Saturday, December 14, 2013

En route my first bodybuilding show, Muscle War 2014

This will be the first post that perhaps isn't so deep, far more personal, and really nothing more than a need to express thoughts because I am losing my mind.

I've been bodybuilding for years. I set my eyes on Muscle War 2014 right after watching Muscle War 2013. Every single day since then, my eyes was on Muscle War 2014. My eyes were on 2014. Not a day went by I didn't think of it. Not a training went by I didn't give my best. I don't talk about not missing trainings, I talk about giving my best every single training. That's the level I'm talking about.

I ate ridiculously "clean" (every 3 hours and only clean foods) in the bulking phase. Which in fact started since May 2012. With the exception of 3 months of dirty bulk, I have lived almost impossibly for over a year until I started my diet on 21st July 2013. The months prior I could not wait to start dieting. I craved hardship. I was all set for 24 weeks of diet(which will now be 25 because the info given about contest date was wrong/changed).

Comments from experienced bodybuilders was that it was too long. I have no idea if they meant it in terms of psychologically or physically. It didn't matter. I knew my situation and I knew how long I needed. I'm a first timer. How many first timers you see peak right for their show? Precisely because they give themselves only enough time which they don't know how to manage. So I knew I need a longer time to learn my body. To be ready early so that if I'm not, I have time. I knew I was fat. I may have eaten clean but I still got out of shape from the amount I ate and length of my bulk. From that 3 months of dirty bulk I did.

I knew as a natural with that body fat, the only way to come down and keep muscle is to lose the fat slowly.

So here I am. 21 weeks/146days of dieting. Not a single slip up. Ate every 3 hours. Never missed a meal, never put a gram of anything that isn't on my diet in my mouth. Gave everything I had every single workout. My diet length has already far surpass the length of most typical contest prep diets. By the time I am done, I would have dieted and lived almost monk-like for half a year.

27 days away from show day. And boy is this hard.

The diet started out during the last few weeks of my school term which were easy to work towards my holidays which were then a breeze. During my holidays I basically trained and had the rest of the day to myself. I had 1 cheat meal a week. It was that simple. Energy was high, brain functioning well, food was still plenty, stress from both external factors and contest were non-existent. I had plenty of time to get the things I need to done, time for myself(I need lots of that) and time with friends.

Then came my final term of school somewhere around my 12 week out mark. This term was hard. Projects piled up, diet started to take a toll on me. Brain couldn't always function well, stress was aplenty. Towards the end of the term shit started kicking in. I say shit because I don't know what to call it. I find myself quiet. Lack of energy. I was constantly stressed over a million things. I stoned very often. Some mood swings started to come in where I would feel moody at times. Nonetheless I still had time to myself for the weeks prior the last 2-3 weeks. I still could meet friends every now and then. I still had 1 cheat meal a week. I still had a decent though not optimal amount of sleep. Things got crazy only towards the last 2-3 weeks.

Then it gets worse. Term ended Friday and I report to work for my internship the very next Monday. My last cheat meal occurred that very weekend. From then on, no more cheats. The people I see almost daily for the past 3 years changed. I work 9-6 from Monday to Friday. I wake up at 6 30 everyday and begin to rush to cook my breakfast, eat, prepare all my food for the day, bath, leave. It takes me one hour to get to office. With a bag so big and heavy that is filled with my gym change including shoes, and all the Tupperware and shaker bottles along with other gym stuff etc. How big is it? Enough for me to get stopped for the first time(so it's not that I look suspicious) at the mrt station for inspection. Enough for it to be the first questions my new colleagues ask me about so curiously. Lugging my big ass bag while I'm in office wear and squeezing into peak trains with only 5 hours of sleep(I'll get to this) everyday isn't the most pleasing thing. Work goes by and I count my lucky stars my job is good on me. If I had a hard job... let's not imagine that.

I end work at 6 and lug my big ass bag to the gym. It's about another hour from office to the gym. With "nice" 5-10mins walks from the office to the MRT station and from the station to my gym. "Nice" walks. With my bag.

I start my training about 7 30(obviously I don't leave work at 6 on the dot and I don't start training without first changing and other prep stuff). I end my training at 10 and it's another hour long journey home with long walks from the gym back to the station and from my bus stop to my house. Oh yea, and the changing of stations 4 times a day and to bus let's me spend more time lugging my bag around.

So I get home at about 11. I cook my meal, eat it, wash up all the Tupperware and shaker bottles from the day along with the stuff involved in the meal I just cook and ate and bathe. I finally am done and able to sit down and 'relax' at 12 20. To which my mind is completely stoned. I'm tired but very much awake at the same time. I've passed the point of tired whereby I am now awake again. So I only am able to fall asleep at about 1. I get 5.5 hours of sleep and my day starts again.

Make no mistake I am not complaining. I chose this and I love this. I love how I'm suffering. Yet it is apparent I am suffering. My mood now is crazy. Every second of everyday I've fighting off bad moods. Moods I don't even think they should be called moods. It feels like trauma going through them. I lose myself. I lose my purpose. I become lost. The worse feeling of all is frustration. A sense of frustration so deep I feel like screaming out loud in my deadly silent office during work. That I've to stand up walk to the toilet and keep myself moving to keep myself together. Mentally I'm messed up. Emotionally I'm messed up. Physically, my body isn't reacting well from all the stress I'm putting on it especially with the lack of sleep. I have no cheat meals to look forward to. I have no time to do anything. I have 27 days left and the pressure keeps growing. I am worried about being able to peak for contest. Did I mention about the frustration feeling? I'm having "sessions" of outburst and losing myself so frequently. And when I'm not it's almost a constant struggle keeping it away that my head is overloaded with thoughts. Aggression I never felt before. Hatred I never felt before. Rage. Frustration. Loneliness. Tiredness. LOST.

Anyone who thinks what I do physically is hard, going through this mental process is a whole nother level. 25 weeks of diet is crazy. And seriously it's a mess inside me. Thoughts and feelings that aren't even funny. Even having experienced them, I look back only being able to recall so much after I get out of my "lost myself" moments. They last anywhere from an hour to half a day.

One of the hardest parts is relating mental and emotional mess to my diet. Which I have sort of been able to do through research and asking fellow bodybuilders but at times is still a question. That's the thought that kills it all. That blows up the frustration and outburst a million times. When you can't link it to your diet. How are you suppose to know it's the diet doing that to you. Because if I can link it to my diet it's so much easier. At least I can tell myself it's the diet and it's temporary. But when I can't... I become a wreck.

Not to forget the sense of loneliness. Both physically and mentally. Where there really isn't time to meet people and even when I rarely do there's that sense of not being understood by people.

27 days out. I will do what I told myself I would. Come hell or high water.

Ps. If you've read through, thank you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Respect is never ours to command

Respect is not an action. It's a sentiment. It is not that which we do but feel. To respect someone is to hold a certain level of regard for them. This is something from within. Respect is an experience. One can only experience respect by having respect for someone else. Likewise one can only be said to respect someone by having experience respect, not showing it.

What is often termed as "respect" is not respect itself but the (expected and common) manifestations of respect. In other words, it's the actions(or lack of it) that respect brings about. These actions are the side effect of respect. They are by no means respect.

That said, I say respect is never ours to command not because it's a cliché saying. Neither do I say it because I just happen to feel that way. I say it because I have understood what respect truly is. When you truly understand what it is, you realize it is IMPOSSIBLE to command respect. You can (try to) command its side effects, its manifestations, but you can never command respect itself the same way you can never command another to feel excited. You can make others feel excited, but you can never by means of dictating actions force excitement unto them.

What I find very disturbing is how some people would expect to be respected based on their position(which no doubt they earned). They may have earned the position but respect has to be earned from each and every individual. These positions include age, occupation, title and accomplishments.

As children we were taught to "respect" our elders. As students we were taught to "respect" our teachers. Yet all they ever expected was the physical action because they immediately identified it with respect. Little do they realize "respect" can shown without being there and respect can be hidden, but there.

Where am I getting at and what sparked me to write this? All too often I felt lecturers in polys are sometimes ahead of themselves. Even teachers from secondary school for that matter. They expect respect as though it is their to command. They act as a form of superior being. What irks me more? That there are students who will let them be just that. Who will allow to be spoke to and ordered like we actually have that much respect for them we would listen to them no matter what.  What kinda mentality is that?! What are they letting themselves become?? They have allowed someone who is an equal command actions from them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying hurl vulgarities as your teacher/lecturer. I'm not saying spit at them. I'm saying don't let them treat you like they are of a superior species. If you wish to treat them as superior, let it be because you believe in your heart that they are and you listen to them out of true respect - that which has to be earned unless one so easily give superiority of being to others simply by their job title.

