Thursday, September 10, 2015

8 months into lifting.

I don't know if I should just save this for when I reach the year mark but since I am bored, I will put this out here. I don't know if anyone is going to read or find this useful, but it's always nice to reflect on yourself and jot those memories down.

Let's see...where do I begin....

8 months ago, I took the big adult step into getting a gym membership (BY MYSELF...WHICH I PAY FOR) since I felt that my dog was starting to calm down a bit more and was less needy. I also felt that my body had reached a point where if I wanted it to gain more definition, then I would have to start lifting weights. Previously, I only had 2 sets of dumbbells to utilize and counted on body weight exercises but they weren't cutting it anymore. Also, since you're more prone to injury with running, I would lose out days where I technically would've been able to get my cardio up. With access to a gym, I would have access to more joint/leg friendly cardio equipment. That eventually allowed me to start reading comic books at the gym while I got my cardio in too. Sitting for an hour and sometimes being forced to watch baseball is no fun.

I technically could've saved a bit of money by making my mom help me buy a 2 year membership from Costco upfront but I didn't want to burden her, so I waited for a period that I thought would be "worth it". I ended up doing this "first month free" offer but now that I think about it, the $0 initiation would've been a bigger savings. I think initiation is like $60 vs first month free $35, but whatever. I also didn't know about a yearly due which happens around the 6th month, but it's not a huge amount either. I'd rather that than join a gym that wasn't 24 hours and had a huge initiation fee. I mean, seeing the gym busy makes me anxious but at least I can go past midnight. I can also go to another location where the surrounding area isn't as dense, so the likelihood of it being busy inside is less. The drive can be annoying though, because you sacrifice an extra 30~40 minutes of your life to do so.

I've been doing that once a week since I had to go to a different gym for a while due to my usual gym having work done on the floor. Since I found that the other gym had more chest equipment, I might as well utilize the multi-club access part of my membership. I'm still a novice to this stuff, so I didn't know there were other machines beyond the ones I was using. Now, I bounce between two gyms to really and effectively beat up my body and my workout checklist has grown a bit more than what I began with. Not sure how I'll change my schedule when I find a new job because I'm a late night gym owl, but I'll figure it out when the time comes.

Well anyway, with the body plateau stuff aside, there's also the health aspect to it. Not only does it apply to physical health, but mental too. Some people turn to the gym to combat alcoholism while others turn to the gym to combat depression. I'm the latter. I'm one of those stubborn 20 somethings who think they're invincible and don't need to see the doctor unless it's a life or death situation. I'm also one of those people who don't really have many friends, so dwelling in my room wouldn't be the most productive thing to do. Being that quiet, timid and awkward kid for much of my life, I might as well use my low key bitterness towards others to better myself...with the possibility of becoming an equal. What do I have to lose? I only have one life to live and I might as well try to be the best I can physically be, even if I'm not 180cm, etc.

I'm in the black tee.
Do note that even though my first time ever touching gym equipment was only 8 months ago, my motivation to become physically fit began well over 5 years ago, hence why I'm not stick skinny in that poor grainy first picture. Throughout high school I weighed around 120 pounds. My drivers license has my weight at 130. My current weight and the weight I've been stuck at for a couple years now is 180 pounds. I'm the worst person to talk to when it comes to dieting because I really love eating. I'm totally a foodie, but like a poor broke foodie. The only way to combat or counter that is to train like an athlete.

My biggest mistake would probably be the initial obsession with gaining mass because now I'm paying for it VERY GRADUALLY. Before (like 2009 before), I was in the whole "I'm skinny enough" I can just focus on building muscle and worry about burning the fat later. Fast forward 6 years and I'm still hating my pudgy self. The protein shakes are long behind me but I still try to keep up the protein intake with a big glass of milk every night. Sometimes, I get sick of eating pineapple or red bean buns so I'd make a peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwich (they are also good sources of protein). I don't count my protein intake though, so yeah. Don't ask me about anything when it comes to macros...hypertrophy...etc. because I don't know squat about those. My rule of thumb is basically to get a good amount of protein and veggies in everyday. All the little extra stuff is okay, don't worry about it. I still eat rice because eating meat and veggies alone makes me sad. I have a horrible addiction to soda, so I switched to diet soda years ago. I also love boba milk tea, so I get strictly milk tea and add boba every once in a while. It really depends how hungry I am upon reaching the boba joint. I also have some oreos and usually 2 bananas with my big cup of milk. And if I just woke up from a nap or I didn't eat before heading to the gym, I usually have some spoons of ice cream. It ain't all bad. I still have my bread and my sweets. I just don't eat a bunch at once. It's essentially spread out.

