10+1 Life Lessons Joining Spartan Races Taught Me

“Ok Kalvin – breathe – you’re almost there – breathe – secure your feet – good – trust your grip – NOW TAP THAT BELL!”

This was my internal monologue as I struggled to inch my way up the rope climb obstacle with my remaining strength during the last Spartan Race weekend at Vermosa, Cavite.

If you invited me to do a Spartan race 2 years ago, there wouldn’t be any chance that I’d say yes. I was extremely obese and didn’t really have enough physical capacity and willpower to finish anything this challenging.

My Spartan journey started last October 2021 in Batangas Lakelands. My gym coaches Joel and Thea of Fitness and Health Gym encouraged me to join, offering me another challenge after gaining strength and losing a lot of weight during the pandemic. Up for it, I said yes and started my training with practicing the rope climb in our gym.

Doing the multi-rig during Spartan Cebu

Being so heavy back then, I would chicken out and panic when I reach the middle because I had a strong fear of heights. I also managed to get a good bruise on my right leg due to the rope lock and lots of painful popped hand blisters. With practice and determination, I was able to overcome my fear and finally RING – THE – BELL!

My fitness journey taught me a lot about myself and these lessons were magnified even further when I started training for Spartan races. There are many, but I’ll share ten that I have a deep connection with.

Carrying the Atlas Ball – Spartan Cebu

10 Life Lessons from a Spartan Race Junkie

  1. Set yourself free from your own unbelief. Be best friends with yourself and believe in you!
  2. You only have one body, listen to it. Eat right, rest right, treat your body right.
  3. Trust your own process. You are gifted with a unique way of thinking and a unique set of biomechanics. Find what works for you and stick with it.
  4. Nothing can take your strength away from you. Whatever strength you’ve gained, you’ve gained. Trust me.
  5. Your weaknesses does not define you. Accept them and learn to love and strengthen them. You are ok as you are.
Over the wall! Spartan Vermosa
Spartans helps each other out! Spartan Cebu
  1. When you get stuck, ask for help. Keep yourself humble and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  2. Failure is not the end of everything. It’s okay to fail, just make sure to learn from it and carry on.
  3. It is ok to feel fear, anxiety, and doubt. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your feelings are valid.
  4. It’s okay to go slow. What matters is you finish. Don’t compare your pace with another. There’s a time to go slow and a time to go fast. Going slow allows us to see beauty unfold in our surroundings.
  5. We are all capable of jumping through fire. Life has already equipped you with tools to overcome, trust and open yourself up to do the impossible.

I believe any kind of sport that you train for can teach you something about yourself and how you overcome life challenges. These little nuggets of wisdom that we earn through grit and hard work is what makes us better athletes and ultimately better human beings. Every time I finish a Spartan race and see the results, I get to see a better me, that I’ve only ever dreamed about, become reality. I am amazed of the transformation I have achieved both physically and mentally.

There are just some lessons you have to experience first hand so it can make enough of an impact to change your life forever. Also, perhaps, in your own growth, you get to inspire other people to pursue their own version of a more active lifestyle.

Right now, I know I’ve already come a long way, but the more I explore the gift of what my body can offer me, the more I realize that the possibilities are endless.

The Bonus Lesson: In every circumstance, always find a reason to SMILE.

So friend, and fellow Spartan – Let’s move! Aroo!

Photo Credits: Spartan Race PH, Pitikulochi, Team Vitality, Team FHG

Fitness Friday 14: I Almost Didn’t Recognize Myself

This week, I almost didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I’ve truly come a long way.

It’s almost 6 months since I started going to the gym and I’m proud of whatever progress I have made. On this day last year, I pushed myself to start exercising at home and tried to gradually cut rice out of my meals. These gradual steps then led me to go to the gym because I hit a plateau that home workouts couldn’t break for me. 

My primary goal for losing weight is really to experience the joy of having a healthy body. The journey towards fitness is not easy nor short. It requires discipline and patience to see all your hard work develop in your body. My journey in fitness is not a huge leap, but a series of small steps that I have to say “yes” to every day.

This week’s fitness Friday post won’t be like the last ones. I tried not bringing my Garmin watch during workouts to see if it has any effects on focusing on sets. I also didn’t take down notes of the sets and routines to lessen distraction. I couldn’t say if it directly affected my workouts, but I enjoyed having one of my wrists free while doing the routines.

Increased Lifting Weight

Since my last Fitness Friday post, my coach has challenged the amount of weight I lift. We’ve been progressing a great amount on all routines. I’m happy to witness myself get stronger every week and setting new personal records. My muscles are more defined now and my body is taking shape.

One of my extreme cardio routines

Stalled Weight Loss

This week, I noticed my weight stalling a bit. It’s switching back and forth 87 and 88 kilos. I know I’m gaining muscles since I feel my body parts toning up but I’m not losing fat as fast as I want to. So far, the average amount of weight I lose per month is 3 kilos. Halfway through this month, I still weigh the same.

There could only be one culprit to this and that is…

Diet, Carbs, and Sweets

To promote muscle building, I’ve started drinking whey protein isolate shakes post-workout. Mine is cookies and cream flavored. I don’t really see their direct effect yet on my body so we’ll see about it in the coming months.

My diet has been quite non-existent these recent weeks. I try to eyeball my calorie intake but there are just so many sweets around the house. My dad has been on a baking roll and we really don’t want to let food go to waste – so I eat some. Bread, cakes, cookies – yup we have them. I know I really need to cut down and get myself back on track. I’m still aiming to get to my goal weight before my birthday.


After a very intense day of workout

The mirror doesn’t lie. Before, when I look at myself in the mirror, I used to cringe at my appearance, but now all I see is a person who worked hard to achieve what’s best for him. I like where I’m headed in my fitness journey. Very soon, I’m going to meet my best self in the mirror and say – “Congratulation Kalvs! You did it!”

Keep safe and healthy my friends!
-Kalvs


Fitness Friday 13: Loose Clothes and a Sweat-Drenched Animal

I have a happy problem. None of my clothes in my wardrobe fit right anymore.

Every top I own now awkwardly fits. They all look sloppy on my body with the sleeves looking to loose and the length is too long. Same goes with all the pairs of bottoms that I have. They’re now many sizes too large and I have to fold the fabric around my waist and cover them with a belt that I can now wear on the last hole.

