Monday, June 30, 2014

The Future of Bodybuilding and Fitness in Singapore – An Interview with former Mr Singapore, Bodybuilding Singapore President and Fitness Movement Chairman, Kevin Chiak

Bodybuilding and fitness in Singapore has been and is still going through a period of evolution.

On the positive side, the rise of Instagram and other social media platforms have connected the fitness community and bodybuilders alike like never before. We've also seen a rise in popularity of the sport both as a hobby and on the competitive level, as witnessed at the Muscle & Fitness War 2014 (MFW2014). There has also been a rise in popularity of physique categories/competitions not just in Singapore but around the world as well.

On the not so positive side, we've witness many changes in the organisations and officials of the sport. Unlike the past where there was only one organization, because of various reasons, there are now 4 for bodybuilding and 1 focusing solely on fitness/physique.

As a result, the sport is growing as a community and as a competitive sport but unable to progress as a nation. Thankfully we have a prominent leader for bodybuilding now - Bodybuilding Singapore (organiser of MFW2014 and more) - where most athletes have chosen to place their faith in. The hopes for all of us is that one day bodybuilding in Singapore will be led by one organisation chosen unanimously by the community and the sport can progress from there.

Bodybuilding Singapore


To help us understand the situation better and make informed decisions, we've interviewed former Mr Singapore, Bodybuilding Singapore President and Fitness Movement Chairman, Kevin Chiak.

Kevin Chiak


The interview is as follows:

 
Ashley: Kevin, before we get serious, I’m sure readers want to hear from the man himself a little about becoming a Mr Singapore. Tell us: What was the greatest challenge you faced on your journey to earning the title and how you overcame it?

Kevin: Well, every training year leading towards my eventual win for the overall title of Mr Singapore 2010 was a challenge. I took on the challenge as a growing experience as an athlete. I First won the National Champion in my category and landed a top 3 position in the Mr Singapore round for a few years and slowly moved closer to the target.

In the process other challenges include the diet that required tweaking and training to achieve the best of my physique possible at that point. It was a great journey of learning new things and learning how my body responses to training and diet, making the challenges worthwhile and rewarding. I strongly encourage anyone reading this to be able to take any loss as another step of achieving better if not the top position. And I rate every attempt as a success as long as my physique improves every time, and the steady progress itself constitute a victory.         

Ashley: Very inspirational and I especially like the final part about how you rate an attempt as successful or not. Sounds like the kind of thing I would write on my blog!

Okayokay just one more question before we REALLY get serious, do you like this blog??

Kevin: Yes I really like this blog. Not just because it contains a lot of usable information but more so because it is written with a lot passion in the sport of bodybuilding and training. It becomes believable when any athlete writes and explore what he is trying to achieve and more so when the writer is a young competitive bodybuilder.  I believe his personal experience and pain and sweat in the sport made the article more realistic and in depth.

Ashley: Why thank you sir!

Okay on to the important things. In the past decade there have been many changes in the sport of bodybuilding in Singapore. As a result, up and coming athletes and even some fairly seasoned ones are getting confused. Although there has been a blog post covering the outline of the situation ,we would like to hear from you.

Tell us what prompted you to establish Bodybuilding Singapore?

Kevin: Bodybuilding Singapore was first known as SBPF, however we changed it because we reckoned  that there are too many bodybuilding organisations using acronyms that are just too similar and also we felt that since we are a newer, younger (a lot of the committee members comprises of the younger generation) and modern organisation, a cool short and sharp name like Bodybuilding Singapore would be befitting thus the new name, and if I may mention that even Singapore Sports Council has changed their name to “Sports Singapore”, how timely can it get.

So Bodybuilding Singapore formation and existence has very much to do with the dissatisfaction of many officials from the previous federation. Following that motion, I was invited to lead this new organisation and I took up the challenge.

So far I am very proud to say we have done well. The following events we have conducted warrant our success, namely;  the National Championship in 2013 - crowning the Mr Singapore 2013, NUS Health and Fitness Club for the Muscle and Fitness War in 2013 and 2014, both achieve astounding success. We also partnered HomeTeamNs for the HomeTeam Bodybuilding championship 2013.
In a nutshell, Bodybuilding Singapore is here today to help local bodybuilders by providing a fair, competitive and exciting platform.    

Overall top 3 at the SBPF Nationals 2013(Mr Singapore 2013). Photo credits to Fabodylous

 


Muscle & Fitness War 2014 Open Category. Look at the no. of competitors! I'm in this category and I couldn't even fit into the photo!

