Thursday, December 30, 2010

Squat Day again and I'm tired

Gassed out spectacularly today. Sigh. Maybe I should take a day off. I don't think I'm overtraining (yet) though. I guess today's just one of those days that I don't really feel like training.

I only managed to get this done:

Front squats (20kg) x 12 reps - 1 set (warmup)
Front squats (30kg) x 8 reps - 2 sets
Front squats (35kg) x 6 reps - 1 set
Back squats (35kg) x6 reps x 1 set

I knew something was wrong when I struggle to hit 6 reps of back squats when I can do 8 reps of 40kg back squats without much issues previously. So I decided to stop training and give myself a break.

Tomorrow's another day.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm running out of...


... weight plates! Argghhh... it's annoying when you've piled on all the plates that you have available and it's still not enough to build up to a new PR. Right now, piling everything I have only amounts to 58kg. Definitely not enough weight for me to work on a new deadlift personal record.


Sigh. Gotta get me some plates. Gotta get me some plates SOON!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Announcement/Warning

I came to know that there are parties that have been using my name and my blog as a way to reach out to other fitness enthusiasts out there. While it is natural to hunt for potential customers online I do NOT condone the act of using my name/blog hence be associated with any dumbass out there.

To anyone who has been subject to the soliciting, I'm sorry. I don't know why the fuck I'm apologizing when I myself feel somewhat raped but yeah. Sorry.

To whoever it is that's doing the soliciting using my name or blog as reference. Please get a life. Better yet, go to hell.

Diet vs. Exercise

Does diet really influence 80% of your fitness objective? I don't really know of any empirical evidence. I'm the last person to admit that I am academically inclined. But it does seem true.

Take fat loss for example. It's pretty much simple mathematics. Calories in should be less than calories out. Either limit your calorie intake or maintain the calorie intake but exercise more. Either way you're bound to lose weight.

Muscle gain is similar as well. You need to take more calories in order to build more muscles. Oftentimes in the past I have gassed out because I didn't take enough food for an intense workout. And then sometimes I didn't even eat after a workout. Which is stupid. So I maintained the same size for ages and ages. The weights I carry, while it has gotten heavier, wasn't as progressive as it should be.

But since ramping out my food intake. Forcing my tiny tummy to take in more food (it's all about strategy), I've also discovered that I don't gas out as quickly, I could lift heavier weights and so far... I have not gained much fat (if any).

By the way, I just weighed myself a few hours ago at the good old clinic. I'm 48kg now. Gained 3kg of what I believe to be mostly muscle (don't have a body fat caliper, but all I can say is I don't have any jiggly bits on me) in about 1.5 months after I ramped up my calorie intake.

So maybe it's true that diet plays a huge part in your training regime:

Eat more = More energy
More energy = Train harder
Train harder = Eat more

Crude equation. I know. But it's the easiest way to explain what I think.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Squat Day and some McGyver Moves

Today's squat day. I did front squats and back squats. I'm growing more confident in training solo now. Perhaps it's because I've devised a crude safety catch system. Wanna know how? I just used my sofa and a pair of dining chairs as my safety catch.

My 'safety catch'...very crude. But it'll do. And please, excuse the mess in the background.

Yes yes. It's not that safe. But it'll do for now. While my squats are not that impressive. While it's still on the light side.


I am however, looking for something more permanent in nature. I did my shopping around. Got hold of a few quotations and although it is possible to procure the item now, it is not sensible to do so.


Perhaps later. As they often say, good things come to those who wait.


And for now, I shall wait.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Midday Training

Twas a Friday. 2 hour lunch. Bored as heck. Hated being stuck in the office. What's a girl to do?

This girl went back home and trained, that's what she did. It wasn't really my first choice, to be honest. My friends already had other plans and I simply do not want to be stuck in the dreary office.

Rather than choose to wallow in my misery I chose instead to relieve at least a bit of the crankiness by training right smack in the afternoon. So went home I did. Changed into more appropriate clothing (yes, I can do overhead presses in my baju kurung but it does look ridicilous) and did some upper body workouts.

5 sets of floor presses superset with inverted rows (wanted to do barbell rows but decided against it since it's gonna take time to adjust the plates). After that I did overhead presses.

Didn't do much overhead presses though. I was struggling to lift the usual 20kg warmup set. Probably gassed out since I only had breakfast (breakfast was scrumptious nasi kerabu and then I had some bread with strawberry jam).

I did my overhead presses again later in the evening when I (finally) got home from work. This time I managed to get 5 sets done.

All in all... I have a feeling this midday training on Fridays may become somewhat of a routine in future. If that's the case then I gotta plan my breakfast properly so I don't gas out like I did the first time round.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Junkie Gathering

From left: Me, Adeline and Ash. At the background is Noel busy with his i-phone (as usual)


Finally me and my fellow fitness junkies were able to gather under one roof! And I must say that I had a fabulous time getting acquainted (or re-acquainted) with fellow blog-o-buddies Adeline, Ash, and DM. Not to forget Herny, DM's assistant coach. Naturally, she was in a sleeveless shirt showing off those fabulous arms!





Ash in particular, was kind enough to give me a ride to the venue and later get me safely back home. And although I've only met her for the first time that night we didn't feel like strangers at all. Goes to show internet buddies can turn into bona fide buddies pretty easily nowadays.





Okay, the gathering was organized by the good people of DailyMuscle (DailyMuscle is no more a one man show. It's grown tremendously especially for the past 12 months. And to imagine I was there when it was only Noel at the helm) to show appreciation to their fellow campers (Adeline and Ash and the rest of the crew) and supporters (me and everyone else in between).





It serves as an indicator that the health and fitness industry in Malaysia is in its most crucial and promising stage. I wonder how things are going to be like in another 3 years' time...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gym Predicament

I've been looking around for a gym to train in. And it is not as easy as I wished it would be. I just called a gym near where I live and the guy doesn't even know what a squat rack is. Sheesh. He kept harping on and on about how the gym has smith machines. I don't need a bloody smith machine. Screw the smith machine.



There are in fact a few indie gyms that are worth joining. Unfortunately they're way off from where I stay or where I work. So that's a big no no. It's just not worth it.



I wish there was a gym like Exclusive Fitness near the places I frequent. It is absolutely heaven!! I can imagine myself spending hours just hanging out in a place so cool. Alas, it is off my beaten track and is just not practical at all to visit on a daily basis.



It is times like these that I feel like opening my own indie gym. Free weights, power racks, punching bags, prowlers and kettlebells. How much do you think a basic facility like that would cost? Hmmmm...

Anyway... the training continues at home today. Gotta get me some more weights soon. I'm running out of weights to deadlift.

Flying Solo

As you may have suspected, due to some unavoidable circumstances I am now without a trainer. After more than a month being mentored and having someone to egg me on, I have to admit flying solo yet again will be tough.

But, we adapt to survive.

And I shall re-adapt myself with solo training. Tonight's the first night I train alone. So far so good. But the real challenge is not tonight though. The real challenge will be tomorrow which is legs day. Gonna be quite tough to squat heavy without someone there spotting me.

Which is why I am looking for a training partner. Someone serious about weightlifting and whose training schedule jives with mine. Else, I may consider joining a gym with a decent number of power racks.

We'll see how it goes.

p/s
Eventually, I will get used to training alone. The most important part is to be consistent with my diet. That's my biggest challenge in my opinion.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Training Partner Needed

Training partner needed.
Only serious individuals interested in weightlifting need apply.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Of Commitment and Mind Control

Guess what. My stupid car broke down last night. Thank god I was very near my apartment and the car just had enough in it to make it to the parking space. It broke down completely and I had to get it towed to the workshop. With half a day gone, there's no point in me trying to go to the office. So I told my boss I'd be on Emergency Leave (already told him last night. I'm a bit of a girl scout when it comes to work).

Without a car I was pretty much immobile for these few days. But I went to the gym anyway. Took a cab. And trained. The training, and the breakdown incident has made me realize that:

  1. It would be inevitable that you will get strong. All you need to do is consistently lift heavier than you did before.
  2. You can lift heavier... your body will adapt. But your body will only do what your mind tells you to. If your mind is weak, and you have the heart of a sheep rather than a lion, you won't see progress. And that applies to everything else in life.
  3. Your mind will only get stronger when you have set it in you to commit to an objective. The commitment will be your motivation, it will be mind fuel. It will make you want to be the best you can be. There will be no excuses. Excuses are just an excuse.

One day you'll look back and realize that you've come a long way... But you have a long way more to go. You realize that the journey never ends. You will set another target. Another objective. You'll go on board another mission.

This is what separates the lion from the sheep. The winners from the losers. The strong from the weak.

