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 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 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.


Fitness Friday 05: Do Not Be Afraid

First of all, excuse me for posting this on a Saturday. My hands were full yesterday so I wasn’t able to publish. Ok so let’s just pretend that we’re reading this on a Friday haha!

Last Sunday, I went on a hike with my fellow gym members. We went to Tila Pilon Hills and then to Talon Pari Falls. It was my first time to go outside with nature since the pandemic hit so it was a very welcome breath of fresh air! I enjoyed being with mother nature. 

Going down from the summit
Muddy trail because it rained hard that morning

At Talon Pari Falls, I fearlessly jumped off a ledge of a waterfall. It was exhilarating to do! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the jump as my phone would get wet. I’ve never felt so much adrenaline since the start of the year. It was a fun day.

My stats on the day of the hike. 24,400 STEPS!

With my body still aching a bit from the activities, I pushed through with my workout on Monday. There’s no stopping now!

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Triceps

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Press (4 sets)
12 Lying Bench Press (4 sets)
12 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck Machine (3 sets)
12 Cable Cross Over(3 sets) 

Triceps:
12 Reverse Grip Pressdown (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Tricep Extension (3 sets)
12 Cable Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
20 Triceps Dips (3 sets)
20 Side Bends (3 sets)
*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Cooldown: Walk Home

Notes:

  • We took it easy on this day since the whole Sunday felt like a full-body workout.
  • Not so much cardio but we focused on building muscles on chest and triceps since they’re not directly hit during our hike.
  • It still amazes me how I can now lift heavier weights. I think I’m underestimating the amount of weight I can lift. 
  • I had a good night’s sleep when I got home. Tired but fulfilled.

Wednesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
20 Alternating Step Ups
20 Elevated Climbers
20 Squat Jacks 

Workout Target Areas: Back & Biceps

Back:
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Behind-The-Neck Lat Pull-Down (4 sets)
12 Seated Row (4 sets)
12 Dumbbell Curl (3 sets) 

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

I did some ab crunches too but I forgot to record how much I did on this day.

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Cooldown: Walk Home

Notes:

  • My deadlift form is finally getting better! 
  • Coach said that he’s surprised that I wasn’t afraid to add more weights on the set. I’m now the one putting the weights on per set which was something I’ve developed when coming to the gym.
  • The set of dumbbells I’m using now is already reaching the 2nd rack starting 17 kilos.
  • I got really tired after the gym session. It’s only been half the week and I was exhausted!
  • Thank you body for making it for me, you’re such a blessing!

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Shoulders

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) Final set at 90 kilos!
12 Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Calf Raises (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Seated Shoulder Press(3 sets)
12 Cable Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Shoulder Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Shrugs (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

The plates on my last set of squats. Kinda scary right?

Core (3 sets of):
20 Ab Crunches
20 Leg Raises
20 Side to Side

Finish with 2 min. plank

Cooldown: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Notes:

  • I’m beginning to enjoy doing squats though my form still needs improvement.
  • Coach Joel and Aldren told me that I should not be afraid of lifting the squat weight since they’re there to spot me. 
  • In any weight, I should not be afraid and have the mindset that I can lift them. Funny how life also works like that.
  • My shoulders really need strengthening, I think coach notices that and he eased me into more shoulder routines this day.
  • I’m beginning to notice my abdominal muscles getting stronger but it’s still covered in a huge layer of fat haha!
  • We’ll weigh in again next week! I’m kinda nervous because I don’t feel like I’m losing any weight but many people who are seeing me now are commenting that I’ve already lost a lot. Gotts be more patient with myself.

This week was a little bit tiring. I don’t know if my coach would be able to read this but I skipped doing fasted cardio last Thursday!

If there’s one thing that stuck with me since Sunday about my fitness and life and general it’s – Do Not Be Afraid. Looking at the week that has passed it has been subconsciously been my theme. I had a challenging week after a relaxing weekend but the message was clear and it was for me to not be afraid of what may come because it will all be ok in the end.

I want to leave the same message with you.

My friend, Do not be afraid.

Keep Safe!



Fitness Friday 04: To A Healthier And Stronger Me For Christmas

The gym is all decked up with Christmas decor!

Coach mixed the routine up this week again so my body won’t quickly adapt to the same workouts. It was fun learning new things though it takes a little getting used to. Still, I kept my head in the game and just stuck with it. Discipline and determination are the keys to good gains.

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Biceps

Chest:
12 Lying Bench Press (4 sets)
12 Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck Machine (3 sets) *no more steppers

Biceps:
12 Seated Preacher Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Seated Biceps Curl (3 sets)
12 <Forgot The Name> (3 sets )

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core / Cardio (3 sets of):
15 Running Lunges
20 Battle Rope Jacks
30 Crunches
30 Leg Raises

Doing Battle Rope Jacks. The ropes were heavy!

