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.

Think.

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!

Think.

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.

Think.

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.

Think.

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!

Think.

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)

Think.

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!!!!

Think.

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.

Think.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Chat with a Multiple BODYBUILDING NATIONAL CHAMPION Part 1: Humbleness

"Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today while training, I was approached by this multiple Singapore national bodybuilding champion who has apparently won Asian titles before as well.

While training shoulders in my UA tank top I was hitting a little hands-on-hip most muscular pose in the mirror with music playing in my earpiece so I couldn't hear what he first said. Upon taking off my earpiece he said to me "You flex and pose a lot but you don't compete". We then went on chatting about a ton of other things. One of which include the competition scene in Singapore. Of which he told me(and of course I already know) that you can't go anywhere in Singapore with bodybuilding. You can't turn pro. He told me the standard here is poor. Due to the poor standard, he sees no purpose in bettering himself. He therefore stays at the same standard. He says he does not compete to win, yet when I offered my view that we compete because we love what we do, he called that rubbish as well.

What struck me to write this post was his first sentence. It deserves to be spoken of from 2 point of views: Humbleness & purpose of bodybuilding(competition).

I'll address the former in this part. Yes, I am terribly guilty of posing in gym mirrors when I train. Do you know what else I am guilty of? I am guilty of posing in my room's mirror and toilet's mirror multi-fucking-ple times a day. As in the quote above and my very first post on this blog, actions alone are the poorest means of which we should judge an individual. Instead, we should look at the sentiment or the "why" from which the action is carried out.

You see, I love bodybuilding. Nothing has changed since I was 9 years old. I love muscles. Be it on others or on myself. I have never failed to be amazed by the sheer idea and possibility that we can actually shape and build our very own bodies. It is because of this obsession for it that I stare at myself and hit poses in mirrors and watch bodybuilders for hours everyday on YouTube, buy tickets to watch bodybuilding competitions, admire the swole people I see around or in movies. No homo. Not gay.(though my phrasing makes me sound a bit creepy, I assure you it wasn't meant to come out like that!) The point is, how different is watching other bodybuilders on YouTube and looking at your own physique you've built in the mirror? In fact, it is even more amazing when it is on your own body then seeing it on others!

So why is it that posing in the gym made me a "show off" in his eyes? I don't claim to be humble nor do I claim not be a "show off" or not. Whether a person is humble or not isn't something that's a fact. It's an opinion OF every individual ON every individual including him/herself. Nobody is humble. Everybody is just themselves. It is the world that tries to categorize us into A-Zs.

But if that's the reason one is going to think I'm showing anything off, I definitely say that's wrong and naïve. Quite offended to be honest. As well as annoyed be his failure to gain perspectives. After all, if you're only 18 years old and not only willing but actually sacrifices a shitload of things like social life and good food just to progress in this sport, eat self prepped and packed(cold) meals every 3 hours regardless of school or no school, train 5 times a week, why would you not want to see your progress? Why would you not want to see what you look like when your muscles are full with blood? What about the people around then? Well if not for them being around, I would probably have taken my entire shirt off.(I only wear tanks/sleeveless because I'm an endomorph that needs to eat very strictly or I'll become a fat ass and that's a good way to help me make sure I don't become one.)
Not to mention I'm aiming to compete soon and I won't lie, I fear I won't even look like a bodybuilder on stage. I fear looking like a joke. That's why I constantly need to look at my reflection and tell myself I'm doing fine.

Don't get me wrong I don't bodybuild solely for gaining muscle. I love training. Even if I can never put on any muscle ever again, I would still train. However, with everything else I do in order to succeed and my very love for the physique itself, it would be a little crazy to imagine I don't look at myself in the mirror when I'm pumped up isn't it?

So what is showing off then? Showing off is someone who did exactly what I did, but the sentiment(intention) is that of a show off - to impress the people around. If that sentiment were true, the show off wouldn't be flexing numerous times at home when there is no one else looking.

You know what else is a show off? Someone who DOESN'T pose in the gym simply because of trying to maintain the image of being "humble". That is by no means humble as this person is now showing off humbleness. In fact, the person has allowed society to pressure him into acting against his (perfectly alright) will. This person is so concern what people think of him, he has allowed them to control his actions.