Okay, this junkie is done rambling. Thank you and have a pleasant weekend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Detoxing a Junkie

So I took Monday off from work. And I rescheduled my training to Monday morning rather than Monday evening. But the trainer had better ideas.

"How about we train once in the morning and once in the evening. You okay with that?'

I have got to stop or at least control this 'anything goes' attitude. Predictably I said yes. So we trained in the morning. Very basic stuff: front squats (I'm getting so much better at front squats), deadlifts, lat pull downs (to work on my pull ups) and pronated grip bicep curls (also to assist on my pull ups).

I've to be honest... I was pretty worn out after the first training session and kind of dreaded the evening session. Heck, I was even taking a few minutes' nap in my car before stepping into the gym.

The evening session was quite tough. Maybe because I was already tired. It consisted of the benchpress and overhead press. Not too happy with my performance but perhaps I would've done better if I had more rest.

Anyway, there was no training on Tuesday and Wednesday (today). There was supposed to be training today but Kasey had some things to settle so he let me take today off as well. At first I felt glad that I didn't have to train today but then I felt the familiar jittery feeling I always get whenever I lay off training for a while.

It felt awkward not to try to 'conquer the bar'. I felt anxious. I felt like I was shrinking again. The rational mind tells me that it is ridiculous. But I still felt nervous and twitchy anyway. It's a very unsettling feeling.

Only two days and I'm a wreck. I wonder how I would feel when I have to take a week off.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cheap Fuel

Okay, here's the deal folks. Ramping up your eating does not actually come cheap. Especially when you're the kind who doesn't cook. At all. AT ALL!! Now you may ask why the heck do I not cook? It's not that hard.

The answer is: Cooking is easy. The cleaning up is not. And hence I don't cook.

But the cost of eating out is skyrocketing and I need to resort to something that may resemble cooking. Now I know that microwave oven cooking is not ideal, but it's all I have and that is what I can use for the time being.

So... anyone can give me very simple, idiot-proof recipes for cooking protein-dense stuff in the nuke box?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Motivation

Quite a decent number of people have asked me why I lift weights. Why I hit the gym. Why I make it a point not to miss a training day if I can help it. What am I trying to prove when I lift those weights. Sometimes I get confused by the questions. Would you not want to be a better version of yourself? Do you not want to preserve your youthfulness? Aren't you a tad bit competitive?

I have internal motivation and I have external motivation.

I'm competitive with myself. There is this crazy fire within me to always be the best that I can be. Maybe it's the upbringing, the schooling, the friends, the family. Maybe it's just the classic Alpha Female trait. I don't know. What I do know is I benchmark myself against the best. And if I can be the best then that is great. If not, I'll die trying.

Kasey sometimes has to comfort me if I'm being too hard on myself. It's good to have a trainer that understands how you tick. A trainer like that will know how to push you and know when to make you feel better. Which leads me to external motivation....

There's positive external motivation and negative external motivation.

Positive external motivation are people like Kasey, Adeline, Kevin and DM who are always there to support me. To give me guidance and advice. To cheer me along. To make me feel proud of my accomplishments. Kasey in particular, makes it a point to spend at least an hour almost every day with me, imparting his knowledge so that I can be a better version of myself. The least I can do is not let him down.

And then there's negative motivation. This kind of motivation isn't too bad. Ever had someone try to discredit you and ridicule your actions? Who hasn't, right? How do you handle that kind of behaviour? At work and at training, I've experienced it.

Sometimes it gets to me (I am only a mere mortal). Most times it doesn't. I prefer to just keep my head low, work hard and let the results speak for itself. I let their negative energy fuel my desire to be a better version of myself. I remind myself that I am brought up well and not retaliate by making baseless, misinformed and uneducated statements about others.

Everytime I achieve something new, a smug smile appears on my face and I know I am on the right track. I don't need to justify my actions. That is the trait of insecure souls. I don't need to ridicule others, that is the trait of cowards.

What I need to do is shut up, dig deep, and get on with the programme. Everytime I prove a person wrong, I am vindicated. And that vindication motivates me.

So enough about me, how about you guys. What motivates you?


Progress Report

Right. Here's the deal. It has been almost 4 weeks since I started training almost on a daily basis. My aim was to:

  1. Improve my lifts (squat, deadlift, benchbress, overhead press)
  2. Not detest running
  3. Improve my pull up numbers

Improve my lifts

On this front, I'm pretty pleased with my progress. My squats have improved by 50%. Another way to look at it is I am squatting 89% of my bodyweight. With Kasey's help I hope to increase the numbers even further.

Deadlifts have improved by 29%. I am lifting 1.49% of my bodyweight.

Not so happy about my benchpress. Seems like it's not progressing as much as I'd like it to. We've been training more on dumbbell presses because the barbell is always being used everytime it's my benchpress day.

My dumbbell presses have only increased by 2.5kg. When previously I was pressing 10kg dumbbells, now I'm pressing 12.5kg dumbbells. Not too impressive. Will try to work on it more.

Overhead presses. Still doing about 22kg overhead presses. Kasey has not focused much on overhead presses yet. He was more concerned with my squats for this past month. Maybe in the next phase he'll focus more on upper body.

Not Detest Running

I don't hate running anymore. Don't love it either. More like I'm indifferent to it now. Running is just running.

According to Kasey I've been doing really well on this front. When previously I go about on a snail's pace, now I can actually run pretty quick.

Haa... the other day's routine was pretty brutal in my lowly standards. 4 rounds of running with 3 reps of pull ups and 3 reps of push ups right smack in between.

In other words... run until the halfway mark, rest 10 seconds then do 3 reps of pullups continued by 3 reps of push ups then continue running. Do that for four rounds.

Kasey finally made me cry. I've a feeling after this I'll be crying even more frequently.

Improve my Pull-ups

Pullups are the bane of my existence. I thought I could do 2 reps of pull ups previously. Turns out it was not the case. I wasn't in a deadhang position (for my starting position) so it doesn't count. I can't do even one friggin' pull-up. But we're getting there.

I can do chin-ups though.

Kasey says my arms are trailing behind i.e. they're not as strong as my other muscles. Hence strengthening my suspicion that the next phase will have more focus on upper body strength.

Other Updates

  1. I have not weighed myself. I think I've gained weight because my clothes are tighter now. My friends also mentioned I look a bit bigger. Maybe I'll go visit my doc tomorrow at his clinic and ask if I can weigh myself there (I'm cheap, sue me).
  2. The no supplements policy has not affected my performance. Maybe before this I was too reliant on supplements and forgot that I can get my nutrients the regular way: by stuffing my face. I won't lie and say it is easy to eat a lot. It is frigging hard. And there are many times I feel like puking. But just like anything else in fitness and life in general, there's an art and strategy to eating a lot. And I'm just starting to get the hang of it.
  3. I just bought my bottle of multivitamins last night. Let's see if I can make it a habit to eat at least one tiny tablet each day.
  4. Oh yes one more thing... I didn't actually gain fat. The other day I wrote that I gained fat. It was actually bloatedness. Didn't realize I was nearing the time of the month. My tummy's all slimmed down again now.

p/s I long for the day when I can actually say that I am athletic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Back Squat PR

Today's training method was a bit different. Kasey just got me to do 5 sets of 5 reps of back squats. 10 reps of just the olympic bar as warmup and then it's straight to the main course.

I think this kind of set and reps are working for me because I made a new personal record for back squats.

I didn't realize I was breezing through the previous weight of 35kg until Kasey pointed it out to me. Before, Kasey had to spot me for 35kg back squats and I was doing it all by myself this time round. I thought that was achievement in itself.

But then Kasey took out all the skinny plates and replaced them with 11.3kg plates on each side.

"Do you think you can lift that much?"

I had doubts whether I could make all those weights stay on my small shoulders. But I did it anyway. On the first try I only managed to do 4 reps. On the second try I did 5 reps.

So there. My new 5RM for back squats is 42.6kg.

Pretty impressive, if I say so myself. Especially when I had been stuck at 28kg for the longest time.

Not bad. And I've only been training intensively for 3 weeks.

p/s Eating A LOT helps.

p/p/s Did not get any help from supplements either.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Supplements

Okay here's the deal. I'm not going to take mass gaining supplements anymore. At first it was because I'm allergic to milk. But I can always take vegan protein. I won't, however. I'm trying to prove a point that you do not need mass gainers or almost any other kinds of supplements to build muscle. All I need to do is eat. A lot.

After much prodding and urging from Kasey, I am finally 'in the groove' when it comes to eating. Carbs, fruits, Oreos, fish, ice cream, Coke. Everything's fair game. Of course, I am a hardgainer and I'm training everyday (almost) so I need all those extra calories.

