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 12: Make Time For What’s Important

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

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

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

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Back & Core

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

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

2 min. Plank (finisher)

Notes:

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

Tuesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Chest, Shoulders and Triceps

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

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

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

Cardio:
15 min. Bike

Notes:

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

Thursday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (4 sets of):

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

Target Areas: Weak Point Training (Back)

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

Notes:

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

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs & Arms

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

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

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

Notes:

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

Nutrition

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

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

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


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

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

How did you spend your time today?

Making time for you,
-Kalvin


Fitness Friday 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 06: Come Out Of Your Comfort Zone

I’ve already told you guys about myself in my first ever post Creating Spaces For Connection. Looking back from there, I think this year, for me, is about going out of my comfort and trying things that I haven’t really done before but dreamed of doing. I never imagined that I would be able to share this much with everyone in a year. I’m really thankful and blessed for the way this year went for me even if there’s an annoying pandemic going on.

Great things happen when you open up yourself to new experiences and new people. When you create spaces for connection, even if you’re really shy and introverted like me, you’ll be rewarded with unexpected blessings that can never be bought with money.

This week was all about coming out of my comfort zone in my fitness and in my everyday life. Removing limits that I’ve put myself that I don’t need anymore. 

Monday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
10 Agility Ladder
30 Battle Rope Jacks
10 Push-ups

Workout Target Areas: Chest & Triceps

Chest:
12 Lying Bench Press (3 sets)
12 Incline Barbell Press (3 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 Cable Overhead Triceps Extension (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Tricep Extension (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Core (3 sets of):
30 Knee Tucks
30 Russian Twist
30 Leg Raises

Cooldown: Walk Home

Notes:

  • The start of this week feels like a level up from what I and my coach have been doing these past few weeks.
  • I was reminded to keep my diet up so my body will also adjust to the workouts I’ve been doing. This was the right nudge I needed to get my nutrition back on track especially this week since I baked so many things last weekend.
  • Eat clean train dirty.
  • Starting from this week coach will now put back a cardio routine before lifting weights.
  • Coach told me that if I feel like I’m not losing weight, he suggested that I do a diet break or adjust my nutrition so my body can adapt to the routines we are doing.
  • While I was doing the lying bench press I was challenged by coach Joel to push harder and complete the whole set without putting the bar down. I am used to putting the bar down when I feel like I’ve hit a certain limit. In this day’s session, I was encouraged to break my limits, believe in my own strength, and push through. It was really empowering.
  • Going back or staying in my comfort zone won’t produce the results I wanted. I need to adjust and persevere to get stronger and meet my goals.

Wednesday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Cardio (3 sets of):
30 Sprint
15 Plyo Box
15 Slam Ball
30 Battle Rope (on the last set we did 30 single and 30 double)

The cardio that challenged me

Workout Target Areas: Back & Biceps

Back:
12 Deadlifts (3 sets)
12 Barbell Row (3 sets)
12 Dumbbell Row (3 sets)
12 Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Narrow-Grip Lat Pull-Down (3 sets)
12 Seated Row (3 sets)

Biceps:
12 EZ Bar Curl (3 sets)
12 Standing Dumbbell Curl (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Cooldown: Walk Home

Notes:

  • Today’s workout was REALLY intense! The cardio at the beginning felt good but I think it took a lot of energy from me when I started lifting weights.
  • I got light-headed doing the deadlifts. It was the first time that happened to me. I did well on the first set already maintaining proper form and then I struggled with the 2nd and 3rd set. The weights on the bar are now at 60 kilos, which I think more than my personal deadlift record. I was feeling a little dizzy after but my body still managed to recover.
  • As I look back to my Wednesday workout, I didn’t eat before going to the gym which contributed to my energy levels being consumed fast. Next time, I should eat before going to have more energy.
  • I was drenched in sweat, which is a positive thing since my body is responding to the new intensity of my workout routine.
  • The weights I lifted on this day were heavier than the previous week. I struggled but with all the encouragement I received from everyone in the gym, I still finished.
  • Coach Joel saw how tired I was so he only made me do two biceps routines and set me free! YES! 
  • This day was so far my most challenging and rewarding day at the gym. 

Friday

Warm-up: 10 min. Stationary Bike

Workout Target Areas: Legs, Shoulders, & Triceps

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

Shoulders:
12 Shoulder Plate Raise (3 sets)
12 Lateral Raise (3 sets)
12 Face Pull (3 sets)
12 Seated Dumbbell Press(3 sets)

Triceps:
12 Dumbbell Tricep Extension (3 sets)
15 Tricep Kickback (3 sets)

*All repetitions increment in weight per set

Cooldown: Walk Home

Notes:

  • Got late at the gym today got stuck in my day job after a day of meetings.
  • We had a weigh-in and I lost 3 kilos! From 97 kilos to 94 kilos. YES! This month, I’ve been struggling with my nutrition so I’m surprised I’ve lost a lot! What more if I did s stricter diet.
  • Coach didn’t make me do cardio today as a reward for losing weight and also to conserve energy for the sets we’ll do later on.
  • I almost fell down forwards when I was doing squats. It was a good thing Coach Joel and Aldren were there to rescue me. I bent my kneck forward a little much so I lost my center of gravity. It’s good to note guys that you should have good gym instructors guiding you with the weights you’ll never know what can happen if you do improper form or lift too heavy. Keep Safe!
  • Coach Joel reminded me that I should always strive to do proper form whenever doing the routines. Safety is always the top priority!
  • Since I wasn’t able to do much tricep routines last Wednesday we did two today so my body can catch up.
  • I’m going to do fasted cardio tomorrow for my core workout.

The most memorable thing that happened during my training in the gym this week was when everyone gave me genuine compliments that I look like I’ve been losing weight. 

“Ang payat mo na!” as we would say in FIlipino. It’s true what they say that it’s one of the compliments that brings a huge smile to your face.

I’d like to give a quick shoutout to the people who encouraged me that day (as I promised haha!). Coach Joel, Coach Thea, Aldren, Bisoy, Rosana, and Shiela. 

The only limit you have is the limit you’ve set yourself. You are meant for more, you are made for more because you are unbounded. Friends, the year isn’t over yet maybe the thing that you’ve been yearning for is outside of your comfort zone. Take a step into your courage zone.

Stay Strong and Keep Healthy!

Photo by Michael Baldovinos on Unsplash


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


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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