Top 10 Nutrition/Training Myths That Must Go:
  1. Fruits make you fat
  2. Alcohol makes you fat
  3. Diet soda will kill you
  4. You need to eat 5-6 times a day to ‘stoke’ your metabolism
  5. If you don’t eat breakfast, you’d get fat
  6. Low-carb/Keto is key to weight loss
  7. You need to eat clean for abs and a slick physique
  8. You need that morning fasted cardio session for fat loss
  9. What you eat > How much you eat
  10. Ever since I cut out (insert food group here), I’ve lost weight = Diet works
3 amazing ways to get back on track

#1 Remember that days come in many sizes, forms and shapes.

There’re going to be days when your diet is on point. There’re going to be days when you had a party to attend and all they had were 600-calories-a-martini glasses. There’re going to be weeks when you hit the gym like you lived there. There’re going to be days when the only time you have for yourself is shower time. Once you’ve realized that, let it go. Let go of your need of perfection. Let go of obsessing over perfecting your every action. What you do most of the time, is more important that what you do sometimes. Give yourself a break :)

#2 When you’re feeling unmotivated.

Always refer to your big poster of BIG THREE’S. Why you’re doing this. If you want to lose weight. It could be 1) I want to be able to live a long healthy life with my husband and kids 2) I want to be able to inspire my family to adopt a healthy lifestyle 3) I want to have the stamina to run around with my kids …. Remember WHY you’re doing this. Make sure these reasons are for YOU.. and for YOU. If it’s because you want to look amazing in a bikini, write that down. Remember what you’re fighting for, then put in the hard work.

#3 When you’re facing failure.

Failures are EVENTS. Failures aren’t an indication of who you ARE as a person. They’re delayed successes. They’re GREAT teachers, re-assessors, learning points. Let them be your help checkpoints in learning how to re-strategize your actions to better achieve your goals. When you’ve failed, it’s not YOU that has failed, it’s your ACTIONS that needs to be redefined. Failures are delayed successes, remember that.

Top 5 Fitness Philosophies Everyone Should Have
  1. You don’t know everything. Not everything you read is the gospel, nor the ultimate truth. Science is ever evolving, and so will our knowledge on nutrition/training/fitness. - Keep an open mind and be flexible.
  2. Don’t ever give unsolicited advice. I draw the parallel to preaching about your religion to someone who just simply doesn’t believe - rude and invasive. No matter how much you feel like walking over to give a piece of your mind - save it for yourself and those who ask for it. No one likes a know-it-all, even if they really do know it all.
  3. The best plan - is the one that works best for you. Everyone is a beautiful amalgam of different work/play schedules, varying levels of love for being in the gym, current/desired body composition.. the list goes on. Search the oceans for inspiration on what to do, but at the end of the end, you can’t simply let someone tell you what to do because you know yourself best. 
  4. Take responsibility for yourself. Don’t be lazy. Don’t try and push the responsibilities of planning out your diet and training to someone else under the guise of ‘i’m not sure’… ‘i don’t know’…. The internet is an amass of resources to learn. Here’s my little library of resources. Even if you spend 10 minutes a day reading up on something new, that’s still a source of knowledge that will empower you for the long run.
  5. The opinions of others don’t matter. Fitness elitism spans a range of mild to you-want-to-smack-that-alpha-face. If it’s been something that’s working for you (and you’re not preaching to the world that’s the only way to go), but others are putting you down for it - Listen to their opinions first (Are they valid? If it’s about injuries and how it might negatively impact your health and mortality - listen). But at the end of the day, if it’s all condescending jokes - then shut them out. Do what you love, not what others love.
Top 5 tips I can give to anyone desiring to lean out

1) Throw away your measuring cups + Use a digital scale. 

The extra mountainous heap of peanut butter might double your servings (that’s an extra 100 calories right there). It’s fine once, twice, but if it’s a habit - you’re derailing your progress, while still ‘unsure what the hell went wrong’.

2) Start learning to eyeball your macros (fat/protein/carbs). 

Learn the macros of the food that you eat frequently. No use counting calories….. although of course, weight loss is indefinitely calories in and out. But for a body recomposition (losing fat + gaining lean muscle) - your proportions of macronutrients will best determine how aesthetic your process of leaning out will result in - a) soft, small, flabby  OR  b) tight, toned, ready. >You choose.

3) Stop making plans, and start doing. 

Procrastinators, and perfectionists of the world: Unless you’re in a fitness competition where every mg of intake counts.. What’s more important than that pristine, oh-too-perfect plan.. Is the damn execution. It’s important to plan, but crucial to take action. What’s the use of a well crafted 5 day training week, if you end up going 2/5 days?