 

 

Ashley: We’ve all heard of Bodybuilding Singapore, but only a few are familiar with Fitness Movement Singapore. Can you tell us more about this organisation and why you established it?

Kevin: There were a couple of reasons which led to the separation of Fitness Movement Singapore from Bodybuilding Singapore.

Fitness Movement Singapore organises the Singapore Fitness Model Search, a platform for competitors to compete in a Fitness Physique competition, here an athlete will score better when they have more aesthetics above muscularity whereas bodybuilding competition scores a competitor based on his/her muscularity and vascularity above aesthetics. 

To date around the world , fitness physique competitions has gained more popularity, with that trend we reasoned that it could also serve as a bridge for more talents to compete from a person working out in the gym, to competing in a fitness physique competition and possibly a step further into hardcore bodybuilding.  All said one may opt to continue refining their body aesthetics and continue competing in the fitness physique competition.

In our context, we brand the fitness physique with a fitness model search and we will be organising the first National championship for fitness physique called “Singapore Fitness Model Search 2014”. This is to make the competition more appealing to attract more commercial sponsors, besides a lot of overseas fitness physique athletes are also fitness models.  

Ashley: Why did you keep the two organisations separate?


Kevin: As this is rather new in Singapore, we are separating the 2 entities otherwise it will caused confusion to many. People will think that fitness physique is like hardcore bodybuilding.  Therefore setting them apart would segregate the “criteria” and motion.

Besides providing the clarity of the competition nature, Fitness Movement Singapore want to use its platform as another platform for exercising and getting fit. Fitness physique is definitely more achievable than that of a hardcore bodybuilder physique so using this characteristic to encourage and inspire more people to exercise and workout would be a better bet, therefore this mission and a fitness movement was established, and our tagline is “Better Bodies Better Nation”.

With all that in line, we like to use this wonderful platform and winners to act like fitness role models to inspire more people to take up fitness regimes and engaging in exercises. Additionally our athletes will pen down their fitness journey stories highlighting their reasons for exercising, how they have changed other people lives and more importantly also how getting fit has changed their lives etc.      


Ashley: Tell us about the interaction of the two organizations (Bodybuilding Singapore and Fitness Movement Singapore)?

Kevin: We started with the wish of doing both competitions separately, and as we anticipated, the applications received to compete in “Singapore Fitness Model Search 2014” has been overwhelming. So much so that instead of a small stage in a random place, we have gone ahead and plan to hold it at the University Cultural Centre theatre hall, a more appropriate stage and setting, and with that we can safely say our first step has been achieved. 

Ashley: What are your long term plans for both organisations in terms of events, affiliations, etc.?

Kevin: As a matter of fact we are in the planning for bigger things to come for Singapore Fitness Model Search next year, however we can’t reveal that much. As far as affiliation, both will remain independent as organisations will focus on the local competitions and nurture the athletes better.

Ashley: We’ve heard about the collaboration of Bodybuilding Singapore and SFBF (Singapore Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness). For those who are unaware or unsure, can you summarize and clarify what it is and what it means to athletes?

Kevin: In short, local athletes will compete and be Bodybuilding Singapore and if any athletes is ready for competing regionally or internationally, we will send them to SFBF and represent Singapore in those competitions by IFBB.
 
Ashley: I think some athletes are refraining from competing at all because they are afraid of having to choose a side, ending up with the wrong organisation and being stuck there. Do you have any advice for these athletes?


Kevin: I can’t advice but would like to urge local physique to compete in our competitions or those who partnered and supported by us. So far Bodybuilding Singapore along with Fitness Movement Singapore are the main local organisers for most of the local competitions, in this we are also referring to competitions with partners like NUS and HometeamNS just to name a few. We are also the only organisation that organises the National competition this year . So to validate any standard benchmark, our competitions would fit that bill.    

Ashley: One last question. Describe where you see the entire bodybuilding seen in Singapore 10 years from now.

Kevin: I see glory, that said the physique athletes must be more down to earth and be patient. Compete where their level of competency is and not be too ambitious by competing in any overseas competitions beyond their level. Glory comes in proper calibrations and planning.


Ashley: We hope your vision plays out. Thank you for your time Kevin and we wish you and your organisation all the best.