Notes:

  • I found it interesting that my coach put the cardio exercises at the end. As I finished the sets that day I knew why. The new combination of Chest and Biceps was challenging to do.
  • Coach commented that he was surprised at the development of my strength when I did the Seated Preacher Curl. It was a new addition to my routine but I executed it fairly well.
  • I felt so satisfied when I can finally complete the sets of the same that I couldn’t do before without a spotter. My strength is catching up!
  • The Battle Rope Jacks at the end was deceptively easy to look at but it makes you pant like there’s no tomorrow when you do it.

Wednesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Triceps

Back:
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Behind-The-Neck Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Reverse Close-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Standing Cable Rope Lat Push-Down (3 sets) 

Triceps:
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets per side)
12 Seated Tricep Extension (3 sets)
12 Triangle Press Down (3 sets)
12 Cable Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
20 Triceps Dips (5 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core (3 sets of):
15 Decline Crunches (w/ 5kg plate)
15 Russian Twist (w/ 5kg plate)

Notes:

  • This was a great day. I felt confident doing the deadlifts and all the other routines. The belt helps brace my waist and back for proper form.
  • I’m gaining strength in my triceps as well. I’m amazed at the progress that’s happening. I’m so proud of myself.
  • I remember not being able to do 5 continuous Triceps Dips but now I can finish 20 in one go! 
  • The Decline Crunches and Russian Twist is a new routine for me. THEY HURT SO BAD! I’m exaggerating but I told Aldren that I felt like I was dying haha! I completed the sets anyway all for the sake of progress!
  • Coach Joel told me that it’s important to master the correct form first before adding more weight. If we don’t do the correct form it will do more damage than good gains.

Thursday

Notes:

  • Ugh! Fasted cardio homework is really challenging! 
  • My balance is really being tested with the running lunges followed by the burpees.
  • Capping the workout with 100 Leg Raises followed by a 2 min. Plank gives me a great sense of accomplishment in the morning. 
  • Oh! everything just hurts so well!

Friday

Warm-up: 20 min. Stationary Bike

Pre Cardio (2 sets of):
15 Squats
15 Running Lunges

Cardio: Tabata with Coach Thea

Tabata workout series

Workout Target Areas: Shoulder & Legs

Shoulders:
12 Seated Shoulder Press(3 sets)
12 Lateral Dumbbell Raises (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Shoulder Plate Raises (3 sets)
15 Plate Shrugs (3 sets)

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) *compounded
12 Leg Press (3 sets) *compounded

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:
100 Crunches
100 Leg Raises

Notes:

  • To be honest I was feeling really lazy to go to the gym today. I think it’s because I moved our schedule from morning to the afternoon to make way for a meeting.
  • Coach Joel wasn’t there yet when I arrived but he gave me instructions to do 20 min. on the bike. 
  • Coach Thea took me in for cardio and I did Tabata with fellow gym-goers. It was a first for me though it was really fun! We executed a series of floor exercises with music. I was drenched in sweat when we finished and left a little puddle on the area I worked out on.
  • After Tabata, I lifted weights with Coach.
  • Working out the shoulders is challenging for me since I seldom use those muscles extensively on a daily basis. I am proud that they’re now getting stronger. What I couldn’t lift before, I can now lift with better ease and a few grunts.
  • We took it easy on the legs today since we’re going out on a hiking trip this Sunday. It’s my first time joining them on an outing. I’m excited!

To end, I want to show you guys a lonesome yet festive “Christmas Tree” I found on my walk home. Going to the gym and becoming a healthier version of myself is one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever given myself. I’ve never felt this good about my body for years! Here’s to a bright Christmas season for all of us!


Fitness Friday 03: I Did A 90-Kilo Squat!

I never saw myself lifting that amount of weight. 90 kilos is more than a huge sack of rice! I’m so proud of myself for not giving up.

This week I noticed my gains in strength. It’s amazing to feel and see the progress that’s happening in my body. My weight lifting belt also came in which provided extra support for me when lifting. This was an amazing week!

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Jumping jacks side to side 
30 Single Battle Rope 
30 Double Battle Rope 
15 Slam Ball

Workout Target Areas: Compounded Areas

12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Deadlifts (3 sets) *no more steppers
12 Military Press (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Kneeling Cable Crunches (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:
100 Leg Raises

Drenched in sweat

Notes:

  • Today, coach Joel mixed things up a bit. We mostly did compound training hitting several muscles per workout routine.
  • I lifted heavier weight on my squats and deadlifts which surprised me because I could perform the movements well already with only minor adjustments needed.
  • Coach told me that we’ll change up training for this month to see how my body will respond to it. I’m gaining strength and I’m all for it!
  • It was an interesting and exciting day especially that it marks my actual 1 month in the gym. I’m definitely seeing progress.