About this national champ, I don't hold anything against him. He trains very quietly, no slamming of weights and grunting(which will be another part aka another post), etc. I of course won't name him because the last thing I ever want is wasting time building enemies.(the same reason I smiled and carried on chatting with him instead of telling him off). After all, the very quote can be used back in his defence. He didn't come from an intention of hating on me. He simply lacked a deeper sense of perspective. His sentiment didn't come from a personal dislike of me but is a sentiment formed through misunderstanding. Of course the reason anyone would think posing in the gym immediately signifies showing off is probably someone who has a personal dislike of show offs that usually exist because of the manifestation from being one somewhere in their past. It is a normal phenomena that we tend to hate people whose character resembles our past character. Think about it and you'll realise it to be true.

Next part I'll be talking about the perspective on competing most people have, including him, that I feel is wrong. Another part I will cover with regards to our conversation is grunting in the gym(with light weights and heavy weights).

More messed up thoughts to come..

Think Deep!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Truth about the Fear of Obsession

If you ever had an obsession(I emphasize "had"), you're probably really happy you're no longer stuck in that obsession. From eating disorders to appearance to passions/hobbies to god knows what, obsessions are usually viewed as bad.

Because of this, anyone who was previously obsessed and even those who never were but understand how "scary" it might be would develop this fear of ending up in that never ending cycle of obsession.

Well I have news for all you folks who are afraid of becoming obsessed(again). You are obsessed! The fear of obsession is an obsession itself. Sorry to burst your bubble. You are obsessed with not becoming obsessed.

What exactly is an obsession? It's defined as an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind. Why are obsessions said to be bad? Because it affects us in many ways. It affects our social life, affects our attention to more important things in life, most importantly it affects our ability to be in control of ourselves.

So why is the fear of an obsession an obsession? Because it is really no different from any other form of obsession. This fear will now constantly be at the back of your mind and will affect you in similar ways. Take for example a person who had an eating disorder of being overly meticulous over calorie counting, food choice and food timing that ended up ruining social life and affecting studies. After destroying this obsession, the fear of it returning now causes this person to be so afraid of being in any form of control of his/her food intake at all. He/she will also be afraid to take any form of control of social life. What does this mean? It means that now instead of having too much control, this individual ends up at the other end of the spectrum. The obsession has let to him/her to be unable to control anything. This person is now controlling him/herself too much to not be too controlling. (Control-ception!!!) Even if the individual is out of shape and needs to take some form of control to lose weight he or she won't be able to. Tell me how this isn't an obsession!!(It preoccupies the mind and has the exact same downside as any other obsession and clearly you are not in control of yourself). Just as the fear(obsession) of getting fat lead one to eating disorders of starvation, the fear(obsession) of that fear(obsession) is now leading one to over eating.

Worse still, this idea of control may affect other areas of life or life itself for that matter. This fear/obsession may lead one to be so afraid of being in control of anything at all. It's not rocket science. Psychology - Because of a past event, it affects an individual down the road in every aspect the individual may feel/tie any sense of similarity to.

My point? It's better to be obsessed over anything else than being obsessed over not being obsessed. In other words, anything is better than the fear of obsession.

More messed up thoughts to come..

Think Deep!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bodybuilding: Bro Science vs Lab Science

This one of course goes out to all my bodybuilding/fitness/lifting friends out there. I am by no means a guru/pro/titan or anything of that sort in this industry. However, one doesn't need to be as you will come to realize as you read my post. It simply has to do with the understanding of a particular perspective.

For anyone who does not know what bro science is, it is quite the same as hearsay. It is advice given by someone else in the sport, usually someone of status or at least a level of experience(but not always), that is passed on to others and eventually everyone but the advice does not have scientific backing. In contrast to lab science which have studies, research and science behind its back.