------------------------------------------------------------End--------------------------------------------------------------
To find out more about the organisations visit them at:

Bodybuilding Singapore - www.bodybuildingSingapore.sg

Fitness Movement Singapore - www.fitnessmodelsearch.sg

To sign up for the Bodybuilding Singapore's upcoming National Bodybuilding and Physique Championship 2014 in September, Click Here

To stay updated with the latest interviews, posts and news, like MuscleCeption on Facebook by clicking on the Like button on top right of this post.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

NS and Bodybuilding Series: The pre-enlistment phase

Some have been wondering if I'm preparing for Nationals in September - Well, no I can't compete in September. I think most people would already know that I'm enlisting soon, in about a month's time.

Recently I realised that there are many others out there like me who are concerned about losing their gains while serving the nation. Especially those who are still months or years away from enlistment and are worried about what will happen to your body and if you should.. find a way around.

I've decided to start a blog series "NS and bodybuilding" to share everything there is - my personal opinion, my experience and experiences to come and my advice. What I hope this will do for younger bodybuilders is first and foremost, help you stop worrying. The reason you worry is not because you are going to lose your gains but because you don't know if you will. You don't know what its like for a bodybuilder inside. Uncertainty is what makes us worry and fear. I hope to be able to remove this area of uncertainty for you.

I also hope to help you make informed choices, as there are choices to made in NS, and even before - if you know what I mean. And for those who have served, enjoy the read and let it be a reminder for you to appreciate your freedom to bodybuild and not worry about losing your gains - its yours to keep.

The pre-enlistment phase

In this first part, I will cover all there is to know about the pre-enlistment phase where bodybuilders are concerned.

Medical Check-Up

We begin with the pre-medical check up. Most bodybuilders are overweight when it comes to BMI so the very first decision you will have to make is whether you should try to "make weight" as we call it in bodybuilding and other weight classed sports.

I strongly suggest you do, as the BMI limit is quite high(around 27) I think, which even I was able to clear. My medical check-up and NAPFA were at 6 weeks out from Muscle War, thus my body was in prime condition to perform and clear weight(barely by a few decimal points). This is also where you should decide if there's anything you want to you know... declare. Clearing your BMI means that you only need to serve 9 weeks instead of I think around double the length.

Constant Reminder

Now comes the part I really want to focus on. The psychological aspect of a pre-enlistee. The very first thing you will physically experience is everyone around you who knows you are going to enlist will be eager to tell you in a very serious manner that you will lose size in NS. Yea, as if we didn't worry about that since day 1 right? I've worried about it since 2010 and people are telling me now as if I think I'll go in and continue training 5 days a week, eating 6 meals a day and over 3500 calories. Right.

You get the point. It'll come to a point you will be annoyed because of the constant reminder and the way people think you don't know anything.  If they knew what we did to maintain our bodies, they would know we know we will lose size. It'll be fine when people say it as a way of relating to you or a conversation but it becomes annoying when someone really thinks you don't already know and tells you seriously.

Motivation

That's the least of your problems. Your first milestone in experiencing the next step of psychological change is usually when school ends and you're waiting for your letter and basically waiting to enlist. Because now your next thing in life is NS. So inevitably you feel it drawing closer. It's good if you are a competitive athlete and can join a contest very close to NS. It will divert all your focus to the contest and will not be affected psychologically as a pre-enlistee.

During this time to the time you receive your enlistment letter, your motivation in the will still be alright and you will not suffer from what I call "Psychological Sabotage"(I will be doing a blog post on this topic). However, you will likely experience a dip in motivation and your worries will build by the day.

The final milestone before enlistment is receiving your enlistment letter. Once you get the date of your enlistment, things change. You realise "shit, this is really happening". You start to wonder what you will look like after shrinking, how heavy your warm up is going to feel later on and so on.

3 months. 2 months. 1 month. The 3 check-points you will face. As far as motivation to train goes for me, I'm fine still. Eager to get back into gym. However the motivation to progress is lacking and thus workouts may sometimes feel different and less exciting. Every time you are about to progress you will think to yourself: "everything I gain now is just temporary". You will likely experience Psychological Sabotage to quite a degree depending on individuality.

Dilemma

You will also face a dilemma of what you should do with your body prior to enlistment to come out the best after NS. Should you bulk up and get fat? Hopefully that will help you keep size during NS and preserve muscle. Should you diet and get lean? That will help you perform better inside.

