Crossfit Games has come to an end for another year. It has been great fun to watch all the elite Crossfitters battled against each other for the fittest on earth titles. 15 amazing events in 5 days with only 11 of them can be watched in superior quality video feed.
It is inspiring to see these people not giving up easily despite the challenges being thrown at them. It is insipring to see some of these athletes achieve what they can do in the competition from the bottom without sport background. It is inspiring to see how much our bodies can achieve if we are consistent. I am definitely inspired by these athletes to get better everyday so that one day I may be able to compete in the Master 60+ category.
Now that it is over, all fellow crossfitters will have to wait for another 7 months to the next Crossfit Open. During this time, some of us will keep enjoying the adrenaline rush from the daily WOD in our boxes while others will sharpen their tools and kill some goats to prepare for the unknown and unknowable of the semi-unpredictable Open Workouts thrown at us by an evil mastermind goes by the name of David Castro. I usually both excited and scared to death pre, during and post announcement of the Open workouts. I have a feeling that I am not alone.
“There will be good days and there will be bad days. But being consistent is what matters most.”quoted Strength Sensei on facebook today.
How true! Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I give up on back squat after I failed to get back up from the bottom of my squat with a 70kg bar behind my back in 2007. I don’t remember how I got out of that but that moment of me stuck in the bottom still sometimes haunts me when I am about to squat heavy shits.
However, that bad experience did not stop me there. Throughout the years, my training has been consistent including days when I was just ego lift. With the consistency of training, I also came to understand the bad days of training are inevitable. Bad days used to make me grumpy about a lift I could not make. Nowadays, I take it as a sign to take a step back, have my zen routine, tell myself “So what! Just give all you have” and do whatever I can.
Today is one of those bad days. The moment I put an 85kg bar behind my back for warm up, I knew it will be a struggle for the work set. At the start of each work set, I put my zen routine in place before I drop deep into squat position with a house on my back. The painful looks of athletes who have been an inspiration to me flashes before my eyes every I get myself out of the deep end of each squat. When pain sets in, I will ask myself “What would [athlete’s name] do?” (I am very into Crossfit so the Crossfitter names usually pop up)
“They will fucking do it” I answered in my head.
So on a bad day like this, I PR my back squat with the help of my zen routine and positive thinking. A 1 rep max became a 3 reps max. 135kg, that is. A weight I have not touched since Jul 2014 as my focus was shifted to training with lower weight and more volume. Even though it is slightly off the mark from my today’s goal of 140kg for 3 reps, which could be too ambitious, I am happy that I still hit a PR while taking a step back. I cannot imagine what number I would hit if I feel fresh. Time will tell. And the time will come next Tuesday. Not a long wait unless I have another bad days. Note to self, no hard feeling even if it will be a bad day with no PR.
With the low reps and short tempo in the current program, training has been getting more ambitious with weight used for the exercises lately. I am slowly getting to the numbers that make my stomach churned even when I just look at them. The omnious presence of performance anxiety makes the iron looks deceptively heavier before I reach for the iron.
“Be brave, Brian”, “You can do it, Brian” are the encouragements I tell myself when I fumbling for the strength I need to resist the heaviness of the iron against the force of gravity. Strength is not all that I need to muster to accomplish the deed but the willpower from the abyss of my soul or the F word for the rescue when the willpower is AWOL. F word does have its brilliant way to disguise itself as Wilhelm scream, which is described as ‘Dying Cat Noise’ by a friend. You know who you are. I would rather call it ‘Sexy Noise’. Anyway, I just need to do whatever it takes to move the bloody weight for more gains.
“Why are you doing this?” I ask myself often when I am reaching my pain threshold. Deep inside me, I know the answer. Mediocrity is not what I strive for. I fight this war of mediocrity for a long time. Hence, this is certainly not the time to be give in to this evil voice of mine.
The time is coming. 90 Days is all I have. I can foresee the Food Prison is opening up its door to welcome me. I can also feel that the deity of Cardio is looming around the corner. He is getting ready to unleash its unforgiving power to punish me until the last of my body fat armies annihilated.
Today, I had a Cardio session for the first time since 10,000 BC. I mean since my last prep in May. It felt harder than I thought. I am guessing that my extra pounds of muscles and fat are not making it easy for me this time. HIIT has not been feeling this hard for a long time. I remember 20.0km/hr on a treadmill for 1 minute interval is doable last year but it feels like 13.0km/hr was trying to strangle the last breath out of me. I must say that it will be very interesting to see how I go in the next few weeks. I know I will get better but I am just unsure how long it will take.