It must be working, though. Because since that bout of food poisoning that left me skeletal, I am gaining all my mass back and then some. There's a bit of fat but it's not significant. I need some fat anyway so it doesn't bother me at all.

Now Kasey's advising me to take some multivitamins supplement. He says on top of the calories, I need extra nutrients because I've been undergoing some pretty intensive training (intensive? really? I haven't cried yet).

My dad has been getting me to take multivitamins and a slew of other supplements for years. I'd usually be really disciplined in taking them for a few weeks (and that's being optimistic) and then the bottle would just sit there collecting dust.

I wonder if I can make it this time round. At least finish a bottle of multivitamins within the prescribed time period.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Of Substance over Style

The gym where I train are full of big guys with big muscles. Too bad they're weak and lift like a girl. Been training there for the past two weeks and never once, NOT ONCE have I seen them do squats or deadlifts.

Oh wait. They do squat. Using the smith machine. To make things worse, they use weights which I think is just slightly more than a quarter of their bodyweight. Heck, there was a guy who was squatting the bar of the smith machine. He'd be better off doing bodyweight squats.

And they do deadlift. Using an EZ bar. An EZ bar, ladies and gentlemen. And THANK GOD that there's no leg press machine or else we'll see these gentlemen getting oh so proud and cocky lifting 300kg worth of plates. But the doctors would be happy though, seeing that their business is getting better due to having to conduct more hernia repair surgeries.


... what is the point of you going to the gym almost daily only to build artificial strength?

...what is the point of lifting weights when your form is excrutiatingly bad that chances are, you'll gain injury rather than mass?

...what is the point of piling plate after plate for your benchpress only to have your friend help you lift it with you EVERY SINGLE TIME?

And I've hardly ever see any of those guys do push-ups let alone pull-ups and chin-ups. Like Mr. Ferruggia once wrote.. if you can't do pushups you do not have the right to benchpress.

This is just a bitching post, actually. And I'm reminded once again why I don't think I'm up to be a trainer.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Hate Running - Part III



I still do not enjoy running. But it's bearable now. That's actually an achievement for someone who avoids running like the plague. Put me on an elliptical machine, I can survive. Make me do rows, I might even enjoy it. Kettlebell swings? No problem.

Running? No sir. Running ain't for me. I'm not built for running. No I'm not.

But like I've mentioned before, you can do deadlifts till the cows come home but if you're as mobile as Robocop then what is the point? You wanna be fast like The Flash. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. You get the picture.




If Ryan Reynolds was The Flash I'd practice running just so I can chase him down. He is such a hottie. And that body? *speechless*


So Kasey being my trainer, have incorporated running sessions into my programme. Ughhh... The first running lesson was on a Sunday at 3pm. Like it wasn't bad enough that I had to run... I had to do it in the midday sun.

"The sun is good for you. It'll enhance your growth hormones."

Yeah, like Kal-El is my brother and Amun-Ra is my godfather.

Anyways, we started running and Kasey taught me how to do it in a way that'll make it less painful. Have you ever got stitches and your shins and ankles hurt like hell when you run? Well, Kasey fixed that.

The first running session was laborious to put it mildly. I was cussing like a sailor. But heck, I cuss like a sailor all the time. The day after the first session I still felt a bit of pain on my shins but I was pretty much pain-free after my second session (which was yesterday) and I was running again today.

That alone spoke volumes. When before it took me 7 days to recover from running, it then took me 3 days to recover and then it took me less than 24 hours. Like I said, I was running again the very next day.

Do I still hate running? No I don't. I don't like it either but if I avoided it at all costs before, I'm pretty much okay with the idea of running now. The technique Kasey taught me has enabled me to:

  1. Run without pain
  2. Use less effort for more distance

  3. How to move faster without too much additional effort

You'd be surprised on how so many things in fitness that are just technical skills more than anything else. Once you get the technique down pat, you would be amazed at how much progress you could achieve in a fairly short time.

So, anyone interested in learning how to run effectively?





Monday, November 29, 2010

New Deadlift PR

Less then two weeks ago I watched as Kasey loaded up the bar with 2 pieces of 25lbs plates on each side. I had just finished doing 8 reps of 48kg deadlifts. "Omigod.... he's not going to make me lift that much is he?" I thought to myself.

So I asked him. Are those for me? Mercifully he said no.

"That's for my overhead press. Not for you."

Oh okay. Phew!

"But you can try to deadlift it if you want." He had to add that. Sheesh. I can never resist a challenge. So I did. It didn't budge. AT ALL!!!

Two weeks later, I can lift those weights and then some.

I am proud to say that my 2RM is 150lbs. Equivalent to 68kg which is equivalent to 1.5 times my bodyweight. Cool huh?

Kasey indeed knows what he's doing. I got impatient when he didn't let me lift heavier and wanted me to work on my technique and quads instead. Indeed he knows better. And as a result, my deadlifting PR went up phenomanally. In less than two weeks.

Okay I'll stop gloating now.

p/s Just in case you're wondering who this Kasey guy is... he is my personal trainer and you can check out his blog here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Of shoes and going barefoot

Ever since I quit the gym and trained at home, I've never ever worn shoes when weightlifting. At first I planned to wear shoes but I discovered that going bearfoot was more comfortable and stable.

Take a look at your typical sports shoes. Chances are they aren't flat i.e. they have heels. When you're wearing shoes with heels, your body tilts slightly forward throwing you a bit off balance especially when you're squatting. Especially when you're front squatting.

This was made more apparent recently when I'm training at a public RM2 per entry gym over in Bangsar. I usually take off my shoes when I'm doing my lifts but one fine day, this obnoxious little man who frequents the gym said that taking off our shoes are prohibited.


The humble Chuck Taylor/Converse shoes


Not wanting any trouble, I squatted with my shoes on and I feel extremely uncomfortable performing them. I felt like I could tilt forward at any time. Apparently quite a number of trainers know about this and choose to either train with no shoes on or wear flats like the Chuck Taylors or Vibram Five Fingers. Me, I just like to train barefoot. Much cheaper.


The funkier Vibram Five Fingers


The ever reliable and cheap.....



Hmmm... and all this while I thought martial artists train with no shoes on because they don't want to hurt their sparring partners. Turns out it was because it's more stable that way. Interesting.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

About quads and life as we know it

My quads are weak. I have weak quads. Bloody hell. That's why I can't squat heavy. The quads are failing me. My hamstrings are strong though, hence the ease of doing deads compared to squats.

We're working on that, though. We're working on strengthening the quads. Today was legs day and my quads are feeling like jelly. Heck, perhaps even jelly doesn't wobble as my legs wobble now.

But I know this phase shall pass. And my quads will get stronger. All I have to do is work on it harder.

It's interesting how your attitude towards training can spill over to your attitude towards life. Or your attitude towards life spill over to your attitute towards training.

  • If you're weak at something, work on it. You'll get better.
  • There is no such thing as a bad training session. You will experience setbacks, plateau, etc. But there's always a way to work around it.
  • When you reach new achievements, be proud of it. You deserve it.
  • Be humble. You think you're lifting a lot? There will always be someone better than you.
  • Take a break every once in a while. It'll make you better and stronger when you start again.
  • Diligence and hard work will pay dividends
  • Equip yourself with knowledge. Do not follow blindly. You'll save a lot of time, money and energy that way

Anything else?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My 2 Favourite Lifts

Perhaps confessing that you prefer a certain type of exercise more than others is not as politically incorrect as confessing that you have a favourite child. Me, I enjoy all my weight training sessions but I have to say that my favourite two lifts (I also personally think that doing only these 2 lifts is pretty much enough for a day's worth of training) are:

  1. The Deadlift
  2. The Overhead Press

I've loved deadlifting for quite a while already. There's something about doing deads that just makes me go all hyper and excited. The overhead press is a new love, I have to confess. The press is intimidating at first. But I grew to adore it.

Unfortunately, as much as I love the dead and the overhead press, my numbers are far from impressive. Not worth showing off I'm afraid.

For deadlifts, my 8RM is about 49kg (I think I can do more, but I was advised to get my technique down pat before I start piling on the plates).

Overhead presses? Sigh... I'm just pressing the olympic bar - that's 20kg - for 12 reps (and the final 3 reps have to be spotted). So nope... not impressive. Not impressive at all. I've got a looooooonngggg way to go.

PS:

Tried running on Sunday. Was laboured but wasn't as bad as I expected. Could it be that someday I may even enjoy running? Only time will tell.

