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If others can, so can you

In his latest blog post, Seth Godin wrote that

“if someone knows how to do something, that means, with sufficient effort, you could probably learn it too.”

Learnable

The same is true for fitness. If other people have gotten fit, so can you. Now yes, there are limitations to this. If you’re 37 years old, and you’re just starting out, you won’t be able to catch up on the accomplishments of a 25-year-old that’s dedicated himself to getting fit for the past 10 years.

At some point, things get harder, things get more difficult.

Muscles don’t grow that fast anymore. Joints aren’t that strong anymore. The body doesn’t heal that fast anymore.

But still, you can still accomplish so much if only you put in the time and effort it takes.

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I have failed. I went from being in the range of 70-73 kg to now being at 80-79. And it’s not muscle. In fact, I lost some muscle mass because I did very little strength training for the past year.

There’s a part of me that says: “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Even in those past 6 months, where you’ve really exercised much less than in the past, you’ve still exercised more than you used to 5 years ago.”  And that is true.

My new low in 2019 is still higher than my routines from 2005 – 2015. So that’s a good thing. But I’m also getting older.

The body doesn’t respond to exercise the way it used to, muscle builds slower, joints require more care. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I can’t eat like I used to eat—I just gain weight so quickly nowadays. But ultimately it’s not about that—it’s about mastering myself.

It’s about that inner struggle. It’s about building the muscle of acting like the person I aspire to be. It’s about being true to my highest self. And I haven’t been doing that. It’s time to hold myself to a higher standard. It’s time to turn pro. It’s time to build the right habits again.

“We can never free ourselves from habits. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur.”

Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

These days, I’m just establishing the habit of going to the gym again. My current goal is to go three times a week and do 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical. I’ve been doing this for the past 2 weeks now, so here’s to new beginnings and not breaking a winning streak.

Getting in shape is tough. I can feel that big wad of fat around my belly and how it makes everything I do harder. It weighs me down. It makes everything harder.

Yes, I do love enjoying great food. But the price I pay for this indulgence, it’s not really worth it. I got to go back to practicing self-restraint. I’ve got to turn pro.

Turning pro is an act of self-abnegation. Not Self with a capital-S, but little-s self. Ego. Distraction. Displacement. Addiction.

Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

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Now I definitely do like yogurt.

And the fact that it’s supposed to be good for your gut bacteria is something I often justify to eating another bowl of yogurt.

But the yogurt that’s  beneficial for you isn’t sweet:

Yogurt is not supposed to be sweet. When it’s natural, it has a tasty sour tang, because yogurt is the result of bacterial fermentation of milk.

So why are most yogurts you’ll find in a store today sweet? Because it sells better:

in the 1970s, Danone and other major yogurt companies started massive, long-term advertising campaigns to convince parents of the health benefits of yogurt for kids. To convince kids that yogurts were worth eating, they also had to keep adding more and more sweeteners to cover up the tangy, sour taste of fermented milk.

Other interesting tidbits from the article:

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I watched this video with Arnold Schwarzenegger today where he shared some of his thoughts on working out.

And there’s one thing that really resonated with me:

You can watch the entire interview (it’s well worth it) or just skip forward to the section where he talks about this at 7 minutes 30 seconds into the video.

Arnold:

I think that the biggest mistake is that you go to the gym, and you go through the motions. But you don’t really have your mind inside the muscle.

And later:

And also you have to feel it. The key thing is that you visualize it, but you have to feel the muscles. That’s the key thing because then they grow.

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Ever wondered how many reps are best for you? Well, that really depends on the result you’re going after. What is it that you want to achieve? Stronger muscles? Bigger muscles? Fatloss?

The following video does a good job at explaining the different rep ranges.

Main takeaways:

The most important thing is to train in whatever range you train in! So if you’re training in the lower rep range, make sure that you actually give it all you got in that lower rep range. That means the weights need to be so heavy that you literally can’t lift them more than 5 times. Let’s say you aim for a 3 rep range, and you do three reps and stop, but actually you could do 4 or 5 or even 6 reps, then that’s not really being in the lower rep range. If you’re doing 3 but you could do 5, then you’re not training effectively, and you won’t get the benefits of the lower rep range.

