Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ramblings and Frustrations

Jason Ferruggia's latest entry hits the nail squarely on the head. It is true. If you don't have a good reason to take good care of yourself, no amount of good advice will transform you into a lean, healthy person.

I've been approached by several friends who ask me questions on health and fitness. I tell them what I know but what is the point of me wasting my breath if they continue to eat junk, live a pathetically sedentary existence and keep making excuses after excuses for not improving their diet and lifestyle.

Then they weigh themselves on the scale and surprise surprise! They gained another 10 kilos. Then they get all depressed. Then they make themselves feel better by stuffing their face with chocolate cake and then they gain another 10 kilos and then they stuff their face with more chocolate cake. And the vicious cycle continues. Why they have a scale at home in the first place, I don't understand.

Frankly, I think these people are just plain lazy. Until they find that one profound reason to change their lifestyles completely, they shall remain fat and unhealthy. I'm sorry if some readers find my statement offensive. But it is the truth.

You become overweight because you didn't take good care of yourself. Don't blame your genetics. Don't blame your physical limitations. That's pure crap. Admit it. You abused yourself for years by overeating and under-exercising.

For those who are overweight and have found your profound reason to turn things around: I salute you and I wish you all the best in your quest to become healthier.

For the rest of you: Screw it. I couldn't care less.

Harsh but true.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Things Gyms aren't supposed to sell

What was the management of the gym thinking stocking their fridge with stacks of Coke? Previously they sold mineral water, soy milk and 100 plus which is pretty okay. But when I visited the gym last week it was brimming with Coke. And when I went there again yesterday, half of it was gone!

It means that the members are actually buying those soft drinks. I don't know about you, but I find this quite disturbing. The very place that represents a healthy lifestyle is selling something so unhealthy. And I bet you, it's those gym goers who spend aeons on the treadmill that buy the very thing that made them overweight in the first place.

Admittedly, I am guilty of chugging on soft drinks too. But the thing is, you don't actually expect a gym to sell those. It's exactly the case if the gym sells cigarettes. But hey, it's possible. Whatever churns the money, eh?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Weight Machines: No No

The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced that commercial gyms are not for those really looking to build a better body but as a place to socialize. It even acts like a pick-up joint sometimes. I go the clubs and bars for that.

For 1.5 years I have spent my time at the gym going on those elliptical machines, crunch machines, leg extension machines, preacher curl machines... you got the idea... and although I saw some improvement, I plateaued quite quickly and didn't see any significant gains in strength, let alone size after awhile.

In my quest to improve myself I bumped into and later on I had a meeting with the good man behind the blog who mentioned something about bodyweight training. I didn't jump on the idea immediately but once I knew how effective it was, I didn't look back.
Weight machines aren't natural. I have often wondered how I could lift 40kilos using the Glutes machine but lunges and squats while holding a meer 5kilo dumbbell would make me whimper like a child.

The thing is weight machines work muscles in isolation instead of working the total body (which is more ideal, especially for beginners and intermediates). You don't get much functional strength if you workout with machines. Using bodyweight and free weights would make you stronger faster.

I will never let myself near any weight machines ever again. The free weights area is definitely my cup of tea.

P/S This little entry is purely based on experience. I can't back it up with research although I'm pretty sure there are a lot of studies out there that can support my claims.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Under the Weather

Sigh. I'm feeling under the weather. Must be because I didn't complete my antibiotics course when I had a slight fever a few weeks ago. I've always hated taking my meds. Plus, it's been chilly these past few weeks and it doesn't help that I've to walk a fair bit in the cold morning air to get to the office (I usually arrive at work by 7.30am). Evenings are more tolerable although I'd be pretty much miserable walking in the rain with my feet getting soggy.

When you have a history of asthma, weather changes can affect you greatly.

I've been feeling a bit feverish all day. But the funny thing is I feel much better after having a meal. But then the feverish feeling starts again. Weird. Most probably I haven't had much of a rest. Weekdays are hectic with work and weekends are jam packed with activities galore.

The body is telling me to cut it some slack, I guess. So yeah. Tonight I won't be doing any workouts nor will I stay up late to just hang out with my friends. I will turn in early and hopefully, my body will be happy and won't act up again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meathead C and the Substitutes

Just finished Workout C of the Meatheads programme and it has left me sweating quite a lot. Been feeling a little tired this weekend so I didn't end the workout with a finisher. Working at home definitely has its pros and cons with the most glaring con being I don't have access to a variety of weights.

