fan of front squats.  Heck, I'm not the biggest fan of squatting.  But it's an integral part in any training programme so squat I must.

The latest programme I'm following requires quite frequent front squatting.  And recently I've stumbled upon a pretty cool way to ensure that I keep the bar racked properly without having the resort to breaking my wrists (due to inflexibility) or rounding my upper back, as is the case if I use the cross arm technique.

Instead, I use lifting straps to act as a pair of handles.  This way I can keep my elbows up in place without hurting my wrists.  I've tried it last night and while it does work better than the traditional or the cross armed hold, I still find it a bit difficult to hold the bar in place.

My straps setup.  Any pair of old lifting straps will do.
It's probably to be expected since I have a small frame anyway.  It's hard to rack the bar snugly in the first place.  I find it easier to keep the bar static if I flare up my elbows a little bit.  Does look a bit funny though. But all in all, I kind of like this setup.  Will keep at it and practice keeping the bar in position.

And oh... the video below demonstrates the different ways you can hold the bar up in place on a front squat. Enjoy!