In other words, teachers and lecturers especially have been hired for one purpose. To educate in their field of knowledge. I highly doubt it was written in their job description "Act like you are greater than your students. Command respect. You are superior, you can tell them to do whatever you feel like"
Likewise as a student, for me personally, entering into a business course I'm there to learn about business from someone who should know better about it. I do not believe I signed up for anything that obliged myself to give anyone respect.

This isn't one of those typical student these days who suddenly feel he has "rights" and challenge lecturers/teachers based on rules and laws. No doubt I be sure to stick within them. But that is not the case in point here. I speak of something more logical but maybe a little deeper. For the unaware to realize: If you are a student, it doesn't mean your lecturer or teacher is suddenly almighty. They are human, they have been hired for a purpose. You are a customer if anything at all, you pay to be educated. You do not pay to be treated as something less than them. And for lecturers/tutors/teachers, for you to realize you don't posses superiority in terms of where respect would be concern. Because respect gives no thought or credit to hierarchy in a particular organisation or any organisation for that matter. It's a fact, not an opinion. Respect cannot be commanded by a hierarchy structure.

On a personal side: The way I see things, they just know more than me in one field. When you value yourself enough, unbiasly and non-egotistically and given that you're becoming the strongest version of yourself, they are at the most, equals until proven otherwise which is only for you to decide. I'm not a genius in my own fields in which I believe I'm good at. But if surface level knowledge is where comparisons are drawn, I'll take my knowledge in nutrition, body sculpting and even deep thoughts and put it beside any lecturer's knowledge. Like I said, they are good in only their specific field, they are not superior beings. More importantly however(yes what I mentioned in the last 2 sentences are more of a rant rather than what really matters) what really matters is within. Not knowledge but character, mentality, values, becoming the strongest version of self. That which is not governed by any form of structure or organisation.

Now for the real rant and the perfect example of a lecturer full of herself. I would not name her of course(I don't even know her name anyway). I must warn it was as much the attitude and tone in the voice that played a huge role so forgive me if it doesn't sound too much like a lecturer thinking she is some form of superior being based on black and white descriptive words.

The example follows: My 2 hour tutorial ended a few minutes early and my lecturer left before the students,which is common and fine(this is important because it means I was not staying in a classroom I was not expected to be in). During the last 30mins of officially allocated lesson time, I would eat my meal for bodybuilding reasons. As I always have in her tutorials and she's fine with it. Even chats with me about who cooks them etc(I cook them! Duh!). I usually sit at the back of class to eat to make sure I don't disturb anyone(my food has no smell and is quite disgusting anyway). That said after she left the lecturer of the next class entered a few minutes later, but still within the allocated time for my tutorial. (she's a fat lecturer. Not that it should matter but I'll be honest, it made it that much worse for a bodybuilder who is being told in a tone and manner that would suggest she is superior not to do something which is an action towards my goal that is getting in shape which is the complete opposite of what she is and I personally already would find such people hard to respect, not saying that's the best way to think but that's the truth.)

So this lecturer came in and I can't remember word for word because I really wasn't listening because I didn't expect her to talk to me but she basically told me in what I would consider a very superiority tone that I am expected to leave the class because it's no longer my lesson. Then she noticed me eating and asked me why I am eating in a way an pissed of parent would ask his/her son why he failed his exam(to which I obviously did not bother to reply to) then told me that eating is not allowed, again all in a very demeaning tone. I gave her a thumbs up without even looking at all the whole time she talked(I was at the back of the room she was at the front). And I stood up and packed my things. As I did, again with similar tone, she continued to warn me that if she saw me doing that again she would take me card(poly admin card I presume?) and well okay I didn't catch what she said after, basically a threat.

Apart from the facts of the situation like how it is still technically my scheduled time to be in the room and definitely not hers. About how it would at least be inferred that I am allowed to stay in the room. I would say this makes a perfect example of how a lecturer sees herself as an immediate superior being. That would come in and not speak to me as if I were a fellow human being on planet earth, a fellow Singaporean in Singapore, but some imaginary superiority she seems to posses in her own (can I just swear here and not seem like a loser? Okay I will anyway)... in her own fucking world. It's not her actions that irks me. It's her actions and tone that was indicative of her belief that she was a superior form that irks me. I have no problem being told to leave the room to eat my food. Many of my lecturers have told me to before, and I do so, without a squeak of complain or shadow of unhappiness. I have also over-stayed in classrooms whereby the next tutorial needs to begin and been asked to leave respectfully, which of course I leave so willingly. But when it is done in such a way that reflects the lack of comprehension of respect and an over-valued self, it is that which irks me. Nothing at all to do with the fact I'm asked to leave and not eat in classrooms.

Earn the respect you so desire. Never try to command it. Never expect it.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Idea for becoming a stronger person mentally: Avoiding self-denial. Achieving self-integrity.

Self-integrity would be the absence of self-denial. To have self-integrity would mean being at a point where we are able to honest with ourselves. To be honest with ourselves in all aspects that includes  issues related to our character and essentially who we are. Becoming a stronger person mentally requires first that we are able to identify the areas that needs to be worked on. This is where self-integrity comes in.

Let's use an example to make sense of what I'm saying. A good example to illustrate my point would be someone who is quitting school because he is stressed and can't handle the pressure he gets from school. This someone may claim(even to himself) that the reason behind quitting school is because he believes the education system is ineffective and a waste of time. Something common in any such situation would be his gathering or information on people who have authored or spoken about why the education system is ineffective. It may very be true that the education system is indeed ineffective. He may even actually feel that way, even with self-integrity. But self-integrity is that precise that as always, it boils down to the sentiment from which he proceeded. In this case, self-integrity isn't being able to stay on in school, neither is it to say he doesn't actually feel the system is ineffective. Self-integrity is admitting to himself that the reason he quit was because he couldn't take the pressure, not because of his opinion towards the education system.

Self-integrity is important. How honest we are to ourselves about our own capabilities both physically and mentally dictates whether we are able to improve on ourselves. Denying any weaknesses is to deny any progress; we are then unable to become the strongest version of ourselves.

As in the example, if that person is never able to be honest with himself, he will never be able to work on being able to withstand more pressure and not quit so easily. Essentially, he is the weakest he can possibly be. Not only is he weak because he quit but he is even weaker because he can't face the truth.

The biggest problem is that those who are in denial with themselves will also be in denial with themselves that they are in denial with themselves. So anyone who is in denial is usually under more than a single layer of denial. Making it even harder to progress because they will see nothing wrong(weak) with themselves.

Now comes the question, how do we know if we are in denial or not? Realizing you are in self-denial automatically makes you no longer in denial.  It's really quite simple, we will all know when there is the possibility that we could be in self-denial. We just never know if we are. The only way to be sure is to do the thing that will guarantee we are not in denial. What do I mean?

In any context where there's a decision to make and the decision could be affected by denial, choose the one which will let you know you're not in denial for sure. So in the example, to ensure he isn't in denial, he would have to tell himself to not quit school(for as long a period as he thinks is necessary before he can be sure it's not the pressure but really his opinion on the system that he chose to quit). If in his case the pressure was only built because of the length of the entire education route, then because of the way his pressure is formed, it means he has to stay on all the way to ensure self-integrity. As stupid as it may sound to stay on all the way only for him to realize he was (let's say) really quitting because of his opinion, it's not that stupid.

The thing about self-integrity is that once we have achieved it(to know if we did requires self-integrity too.....) we tend to be able to hold this aspect in all/most other contexts. In other words, self-integrity is more of a character rather than dependent on individual scenarios. Once we have it, we have it no matter the situation. If we don't, it presents itself in numerous situations.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

The right way to encourage friends

When your friend is down... when your friend is experiencing a setback.. when you friend is hurt.. when you friend has failed.. What do you do?

Every brainless idiot knows the answer to that - Encourage them.

We hear the cries all the time. From something as simple as "I'm so sick and tired of life" to "I failed my test......................". It can be anything - injuries, failure, rejections, emotional breakdown, etc. Our response?

"It's okay, you did a great job!". "You're not a failure, you're perfect the way you are". "You deserve a break, go take the day off!". "Give yourself a break!". "It's okay, don't be too hard on yourself!"

We often misunderstand encouragement for comforting. To comfort your friend is not to encourage him or her. Sometimes to encourage your friend is to have to hurt them further in the process to bring out a side of them they never knew existed.