Tuesday

Notes:

  • Did my fasted cardio. I found doing the running lunges hard end only ended up doing 20 repetitions per set.
  • I pushed myself to finish the 100 leg ups and the 2-minute plank.

Wednesday

I forgot to record some of the workouts so I missed some data

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest and Triceps

Chest:
12 Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (4 sets)
12 Flat Bench Press (4 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (4 sets)
12 Pec Deck Machine (4 sets)
12 Cable Crossover (4 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Pull Over (4 sets)
15 Triceps Pull Down (4 sets)
15 Rope Push Down (4 sets)
15 Triceps Kick Back (4 sets)
Hanging Leg Raise

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:

100 Seated Crunches
100 Seated Flutter Kicks (did at home)
50 Leg Ups (did at home)

Notes:

  • It was amazing to see my strength development today. I’m starting off on heavier weights now and progressing to the second rack of heavier equipment. 
  • From 3 sets coach added another set to push my development because he sees that I have the capacity to do more and I believe it too! COOL!
  • Coach told me that the more muscle I put on, the faster my metabolism will be. The same goes for when you put on fat, your metabolism will get slower.
  • Aldren helped me with my sets again!
  • Everyone in the gym was so supportive I like the environment so much!
  • I tried to do the hanging leg raises but I just can’t muster the strength for it yet. But soon I know I can do it!
  • I took the remaining core exercises for today home because I have a meeting

Friday (90 Kilos!)

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
1 min. High Knees
10 Burpees
30 Battle Rope
15 Plyobox

Workout Target Areas: Legs and Shoulders

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets)
12 Seated Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Leg/Hamstring Curl (3 sets)
12 Seated Leg Extension (3 sets)
12 Standing Calf Raises (3 sets)
15 Weighted Lunges (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets)
12 Front Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Standing Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Rope Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shrug (3 sets)

*All reps increment in weight per set

Core:
50 Crunches
50 Leg Raises
50 Superman Planks

Lifting 90 kilos! Personal Record!

Notes:

  • I did the cardio with Bison a fellow gym-goer. It was challenging for me to do cardio with him because I had the inclination to match his pace. It was fun to do it together though!
  • I’m lifting heavier weights now. I lifted 90 kilos doing squats! My new personal record.
  • I’m surprised at the amount of strength I’ve gained. I feel so happy!
  • It’s Aldren’s birthday today too! Happy Birthday, Bro!
  • A neighbor I barely talk to told me that I lost a lot of weight as we were walking past each other. This put a huge smile behind my face mask. 

I feel so accomplished this week, especially today now that I’m seeing what gains I’ve worked hard for. Here’s to a healthier and stronger me as the year ends.


Fitness Friday 02: Strength and Gym Monthsary!

Only a few days left and it’s almost my gym monthsary. I’m super proud that I haven’t missed a single training day! HOORAY! #Consistency

Last weekend I cheated with some Dark Chocolate Ensaymada (a Filipino pastry). I made up for it by catching up on cardio the next day until my Garmin watch tells me that I’ve burned 1,000 calories making up for the calories I consumed from the Ensaymada. Oh! If I can have the superpower of eating but not getting fat – that would be awesome.

I track my progress using my Garmin during my workouts. It’s nice to have if you are meticulous. I like it because it tells me how many calories I burned and the steps that I took during the day. To make things interesting I’ll show you my workout stats.

Here’s how my week went.

Monday

Warm-Up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (2 sets of): 
30 Single Battle Rope 
30 Double Battle Rope
15 Slam Ball

Workout Target Areas: Chest and Triceps

Chest:
15 Push-ups (2 sets)
12 Flat Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck Machine (3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Triceps Press Down (4 sets) *added a set from last week
12 Rope Push Down (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Extension (3 sets)
15 Triceps Dip (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Obliques / Abs:
20 Plate Side Bends (5 sets)

Notes:

