Old member, new journal. Yes, indeed. Long time lurker here.
I chose to keep my journal privately (on a notebook - old school) since I started (June 2011) but had a change of heart the past few days. Now I'm willing to share my daily love and hate relationship and struggles with the iron.
Starting today, I will post journal entries of my journey, day to day struggles, rants, experiences and thoughts from Scrawny to Brawny.
Losing the "Love Handles" (July 2011 - September 2011)
One day, at the age of 31, I was staring my reflection on the mirror, belly starting to bulge (34" waist line) and a body with barely any hint of muscle at all. I asked myself, do I want myself to look like this for the rest of my life? Would I continue living a sedentary life and risk myself getting old and having a disease caused by my chosen lifestyle? The answer was a resounding NO!!! Not on this lifetime baby! Over my dead body...
And so it begins...
First question I asked myself, where do I start? Diet? Exercise? I was clueless. With the power of a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, lo and behold, the almighty and all know everything google provided me search results links on how to lose fat.
"Lose fat and get abs in 30 days!!!"
"The 7 day fat loss diet"
"Superfoods for losing fat"
etc blah blah blah:huh
I was bombarded with a lot of information. As a noob, everything looks promising. After spending quite some time digesting all the information I have, I decided to settle on a simple regimen. As usual, it's the dreaded cardio (running).
Out I go, wearing my hiking shoes, jogging pants and white cotton shirt, I braved the sizzling hot Saudi Arabian summer (around 40 degrees) afternoon and started running like hell!
"Yeaaaahhhh! I'm gonna have my abs soon!"
And so I thought. After around 5 mins of pounding the pavement, I was dead tired, huffing and puffing, dangerously out of breath and dripping with sweat. Reality kicked me in the ass. So hard I almost puked.
After that embarrassing and unfortunate event, I was left with a question. Where the f#$% do I start? The hardest part of the journey is always the START.
Anyway, to cut the story short, I settled with cardio (brisk walk, interval running) paired with low calorie diet. Started with 60kg weight down to 52-53kg by the end of the "Love Handle" journey. Still no sight of my precious abs. Oh noes... =(
I know what you guys are thinking right now, photo or it didn't happen. Ok, ok. You got me. A story would be boring without a photo so here goes nothing...
I am the guy with the black face.
Meeting the IRON (October 2011 - March 2012)
I am now skinny. So what? But still no abs. WTF, I have been tricked! This is BS! The internet says that if I do lots of cardio and eat with a caloric deficit in mind, I should be able to see my abs! I'm a sad panda. =(
One more thing, I don't like how I look. Yes, I lost the dreaded love handles but I look so damn skinny with no muscle to show. That got me thinking, maybe I need to go to a gym? And so I go...
At the gym, I saw a fellow Pinoy working out. Dude, he is old (65 years old!!!), but he is freaking huge and ripped as hell! Turns out, he is the trainer on the gym I visited! I was ecstatic! No words can describe how I felt that day because I can finally ask a guy who knows this shit. No more second guessing.
I approached him and told my intention. "Hey mister, I want to build badass muscles like yours. How do I do that?" He answered:
You have to lift badass weights, eat tons of food and sleep like a baby.
No shit. Short and concise. Direct to the point. I was shocked. No way that my skinny body gonna handle those weights. I told him I'll think about it and come back tomorrow.
With my confusion and disappointment with what the old huge badass guy (I call him Kuya Rudy) at the gym told me, I consulted Mr. Google. There I go, typing keywords about building muscle, and I was also given the same answer. I have to face the hard reality. There is no workaround. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I have to do what Kuya Rudy said.
Off I go. He became my mentor. Gave me a physical test, and I badly failed. I could barely lift an Olympic Barbell (20kg). He started me first with the machines, get familiar with exercises and also build base strength before introducing me to the world of free weights.
After a month of flirting with machines, he introduced me to the wonderful world of free weights and irons. I also stumbled with "Truth About Building Muscles by Sean Nalewanyj" and used those principles on my training and diet.
From a skinny maggot weight of 52 kg up to 60 kg, I got strong, built a decent amount of muscles and so as my gut sticking out (33" - ewww!). I am back once again to where I started, full circle, trip to jerusalem, merry go round, but this time, much stronger. I'm a happy camper!
OMG! I am a camera whore! :twitcy:
Skipping Meals, 5x5 and Getting Lean - Again? (March 2012 - November 2012)
I'm at the top of my game baby! Forget the bulging gut, I'm strong, I have gainzzzzz, I am now an EXPERT! Or not.:lol
In my continuing quest for gainzzzzz, I stumbled upon this weird trending, hot and controversial topic on the fitness industry. May I present to you, the newest groundbreaking hot (like pandesal) trending diet in town, Intermittent Fasting
, or what I personally call as Skipping Meals for a period of time and gorging on food afterwards. I'm the first one to tell you about it, didn't I? Or not.