4) Stop the blaming. 

The mentality that you’re under the control of your environment will serve to be the #1 reason of you falling short of the amazing things you can achieve.

Stories may go like this:

1) But there was free flow of champagne at the parttttttyyy :’(
2) I had a rough dayyy ;’((
3) My parents bought cookies and tempted me :’(((

Nice story. I’m sure the damn cookies and glasses of champagne were holding you at gunpoint. 

5) Stop wondering why and being emotional about your failures + Start seeking answers

I may have had the opportunity to correct my forms with a trainer for slightly under the month. But other than that, all the knowledge that I’ve acquired are solely from my thirst of knowledge.

I’m going to honest, and harsh here. But that’s because I love and care for everyone who’s willing to work hard to get to where they want to.

Here goes.

  1. Asking a fellow fitblr how much calories to eat - not optimal: Everyone differs in their height/weight/lean body mass/activity levels/past history etc. What someone eats may help serve as a reference. But at the end of the day, take a few minutes to sit down and calibrate your own numbers. Dan (@thespartanwarrior) has a very neat article on how best to go about doing this. I personally use this calculator.
  2. Learn to be more critical with the information that you take in. The realm of nutrition, especially, is continuously evolving, even as we speak. Even medical journals are often skewed with their retarded sample sizes (We sampled 5 people over the span of… really? 5 people out of a global population of 6 billion?), and who’s funding their research. Read broadly, and keep your hunger for knowledge burning. One of the best articles I enjoy is by Alan Aragon - where he changed my entire perception of clean vs dirty eating. For those who still think you need 6 meals a day to keep your metabolism burning, this article by Martin Berkhan will renovate those thoughts. 
  3. There’s no such thing as free foods. I’ve seen fitblr posts on how mushrooms are free food - so go crazy on them. Im sorry, going crazy on any ‘clean’ foods in excess - derailing progress. Portion control - and I mean by measurement and not ‘I guess I think so’ > Smart execution. 
Weight loss 101
  1. Eating healthy doesn’t matter if your primary goal is weight loss.
  2. What matters is not WHAT you eat.. it’s HOW MUCH you eat.
  3. 1200 isn’t the universal caloric needs for us. It’s the minimum level beyond which our body goes into starvation mode. It doesn’t mean everyone of every height and weight should eat at 1200 to lose weight. I border 1600-2200 depending on rest/training days.
  4. If you’re working out 3 days and you’re losing weight. Keep at it, DON’T BE IMPATIENT. Don’t throw in an extra workout day and expect to accelerate the fat loss. Change things up when things STALL. Be consistent with your strategies, and the results will come.
  5. If you’re always hungry, check if you’re getting your micronutrients - vitamins/minerals. If its cold where you stay - think about getting your Vitamin D supplements. Other supplements that you SHOULD bother about: Fish Oil tabs. + Calcium (esp for ladies)
  6. WHEY DOESN’T MAKE YOU FAT. 
  7. BUT YOU DON’T NEED WHEY TO LOSE FAT.
  8. Stop worrying about supplements, meal timings, and frequencies. 
  9. Your priority? Eat less than your requirements (not excessively. hit 300 under your needs), weight train 3x a week, sleep 8 hours a night and stretcchhhh. <3
  10. Fitness should ENHANCE your life… NOT take over it. 
Getting over your fear of the Iron Garden: Part I

image

This is part of an installation of articles that I’d be writing to help nurture total beginners of weight training (whom I’d, unabashedly call - Iron Babies).

———

Ah… the Iron Garden - that exclusive little section in the corner of your gym. It’s where meatheads, broski’s, grunting warriors, wannabe’s and tanktop flex-o-holic’s congregate. For those not familiar with the gym lingo, the Iron Garden is just a snazzy name we iron lovers call the ‘free weights’ section. 

When we refer to the Iron Garden, we don’t mean machines (leg extensions, ab crunch machine, lat pulldowns etc).. we mean raw, unadulterated iron in the form of the trinity - dumbbells, weight plates and barbells. 

Just a quick note on why being in the Iron Garden triumphs over the machines anytime of the day: Free weights allow for more natural range of motions that your body was designed for. Machines (which you end up sitting on 98% of the time) restrict your line of mobility, reducing the activation of your core. Your core is the main stabilizer of your entire body, having a weak core affects all other forms of fitness performance. 