I think it's very important to take into account the psychological aspect and you have to be very in tuned with your mind. You've to know if you will feel better psychologically knowing that you've fat to preserve your muscle, keep it on you. If you know you will feel better psychologically if you're lean and look good and not be affected as you see it disappear, diet. Forget about the science of which is better from a scientific point of view. Look after your mind and your body will follow.

Solutions

The 2 things that will really help during the pre-enlistment phase is firstly, always tell yourself that NS will already be taking so much of your time away, don't let it take more away from you psychologically. People will ask you why you are still training since you're going to lose everything, well tell them just that - Why let it eat up even more of your time?

The second is to remember to love what you do and do it because you love it. Keep training because that is what you love to do. If you're like me and bodybuilding always came first in your priorities and mind, learn to give it a backseat. This will help with transitioning and also help take your mind off it. Set new goals and do different things like... writing a blog!

The last would be to let go. It helps a lot psychologically if you don't try too hard to maintain, keeping the stress at bay. Accept the fact you will shrink and don't try to fight it. This is not to say don't do anything to keep size at all but mentally, let it go.

Hope this helps my fellow lifters. My next post with regards to this topic should be after my enlistment. I will likely be sharing progress pictures before and during my journey to give you an idea how your body will change during NS.

To stay updated, head over to the sidebar on the right and like MuscleCeption on Facebook.

Help share this with fellow young lifters who may need this. Click on the various share buttons at the bottom of this post.

Note to current and future clients: Online coaching is still available and will go on as usual even after my enlistment.

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Online coaching enquiries:
Email: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
kik: afnsa
Facebook: Ashley Foo

What's up with MuscleCeption??

Some are new to this site and must be wondering what's MuscleCeption all about. Others who are familiar must be wondering why the sudden influx of posts.

I created MuscleCeption in 2013 for the purpose of sharing my thoughts/perspectives/opinions/ideas on many different many topics. Why a blog for that? These things I share aren't just simple opinions on matters. They are often unusual and though I hate using this word but it's the only way I can think to describe it - deep.

The original design of MuscleCeption

The second design of MuscleCeption


They often question the basic conventions we are accustomed to by looking from a deeper or alternate perspective. Needless to say with many such thoughts I can't possibly be bombarding my friends with these stuff yet the urge to express what few have thought of is strong.

Hence the birth of MuscleCeption. I started with a small pool of very supportive readers who were all friends - which I am grateful for because the whole idea is to express and it helps knowing that someone is actually reading what I write. I felt heard. These readers have always given positive feedback about what I write and even engaged me in discussions about my posts. I then realised that there are people who find this blog interesting.

A week ago, I had an urge to share a very big topic. One I'm in the midst of working on now - the Psychological Conditioning series. As I begin writing that, my passion for writing was sparked greater than ever and I decided that I want to do something with MuscleCeption. I want to share with others all the thoughts that I've kept in my head for years and new ones I'm getting every other day. I want MuscleCeption to serve a purpose.

So I've decided to grow MuscleCeption. My goal now for MuscleCeption is to entertain readers, encourage more thinking in the area of bodybuilding and fitness, keep the bodybuilding community spirit alive and help others.

Of course the main goal will never be compromised and that will be remaining an avenue for me to express. I will not hold back any opinions or thoughts in the name of growing this site. So be prepared to be challenged in terms of opinion and thinking, be ready to share your side - because I'm ready to be wrong.

So stay tuned for more interesting posts!

That's all for now until next time(very soon), keep thinking!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The most powerful and underrated tool for building muscle & burning fat: Chapter 3

The most underrated tool for building muscle and burning fat
The exception to science and the way I achieved my body

If you've missed Chapter 1: The Tool - What is it?, Click Here
If you've missed chapter 2: Understanding "Psychological Factors", Click Here