The moment you start your "encouragement" with "it's okay", you are leading them to feel comforted. To comfort them is help them get over their feelings of disappointment/sadness/failure. These feelings can make or break a person. These feeling ARE what make or break people. Removing the feelings keep them where they are. Give them the soft mentality that whenever they fail, it's okay because they have comforting friends around.
Handing them the sense of security that you will always be there for them may seem like what friends should do, but what does it result in? It makes them feel okay with what they are not okay with deep down.

When it comes to make or break feelings, the rightful duty of a friend should be to make sure the feelings make them, not break them. Certainly not remove the feeling altogether.

So your friend failed the test. So your friend tried so hard and so many times but never made the school team. So your friend has been trying so hard but can't lose weight. So your friend is just sick and tired of life he/she wants to throw in the towel and quit. Your friend is crying. What do you do?

Encourage, not comfort. Never say it's okay, even if it is. Credit their effort if it was there, but never say that "so long you've tried your best it's enough". Not that it's not true, but trying your best isn't the effort one puts in during a particular period of time. Trying your best doesn't end when you fail, it ends when you succeed. So to say that would be to imply that it's over, game over. Which is never the case. As you can see, that was a comfort, not an encouragement.

How do we encourage? Feed the fire. When someone is down, there's heavy emotion, heavy feelings. Feed it and get them to use it to drive themselves. Encouragement is simply letting them know, it's not over. It's not yet time to settle and accept failure. Comfort is precisely that - helping one accept failure. To encourage, we must never speak in a way of closure. "It's okay." "You tried your best", these are phrases that implies it's over... closure. Letting them know the game is not over is encouragement. "A setback is a set up for a come back", "So you're hurt, I dare you to go through it. I dare you to suffer. At the end of pain is success. Pain is temporary.". Notice the difference? You have led them to see their situation from a positive point of view and still part of the game. You get them to use their situation and feelings and channel it to becoming who they are - Make them. Whereas the former phrases you have let them to believe it's over, it's okay, let's go eat ice cream now.

Of course using cliché motivational phrases aren't always the ideal. You have to be down to earth and real. Keep the words your very own. Throw in quotes, as a form of quotes not words, if you want but explain them. Speak from your own heart and your friend will listen and not think it's some cliché bullshit.

If you think hugging your friend, whispering words of COMFORT and treating them to ice-cream or a meal is being a good friend, your intentions are right but actions are wrong. That's what you should do to your enemies if you're the type that wants to see them lose.

I must warn that you won't become the most ideal/liked person to go to as far as friends in trouble are concerned. The fact your friend is down, he/she is probably already looking for comfort. You may get hated in the process, seen as insensitive and not understanding. Your friend might snap and go bananas on you for being such a hard ass. The tougher friends will rise easily. The weaker ones will think you're a lousy friend and you'll just have to bear with them losing it and encourage them longer.

I can't say for a fact everyone can be encouraged. Perhaps it's a matter of skill that determines who you are able to encourage because some might be so weak/soft-minded and buried in the idea of failure it won't be easy digging them up. Sometimes them having to lose it on you is part of the process of them reaching the point to which they had enough and will go all out for what they want.

Nonetheless, letting your friend think you're an insensitive mofo is better than comforting them in my opinion. At least you know you are not responsible for them never reaching their goals. At least you did not preach a weak mind set. Preaching a weak mind set leads to a weak mind set. So be hard, be an encouragement. Don't comfort.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Overcoming Insecurities

So common is it to be insecure that it almost seems as though to be insecure is to be human and to be human is to be insecure. What does that imply? It implies that people who are insecure stopped believing it is actually possible to be secure; they have accepted the idea that humans are insecure.

"I'm so fat"
"I'm too short"
"I'm ugly"
"I'm weak"
"My thighs are too big"
"My waist is too thick"
"Nobody likes me"

The ever so familiar phrases. You've either thought it, said it or heard it.

Insecurity is nothing more than a problem. Just like any problem, to solve it, you have to understand it. The method in which most people try to solve their insecurities is by trying to change from without. Changing the physical. Changing the surface of the problem. If they feel too fat, they try to lose weight. If they feel ugly, they sit by and wish they could be better looking. Trying to do that is like a gambling addict trying to solve his problem by disallowing himself into casino ABC, his regular casino. Eventually, he's going to end up at another casino XYZ because he has failed to solve the root of his problem.
Likewise for insecurity, if we only tackle the physical problem, say weight for instance, we will find that sooner or later, we start to become insecure over something else. We must change from within.

So what about insecurity is there to understand? Insecurity works because 2 conditions exist. Most people will recognize the first but fail to see the second.

The first will be low self-esteem or low self-confidence. Let's use "fat" as the constant point of reference here to keep things simple. Low self-confidence isn't to think you are fat when you are not. That is EFFECT of low self-confidence, not low self-confidence in itself. Being able to identify a flaw of yourself ACCURATELY isn't low self-confidence, that's being able to maintain self-integrity(avoid self-denial). Trying to identify the standing of your self-confidence from whether you find yourself fat is then impossible because you can't actually tell if it is low self-confidence or truth, if it is high self-confidence or denial. Low self-confidence is you under-valuing your self-worth. Regardless of whether you are actually fat or not, when your self-worth is valued high(which is should always be), you will, even as you identify yourself as being fat(when you really are), be able to not be affected. It will not become an insecurity because you have already valued yourself well. If you're not fat, you won't identify yourself as fat. For you have valued yourself well and able to look at each body part without biasness against yourself. Think about it, people who value themselves lowly will look at their body and pick out a million flaws of which most aren't actually flaws. People who value themselves appropriately high will pick out only true flaws. Of course over valuation could mean being in denial over certain flaws not existing - but that's not the topic here. Nonetheless, when self-valuation is high, flaw or no flaw, they have already valued themselves enough that they know a flaw doesn't dampen who they are in reality.

To think that self-valuation being low is not the cause but the result of thinking one is fat is to be half right. In many cases, it is both. It hence ends up in a vicious cycle.

The second condition is caring about what others think. Sure you may feel your worth is nothing. Your self-worth may be rock bottom. You may find yourself ugly, fat, short, stupid, everything. But if you don't care what others think, you will never be affected. You will never be insecure. What is there to be insecure about! You couldn't care less what others think. Couldn't give any less of a fuck some might say. But when you are conscious over everything YOU THINK others think about you, you will think that they think of you the way you think of yourself. So if you value yourself so lowly, you will think others think likewise.

Alright, so much for understanding the problem. What's understanding the problem without solutions. If you think hard enough you will realise that despite me speaking of the 2 conditions as being completely unrelated, they are in fact related. The second condition is the result of the first. Yet both conditions must be met(meaning it's possible to meet one without the other) because the second condition is not certain a result of the first. It is possible to have low self-worth but not care about what others think. And it is possible to care about what others think while having high self-value. Both of which would have been the result of other factors like past experiences, ways self-rationalization, etc.

The solution then has to be fixing the problems which essentially is raising self-worth. Even if caring about what others think was the result of other factors, raising self-worth will impede the amount you care or are affected by what you think others think. However if it is the result of other factors then the solution for that particular problem is going to have to be tailored by the cause of it. Which may be very specific to individual.

Nonetheless, raising self-worth will definitely eliminate the first conditioning hence removing insecurity. It is also highly likely to solve the second condition or at least improve it.

Improving self-worth................... easier said than done!!!!!!!!! How do we go about doing that? We do that by means of becoming what my idol would call the strongest versions of ourselves.

There are many ways to explain what that really means but to sum it up simply, it means you become the person you believe is the best possible version of you. Be it chasing after a passion/goal/interest and perfecting it or excelling in your studies/career or doing each and every daily task with perfection. Whichever you think the best version of you would be doing, you do, and then become. Most often it would be the combination of all I have mentioned and more.

Even as we pursue our goals or improve our career, it is not as simple as working harder. We are talking about the strongest and best versions of yourself here, not stronger and better. So even as your pursue them, it has to be pursued by doing everything possible to be the best you can be at what you set out to be. We are not talking about improvement here, we are talking about self-worth. Self-worth doesn't come from trying harder, it doesn't come from being better.. Self-worth comes from knowing you are the best you there can be and that comes from doing the best you can. See how this ties in with one of my older post?

Monday, August 5, 2013

"IIFYM & IF: Only for the weak?" 2: Comments and responses.

My original post has been misunderstood greatly. To make everything clear, I'll share 2 comments and my reply to each.

