Sunday, December 30, 2007

no more '07?

2007 has been a spectacular year for this hardgainer. It started in inactivity and ended on a very strong note. Goals met, records re-written and great gains all over.

to serve as a reminder in the future, this is how year 2007 ended...

DL : 325lbs max, 225lbs for reps
Squat : 305lbs max, 255lbs for reps
Bench : 205lbs max, 165lbs for reps
135lbs Clean & Jerk
25 Chinups, 50 Pushups, 25 Dips unbroken.
55lbs DB Shoulder Presses for reps.

Overall, 2007 was filled with alot of trial and errors. Training being prodded and altered constantly, diet and nutrition manipulated and changed over and over.

currently at 69kg (152lbs), 10lbs heavier compared to the weight when i started my re-training. The numbers has jumped considerably and gains outside of physical appearance are pretty strong all over.

At this weight, i can now jump higher compared to my best basketballing days (at the weight of 57kg... 12kg increase right there!). My lung can also sustain high intensity work for extended periods. Gone are the years of aching back & knee soreness.

I ended the last month of '07 deviating from my original plan to sustain physical fitness and elite level of athletic performance to gain on a few pounds of bodyweight. Hence the body weight jumped from around 10.5% to about 14% and a little bit of athletic performance is being dropped in order for me to reach the goal of 75kg@165lbs bodyweight for next year's basketball tournaments.

I will re-engage training for physical fitness and athletic performance when i reach 75kg, or 6 weeks before the tournaments start.. whichever comes first.

as for 2008, here's my initial goals. so that i dont stray away from my goals.

end of 2008 :-

Squat : 315lbs for reps, 365lbs max
DL : 275lbs for reps, 365lbs max
Bench : 200lbs for reps, 245lbs max
50 Chinups/Pullups unbroken, 100 Pushups, 50 Dips.
185lbs Clean & Jerk.
75lbs DB Shoulder Presses for reps.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Relative Strength"

this article is taken from (

The Importance of a Positive Power-to-Weight Ratio

Size matters, but not necessarily the way you want it to. Relative strength (positive power-to-weight ratio) is more important than absolute strength for functional movement. If one trains in a manner that causes muscle hypertrophy (increased size) in order to bench or squat greater weight the ability to run or do pull-ups is compromised. At Gym Jones we stress this concept by combining a big guy move (deadlift) with a little guy move (pull-ups) in single effort. The movements, loads, effort and recovery intervals we use are designed to stimulate increases in myofibril density, the fibers that actually contract rather than increases in sarcoplasma volume, which merely enlarges the muscle due to fluid volume increases without necessarily making it stronger.

We do this because, for most of the athletes we train muscle recruitment (neurological efficiency) is more important than muscle volume. An average person is able to contract a meager 30% of any active muscle when giving his utmost. Top athletes can engage 50% so the muscle must be twice as large as would be necessary if he could activate 100% of the muscle. Improving the ability of nervous system to synchronize the electrical impulses that cause the muscles to contract and act in concert produces greater capacity to generate power than does merely increasing the size of those same muscles. And the athlete remains lighter, which places less stress on the system during locomotion. Maintaining minimum muscle volume also improves oxygen efficiency; when running uphill a big upper body, though not being used demands constant delivery of oxygen and fuel sources, robbing the legs of that same blood and reducing their capacity to produce force and continue doing so.

To illustrate our reasoning I will use my own experience as an example. Many of the training methods or ideals at Gym Jones develop from lessons learned by climbing on the hardest and highest mountains of the world. The benefits of training the maximum possible strength into the minimum body mass and weight are immediately apparent to the climber. Attaining this ideal should be attractive to other athletes as well. And my experience as a climber is easy to extrapolate to other athletic disciplines.

Most successful mountain climbers and those indigenous to the mountains are relatively small in stature with efficient rather than large musculature. In my prime speed climbing period I weighed 148lbs (5'9”) and was able to gain 4000'/hour on foot. At 165lbs the best I could manage (on foot) was 3400'/hour and this pace was achieved following an 18-month period during which I consciously shed upper body mass, shifting muscle and energy supply to my legs. Then, after coaxing the muscle from my legs back to my upper body while maintaining 165 pounds I lost approximately 8% of my ability to gain altitude, falling back to 2900-3000'/hour. I was faster when I was lighter and I could still carry a pack and pull almost twice my bodyweight on the lat pull machine. My fitness was very sport-specific, which is to say that I was imbalanced, and weak in areas not applicable to climbing. I could only bench press 65% of my weight, I could not do dips, and though I had pretty abs I had no genuine core strength.
During 2003-04 I modified diet and training, aiming for better balance. Although I dropped to 152 pounds, I can easily bench my weight, clean and jerk more than bodyweight, deadlift more than twice my weight, do more than 20 (strict) pull-ups, and gain more than 3500'/hour. I have found a better balance. Each athlete must find an acceptable compromise power/weight ratio that does not cost him dearly in during any particular task.

The power-to-weight ratio is important to the sports requiring locomotion; the cyclist that generates 400 watts of power with a 145-pound frame is more efficient than the cyclist that creates the same force with a 180-pound body. The 200-meter runner who can deadlift 3x bodyweight runs faster than the sprinter who can only deadlift 2x bodyweight. The runner's size/weight does not determine the one-rep max instead it is the neurological pathways and ability to recruit a greater percentage of existing muscle that are decisive factors. Because of this an athlete may develop the ability to generate incredible power without significant size or weight increase – by simply making the appropriate neurological pathways more efficient.