I bought new clothes with the expert assistance of a friend who has been a close witness to my weight loss journey. I only got myself a pair of pants and a top that is versatile enough to transition as I lose more weight. It makes me happy that department store clothes can now fit me, I don’t need to go the plus size section and be limited by the choices there, they are also more expensive.

It’s like I have given myself a new chance to reinvent my style and the way I present myself to people. All the hard work is worth it.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 95 kilos
12 Bent-Over Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Plate Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 100 kilos
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pulldown (4 sets) *last set 5 reps, 100 kilos
12 Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Incline Bench Dumbbell Row (3 sets) *new

Cardio (3 sets of):
2-min. Side-to-side Jumping Jacks
2-min. High Knees
2-min. Climbers
30 Ab Crunches



Notes:

  • An intense start to an insanely intense week! Coach added more weight and back routines than usual.
  • Doing that last set of 95 kilos on my deadlifts was challenging but it made me feel empowered!
  • We’re trying to shape up my back more and give my body a straighter line. My posture certainly has improved in the past 4 months I’ve been going to the gym.
  • The post work-out cardio really made me tired. Before, we only used to do 30 jumping jacks, 30 high knees, and 30 climbers – now, I need to do the continuously for 2 mins straight which was HARD!
  • Completing the sets made me feel so great it’s like I’ve reached another milestone in my fitness journey.

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest and Shoulders

Chest:
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Mid Chest Cable Cross Over 3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Standing Military Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Front Raise (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Cable Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shrugs (3 sets)

Core:
100 Advanced Leg Raises

Notes:

  • In contrast to the previous day this was a little bit more tame.
  • The weight that I’ve been struggling with for my chest workouts now feel lighter which means I have gained muscle! Yes!
  • For the shoulders I find doing the front raises hard to do with progressive weights so we stayed on the same weight on a couple of sets to not sacrifice form.
  • It’s important to not sacrifice form over the weight because injuries can happen and you won’t be able to target the muscles.
  • My shoulders are now getting more defined and not rounded off anymore. I’m pleased to see them in the mirror because of the shape it gives my body.

Thursday (Drenched Animal)

Warm-up: 15 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio Day

2 sets of Animal Flow:
20 lengths of Duck Walks
20 lengths of Lizard Hops
20 lengths of Bunny Hops

4 sets of Cardio:
30 Battle Rope
20 Slam Ball

2 sets of:
50 Climbers
20 Pushups
50 Leg Raises

Notes:

What the workout for this day was supposed to be like
  • This was my longest cardio session in the gym to date! Usually, it will only take 2 hours max but this time, I finished in 3 hours.
  • Originally, the coach set me out on 3 sets of animal flow, 4 sets of Cardio, and 3 sets of the last routines. He ended up taking away some of the sets upon seeing my struggle at being an animal.
  • Doing the animal flow exercises was SUPER HARD! They all involve leg work and requires you to be close to the floor. I have to travel from one point of the gym to the other while in “animal” form.
  • The duck walks got me out of breath after 5 lengths. It really put my weight on my legs and I have to keep myself balanced with my hands behind my head. By the end, I wasn’t doing it properly anymore because I was already doing wide lunges close to the floor. Everything from my waist down was stretched.
  • Doing the lizard hops movement was UNBELIEVABLE! I never even knew my body could move that way. It engaged other muscles I haven’t been using often. I think that’s why it was difficult for me. I was on all fours like a lizard and “hop” alternating my hands and feet.
  • The bunny hop was the easiest but after doing the two, I’m amazed I can still muster enough energy to hop like a bunny from a squat position from one end of the room to the other.
  • After two sets, I was drenched to my underwear in sweat and most of the people who went to the gym at the same time as me has already finished their day.
  • The reaming cardio sets were easy enough for me to finish faster since I’m more used to them but my exhaustion was already creeping up on me.
  • Coach told me we’re doing weak point training the next day so I can rest.
  • I dare not eat too much after this animalic work out so I just had two sticks of barbecue, walked home, and took my well-deserved rest.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raise (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pushdown (3 sets)
12 Triceps Cable Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Kickback (3 sets)

Weak Point Training (Back):
12 Incline Bench Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Bar Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)

Notes:

  • We didn’t do hip thrusts and lunges as part of the workout since these were already targeted on the animal flow routines the other day. Plus, they’re sore.
  • Biceps and Triceps went well even if I still struggle with the weights a bit especially with the preacher curl doing the biceps.
  • I like how may posture has been corrected since we’ve been targeting my back for weak point a few weeks now.
  • I weighed in today at 92.4 kilos. My recorded weight last months was 94 kilos. I only lost a couple of pounds though I also did gain muscle, my clothes became looser, and my body has a more defined shape.
  • It was an amazing yet intense weak. I feel like I pushed my limit a little higher and I’m proud of myself for doing that.

Nutrition

This week, I wasn’t able to do meal prep being a little preoccupied during the previous weekend. I must say, it’s more difficult to adjust meals around because I didn’t have the base calories down. I’m guilty of eating more sweets today than usual because of meetings and presentations that I’ve been having left and right. I also ate ramen last weekend – a generous helping of caloric reward.

The coaches in the gym also gave away a really sweet valentines day token! And yes, I ate them because I my heart’s been craving for sweets!


As I sit here with my bum still sore from my workout earlier, I can’t but smile at all the results that I’m seeing and feeling. I’m giving myself a huge credit for doing the things that I thought I could never do before. It’s amazing to see the progress I’ve made and get a taste of my health goals.

Like everything in life, if you want something to grow, you need to be diligent and put in the work. We can’t just stand still and read about but we need to put it into action – consistent action.

My deepest gratitude goes to Coach Joel, Coach Thea, and all of the FHG-ers who supports and encourages me in this journey.

If you wanna get something accomplished, go at it like a sweat-drenched animal!

Keep safe and healthy!
-Kalvin

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash


Fitness Friday 12: Make Time For What’s Important

This week has been a very busy one for me at work. I had several important meetings and urgent deliverables that I needed to attend to almost everyday. I had to do a video and voice recording for our community’s virtual music video. Also, I’m catching up on writing articles for my contributions to an evangelical social media account – Unmasked. It’s quite a long check list and a little bit overwhelming but these are things that I have wholeheartedly accepted. I’m thankful that I have things on my plate than none because I know that whatever I’m working on gives value to people and that in turn gives me fulfillment.