 Anonymous 1:
I cant speak flr IIFYM. butI don't quite agree about IF. It takes a lot of discipline to carry out intermittent fasting. As society evolves , so should people. Just because old school methods work for some people doesn't mean the new ones are bad. At the end of the day, everyone is aiming for results. I'm an avid IF-er for almost a year. Desmond doesn't believe in IF and we have no arguments or problems with it. There's not need to waste time trying to convince people why u think your methods are superior. It's about working smart now, not jjust working hard. If no hard work and discipline is put in, there will not be result no matter what kind of diet a person is on. #justsaying. Everyone is different. If something's IIFYM is good, he can keep doing it. I have friends with great physiques in the US who won nationals using IIFYM. So I'm just saying everyone has a certain way of lifestyle. Just respect what they do and carry on with what you do.

My response:
I agree with you 100%! But I think you've missed my point. Do hear me out
I've stressed in the post I'm not debating which is better and this is merely an example I am trying to make about character. I am by no means a person who has any reputation to talk about which method is superior. But that isn't what I'm trying to get across.

What I'm saying is that some people don't do IF or IIFYM because they actually think it's better. They do it because it's easier to them. That puts them in a weak position because they have made a decision, an action, coming from a place a fear; the fear to work hard. As Ralph Waldo Emerson has said, "Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds". And in this case, I'm not concerned with their actions, I'm concerned with the sentiment from which they have proceeded. In other words, the "why" for which they chose such dieting methods. This puts the truth of the matter(which is actually better for them in the results point of view) off the table and irrelevant. They have proceeded to make a decision based on and coming from a weak place. Fear. So even if let's just presume IF is superior in this example, they should still choose bro science if that's what they honestly feel is better. I just mentioned to wee kiat just now that I rather fail with the right character(or even because of it) than succeed with(or because of) the wrong character.

Then of course I find it more troubling with people who deny themselves this truth. Because the biggest problem is not knowing that there is even one. At least people who tell themselves they chose IF because it's easier know they come from a weak place. But people who deny themselves this(if it's the truth) don't even realize they aren't the strongest versions of themselves.
Of course what irritates me is when they go on to belittle bro science, sub-consciously part of self assurance to carry on denial. Human nature. Psychology.

So don't get me wrong, this isn't one of those "this is better than that" or "Whichever works best for you" debate/post. It's really nothing to do with fitness(the point I'm making). Just the actions and variables here in this example. And of course, I'm trying to get this idea directed to the fitness people. But the point itself has no relation to bodybuilding or fitness.

Anonymous 2:

Happened to stumble upon your blog while randomly surfing. Before I begin I'd just like to say that I mean no offense to you in any way and I'm not here to start a fight. I'm here to voice my opinion, open it up for discussion and hopefully in turn we both learn something new from this. If you are however, offended by my post then I apologize in advance and you can just remove this if you deem it to be necessary.

I'd like to start by saying that I don't agree with what you posted in this article. Yes, I am an avid fan of IIFYM and IF but not for the reasons you pointed out.

For one from my inference you lack a clear understanding of how IIFYM works. You failed to point out the importance of fiber which precedes all other nutrients in terms of priority. With that said, to hit that prerequisite amount of fiber one would have to consume largely (80% upwards) 'clean' food as 'bro science' would define it to be. It is due to this same fiber requirement that most of my meals are made up of whole, unprocessed food for it would be next to impossible to hit my numbers with KFC and McDonald's all day. What IIFYM does is allow that one or two slips of what bro scientists would define as 'bad' food in on a daily basis, without compromising whatever goals I'm working towards.

Back to your point on why people use IIFYM. I don't see it as an 'easier' way or delusional way to avoid obsession over food intake. Au contraire, I would say that IIFYM is on par with if not EVEN MORE obsessive than the average bro science diet. While you obsess over meal timings, I obsess over my grams of nutrient intake. I frustrate when it comes to finding food to fit the numbers. I spend time, effort and energy calculating and working out the math to make sure I eat what is right and what is enough. I weigh and measure my food to get an accurate understanding of how much I'm putting into my body. From my perspective, that doesn't seem so much easier than simply eating chicken breast and broccoli 6 times a day.

Elliot Hulse said "Every action is measured from the sentiment of which it precedes". Likewise, I go through so much scrutinizing and details when it comes to my food because I want to know exact quantities of what I am putting into my body to get whatever results I may be achieving. Again, I fail to see how this makes things any bit easier than a bro diet.

I use IIFYM for the fact that it is sustainable. I don't believe one method is superior to another. To me, science and bro science can go fly a kite. If it works, it works. If both methods work then I don't require some endless debacle on which method is superior because they're both going to get me results. But at the end of the day I believe in consistency. If a person is more likely to stay on a bro science diet, then yes, I would encourage him to do that over IIFYM. But for the most part, for most people including myself, IIFYM is something that is more sustainable in the long run. Something that I see myself doing months and years down the road. Not something that I will follow for a while then decide to screw everything up a week later. So my argument here is sustainability. I believe one should follow what he can be consistent with.

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum, with some finding it easier to stick to a bro diet so they don't have to frustrate over counting macros and fitting food and whatnot, while others find it easier to stick to brown rice and tilapia instead. So one is not superior to the other. It's just what you can stay on that matters.

Again I emphasize that I'm not here to start a fight. You are obviously more experienced than me in this area, and thus I took the effort to type all this out. Reason being I want to learn more, so I'd like to hear what you have to say with regards to this. I look forward to your reply.

My response:
WJ, first I'll like to say I am not offended one bit! In fact I love hearing different perspectives and points of views. Hard to find people who are interested in speaking about such things and of those who are, in such topics, hard to find people who won't be offended while discussing. And I'm really glad to have someone I don't even know type out such a long post with regards to mine.

You'll be surprised to know but I agree with everything you said. I'm all in for what works best for you. It's music to my ears when someone agrees with that.

I think however, you've slightly misunderstood my post. The fact that you brought up any specific details that is related to either IIFYM, IF, Bro Science suggest I've been misunderstood. Which isn't you fault because a lot of my friends who have read this have misunderstood this as well. Be it because of my poor ability to communicate effectively or that my perspective is really difficult to see/comprehend.
I would like to be clear that I did not mention a couple of things you seem to have interpreted.

Firstly, I am not here to discuss which method is better. So any discussion about which works, the science, the practicality, or anything of that nature is irrelevant.

Secondly, I did not mention which method is superior(perhaps the title let you to interpret otherwise)

Thirdly, I did not mention that IIFYM is easier. I mentioned people do it(relax, read fourthly) because they THINK it's easier. The key word is "think". That said, it doesn't matter if it is easier or not. The sentiment from which this person has proceeded was based on what he/she thought to be true, not what actually is true. Hope you get this one, it's really crucial and everyone misses it. I should have emphasized it more.

Fourthly, I did not explicitly say nor imply that everyone who uses IIFYM and IF is under this denial or did it because they thought it was easier. There are people who genuinely think it's better for them and that is the sentiment from which they based their decision and actions on.

Fifthly(just for fun!), Elliot Hulse didn't exactly said that. Well, he did, but he was quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. :) Glad to know you watch him too, the man is just awesome.

LASTLY(finally..), I did not mention what others to be doing as wrong in any sense of that word. Which is why I said I'm steering this into a whole different perspective. We need to leave this "bodybuilding & fitness" world and step out onto neutral ground. The point I am making in this post has nothing to do with bodybuilding or fitness. If you take your perspective, which is a perspective that I used to have and still understand, respect and sometimes still employ that you do what works for you. If it means you'll stick to it, do it. Whatever will yield you the best end result(physically) at the end of it all, factoring in both scientific theory and practicality issues. Yet all I am doing(you should be familiar with this if you watch EH) is offering a completely different perspective. I'm looking at a bigger picture here. Sure, that will yield you the best results physically. However, the sentiment from which you proceeded(aka choosing one method over the other based on fear or laziness) will transcend into your character. Hence my title with the given question mark. Weak in terms of character. Question mark because I'm not saying it applies to all who use it, so I'm avoiding making a statement while keeping it interesting. So if one were to let fear or laziness dictate the course of action to be different(or even the same!) from what the individual BELIEVES is the better method here, one is very much likely to have this characteristic in all other aspects of life. To which this is weak character to me, but never wrong. There is no wrong to such a thing. Just better or worse. End of the day, my message is bring to light the perspective of how something like this can affect who you are. Or since you're familiar with EH, his philosophy to which I am a big advocate, how this determines whether you are becoming a stronger version of yourself or not.