  • Today’s workout surprisingly went by quickly.
  • My coach had me do pushups at the beginning to see how I’m doing with my strength development. He complimented that it’s good that I can now do FULL pushups starting from half! I’m so proud of myself
  • I haven’t really been paying attention to the amount of weight that gets added on every set but this time I could not believe that I’m starting to lift HEAVIER stuff than last time. Guys! I’m gaining strength!
  • I don’t feel like my body is losing weight as fast as I want it to be. I think I need to adjust my diet again or I’m just being impatient. Consistency is really the key.
  • When I was doing the triceps dip, I could barely even do the “dip” without my arms collapsing under my own weight because those targetted muscles are tired already. I just grit my teeth until I finished the sets.
  • I only did plate side bends at the end because I was able to do some core workout at home the day before.
  • Coach said we’re going to change my homework fasted cardio since to make it more challenging.
  • For me, the chest and triceps area is the hardest to build because I rarely use them in my sedentary career as an IT professional.
  • I’m glad to have known a few people in the gym. They’re all very supportive.
  • When I got home I had a funny moment in the shower. I can barely move my arms to put soap around my body especially my back! I couldn’t stop laughing at my predicament in the shower. Here’s to gains!

Wednesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary bike

Light Cardio: 7 min. Jog (from 5 minutes last week)

Workout Target Areas: Back and Biceps

Back:
12 Barbell Deadlift (3 sets) 
12 Barbell Bent-over Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets) 
12 Lat Machine Pull Down (3 sets) 
12 Behind The Neck Pulldown (3 sets) 

Biceps / Arms:
15 Cable Pull Down (3 sets)
12 Standing Ez Bar Curl (3 sets)
12 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
12 Cable Curl (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core:
100 Crunches 
100 Side to Side
100 Leg Raise

Deadlift with my constipated looking face

Notes:

  • I’m so proud of myself that I completed the 7-minute jog without stops. I was also faster this time around.
  • I can feel myself getting stronger especially when doing the deadlifts and bicep curls. The same weight I struggled with before is easier to lift now. Seeing this, coach added more weights per set despite my little complaints.
  • Coach told me that I’m getting stronger, which I gladly received.
  • Coach Thea, my coach’s wife told me that I’m getting slimmer. I really couldn’t see it for myself but I feel lighter on my feet. She told me that fat loss is my goal and relying on the numbers on the scale isn’t advisable since getting weight off has many factors. I could be gaining muscle weight and losing fat but you see the result in your appearance and fit of your clothes.
  • I did the deadlifts with ease this time nailing down the reps with proper form most of the time. Lifting the bar is easier with the right posture. I bought a belt online to help support my back when doing deadlifts.
  • I notice that my left biceps are weaker than my right even if I am left-handed. I think this is a bit peculiar.
  • Finished strong with the core workout. If would never have done a hundred of each four weeks ago.
  • A storm entered the country today. I had 2nd thoughts about going to the gym but my motivation to not miss a training day was stronger. It was an amazing blessing that the rain only hit hard when I got home.
  • Having a good night’s sleep tonight!

Friday

Warm-up / Cardio: 100 Jumping Jacks

Workout Target Areas: Legs and Shoulders

Legs:
12 Dead Squats (3 sets) 
12 Seated Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Romanian Deadlift  (3 sets)
12 Seated Leg Curl (3 sets)
12 Weighted Calf Raises (3 sets)
15 Weighted Lunges (3 sets)

Shoulders:
12 Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Front Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Rope Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Machine Upright Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Shrug (3 sets)

*All reps increment in weight per set

Core:
100 Seated Crunches
100 Seated Flutter Kicks

Dead Squats (Seriously constipated face haha!)

Notes:

  • I thought the warmup of 100 jumping jacks was very easy but little did I know it was enough for the workout ahead.
  • I am now given heavier weights to starts my set with. I AM GETTING STRONGER!
  • The Dead Squats are now easier for me to do. The weight on my last set was 30 kilos! 
  • Doing the Romanian Deadlifts was interesting because it targeted both my hamstrings and core.
  • The Weighted Lunges made me realize that I need to work on my balance more because each step was a little bit of a challenge, especially with this new movement.
  • My shoulder muscles are getting developed too because I can now lift the weights I struggled with before.
  • The Dumbbell Shrug was deceptively easy to look at but it was challenging to execute.
  • Finished strong with the core workout! Never give up!

New Fasted Cardio Routine

Coach made my fasted cardio a little bit more challenging. I’m excited to try it out! These cardio exercises are what I’m supposed to do every morning before I break my fast. It’s to make up for days without going to the gym. Kinda like a fitness homework.

Stretching
Warmup: 2 min. Jog In Place

3 sets of:
20-30 Running Lunges
15 Burpees
30 Criss-Cross Climbers
30 Plank Jacks

Finisher:
100 Leg Raises
2 min. Plank

That’s it for this week! Overall my takeaway is to be patient with my own progress and just keep improving every time.