Since I pay for my own gym membership and I want my money's worth, I literally go to the gym every day. I don't know about other people's priorities but it's up on the top of mine. Especially since I don't have school anymore, it's kind of my only other thing to keep my mind off of the saddening and discouraging fact that I've yet to receive a response from any of the jobs I've applied to. It's my videos not look professional enough? I asking for too much when it comes to pay? my resume not easily skim-able ENOUGH?...but that's beyond the point. I still need to look good for when someone does give me an opportunity to have an interview. I also need to keep both my mental and physical health in check, and going to the gym does it for me.

As far as routines go, the most simple breakdown would be this:
  • Day 1 -- Cardio (62 minutes total) + Abdominal
  • Day 2 -- Legs + Shoulders
  • Day 3 -- Cardio (62 minutes total) + Abdominal
  • Day 4 -- Chest + Triceps
  • Day 5 -- Cardio (62 minutes total) + Abdominal
  • Day 6 -- Back + Biceps
  • Day 7 -- Cardio (62 minutes total) + Abdominal
Note: From what I read, if you DON'T want to lose weight, your cardio sessions should stop at 40 minutes, so maybe 3 minute warm-up and 3 minute cool down and the rest would be you trying to keep your heart rate up. I have fat to lose, so I just do the whole hour. That hour also passes by pretty quickly when I have comics to read.

Note II: Some people also prefer to either start or end their gym sessions with 20~30 minutes of cardio and then lift, supposedly it helps. Not sure about the science behind it, but I prefer to just let my upper body rest. I'm more focused on losing the fat without losing too much muscle mass anyway, hence why I schedule my cardio days to 4 days opposed to 3. 

I comprised workouts for those days based on this video (I've posted this before) and modified it to better fit my preferences (eg. I hack squat instead of squat, hammer strength bench instead of traditional) :
I'll post screenshots of my checklist and you'll notice how I don't know proper names of things and it just starts looking half assed. Oh! and I don't usually do 5 sets of 5 unless I'm really tired or hungry. I try to do 4 sets of 10 for everything unless it's chest day, then it's 5 sets of 8 (and I get a 10 in when the press gets light).

That's pretty much all to it. My ideal body would probably be Chris Evans because I love him so much but as long as I got a strong chest, flat stomach, superhero arms, a great ass and good legs, I'm good.
My sexy German inspiration.
Taiwanese ASSpirations.
I'm such a creep, I know. I follow a bunch more on Instagram but some are like way out of what's realistic to me. These seem more attainable and the bottom two are older than me, so it's reasonable. There's also obviously a certain look/ body type I strive for which is like  thick and shapely, but not overly lean. What can I say? I love my In-N-Out burgers and fried chicken.
May 2015 --- September 2015
Aside from the tan vs tan lines, my shoulders broadened a bit, back grew a little and a small improvement in chest definition? I wish my lower abdomen was flatter. I guess it's called stubborn fat for a reason. I can't diet to save my life, so I'm in one of those slowly but surely mindsets. 
I tried to match the angles as close as I could find. Most of those pictures, if not all, are from 2012 and the right side ones are from a couple weeks ago. 

As always, lighting plays a huge role in this. You can always manipulate photos by casting shadows to look more defined, so I always try to take pictures with a lot of light. Up close, my body is far from what I'd like...
I like how I look farther away. Ignore the stickers, I was bored. Might as well put these up to show that I work on my legs too...balanced body, guys! (Wish my legs were 5 inches longer though)
I guess I've said all I wanted to say. To end, some things that make gym a little more bearable are Bluetooth headphones (They're so convenient. I can't go back to wired ones anymore!), wrist straps (I sprained my wrist once and, like being sunburned, never again...) and mesh short shorts (because they cute and I get really sweaty so I don't want people seeing my buttcrack sweat stain).

Questions, comments, concerns? leave 'em here, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr. I'll see them eventually. I have no life.


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