The debate on bro science versus lab science is becoming quite the hot topic in the industry. Personally I have a TON of opinions and arguments to make. Some of which are already being made on YouTube videos, social media and what have you. Some have not been mentioned before. My purpose of this post isn't to go through the entire debate process and draw a conclusion. As with all my posts, it is simply to just let out my thoughts. More specifically, the thoughts that are in me and wondering why no one has ever mentioned this when debating? I'm just here to shed light on some perspectives. More specifically, 2 perspectives.

Practicality

As Ian McCarthy, a YouTuber who is against bro science has mentioned before, you could either just walk through a door or you could do a dance ritual around every time before walking through. The end result is the same.

That is how he compares bro science to lab science. It is the same way almost everyone who thinks bro science is completely useless and lab science is the way to go.(I'm not taking sides), thinks. What science fails to take into account is the human aspect of things. Science fails to acknowledge the existence of human psychology.

Referring back to the example, what if doing a dance ritual every time before walking through that door spoke to the psychology of the individual. That the individual for some reason now sees and believes in a stronger purpose of walking through that door and as a result, walk through it everyday without fail, with a dance ritual prior of course. As compared to someone who simply walked through and had no value placed upon that action and as a result, stops doing it or does it irregularly.

Okay so what on earth am I trying to say? Let's take an actual example. Bro science tells us to eat every 3 hours. Lab science claims it doesn't matter when you eat.(I disagree on a science level but let's say it's true). Now when an individual embarks on a journey to change(ie. dieting), in order to stick to the journey and follow through with full compliance, the individual's psychology plays a huge role. How so? For a start, to feel that we are going to change anything, we must first feel like we are doing something differently. If we were to eat like we have been eating all our lives, we would start questioning where this particular change is going to coming from. So it is things like eating every 3 hours that creates physical change (and builds a form of discipline that will be applied to everything else) that manifest into speaking to our psychology making us feel that we have a reason for progress to occur. When we feel like we are progressing, we can then stick to our plan and of course, actually progress.

Another example would be the idea of If It Fits Your Macros(IIFYM). The concept is exactly the same. Trust me, if you hop onto a diet where you eat whatever time you want, and eat whatever you want so long it fits your macros, the likelihood of you feeling you're making any progress at all is minimal. This is not only due to the fact that we are programmed to think we must eat in a particular way but also due to the fact that we won't feel like there has been any change made to our lifestyle and as a result, wonder what changes we could possibly expect to present itself before us. Not to mention the potential for you to screw up your macros.

The point is, what happens in theory and what happen in life are 2 completely different things. If planning every gram of food, eating only specific types of food and eating at premeditated timings will ensure that you never screw up your macros, sets your mind in the right mental state and builds the discipline for you to do everything else that is required by science itself, then who is to say you shouldn't follow bro science advice?


Limitation of Lab Science
What makes us think science knows it all? Testosterone, human growth hormone, insulin, cortisol and so on. What if there was an element science has yet to discover that affects fat loss/muscle gain? Lab science will immediately be obsolete. Yet we will never know until lab science proves of the existence of it. Get my point?

I've read research where they corrected old research on being wrong. Just because science discovers something new doesn't mean how our body reacts is any different since a century ago. Take for example shrimps. There was a period that shrimps were said to be bad because of the cholesterol level inside. Later on new studies found that it is actually not that bad. Do you think our bodies react differently just because science discovered something? Of course not.

In that sense, bro science is the often the combination of some science and experience as well. Bro science is lab science that went through practicality filters and experience filters. So whether or not science has proven the good or bad of a particular substance or action fully accurately, bro science has taken it into account.

Most importantly, why is it that practically all, or dare I say ALL, pro bodybuilders do the same thing of having a meal every 2-3 hours and eat only particular types of food? Is it THAT coincidental? Or perhaps there is a practical reason? Or perhaps science has yet to discover certain things?

That said, I do acknowledge some bro science are completely bullshit. Which hurts the credibility of other bro science that have it's place in creating a better you. Some bro science were made up by people who know nothing to begin with. That said, bro science should not be judged as bro science, but by whether it works or not. More importantly, whether it works for you, because every human body and every human's psychology differs.

More messed up thoughts to come..

Think Deep!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If you could change the past, should you?

"Everything is connected to everything else."