Besides being known as the Fit Bunney… I’m also known as the Iron Barbie - because once I step into the gym, I make an undistracted beeline for the Iron Garden. In fact, I owe the progressions I’ve made with my physique to the iron (and of course, taking care of my nutrition). But if you’ve watched the video on my story, you’d realize that I started off as a cardio bunny for months. While I transitioned to the weight machines… I took a couple of months to really get comfortable with handling the free weights. 

Free weights allow you to build lean muscle (coupled with good nutrition) optimally. Today, I hope I’d help you realize that you, too, can take advantage of the free weights without fear.

1. Walk into the Iron Garden with a PLAN

Cue the scene: You hop off the treadmill, thinking.. Today shall be the day I muster up the courage to try out some of the dumbbell exercises I’ve learnt on YouTube! You swagger all but 3 seconds into the Iron Garden……… and…… look at the whole array of Iron goodies.. 

You start to get confused, you get intimidated. Where the heck should I start? Oh shit.. Okay.. I’d better not make a fool of myself. Let’s GEDDDOUT of here!!!!!!

As they always say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In this case, ‘fail’ is too severe…. But if you fail to plan your workouts.. you’re most likely planning to BAIL… especially if you’re just a baby when it comes to free weights training. 

The one mistake people make is doing WHATEVER they feel like for that day. 32 reps of dumbbell curls, 3 sets of dumbbell lunges, 12 reps of shoulder press, 83 reps of dumbbell curls…. Sure, at least working out is better than not working out at all right? But, hey, if you’re spending an hour in the gym, you want to make sure that hour is OPTIMALLY spent. We’re all busy with work and school, and an hour doesn’t come by easy for most of us. 

The least you can do, is take some time on sunday, to plan out your workouts for the week. I usually take about half an hour for the entire week to calibrate my reps/sets/weights/target PR’s (personal records).

Better still? Do a quick google search to find workout plans. 

Here’s a good database of personalized plans on bodybuilding.com. Depending on your gender, age, and fitness goals (fat loss/muscle building), workout plans will cater to your needs. It comes with reps/sets, and even workout videos/images to ensure that you know how to perform out each exercise effectively.

  1. Select your plan. 
  2. Print out the workout
  3. Look through your entire workout plan before you start training - this will reduce the time spent on constant referral to your paper and walking back and forth between exercises
  4. TAKE IT ALONG WITH YOU INTO THE IRON GARDEN - at least for the first week to familiarise yourself. (yes, your memory will somehow fail you with all that blood pumping into your muscles halfway through your workout)

I presently design my own workouts myself, based on many cycles/months of self experimentation. I will advise you to start off with a structured plan that has been designed for you first. But over time, you’d learn to know your body and physique so much so you’d know what will work best for you and will be better equipped with the knowledge to design your own personalized workout plan. By then, I’m pretty sure you’d be able to recall names of exercises even without reference to pictures and videos.. ;) 

Part II coming soon…..

