Monday, July 28, 2014

STOP!!! Read this BEFORE switching to a new diet!

So you've been trying to shred some body fat, get lean and look great. You hop onto whatever diet you heard about from your friends, the latest hyped up diet or whichever diet sounded the best to you.

You've been on your diet anywhere from 2-6(or even 20) weeks and you're not seeing any - or your desired - results. If you're on a moderate carb & low fat diet, you've drawn the conclusion that your body is carb sensitive and doesn't respond well with carbs in your diet. You think a keto or atkins diet is going to be your magical solution in that case and you want to switch over.

Likewise if you're on basic low carb diet and not seeing results, you think your body responds well to fasting and now you want to hop onto intermittent fasting. If you're doing IIFYM and not seeing results, you think your body is unique and cannot handle any form of "unclean foods" and you switch over to a clean eating style diet. And so on...

You get idea. Well, I've go news for you....


Yes, all diets work. That is on the philosophical/methodological level at least. No matter what body type you are, what your genetics and how advanced you are, all diets work. Well.. unless of course you're trying some mambo jumbo diet that's unheard of and marketed by some business man or complete idiot.

I may not be a fan of many diets out there; diets that I will never even consider trying in this given lifetime. But I bet my ass that if I go on those diets and adopt their philosophy, I can get just as lean.

My point? You are not getting as lean as you want to be because of one or more of the 9248247 possible reasons and not your diet. You may not be implementing your diet right. You may not have understood your diet properly. You may have abused the philosophy behind your diet. You might not be getting enough sleep. You might not be training hard enough. You might not have the right mindset. You might not believe in yourself. You might not be following your diet strictly. You might not be drinking enough water. Who knows!

The reason behind switching diets must never be in the hopes of going from no/poor results to great results. Switching diets should be about finding the more OPTIMAL way to getting results. Optimal could mean one of two things. Either you THINK you'll get the same results faster or better results in the same period of time. It should never be about going from no results to great results. It should be from good results to better results. Maybe you'll a tad leaner.. or you'll hold on to a tad more muscle - that's it!

Preference is another reason to switch diet. But switching diets in hope of magically obtaining results is NOT the way to go. Why?

Such an act only goes to show you're putting the blame on external factors rather than yourself. Things you can't control per se like whether a diet actually works or blaming your genetics by telling yourself some bullsh*t story about how your body doesn't respond to carbs.

That said, on the rare occasion, switching diet may actually help achieve SOME level of results when the former diet failed to do so. The reason behind this isn't because your hypothesis about the ineffective diet and mystical genetics you have is true but because certain diets are so called fail safe. For example a keto diet. Anyone that goes from carbs to no carbs is going to see a difference.

That said, it still does not solve the problem because your inability to achieve results with a diet that actually works shows you are lacking somewhere. Switching to a fail safe diet gets you SOME results, but not the results you want and certainly not the optimal results. The reason being your short comings are still present - whatever it may be. It will carry on to whichever diet you hop onto.

So stop switching diets and think. If you find that this applies to you, stick to your diet and keep working towards the results you want. Find out what really went wrong and fix it. Get your desired results THEN decide if next time you want to use a different dieting approach.


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Why I LOVE dieting!!!!

I'm not sure I know of anyone that loves dieting. Whether you're a casual lifter, someone who just wants to shred some pounds to fit into your clothing or a bodybuilder - especially bodybuilders! - you probably hate dieting. Well.. I LOVE IT.

Before I go on to tell you what is it about dieting that makes me love it, I would like to first say that some of my reasons are specific to my style of dieting. What style is that? Well let's just say the kind that eats clean, eats every 3 hours and all self prepped meals(and yea I do count macros).

Let's get straight to it! Here's why:

Getting lean.

Or should I say shredded! Okay this is a no brainer but its still significant to why I love dieting. Don't you just hate all the blurred lines during the offseason? You're gaining muscle but you don't really look any better because it's all covered up. Dieting is the time you finally reveal all the gains you've made!


