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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike
Workout Target Areas: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Core (3 sets of): 30 Mat Ab Crunches 30 Leg Raises 30 Figure of 4 Crunches (per side)
2 min Plank (Finisher)
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.
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?
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
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.
6)Be a contributing writer for a religiouscommunity
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
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!
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
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!
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 laundryon 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
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!