I've been trying to ramp up on my food intake. No holds barred. Everything is fair game. There is no such thing as junk food. Woohooo... now I know of a few people who would kill to be in my position. Haha.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Training Mistakes

After almost three years of a more active lifestyle, it seems that I've made my fair share of exercising mistakes. Check out the list below. Did you or are you still doing them?
  1. Hiring a bad trainer - I just joined the gym and was intimidated by all the machines that filled up three floors of the place. They provided me with 2 complimentary sessions with a personal trainer. We seem to get along well (NEVER hire a trainer based solely on how well you guys get along) so I hired her for an additional 10 sessions... which ranked as the biggest training mistakes I ever did and one of the bigger financial mistakes that I did.
  2. Using weight machines - It's hard not to when all you can see are weight machines left, right and centre. Plus my idiot trainer made me use almost all the machines available. On hindsight maybe she was paid to do so, so that I feel like I need to go the gym just to get a complete workout. Yes, I saw changes in my body but any newbie would see body developments no matter what they did when they first started exercising. All those machine exercises just gave me a false sense of strength and I also ended up with a weaker core.
  3. Doing Sit-ups - Bad for your spine, bad for your neck. I did 1,000 of them each time I hit the gym. Thank goodness I was lucky enough to escape injury.
  4. Warming up on the treadmill for 20 minutes - Ever trusting, little did I know this was a ploy by the idiot trainer to buy time. It did little in my quest to increase mass.
  5. Using gloves to avoid calluses - Caused me to have almost non-existent grip strength.

Looking at these mistakes, I can actually attribute almost all of it to that trainer I hired. All the false information. All the useless things I was made to do. The reason why I hired a trainer in the first place was because I didn't know any better. The trainer was supposed to be the one to educate me. I'm disappointed and kind of bitter the way I was cheated out of my money.

Nowadays I prefer just to stick to the basics. No power plate, Marie France Bodyline, or Herbalife crap for me. I'm also reading up more on fitness science... not because I'm being a nerd, but it's good to equip yourself with good fundamentals. That way, no one can screw you over.

Care to share any of your training mistakes?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Eve Workout

Okay so today I am training again. And again, it's just a quickie:

3 sets of 5 reps of:

1. Squats (23kg... my squat strength was compromised after my long training break. Need to work on it)

2. Dumbbell Floor Press (11kg)

3. Chinups

I was thinking maybe I should do some conditioning workout tomorrow. At first I wanted to do some barbell complexes but then I saw this vid over at travisstoetzel.com. And I think tomorrow I will do some barbell clean and press for time. 20 minutes with as little rest as possible would cut it, I reckon.




p/s I need to ramp up my food intake. My clothes are wearing me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back in Business

Finally I am back for training. It felt like eternity. Imagine sitting in your living room watching your barbell just laying there dormant. Not a pretty sight. Tonight I got back home pretty late so it was just a short workout.

3 sets of 5 reps of the deadlift (48kg), dumbbell military press (9kg) and bodyweight row (pretty light now that I've lost weight).

Enough to work up a sweat but not enough to leave me exhausted. I'm quite confident I'll be able to recover enough to train again tomorrow.

Yup, I've tweaked my workouts slightly to enable me to recover quickly thus enabling me to train more frequently.

The theory, ladies and gentlemen, goes like this:

To build strength and size = Train as frequently as possible (be sensible with this)
To train frequently = Recover quickly
Recover quickly = Short but intense workouts

That's pretty much the gist of it. I'd happily give you the exact quote but I'm a bit too lazy to go flick through my references. I'll do that once I have the luxury of time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why Machines Suck - An Opinion from a Wannabe

Don't take me seriously. I am just a wannabe. I am not an athlete, let alone a trainer. I don't have slabs of muscle. I don't have veins sticking out of my arms and legs. I don't take pictures of myself flexing my almighty muscles in front of the mirror and post it on my blog.

Please sir. Please don't take me seriously. But of course, this is my blog. And therefore I am entitled to write whatever the hell I want. And so I am writing.

Machines suck. Those squats, and benchpresses you do on the smith machine? They mean nothing. But I think one of the most dangerous of all machine exercises is the leg press. You lifting tonnes of weight with your legs? You think you're macho? Yeah, you are. You're strong. But you're risking injury too. When you're risking unnecessary injury, what does that make you? Fill in the blanks yourself.

Let me give you an excerpt out of the book Beyond Bodybuilding by Pavel Tsatsouline. Anyone serious enough in sports science would be interested to know what Pavel says. But hey, don't take my word for it. I'm just a wannabe, remember? But back to the programme, folks.


"Q: What is wrong with the leg press machine?

A: Where do I start? The leg press puts you in an unnatural position where your knees extend but your hips do not (your legs do line up with your body). In a study by Canadian researcher Digby Sale, strength gains on the leg press had no meaningful carryover to the squat, read a functional movement.

The sled can be dangerous, especially if you bring your knees too close towards your chest as is typical among muscleheads. Your tail comes off the pad and your rounded lower back has to bear the brunt of the unrealistic poundage. This type of flexion is the number one cause of disc herniations.

Last but not least, the sled and most other machines do not challenge your stabilizing muscles. With very few exceptions, exercise machines belong on the junk pile of history next to Communism."

Nuff said.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Food Poisoning Updates

Yup, taking a week off from any kind of training whatsoever. Come Monday I'll start training again. Will have to start slow since my stomach still feels tender. I'm slowly going insane not being able to lift weights.

Training is my Prozac.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Gets Going

I shall bounce back from this horrendous tummy bug. Yes, I will.
Quitting is for losers. Yes, it is.

p/s I LOVE Eminem. He's a lyrical genius. I wish I had half the talent he has.



alright let's pretend Marshall Mathers never picked up a pen
lets pretend things would have been no different
pretend he procrastinated had no motivation
pretend he just made excuses that were so paper thin they could blow away with the wind
marshall you’re never gonna make it makes no sense to play the game there ain’t no way that you’ll win
pretend he just stayed outside all day and played with his friends
pretend he even had a friend to say was his friend
and it wasn’t time to move and schools were changing again
he wasn’t socially awkward and just strange as a kid
he had a father and his mother wasn’t crazy as sh-t
and he never dreamed he could rip stadiums and just lazy as sh-t
f-ck a talent show in a gymnasium bitch you won’t amount to sh-t quit daydreaming kid
you need to get your cranium checked you thinking like an alien it just ain’t realistic
now pretend they ain’t just make him angry with this sh-t and there was no one he could even aim when he’s pissed it
and his alarm went off to wake him off but he didn’t make it to the rap Olympics slept through his plane and he missed it
he’s gon’ have a hard time explaining to Hailey and Laney these food stamps and this WIC sh-t
cuz he never risked shit he hopes and he wished it but it didn’t fall in his lap so he ain’t even here
he pretends that…

Airplanes in the night sky like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now wish right now wish right now
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars
I could really use a wish right now wish right now wish right now

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Workouts for Women. Wooohoooo!

So I am still on MC today. That tummy bug has yet to go away completely and I do not like the idea of having to walk a decent distance from my parking space to the office building. And with work that involves a lot of thinking, going to the office with less than 100% is akin to not going to the office at all.

So I'm not going to the office at all.

To while away the tremendously boring time staying at home, I surfed YouTube looking for various fitness videos to give me ideas on how to make my workouts more interesting. Yes, doing the basics (i.e. squats, deadlifts, military press, benchpress) are good enough to make you strong, but it does get boring. Variety is the spice of life.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about how there are so many vids out there tailored for women. Bodyweight for women. Kettlebell for women. Bla bla bla.... I personally think there should be NO difference on how men and women train. You exercise to increase functional strength and both men and women function the same way. So why must there be a difference on how a woman should train compared to how a man trains?

So you want a hot butt. Do deadlifts.

Firmer chest, so your boobs don't sag? Yup, benchpress.

Triceps that don't flap in the wind? Presses. Any kind. And dips too.

But of course, some of it could be marketing. Because there are STILL women out there who think they'll turn into incredible hulk if they lift weights. I've been lifting weights for three years and I'm still a skinny twig. Albeit a stronger twig.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Setback

45 kilos.

I am at the lightest I have been for years. Dammit. Imagine losing kilos overnight. Yes, that's what food poisoning does to you.

To think that I had written a programme for myself and wanted to conquer the barbell (so to speak) on Monday night. Instead I spent the whole night puking. Not a great feeling. And my muscles are sort through all that retching.

Makes me wonder how those bulimics can puke at will. I don't ever want to puke again. Ughh...

I guess I can only start my new exercise programme once I'm 100% ready. From the looks of it, I may have to take this week off.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kettlebell Clips and other stuff

As usual, before I make a purchase on some new toy, I'll make some research first. I think Steve Cotter is a great instructor. I first heard of him when I went to the Bangkok Fitness Convention. I think I registered for his class but it was unfortunately fully booked.