Or should I say faster progress. Shredding is definitely faster than building muscle and thus you can actually look forward to VISIBLE changes every 1-2 weeks! Heck, some days I wake up and look so much better than the previous! If that doesn't excite you and get you pumped up... I don't know what will!


Wait what? Food??? Hell yeah. If you understand life you understand that depriving yourself of anything makes that thing so much better. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

This is proven by economics. The supply and demand concept is proof that the less the availability of something, the more its worth and likewise if there's a greater demand. When you diet, you've both!!! Less supply of awesome food and a sickening demand for it. So why does this make me love dieting?

Cheat meals! The way I designed my cheat meals isn't to just stray off the diet a little and try to hold back. Nonono. I make it a point to EAT. It is my refeed, my metabolism boost and my tiny little bit of sanity. So I eat whatever I want and in whatever amounts I want - as long as it sends my daily calories sky high.

Awesome food on a diet taste 378% better than when not on a diet. Another 492% if you're on a clean diet and eating chicken breast all day. That's not all; you won't have to feel the slightest bit guilty because it's part of the plan! Heck, you'll feel even better because you know you're doing something that adds towards your goal, you'll look better after or the next day because your muscles are full again and your metabolism is bumped up! Only with dieting will you ever experience this!

Oh, and dieting grew my love for food. I used to take eating as a chore but now I appreciate every bit of "normal" food I eat when I'm offseason!


This is probably what I love MOST about dieting. I believe however that this is very specific to my style of dieting and even then, it is only truly felt when done with my Psychological Conditioning techniques.

If you don't know what the grind is.. forget all your awesome food, late night partying and sleeping in on weekends - you've not experienced life yet. I don't know if there's any proper way to define the grind but if I have to I'll say it's a zone that you enter physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually when you are working very hard. You will change immediately when you enter the grind. Every aspect of your life will be improved(unless it is compromised by what you are grinding for).

Personally, I will be more alert(until my diet starts messing with me). I will be more efficient. I operate so much better. I wake up on 5 hours of sleep with ease. I will be more discipline and organised in my life. I feel purposeful everyday. And so on!!

Best of all, when you get off the grind, you retain a good amount of these positive effects from it. Maybe I should just write an entire post on this!

So then, if I love dieting so much why not just live that lifestyle forever? Well, the beauty of it lies in the fact that it is temporary. That's what makes it so much more intense and purposeful. And if you understand life and the dualism theory or yin and yang, you can't stay on any one point/lifestyle/direction forever. Life and everything in it in cyclical. You've your highs but you must also have your lows.



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disorders in bodybuilding & fitness

Before I begin I would like to make clear that I'm no psychologist. Nor do I proclaim to be an expert. I would, though, declare that I've an interest in psychology that I'm only beginning to discover.

As many may know, I'm a big fan of clean eating - for reasons beyond science. Not the kind of clean eating where you think you're going to get in shape just because you're eating clean but the kind that counts macros and believes in eating clean. The definition of clean is subjective to every individual - but that's is another topic for another day.

What many may not know is that I believe there is a place for IIFYM/Flexible dieting as well. Not the kind you literally fit your macros without any regard for general health or micro-nutrients, but the kind that gives you more flexibility than a strict clean diet will. What very few know is that I'm currently incorporating flexible dieting principles in my diet to a large extent(not fully) but I sure am hell not eating clean at the moment.

I tell you this because I want you to know I take no sides; just in case of any misunderstanding.

Now we get into the substance of this article. Many claim the reason behind their decision to adopt IIFYM methodology is because eating clean has caused them eating disorders and made them obsessive when it comes to food.

Well, nothing wrong with that. I would agree that the "old school" way requires a certain level of obsession that many cannot handle before it breaks them. I believe that a certain level of obsession is necessary to become the very best we can be. Now, I don't mean obsession with food per se but obsession with food that originates from the obsession to becoming the best possible. Again, another debatable topic and probably best left for another post.

