“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.
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.
10 Life Lessons from a Spartan Race Junkie
Set yourself free from your own unbelief. Be best friends with yourself and believe in you!
You only have one body, listen to it. Eat right, rest right, treat your body right.
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.
Nothing can take your strength away from you. Whatever strength you’ve gained, you’ve gained. Trust me.
Your weaknesses does not define you. Accept them and learn to love and strengthen them. You are ok as you are.
When you get stuck, ask for help. Keep yourself humble and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Failure is not the end of everything. It’s okay to fail, just make sure to learn from it and carry on.
It is ok to feel fear, anxiety, and doubt. There’s nothing wrong with you. Your feelings are valid.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
With my body still aching a bit from the activities, I pushed through with my workout on Monday. There’s no stopping now!
Core (3 sets of): 20 Ab Crunches 20 Leg Raises 20 Side to Side
Finish with 2 min. plank
Cooldown: 10 min. Stationary Bike
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.
“What you desire on the deepest level, tells you of who you really are”
Sr. Bubbles Bandojo, RC
We are all made up of different parts and pieces. Some pieces may be broken, and some may have gotten unbreakable through time. Each piece is an important part to complete the whole.
We sometimes ask these questions: “Why do I feel like there’s something missing?” “What is my purpose in life?” “How do I go about finding it?” “I think I already found it, what should I do next?”
Friends, I assure you that you’re not the only one thinking about these things. Finding the missing piece is a journey that’s worth taking. I hope to at least be a humble guide who can point you in the right direction by sharing what I know.
Journey with me in three parts in finding our missing piece. Let’s go right in.
What Do You Desire?
When something goes missing our first instinct is to try finding it. It’s easy to start a search when we can describe what we are looking for. If it’s a pen, we can search an area for a particular brand, model, and tint color. Without any description, it’s not so easy to look for something missing.
I’ve come across many people, including myself, feeling that their life seems to be meaningless and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Most of them have stable jobs and income, and yet they feel stuck. It was hard for them to find their missing piece because it is not something they can fully describe. Sometimes, they don’t even know that it’s already in front of them.
Some may have it all figured out already. Part of our missing piece can be found in pleasurable experiences. “When I get a taste of that special ramen from Japan, my life will be complete.” Or it can be expressed in our dying wish. ”If I could only talk to my daughter again and ask for her forgiveness, I can go peacefully.” Our missing piece can be anything and they are different for each individual.
But where do we look? The piece that we are looking for can be found in our deepest and truest desires.When we live out our desires with a sound mind, we find a sense of purpose and direction. I say with a sound mind because we have to be able to discern which particular desires will serve us into becoming who we want to be.
So, what is it that you desire?
For some, this is an easy question. The majority gets stumped by this because they have been so busy living their lives not realizing that they’re leaving their desires behind. Right now I invite you to set your inhibitions aside and take the center stage.
Awaken Your Desires
We will go through an activity to help guide us and awaken our desires. I encourage you to do this in a reflective mood, without any distractions.
Get yourself a pen or open a notepad.
Click the play button and jot down as many answers as you can until the music stops.
Proceed to the next question and do the same.
Are you ready? take a deep breath.
What do you LIKE?
What do you WANT?
What do you DREAM?
What do you DESIRE?
I am sure you have written down many things. Keep your answers so you can ponder about them later.
You would notice that even if the words above are synonymous, the depth of their meaning also progressed. Likewise, the things you have written may have also progressed in depth and some of the items you wrote may have funneled out. The way we write our answers gets deeper as we progress toward the word “desire.”
Our desires may change over time. What we desire now can even give birth to another desire as we begin to journey along where our desires are pointing. The journey with desire has three movements.
3 Movements of Desire
Your desires are part and parcel of who you are. Let them surface without judgment. Sometimes we tend to suppress our own desires because we are ashamed of them or we have lost hope in them for they seem so impossible to reach. Desires are anchored to your values. Recognize and honor your desires.
I hope the previous exercise helped you remember and acknowledge your desires. Maybe you listed down some of your closely held dreams since childhood. Like a child, allow yourself to wildly desire for something again without any self-doubt and certain that it will happen at the perfect time. Also, maybe your desires have changed since you were a kid. Look at the difference between your desires then, and your desires now. Did your desires become more meaningful or have you given up on them?
Electricity. Which of your desires is your strongest desire? Which one, when you think about it gives you goosebumps and the feeling of electricity running through your veins? Which desire ignites a blazing fire in your heart? Is it only one desire or a combination of many?
Being able to live out the desires that give us life and electricity makes us free, they make us fly.These electric desires can point us to where God wants us to be, and what desires for us to become. Feel the electricity.
Now that your electric desires are known. The next movement is for you to desire it more.
Let your desires deepen its roots. To strengthen your desire you need to test it. Is this something I deeply and truly want? Will this desire lead me to a future where I will be at peace and happy? Is this desire truly mine or just brought about by peer pressure? Does this desire deepen my love for myself and others? Desire your desires.
Pray for your desires and see what more you can discover about them.
Do not worry if you still haven’t figured out your desires. It’s not a race. Maybe that’s where you need to start – to have the desire to desire.
As our desires take root and lead us deeper, you would notice them bearing fruits. Fruits that bless you and the people around you. The stronger and deeper the roots are, the harder it is for your desires to be toppled down by other people.
With our desires taking root, there is one movement left that we need it to go through. It’s the most difficult one. Letting the desire go.
3)Let it go
I know, I just told you guys to acknowledge and deepen your desires and work on them. Now I’m telling you the famous words of St. Elsa of Arendelle – Let it go.
Let it go.
Our desires lead us to a destination. A destination that we can picture out in detail. If you desire to get married, you have probably imagined yourself at the altar tying the knot. If you desire to have kids, you can envision yourself carrying a baby in your arms with your spouse. If you desire to become the CEO of the company, you may have daydreamed about going up the ranks and successfully making it on top.
We should be prepared to let go of our desires.
We should not be too attached to it especially if it’s not giving you peace.
I have a friend who once went inside a novitiate following a vocation to become a Jesuit. He was so sure that this is what he wanted for his life. While inside, he was having trouble in his discernment a couple of years in. One night he fervently prayed for God to tell him if it’s his will to become a Jesuit. In his heart, God told him – “Is this what YOU really want? You can put it down.”
One of the hardest things to do in life is to let go of what you hold precious in your heart. Especially letting go of things that you have been fighting and working so hard for. My friend put his desire for pursuing his vocation down and ended up blessing many people by serving as their spiritual companion. Letting go of his deepest desire made way for an even better one.
Let go and know that what’s meant for you will stay and work out for your own good.
Does your deepest desire truly complete you? Does it lead you to peace? Does it bring you closer or away from God? Let it go.
These are the three movements of desire. It’s a lot to take in and unpack but I will let you do that in your own time.
Your desires are real and important. Honor them, make them grow, and when the time comes, let it go. Your desires will lead you to your truth and you’ll begin to uncover your life’s greatest treasures.
I pray that you keep nurturing your healthy desires.
Thank you so much for reading until the end. You did such good work on yourself. Sending a virtual pat on the back!
Keep safe my friends.
I’m interested to hear your thoughts about the first part of “finding the missing piece”. Comment below your insights, realizations, questions, or anything that crossed your mind in this post. Click follow to get notified when part 2 and other content is up.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.