Hope you see my point. To know if you have seen it, just ask yourself if you feel it disagrees with you points; because it doesn't. I agree to all you have said even before you have said it because I do understand IIFYM and IF quite comprehensively(I know the common misconceptions people have), and I lived by your theories/opinions even before I started this blog! So I can't possibly be disagreeing with you lol!

Cheers buddy!

That's.... long,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The ONLY goal we should ALL have

Some want to lose weight, some want to build muscle, some want to score well for exams, some want to make money, some want a successful business, some want a rewarding career. Regardless of these materialistic goals, I think it would be great if everyone had a goal that sits on top of all these goals. A meaningful and powerful goal. What is this goal? I'll get to that.

Right now I'm working towards something big. So imagine yourself working towards your most important goal. By work, I speak not of the physical action that you do at a specific point in time but simply the aiming of the goal and the work is everything you do every day.

Now imagine reaching your goal. Are you happy? Is it right to feel happy?

Now imagine failing to reach your goal. Are you down? Are you sad? Should you be?

As I work towards my big goal right now, there is very little certainty whether or not I can reach my materialistic goal; not because the certainty of my efforts are in question but instead the certainty of my knowledge and other non-effort related factors. Yet one thing remains certain; that is, no matter the end result, I'll be proud, I'll be happy. Why? Because I know for a fact I will accomplish my bigger goal, my main goal.

So what is it? The goal I think we should all have and have no reason to not be able to accomplish it is that we should aim to put in our very best effort. Okay I know, that sounded cliché as hell. Let me make it real for you. Our goal should be that when we are at the end of our deadline for our goal, the end of the road, we can look back and be proud as fuck and say I did everything I could. I did not give up. I stuck to the plan all the way. I did not fall off and on. I did not leave any stone unturned. In other words, if I fail to achieve my goal, it's not because I didn't do enough(of what I thought is optimal). It may be a million other reasons like I did too much(thinking more was better when it may be otherwise) aka poor knowledge, it could be genetics, it could circumstances that were beyond any form of control(severe accident, etc) BUT no matter what, it wasn't because I did not do my best. No one can question my effort. As such, I am proud of my effort. I am even more proud that despite the lack of results, the failure to see progress, I kept on going at it.

The beauty of this goal? For a start, it's certainly more meaningful than just aiming for a materialistic goal. A materialistic goal that may have been attained with minimal effort yet pleases you. What kind of a person are you then to be so easily satisfied? This goal has more meaning than aiming for a physical goal which may actually be impossible(as much as I hate that word) to achieve and becoming sad for not having reached your goal. The beauty is that it builds character. Teaches one to be hard working, to have work ethic(something on the brink of extinction in my generation) instead of just materialistic means to measure one's success. The beauty lies in getting only what we deserve; achieving our goal now has nothing to do with genetics, circumstances, nothing. That is all out of the equation. You do our best, you earn our goal. You be half hearted, even as you achieve your physical goal, you know deep down you don't feel that sense of accomplishment.

Too often we get caught up with out physical goal we forget that the sense of achievement is not found in the materialistic accomplishments but in the effort. Earning a million dollars feels great because you earned it. The journey towards that million with it's up and downs but never giving up is what makes you truly happy. Of course the million dollars by itself added a different kind of happiness. Whereas having a million dollars appear in your bank magically from nowhere isn't going to grant you the same amount of happiness. Sure, it makes you happy. But it can never be the same as if you earned it yourself. Likewise for all other goals. This actually ties in with my IF & IIFYM post. In which some people choose a method for attaining their goals because it's easier, not because they actually think it's a better way. In other words, by simply doing that, they have failed the goal of having left no stone unturned, should they have such a goal. Which they should!

So go ahead, add this goal above all other goals and watch your life change.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

IIFYM & IF: Only for the weak?

I have to admit, I'm quite against IIFYM and IF. Not from a scientific stand point. Not even from a practicality stand point this time.

What is IIFYM and IF? IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros. It's a diet/nutrition philosophy that revolves around the idea that you can eat anything you want so long it.... well, fits your macros! Macros are your protein, carbs and fats. Unlike "bro science" where certain foods are off the table because it differentiates sources of carbs based on sugar content, sources of protein based on amino profile and biological value and fats based on saturated or unsaturated. Bro science also entails eating at short intervals unlike IIFYM, as the name suggest, nothing matters except fitting and meeting your macros. Otherwise could be said as: eat whenever you feel like eating. IF stands for Intermittent Fasting. Meaning fast through the day and have an eating window. Anywhere from 2-8 hours usually. Again unlike bro science that requires constant eating with short and regular intervals through the day of the specific foods that are viewed as "clean".

There are tons of people in the fitness industry that use IIFYM or IF, usually both. For some reason it's a lot more common with females. Why do I hate it? Why do I hate people using it? I mean sure, science claims it's perfectly fine if not better right?

Sure enough, using IIFYM and IF is fine. What isn't fine is denial and self-denial that people live in telling themselves they use it because it's proven by science and think it's superior when the truth is something else. That is what I hate. You see, most of these people on IIFYM and IF have a couple of things in common.

Firstly, they want results. They hate the process and they have no passion for fitness. They do not have appreciation for work ethic and discipline. Next, they can't keep it together to do "bro science" diets. So regardless whether or not they genuinely feel that IIFYM and IF are the right way to go, the deciding reason for using it is that it's an easy way out. As I've mentioned so many times: "Every action is measured from the sentiment from which it proceeds.". Which brings me to the last thing they have in common: most of them don't genuinely believe it's superior to bro science dieting. They only think they do because that's how self denial works.

Don't get me wrong, people who use IIFYM and IF because it's an easy way out and not because they have genuine non-biased believe in it means they are weak mentally but that isn't what I hate; I'm fine with that. What I really hate and see a lot are people who do that and live in denial. Either to others or to both self and others. Lying to themselves that they are doing it because it's better when the truth, the sentiment from which they proceeded, was that of being unable to put forth the work needed for bro science dieting.

Now back to the gender. Is it just me or the fact that it comes from mostly females, it make me cringe every time I hear yet another female being on IIFYM and IF and if I ask why, they talk about science or how it's balanced/a way away from "obsession" when they truth is they just simply can't stick to a bro science diet. Then they go on belittling bro science. Call me sexist but it seems that females tend to be weaker mentally and it gets on my nerves seeing how many of them live in denial not realizing the trend.

What irks me more is that these people go about down playing bro science methods. For the very sub-conscious reason of making them feel better about their denial, they will talk about bro science methods being unnecessary, wrong or an obsessive behaviour. It were no different than if I couldn't stand the pressure in school and drop-out, then go on lying to myself that I did it because I think the education system is crap. Followed by further attacking the education system of its flaws on social media to make myself feel better. Regardless of whether the education system is crap, what I demonstrated is the result of me trying to convince myself that I quit school because it's crap not because I couldn't take the pressure; denial. (Don't get the point mixed up with whether or not the education system is actually crap. Likewise, don't get the point mixed up with whether or not IIFYM and IF actually works; that's not the debate here. The important thing is what is truly believed to work and what is  That is what I see happening with IIFYM and IF.

So if you're using either or both, ask yourself. Give it some serious thought. What's the real  reason you do it? Do you really think it's science that convinced you? Do you really think bro science is "an obsessive" thing? Or are just afraid of the discipline it actually takes? Are you just unable to put forth the work needed? Are you just living in a denial? Is this what you want? It may not matter much here but it a decision on a small scale decides how you live your life in every other aspect. Decide to do bro science dieting at least once and prove to yourself you're capable and stop only because you think IIFYM and IF are truly superior methods(bro science dieting being an obsession is bullshit unless you are doing all of these for the wrong purpose in the first place as I've written here before) and you will certainly become a stronger version of yourself. Continue living in denial(with or without realizing it) and it will determine the type of person you are in life and the choices you will make in your life.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

"No Excuses" is bullsh*t

Firstly, I'm surprised by the number of friends who actually do read my posts. In less than a month it has hit close to 800 page views and I've a friend telling me this blog is awesome. Have another friend telling me he's become a fan of MuscleCeption(I even thought it was sarcasm at first lol!), friends discussing my posts with me and even friends who ask me why I haven't posted much lately. Well there are 2 reasons. Firstly, school has started and I'm just drained. Not by school itself but by waking up early to prep my meals, then of course there's school, then there's training and just eating, cooking and washing through the day. Add 2-4 social activities in a week and there's you have it - DRAINED. Another reason being I posted consecutively for many days when I first started blogging because those are the issues that have been bugging me since long ago which is why I started this blog in the first place. Now that I have settled most of them, not that I have nothing to post but I've nothing that's bugging me so it can wait for when I'm free and less dead. After all, that's the purpose of this blog - to let out what I need to let out. Of course I'll continue to share interesting thoughts/ideas even if they don't bug me, just slower!

