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


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.

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


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?