Despite the busyness I found that I just couldn’t drop the drive and idea of going to the gym. It has somehow been ingrained in my system to keep on going regardless of what I feel. Taking time and effort to stick to my goals is already pre-programmed in me for the week ahead. I have no reasons to stop especially when I’ve already come so far. I’m making time for gym because hitting my personal health goals is of high importance.

I’ve been shifting my gym schedule around this week and thankfully I found perfect slots that fit! So here is how my fitness journey went this amazing week.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Plate Row (3 sets) *new
12 Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (4 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pulldown (3 sets)
12 Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown (3 sets) *new

Core (4 sets of):
20 Crunches
20 Bent Knee Crunches
20 Pike Crunches
20 Heel Touches

2 min. Plank (finisher)

Notes:

  • I think it’s good to start my week with back day. My posture just zips right up after the gym session
  • Coach adjusted the weight on my deadlift so I can have better control of the bar when lifting and do more reps for the last set.
  • Instead of doing the bent-over row with a barbell we switched to plates. I find doing it with plates a little easier than with the barbells. The trick is to control raising the plates so you target the right muscles.
  • Yes, I still don’t like doing that T-bar.
  • Doing the straight-arm lat pulldown was educational. At first it looked easy because you have to explosively pull the bar down towards your thighs and then add resistance to the bar as it raises. That resistance on the release is what you call “negative training”. Instead of putting pressure on muscles during the “contraction movement”, you put control and resistance on the “release movement.” This, according to research generates more tears in the muscle resulting to better gains.
  • The core routine after lifting weight was intense as it targets the upper, lower, and middle abdominal muscles as well as the obliques.
  • I’m not quite sure but I think I went over my calorie intake today. I feel a little hungrier than usual. I didn’t restrain myself much and even enjoyed two slices of bread with peanut butter.

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pushdown
12 Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)

Cardio:
15 min. Bike

Notes:

  • Forgot to bring my Garmin this day
  • Doing the sets for chest is a little bit easier now compared to last week. Keeping negative training in mind, I tried to apply in all my sets. It does make a ton of difference.
  • While I was stretching out my chest doing a T pose, my coach noticed my arm flabs. He added a 3 triceps routine after my shoulder to get them more toned. I will still be working on them on Friday.
  • What I noticed about my body while I was doing shoulders was that my arms are not of the same length! my left arm is slightly longer than my right. This triggered an aha moment for me because it may be the cause of my wrist pain. I’ve been trying to keep them even when lifting although they are not. I need to adjust my posture to compensate this somehow.
  • Negative training while doing the shoulders was challenging but you can really feel the tension in the targeted muscles.
  • By the time we got to the triceps, I was amazed that I still have energy left to do the sets.
  • Coach ended my session with a 15 min bike since we also included triceps.

Thursday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (4 sets of):

15 Agility Ladder
15 Cones Drill
30 Prisoner’s Squats
30 Criss-cross Climbers
15 Burpees

Target Areas: Weak Point Training (Back)

12 Bent-over Plate Row (4 sets)
12 Seated Row (4 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (4 sets)
12 Behind-The-Neck Rope Cable Row (3 sets)
12 Cable Row (4 sets)

Notes:

Cones drill and agility ladder
  • It was such an intense cardio session. I was partnered up with someone to do it with and both of us were swamped!
  • I had an amazing feeling of accomplishment after finishing the four sets of the grueling cardio routine.
  • We focused on targeting the back for our weak point training. It’s good to workout your back for better support and posture.
  • Applying the negative training is something to get used to especially that I am now more aware of it and its effects. It helps to know about what you’re doing so you can appreciate it while you’re doing it even if it’s hard
  • My diet is somehow all mixed up this week since my sister sent us a package with groceries and treats. I had to recalculate my caloric intake so I won’t over eat.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Weighted Hip Thrust (3 sets)
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Romanian Deadlift (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raise (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Hammer Curl (4 sets)
12 Cable Bar Curl (4 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pushdown (3 sets)
12 Triceps Cable Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Single Leg Triceps Dip (3 sets)

Notes:

  • It still amazes me how much strength I’ve gained in four months. I’m lifting heavier weights now which I couldn’t even budge before.
  • I learned something new about doing the hip thrusts properly. I need to position myself correctly and be mindful of how I position my back and hips during the movement. This would be my third time doing it, I know I’ll eventually get the hang of it.
  • For the biceps we only did 4 sets of two routines. And trust me, they were extra challenging!
  • We’re focusing on making my flabby arms less flabby haha! So the triceps routines are really in it this week.
  • I’ve somehow gotten my caloric intake under control but things could be better in terms of the quality food I eat. We have a happy problem with our pantry I just need to be smarter in terms of eating.

Nutrition

As I have mentioned, my sister sent us a huge package of groceries and treats from the states. I have exercised a considerable amount of self restraint to monitor what I have been putting inside my body. My folks really enjoy eating the treats so I’ll just make eating the treats a few pieces at a time as a reward for a job well done. My sister also sent some healthy treats that I can use in my baking so I’m excited for that.

Yes, eat smart and not starve, or deprive yourself, else you’ll just binge.

I also did a meal prep this week which greatly helped me in my eating decisions. I know how many calories I’ve already eaten and adjust accordingly.


We have many things to do every day and all of us have different things that we attribute as “important.” Your “important” can be any of these things: taking care of your family, building a business, reading books, practicing an instrument, spending time with your friends, etc. Don’t let what’s important to you become lost opportunity because you didn’t make enough time for them.

If you really want something of great importance to grow and stay, you have to make enough time for them. Time doesn’t come cheap, wisely spend it on things of great value.

How did you spend your time today?

Making time for you,
-Kalvin


Fitness Friday 11: Stay Committed

This week, my mindset was to keep myself committed to my health goals. What helps keep me in line is giving myself positive affirmation when I see myself in the mirror, and establishing routines that makes it easier for me to go for the healthier choice. One of the routines was to prepare my meals for the whole week so I wouldn’t bother ordering anything else and indulge in my cravings too much. I would just get what I prepared in the fridge, heat it in the microwave and eat not worrying too much about how many calories I’ve already consumed.

I think when we want to change something, we must understand that the process for that change to happen is where we should focus our energy on. It’s the process in the middle that makes the change happen. We need to be consistent and committed to it until we finally reach our desired goals. If the process isn’t working, adjust it to make it work well for you and not the other way around.