 
Chapter 3: Maximizing your psychological condition: Daily Activities(Part 1)
Now comes the part we focus on maximizing your psychological condition. Let’s begin with maximizing through daily activities.
Daily activity factors are critical because it’s something we repeat day in, day out. Its impact on our psychology will be compounded daily amounting to something very significant. There are 3 ways this can be done:
a)      Rituals & Rules
b)      Attention to Details
c)       Good habits
Rituals & Rules are things you would do to improve your psychological condition that you otherwise would not have done. These are extra things you implement in your day that sends a specific message to your mind every time you do it.
For example: eating every 3 hours. As mentioned in Chapter 1, staying in the “zone” long after you set out to achieve your goal is something most are unable to do and something psychological conditioning can help achieve.
The problem with staying in the “zone” is that the natural inclination of any human being is to choose to path with less resistance. This translates to trying to accomplish our goal while having the minimum number of restrictions and rules to follow and least amount of things to do. This results in us losing attention from our goal and as a result, we lose the “feel” a.k.a. we fall out of the “zone”. This is where these rituals and rules come into play.
By eating every 3 hours, whether you believe in it scientifically or render it useless but by implementing such a system in your daily schedule, it forces you to repeatedly do something throughout the course of the day that will keep your attention on your goal. It makes your entire day revolve around your goal, keeping your attention on it. Note: It doesn’t have to be 3. It can be 2 or 4 or any number but 3 is the number I’ve found that keeps you in the zone without obstructing your day too much.
Another example I personally practice is remaining covered up when I’m out -Either wearing long sleeved t-shirts or preferably, a hoodie on. The initial reason behind such a practice was the psychological effect resulting from the comments of others when I dieted previously. “You lost weight” or “you became smaller” or even "you look bigger" and "you look the same" can really screw with your mind and cause you to deviate from your plan or question yourself – something you don’t want to be doing because you’ve to have conviction in what you’re doing to do it well. Upon implementing this practice, I discovered the other psychological benefits behind it. It became another constant message I send to myself whenever I was out, reminding myself of my goal and helping me stay in the zone wherever I am. It also helped with visualization and avoiding shitty lighting and mirrors.
Let’s talk visualization first. When you’re covered up, especially in a hoodie, any mirror or reflection you walk pass, or even when you look down at your arms, you are left to your imagination for what lies under. This becomes the perfect opportunity to visualize. To constantly imagine that underneath that hoodie, lays your perfect body. And trust me, visualization itself is a tool for psychological conditioning. I personally visualize everything -How my body will turn out, my workouts, my lifts, my day, everything.
Now let’s talk about shitty lighting and mirrors, or not even shitty, but great too. You see you’re probably accustomed to the lighting in your room and in your gym - these are your reference points. When you go out and encounter various lightings and reflections and also dressed in various clothing, it can differ quite a lot from what you are used to. A lighting or outfit that’s too good and you start to think you progress when you didn’t. When it’s horrible? Needless to say you are just going to feel hopeless where your goals are concerned. So remaining covered up prevents such things from happening.
Due to the length of this chapter I've split it into two parts. The second half of this chapter will be posted soon. My apologies for splitting so much but its necessary if not this post will just go on for too long with too many words. Stay tuned!

Want to read the next part and following chapters? Do you like this post, find it entertaining or interesting? Help me and show your support by spreading this information so I can continue to share. Share this post with your friends or on FB/twitter/etc by clicking the icons at the bottom of this post or sharing this URL.

Add me on Facebook(Ashley Foo), follow me on twitter(afnsa) and instagram(afnsa) to stay updated.
==========================
Online coaching enquiries:
Email: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
kik: afnsa

The most powerful and underrated tool for building muscle & burning fat: Chapter 2

The most underrated tool for building muscle and burning fat
The exception to science and the way I achieved my body



If you've missed Chapter 1, click here: Chapter 1: The Tool - What is it?


Chapter 2: Understanding the “psychological factors”

There are so many different ways our psychology can be affected and another million ways this affected psychology can affect our results. How do we begin to make sense of all of these?

I refer to things that affect our psychology, our mind-set, our focus as psychological factors. These factors are anything and everything that might influence our minds and I mean everything; not just things within the realm of bodybuilding.

I have developed what I call the 3 psychological factors. They are:

1)      Daily Activities

2)      Strategic Plans

3)      Perspectives

Daily Activites cover all the actions that occur during the day(or the lack of). For example, what time you wake up, what you eat for breakfast, how much time to you allow yourself to get ready in the morning before heading to work/school, what you must do before training and so on.

Strategic plans are our long term decision-making and plans. For example, whether we choose to cut or bulk, how long do we cut or bulk, dirty bulk or clean bulk, compete this year or next year and so on.

Perspectives are how we choose to view things. How we choose to view our circumstances, our progress, and our decisions and so on plays a part in our psychology. We have an opinion on just about anything whether we realize it or not, and these millions of opinions affects our psychology.  As Shakespeare said “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so”.