The point I'm really leading to is this: I've seen a ton of IIFYM guys trashing eating clean with the argument of eating disorders. Even when it comes not to trashing but when they reflect, they are always so happy they got out of their "disorder".

The first thing that comes to mind when I see such posts is: What about your image disorder? As I've mentioned at the beginning I'm no psychologist but from what knowledge I have, eating disorder isn't the root to the problem, image disorder is. You were not obsessed with eating clean, you were obsessed with your image. The fear associated with the disorder is not the fear of obsessive eating clean but the fear that if you don't, you will become fat. The root to the problem is the image disorder, while eating clean is just throwing wood to the flame and making the symptoms obvious.

Here's my challenge to anyone on IIFYM who truly seeks a journey of being free from so called "disorders". Get fat. Don't fit your macros - it's still an obsession. Eat freely. Live as anyone free of disorders would(and have no desire for becoming jacked - or fit - as hell)

Once you're fat enough or by society's standard, normal, live with it for awhile. Only then do you come back and fit your macros, eat clean, whatever.

I'm no god. I'm not immune to developing an image disorder either. Which is why, for my Instagram followers, you saw me post a tonnnnnnnnn of food pics post contest after MW2014. I was not satisfying cravings. I was eating freely with the intent to lose my definition. Yes, I did enjoy it but believe me, it was actually hard. After eating clean and very strictly for more than a year, it is much easier to just live in the pattern I've developed. I've engraved the habit so deep it was easier to automatically eat my chicken breast and brown rice than to eat freely.

Nuff' said.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

My most potent ingredient for building muscle

I’ve shared many uncommon perspectives with each post I’ve written that challenged many norms. In fact, every post of mine challenges a norm. I mean.. why would I bother writing an article just to tell you to keep doing what you’re doing for the reasons you already know? I won’t even feel a need to share such information. Okay okay, minimal ranting. I promise.

In light of my recent posts on Dirty Bulking and Protein Shakes, I was questioned about my logic. I’m glad I was questioned because I’m sure few of you might feel the same way and this will be my opportunity to explain to you as well as share my secret ingredient for building muscle.

I was asked why I would intentionally make things difficult for myself when muscle building is hard enough. Why not just focus on building muscle?

This question is significant because its answer also reinforces what MuscleCeption stands for.

All too often I’ve witness individuals caught up with scientific questions when they are not even performing close to where they should be for the amount of scientific knowledge they possess at present. So clearly something is holding them back besides scientific knowledge. Yet the problem is they always put the blame on a lack of knowledge and thinking what they do is not working rather than how well it’s done that’s the problem.

Sometimes what these many individuals need are not more scientifically right answers, but THE right answer. Not the answer that satisfies science, but the answer that addresses their problem. Now, it’s not always a problem because problems are specific and I will have no business sharing it as a general perspective here. The reason I share it here is because as much as what I say it directed to answering their questions, it’s not so much what I said in the post per se that’s important, but the message it sends and the idea it represents is aimed at encouraging a broadened perspective for everyone. And this perspective can help anyone even if there is no “problem” to begin with.

Pardon my lengthy explanations – for my brief ones always lead to misunderstandings.

So what is this perspective I’m sharing? What is MuscleCeption’s message? What is this secret ingredient to building muscle?

Simply put, you need character. And sometimes the steps to building one’s character will not only seem useless in building muscle because of how indirect it is but it also seem impractical or even go against science, on the surface level. But as you will come to realise if you have not already, it helps you in the long run and not the short.

You see, by simply making the decision that focuses on building character and going against science, you’ve built character already. You’ve learnt to be patient and not seek immediate gratification but instead learn to see things in the long run through a bigger picture.

Character; you build it and it benefits you for the rest of your life. It’s like a multiplier to your score. Focusing on the scientifically right answer is like focusing on the score itself. In other words, the strategy to get the highest score is to get the multiplier the earliest, then start earning scores.