Wisdom & Wisecracks by Alan Aragon
  • The majority of health nuts will spend $100′s a month on useless supplements, but won’t spend a dime on actually educating themselves on the facts about the body.
  • I love it when I hear folks say that human adults weren’t meant to consume milk, much less the milk derived from a different animal species. Are you kidding me? So who gets to decide which parts of the cow we should consume? Let me get this straight–we can eat the cow’s muscles, but not the milk that laid the foundation for the growth of those same muscles? Huh? The logic is just too rock-solid for me.
  • Folks who carry the torch against milk consumption typically will have some degree of allergy or digestive intolerance to it, and they take the liberty to project their personal problems onto the world around them.  Go frolick in an organic wheatgrass field and spare us your self-righteous noise.
  • Keep your eyes on YOU. It’s fine to get inspired by others’ physiques, but you have to set your own personal standards. People tend to fixate on their weaknesses, while at the same time obsess over the strengths of others. That’s a surefire way to stay eternally frustrated. It’s a healthier approach to acknowledge your own strengths, and use them as benchmarks by which to bring up your weaknesses. Learn to give yourself a pat on the back for the improvements you make. Keep your eyes on YOU, don’t let the achievements of others dictate your obsessions.
  • March to your own beat. Everyone has advice to give, and it’s important to listen, but ultimately, you have to adapt and mold all advice to your own sensibilities. Although it’s not always easy, I try not to be inflexibly dogmatic about what I teach. In many cases, what’s known pales in comparison to the sprawling expanse of the unknown. Over time, you’ll get to know your body better than anyone else, and what some might sell as natural laws should really only be ideas or options to consider.
  • Training and nutritional programs pulled from the “experts” shouldn’t always be followed to the letter, especially for advanced trainees. Beginners without a clue may need to follow a script with zero deviation, since the alternative might be tripping over their own feet. But with more advanced trainees who have a more highly developed sense of individual response, there should always be a margin for personal intervention and adjustment. The best programs out there are at best good guidelines from which to morph better stuff for the individual situation.
  • Question fitness advice given to you by others. “Why” is one of the most powerful words you can put in your vocabulary. Investigating the reasoning behind the advice will often reveal that the answer is “just because”, rendering the advice anywhere from helpful, to dangerous, to just a plain waste of time and resources. I encourage my clients, students, and colleagues to question everyone’s advice, including mine. I firmly believe that the better you can sharpen your thinking, the better you can continue to sharpen your physique.
  • Scientific research is not bias-free. It’s not free of financial interests. It’s not free of study design flaws, and it’s not perfect. However, it’s the best tool that we have for getting closer to understanding the way the body works, the way that nature works. As imperfect as research is, it beats the hell out of hearsay and gym dogma.
  • Many folks into fitness & bodybuilding have this unproductive tendency to think in black & white extremes. They’ll scapegoat certain foods, while glorifying the magic bullets. They rarely see the integration of the various components that comprise the big picture.
  • Maintenance of a given level of progress is indeed a legitimate goal. In fact, people should consciously build plateau phases into their programs. Everyone hates to hear this, but the plateau phases should get progressively longer. When you step back and think about it, isn’t the ultimate goal a plateau of sorts? It makes good sense to give your body regular practice at maintaining. Everyone is so hell-bent on perpetually pressing forward with their goals, that it actually holds them back.
  • A major training mistake I’ve made in the past – one I think that we’ve all done – was to always go more by the numbers than by the feel, letting the numbers dictate the workout rather than letting the muscles do it. I was overly concerned with the quantitative awareness of load progression, rather than what one of my old training partners called finding the pump. This might be more of a bodybuilding thing than anything else, but people should work up to a point where they are indifferent towards the number stamped on the iron. This is particularly useful during maintenance phases, which are more flexible. Trainees should practice developing a sense of optimal resistance for the given goal of any set, even if you’re completely unaware of the actual weight. Blindfolded sensation-based training, so to speak.
  • Don’t be overly cheap with your time off from training. Athletes’ careers are notorious for being slow-motion train wrecks. There are 3 main ways your body lets you know that you need a break: Fatigue, illness, and injury. Fatigue is a bit more insidious, manifesting itself as persistent stalls or decreases in strength or endurance. Most trainees out there wallow in fatigue most of the time, which is a damn shame. Illness and injury are the classic agents of forced layoffs. The best strategy is to stay not just one, but a few steps ahead by taking a full week off from training – I’m talking don’t even drive near the gym – about every 8th to 12th week.
  • No one’s physique ever fell apart as a result of a periodic week of rest. On the other hand, there are plenty of folks whose great physiques won’t last very long, due to bad shoulders, elbows, and knees.
  • Fad diets and fad diet practices should be avoided (and laughed at). Carbs will send you to hell. Sugar is worse for you than cocaine. Fat is no longer the bad guy, so now it’s time to drink a pint of fish oil after every meal. Protein is your savior, eat as much of it as you can. If it’s isolated from food and put in a pill, it’s GOTTA be better for bodybuilding. C’mon now. A mix of patience and realistic progress expectations is the best cure for the compulsion to adopt fad practices or try fad diets.
  • Stop splitting hairs over the rules. The beauty of food is that, unlike drugs, its physiological effects have neither the acuteness nor the magnitude to warrant extreme micro-management, especially when it comes to nutrient timing relative to training. A half an hour difference here or there really isn’t gonna make or break your physique.
  • The first law of nutrient timing is: hitting your daily macronutrient targets is FAR more important than nutrient timing.
  • The second law of nutrient timing is: hitting your daily macronutrient targets is FAR more important than nutrient timing.
  • The fitness & nutrition world is a breeding ground for obsessive-compulsive behavior. The irony is that many things people worry about simply have no impact on results either way, and therefore aren’t worth an ounce of concern.
  • Worrying about how much fat is burned while doing cardio makes as much sense as worrying about how much muscle is built while lifting weights.
  • I eat three whole eggs almost every day of the week, so as far as American Heart Association limits are concerned, I’m blowing past them like Stevie Wonder through a stop sign.
  • Mother Nature winces every time a yolk hits the waste basket.
  • If you have to chew it, it ain’t anabolic. [/sarcasm about postworkout nutrition]
  • The better someone’s genetics are, the more of a dumbf#ck he is.
  • Avoid food avoidance.
Top 3 gym habits that must go

1) You’ve never touched a barbell

Unless you have barbell allergen cells - you should get started on barbell training.

