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 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.

How A Pair Of Shoes Made Me Run A 10k

Sometimes the world likes to give us opportunities to do something new in the most unexpected way. When I bought my first pair of high end and very expensive running shoes it came with a free ticket to a running event. 

To give you a picture, I was a really huge guy who can barely keep a few strides without passing out on the pavement. My only plan was to get myself a pair of shoes and make friends with running. As I paid for the shoes, the cashier told me that I got a free entry for a fun run held in three month’s time. Although, the only slot available is for a 10k. 

Unsure of what a 10k is and having no knowledge about running, I signed up. I went out of the store with a fresh pair of shoes and a free ticket to a 10k fun run an unknown world of pain.

Winning Myself Over

Start and finish line (post-race)

The following day I took the shoes out for a test jog on the nearby track. I swear they were the most comfortable pair of shoes that I’ve ever worn. Each step feels like my feet were being cushioned by clouds. They were perfect.

I wore the shoes every day. Walking in them brought a spring in my step and people would compliment how good they looked. The best part about wearing them was how they made it easier for me to run. It’s what they’re made for after all.

Enthusiastic, I researched the fun run event and I was shocked when I saw the map. I’ve never seen such a colorful route of running torture. I had second thoughts about going because I’m a beginner and a 10km distance is way too much for me to handle. I was also afraid I’d get myself injured and drop dead on the course because my body wasn’t prepared for it.

Wearing the shoes daily reminded me that the fun run is fast approaching. It was as if the shoes were begging me to use them according to their purpose. In the third week, I caved in. I decided to go for it. I had nothing to lose since the ticket came with the shoes and I still have enough time to condition my body. It was a win for my pocket and a win for my body. With only two months and a week until race day I started to train.

Early Morning Training

Huge Gatorade marker at the race camp

The training was difficult having had no experience in fun runs ever. I adjusted to a leaner diet, downloaded a running trainer app, and scheduled my sessions.

I told myself that if I’m going to this, I wouldn’t back down, instead, go all in.

Weeks before the event, my days will start at 4:00 a.m. Waking up in running clothes, I walked from my apartment to the track. One of the perks of waking up early to train is that you get to have the track to yourself and be done when people start coming in. You also get to see the rays of the sunrise wake up the block. It’s beautiful to witness.

My training starts by hitting play on the app which then blasts my ears with energizing music readying me for the drills. I found it fascinating how well my body adapted to the increasing intervals of the exercises. Week after week I developed a good rhythm for my breath and cadence. I also built up my stamina at a consistent pace. It’s true that when your head is in it you’re there to win it.

I pushed myself to go beyond what I knew my body can do. I’ve lost a couple of pounds and gained strength. There were days where I wanted to skip training but the results I’m seeing were so good for me to stop. I managed to keep the momentum up days leading to the race.

Race Day

It was 3:00 a.m. and I woke up feeling a bit anxious on the day of the race. Though I knew that time that I’ve prepared enough, anything can still happen during the run. That, and I will be running alone in my first ever fun run. Gun start for the 10km distance was at 4:30 a.m. so I better pull myself together. I pushed through these emotions with a cold shower, put on my running gear, ate a hearty breakfast grabbed a ride to the venue. 

The dark morning sky was energetically contrasted by the lights and sounds on the starting line. It was fun to see many people getting pumped up to run a few kilometers.

I fell in line with my fellow 10k runners. With only a few minutes left before the gunshot my nerves kicked back in. I couldn’t believe I was going to run alone with strangers of all shapes, age, and sizes because of a pair of shoes. I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone on this one.

BANG!

We all went off on a brisk pace from the starting line. My nerves seemed to have been transformed into energy as I sped through the first kilometer without stopping for rest. Another kilometer after my body felt the toll of the rookie mistake of not maintaining proper pace. 

I was so hyped at the start that I spent too much energy leaving little to spare for the remaining course. I slowed myself down to let my body remember the pace during training and alternated between walking and light jogging. My breath got back into sync and I found a comfortable rhythm to run to. 

Four kilometers in, I began to feel a dull ache on my right foot.

The pain made me limp making it difficult to alternate walking and running. Almost at the halfway mark I was tempted to turn around 2 kilometers short. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, I was almost there already why cheat? I rested a bit at the next hydration station and continued the race.

Bearing with the pain, I put all my focus in moving forward. I imagined the posts ahead of me as a mini finish line so that it would feel like I was collecting rewards as I persevere towards the finish line. 

When I hit eight kilometers, I felt energy surging back. I can already hear the festive music and cheering crowds waiting for me in the finish line. I picked up my pace barely noticing my foot. When I turned on the last corner, I got teary eyed seeing the finish line.

I smiled my widest smile for the camera,and with all the strength I have left, I ran the last stretch of the course.

I DID IT!

The organizers put a medal around my neck and congratulated me.

I felt a huge wave of happiness and accomplishment. My first fun run ever and I conquered a 10k all by myself! Not many would dare do that but I did. All my early morning trainings paid off.

It was a moment that I will never forget.

I went around the booths for freebies and immediately went home to nurse my aching foot.

Since I went alone, this was the only decent picture I had with my shoes haha

Go All In 

When was the last time you did something where you’re not sure if it will work but did it anyway? it’s in these rare opportunities that bring out the best in us. Where even if you’re scared of doing it or uncertain of the outcome you still gave it your all and persevere through the end. It takes a lot courage to do especially if you’re only at it alone. 

Going all in can be daunting but rewarding. The process is what will make you better and stronger. Regardless if you fail or if you succeed, you did it and you should be proud of it. 

Now, when a good opportunity comes, go all in and run.


How To Become A Better You? Use Your Powers!