Anyway, since I badly want to see my abs (don't lie, you want it badly too! :-P), I got into the bandwagon too. Who could resist IF's promises?
Build muscle while losing fat!
OMG! It's the second coming! Must follow. Hahaha! Just kidding. Instead of following the LeanGains cult, I chose the road less travelled. I bought "Jason Ferruggia's Renegade Diet" ($30 ebook, and yes, I paid for it) during it's release and followed it religiously. Coupled with a new found strength training program, Mehdi's StrongLifts 5x5, I embarked to a journey of gaining muscles while losing my big bulging gut.
I am so cool, aight?! At least that's what I felt that time. :^^:lol
I know I am boring you now with this long wall of text (and photos too) so I'll let the my photo speak for itself. This was the result of 8 weeks IF and 5x5 training.
52kg @ 15% body fat
Yes, I was strong. Yes, I was lean. Yes, my abs are dying to come out any time soon, but I am puzzled. Why am I still skinny? Am I forever destined to be skinny?
I was disappointed. Depressed and unmotivated to move further. What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? Oh crap, enough of this drama. I stopped training for a month, went on with my annual vacation, ate to my hearts content, drank like a madman and once again back to where I started.
See folks, the journey is unpredictable. There are lots of variables to consider. Everyone is unique. What works for others, may not work for you. You have to continue looking for the correct path to your goals.
The journey to your goal is like a marathon, not a sprint. Enjoy the journey, every moment of it, however long it is, whether it's up or down. Never let go.
Up I go. Went back to lifting badass weights (Muscle Gaining Secrets by Jason Ferruggia) again coupled with IF, and here is the result.
Holy Camote! Now were talking! Gainzzzzz brah! :^^
Afterwards, I got injured. Bummer!
To Hell and Back (November 2012 - March 2013)
Subject: Adult male who love lifting and moving iron
Prognosis: Strained Lower Back Muscles with Sciatica Pain
Treatment Plan: R(est), I(ce), C(ompress), E(levate)
At the top of my game, disaster strikes. I injured my lower back during a heavy Rack Deadlift session. I was devastated and in pain. Consulted a physician and a physical therapist friend and they both recommended that I should take a break from heavy lifting for 2-4 weeks depending on my recovery rate.
I had to take some painkillers to ease out the pain, Physical Therapy sessions and had to avoid any strenuous form of exercise that aggravates my low back. I was really feeling down and low at that moment. Indecisive to say the least. I have hurt myself, but the call of the IRON is too strong to neglect. So I did my best to rehabilitate my injury and did some core strengthening routines (NROL for Abs
). Nutrition went out of control though so I gained a little bit of fat.
Lesson I got from this experience?
Am I Insane? (March 2013 - May 2013)
Shit happens. It's beyond your control. Just do your best to mitigate the damage and move on.
March. One of my most anticipated month every year. Why? It's the time of the year where my wife and kids (YES, I am a family man) visit me here in the land of sands and oils. When the family is here, It's very difficult to find spare time to go to the gym. Besides, every hour spending with them counts. Working away from your family is really tough and as much as possible you want to make up all the time that you were away from them.
I was in decent shape back then. Fully recovered from the injury and looking for another challenge to add to my fitness and health journey. The dilemma was like this. I need to find a way to stay in shape without sacrificing family time. So there I go again, consulted Mr. Google, a few clicks later, I got the answer, INSANITY
! I told my other half about it and she agreed to do it with me. Great! Hitting two birds with one stone. Couldn't ask for more, aight?
Fast forward, I did some kind of experiment on this one. Instead of following the nutrition guide bundled with the program, I went on with the proven and tested Intermittent Fasting (Renegade Diet protocol) body recomposition. I went on with the plan and fully documented the process.
A photo is worth a thousand words. I'm tired of typing and putting everything on words now so I'll show the before and after result of the experiment. More detail on the experiment was documented on TPC's GYM
Scrawny to Brawny (May 2013 - Present)
At the end of my INSANITY journey, I am left with a big question in my mind. Looking back through the start, I can say that I gained a lot and lost a lot too (at least to my own standards). Experience, wisdom, strength, endurance, power, lean mass, fat etc. I felt like I haven't done enough yet. Of course, It's NEVER ENOUGH! It's a continuous journey and I am still at the infancy stage.
This time around, I won't rely with Mr Google nor with Bro-Science BS. So the idea of having a personal coach comes to mind, after all, even the greatest athletes in the world (i.e. Michael Jordan, Andre Agassi etc) had a coach. Right?
I wanted to stop running and spinning around in circles and then get back again to where I started with very marginal improvement to boot. I wanted HELP (at least from REAL WORLD EXPERTS). Found out about Scrawny to Brawny
coaching program which is offered by the guys at Precision Nutrition, swallowed the pill and bit the bullet, I joined the program last May 2013.
And so a new journey unfolds...