I'm inserting some of his clips here as my reference. On other stuff: I've bought my new pair of (cast iron) 5kg weight plates. Bought new barbell collars that look like mini Captain Crunchers. Have yet to test their effectiveness.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Predicament

I'm back in my hometown for the long weekend and yesterday I went to the mall with my mom and sis. My sis wanted to look for a stability ball so she can do some basic workout in her apartment when she can't find the time to go to the gym.

So we went to good old Jaya Jusco and bought one and then we proceeded to window shop. And whilst window shopping we found a Fitness Concept store. I couldn't resist and proceeded to step in. In my mind I wanted to survey the price of a pair of 5kg plates.

Doing dumbbell floor presses using a pair of 10kg dumbbells are becoming a bit too easy for me. I'm also running out of plates to add onto my barbell for me to do deadlifts. So a pair of 5kg plates are actually a good investment at this point of time... until I get stronger (hopefully very soon) and need to get more plates for my collection.

The ever practical, but Plain Jane weight plate

But right next to the plates were these nice colourful kettlebells of a variety of weights. I proceeded to play around with them. Doing some swings. Tried a few snatches. Damn it was addictive. I was actually sweating a bit and the salesguy, having grown tired of being completely ignored, left me alone to my devices.

The 8kg dumbbell was pretty decent. It was not too heavy. But not too light either. Perfect for some quick conditioning work. Right in front of the TV. While watching the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother.

The sexy and fun kettlebell

And therein lies my predicament. To get the more practical pair of 5kg plates or the ever so sexy kettlebell? Ahh.. the choice is clear after I've written this post. I'll buy the plates first. And next month I shall buy the kettlebell.

Dum di dum di dum di dum... I love adding to my home gym collection.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I Hate Running - Part Deux

Those who know me long enough (or those who have faithfully read my blog) would know that I absolutely HATE running. HATE it! HATE it!!! If there was a big basket full of Liz Clairborne handbags marked "70% discount" about 200 metres in front of me I'd idly walk by and let the rest of ladies run helter skelter towards it. When I finally get there I'll just pry the handbag I've been eyeing off someone's hands.

Push comes to shove, I'll just punch her in the face. Kidding. Not. Kidding. Seriously.

But would I run? Nope, no sir I will not. I do not like to run. But most 'voices of authority' have said that you are not an athlete if you do not sprint. Sigh. Seriously? Must I? Must I really sprint? I can withstand quite a number of things but going out in the sun to sprint is really pushing it.

Tell me to deadlift, squuat, push, pull, press, punch, kick, spit... I'd be happy to do your bidding. But I will NOT sprint, kind sir. I insist.

Aren't there other means to develop athleticism? What about kickboxing? Or just boxing? I could hang up a punching back somewhere in my humble home and punch the night away. Sigh... I guess I may well have to start sprinting. But it has to be at night. I'll just sprint along the length of the apartment. I hate it. But I will have to try it. I will let you know if I've tried it.

Funny. I used to be decent at 100 metre sprints in high school. Or so I'd like to think.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Minimalist Gym

I arrived at the office very early this morning, as it is the case almost every morning. So, just to settle down before I start my day, I visited several fitness blogs as is my morning ritual. I went to Jason Ferruggia's blog first and he had a new post up on living a minimalist lifestyle.

I'm fairly certain I will not be able to pull a Fight Club and get rid of my worldly belongings. But I agreed wholeheartedly when he wrote that people nowadays are too caught up with fancy gym equipment when you do not need that much to stay fit.

Like I've written many times before, I quit the gym when I realized that I didn't need that many equipment to stay fit PLUS I already have the drive and determination to keep to my training schedule.

According to Mr. Ferruggia, he would just need the items below in his gym to get a complete workout. Let's see how many of the stuff he listed has already been acquired by yours truly, shall we?

  • Dumbbells (check!)
  • Straps or rings (I have a TRX. Good enough. Check!)
  • Chinup bar (check!)
  • Barbell and plates (check!)
  • Squat stands (I want one of these badboys... in my wishlist for now)
  • Dip bars (I have a pair of dining chairs. So... check!)
  • Weighted vest (I don't need these yet. KIV)
  • Kettlebells (in the process of getting one)

So yeah! My gym is pretty solid. How about you? Care to share what toys you keep at home? (And please, I'm not talking about the naughty ones you keep in your bedside drawer).

Monday, November 1, 2010

One year old


Poor thing. I forgot all about my blog's birthday. And that also means I forgot about a good friend's birthday... since it falls one day after my fitness blog's birthday. I must be getting old. No no no.. I'm just pre-occupied with personal stuff right now.


So yeah. Happy birthday to my fitness blog. *Muah* *Muah*

I am not trainer material

Having met and talked to several people who claim to be interested in fitness, who claim to want to take control of their body once again has made me realize one thing. I am not cut out to be a trainer. If being a trainer means...

... I have to listen to your stupid excuse as to why you had to eat a McDonald's Value Meal (Large) in the middle of the night...

if it means...

... I will be told time and time again you can't exercise because your knees are busted, your hips are crooked, your medula oblongata went missing...

it it means...

...I will be told that not everyone has the luxury of time like I do...

then NO. Screw it. I don't want to be a trainer. Heck I won't even bother to give these losers advice. Why? Because in their heart of hearts they know they are not ready for a real change. Most probably they will never be ready for a real change.

If someone is ready for a change they will drop everything and concentrate on being a better version of themselves. Not concentrate on giving better excuses.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dirt Cheap Gym

You know how these fancy gyms charge a great deal of money for a year's membership? When I think about it, it surprises me how I could have wasted a whole bunch of money going to some commercial gym where all they have are bloody weight machines.

As I've mentioned before, I recently trained with Kasey Brown for two sessions. I didn't have a gym membership, so we went to a 'Gym Rakyat' in Bangsar. It's only RM2 per entry. Dirt cheap. Sure, the equipment have seen better days but they're still functional. And there is a shower room you can use after you've done your workouts.

The people who frequent the gym are okay as well. At least they didn't give me funny looks or what not. I was given funny looks by the fucking trainers at the gym I used to frequent before I started training at home.

But still, I do believe that everyone has to start somewhere. For me, I started going to a commercial gym first before 'going indie'. For some people it may be a different story altogether. What matters is that we try to be a better version of ourselves.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Reason

I will be the first to admit that I joined the gym because I had time and money to spare. Besides, it was scary the way I had memorized the programme schedule of my favourite TV channels. To me, it signalled the beginning of the end.

But I eventually started giving weightlifting serious attention. Yeah, it gave me a cute butt (I know because I get compliments. Cheaaaa!!!), but I came to realise that weightlifting impacted my life in many positive ways.

It gave me something to look forward to.

It gave me a quantifiable sense of achievement.

Did I mention I now have a cute butt?

It also gave me this never say die attitude which spilled over to my working life.

Having said that, I am not obsessed about the sport. I mean, I do have a life: hanging out with friends, weekends out clubbing, ehem... the occasional flings (hey, when you have a cute butt people will hit on you). But yeah, weightlifitng gave me discipline and made sure I do not stray towards a more hedonistic lifestyle.

Besides, you know you're doing something right when even the people at the (night)club you frequent starts asking you for tips on health and fitness (yes, the irony is not lost on me). So yeah, weightlifting has had a positive impact on my life. I would go so far to say that it has saved my life from the doldrums.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm back. Finally!

You probably have been wondering what the heck happened to me. What's with the long silence.

Well, the gist of the story is my notebook got fried and I had to procure a new one. So yeah, I'm writing this post on a new netbook, freshly acquired.

On the exercise front, nothing much has changed. Still doing weight training.

I heart weight training.

Anyway, my lower back is much better now. And it turns out that it was not actually my lower back that was hurting. It was my right hip that was tweaked while deadlifiting.

A bit of an update, I hired Kasey Brown as my trainer for two sessions. First to check out whether what he claims is true or just lies and second, I was curious to what kind of torture he would subject me to.

Well, first and foremost he actually fixed my deadlifting technique which curiously fixed my right hip problem. After that session my hip felt a lot better. It's pretty much magic. And now I can continue doing my beloved deadlifts.

He also taught me some cool new exercise moves which was simply torturous. I've incorporated the stuff Kasey has taught me into my workout routines. Great stuff!

Anyways, I'd just like to inform you that Kasey also considers taking clients on a per session basis rather than the usual package deal most trainers offer these days. So if you do not have too much cash to spare, you can hire him for as many sessions as you can afford and he can help you as much as he can.

Alright. Enough for now. I need to exercise.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Experimenting... somewhat.