The holy trinity of barbell sex includes: 

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Presses

Of course I love these as well:

  • Romanian Deadlifts
  • Split Squats
  • Barbell Overhead Presses 
  • Good Mornings

Why barbell? Why compound movements?

There are lengthy articles on why they’re the optimal tool for maximizing strength, muscle development and fat burn but here’s a simpler thought:

Unlike bodybuilding isolation exercises, they use a massive amount of muscle groups. When this happens, you optimize your workout time by working out your entire body. This includes your stabilizing muscles - such as, your core. Working out on machines (even the smith machine) puts your body in an unnatural, restrictive range of motion, taking away the work from your stabilizers. Barbell training promotes effective, injury-free (that’s if, with proper form) strength development and fat burn for the long haul.

New to barbell training?

2) Half of the time, you’re on a ball, or a bosu

Don’t get me wrong, these are fun equipments. But they are also overhyped ones. While these are great to amp up the fun-o-meter during your workouts, they also promote fuckarounditis

Squats on a swiss ball/exercise ball may leave you in awe, but it’s also pretty stupid. Unless you’re training for the circus, I suggest to stick to the ground and save yourself the injuries.

If you want to work out your core, stick to:

  • Free weights (Dumbbells etc)
  • Barbell training
  • Ab Wheel (I don’t personally use this, but have fit/strong/swole buddies who do)
  • Hanging leg raises

You don’t need to balance and do the hulu dance on a ball or a half-ball for that matter. 

Still not seeing those abs?

  • Try burning fats first

But you’re already skinnaye, you say?

  • Refer to my suggested list of exercises above for some core demolishment

3) You consistently step into the gym without a plan

Is this you? 

Hmmm. Let’s see what we’d do today. Hmm, okay, lying leg curls. How about some shoulder work.. Moving on to 5 minutes of treadmill.. and 300 crunches.

I can’t emphasize the importance of working out with:

  • A purpose (Am I training for strength today? Or the circus?)
  • A plan (Today: Legs Day = I shall Squat + Deadlift like a baws)
  • A tracking strategy (I personally use Fitocracy)

Why?

A purpose

  • Your very goals dictate your actions. No use going in and doing a half assed workout that brings you closer or further to mylittlepony land. Unless you’re currently satisfied with your physique/strength levels (ps. I’d be envious), I’m pretty sure there’s something we can work towards. Find it, and channel your efforts towards it.

A plan

  • Seen these people at your gym? Spending 20 minutes on the abductor machines on their 30th set. Walking around, posing at the water cooler, looking around aimlessly. > I’d much prefer spending those precious time with my family, or on more productive things, like writing this and making you laugh/not laugh.
  • Not knowing what to do is a bad, bad excuse. Google’s your best friend. Not that fellow fitblr because remember - the best plan is the one that works for YOU. And if you recall, you’re pretty damn special. Asking for advice, however, to tweak plans - is great.
  • Try to keep exercises limited, but go intense on them. Of course if you’re short on time, circuit training’s a seductive solution - but here’s an article I posted previously on why circuits may not be the most optimal.

A tracking strategy

  • Simply put: you wouldn’t know if you’ve progressed if you don’t have concrete reference points. 
  • Don’t just log it in your mind.. write it down in a training log book. Or any other app/website. I love Fitocracy, mainly because I get to see my progress charts over time, see when I hit new PR’s (personal records). Also, I get to oogle at what my Fit Angels are doing, and cheering them on.
  • When you track your progress, you have tangible checkpoints to hit/thrash and hit new bests. This is extremely motivational, and is the cornerstone of anyone seeking to consistently better themselves.
  • Doing random things + choosing whatever weights you feel like that day’s pretty cute, I guess. ……. If you like fluffy, airy, non-existent results.

So here goes. No complicated new advanced technology/breakthrough solutions for amping your gym routine. Just old school, back to the grind/basics.

Because sometimes, simplicity is the best medicine, for a pretty darn good reason.

10 ways to get past your plateau: Day #1

You step on the scale for the 3rd week. The numbers hardly budge… oh wait.. is that a weight gain? You sigh, you want to sink your teeth into a 1000 calorie cinnabon. (meow)

You feel like a failure, and you’re ready to defend your hard work .. "I’m sure I’m eating right! I haven’t had junk food in ages" "I swear I’ve been training diligently.." But remember this:

Plateaus ARE important. Sometimes we need to be faced with a wall, in order to BREAK through it.

Here are my top 10 go-to tips to get your scale moving once more, and I mean down wards. ;) .. ps. put down that cinnabon now! 