Submit to your process, keep at it until you reach your goal.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Cardio/Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)

Cardio & Core:
5 min. Sprint
2 min. Plank

Notes:

  • I forgot to charge my fitness tracker so I wasn’t able to record my active calories.
  • We upped the weights again this week.
  • I find it difficult to engage the right back muscles when doing the movements. I believe I’ll nail them down after a while.
  • I still don’t like the T Bar Row! haha! Engaging those back muscles in the right posture really takes a lot out of me.

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Shoulders

Chest:
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets) *last set 10 reps
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets) *last set 10 reps
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Cable Crossover (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Rear Deltoids(3 sets) *new
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Battle Rope Jacks
30 Climbers
15 Burpees
30 Leg Raise
30 Ankle Touches

Notes:

  • My left wrist hurts a bit but the supports are doing a good job.
  • I still find doing the shoulders challenging but I can feel the improvement when I touch them.
  • Doing the Bent-Over Rear Deltoids in the proper form took me a little getting used to. It hits those shoulder muscles differently from what I’m used to.
  • The cardio session at the end was killer! I’m happy though that I can now do 10 burpees and 30 leg raises straight.

Thursday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (4 sets of):

30 Sprint
15 Burpees
30 Battle Rope
15 Slam Ball
15 Plyo Box

Target Areas: Weak Point Training

Lower Back
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (4 sets)

Middle Back
12 Middle Back Row (4 sets)

Lower Abs
20 Advance Leg Raise (4 sets)

Saddle Bags
20 Plate Bends(4 sets)

Notes:

  • The cardio this day was so intense! It took me an hour to finish all four sets.
  • I can now jump higher on the plyo box which means my body is also getting lighter.
  • I’m happy that I was able to finish all the routines.
  • I hope my skin would still have elasticity to go back especially on my stomach area. I guess having loose skin once I finally reach my goals would be a happy problem.
  • It always helps that my coach would drop encouraging words every now and then during my workout. Much needed affirmation goes a long way.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Weighted Hip Thrust (3 sets)
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Lying Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Lunges (3 sets)
12 Calf Raise (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Seated Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)
12 Seated Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Wrist Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Press Down (3 sets)
12 Triceps Cable Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)

Core (3 sets of):
30 Mat Ab Crunches
30 Leg Raises
30 Figure of 4 Crunches (per side)

2 min Plank (Finisher)

Hip thrust. My form needs improvement

Notes:

  • Doing legs is so tiring. It engages many muscles.
  • I’m still getting used to doing the hip thrusts. Good thing I’m alternating doing them with another person so I can see how it’s to be executed.
  • There was a kind lady in her senior years who’s still going to gym making her body fit. She is a huge inspiration because at her age she strives to keep herself healthy and strong. She even got me beat in the muscle territory! Amazing!
  • One of my fellow gym-goers celebrated their birthday today as well and bought some food in. I wouldn’t refuse such a great offer! I had a slice of pizza, a cup of spaghetti, and a piece of roast chicken after finishing the sets for my core.

Nutrition

I did do my meal prep for the week. Each prepared meal amounts to more or less 500 calories. I try to hit at most 1800 calories per day. The remaining calories I use for snacking on some healthy or unhealthy cravings. The difference from last week with regard to my nutrition is that whenever I eat a snack, I would look at the nutrition facts at the back and check the serving size guide so I can adjust the amount I consume.

On the left is what I would have for dinner, some zucchini and pork belly. What you see in the middle is the treat I rewarded myself with midweek, an ice scramble with all the naughty toppings, that cup replaced my dinner. On the right is my meal prep of baked chicken breast with bacon, hard boiled eggs, stir fried ground beef, and some stir fried veggies.


Two consecutive weeks of eating prepared chicken breasts and hard boiled eggs is getting boring but it helps me stay committed. Always try to find something new you can incorporate in your routine to mix things up and keep your drive going especially if you’re just forming a new habit. Make the process work for you and not against you.

Oh and please, do you have any recommended low carb recipes you want me to try?

Until next time,
Kalvin

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash


Fitness Friday 10: Same Person, Different Goal

Yes, they’re the same person.

Coach Joel posted this before and after collage made by Coach Thea with the caption “Same Person, Different Goal.”

Truth be told the person on the left didn’t really have any goals relating to health. Sure, I wanted to be healthy back then but the things I’ve been consuming weren’t. I ate what I craved whenever I wanted and didn’t have any sense of control on portions. My sleeping pattern was all over the place and my body was yearning for real rest. I was complacent with my health and there were days where I felt sluggish and lethargic. I was afraid of doing annual health checkups because I’ll be faced with the truth of my state of health. If I didn’t change, the nearest goal would be early death.

There was a part of me that wanted to accept defeat on my health issues, but the pull towards a healthier lifestyle was more attractive.

Come 2020, I really wanted my health to change. In the first two months I started running again. When the lockdown hit, I began changing what I ate and gradually eliminated rice from my diet. During April, I seriously got into my what seems to be a hopeless exercise routine. I terribly sucked at everything that I did. I can barely do ten wall push ups, I could only muster enough strength to do one leg raise, I could only plank for ten seconds, and a minute on the elliptical would leave me gasping for air. Doing the home exercises game me a sense of routine and sanity when the world was in the throes of the pandemic.

It was hard and painful but I continued doing it.

I wanted give myself something I never had before and enjoy what my body can fully do for me. The goal was to become a healthy version of me that can give more value to the world around me.

I enrolled in a gym last October to go all in and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Each week feels like a level up of some sort where I got to see myself improve. I’m thankful for all the people who have encouraged and supported me in my journey.

The first time you do something may be less than perfect, but whatever you do, never give up. Aim for progress, not perfection.

Now let’s go see what happened this week with my new routine.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Cardio/Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (3 sets) *90 kilos
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Bent-Over Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Reverse-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Barbell Bent-Over Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)

Core and Cardio


Notes:

  • This week, instead of 3 workout days, we’re going for four. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • We added a day to target my weak areas and get them up to speed.
  • We started with a weigh-in. I weighed 94 kilos flat.
  • I struggled with the last set of the deadlifts. I only did two reps since we added more weight on the bar. It’s now at 90 kilos.
  • I’m finally getting the hand of the T-Bar Row. Thank you back muscles!
  • I think I was too tired that I forgot to record what I did for core and cardio. I vaguely remember doing Leg Raises and Side to Sides but it’s a bit hazy.