When I first started going to the gym, my biggest problem was not having an exercise plan. I have this rough idea in my head that I have to do my upper body, my lower body and my abs but there were machines galore and all it did was confuse me. I ended up using almost every machine I could get my hands on. I did get stronger. But of course, when you're new at working out you make gains quickly. And then you plateau. And plateau I did.

Then I discovered Turbulence Training, which finally gave structure to my workouts. I also loved the fact that all I need at most is a pair of dumbbells, a bench, and a stability ball to have one kick ass workout. I also felt more athletic. I could finally do a chin up. And I'm more agile than friends 7 years my junior. But then TT was catered more for the fat loss crowd and I started feeling paranoid again.

Enter Muscle Gaining Secrets. Maybe this programme would transform my body to the likes of Jillian Michaels'. Didn't happen. But I could lift a decent amount of weights now. And while I still don't have slabs of muscles I am more 'toned' ... for the lack of a better word.

But unfortunately, I lost my agility. I was surprised how winded I felt doing very basic bodyweight stuff. So hence lies my issue. I want mass, but I also want to be athletic. I want to move fast. I want to be agile. But it does seem like they are two different sets of goals.

So now I think I'm not gonna follow TT or MGS strictly. I'm gonna attempt to do both. I'm gonna do two days of weightlifting and two days of bodyweight per week. Let's see if that'll work. Note to self: No deadlifting. My technique is off, hence the injury (big duh moment, huh?). Squats seem okay, though.

p/s I am not taking anymore protein shakes. But I have ordered a vegan protein shake (brown rice protein) through the internet. Will write a review on that soon.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back injury update

It's been a while since I last updated my blog. Not for the lack of effort but my internet connection's screwed. Something wrong with the modem. Need to check it. Sigh. I'm your typical Malaysian. I hate doing maintenance work. Pbthhh...

Anyway, my back's getting better. But the tightness is still there. Still laying off the weights for now. Just bodyweight stuff. And I must say I'm enjoying doing something different after about half a year of strictly weight training.

I believe having injury is no excuse for you not to exercise. So your back hurts. You can do other stuff. I don't think doing pushups would aggravate a back injury. And in my case, it appears that doing pushups, planks, chinups, bodyweight rows and even bodyweight squats (squats with PROPER FORM: hips pushed back) have made my back feel much better.

On another note, I'm thinking of trying out sled dragging. Don't have a prowler. But I read somewhere where the guy said that you can use a tyre as a substitute. I can find a tyre. I can look for a rope.

But... kind of segan to drag a tyre at the neighbourhood park all alone. Anyone care to try it out with me. What say you, Adeline and Ash?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back from Bangkok

Finally back from Bangkok and as much as I enjoyed the trip, I really miss home. Also, I couldn't wait to incorporate what I've learnt from the classes I've attended.

The Asia Fitness Convention was interesting. Most of the people in attendance have something to do with the fitness industry and quite a significant number of delegates are trainers. It was pretty intimidating being amongst them.. me, a 'civilian' in the midst of trainers.

But most of the people I meet are nice (and very strong and agile).

Of the many classes I've attended , the one that hits home is the talk given by Fraser Quelch from Fitness Anywhere (the guys that made TRX).

He said that the reason why a lot of people gave up exercising was it wasn't fun. Yes, there are the rare few who actually enjoy lifting weights and doing kettlebell snatches but a lot of people find it intimidating.

The best way to make people keep coming back for more is by making exercise fun.

It could be something as simple as throwing a frisbee in a park. It may not be a total body workout. But at least you're getting some sweat out and that's better than munching on potato chips in front of the idiot box.

It's better to start small than not to start at all.

Another class that I find interesting was the one given by Peter Twist. He said that while weight training is great, it doesn't help someone with agility. Let's face it, with weight training you're only limited to a certain range of movements when our body has the potential to do so much more.

And so, my take home from Bangkok is this:-

I am going to maintain my weight training sessions. BUT for now I'm going to limit it to 2 days per week while another 2 days I'm gonna do more bodyweight workouts to help on my agility and stamina (which has gone kaput of late). Or perhaps I'll replace one of the days for bodyweight training by simply exercising at the park. Take a walk. Do some sprints. Something that has nothing to do with any type of bells (e.g. barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell).

Besides, I tweaked my lower back deadlifting. So gonna stay away from those deadlifts until my back is as good as new.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Off Week

Perfect timing for an off week from any kind of training. Been training 8 weeks straight. And the off week falls during the Hari Raya period. Can't get better than that.

After the Hari Raya hols, I'll be off to Bangkok for Fit Thai's Fitness Convention. Can't wait!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shock! Horror!

I discovered that I can't take cow's milk as it aggravates my eczema. No wonder my eczema has gotten worse since the day I started ramping up on my protein intake. No eggs either, I reckon. To put it simply I am to stay away from any kind of dairy products. Tough. I love dairy stuff.

I can't drink cow's milk.

I can't eat eggs.

No other dairy stuff either.

No shellfish.

Possibly no soy either.

I can deal with that to be honest. At least fish is still on the menu. But not being able to drink cow's milk and take dairy stuff means that i can't take my protein shake!

Or can I?

Note to Self



Note to Self:
Progressive improvement. Work harder. No excuses.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I was at DM's Body Transformation Camp


Finally, after many failed attempts I have made it to DM's Body Transformation Camp. This is the second time DM and Coach Herny have conducted a free trial week for the camp. It's still not too late to join them. If you'd like to give it a go, you can do so by clicking this link.

Anyway, I finally met my blog-o-buddy Adeline, Coach Herny and 0f course DM (whom I've not met up with for quite some time). I had fun doing all the workouts although I do feel laboured doing them. It has been sometime since I did this kind of workouts. Usually I just hit the weights which is just as taxing, but I guess my body has adapted to that kind of training (that is my excuse lah, at least. Hehehehhe... Won't make fasting as an excuse as other people were fasting too and that didn't stop them, did it?)

I can't quite remember what the workout entailed. There were Y squats, walking Y lunges, burpees, spiderman crawls, jumping jacks, 1 leg deadlifts... classic Turbulence Training, I reckon. And oh yeah, I did an embarrassing 50 half pushups on the pushup challenge. But in my defense, I maintained proper form throughout. And to me, that's more important (lame excuse again... pbtthhhhhh).

I'd definitely recommend the camp to anyone who wants to maintain their general health and fitness and of course to those who are seeking for fat-loss the NATURAL way. It's the best and PERMANENT way to lose the flab and what's more, it doesn't cost a bomb or have nasty side effects. Plus, you make new friends. Cool, huh?

So if you're interested on the free trial, head on over here. Trust me, it's worth it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

About feeling sore

Ten more days and the fasting month is over. It seems like my worry about not making progress during this period is pretty much unfounded as everytime I hit the barbell I either increase the weights or increase the reps. So much for maintenance. Haha. But then I started with conservative weights, one might argue. Nevermind, it's not the biggest issue. Argue all you want.

Anyway, I've noticed that for the past two workouts, I hardly feel any muscle soreness the next day. Usually my glutes and shoulders would be killing me. But now there's barely any muscle pain post-workout day. Does that mean my body has adapted and I now have better recovery ability? Or does that mean that my form has gone kaput and I don't hit the targeted muscles?

Hmmmmm.....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No excuses

Way back when I first wanted to join a gym, I asked a friend who was a gym rat about membership fees. But instead of telling me how much he was paying he brusquely told me to forget about joining a gym if I was only going to visit it once or twice. I remember feeling extremely pissed off with his answer and thinking that he was one heck of an arrogant schmuck.

Of course, I went on to join a gym and enjoyed it immensely. I went to the gym religiously and relished the sense of accomplisment it gave me. However, I began to understand why my friend was acting like an arrogant schmuck.

Not many people are like me. The desire to hit the gym was not something temporary - which is the case for a lot of people. He may have 'lashed out' on me out of frustration of seeing so many people wasting their money for something they hardly use.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the desire for change comes from within. You must be internally motivated. You can buy all the motivational books the world has to offer, you can buy all the fitness equipment your bank account can afford you, you can hire the best personal trainers but if there is no fire within you, your change for the better will only be shortlived.

Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to lead a better lifestyle? What's in it for you? Or are you doing it for someone else? Is there an ulterior motive?

The desire for change must be profound enough that you will not give up when faced with the smallest of obstacles. Too many times have I heard excuses.

The gym is too far away.

It's hard to find parking.

My schedule does not permit.

There was an emergency.

You'll drive the distance if you want to. You'll look for parking dilligently until you find one. You'll make time. Emergencies don't happen all the time unless you're Clark Kent, Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne.