NO EXCUSES! These 2 words have definitely gained popularity in recent years. It is preached by memes/tumblr-like pictures and further thrown around by people who aspire to reach a particular goal. It is especially popular within the fitness/bodybuilding scene. Yet it's bullshit. Why?

It's not bullshit because "no excuses" is the wrong approach. It's bullshit because people made it bullshit. It's so easy to see every tom, dick and harry posting pictures or even their own words saying those 2 magical words. Yet they completely misunderstood the concept. Firstly, they didn't realize how literal it was. Second, they fail to understand that at the moment they are going to go off track IS the fucking moment the 2 words are supposed to be used; not when all is good.

NO EXCSUSES........... except when there's haze. NO EXCUSES.......... except when someone passes away. NO EXCUSES........ except today. NO EXCUSES............ except just this once. NO EXCUSES..... except on my friend's birthday.

Will you fail to achieve your goal if you didn't train because there's haze? Will you fail because you didn't study when someone passes away? Will you fail because you ate the junk you weren't suppose to that one time? Probably.

Sure, missing that 1 - 4 training sessions is fine. Sure, missing a couple of days of study is fine. Sure, junking once when you weren't suppose to is fine. Well, that's assuming all things else remain status quo. But that's the problem, because of these actions(or lack of it), it won't. It speaks to the mindset that just once is fine, that a valid excuse means it's alright. The problem then comes when every time is just once. There's always an excuse to not do something, a valid one. From a reasonably valid excuse to an excuse so valid it makes no sense(to the shallow minded) to ignore it - Example: Training in the haze.

What people fail to realize is THAT is what no excuses is all about. No excuses isn't about the literal extent of no excuses at all - that's just the result. What no excuses is REALLY about is something more powerful. It's about the mindset. The mindset of understanding that no matter how valid an excuse is, our bodies and nature is still going to react the same way. Just because your excuse is valid doesn't mean the consequences of our actions will be any different, especially when we talk about our bodies, including our brains. Your body isn't suddenly going to not store fat because it's your friend's birthday. In other words, it's no different from giving straight into cravings. It's also about the understanding that the only way to be sure you won't keep lying to yourself with these "one time" things is to not even have that one time. I'm not saying be insane. I'm saying stick to the plan. The plan itself should be sane. Cheat that once a week. Have that one rest day from training/practice... BUT when it's not time to cheat, not time to rest.. there is no "one time only".

Why then does everybody throw the 2 words around so much? Well this is where the concept or motivation VS discipline come in which will be my next post. A more meaningful one because this post is as much a rant(can't stand people who go "no excuses" then give excuses) as it is an insightful opinion.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

A word on success: Why some people will never be what they aspire to be

I am by no means a success guru. However, one does not need to be to able to speak of success. All we need to do is take a step back and make sense of everything around us. To analyse the successful and the not. To find out what is the difference between these 2 types of people.

Successful people tend to be what society identifies as unbalanced lifestyles or if not, less balanced than their less successful counterparts.(yet society fails to identify with this fact) The thing I've noticed about average people working towards a specific goal is they keep their lives very balanced. They are unable to shift all their attention towards one aspect of their lives. They want to fit into society. In other words, they try to have the brain of Steve Jobs, the body of Dwayne Johnson/(why can't I seem to find a female who's figure all girls admire and desire to have?) *insert your favourite female physique*, the swag of all the characters in movies that portray it and the image Hollywood portrays, the mind of Zuckerberg and the list of things goes on.

What society fails to actually come to their senses for is that.. Come on, how much swag do you think Steve Jobs has? The respect he commands doesn't come from swag, it comes from his success in business and his brains. Did you know Dwayne Johnson's trainer is a professional bodybuilder? What did you think he simply hits the gym every now and then and gets his body? As a bodybuilder myself that isn't even half his size, I already lead such an unbalanced life in the eyes of society. You think with all the movies he's filming and maintaining or even improving that physique, he's anything like what you imagine him to be? You think he's balanced? You think he has time for parties?

Average people look at these successful figures wondering what they did to get to where they are. Wondering how "lucky" they must be. While at the very same time trying so hard to fit into society and enjoy. Trying to seek balance in lifestyle. Looking down on those who perhaps have less of a social life or less of a whatever thinking this guy/girl is such a nerd or such an obsessed person, not realizing that they people they look down on are the type of people their idols probably were and even still are. All these while the average continue to seek balance in their lives. Spending only x amount of time actually working towards their goals, and a greater proportion of time doing things that are not advantageous to their goals like hanging out every other day, keeping up fashion, partying, eating like a pig.

Yet these are the people who you meet in your daily lives trying to hold the intellectual conversations they think Jobs has everyday. Dressing up with the Fashion equivalent to their favourite singer/actor/idol not knowing they only have such a fashion really because it's somewhat part of their job. And what not else do the average do!

Something else to spoken about success is that the people who achieve it, usually(though really not always) didn't actually work specifically for it. Meaning it may have been a motive and may have been a want, but it certainly wasn't their driving factor for doing whatever work they put in. The real reason behind their work is usually to achieve a goal that isn't "success" or simply because they enjoy what they do so much. For example, a singer just loves singing. Success came "accidently" for some. Like Justin Bieber. They never put in the work solely for the intention of becoming famous or for they money.

Reasons for this could be many. Like how working only because you want that image of success isn't going to be enough to drive you to put in the work that is required? Or like how if you don't even have the true passion for what you're doing, you really can't be successful at it? Who knows.

What really sparked me to write this post is seeing how so many people have goals and aspirations or even passions they claim to be working so hard for. Yet they seek balance in life. They put in hard work no doubt. But their hard work lasts for 2 hours a day or maybe even 1 hour, 3 times a week. The rest of the time of about 155-160 hours is spent either not contributing to their goals or counterproductive. This really irks me.

Take for example someone whose long term goal is to be a successful entrepreneur and short term goal is to do well in studies. Studying hard 2 hours a day isn't called working hard. Working hard should be how you spent your 24 hours a day. Now I don't mean study 24 hours a day but if being healthy helps you do better in your studies, then you should be making sure you get proper nutrition. It doesn't have to be like a bodybuilder but bingeing on ice-cream and macs all day certainly does you no help. Being obese and unhealthy can affect your energy levels throughout the day and hence your focus while studying. What about sleep? Study 2 hours a day and head out to club affecting your sleep for the next day and hence, your focus while studying.

Now think of this and apply it to your relevant goal/aspirations/passions. Be it sports, art(singing, dancing), business, whatever. How are you spending your day? How do you think your idols spend/spent theirs.(spent because they may be enjoying now[Though usually not. Just working hard in a different way] but what they did before they achieved success) Now look at this post's title. Have I maybe possible come close to answering that question? I hope so!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to love what you hate doing

As an aspiring bodybuilder, I eat every 3 hours and cook all my meals. My food list consist of primarily oatmeal, chicken breast, brown rice, egg whites to name a few. Just the sound of those and most of my friends would already go "ewww!". Well do I love eating it? Yes and no. Let's look deeper.

I don't know if other bodybuilders would have ever thought of this but bodybuilders claim to love bodybuilding so much yet we complain(but still get it done) about the foods we have to eat. It is no different from someone who loves soccer but complain about having to go for training. Or an aspiring business/arts student who claims to love business/arts so much but complains about lectures.

So what do I mean by yes and no to loving to eat those foods? As an action itself, I hate it. I won't try to lie to myself that because I love bodybuilding, I'm going to love eating such foods. Well then, does that mean I don't actually love bodybuilding? Absolutely not. One thing(of the many many other things) I love about bodybuilding is the idea of discipline. The concept of doing what I hate in order to achieve what I love. I love that I have to eat food I don't enjoy to create the body I aspire to have. After all, if bodybuilding allowed me to eat whatever I want(why I'll never do IIFYM), whenever I want in whatever quantities I want and achieve my body, I wouldn't love bodybuilding. Not as much at least. It would have lost one of it's greatest aspects.