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Shoulders

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets) *last set 6 reps
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets) *last set6 reps
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Standing Military Press (3 sets) *last set 7 reps
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Front Raise (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Shrugs (3 sets)

Core and Cardio

Notes:

  • I still don’t like doing the Standing Military Press! GAHHH!
  • As you can see above there were some sets where I didn’t fully finish the 12 reps. We progressed to new weights and my body was still getting used to the new routines as well. Coach counted to what my I can take.
  • Again, I didn’t record the core and cardio session. I didn’t know what kind of tired spell hit me on this day!

Thursday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (4 sets of):

15 Agility Ladder
30 Single Battle Rope
30 Double Battle Rope
15 Plyo Box
15 Slam Ball

Target Areas: Weak Point Training

Upper Back
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (4 sets)

Middle Back
12 Middle Back Row (4 sets)

Arms (superset of 4)
12 Cable Curl
12 Triceps Pushdown

Lower Abs
20 Advance Leg Raise (4 sets)

Saddle Bags
20 Advance Leg Raise (4 sets)

Notes:

  • This day was super interesting since we’re hitting areas that I needed more improvement in. The areas were assessed by coach during our weigh in session last Monday.
  • We started with a heart-busting cardio. I graduated to a new height using the plyo box. I’m still a little afraid to jump high because I might fall over. I feel so accomplished that I finished the sets with a new box height!
  • Doing the routine for middle back was new for me. It was hard to pinpoint that specific muscle on the back while doing the routine so I need to practice form on this one.
  • I was drenched from head to toe with sweat when I finished.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Weighted Hip Thrust (3 sets) *new
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) *100 kilos
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Romanian Deadlift (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Raised Lunge and Twist with Plate (3 sets)
12 Calf Raises (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Seated Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
20 Triceps Dip with Kick (3 sets)

Notes:

  • After a long day of meetings, I was looking forward to go to the gym.
  • I started with a hip thrust. I’m still getting my bearings on this one. It’s interesting to do and it targets the glutes.
  • We increased the weight on the last set of my squats to 80kilos plus the bar weight – 100 kilos. The new weight was a challenge, I still needed to go lower but I was able to do it.
  • I only did a few arms workout today and that capped my night off! And hooray for no post-workout cardio!.

Nutrition

I don’t strictly count how many calories I’ve eaten but I am mindful of them. I don’t have a strict diet plan and I don’t measure everything to a tee but my rule of thumb is to eat less carbs and have more protein.

What I tried to do differently this week was to prepare meals in advance so I can just get them from the fridge and heat them in the microwave. The caveat of living with other people in the house is if they prepare something for you, you have to at least get some so they won’t be offended even if they know you’re in a sort of diet. So I’ve had my fair share of small servings of carbs like a cup of ramen noodles, a small slice of baguette with jam and peanut butter, a cup of pasta, a little piece of focaccia. These portions of carbs are what I estimate and measure so I’d know how to adjust my other meals.

Here are some pictures of some low carb food I’ve prepared. They are more or less 500 calories per meal.

Good thing I know how to cook!

Carbs isn’t really the problem but our relationship with food. Food is good but we need to treat it more as a source of nutrition and not a source of pleasure.


That’s how this weekend went. I didn’t really know I could keep up with four days of training until I tried it. Talk about pushing limits!

I want to leave you guys with a question.

What kind of person do you want to be? Do you intend to pursue that version of you as your golden goal?

Stay Healthy! Have a happy weekend!
Kalvin


Fitness Friday 09: Three Months – I Can See The Gains!

The weather is getting colder than usual here in the Philippines. Cold weather equals bed weather, and sleeping in a bit is the most enjoyable thing to do. Because of this, I did all my workouts with Coach Joel in the afternoon. My body was up for it but I still prefer the quiet energy of the gym in the morning when there’s less people.

Now on my third month, I now can see many improvements on my body when I look in the mirror. I can now feel muscles in parts of my body where there used to be fat, especially around my arms and thighs. My stomach is still protruding but it’s way, way flatter now than when I started. All of my muscles are still covered by a layer of fat but they have more definition now.

My weight is still at around 94kg. It’s still the same from last year but it’s because I’m gaining muscle mass. The thing about losing weight is that we should not be super obsessive about the number on the scale. That number does not fully define your progress. Your weight can go up and down in your weight loss journey depending on your diet and how your body responds to a healthier lifestyle. Keep yourself on track and just continue with patience and you’ll eventually reach your goals.

Guys! Starting next week I’ll start sharing what I’ve been eating – all the good and not so good. I think it’s interesting to share my relationship with food as well as I continue on this journey. I don’t have a perfect diet plan but maybe sharing them will help me become more conscious and go for better choices.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Cardio/Core

Back:
12 Assisted Pull-ups (3 sets) *new routine
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Seated Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Reverse-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
1 min. Battle Rope Jacks
20 Slam Ball
30 Plate Side Bends

Notes:

  • It was my first time doing the assisted pull-ups. Assisted because one foot is resting on a barbell set a few feet above the ground so I wouldn’t carry my whole weight when doing the pull-ups. It was interesting to do since I’m basically pulling my own weight up.
  • Doing all the back routines really helped me with my posture. I’m amazed that the way I walked and sat straightened up even after this session.
  • The cardio at the end was tiring! It was my first time doing 1 min. battle rope jacks and I can barely do it non-stop by the last set. I had to rest a few seconds during the whole 1 minute.
  • I went home feeling accomplished with good posture.

Wednesday

DO NOT QUIT! This mural just makes you unleash more strength!