Every time I see/hear my idols, professional bodybuilders, get asked "What is one thing you would do differently if you could do it all over again.", my head starts thinking. Thinking about what? Thinking why on earth would they choose to do anything differently.

Our current situation is the manifestation of EVERYTHING that has happened to us. Every little detail of our past played a role in where we are today. I speak similar to the butterfly effect here. This is not something I made up. It's a theory that's out there and the idea is that one small event will result in determining many future events that are all connected(like a domino effect) that eventually influence a huge event into existence some time further down in your life. (it's called the butterfly effect because it represents the idea that one flap of a butterfly's wing somewhere may result in a tornado or disaster of sorts elsewhere)

Take for example today you decided to help someone hold the door. Now because you held the door, you ended up missing a bus. So you're one bus behind. The bus behind then breaks down and passengers are stuck for awhile. While stuck, you met this new person who eventually becomes your other half.

See what I mean? Had you never held the door, you would never have went down that path of life and your life would be completely different. Now that is an example of a positive act manifesting into a positive future outcome. However it may not necessarily have to be that way.

Take for another example, this time using the idea of the bodybuilders I mentioned at the start. A young bodybuilder starts off his bodybuilding journey lifting with bad form and a huge ego(lifting weights he can't control properly). This results in him getting severely injured, making him lose all the progress he ever made. This setback to his journey made him hungrier than ever to be positive and overcome adversity. So after recovery, he trains harder than ever and eventually turned into the professional that is now being asked by fans what he would have done differently if he could change the past.(different from the question "what should I(the fan) do differently" because the question posted implies that the bodybuilder would change the past if he could. And yes, I do know it's just a reply to let the fan know what they should do differently, but it is always this example that gets me thinking on this topic) So of course the bodybuilder says he wouldn't have had a big ego and would learn the proper form first before starting to lift.

Now had he done that, the outcome may be entirely different. His injury would never have occurred and he would never be driven like he was. His entire life would be different because he wouldn't be a professional bodybuilder. In other words, his success is the result of the injury.

Another example is a friend of mine who started getting into the sport he is into now only recently. He feels regretful for not starting out in his sport earlier so he could be even better at it. Because all his competitors started earlier.
Now applying this concept here, I told him he shouldn't be regretting anything. Had he started earlier, his course of actions throughout his entire life would be so different, he may even be hating his sport right now. Or have switched to another sport saying the exact same thing. Wishing he started earlier.

So you get the point. No matter how small, how negative or positive an action/decision of the past is, it shaped our very situation now more than we are conscious of. We therefore should not be wishing the past is any different so long we are contended with where we are right now(contended in the sense we are happy eliminating the factor that we think we could be better had the past been different). The idea that the removal of a particular mistake or doing something "better" would result in you being more successful at what you are doing now is completely false. In fact, whatever adversity we currently face, we should be positive in thinking it is the butterfly effects at work, leading up to something good later on.

More messed up thoughts to come..

Think Deep!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Everyone is selfish. Selflessness does not exist.

This is something that's been in and out of my mind a million times. I've always kept thinking about whether or not selflessness truly exist. Whether or not we are all just selfish people at the end of the day.

What do I mean? Think about the person who donated to charity. Think about that time you donated for a flag day. Think about the time you held the door for someone. Think about the time you did a favour for a friend or a stranger.(of course I am presuming you have done all of this. If not at least one. IF NOT... woah there!) Did you feel a sense of selflessness? A found self-gratification because you felt like a good/better person? Did you feel happy?

Answer should be yes. If that's the case, isn't it safe to say that we usually perform "selfless" acts primarily to satisfy our own wants? To our own benefit? Either to remove that sense of pity or guilt we have for/towards someone. Perhaps to feel good about ourselves. Isn't that satisfying our own wants? Isn't that us being concerned with ourselves before others? Did you not care about your own want? Isn't us always being concerned with our own wants known as selfishness?

My opinion is that everyone is selfish. We care only about our happiness. For example, a mum who sacrifices her food she ordered to give her son an extra portion. What most people presume and think is that the mother has given up her own happiness for her son's. Question is, did that act not give her happiness? And isn't it out of this want for happiness that she acted upon?