Enter the TRX. I've substituted quite a number of exercises that requires dumbbells with the nifty gadget. Examples listed below:

1. Chin-ups - Substituted with TRX Back Row
I can do chin-ups but not as many as I'd like to. So for the warm up phase instead of doing chin-ups I did back rows. For the actual sets I reverted to chin-ups.

2. Dumbell Lateral Raise - Substituted with TRX Y-Shoulder Raise
I have a pair of 10lbs dumbbells at home and I've to confess it's hard for me to execute the lateral raise with them. My form will be compromised. Hurrah for the TRX! The Y Shoulder Raise works pretty much the same muscles that the Lateral Raise focusses on.

3. Incline Hammer Curl and Barbell Curl - Substituted with TRX Bicep Curl
I don't have a barbell. Neither do I have an adjustable bench. Thus I couldn't do the moves due to logistical constraints. Forget the 10lbs dumbbells. They're too light in this case. Having said that, I wanted to cry when I did the TRX Bicep curls. Feels like I'm curling 10kg dumbbells. Which is definitely cool.

Alright. That's about it. Tomorrow's Workout D of the Meatheads programme. Lower body workout. Not my favourite, but a necessary evil.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Lazies has its Advantages

Hmm... being lazy has its good points. I've taken slightly more than a week break from training and I feel so much better. Perhaps it's Madam Vain speaking but I think I look better too. Anyway, yesterday I started a new Turbulence Training programme - TT for Meatheads.

While the Lean and Jacked programme has some resistance training incorporated, the Kettlebell 500 and Kettlebell 550 challenges made it more of a fat loss programme compared to a mass gain programme although it can be used to do both at the same time.

The Meathead manual is definitely muscle-gain oriented. Just what I need, and the workouts are just my cup of tea. Anyway, I'd like to update on my strength developments.

  1. I can now do 8 reps of the bicep curl using 15lbs dumbbells. Previously I could only do a maximum of 6 reps.
  2. I now use 20lbs dumbbells when doing dumbbell chest presses. <-- This poses a good problem. I need to buy adjustable dumbbells that could accomodate >20lbs of weights. Maybe I should invest in a barbell instead? What do you think?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lazy Days updates

Hmm... interesting. Even though I did just a quick exercise yesterday, my muscles are all sore today. It seems that the short workout was enough to work my body thoroughly. And that is saying something because there was a time when I used to go through 60 to 90 minutes long workout sessions at the gym and hardly feel sore the next day.

Perhaps it's because I didn't do sufficient warmups or stretching but I doubt that that is the case. Maybe it is indeed true that you don't have to endure long workouts - especially when it comes to strength training - but you just need to do effective workouts instead.

What do you think?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lazy days....

Feeling a little bit lazy today. Most probably a symptom of post-holiday blues. I was supposed to start a brand new TT programme today - TT for Meatheads. This programme is definitely for building mass and there are a lot of free weights involved. Just what I like.

Anyway, back to the lazy bit. I'm too lazy to start the Meatheads programme but I wanted to do a bit of workout. So here's what I did:

  1. Dumbbell swings
  2. Chinup with knee up
  3. TRX Chest Press
  4. TRX Back Row
  5. TRX Y Shoulder Raise
  6. Bicep curls
Confession: I only did one circuit of these instead of a more ideal 3. But like I said, I'm feeling lazy and a wee bit sleepy. It's only 8.30pm. And oh... I noted that my pair of 10 pound dumbbells are getting too light for me. Sigh... it's time to visit the fitness store and get myself heavier ones.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Updates... and a Wishlist

Yep. I'm back from my trip to Bali and it is worth every single penny that I spent. But I didn't get to use my TRX because my days were full and by the time I got back to the hotel room I was absolutely exhausted. And thus the TRX was tucked safely in my bag and was never used.


That's not what I wanted to write about. In conjunction with my birthday week I took the liberty of creating a wish list. And before you balk and start to close this particular window I would like to say that this is NOT a blatant attempt to ask for birthday gifts. It is more of a note to myself and as a way to record what I'd like to own for this year.

The list goes like this:

  1. Adjustable Bench - I need a decent one since I'm gonna terminate my gym membership soon.
  2. Kettlebells - It's a very handy piece of equipment to have. Check out the variety of moves you can do with the them, it's absolutely fab. But omigodddd... it is so pricey over here in Malaysia. It starts from RM300 and above. *gulp*
  3. TT Platinum Membership - Unlimited access to ALL TT workout manuals and videos AND you get to access the TT members forum. Always a good thing to be mingling with like-minded people.
  4. TRX - ops sorry.. I already have that.
  5. PushMore Membership - This is more of a 'maybe' thingy... I haven't tried it out yet so I'm not sure whether I'll like it.
Yup, I think that's about it. Most probably this list will grow as we move along.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Possible Project: Crossfit!