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Shoulders

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Cable Crossover (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Shrugs (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Jumping Jacks
30 High Knees
30 Single Battle Rope
30 Double Battle Rope

Core:
100 Leg Raises
100 Ab Crunches

Notes:

  • I forgot to bring my fitness tracker so I wasn’t able to track my gym activities.
  • Coach added a made me do a few more routines than usual. Upping the game.
  • I’m happy with the way my chest looks. It’s giving my body a sense of proportion.
  • Coach commented that my shoulders are taking shape. I noticed this too! They’re more angular now than rounded.
  • The shrugs look like they’re an easy routine. Technically, it is but you have to control it so it targets the right spot while holding heavy weights.
  • I thought cardio was going to be easy but they made me spend my remaining energy for that day.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) 90 kilos
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Romanian Deadlift (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raises (3 sets)
Weighted Lunges *new

Biceps:
12 Seated Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Cable Curl (3 sets)
12 Concentration Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Bar Pushdown (3 sets)
12 Cable V Pushdown (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Kickbacks (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
1 min. Battle Rope
15 Ab Roller

Notes:

  • Coach added a few more routines for me to do and I’m game!
  • I’m lifting 90 kilos for squats but this time I did all three sets with minimal help from a spotter. Usually, when I squat someone will put their arms around me from behind and clasp their hands around my stomach for added support in lifting the weight. This time around, I was encouraged by light taps on my elbow as I can control the bar better now. I’m proud of this development in strength and coordination.
  • Coach commented that my biceps are getting firm. They’re were like jelly before. Same with my triceps.
  • Doing the 1 minute battle rope was tough! It takes a LOT from you but coach says when they train for a race they do it for three minutes straight. Sore. Sore. Sore.
  • It was my first time doing the ab roller and it took me a while to get used to it. I didn’t know how to position my body without tipping over so Aldren lightly stepped on my feet to help me finish doing the sets. I even fell down on my stomach once! HAHA!

In the three months of going to gym, I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes willingly submitting themselves to hard work so they can improve their physique. I’m thankful to have supportive people at the gym who has the same goal of becoming healthy versions of themselves.

I think I get it now, why some people are gym addicts – being healthy is addictive!

You walk, talk, and breathe differently when you’re healthy. When we are healthy, we can benefit from our body’s design to the fullest. Health really is wealth.

We are only blessed with one body. Love it, and take care of it.

Until next week!


Fitness Friday 08: Pushing Through The Limit

Happy New Year!

Fitness friday posts are back after lying dormant during Christmas and New Year. The last two weeks were really festive but I still managed to do four workouts to balance my holiday binge. Surprisingly, I didn’t gain much weight from the holidays. Coach switched my routine. Instead of doing cardio before lifting weights, we now do post cardio so I can be more productive while lifting. The combination of muscle groups being exercised per session were also changed so my body won’t get used to the routine.

The challenge for me as the year starts is to push through my limits. I’m amazed with the strength I’m gaining week by week and the amount of weight I’m losing but I wanted to level it up. In order to get better at something you need to do it over and over again until you master it. Even after mastering it, you can still go beyond that boundary.

We are unbounded and limitless. We just need to exercise our self-discipline, commitment, and determination to move forward so we can see the heights of our own potential.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Core

Back:
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)
12 Reverse-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Standing Behind-the-Neck Pull-Down (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Sprint
20 Slam Ball
10 Burpees

Core (3 sets of):
20 Leg Raises
20 Ankle Touches

Notes:

  • My first workout this new year! I found it so refreshing after having a few days break.
  • I feel a hint of protest from my body since it got used to resting during the holidays.
  • Doing the cardio and core workouts after lifting really did improve my capacity to lift weights since I get to have more energy to attack the sets.
  • I’m striving to complete the repetitions continuously now per set unlike before where I stop at doing 5 to rest during the set.
  • I was really determined to burn all the calories and get back to choosing healthy.
  • Only exercising the back muscles takes a getting used to for me since I don’t actively engage them much in my daily activities.

Wednesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Shoulders

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Standing Military Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Dec (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
2 min. Sprint
1 min. Battle Rope
30 Crunches
30 Leg Raises

Notes:

  • The burn is real.
  • Coach has added more routines for me to do and I’m surprised my body is strong enough to take it now.
  • I still can’t get the hand of the standing military press. It’s one of the hardest routines for me to execute though I’m happy I still complete them.
  • My shoulders look edgier now compared to last time. I can now see the results of my hard work.
  • Doing 1 minute battle rope for cardio was extremely difficult! I can execute 20-30 fine but smashing the ropes on the floor for a minute was hard to keep up! I was sweating buckets!
  • It was a great session. I was tired but feeling accomplished.

Thursday

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Side-to-side Jumping Jacks
30 High Knees
15 Burpees
30 Climbers
30 Plank Jacks

Finisher:
100 Leg Raises
2 min. Plank

Notes:

  • I was still feeling a bit sore so I exchanged the 30 running lunges with the side-to-side jumping jacks and 30 high knees. Running lunges were difficult for me to execute this day so I switched it with two exercises that I think have the same amount of intensity combined.
  • I still don’t like doing burpees.
  • Thank you body for doing what you need to do push your limits and become healthier.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) 90 kilos
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raises (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Biceps Cable Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Bar Pushdown (4 sets)
12 Triceps Row Pushdown (4 sets)
12 Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension (4 sets)

Cardio (3 sets of):
2 min. Bike (fast)
30 Elevated Climbers
15 Elevated Burpees

Notes:

  • My left wrist is a bit painful. I think I might have twisted it when lifting a weight. Coach recommended that I but wrist wraps to support it so it won’t be overexerted when lifting.
  • I’m still lifting 90 kilos when doing the squats. One thing I noticed this time is that I find it easier to lift it now and complete the last set without feeling like falling over.
  • When I squeeze my arms I can now feel more muscle than fat. Good gains!
  • The cardio session was intense! I’m glad to finish strong with this set

I’m really proud of where I am right now. It’s the result of hard work and determination to move an inch limit after limit. To go over and achieve something , we need to be intentional about it, whether it’s losing weight or mastering egg fried rice. Believe in yourself that you can do it.

Do you have “to lose weight this year” in your resolution?
Put a target number on it.
Put a healthy plan on it.
Put all of yourself into it.

Go beyond your limit.

Happy New Year! Stays safe and healthy
– Kalvin


Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

20 Firsts of 2020 : A Birthday Special – You’re Invited!

Today is December 31, 2020 and it’s MY BIRTHDAAAAAYY!
HOORAY! *confetti* *fireworks*

Before anything else, I’d like to thank everyone who clicked the tiny follow button on my humble blog. I’ve only ever dreamed of getting a hundred follows by the year ends but I can’t believe that there are now more than 200 of you guys! Thank you so so much! You guys made my birthday extra special!

The one thing that people always assume when they hear that my birthday is on the 31st of December is that I get to have a grand celebration. Well, yes and no, Yeah, I mean it’s grand in a sense that my neighbors, and more or less the whole world, prepare feasts in their homes and put on a spectacular display of fireworks for the new year. It’s fun to see it that way but I also get this sense of everyone wanting to rush things because they can’t wait for the past year to finally expire.