#1 Eat Lesser

When it comes to weight loss, calories are king. It’s science, and science doesn’t listen to how "clean" your diet has been. Sure, we know the health benefits of skipping out on junk food - mainly because it’s fully laden with insane amounts of calories (aside from cholesterol and saturated fat that will eventually cause health deterioration if consumed in excess).

But don’t kid yourself. You’re not “starving” if you skip out on that extra 700 calorie health sandwich you consume as a snack. Your metabolic rate wouldn’t hit rock bottom just because you aren’t eating 12 meals a day. If you’re not hungry, don’t stuff your face just because you think you need the calories (unless you’re training for a fitness/sports competition). That said, sure, we know that we need more than 1200 calories… but if you took the time to sat down to just calculate out your daily intake - you’d be amazed at how every little “munchie” adds up. 

Start by:

  1. Writing out a diary of everything you’ve eaten in a day (start by taking snapshots if you can’t remember whatever you’ve eaten at the end of the day)
  2. Use a calorie counting app/website (MyFitnessPal is great)
  3. Learn how many calories you require via online sites
  4. Start small with your caloric deficits (No you don’t need deserts at every meal) 
  5. Lower your calories no more than 200-300 a week
  6. If your weight still isn’t budging after a week - lower your calories again
  7. If that STILL isn’t working….

Stay tune for tip #2 coming up! ;)

A letter on motivation:

There’s going to be days of good training, where you hit your PRs, where you hit your macros. You stick to your diet, you said no to dessert, you did good.

Then, there’s going to be days where you fall short of your PR. Your coach looks at your kicks and punches and asks you where’s your head at. You pulled a muscle. You had your colleague’s birthday cake, and maybe a glass of wine, or two, or .. a bottle.

Look. 

I’m gonna be frank with you. The road to greatness isn’t going to be filled with good days. That’s not how greatness is formed.

Greatness is formed through the bad days AND the good days. 

Understand that the bad days happen for a reason. Learn why you’re bingeing, understand where things are falling short. Are you not sleeping enough? Are you not eating enough?  Are you over training? 

Embrace those shitty days. Have days when you FEEL like a failure, but never once think you ARE a failure. Because once you give in to the thought that you’re a failure, you’ve thrown the white flag up. Who cares if we think you’re great? What matters most - is what YOU think, and what YOU believe in.

I’m not perfect.

I have a shitty left kick because of my right knee injury and years of neglect on my hip mobility. I could kill someone with my right. But I think I couldn’t even scare off a little kitten with my left. It leaves me in shame training after training. 

But I let that fuel me. 

I train hard. I practice hard. I let my weaknesses fuel me.

Because I want to be better. I need to be better.

I don’t care about perfection. I care about progression.

And that… that is what gets me out of bed every damn day.

Getting Out Of The Relationship Chub Rut

I was reading Fit Jerk’s article on "How to tell your girlfriend or wife to lose weight" earlier on this afternoon while sipping my java, and after I got over laughing at how crudely honest he can be (and very much adored), I thought about the reality of the relationship chub rut. 

If you’ve seen the video of my story,  I let myself go during my last relationship. I didn’t exactly put on pounds during the year I was with him, but I definitely understand how not being confident about your body can affect your relationship with your guy and vice versa.

Honesty Hour. Now this may be hard to conceive of.. but I used to be THAT girl who constantly asked her boyfriend to skip gym sessions by “seducing” him with movie and dinner dates. He’d cave in most of the times.  I wasn’t inflicted with super poor body image issues.. but I knew that my need for constant approval and attention, stemmed from an inner acknowledgement that I didn’t look and feel good. (made worse when you’re walking down the streets aside a model)

But I’m not saying that you should change for a guy. No. I’d always say do it for yourself. But never underestimate how being committed to being fit, and looking great can do for your self esteem, sex life and your relationship. 

Now I’m with Dave, and 30lbs lighter. It’s not just about looking good, no. It’s also about appreciating your other half more. When he’s at the gym, it’s his time. When I’m at the gym, it’s my time. We also love talking about fitness, training and nutrition. We have different views, and theories, which is amazing because it opens my eyes to new ideas. But most importantly, I know that being dedicated to keeping fit communicates a level of self respect that’s so vital for the long term success of a relationship. 