The key to loving what you hate doing is to understand this concept. Embrace discipline. To love what we hate doing, we have to first love the idea of discipline.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why it should be okay to not give up your seats on the train to the elderly/hadicapped

Have you ever felt the strong unwillingness to do your homework after you have been forced to sit in your room to complete it? Well, the problem with society is very much like this problem.

Notice how giving up our seats to "those who need it more" on public transports  is now a social obligation? It is such social obligations that is the root of the problem. These social obligations could be anything from how one is expected to treat the handicapped to how one is expected to treat the elderly to how men are expected to treat the ladies.

Because reserves seats are probably the most common topic everyone can relate to, this shall be used as the example to represent other social obligation.

The problem with obligations is that it removes the one of the strongest sentiments one can experience. Self-motivation. The greatest motive for giving up your seat on public transports was the motivation it carried due to the self-gratification one will experience upon doing it out of complete self-willingness.

What the transport provider has done by naming the seats "reserved seat" is creating an obligation for society to give up their seat to those whom need it more. Of course, these were done with good intentions. Yet because of this new obligation, we now give up our seats because we have to. We don't feel any sense of happiness. If we do, it's much less than what we should have. Heck, some of us are probably unhappy as we do it.

Where does society come in? Well, nobody really felt like it was really much of an obligation despite the reserved seats. It was society that via STOMP, twitter and discussions on the internet that made it distinctively, an obligation. We now come from a place of fear rather than kindness. We now give up our seats more because we are afraid of being STOMP-ed or even just the uneasy feel of sitting at the reserved seat(or even normal seats) while the train is packed with people staring and there's an elderly around.

Our motive is no better than before. Our happiness level has drop. In fact, those who would probably have given up their seats even without any obligations probably now still come from a place of fear and do it because it has to be done. Is our society really any better?

I know I can't stop mentioning this quote but.. "Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds". So then, is our society any better now? On the superficial level, sure. Elderlies and handicaps get their seats. On a deeper and real level? Our society is either just as "unkind" or "bad" as it was before or dare I say worse.

Food for thought. Some who don't give up their seats are better people than some who do. When you measure their "kindness" or "good intentions", they probably are equal, those who gave up and those who didn't. Yet, it is the one who didn't, that didn't let society shape oneself. This person did not act upon fear and on an individual level, is a strong person. Yet our society so readily attacks(with good intentions of course) those who fail to meet obligations created by the very attacks themselves, without realising that the person they choose to attack is no different from the person who "did the right thing" in the eyes of society. Who's the one that's really negatively affecting society here? Society itself or those who choose not to submit to pressure?

In the mind of someone who chooses not to give up their seat, they may be thinking that initially, it would be nice to do it but now because it has become an obligation, they are reluctant to do so because they feel like a slave to society. They hate to feel like they are doing so because they are "told" to do so. Just like in the homework question I posted.

Some feel their "hope in society have been restored" when they see others fulfilling such acts. Well yes their hope has certainly been restored because their hope was based on shallow thinking and isn't the real case. Their hopes have been restored not because of the action itself per se but because the action led them to believe our society still has values. Not to debate whether our society has values or not, my point is, it was based on a false thought. That really what they thought was an act of value was an act of obligation and fear.

Values is one thing that cannot be forced onto nor can it be obliged to any one person. Values come from within that an individual has to feel strongly for before having it. Obligations crushes values sometimes even after they existed in a person.

So the next time you're about to give up your seat, just remember to ask yourself why you're doing it. And give up your seat. I said to ask yourself "why" not because I want you to stop giving up seats but because I want you to be enlightened. If your true motive is really because in your heart you feel really bad for this person who needs to stand, then great. If you feel like you're looking around wondering what others might be thinking if you don't(or as you do), then you get my point. Chances are you would be wondering which it really is and that, is what society has done to itself.

Such acts should not be an obligation for it ruins society. Society should be left to do as they wish. If they come out poor in values then so be it. Either leave it or find a way to instil values into society. Not a way to get done the same act values would because it doesn't improve society one bit.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Time Travel - The concept of time

A friend of mine asked me awhile back if I thought time travel was possible. Prior to his question, I've never actually given it any thought. My conviction in my immediate thoughts and answer was so strong, I thought I share.

This perspective cannot be clearly defined nor can it be illustrated easily so I'll try my best. This first thing that came to mind was that time is entirely human. Time is a concept. A concept made by man to give measurement to what we now know as time which was previously and actually, nothing. Had we not known/established such a concept, we wouldn't even think that "time" changes. That there's a clock ticking. That our daily activities take a constant amount of "time" to be executed. It's all a concept we developed. Well, at least that's my perspective. We were born with it's existence and dependent on it to track back centuries of history(that included time as well) that we almost cannot hold the idea that it is just a man-made concept because everything we try to explain about time requires us to refer to it as though it really exist. Even I find difficulty explaining this without referring to time as though it's real.

The idea is that there is only now. The best imagination I have in my head to help my grasp this concept is a picture of a cactus in the desert(the idea is a plant, but desert seems to help because it eliminate human presence). The cactus does not think of what happened or is going to happen. Whether time move forward or back. It simply grows and survives. With that picture and thought in mind, it slowly becomes clear that there is no "time". There is just now. Each and every passing moment. It is this concept of time that makes us think that there is past and a future, literally to some or even full extent. The truth is, with every moment that has passed us, it doesn't disappear, it doesn't move behind - it simply does not exist anymore than it is the same moment we are in right now. Likewise for each moment we "move" into. It did not come into existence, we did not move forward, it doesn't exist anymore than what we called the "past". It is all the same "moment" that happens only as it does- all the time(notice how I had to use the concept of time to explain this..). So moments as we know it only exist because of our understanding of the concept of time which in reality, doesn't exist. The past and future are real illusions that do not exist other than in our heads because it's existence is based on the concept of moment that does not exist because it was based on time.

So then, can we time travel? Are there really parallel time lines and all that? Well, I say no. If you understood the perspective I have offered, I don't see any reason to refute the perspective. If that's the case, that perspective would lead to the understanding that there is no past or future to travel to. Heck, time doesn't even truly exist; how do we TIME travel then! But hey, why should you listen to me when there are genius philosophers, scientists and physicists out there still thinking and studying this idea? Just a perspective worth knowing. Can we time travel? It's your call!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Chat with a Multiple BODYBUILDING NATIONAL CHAMPION Part 3: Grunting while training

This one isn't going to be deep at all. In fact, I'm sure many will have the same sentiment as I have on this topic. Yet there are always the other half with a differing perspective that I feel isn't being thorough in thought.

While chatting up with this national champion, he mentioned his dislike for gym members who grunt and drop their weights. He adds on that they aren't even carrying heavy weights.

I have 2 questions for anyone who thinks this way. Firstly, do we grunt because we are training heavy or training hard? Secondly, what is heavy? Isn't heavy relative?

You  see, what's heavy to someone like Ronnie Coleman is different from what's heavy to a national champion in Singapore that is also different from what is heavy to a newbie starting out in the gym. So if "heavy" weights warrant the right to grunt and drop weights in the gym, everyone has that right. When we train to the point where we are lifting what we consider to be heavy, that is when we are training hard. Anyone who is training hard and grunt would find that grunting occurs quite subconsciously. No to mention, rep range. What if someone is going for high reps? The burn and difficulty increases such that the weight doesn't have to be heavy to be training hard.

What I do reckon to be wrong are people who lift weights they can handle(regardless of the actual weight whether "heavy" or not) but intentionally toss the weight around or grunt unnecessarily. That has nothing to do with the weights however. Unless you train in an "underground" or "hardcore" gym where such behaviour is encouraged, this is really wrong. Not that I am against underground gyms, heck, I wanna be training in one!! The fact is, I and most of us train in commercialized gyms where we do have people who aren't fond of such behaviour and we shouldn't be flaunting it. Just grunt when you actually have to. Drop the weight when there's proper matting and you really can't put it down because you trained to failure.

I guess it comes back down to the quote I've been mentioning. "Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds.". Whether right or wrong, isn't based on the action(grunting and dropping weights) itself, but why we did it(for failure or for the kick of it), in relation to our situation(the gym we train in).

PS: I do drop weights.(Only on dumbbell presses where putting it down is almost impossible after I'm done) and I do grunt.(Only on deadlift, squats and leg press)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chat with a Multiple BODYBUILDING NATIONAL CHAMPION Part 2: Competing

Do we have to take part bodybuilding competitions before we are allowed to call ourselves bodybuilders? Why do we compete? To earn the title of a "bodybuilder"? For fame? For the gratification? To win others? To claim a title? Well here's my perspective.