These past few weeks I’ve been focusing my energy on building a better me. In the process, I found myself writing a New You Resolution (I just invented that, pun intended). I listed down all the things that I want to become after the pandemic. Since the world has paused for a bit, now is the perfect time to sharpen the saw and learn new things. It’s like submitting yourself to a badly needed makeover.

Some of the things in my New You Resolution:

  • Become better at healthy living
  • Become better at public speaking
  • Become better at writing (maybe start writing a book!)
  • Become better at choosing things that are good for me
  • Become better at being consistent in my career
  • Become better at loving and choosing me

I started each item with “become better” to remind myself that “becoming” is not an overnight thing but a process. Becoming a better version of ourselves takes time. Not only that, but it also takes several necessary steps backward of unlearning and several steady steps forward of learning. The process is intimidating and sometimes painful but as you begin to see progress and eventually reach your goals you’ll receive the best reward – a better you

WILL Power

Every New Year’s Eve, I write resolutions but none of them ever came true. On top of my list is to shed off more than a couple of pounds of weight. I did the hard work – I enrolled in a gym and tried many diets but my desire to follow through didn’t follow me through. I gave myself many excuses not to choose a healthier lifestyle. My will to continue went out of the window. Not even halfway through, I found that I couldn’t go on pushing myself to do things I didn’t like. I just put back on all the weight I’ve lost, all the hard work wasted. 

All of us have willpower and there a many are disciplined enough to just power through with it alone. So if you’re starting on your journey to becoming a better version of yourself, discipline and willpower is essential to power through the process of transformation. But when your will is tired, you need to go back to what drove you to start in the first place. Pair your will with your “why“.

WHY Power

Start with a big WHY to keep yourself moving. It is what will keep you fired up and excited to go through the process of becoming. Your “why” will be your weapon to slay everything that goes against your progress. You need to constantly feed your “why” with all the things connected to it to have a clearer picture of where you want to go. Write your “why” down on paper and stick on a mirror to remind yourself of it every day.

It’s been a month and a half now since I started working out again and I’ve already lost 15lbs with a better diet and proper exercise. I’ve also trusted the process that works for me. This time, I started with a big “why” that shakes me to the core. My Why? To love myself more so I can do more of the things I want to do and live the life I deserve

YOU Have The Power

Change is constant. You just need to choose what you want to change into. You have the power to choose.  I don’t know where you are in your journey towards becoming who you want to be but I believe you can do it! When you fall back, be kind to yourself and never ever give up! You may not see progress immediately but as the saying goes – inch by inch, it’s a cinch!

Let’s encourage each other! Where are you now in your journey of becoming your better version? Are you running on willpower? Or are you keeping it up with your why-power? What is your why?


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Samgyeopsal: Why Filipinos Love Them So Much

Hey guys! We’re going to tune in to a different voice today. I invited one of my friends who also happens to be a blogger, to write an article here in my space. I asked him to write about something that lights him up and this is what he came up with. Let’s give it up for Lester Nubla!

Three-layered flesh

When I hear Samgyeopsal, I immediately imagine the entire thing—the restaurant, the side dishes, the various meats, and the grill. But Samgyeopsal literally means “three layer flesh” as seen in the pork belly when cut (I just googled it). Here in the Philippines, the word is automatically understood as “unlimited meat grilling” eaten in restaurants.

This dish from Korea has been loved by Filipinos for years and at first, I did not understand why. I just began to understand the addiction of many Filipinos to the dish when I tried it. Here are some reasons why I think Samgyeopsal is very popular among Filipinos:

1. The word “unlimited” is enticing. But come to think of it, is it really worth it? The average price of an unlimited meat package is PHP 499 (roughly $10). You are given raw meat which you still need to cook. The side dishes do not seem to be expensive too. Maybe for some people who can eat a lot, it’s really worth it, but I believe that most of the population cannot make the most out of it. That’s why Samgyeopsal businesses are booming.

2. The side dishes are superb. When we cook at home, we usually just cook one or two dishes because it takes time to prepare. The side dishes offered by these restaurants are really enticing because it’s unusual for us Filipinos to have so many flavors in one table. It’s like “fiesta” for us to have that much food in one dining!

3. The price is just enough. This is only my opinion, but the price is just enough for a good Korean dining experience. You don’t have to worry about the bill because it’s an unlimited package. You just focus on cooking, eating, and bonding with your friends!

 4. The joy of the experience. I’ve seen non-cooks turn into professional grill masters at Samgyeopsal restaurants. There’s something about grilling meat at a table with your friends that touches the Filipino spirit. It gives a sense of family and togetherness. We enjoy shared experiences like this especially if it’s new.

Lunch out!

What to be careful about

My wife loves Samgyeopsal so one time I talked to her about it. Eating it frequently is NOT healthy. Yes, there’s lettuce and other vegetables but the main dish, which is grilled meat, is never healthy.  Charring meat causes the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amine (HAA) that could cause cancer. Furthermore, when fat is exposed to heat, it becomes oxidized that creates free radicals. Here’s an excerpt from the US National Library of Medicine’s website:

If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger a number of human diseases.

That’s why I worry that if Filipinos will not have discipline in eating the dish, many of us will get sick. So, the actual intention of this article is to spread awareness. We should be wary of joining the bandwagon of eating the dish regularly as if it’s already part of our diet. Maybe eating out once a month is enough. Especially now that we are battling against COVID-19, we should strengthen our immune system by eating fruits and vegetables and staying away from unhealthy food.

Keep safe and be guided always!

Let us know! What do you think about Samgyeopsal? Do you have a version of it in your part of the world?

Did you crave and at the same time checked on your health? I did! If you want to read more of his musings and articles just go over his blog! You’ll find many interesting practical tidbits there.


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