Don't sell yourself short. You should treat yourself better.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fitness Schmucks

Ever experienced those days when you visit a gym and there's a bunch of well-built guys strutting their stuff and looking smugly at other people who seem to be struggling to lift a quarter of the weights that they're lifting? Unfortunately, I've seen these fools before.

Same thing goes when I visit fitness forums or go to various fitness blogs. While most forumers are very helpful and would not mind imparting what they know to fellow forumers there are a certain few who choose to behave like jackasses. Yes, you're very knowledgable. Yes, we get that you know your stuff. But do you have to be such an asshole?

You have a choice on how to impart your knowledge to others. You can use the "I am a F*cking Schmuck" approach or you can be humble. Guess which approach wins you more fans? I guess some people just don't get the concept of "treat others the way you want others to treat you".

One lesson that I've learnt in my early years of working life is this: The worst thing you could do is to make yourself look good by making other people look bad.

But hey, that's just me.

Why am I writing this totally 'unrelated to fitness' post? I don't know. It's just that I love the fitness industry. But it bothers me that even in an industry that is in its infancy in Malaysia, I already see unhealthy habits and unhealthy competition brewing.

It makes me sick.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Double Overhand Grip vs. Reverse Grip

So there I was feeling a bit smug being able to deadlift about 50kg's worth of bar + plates. And then I realized that all this while I've been using the reverse grip rather than the ideal double overhand grip. Ideal, because it is also the grip that a lot of people are weakest at. So the logic is: the more you improve on your double overhand grip, the stronger you'll get.

The reverse grip: The usual grip I use for my deadlifts

The double overhand grip: This I need to work on.

So tonight instead of using the reverse grip I switched to double overhand and immediately felt that I was a sissy. I had to take off 1kg and reduced my reps from 8 to 5 (barely). Yes, I'm disappointed that I'm weaker than I thought I was. But no, that's not going to stop me.

I'll try to improve on my grip strength. It is my weakest link anyway.

On another note... I've stopped doing barbell benchpress for now and switched to dumbbell benchpress. I need to get back to basics. Something tells me I'm doing something wrong.

Random Thoughts

I wish I can hire a personal trainer and personal chef that can take care of my wellbeing 24/7. Maybe I should fly over to Hollywood and try to make it big as a moviestar.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Sahur Conundrum

Fasting is going just fine. My training sessions are pretty steady. I eat a small meal for iftar (breaking fast) then take half a serving of protein shake. Rest a bit and do whatever needs to be done. Then I start weight lifting. Not too shabby indeed.

But that's not what I wanna write about. I've no problems with appetite for iftar, but sahur (very early, pre-dawn breakfast circa 5am) is a whole different thing altogether. Try waking up that early and then forcing yourself to shove food down your throat.

Not appealing. But it is a necessary evil. At least for me it is. I can barely survive fasting without having sahur. My body would be in catabolic overdrive. Not good.

For now, I'm just taking my protein shake for sahur. Maybe make a tuna sandwich. But that's all I can stomach. I don't have a big appetite so early in the morning. Plus, I'm not a morning person. Which makes it worse.

For those who are observing the fasting month, or have experimented with fasting (like me blog-o-buddy Adeline)... what do you take for sahur?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Benchpress - a bit of a rut

My Ramadhan workouts are going along just fine. I'm still sticking to the basics of 5 sets each of squat, deadlift and benchpress. But the funny thing is... while I'm making steady progress with my squat and deadlift, my benchpress is stuck in a bit of a plateau i.e. I'm stuck lifting 22.5kg for 7 reps for 2 sessions in a row now.

By the fifth set I'm struggling to make 7 reps. I'm not overly worried, though. I know I just need to work on it more. And the benchpress is the final move I make after doing the squat and the deadlift. And the deadlift is taxing.

I'll see if I can break through the benchpress plateau come Monday.

Choosing the Right Exercises for Fast Muscle Gain

By Jason Ferruggia

When I first started training, I didn’t know any better so I went to the gym and did all the machine exercises and isolation movements that I saw everyone else doing. I figured these would all lead to fast muscle gain and I would be huge in no time.

My dad knew a steroid-using Italian guy named Tony who owned a gym and competed in several bodybuilding shows. He asked Tony if he could write me a program and Tony obliged. I was bursting with excitement and thought this would be the difference maker in my training. I met with Tony at his office one day, and in a scene that could have been straight out of an episode of The Sopranos, he interrogated me about my muscle building program. I gave him a piece of paper with my workout on it and he took a long, hard look at it.

“Here’s whatcha gonna do. And I don’t wan any a’guments. You do dis and you’ll grow. Ya undastand me?”

“Yeah, definitely. No problem.”

He pulled out a legal pad and scrawled out my new training program. It was loaded with all of the exercises that all the top name bodybuilders in the magazines were always shown doing. Stiff arm pullovers, concentration curls, leg extensions, cable flyes, you name it—they were included.

I took my new program, thanked Tony, and left. The next few weeks would surely be an amazing time for me, I thought. The growth that I was about to experience would be dramatic, I just knew it.

But nothing happened.

You know why? Because those exercises suck, that’s why. Sure, the volume was too high for my limited recovery ability at the time, but if he had me doing the right exercises, I might have experienced some kind of gains.

Choosing the right exercises could ultimately be the difference between lightening fast muscle gain and absolutely no muscle gain whatsoever. No matter how well thought out your workout plan is, if you use the wrong exercises, it will be completely useless. Even a bad training program will yield some results if you are using the right exercises. For these reasons, exercise selection is one of the most important components of any muscle building system.

So how do you choose the best exercises?

The best mass building exercises are always multi joint, free weight, compound exercises that use as much muscle mass as possible and allow you to use heavy weights. This includes movements like squats, deadlifts, chin ups, dips, overhead presses and rows. If you are desperately seeking fast muscle gain, the last thing you should ever waste your time doing is using machine or isolation exercises during your workouts. These exercises are great at producing that burning feeling that so many people love and can often lead to a great pump, but they do very little to pack on massive size or build real world, functional strength.

For a very unique, scientifically advanced rating system which gives you a complete list of the best exercises on the planet, proven to lead to insanely fast muscle gain and mind blowing strength visit MuscleGainingSecrets.com now.



Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day of Ramadhan

Not wanting to disrupt my Monday Wednesday Friday training sessions, I still weightlifted today despite the fact that it was the first day of Ramadhan. Yes, preserving muscle mass is important but to me, it is more important to maintain your exercise routine. The worst thing that could happen is you lose your momentum just because you have to fast for 30 days.

Admittedly, I was slightly weaker even though I had a pretty decent meal and on top of that, took half a serving of True Mass before training. My grip wasn't as strong, but I made it through my basic routine of squat, deadlift and bench press. But I feel good.

Maybe it's the first day and the toll of fasting has not taken its full-blown effect on me yet. But I'll take it one day at a time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

This was when it started

Ramadhan is only a few days away. And it was because of Ramadhan that I actually started becoming a bit more serious about my workout routine. I remember feeling worried that the change in schedule would adversely affect my gym sessions. And because of that I invested in a pair of 10lbs dumbbells and a stability ball.

Then came the worry that I won't have much to do with just a pair of dumbbells and a stability ball. Which then led me to discover Turbulence Training. I used the TT programme throughout Ramadhan and for once I felt that my workouts had some structure in it.

After Ramadhan I stopped using the machines at the gym and just settled for the wide range of dumbbells that they have. I wanted to use the barbell at the gym but was too intimidated by the men there. And I don't like the way they stare at women who have the balls to use the barbell.

That led me to slowly phase out the gym and I spend more time working out at home. To be honest, the first time I ever properly held a barbell was actually at Pushmore. And that was only for 3 days.

The rest of the time I just used my dumbbells (by then I'd already invested in a pair of 10kg adjustable dumbbells) and also did various bodyweight exercises. The main reason why I bought the barbell was that I came to realize that if I really want to build serious strength the best way is to train with a barbell.

I was also frustrated that I couldn't do the exact moves that was instructed in Jason Ferruggia's MGS programme which requires a barbell. Ahh... that's another change. From Turbulence Training I have now moved on to Muscle Gaining Secrets.

I wonder what other changes would I have gone through when next year's Ramadhan arrives?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Don't flush your money down the toilet bowl

It was a nice peaceful time at the office and I got to talking to one of my colleagues. She was telling me that she plans to buy a treadmill. I still don't get why people would want to waste money and/or incur debt just to buy something they'd use once or twice and ultimately becomes part of the furniture.


Looks silly, doesn't it? I wonder why people are still doing it, though.

Like me and everyone else, my colleague has cash constraints. So I told her that if she wants to lose weight, she could invest in two equipments that combined, cost less than a fraction of what a treadmill would. What are those two things?
  • A stability ball
  • A kettlebell
She was pretty skeptical about the kettlebell. "I want to exercise while I watch the tv." Sigh... typical. I refrained from telling her that if she can hit the treadmill and can still concentrate on watching the tv, she's basically not burning enough calories.