That is why you would notice I discourage the use of protein shakes when starting out, or if you’ve already started then for a while and not permanently. As with dirty bulking I offered the idea of doing it once to build the character, not to do it forever.

My most potent ingredient for building muscle is character.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

CHALLENGING THE NORM - How society responds

Here's how society operates:

Should you decide to do something unconventional, you will encounter some resistance or negative feedback. Yeah, nothing surprising here.

Now when it comes to judgement day, whatever it may be, if your unconventional method fails, everyone will call you out for being an idiot. They would talk about how clear it was that it would never have worked; even those who remained silent/neutral before. They wonder how stupid you must have been to even try it in the first place.

If however, you succeed, suddenly you are a genius and people respect you for trying something different and believing it would work. Suddenly what you do makes perfect sense to everyone. Although you know yourself that had the result been otherwise, even if it's the result of other factors, people would have called you out for idiocy.

The question is what is the difference? In both cases, the sentiments are the same: You had an idea you believed in and went with it. If you're thinking that the result is a reflection of the person's calibre, you are right to some extent but wrong too.

Even the intelligent will do something unconventional and fail. If you're someone who tries unconventional approaches, you WILL encounter failure - even if you had or will eventually encounter the success that people will respect. So to say it's a measure of intelligence or calibre isn't too right.

Take my approach for Muscle War 2014(MW2014) for example. I chose to diet 25 weeks - a rather unconventional length for a straight diet. At the beginning I received some feedback that it's too long. No major objection but some feedback and some people did think I didn't know what I was doing.

Now for me, this penned out in the success route. And suddenly the 25 weeks becomes something people respect me for. Now people suddenly think 25 weeks or at least the idea it stands for - a slow diet - is a sensible and logical approach.



I could've imagined that had I failed, even if it's not because of the length of the diet, people would've gone: "Man what was he thinking? Why is he so dumb? Clearly 25 weeks is too long. You'll lose too much muscle."

Here's my point. It's easy to sit back, follow the norm in comfort, even if you're in the trenches working on your dream, you're at the comfort of not being called an idiot but instead, do it to others. Credit has to go to those who aren't afraid of trying what they believe in and aren't afraid to challenge the norm and be criticized.

Even MuscleCeption is unconventional in nature and most of the posts here challenge the norm. I mean hey, if you're not happy with normal results, stop doing normal things.

Don't be afraid to challenge the norm.



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EQ & Awareness

When it comes to being aware of what's happening around you I've always been very intrigued by one little puzzle: If you think you are aware of everything that's going on around you, how can you be sure?

You see, there are 3 levels of awareness: aware, aware you are unaware and unaware you are unaware. In other words, you would either think you are aware of your surroundings, or you would think you are unaware and always in your own world. But if you think you are aware, how do you know for sure? Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.

We all know people who are very aware of everything that's going on and display a very high EQ. These people are aware.

We also know people with not so high EQ and have no idea what's going on around them in social terms(what people think of them etc). But they sort of know it themselves aka they are aware they are unaware.

Finally, we all know of a few people, or even just that one person, who are not aware of what is going on around them but seems to think they are. They are unaware that they are unaware.

So if you think you are aware, are you sure you are aware?

Unlike most MuscleCeption posts, I do not have a solution here. Would love to hear from anyone if they have a solution/conclusion. If not, just sharing my thoughts as always and this post is for those who think they are aware to question themselves and for everyone to just ponder for a moment.


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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why you SHOULD dirty bulk

Dirty bulking.

Every bodybuilder no matter what body type, what age, what level or even how informed you are; you will have at some point in time or another fell into the temptation and dilemma on whether or not to dirty bulk. I mean, isn't it just awesome? Eat whatever you want, however much you want and make gains? Watch the scale climb week after week, feel SWOLE. Is that not a dream come true for any bodybuilder? - The eat big get big mentality. And if you're an ectomorph, dirty bulk seems like the cure to your "curse".