This year was tough for everyone. All of us have been tossed, turned, and bruised by the events of the world. I feel for everyone who has been victims of injustice. I pray that life will be kinder and more gracious to you as we move into 2021. Thank you for persevering to survive despite the weight of the world. I greatly admire you.

2021. A fresh new year, a clean slate, an empty canvas, where you’re free to do anything you’d wish and hope for. A happy new year. I’m with you guys in welcoming 2021 with arms wide open.

But you know, for me, going through 2020 was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received.

I think one of the best gifts aside from a boatload of cash is extra time with a side of courage.

I am thankful for 2020 because if I didn’t go through it, I wouldn’t have time to do all the things that I didn’t know I can even do before. Many things in my life shifted and I saw them from a different perspective. My dormant skills came alive and used in creative ways. Because of 2020, I experienced several amazing things the first time. 

With the gift of time and a side of courage, you get to experience many firsts.
Now as I turn a year older, I invite you to look back at 2020 with me and remember all the “firsts” that made this year a memorable one.

1) Spiritual direction at the Cenacle

At the gate of the Cenacle house

Coming from a retreat in 2019, I wanted to start 2020 right by meeting with a spiritual director. I met with Sr. Ana from the Congregation of Our Lady of the Retreat in the Cenacle and we talked for a while about discerning my life direction (I’ll share more about this on a different post). What’s amazing is whatever we talked about that time was tested and proven during my time in quarantine. If not for the extra time I had I wouldn’t be able to see where my talents and skills intersect and where they would lead me.

2) Experience ashfall from a volcano eruption

January this year, Taal Volcano erupted in the Philippines spewing toxic ash into the air that continued to linger for many weeks. We had to wear face masks and protective eyewear to avoid inhaling ash. It’s a precursor to the pandemic here in the Philippines. I never imagined that I’d be able to experience this in my lifetime since Taal has been dormant for a long time.

3) 5km Run at Manila Bay & Intramuros

Originally, I planned to join at least one running event per month this year. I wanted to rake in medals! I only got to February, but the way things turned out was better. I started my year with fitness and now I’m still on the same goal. I miss running with my friends.

4) Start growing a blog

I started my blog last February thanks to a strict nudge from a blogger friend of mine. To be honest, I didn’t even know if my content will ever be read by people. I just wrote down my thoughts and honest feelings. Primarily, I want my blog to be a space of connection (My first post: Creating Spaces for Connection) whatever content it may have.

Today, I’m still surprised to reach more than 200 follows and post my 50th blog entry. I’m so thankful of everyone who’s reading this blog. It’s also amazing how I’m able to connect with fellow bloggers. More to come next year!

5) Facebook and Instagram accounts for Kalvin Five

With the drive to reach more people, I created a Facebook Page and Instagram account for Kalvin Five. I’m happy that I still get to reach people who might find what I write relevant or helpful to them.

Facebook: Kalvin Five
Instagram: @kalvinfive.blog

6) Be a contributing writer for a religious community

I’m blessed to be able to be a contributing writer for a religious community on Facebook. Through writing for the community, I’m able to deepen my Catholic faith and at the same time learn something new about it. Unmasked.

7) Poem collaboration with a friend

Liwanag – Light

I wrote a poem in Filipino in collaboration with a dear blogger friend of mine. It was both our first time and it was magical how every piece just fit together and we finished the poem in a few hours. We published it as a spoken poetry video as well on our pages. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for years and it finally comes true in this amazing piece!

Watch the whole poem here: Liwanag

8) Host a wedding reception in Singapore

A few days before our country went on lockdown, I was in Singapore for a wedding. It was my first time staying in a capsule hotel and going around Singapore alone too. Due to the lockdown measures, the original host needed to fly back earlier than expected so I filled in his spot. With little the remaining time I have, I prepared for the hosting gig and everything went great! Who knew that my first ever hosting gig will be in a foreign country?

9) Host live online prayer meetings

Ministry has to adapt to still reach out to people. As we moved our actual gatherings online, I was blessed to serve as a host in some of our live streams. It takes a little getting used to but it’s all fun once you get the hang of it!

10) Participate in an online choir

That’s me in green

It’s a challenging feat but the end result is just amazing! I was able to stitch together a full-voiced choir using software too!

Check out this performance here: Diwa Ng Pasko

11) Read three self-help books in a month

April was hardest month for me this year and reading helped me out a lot. I don’t usually read self-help books that much but these three helped me stay sane and just keep myself moving forward. These books helped me become more grounded and not spiral out of control. Especially, they made helped me figure out the inner workings of myself more.

Resisting Happiness – Matthew Kelly
How To Befriend Your Shadow “Welcoming Your Unloved Side? – John Monbourquette
How To Discover Your Personal Mission “The Search for Meaning – John Monbourquette

12) Do my own laundry on Facebook Live

Me doing laundry while singing on Facebook Live

Since lockdown happened I learned how to do my own laundry. We don’t have a washing machine at home so I hand-washed everything! There was even a time that I broadcasted my laundry session live on Facebook which people found interesting to watch.

13) Purchase my own bed frame and mattress

I’ve always wanted to remodel my room bit by bit. It was such an adulting move to finally purchase my own bed and mattress! I also decluttered my room of trash and unneeded stuff. My nights have never been so full of comfort and rest. Next up for my room is to paint it blue and get a new desk and a chair.

14) Find out I have high alcohol tolerance

I was out with a few friends of mine a few blocks from where I live. I wasn’t counting how much I’ve already taken in but after sharing a bottle each of wine, tequila, and brandy I’m still up and sober. I was amazed that I did not feel the classic symptoms of being intoxicated as it was my first time to drink that much. Fellas I don’t recommend drinking until you drop. Always keep it safe and keep to your limit.

15) Bake bread and desserts

Baking has become one of my stress busters this year. Buying an oven has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made this year. My dad has learned how to bake as well and now we don’t buy bread from the supermarket but bake them whenever we need some. I’ve learned so many things in baking and the science-y stuff always amazes me seeing your creation transform behind the glass oven door.

16) Make roast chicken and lechon belly

Having an oven also made me try out recipes that require roasting. I’m proud to have made my first ever roast chicken and lechon belly (Filipino porchetta) and they tasted amazing! I’m getting more confident in my cooking skills. I basted the lechon belly above with a little too much soy sauce on the skin hence the dark color though it’s borderline on getting burnt! haha!