Lower rep range (1-5 reps):

Focused on strength, heavier lifts.

Mid rep range (6-10 reps):

You’re blending the benefits of lower rep range (strength) with the benefits of the higher rep range (hypertrophy).

Higher rep range (11-14 reps):

Great for building bigger muscles because time under tension is usually more than 45 seconds (if you assume you spend 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down per lift, 12 reps = 48 seconds).

Very high rep range (15 and more reps):

He doesn’t go much into the benefits of a very high rep range in the video.

 

Another great article on the same topic that I found is The Rep Range That Builds The Most Muscle. It takes a slightly different approach, breaking it down into 3 ranges:

Low reps (1-5)

Great for building strength. But time under tension is too short to maximize hypertrophy.

Moderate reps (8-12)

Best if you want bigger muscles. The ideal time under tension is 30-60 seconds, because that’s where your body starts create lactic acid, which is vital to new muscle-tissue production.

When lactic acid, or lactate, pools in large amounts, it induces a surge in anabolic hormone levels within the body, including the ultrapotent growth hormone and the big daddy of muscle-building, testosterone. These circulating hormones create a highly anabolic state within the body and if you’re after more muscle, that’s exactly the state you want to be in.

The increased time under tension also leads to more muscle damage, imperative if you plan on getting larger any time soon. Theoretically, the longer a muscle is contracted, the greater the potential for damage to the tissue.

The moderate-rep range, when coupled with a challenging weight, will also bring about a much-desired condition: the muscle pump. That tight, full feeling under the skin, caused by blood pooling in the muscle, has value beyond its ego-expanding qualities. Studies have demonstrated that the physiological conditions which lead to a pump activate protein synthesis and limit protein breakdown. Thus, more of the protein you eat goes toward muscle construction instead of being burned off for energy. In a scientific twist of good fortune, the fast-twitch fibers appear to be the biggest beneficiaries of this phenomenon.

High reps (15 or more)

Good for muscular endurance, but not so much for bigger muscles:

The amount of weight you can handle isn’t heavy enough to recruit fast-twitch type-2 muscle fibers. So what, you ask? Simply put, type-2 fibers are where the potential for growth resides, and they respond only to heavy weights at least 75 percent of your one-rep max.

So there are some slight differences in opionion between Jeff from Athlean X and Michael Berg, but there’s one thing they both agree on: you should exercise in all rep ranges!

To make sure your body doesn’t adapt to a particular regimen and stagnate, you need variety. Cycle periods of low-rep training and high-rep training into your overall program, while progressively trying to increase your strength and perfect your exercise form every time you lift.

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2018-06-01

Workout:

Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 20
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 8
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch ?
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 14
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 7
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 20
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 16
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 7
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 16
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 20
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 6
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 15
rest (<2m) x
Reverse Lunges l,r, Split Squat 15
rest (<2m) x
Superman Push-Ups l,r, Clapping Plyo Push-Ups 6
rest (<2m) x
“21” Crunch 11
rest (<2m)

 

Foodlog:

  1. Shake
  2. Durian
  3. Sushi & sashimi
  4. Beer 500ml Paulaner Hefeweizen
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I’ve got a gym membership, but truth be told, there are days when I don’t have the time to go to the gym. So I’ve been wanting to have some basic equipment at home to do something for those times when I don’t just want to do a bodyweight workout.

In this video, Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean X shares his recommendations for building a home gym:

Here’s the summary:

A utility benchDoorway Pull-Up Bar

He says the cost anywhere between $10-$30.

Resistance Band / Tubing

He recommends getting something that you can step on with both feed and then pull it up all the way above your heads with a good amount of resistance. Get with handles if you find it easier to grab, but even without is fine (which is what I have, since that takes up almost zero space when I travel).

