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.


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 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


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.