Here’s more reasons why you should get out of your r/s chub rut:

  • Sex life. Off the charts.
  • More confidence > More mojo > More attraction
  • He’d love that you’re taking time to take care of YOURSELF
  • Knowing that you look good means not having to constantly seek his validation (honey, does my jeans make me look fat? baby? why don’t you want to take me out to meet your friends? is it because you’re embarrassed of me?)
  • Um. … did I mention…. Better sex?
  • More options for spending time together <3 > Movies on a couch all the damn time

Some ideas to get fit, sweaty and sexy with your man:

  • Get a gym membership with him. Working out together is a great way to motivate each other. Also, what’s sexier than seeing each other pant and pump it out? ;)
  • Sign up for marathons, and crazy endurance events with him. (Dave has 10490194 races lined up this year… oh yes. He’s literally the Iron Man while I’m just the Iron Barbie)
  • Sign up for sultry salsa classes together. If salsa is not your thing, try ballroom, quickstep, hiphop etc. Partying… with a bottle of Dom Perignon is not counted, yea? 
  • Go on a hike together. Or do a weekend drive to get a run outside of the city together. Go get active in the midst of the beautiful nature that surrounds you.
  • Wake up early to get a run on the beach and watch the sunrise together.
  • Buy a cookbook and commit to trying out one new recipe per week together. Open a bottle of wine, and start cooking together and eating in. :)
  • Visit the whole foods grocers together and revamp the contents of your fridge.
  • If the both of you fancy some competition, draw out a monthly competition. E.G. whoever clocks in the most hours of working out that month will get a 3 course home cooked meal by the loser. :) yumm

The possibilities are endless. And while if you’re like me, and have gotten so used to getting fit on your own (i.e. gym time is my time), you’re probably resistant to the idea that you need a guy to motivate you to get fit. But, I’d always be happy to chime in that having your beloved other there with you, getting healthy and fit together.. - seriously, it doesn’t get better than that ;) 

Quick 10 on supplements

I get a ton of questions on supplements everyday. And here’s what I have to say about them:

  1. Supplements are EXACTLY what they’re called - they supplement an existing nutritious, balanced diet + training regime. 
  2. They’re - unfortunately - not magic pills. They don’t raise your metabolic rate even if there’s a picture of some fire on the bottle, claiming to burn your fats while you lay on a couch.
  3. Are there supplements that are good and effective? Yes. Do you need them? Yes and No.
  4. If you’re training to keep fit and for weight loss - no you don’t need anything. 
  5. If you’re bulking up, perhaps you require mass gainers if downing tons of calories in the form of meat and rice is not ideal to you. They’re quick, and whey is one the purest form of protein. 
  6. On pills - Fat burners don’t work. You’re better off with coffee, green tea, and a good diet.
  7. Only take a multivitamin IF and only IF you’re severely undereating or have not been eating greens/fruits because you can’t afford/access them. You PEE out ALL the nutrients from the multivits so no, you can’t get away from eating whole foods. 
  8. The most essential vitamin for weight loss would probably be Vitamin D. So if you’re not getting enough sun where you’re at, it’s smart to stock up on that. 
  9. Additionally? The one thing I MUST take everyday. Fish Oil tabs. DON’T BUY the Omega 3-6-9 superduperpower tabs. If anything, we take a ton of Omega 6 when we eat out. The most essential thing is the Omega 3:6 ratio. I take Ultra Omega-3 tabs. Daily: 2g EPA 1.5g DHA.
  10. If you’re doing fasted training? BCAA. Branched Chain Amino Acids. Read why here.
The "OPTIMAL" Workout

Is NOT what your friend/expert said has worked well for him/her.
Is NOT what a fitness magazine says its the BEST for you.

i.e. does not exist.

Why?

Only YOU know your stats + histories + experiences + psychology best.

I can tell you that barbell compound lifts are the most time effective workout to both gain strength + lose body fat (coupled with a caloric deficit)… but guess what? If you’ve been doing it for awhile, and you never fell in love with the barbell. Drop it. And MOVE ON.

Why?

Because being healthy means having a positive psychology towards keeping fit. If you’re dragging your ass to exercise, then maybe it’s not you. If you love dancing.. KEEP dancing. Don’t just stop Zumba classes because of the mockery commonly passed by fitness elitists. (I LOVE ZUMBA BTW)

In conclusion:

Work AROUND your likes and dislikes. Learn to discern when you hate it because its difficult, or simply because its a wrong fit for your mental psychology. (e.g. you’re an extremely social person, but you’ve been forcing yourself to independently train heavy) 

Results comes with commitment. And I’m telling you now, that if you can’t stick to your workout, maybe you need to add in a little factor of LOVE into the equation.

Rock Climbing, Hiking, Swimming, Marathons, Ice Skating, Hockey, Weight Training, Olympic Lifting, Yoga, Pilates, Running…..