(Adjustable) Dumbbells

If your budget allows for that, get adjustable dumbbells so you can do your progressive overload. If not, just get whatever level you’re currently at.

 

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2018-05-30

Workout (video):

Today’s workout was interesting. I really tried to push it out and post-pone it, really didn’t feel like working out. But hey, I’m on track, can’t break my streak.

And then when I did the Jamb Hammer Rows and doorway Bicep Curls, I really got so fed up with that. It’s just a lot of reps, and it requires different parts of your body. It’s not just engaging the biceps and chest muscles, but I really felt it in my forearms and hands as well, and that always sucks. That’s funny though, because when I did Jamb Hammer Rows and Doorway Bicep Curls the first time, I really liked it. So there you go, things can change real fast.

I was surprised though that I could do the cyclone push-ups. They looked much harder, but I could do 20 at first try, and I actually like them, they’re cool.

Another first-time exercise today were Counter Top Triceps Dips. Much harder than I expected those to be. The first one that I tried, I could her and feel it clicking and clacking all through my arms, ellbow joints, shoulders, wrist. But even apart of the joint strain, it was really tough on the muscles, much more difficult than I anticipated.

The Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats were also interesting. They turned out to be challenging in an unexpected way. It was of course hard on the legs, but the most I actually felt the muscle in my back. It might be the external oblique abdominal muscles?

Cyclone Push-Ups 20
Push-Ups 10
Rest 1m
Cyclone Push-Ups 10
Push-Ups 5
Rest 1m
Cyclone Push-Ups 8
Push-Ups 5
Rest 1m
Jamb Hammer Rows l 40
Jamb Hammer Rows r 40
Doorway Bicep Curls l 30
Doorway Bicep Curls r 30
Rest 1m
Jamb Hammer Rows l 30
Jamb Hammer Rows r 30
Doorway Bicep Curls l 30
Doorway Bicep Curls r 30
Rest 1m
Jamb Hammer Rows l 30
Jamb Hammer Rows r 30
Doorway Bicep Curls l 30
Doorway Bicep Curls r 30
Rest 1m
Counter Top Triceps Dips 4
Hover Hold Push-Ups 10
Rest 1m
Counter Top Triceps Dips 5
Hover Hold Push-Ups 4
Rest 1m
Counter Top Triceps Dips 6
Hover Hold Push-Ups 2
Rest 1m
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats l 30
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats r 30
Lateral Frog Hops 30
Rest 1m
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats l 30
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats r 30
Lateral Frog Hops 20
Rest 1m
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats l 20
Single Leg Bulgarian Wall Squats r 20
Lateral Frog Hops 23

 

Foodlog:

Interesting day as far as food is concerned. After having my best day ever yesterday in terms of food, today I ate A LOT. Good stuff, but a lot. Durian definitely had it’s role. Durian season is short, and we’re in prime durian season now, so I’m not holding back and eating away. 140 baht per kg for monthong durian. Then later I went to a hotpot place with a friend, so that added to it again. And then even my shake today was a badass-monstrocity. All good food, except for that peanut butter jelly sandwich, but even without that, just a lot of calories today.

  1. avocadotoast with eggs
  2. Durian
  3. badass shake
  4. peanutbutter jelly sandwich😣
  5. 35g peaproteinpowder in water post-workout
  6. fresh tumeric, water, pepper, honey, bit of milk
  7. badass shake part 2
  8. hotpot
  9. yogurt

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2018-05-29

Workout (video):

32 Push-Ups
48 Push-Ups

Foodlog:

Today was probably the best day in terms of eating behavior I’ve had since I started my food log. I had a good breakfast, and then a real heavy lunch with a plate of Japanese Katsu Curry, and then nothing afterwards. I was hungry in the evening, and I went to bed hungry, but the hunger made me sharp and alert. I think I should sleep hungry every night.

  1. guacamole toast with eggs
  2. shake: 7 lychees, water, 35g peaproteinpowder
  3. krill oil 500mg
  4. salad
  5. katsucurry

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