I just told her that she can do kettlebell swings in front of the tv. No problemo. It seems that I have picqued her interest. But we'll see whether someone would take my advice. I am after all just a fitness junkie and not a qualified instructor.

Oh, by the way... I also told her that diet is more important than exercise.

Basics again

Came home at 10pm. As I've mentioned before, I have not trained at all this week which results in me being extremely cranky and unable to de-stress. I was feeling sluggish at first but I went ahead with a few basic lifts.

Just for maintenance, I told myself. Well, that 'just for maintenance' became more of a warm up session as I piled on the weights to my barbell (that barbell is turning out to be a fabulous investment).

Below are the stuff that I did. Like I said, very basic. Nothing fancy. But definitely a total body workout.

Squat
5 sets of 5 reps (6.75kg)

Deadlift
5 sets of 5 reps (20kg)

Bench Press
5 sets of 5 reps (11.25kg)

The weights represent one side of the barbell. I think that's the right way to calculate how much you lift. But please, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm open to ideas and opinions. Admittedly, the weights aren't that impressive. I think I can improve on my squats most definitely.

But the ass was definitely on the ground when I did squats. Having the correct form is of the utmost importance.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Of training (or lack of) and getting back to basics

I have not done any sort of training throughout this week. My schedule got messed up big time and I've been coming home late every single night. By the time I unlock the door to my apartment I'm pretty spent, so yeah... no training at all this week which is uncool because next week's already Ramadhan and that's gonna hinder progress (I hope I won't get struck by lightning writing this).

Anyway, the plan for Ramadhan is for me to do just basic stuff. I'm just gonna do compound exercises (squats, bench press, deadlifts) for maintenance. Nothing too extreme. But then again my training has never been 'extreme'.. I guess extreme needs to be defined.

But I'm digressing. So I wanted to tell you that I got home tonight and tested the strength of my make-do squat stand (a.k.a. my dining chairs)... whether or not they could hold my barbell shod with a pair of 10kg plates. They're holding steady.

And I can squat 20kg (or is it 10kg? Do you calculate one side or both sides?)... A bit of a struggle, admittedly. But I can squat 20kg.

I hope I can regain my strength quickly once the fasting month is over..

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Silver Lining

20kg's worth of weight plates on my barbell (10kg, 5kg, and 2pcs of 2.5kg plates. The 2.5kg plates are taken off one of my dumbbells). Tried a few deadlifts... real sweet.

The fact that my friendly neighbourhood Fitness Concept didn't stock up on 10kg weight plates has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Went to One Utama to watch a movie earlier tonight and stepped into Kettler.

Looked over at the weights section and they were well stocked with 10kg weight plates and then some. The plates are slightly pricier compared to Fitness Concept. RM96 compared to Fitness Concept's RM91. But that's before discount. After discount a pair of 10kg weight plates (cast iron) are RM155. Fitness Concept does not offer any discounts currently.

So if you're planning to buy some home gym stuff, head on over to Kettler. The sales guy said they're having a sale until September. Adeline -> *hint* *hint*

Monday, August 2, 2010

How I lost faith in situps and crunches

If I could re-do or not do something (fitness-related) which I didn't do or did before.. it would be not to waste my precious time and risk injury by doing countless sit-ups and crunches and focus more on compund exercises, and doing more planks and side-planks.

When I first read about how situps and crunches are pretty much useless in improving core strength, I was skeptical. The traditionalist in me was thinking how could that be when situps and crunches have been the most basic of exercises.

But another side of me was relieved. I was tired of the backaches and neckaches often associated with those two main exercises. So how do I satisfy both sides? I did an experiment, of course.

I did situps and crunches at the gym on one day. And the next time I went to the gym I did stability ball jackknives and spiderman crawls.

Yup, you guessed it. The gym session sans situps and crunches left my tummy sore while the gym session with situps and crunches left my back and neck sore but my tummy felt nothing. That convinced me to ditch them altogether.

Nowadays, I happily go without those two 'killer ab exercises' choosing instead to just concentrate on compound exercises and perhaps end (or begin) with doing planks.

Don't believe me? Here's a little challenge for you.

Try doing 300 situps one day (I did this).

The next time you hit the gym, try doing squats or deadlifts. See which one makes your core hurt more.

Comment about your experience here if you'd like. I'd definitely appreciate it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My progress and gripes about warmups...

I'm almost done with Jason Ferruggia's MGS programme. Only one more week to go, actually. Yup, I've seen some progress but somehow I feel that I could've done better. I guess this is one of the setbacks of a home gym. You're limited to the weights that you have available.

You can't go on increasing your reps forever, can you? Eventually you have to move on to heavier weights.

And I don't think I'm eating enough. I know I'm supposed to 'stuff my face' but it's really tough to do. The exercises are challenging, yes. But maintaining my diet is way way tougher. Most likely I'd make a whole more progress if only I'd eat more.

*****

On another note, I notice that I can lift heavier if I minimize my warm up sessions. I hate warm up sessions, to be frank. Many times I just wanna hit the weights and skip on the boring 'let's get our heart rates up and losen those joints a bit' phase.

I don't mind warming up by lifting weights though i.e. high reps lighter weights before moving on to more serious lifting.

Is warming up a necessary evil or can we just skip it altogether. I think I know what the answer is, but I wanna hear your opinion.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sad.

Excitement quickly turned into disappointment earlier today. I was looking forward to buy myself a pair of 10kg weight plates but it was not meant to be. I asked the sales guy at my friendly neighbourhood Fitness Concept that I want a pair of 10kg weight plates. He checked in the computer and brightly exclaimed, "Yes, we have it!" but it quickly followed with "but it's only gonna arrive here next Friday."

What a way to break the news, huh?

And so it is that I can't test my squat strength. And so it is I have to make do for another week without my pair of 10kg weight plates. And by that time it's gonna be Ramadhan already.

Bummer.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Looming Ramadhan and Losing Muscle Mass

Would I be struck by lightning if I say that the month of Ramadhan is the bane of my existence? Okay, before you report me to a cleric and a fatwa is issued on me being an apostate or what not, I'd just like to clarify that while Ramadhan is one of the most enjoyable months, it is also the most challenging.

Challenging because I try so hard to gain weight all year long only to lose what I've achieved during the fasting month. How do I maintain or at least minimize muscle loss during that month-long period? What kinds of food should I take during sahur? What about when breaking fast?

Should I exercise or should I not? I'm pretty much addicted to weight lifting, a month going by without it is pure torture for me.

Your feedbacks/opinions/sharing of gripes (also known as bitching) are very much appreciated.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What a JOKE!

This is a b*tching session about meal replacement powders. The ones that you're supposed to take in replace of a meal so that you can lose weight. Whoever was the person who invented the crap should be hanged and lynched. Why? Because it just teaches people to be lazier than they already are and gives the illusion that there's a shortcut to being slim.

What's the point of being slim if you're not fit, anyway? Do you really think being a twig is sexy? I have a colleague who religiously took MRPs for several months in preparation of the company's version of the biggest loser. She goes to the gym. But she doesn't take much proper food. She took the MRPs.

She won the contest. Then gained 6 kilos. Surprised? Nope.

Look, the only way you can lose and MAINTAIN a healthy weight is by having good eating habits. Not by cheating. Taking MRPs is just plain ridiculous and not to mention unnecessarily expensive.

There was another case of one of my blog readers who was approached by a lady who claimed that she can help him lose weight. The woman was selling Herbalife supplements. I did visit the link the blog reader gave me. I wanted to guffaw when I saw that she herself had some weight to lose. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

Wanna lose weight? Wanna be healthy? It's simple:

Good diet. Exercise.

No slimming pills, supplements, slimming centres necessary. I might get hate mail after this. But I couldn't care less. I stand by my convictions.

Trekking @ Bukit Gasing

Being a tomboy doesn't mean I don't mind the rain...

Wanting something different, I joined a few friends and went up Bukit Gasing for a bit of jungle trekking. Nothing interesting, right? Well firstly it was raining rather heavily. And secondly, try trekking up a hill with an open umbrella in your hand. Yup, you read right. I trekked up a hill holding an umbrella.

At least I'm not the only one who trekked with an open umbrella...

I can't help it. I'm a city chick through and through. I can't live without hot showers, a comfortable bed, and Astro. It was a miracle I even went up there in the rain in the first place. We're going up there again next Sunday. Hopefully we'll have better luck with the weather. Perhaps I'd trek with high heels then. That'll be interesting, eh?