With me planning to terminate my gym membership soon and the constant (although newly acquired) hunger to try new things, I've put up a thread in the forum to discuss on possible new projects to undertake in this new year.

Among others, the members suggested a lot of interesting things from bootcamps, track and field sports, cave exploration and even ehem.... pole dancing. But what caught my attention was joining a Crossfit programme.

If you're wondering what Crossfit is, according to Wikipedia it is "a strength and conditioning fitness methodology."

Intrigued, I checked out some of the Crossfit training in YouTube and I've to say they're pretty brutal, in a fun yet masochistic kind of way. Check out the vid below for an example of a Crossfit training.

The good news is we have a Crossfit affiliate over here in Malaysia. They're called Pushmore. And the best part is, it's in the Klang Valley which means that I can definitely pay them a visit and give Crossfit a try. Pushmore conducts and introductory class for RM150. Pretty standard, I think. Hmm... I'm really considering this. Maybe I'll drop them a line and ask about the basic class after I come home from my holidays.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Technology makes me a trainer?

It's amazing what you can do nowadays. Just a few minutes ago, I conducted my first personal training session...err..somewhat. It was done online and I was actually training my friend Nani who's based in Melaka.

Nani is on a quest to lose weight and she often asks for my advice. I tell her what I know. Thankfully, her exercise regime is still in the beginner's stage so I could quite confidently tell her what she's doing wrong and what she's doing right.

Tonight was the first session and the most glaring mistake I can see is her posture when executing moves. Although I can demonstrate to her what the correct posture looks like, I am not able to physically correct her body alignment when it starts to go all awry.

I suggested her to do the plank (to make her body remember the correct posture: body in a straight line) and do kneeling pushups to build up endurance and strength. Top it off with 60 starjumps split into two sets of 30. These three moves are to be done on a daily basis.

It won't take long to execute them, me thinks. 10 to 15 minutes tops. What do you think? Is it too much or too little?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Pet Project and an Update

The good thing about joining an online forum on fitness is that you find like-minded souls and from there you can learn all sorts of stuff and get a lot of ideas. Anyway, we were discussing about what are the many weird miconceptions people have about diet and exercise and my fellow forumers kept coming back about how women stay away from weight training lest they look like The Governator (that's Arnold Schwarzenegger, if you didn't know).

Calm down ladies. Unless you take performance enhancing drugs or undergo hormone therapy, the chances of you turning into a she-hulk is slim to none.

I always roll my eyes whenever I hear women say 'ewww...don't lift those dumbbells! You're gonna get bulky!" The thing is there's only a small chance you'd get bulky because let's face it ladies, you don't have the hormones to grow huge muscles like men. Even men find it hard to grow huge muscles.

Most probably you'll look like this Oscar winner right here if you incorporate weight training into your workouts. Now don't you think that's fab?

So on and on we were discussing about this particular topic and I joked that maybe I should make a pamphlet with an FAQ about women and weight training. And how weight training can help women lose fat. Hmm... seems like not a bad idea after all eh? I might venture into this pet project. But first...research! research! research!

On another note... I just finished my TT workout and I've used the TRX to do my bodyweight squats and jackknives. I love using the TRX for the bodyweight squats it helps me to maintain the correct posture and not 'cheat'. Doing jackknives with the TRX is a definite killer. Looks like my investment is paying off really well!

Monday, January 4, 2010

It is Here! Bwahahahahahhaha!!!!

The TRX bag for you to put your TRX in and bring it everywhere.

Thank you Jake for selling me the TRX (Jake's one heck of a tall guy, by the way)! All I can say is it is money well spent. Off the top of my head I could already think of several ways I can incorporate Turbulence Training with my handy TRX equipment (it's mine...MINE! Mwahahaha).

I only realized I forgot to take a pic of the TRX in its packgaging only AFTER I took it out. Talk about a Duh! moment....

Anyways, today's my 'off day' so I'm not doing any workouts. But I couldn't wait to try out the TRX so I set it up and did several moves based on the booklet that was enclosed. It still made me sweat. Probably because I made the workout tougher than what was shown in the booklet.

The workout booklet. Not much in it, only about 8 types of moves you can do with the TRX. There's a lot more you can do with it, though.