In the following chapters I will go further in depth on each of the factors to fully understand how they work and how we can maximize our psychological conditioning with them.
Since this is such a short post and I wouldn't want my readers walking away feeling empty handed, I've decided to release chapter 3 right away.
Click here:Chapter 3 – Maximizing your psychological condition: DailyActivities

Do you like this post, find it entertaining or interesting? Help me and show your support by spreading this information so I can continue to share. Share this post with your friends or on FB/twitter/etc by clicking the icons at the bottom of this post or sharing this URL.

Add me on Facebook(Ashley Foo), follow me on twitter(afnsa) and instagram(afnsa) to stay updated.
==========================
Online coaching enquiries:
Email: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
kik: afnsa

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why you shouldn't take protein shakes(Anonymous question answered)

Hey man, thanks for the question. The straight up answer is no, there is absolutely no need for protein shakes. The long answer is:

Protein shakes are simply a replacement for real food. Its plus point is a good macro nutrient ratio where the protein is high while the carb and fats are low, thus making it easy to hit your protein intake while not exceeding your carb and fat intake. Also, for guys with small appetites or busy schedules, its a convenient way to hit your protein intake. It also boast quality protein as the amino acid profile of whey(assuming you're not talking about other kinds of protein powders), is good and so is the biological value(BV) which measures primarily absorption. Although it's been understood that the amino acid profile of protein from meat is the best for muscle-building. It is always advisable to have your protein intake come from a variety of sources to make sure you are getting a full range of nutrition where amino acids and micro nutrients are concerned.

So if there's no real need for protein shakes, now comes the question of should you have it for the benefits described above? Here's where you get a little about what I call Psychological Conditioning. When I first started of bodybuilding, I refused to use any supplements at all. So we're quite the same. I hated the idea of depending on something external to maintain my body and protein shakes always felt like that to me - something external.

The result was I learnt not to be lazy. Because to be honest, the number 1 purpose of protein shakes is for helping us be lazy with having to eat and cook so much and instead just shake it up and drink it down. So I always believe there is a huge psychological benefit that comes from not using protein shakes for the first 1-2 years of your bodybuilding/fitness journey. This will condition your mind to hard work.

Hope this helps.

==================
Online Coaching enquiry:
Email: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
Facebook: Ashley Foo
Kik: afnsa

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What synthol and sumo deadlifts have in common

Before I begin I must admit I was very hesitant on writing this post because I knew it may challenge what some of you might be doing and the natural human tendency would be to get offended. I've decided to go ahead and share this because, well, that's why I created this blog after all - to express myself. So I encourage you to read this with an open mind and judge my opinions/perspectives by its value and not its impact on you. And if you see the value in this perspective, let it shape what you do from here on.

Although I'm a natural bodybuilder, I've no issue with the use of performance enhancing drugs in this sport or any other. In fact, I support it. These drugs are what makes the elite level of any sport worth watching and thus popular. Besides, who is to claim any moral or sportsmanship difference between using something allowed like creatine and steroids? They both serve the same purpose, just through different ways. Yes, the potency of the substance may differ tremendously, but potency should never affect the decision of whether something should be banned or not. The essence is the same - both are taken with the intention of performing better by putting something into the body.

That's what this post is about - essence. Although I support the use of performance enhancing drugs in bodybuilding, I disapprove of the use of synthol. Why? It ruins the essence of the sport.



With performance enhancing drugs, you still build muscle - which is what the sport is about. But with synthol(when used as a tool right before stepping on stage and not as a tool to supposedly be able to build more muscle), you don't build muscle. It's basically oil inside your muscle. Now I don't know about all bodybuilders but I came into this sport because of muscle. The essence of the sport is being able to build your physique. Whether you're in this for the mass or aesthetics(preferably both yea), your physique is only what is a part of you. The oil is NOT a part of you. Neither is it even permanent(not to suggest implants are any better). I think the use of synthol destroys what this sport is all about and let's not even talk about sportsmanship but I think one should never let the desire to win crush the essence of their passion. Are you passionate about the sport or winning?

So where does sumo deadlifts come into all of this? Powerlifting! Now let's talk about the essence of powerlifting. No, I'm not a powerlifter but I don't think I need to be one to understand the very core essence of the sport is power and strength. Like how for bodybuilding its building your physique, powerlifting is about power. The problem is what we get caught up with and start focusing on other things that, by doing so, causes us to do things that go against the essence.