The world is your oyster. Don’t limit your fun. <3 GO OUT THERE & EXPLORE. BASK IN THE BEAUTY OF BEING HUMAN & BEING ALIVE!!

Attention Carbophobes

image

Low carbs or No carbs (Ketogenic diets) DO result in weight loss for the first 1-2 weeks. This is because carbs = glycogen, and depleting your body of carbs = depleting your muscle tissues of glycogen. 

The simple equation is thus you lose WATER weight first, then all those hard earned MUSCLE tissue you worked hard for. 

Not fats. - Lighter, but squishier + dehydrated you. 

Carbs contain 4 calories/grams, just like protein. Your OVERALL caloric intake (if exceeding your needs) is what makes you fat.. not the carbs you eat. 

Today, after boxing class.

My coach mentioned something that struck a chord with me, that I thought I should share with all of you. 

Everyone comes here for a purpose. Perhaps for fitness, to fight better, to lose weight, or to gain strength. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. 

It also doesn’t matter that you’re not perfect.

Perfection doesn’t count for anything.

What matters is the struggle. The struggle that hurts. The struggle that burns. The struggle that you bite through to become a better person, day after day.


He may be Asia’s best boxer, but he’s one of the sweetest, most humble coaches that I’ve had the honor to train under. He may not speak the best English, but his words — are always the last thoughts before I drift to sleep at night.

Thank you Kru. This may be the change I need to break grounds. 

The best step you can take for physical transformation is self responsibility. If you have 2 hours to whine about how unhappy you are with the way you look, use 1 hour to educate yourself on nutrition and training. You KNOW yourself the best, so make sure you invest that time in YOURSELF. It’s not enough to want it bad, you have to ACT on it. Desire is nothing without action. In short? Quit being lazy.
—  AJ

I’ve been hitting it super hard in the gym recently, even with my partner gone in Canada.

Ever had those moments when you really just can’t push and you need a second to breathe? This quote by Camille Leblanc-Bazinet REALLY helped thrashed that perspective:

Don’t wait to have your breath back because it won’t happen or maybe it will happen but 20 minutes later. It’s a waste of time and if you can’t breathe anymore, well we all know a human can stop breathing for 2 minutes without dying … so we are okay.


It’s so vital for me because I know when I start to get tired, I use “breathing” as a huge excuse to take a moment. But presently, all I do is just stop thinking about trying to take a break and rest. Keeping on with the reps HOWEVER painful they may be… and focussing on the rest that will take place AFTER everything is over.

BAM. Just like that, my training has just been Camillized!

Happy hour: The dilemma

Working in NYC this summer as an advertising intern challenged my priorities when it came to post-work gym sessions.

  1. I’m in NYC for the summer…
  2. It’s the perfect weather out (except for those crazy heatwave days… insane!)
  3. You’ve worked so hard the entire day
  4. Your colleagues are all asking you out for HH
  5. You look down at your gym bag….
  6. What do you do?

This is the kind of scenario I’m sure most of us will certainly face once we hit the corporate life. Especially in my industry, going for Happy Hour as a junior doesn’t just mean playing around… it means invaluable networking hours with seniors. If you’re serious about your ambitions.. this happy hour.. is also golden hour.

For the first week… I consistently went to the gym, reluctant to give in to beers over barbells. But soon after.. I realized I wasn’t being smart about my time in NYC. 

Sure.. I may be fitbunney and I love the gym and all. But if you’ve followed me for some time, you know that I promote not only physical wellbeing.. but a balance in all aspects of life. There comes a time when you need to make sacrifices.. and of course - you needn’t give up your gym time.. so what do you do?

Shift your time around.

I was working in mid-town.. and residing in SoHo. Commuting back home and heading to the gym and back etc became too time consuming if I were to fit Happy Hour into my schedule for networking. And being in the extremely fun industry I’m in.. happy hour happens every.day… not just friday! Hahhaa.

So I came up with a compromise: working out before I went to work.

When I didn’t have time to head to the gym in the morning.. I climbed stairs.

When I didn’t have time in the morning (from a late night out).. I worked out at lunch.

When I started to get too soft from all the drinking I’ve been doing.. I cut back on the beer and start switching to vodka soda and a twist of lime. I generally don’t say no to alcohol - I work hard, and I play hard as well.

Now I’m back home, and I don’t regret my choices back in NYC. Those crazy night outs with my brilliant colleagues will remain as memories for a lifetime.. 

It always goes back to my philosophy:

Fitness should enhance your life, not take over it.

p.s of course this is because I’m only in NYC for a short period of time and I really wanna make full use of my time there. If I were a resident.. things may be a little different ;)