That's the biggest plus point for the TRX if you ask me. Shift your angle a little bit and your workout now becomes harder. The philosophy behind TRX is pretty much the same philosophy behind Turbulence Training: your body is your gym. Bodyweight exercises are indeed challenging AND gives you functional strength.

Other plus points of the TRX:

  1. It is very easy to setup and adjust. Even idiot me who has never been good with adjusting stuff can figure out the TRX in five minutes.

    One of the doors in my modest-sized apartment where I hooked up the TRX to.

  2. You really can workout anywhere. Hook it on the door, or a monkey bar or a tree branch and you're all set. Cool huh?
  3. Extremely portable. Heck, I can shove it in my handbag if I want to.
  4. You can do A LOT of exercise moves with it. Just check out the stuff in YouTube.
Not so good points about the TRX:
  1. It's bloody expensive. A brand new set costs around RM600.
  2. The guys who sell this stuff (Fitness Anywhere) seems to be trying to milk money out of customers as much as they can. E.g. The door anchor (which I think should come with the whole package) is sold seperately as an accessory. And it goes for USD25 (Almost RM100).
  3. Uhhh.... can't think of anything else.
That's it. My report on the TRX. I shall incorporate the TRX into my TT workout tomorrow and perhaps if I have not passed out out of sheer exhaustion I'll write a review on that as well. Oh one more thing. For those who are curious on how the TRX actually works, check out the vid below.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm gonna get myself a TRX!

Okay, at first I felt that writing this entry a bit too soon would somewhat 'jinx' the whole thing, but heck, I'm so excited! Through good timing and a stroke of luck I have successfully arranged to purchase a set of the ever famous TRX system for 1/3 the original price. Yup, it is a used item but a TRX is a TRX is a TRX whether it's second hand or brand new.

According to the owner it's hardly used so it's pretty much as good as new. I still think I had a good deal. Actually, the initial plan was to buy myself a set of resistance bands. After much scouring around, I couldn't find high quality bands locally and the good ones could only be bought online.

That was when a fellow fitness enthusiast put up an offer to sell his TRX. I jumped on the offer immediately. Hopefully I'll get my gym in a bag tomorrow (I wanted it today but the good man is not in KL, so I shall have to wait another 24 hours). Will definitely write a review of what suspension training entails.

Meanwhile, I'm doing some research on the many types of workouts I can do with the TRX. Can't hardly wait! And the best part is I could bring the equipment to Bali. Hahahahahha.... Ohhhh I am so happy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Please don't talk

Warning: There is nothing informative about this particular entry. Only the b*tchings of one very amused lady.

If you've been reading this blog, you might remember that I am planning to set up a home gym of sorts. My gym membership will be expiring in March and I am doing my research on what equipments to buy and how much they'd cost. One of my absolute must-haves is a range of dumbbells.

And as I was surfing the net, I saw this godawful thing:

WTF? Why on earth would you need talking dumbbells? Frankly I couldn't be bothered to read the description of this particular product. I'm assuming it would bark out how many reps you've done or maybe emanate a few motivational stuff ala a personal trainer.

The fact that it's pink shows that it's catered for women. Please, don't insult us. It's bad enough that there are those sorry excuses for dumbbells that are pink in colour and weighing all of 0.5 kilos. Why waste money on those things when all you can invest in a few bottles of soft drinks that cost less that those pathetic pink dumbbells. Ughhhhhhh....

ANYWAY....whoever invented those silly talking dumbbells: I hate you. Maybe you should change the name slightly. Call it Talking Dumbs instead.

And whoever thought of those pink dumbbells: I hate you too.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Targets

Happy new year! Ho... ho... ho... Wait. That doesn't sound right. Whatever, screw it. Here's to wishing that 2010 will bring us joy and happiness, and may we continue to enjoy good health, and stay injury free so we can workout as much as we can.

As the new year dawns (it's literally close to dawn as I write this... just got back from partying), most of us will make new year resolutions. I say screw those stupid resolutions. Most of the time we never get to it.

This year, like many years before I won't make resolutions. I'll just set a few targets. This Fitness Junkie Wannabe wants to:

  1. Setup her own home gym
  2. Take up a new hobby (e.g. martial arts, wall climbing, playing batu seremban....)
  3. Take a fitness-related course (if I can't take ACE, I wanna at least take a mini course at FIT Malaysia)
  4. Have a sexier body (I'm vain, sue me)
Yeah that's pretty much it. I'm not very ambitious. But at least my targets are definitely achievable. Perhaps I'll have a mid-year review.