I assume powerlifters get into the sport to become stronger and be able to lift huge weights. I understand how technique is a huge part of the sport. But I believe the essence of the sport should never be compromised no matter what. Technique is important but it should be implemented so that you are not putting yourself at a disadvantage and not to be manipulated to change a lift entirely or the essence of the lift. This might be my personal view but the deadlift to me is really about being able to pick things up from the floor from a casual standing position. That's the beauty of the deadlift isn't  it? How raw it is. Just a human standing up normally and picking shit up the floor. The sumo deadlift however does not embody this essence in my honest opinion. I can't quite describe it as well as I feel it - and that's what essence is all about. It's the feel, not the technicalities. Because technically, nothing is against the rule.



I believe it's the responsibility of each athlete to draw that line between technique for putting you out of a disadvantage and technique that changes the essence of the sport. Same goes for benching with an insane arch. At the end of the day I always believe this: when you tell a non-powerlifter who knows the lifts,  how much you lift, then show him/her in real life the execution, will he or she be AS impressed as when they heard your lift amounts. An extreme example would be telling someone I can bench press 300kg but I arch my back until I only have to move the bar two inches to execute the bench press in accordance to all the rules. Would this someone be AS impressed after watching how I did it? If the answer is no, I think the technical and mechanical advantage has been abused.


After all, if you increase your bench or deadlift by say 20kg due to a change in technique, is that any reason to be happy or feel accomplished in the area of your passion? Yes the numbers went up, but not in the name of the sport but in the name of lost of focus of what the sport is really about. Are you passionate about the sport or numbers/winning?

Think.

Found this article interesting(whether you agree or not lol!)? Share it and see what your friends think. Let me know whether you agree or not by commenting below or leaving me a personal message.

============================
Online Coaching enquiries:
Email: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
Facebook: Ashley Foo
Kik: afnsa

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The most powerful and underrated tool for building muscle & burning fat

The most underrated tool for building muscle and burning fat
The exception to science and the way I achieved my body


 My 6 month natural transformation
 

2008-2013, Natural transformation.
If I have to give credit to one thing and one thing only for how I achieved this at my age, I'll have to name this tool I used. This tool is so overlooked by everyone that I feel the need to finally come out and share with everyone what got me where I am. Yes, I'm not the best out there, you may be ahead of me or behind me in terms of body development but I promise that if you implement this tool, you'll progress so much more.
 

Chapter 1: The tool - What is it?
What is it that makes the difference between those who accomplish something significant with their bodies and those who seemingly try but never quite get there? Drugs? Genetics? Supplements? Circumstances? Certainly they play a role but that’s not what differentiates one from being average. Is it knowledge? Perhaps it is. Knowledge of what though?

It is the knowledge of how the mind is the most important factor to achieving your dream physique. It can limit you as much as it can help you. It is the greatest asset we have that we can choose whether we want this valuable asset to be working for us or against us. Neglecting it or failing to acknowledge its power automatically has it working against us, limiting us.

We’ve all heard bodybuilding champions talk about the mind and its significance. Yet when we ask questions to propel us further in this journey, we always seek scientific answers. How often do you see in a Q&A part of a seminar with a champion, someone enquiring about obtaining a champion’s mind-set? Instead people want to know if so-and-so thinks that carbs post-workout is a yay or nay.
 
I’ve come to realize that those who are able to recognize and act on the importance of psychological conditioning will usually reach “the next level”. Yes, that's what this post is about - Psychological conditioning. Psychological conditioning is the term I use to describe actions and decisions we make in the name of improving our mental state of mind in the areas of motivation, focus or limitations.  This does numerous things for an individual.

The first and most straight forward is to help us stay far more motivated than otherwise would be. The second would be the ability to stay in the “zone”. Too often I see individuals all fired up about getting ripped – this is what I call the “zone”. They would speak as if they’re ready to make a statement in their own lives and the lives of those around them. But 2 weeks later they seem to have forgotten entirely about their goal and it’s as if nothing happened. Staying in zone and always having conscious attention on the goal, never missing a beat, can take a person so much further.

And finally, it unlocks potential within the individual. Every action we do speaks to our minds and the more actions we do that tells our mind we have a reason to accomplish what we would otherwise deem impossible, we start to believe in the impossible – because we’ve given ourselves so many reasons to. When we start believing in anything, the potential for what can happen is unlocked and almost unlimited.

Psychological conditioning works by understanding the psychological factors and how to use these factors to optimize our psychology and unlock potential.