Foodwise, dropping from 3,800kcal/day to 3,600kcal/day. I kinda hoping that my coach would ask me to drop a bit more as I start to feel gross. I can barely look myself in the mirror. My former glory self just staring back at me from the other side with great amount of disapproval and mumbling ‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’. Oh, dear! First world problem. I know some people would want to slap me for thinking that I am fat.
That’s the thing. I do struggle to accept that my body is great even when I was at my peak. I keep criticizing myself like most women. Girls! I feel you and some of the men these days, gay or metrosexual, do struggle with their image too. Anyway, no matter how we feel. We should be thankful that we can do amazing things with our bodies. And life is short, we have other 99 problems to worry about. In my case, food prison and the deity of Cardio.
Pokemon Go is a big hit these days. My social media past time on Facebook has been quite occupied by the craze. Posts after posts after posts of Pokemon related posts. Even though I will refrain myself from catching the pokemon addiction, I do think that it is ok to have these posts all over my Facebook wall.
I survived the Candy Crush craze and many other FOMO crazes in the past. They all come and go. Most people just like to share things about themselves. Facebook has been an outlet to share things and live in the virtual moments of sharing well away from brutally depressing reality ruled by outrageously ignorant politicians. Hence, I will keep sharing my training videos and topless pictures on my Facebook.
Apart from sharing in the virtual reality, addiction is another way to give us moments to getaway from the school of hard knocks. Don’t get me wrong. Some addictions ruin lives so people should not rely on them for an escapade. My addiction, weight training, is a mixture of bad ass good and not so bad ass damaging.
Even since I touched my first pair of 5kg dumbbells in my uni gym back in 2002, I knew I found my true love. It has been a long journey to have walked side by side with the iron since then. From the outside, I look like I have been very healthy and disciplined in terms of getting myself active and strong. However, I know I have spent too much time in the gym, which is not a bad thing at all as it does keep me away from finding reasons to get drunk. I am just not very sociable in a real social network setting because I speak dumbbell language.
Regardless, I would say I have no regret to spend more time in the gym than at home. I have came a long to be strong enough to do things that I would never think I can do when I was younger. Looking back to my younger self, I can’t believe that I was that boy, who no one wants to pick to play for their soccer team.
Because of my gym addiction, I competed in Crossfit competitions and Fitness Model competitions in my mid 30s, which are the highlights of my life. Many people in my age would probably just chasing Pokemon on the street as the highlight of their lives.
“I did not know I looked so different a year ago. I thought my body never change because my weight remains similar throughout the year.” said my friend in a conversation.
This conversation gave me an idea to compare the two pictures above. I was weighted at 82kg with different body composition in these pictures. On the left side, I was at 22-23% body fat while I was around 12+% on the right. I was smiling on the right one too.
Weight is just one number most of the times. Often times, I have clients worry about their increase in weights after weight training for a few weeks. Such increase often comes with increase in lean mass, which should not be a concern in most cases. More lean mass equals to higher metabolism, which in turn, means more fat loss over a period of time.
My message here is that weight is only one indicator. There are other measurements such as body fat to look at when it comes to look good naked. However, body fat measurement is not as easily to obtain like weight on a weight scale. In that case, a mirror or a before/after pictures comparison would be a cheaper option to see the differences. Of course, weight is still a very important indicator. This is especially true for someone who is clearly overweight or obese. Another thing is that losing weight could mean losing lean mass, which may end up increasing body fat percentage. ‘Skinny Fat’ is the name for it. Hence, weight is just not reliable on itself to determine body composition.
Today, I had my measurement done today. It was not going the way that I want it to be but I am still relatively pretty lean. Bodyfat inches up from 12.3% to 13.1% in 2 weeks time. Being at 80kg, I think I am at my heaviest for 13%. I hit 13% at lower weights before so my lean mass is at its highest at such body fat percentage. Sound confusing, never mind. I look a bit bloated as I was having a bit of a stomach problem.
I am grateful that I wake up in a warm bed every morning. My work is not a job but it is something I love to do. I love to help my clients to live healthier and feel better about themselves. I am grateful that I am given the power to do that.
I am grateful for my strength and capability to lift heavy shit because lifting heavy shit makes me happy and powerful. Lifting heavy shit is also an outlet for me to de-stress.
Although there are obstacles ahead, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to move toward my goal. My goal to stand on stage again in my best shape. Whatever experience I gain from moving towards this goal will be a stepping stone to some of my other goals.
I am grateful for having good people as my friends. We make jokes. We laugh at things. We share stories. We share ideas. We help each other. You make the world a better place for me. How could I not be grateful.
Life always has its up and down. When it has its up, enjoy it. When it has its down, endure it. Nothing is forever. I am grateful that I live to live through the ups and the downs.