When the dilemma comes, most turn to science for an answer. And for the unaware, science will tell you that dirty bulking is a no go. The excess calories will just turn into fat and do nothing for muscle growth, higher fat percentages mean your hormones will be less optimal thus gaining less muscle and even more fat and this becomes a cycle causing a "downward spiral".

No matter how aware you are of this, you are still tempted. The dilemma still stands. You are out to find a reason that you should still dirty bulk. Well, ladies and gentlemen(although I'm guessing only the gents would be thinking of dirty bulking), I have the reason you've been looking for.

As a former dirty bulker myself... wait wait you don't believe me???

AS I was saying... as a former dirty bulker myself, I can tell you one thing dirty bulking has done for me and I believe many others as well; without their knowledge. You see every time I see an IFBB Pro talk about how he used to dirty bulk, eat crap, didn't know better and will never do it again, I can't help but see a trend that so many Pros have all done it.

As I thought a little further about what is it about dirty bulking that makes great bodybuilders, I found my answer:

You will get fat. Really fat. What happens then? You're going have to bust your ass like never before just to lose all that fat and in so doing, you learn what hard work really is(or at least come closer to realizing), you discover a you you've never discovered before and you become a much stronger person mentally - almost like a new you.

These benefits transcend to other aspects of bodybuilding(and life too) and now when it's "offseason" you know what hard work is and you do it. When it comes to dieting, you're almost an expert not just because of how hard you work but because of your experience of dropping body fat at just about every fat percentage level. You've plateaued a million times at different fat percentages and you know how to overcome them.

You will become a stronger version of yourself. Just be prepared to work hard and not stay fat forever.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Number 1 Reason Some Can NEVER Stick To Their Plans. Is this you?

In my bodybuilding and fitness journey in Singapore I’ve always witnessed individuals who for some reason or another can never reach their goal. And I’m not talking about lazy people who never get started nor am I talking about over ambitious people whose goals are unrealistic. I’m talking about people who should be reaching their goal but never do because they always end up screwing their plans over or every time they are halfway through or close, something will just go wrong. Something… And this applies not only to bodybuilding and fitness but life.

Does this sound familiar to you? Or is this you? Someone who hops on a new diet or training plan, everything goes well and suddenly, you screw yourself over and eat crap or miss training. Suddenly you are injured or school/work is really requiring your attention.

This is what I call Psychological Sabotage. The thing about Psychological Sabotage is that most people who suffer from it are unaware of it – that’s what makes it lethal.

So what exactly is this Psychological Sabotage? It is a psychological condition whereby an individual is afraid of success for what it may or will imply. “What do you mean afraid of success? I want to lose weight what is there to be afraid of?!” – I hear you.

There are so many reasons one could be afraid of success and most of the time it remains buried so deep in your emotions that it is engraved into your behaviour but yet never manifest into an actual thought. Thus it affects you without your being conscious of it.

What could you be afraid of? Only you know. For losing weight, success may imply you’ve to keep doing what you’re doing for the rest of your life to keep it that way. For studying hard it might imply you doing well in exams and going to the school you know you want to go to but going to that school implies you can’t follow your friends who intend to go to another school which you would follow if you are unable to enter the school you know you want to go to. Success might mean others will look up to you and you are afraid of taking on such a big responsibility. So on..

You get the point. These fears evade your conscious mind and affect your psychology without your knowledge. Every time you get close to reaching your goal you will sabotage yourself without realising it.

I’m not immune either. I’ve been suffering from psychological sabotage as well. As my national service enlistment approaches I’ve been afraid of progressing in bodybuilding because it only implies I’ll have to lose more while serving.

How do we overcome psychological sabotage? The very first step is to become aware of such a thing – which you have just. Next you’ve to know that you are suffering from it. Are you sure you are not suffering from it? Spend time reflecting, do some personal soul searching, study yourself from time to time.

Discovering the condition is the solution because when we are aware of it, we can learn to talk ourselves out of the fear, learn to face the fear and be more mindful each time we are about to self-sabotage. Of course for every individual fear there is a different set of solutions as for how you will face it or remove it.

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