Next Chapter: Understanding Psychological Factors


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Saturday, June 7, 2014

The 5 unusual things I did to achieve my body naturally at 19

Knowledge, genetics, experience, discipline, hard work - these are all pre-requisites to a great body. However one aspect I believe many miss out on, due to the excessive focus on science, is psychological conditioning. These days everyone is so calculative. If in theory something does not have a direct impact on one's progress(eg. calories, reps, sets, macros), it not only takes a backseat in our focus but diminishes entirely.

Psychological conditioning more than anything keeps me far more motivated and determined. It sets the mental tone for how serious I take what I'm doing with my body and emphasize the importance of not minute details but rather minute actions that can go a long way when accumulated over time. It gives me a sense of having an edge over others who will fail to realize this aspect and thus a psychological edge.

I'll break this up into a few posts, sharing 1-2 things each time - what they are and why I do them.

1. Wake up the same time(early) everyday

Yes, whether I was having holidays, term in school or work, I woke up the same time everyday. And that time is early. For example during term, on days I had morning classes I had to wake up at 6. On days that I did not have school or morning classes, I still woke up at 7 on purpose. Likewise for the weekends. During holidays it was the same time everyday.

Why? Well the most obvious reason is this, who the **** accomplishes anything when their body clock is either upside down or inconsistent???? Or worst of all, both?! If you set out on a plan one day deciding you're going to get into the shape of your life, yet you keep everything about your life exactly the same and try to fit the plan inside, you're going to either, never get started or fight the feeling of just giving up on that plan because each day you feel burdened down by it.

But if you change your entire life which includes other areas that are not exactly related in theory to your plan/goal, you will begin to see an immediate psychological change within yourself. This transcends into you not only feeling better but the psychological edge that you have, having added something positive to your life that is a daily occurrence, will send positive vibes to your own mind every, single, day.

Plus, the difference between waking up at 2pm vs 6-8am... I don't know about anyone else but waking up 2pm makes me moody and feel like shit because I just wasted the entire day whereas waking up at 6-8am makes me feel like I have a head start to life with a long exciting day ahead.

Another rational behind waking up the same time everyday is consistency. Which is my next unusual thing.

2. Consistency

Okay wait, doesn't sound that unusual right? Everyone know you've to be consistent to achieve your goals. Well, let's say I take it a step further with an added perspective.

The time I wake up, the gym I train at, the machine I use(is the machine on the left or on the right), the foods I eat, the portions, the method of measuring(cook weight or uncooked?), the brand/source of my food, the way its cooked, etc. These were all kept CONSISTENT.

Again, does it really matter in theory? I mean how does what time I wake up affect my body? How does training at Cali Orchard differ from Cali Novena? Does a few grams off the weighing scale really matter? What about the brand.. brown rice is brown rice, no?

Too often I see people so caught up with minute details, they forget what's important - minute actions. I see people research so in depth that they start throwing so many scientific jargons out like they have a PhD and found a secret molecular formula to solve this mystery of getting jacked. Or focus on little details like, what should my sodium be offseason?

Yet when it comes to weighing their food, 10g off doesn't matter. Heck, I can just eyeball this thing and key it into myfitnesspal right? Or hey, just 1 piece of chocolate is negligible right?

What kind of a signal does this send to yourself? If you focus so much on finding a good method but not perfectly doing anything... You're basically displaying behaviours of a lazy ass. You want to find the best way possible, putting your attention there and when it comes to getting this done, you put in minimal effort, hoping your Einstein-ness will cover your ass.

Again, its not so much about what happens in theory but what happens in reality. That 5g you decided to ignore, the agar-ation/guess-timation you decide to do, all the little actions you fail to give a **** about, it speaks to you unconscious mind. It tells you that you don't really care about what you're doing, you're not putting in your absolute best, you put in average(or even below average) standards, you will receive likewise. So it doesn't matter what fancy protocol you follow or developed/modified for yourself, if your basics aren't there, you've already psychologically limited your true potential.

When you decide to be so consistent in every aspect, focus on the little actions, you know that you've eliminated the issue of variation. You know that everyday, you're doing the exercise at the specific machine where you feel it best, you are eating the same amount as yesterday and the day before(so that when you want to implement change in plan it is more consistent with change in results) and so on but most importantly, you know that you're doing something most people won't. You're not only sending a clear signal to yourself with every little action everyday, that btw accumulates and equates to a very huge psychological impact about how serious you take yourself, but you now know that with this, you're ahead of most.

More to come in my next post!

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Contact: ahmadalifoo@Hotmail.com
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