Don't get the wrong message. I'm not saying the world is "selfish" as we know the word to be. It's not an ugly world. What I'm trying to say is our understanding of the entire picture as well as of the word "selfishness" is off.

So yes, EVERYONE is selfish. However there is something very important to be said about different types of people. Instead of differentiating between selfish and selfless, we need to different to find a better way to differentiate people. Because we are all selfish and none of us selfless.(Again, read this with new found perspective of the context or it would sound completely false to say)

Perhaps the difference is between someone who has a heart and someone that does not. The point is there is something to be said about the difference between a person who finds happiness in helping others and acts upon that versus someone who does not find any joy in helping people. They are both selfish, yet the best way I think of differentiating them is the presence of a heart.

More messed up thoughts to come...

Think Deep!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fitness is an obsession

First thing to address - all my previous posts are gone. This blog shall now be my output for my thoughts/opinions/perspective on anything. Why? Because I'm a person with a shitload of thoughts that sometimes wander too fucking deep for people I talk to, to be interested in or capable of listening to. It annoys me when someone just cannot get me hence the use of a blog. This blog. So no pictures, or entertaining rubbish. Just me penning my thoughts.

On to topic, for the past 6 months or so I've been seeing so many people from within the fitness scene speak of either their fear of obsession, their disgust of people they find to be obsessed and being obsessed themselves.

By obsession, the physical action they are referring to is where one is taking things to the extreme. Controlling every gram of protein, carb and fat. Making no exceptions what-so-ever. Sacrificing social life to a great extent. To a point where you become different from everyone else around you.

So is this obsession? Yes and no!(Since when did any topic like this have a straight answer?) Physical actions are very superficial and have little meaning on its own.

"Every action is measured by the sentiment from which it proceeds." - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This is a quote I got to know of through one of my inspirational figures and the magnitude of this quote is really quite amazing. It can be applied in this situation to give perspective, sure. It can also be applied to just about anything in life as well.

For those who don't get what it's trying to say, it is basically saying, our actions themselves should not be judged solely for what they are but for why they are being done. In other words, why did we do it? In this case, why are we doing what others call "obsessed"?

So to continue my answer... is it an obsession? There are 2 ways we could answer this all depending on slightly different impressions of the word "obsession". Firstly, we could say obsessed vs not obsessed. Then there is healthy obsession vs unhealthy obsession.

So.... what am I talking about? Some people take fitness to the extreme because they are afraid. They are afraid of their past(being unfit), they are afraid of being fat, they are afraid of what not! Some people take fitness to the extreme because they love their sport or simply fitness. They love the lifestyle even if it includes particular disliked tasks. They want to be the best they can be and to them that means giving it everything they got for what they truly want/love. They want to be successful at what they set out to do. You get the idea - the positive side of things.

Now.. this is why I say my thoughts wander deep(as if above wasn't deeper than usual already). Ask anyone who is being extreme and they will tell you(provided they are not in self denial) that almost all of the above exist. They do fear being fat and they want to achieve a good physique.(And no this 2 are not the same thing. One is being afraid of being fat and not the desire of having a particular body. The other is the desire to achieve a particular body but not afraid of being fat or not displeased with current body conditions) This is where the quote comes in. The fear and the want are the sentiments. But from which are the actions actually proceeding from? Yes we may have both. But only one of which is the true REASON behind why we are being extreme. I myself have both these sentiments in me. But it is from the latter that my actions are taking place.

In simple words, are we coming from a place of fear or a place of strength? Are our actions prompted by us being negative or being positive?
If we come from a place of fear, then it shows we truly cannot control ourselves hence an obsession, an unhealthy one. If we come from a place of strength, if we are trying to be the best person we can be, then perhaps it is not an obsession. If anything, it's an healthy obsession with no reason to be afraid of being involved with or no reason to hate others who are involved.

One thing I noticed about the people who claim it is obsessive is they don't love what they do. They love the results, they act mostly out of fear and they don't think things through or well... they come from a place of strength but can't take the extreme levels required and end up in a sort of denial(or misunderstanding) it is a bad obsession. No offense!

More messed up thoughts to come...

Think deep!