I notice a common sentiment some(not all of course) competing and even non-competing bodybuilders carry with them. Even non-bodybuilders. This include the national champion I spoke to. To which he gave off the impression that there are tons of big guys in the gym that walk and act tough but they don't compete and therefore are "nothing". He feels that unless you compete, you don't have a right to "talk". To put it into expression, it would be something like this: "Act so much, step on stage then see whether you still dare to act lah"

Which then begs the question, why do we compete(or not)?

Well it all depends on the type of person we are that determines our very own individual reasons for competing isn't it? That's certainly something that no one can be wronged for. We have our reasons and there are no right or wrong reasons(perhaps better or worse), just reasons. But to take your reason and place it on every individual for why he does or does not compete is wrong. As for perspectives, I believe there are right and wrong perspectives. Wrong perspectives lead to poor reasons for competing and vice versa.

So here's my perspective that I offer to individuals who feel like what I mentioned above, not to have, but to realize of it's existence. Bodybuilding is the aim of shaping our bodies to what we feel is the ideal physique. The ideal physique differs from person to person. It is usually because of our admiration for such physiques and passion for lifting weights that we engage in this sport. Henceforth, and by definition, anyone who aims to maximize muscle growth and build a physique is a bodybuilder. Competitions(especially non pro-qualifiers or amateur contests) are simply a means by which people who share similar interest come together on a set date to showcase their progress and results as well as to see where they stand amongst others with similar interest for the fun of it. Competition is a good way for motivation to work hard. To give a bodybuilder a fixed date to work towards to. Competition should not be the reason for working hard, just the motivation.

Bodybuilding is a lifestyle. Competitive bodybuilding is a sub category of the lifestyle that helps keep the it alive and helps motivate individuals. For majority of people who lift but do not compete, their logic is simple: They are interest in bodybuilding, they are bodybuilding, but they have no interest in showcasing their work to others, no interest in beating anyone and no interest in seeking the extra motivation in bodybuilding. They don't even intend to "act" big. It is the perceivers(individuals with the sentiment mentioned above) misinterpretation of them.

The reason people have the sentiment of needing to compete before earning the right to feel tough and big is because of the type of person they are. Their reasons for competing are probably to win a particular title and to show they are the best. Aka, they are competitive in nature. Hence they feel "threatened" in a sense when someone bodybuilds for leisure and comes around looking bigger or better than them, triggering the competitiveness in them to feel that they have to be better. Therefore feeling the sentiment that unless you compete, you shouldn't call yourself a bodybuilder.

Not to mention, dieting for contest is a whole different process that a bodybuilder who doesn't compete may or may not experience, depending if the individual has dieted on his own. This results in competing bodybuilders feeling that those who have never competed never truly understands bodybuilding. Let us not forget that dieting down to extreme conditioning isn't what bodybuilding is really all about. Despite all the emphasis placed on conditioning these days in competition, bodybuilding is alive today because people love muscle and to many, bodybuilding is that - muscle. Of course with not too much fat.

After all, what's the difference between dieting for yourself and dieting for a contest that isn't going to offer you a career? Do we need that sense of "formality" or illusion of higher purpose before we allow ourselves to diet? Can't we not diet for truly higher purposes such as passion and desire for achieving such a body? Or more importantly, to become the strongest/best versions of ourselves? Is that not the highest of purposes while competing should not be the purpose but just an incentive, a motivation? Unless the competition has some huge monetary reward or career opportunities, there really is no purpose in competing other than for the extra motivation or to satisfy that competitiveness of an individual. Which means there really isn't any significant reason for anyone to compete especially in Singapore.

Competing isn't of higher purpose than not competing. I also know some people who have the sentiment that: "He also not competing, diet/train until like that for what?". If you grasp the perspective I have offered, you would realize that dieting for self-reasons is a much higher purpose than dieting for a local contests that offers little/no reward or opportunities or even for contest that do offer such things for that matter.

No, I am not against competing. Like I mentioned, it's a good way to keep the sport alive, keep ourselves motivated and aim towards something. And no, I am not saying all these because I never competed. I think everyone with interests in this sport should want to try competing at least once for the experience of it. In fact, I'm planning to compete soon!!!!


Saturday, June 15, 2013

What are "deep" thoughts?

Defining deep thoughts is a deep process in itself.

First thing is first, I've had my fair share of both sides of the coins. Friends who find my writings interesting, friends who I found out are interested in such things as well(a real surprise and very comforting to know because society these days seem to be too caught up in sleeping, shopping, video-gaming, drinking, clubbing, partying, studying/working for the sake of it that I fear the such interests are lost) and of course, friends who tease me for what I do.

For anyone who isn't close to me, I am not always this "deep" in my daily conversations. I do not try to exude a smarty pants image. In fact, I think most of my peers think lowly of me based on how I choose to carry myself. Fuck it, I don't speak anything like this. I mean, at 18 years of age and especially in this era and society, most of my peers aren't going to give a rats ass about such things. Namely philosophy and perspectives. So when they(or you) come reading my blog, they would feel uneasy and even hilarious that I venture into things such as these. They think it's a joke especially when it comes from me.

Which is precisely why I created this blog in the first place. Not for viewership. Not for showcasing knowledge. The primary reason is because I hardly ever speak these thoughts out and as they grow deeper and accumulate, I get overwhelmed and frustrated with the need to let them out since my peers aren't exactly the sort to let it out on. Of course secondary reasons include sharing with others to whom may be interested.

Emerson once said the most difficult thing for man to do is to be himself in a world that's trying to change him. It may be uneasy for some to grasp the idea that I am not as mentally low(or not high) as most thought I am because it forces them to look at themselves. People can't take it when you change for the better because it means they have to change. Be it to accommodate the new you or to discard you from their lives. It forces them to look at their own lives and lifestyle. If it makes them feel bad about themselves, instead of making that change, they choose to mock you and try to keep you from changing.  Nothing has changed about me in case anyone thinks this is a change. I have simply revealed a side I never had to most. So don't get the idea I'm suddenly going to be all deep with people I hang out with. I'll still be that guy who looks like he doesn't know nor care about any of these stuff.

Now moving on to those who misunderstood deep thoughts. You see, I've been mocked most with the word "deep". I don't understand why society thinks deep means it's complex. Deep isn't complex. Deep is deep. Like how shallow thoughts scratch the surface of things, deep thoughts simply looks deeper. The thing about deep thoughts is not that people can't understand it(though sometimes that's the case until explain with great detail and elaborate examples like in my posts), it's that people can't gain that perspective on their own. What deep really is, is a perspective that is simply deeper than where most people's thoughts venture to. So by simply showing you the way, and explaining the idea, it should be comprehended by even primary school kids. It works very much like philosophy and enlightenment. In fact that is what some of my posts are/going to be, though I prefer it not to be referred to as the former. Philosophy is simply an idea for perspectives for understanding the world and everything related. Enlightenment is realization. In the sense that it introduces an individual to a way of thinking or a thought that was never known to the individual.

The idea that society has that anything smart is something complex with big words thrown around and full of complexity that only a few people can understand is just stupid an naïve. Perhaps too much Hollywood movies that everything has to be extreme.

So are they meant to be complex? NO! If they are then that's another thing. The reason I said some people aren't capable of listening to it is not that it's complicated(usually) but because of rigid mindsets that society has engraved in most of us that we are unable to look at things from any other perspective than the one we have been accustomed to all our lives.

So of course when you read what I have spent so much effort trying to explain as simply and convincingly as possible, you would understand it. Understanding it doesn't mean it wasn't deep. I know some people get the sense that I have said nothing "new"(or go like "DUH...") because they understand everything I wrote and it all seems logical. What they don't understand is THAT is my point. The reason I refuse to call my thoughts philosophy is I feel uneasy giving it such a "title" when all I did was use the logic I have to venture deeper into ideas and come up with perspectives for deeper understanding of situations. The point I am really trying to get across to people is that "deep" is just logic that digs deeper. It is a logic we all have but the difference is, are we able to gain such perspectives without first being shown the way?(difference between a philosopher and one who studies philosophy)

So just because I'm not that guy that tries to speak with colourful vocabulary(which I can't stand btw) and takes(or even creates) every opportunity to showcase what I know, doesn't mean I'm as simple as that guy I appear to be.

If you're one who thinks of this as a joke, my impression of you is terribly ruined. You really exude that impression of a modern day teen who is only interested in fun and no work. No interest in anything meaningful and no values. Not saying that's you but that's the impression you carry.