Featured Image Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash


Fitness Friday 01: The Journey Begins

Well, I’m not actually beginning from scratch. It’s just that many of my friends are asking me how I did it and what keeps me going. I thought that by documenting my fitness journey in my blog, you can journey with me in my fitness goals. These kind of posts will pop up on Fridays and describe how my past week went focusing only on fitness. 

I only started going to the gym last October 16. I train with Coach Joel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The days in between are rest days so I will not be focusing much on them unless I did something out of the blue.

To give you a picture of where I am right now here are my stats:
Starting Weight: 123.38 kg (April 2020)
Current Weight: 100.2 kg (weighed on October 16, 2020)
Goal Weight: 68 kg (within healthy BMI range)
Current Diet: Low Carb Intermittent Fasting (16:8 window)

Monday

My Monday workout menu

Warm-Up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of): 
10 Alternate Step Board 
30 Single Battle Rope 
30 Double Battle Rope
10 Burpees 

Workout Target Areas: Chest and Triceps

Chest:
12 Incline Barbell Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Flat Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Pullover (3 sets)
12 Pec Deck Machine (3 sets)

Triceps:
15 Triceps Press Down (3 sets)
15 Rope Push Down (3 sets)
15 Dumbbell Extension (3 sets)
15 per side Dumbbell Kickback (3 sets)

Core:
100 Leg Raises (5 sets of 20)
90 Seconds Plank 

Cooldown:10 min Stationary Bike 

Notes:
Doing the burpees was hard though I still completed them.
I am thankful for the supportive and positive people in the gym.
Very grateful for my spotter who encouraged me to finish my sets. Hats off to you!
I did the 90-second plank without any breaks. Hooray!
Coach told me that it looks like I’m losing weight and gaining strength. We will have a weigh-in on Friday.
Did my meal prep for the remainder of the week. 

Wednesday

A motivational mural on the wall

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary bike

Light Cardio: 5 min. Jog

Workout Target Areas: Back and Biceps

Back:
12 Barbell Deadlift (3 sets) *compounded 
12 Bent Underhand Row (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)
12 Lat Machine Pull Down (3 sets)
15 Behind The Neck Pulldown (3 sets)

Biceps / Arms:
15 Cable Pull Down (3 sets)
15 Cable Curl (3 sets)
15 Hammer Curl (3 sets)
10 Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

*All reps increment in weight in some sets

Obliques / Abs:
20 Plate Side Bends (4 sets)

Cooldown: 12 min. walk going home

Notes:
We did a lot of compounded training today so many muscle groups are actually targetted by a specific workout or machine. 
Coach and I talked a little about it’s really the combination of having the right nutrition and exercise that makes people fit. Lose one or the other to the extreme might throw you off balance.
I almost couldn’t finish the last workout for my biceps – the Dumbell Curl. I had someone spot me and carry a few pounds off the lifted weight just to finish the last set. 
Instead of doing a 10 min bike for cooldown I just walked home.
I notice myself getting stronger.

Thursday

Home Cardio:
45 mins Elliptical (13 resistance)

3 sets of:
30 High Knees
30 Climbers
10 Push-ups

Ender:
1 min. Plank (no stops)

Notes:
My elbows got scratched as they slipped off the mat during planking.

Friday

Drenched in sweat doing Deadlifts last Monday. Form needs improvement.

Weighed in: 98 kg (lost 2 kilos in 3 weeks, also gained muscle)

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
12 Shuttle Run
12 Battle Rope (single)
12 Kettlebell Swing
12 Slam Ball 

Workout Target Areas: Legs and Shoulders

Legs:
12 Barbell Squats (3 sets) *compounded 
12 Seated Leg Press (3 sets)
12 Lying Hamstring Curl  (3 sets)
12 Seated Leg Curl (3 sets)
12 Weighted Calf Raises (3 sets)

Shoulder:
12 Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets)
12 Front Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Reverse Pec Deck (3 sets)
12 Rope Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Barbell Upright Row (3 sets)

*All reps increment in weight in some sets

Cooldown: 5 min. Stationary Bike

Notes:
Went to the gym at night today I was looking forward to getting a workout in even after a long day.
I feel myself getting stronger even if I still struggle in lifting some weights.
My gratitude goes to Aldren who encouraged me to finish my sets today. Thank you bro!
I want to go to have a massage tomorrow but the place I go to doesn’t have any available therapists, what a bummer.
There weren’t many people and the gym was a bit quiet so I made a new friend Cesar. I found out that the only other person there was my neighbor! He gave me a ride back home. 

Until next time friends! Inch by inch it’s a cinch! 

Comment below on what you want to know about my fitness journey and I will try my best to answer.