17) Commit to my fitness journey

I’ve already told you guys about my fitness journey this year. I started at 121 kg last January and today I weigh in at 94 kg. It’s been a long journey and I’m still reaching for my goal weight. I started out by changing my diet and doing home exercises. My weight loss stalled and that’s when I enrolled in a gym last October and my Fitness Friday posts were born. I find it hard to keep my diet on track this Christmas season. I need to burn a lot of fat again for a better and fitter me in 2021.

18) Get a proper massage in a massage parlor

On my first full week at the gym I was really sore all around my body which is totally normal if it’s you’re getting back to lifting after a long time or if it’s your first time. I’m really shy about my body so I don’t go to massage parlors but this time I didn’t care about what the therapist might think. I just wanted the aches to go away. Under the hands of a therapist with 20 years of experience under his belt, he soothed my pains away and sent me home relaxed. Go get the massage that your body deserves!

19) Squat with 90 kilos 

I can now lift an average built human!

Coach Joel is just an amazing encourager! I never imagined myself being able to do the things I can do at the gym now if he didn’t push me to do it. I mean wow! 90 kilos! What’s next? 200 kilos? Everything is possible if you remove your own limits 🙂 Thank you to everyone at Fitness and Health Gym you guys rock!

20) Get a facial treatment

This is prickly business! I just did this one last Monday. All this mask wearing and sweating made me breakout with acne around the area. I wanted to have my acne treated before it gets worse. For the first time, I had an online consultation with a dermatologist and she prescribed me with facial treatments and medicine. The dermatologist recommended getting a Glycolic Micropeel treatment to hasten the healing of my acne.

By the gods! The technician pricked my pimples and I shed a few tears! Three days since the treatment, I feel it working! Now I just need to follow through with the skin care regimen.


In a few hours 2020 will be officially over. Today, as I look back I will remember it as a year filled with challenges that helped me come closer to the version of myself that I want to become. I’m another year older now and I feel like there’s more out there for me to experience and enjoy. This year was surely not a joy ride but it’s roughness smoothed out my rough edges. Thank you so much 2020!

I want to end with three birthday wishes.

For myself:
I wish for 2021 to be a year where I reinvent myself to fully become who I envision myself to be – a person who truly loved and fully lived.

For the person who reads this:
I wish that you get to finally do the things you’ve been wanting to do your whole life and share it with the world.

For the world:
I wish that the world will have more safe spaces for connection where people can be loved and accepted without fear.

Oh! And I really really wish that we can already go out of our homes feeling safe without the threat of the pandemic. May our world leaders be guided. Hope to meet you guys outside!

I love you guys!
May you have a happy and meaningful new year!

-Kalvin Cinco


Fitness Friday 07: Have Yourself A Merry Healthy Christmas

Ho Ho Ho! Happy Healthmas!

Christmas is just around the corner. One of the greatest gifts I have given myself this year is the gift of a healthier me. I can’t believe how far I’ve come since I started last April. From 121 kilos, I’ve worked hard to shed extra weight and now I’m 94 kilos. Now that’s a good cause for celebration! Better watch out for my Christmas diet lest I go back to having a body like Santa.

This week, I had a hard time scheduling my day job and work outs but everything fit together perfectly. I moved my Monday workout to Tuesday and then resumed Thursday, then Friday. Next week, we’re going back to regular programming (Merry Christmas!).

Tuesday

Me and my Sweat Angel (Shadow?)

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Sprint
20 Plyo Box
30 Single Battle Rope
30 Double Battle Rope
15 Slam Ball

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Triceps

Incline Barbell Press w/ all the sweat

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pressdown (3 sets)
12 Cable Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Tricep Extension (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core (3 sets of) :
30 Ab Crunches
30 Advanced Leg Raises

Finisher: 3 – min Plank

Cooldown: Walk Home

Sweat Shadow

Notes:

  • I forgot to bring my Garmin watch on this day so I wasn’t able to measure my workout.
  • I learned about Time Under Tension today. It’s the time where your muscles are under tension when doing repetitions. If you rest for too long in between you set your muscles will reset to the way it was.
  • Time Under Tension is important in building muscle. When our muscles are under tension the fibers break down which is one of the goals of body building because it causes new fibers to form during healing.
  • Knowing about this made me realize how important it is to continuously do the reps per set to have better gains.
  • I took the core workout home so I can catch up with my morning meeting.
  • At home, instead of doing the plank 3 minute straight, I did it in 1 minute intervals with 30 seconds rest in between.

Thursday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Battle Jacks
10 Duck Walk
15 Hip Bends

Workout Target Areas: Back & Biceps

Back:
12 Deadlifts (3 sets) * I only did 6 reps on the last set
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Behind-the-Neck Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 T Bar Row (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 Cable Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:
2 min Plank

Notes:

  • I have never in my entire life did a duck walk until this day. I’m listing it down along with burpees as one of my most disliked cardio workouts ever!
  • I asked my coach how to do a stretching for my back. We did a back extension stretch where you push your upper body from the floor and holding the position. It relieved my muscles that’s threatening to spasm.
  • I learned a new routine on the T Bar Row. It was challenging because your core also gets engaged along with your back. It’s a good workout to do to hit those areas.
  • We only did two biceps routine since we did a lot of cardio in the beginning.
  • The 2 minute plank at the end was CRAZY! I’ve completed a 2 minute plank before but this time I was so tired that I kept breaking the plank. It was funny when coach was encouraging me to finish. A great way to end the workout.

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Shoulders

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Romanian Deadlift (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raises (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Shoulder Bar Raise (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Shoulder Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shrugs (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:
100 Leg Raises

Notes:

  • I’m not used to having workouts on two consecutive days so my energy is a bit low. Still, I think today went great.
  • My squat form is improving. I just need to go lower and not be afraid of going down. I guess I’m still wary since I almost had a mishap last week doing squats.
  • I’m surprised that I’m now really trying to push myself to finish a set continuously since coach told me about Time Under Tension.
  • I’m proud that I’m gaining more strength than ever. Good job self!
I can now jump more consistently

If you really want it, work hard for it. There were moments this week where I didn’t want to go the gym but I didn’t want to cheat on myself. I needed to show up for myself because I feel like I owe myself a healthy body for a change. Push!

And now the challenge of a healthy Christmas begins haha! Let’s see how next week goes.