Relative strength can also determine how individuals integrate into a team. In the military context, every soldier wants to be strong and in an effort to become strong many get big as well. So how does the 230-pound guy integrate into the team? He's strong enough to hump heavy loads all day or carry a casualty. But what if he gets shot or sprains an ankle and his teammates have to carry him, and his gear? This same issue affects mountain climbers and backcountry skiers who often operate in remote areas and must be 100% self-sufficient, fire fighters, SWAT cops, etc. To be sure, fitness is an individual concept but each individual's fitness, size and speed can make the team more capable and flexible or less so.

So size matters, but bigger is not necessarily better, nor is bigger always stronger.

Friday, November 9, 2007

a true hardgainer's life, and knowledge of "Relative Strength" part 1

Now, i've been a constant gym bug for 6 months now. Generally i'll be training anywhere from 4 to 6 times a week, pending on how great i'm feeling day-to-day. And if you read my previous posts, i'm a hardgainer. It is pretty hard for me to put on weight/mass.

i have only gained a total of 1 pound of bodyweight in the past 6 months. To be fair, yes i am more muscular and in better overall shape compared to back then (and wayyyy stronger too). But at the end of the day, i am still stuck at around 140lbs. So what gives?

To say that i'm not eating right, its suffice to say i'm taking in more than enough nutrients to be growing. Infact, i am eating way more compared to some of my friends about the same size (and they're gaining bulk real quick while chomping less food compared to me!). I covered my protein, carb, fat and what not pretty much everyday. I know i'm putting in more calories than what my body needs/use.

Some say maybe because i do too much cardio, playing too much basketball. Man, i have not been playing basketball all that much for the past 6 months. Other than the 2 week stretch of tournament back in July, i have only played ball max of 2 or 3 times a week, and those are only at low intensity and only lasts about 45minutes or so.

so while i'm dumbfounded of the reason why i'm not gaining any weight/bulk... alot of guys in the gym are asking me this "you're really really small but you push massive weights everyday, how on earth do you manage that?" (well, not exactly word by word.. but close enough. most days those sentence comes in with expletives, LOL)

so if any of you have any opinion, guide or advise for me to bulk up.. do write up, just leave a comment.

and for those whose wondering about the small-body-big-numbers, read my next post. I kid you not, it would be an eye opener to most lifters in the gym.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

interestingly enough... (reports from Month #5, Week #3)

while things at work turns ugly this past week, things in the gym has been really great.

this past week is all about practical strength and putting the WORK back into workouts. This past week has been dedicated to CrossFit ( and their way of training. In hope to forge elite fitness.

here are some of the workouts i did for the week, all done FOR TIME (only engage at own caution) :

Tuesday, 16th Oct :

25 Pullups
50 DeadLifts (135lbs)
50 Pushups
50 Box Jumps (24")
50 Floor Wipers (135lbs)
50 Kettlebell CP (36lbs)
25 Pullups
Time : 45minute 30secs.
--> man, this one is a real killer. It takes away all your ego and i swear.. you'd not want to do this workout ever again (if you're still breathing after the first time). My abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, traps and biceps was pretty sore for days after this one. Great routine to TEST your level of fitness!

Wednesday 17th Oct

21-15-9 rep of 95lbs Thrusters & Kipping Pullups.

Time : 12minute 15secs
Note : scaled down the Thrusters (Front Squat into Push Press) from 95lbs to 75lbs.
--> this one wasnt as bad as "300" but hard on your cardiovascular structure. Great workout for energy or "power" transfer from lower body to upper body, great for athletes who engages in alot of jumps or explosive movements.
** and i also broke my personal 1rep max for Bench Press, now its 185lbs. **

Thursday 18th Oct


10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 rep of Deadlifts (135lbs), Squat (135lbs) and Pushups.

Time : 21minute 19secs
--> This one really destroyed me. I was splayed on the gym floor several times DURING the workout itself.. and i was down on the floor again long after the set ended. Crazy hard on the lower back and your cardiovascular. Overall, this crazy routine left me so winded... i couldnt even walk to get out of the gym.

Friday 19th Oct

Max set of 5 Pullup, 10 Pushups & 15 Squat in 15minutes.

13 sets in 15minutes.
--> Another great way to workout outside of the gym. This one really takes a toll on you as you'd be gasping for air just after a few sets. Overall great total body workout and a nice closer for a hard week's worth of workout.

I am planning to mix things up again from next week onwards.. i'm going to slowly change the way i train. I'll probably alternate between CrossFit & normal bodybuilding routines initially. AND i'm going to start incorporating the olympic lifts into my regimen soon enough, probably by end of the month.

while talking about end of the month.. end of Oct would mean it has been 6months since i re-started my dedication into all this. And to stay true to my pledge (read my previous post), here's the progress so far.

Squat : 350lbs x 3 reps.

DeadLift : 300lbs x 1 rep (245 x 4 reps)

Bench Press : 185 x 1 rep.

Power Clean : 115lbs.

and i'm able to do at least 25 consecutive Kipping Pullups, 40 BW Dips (10 reps on +30lbs dumbell), and 40 consecutive Pushups.

and i'm slowly improving with the CrossFit's regimen of WODs.

2 more months to New Year, cant friggin' wait!

Friday, October 5, 2007


now, after 3 weeks of fasting.. i'm more than excited for AidilFitri to come.

i've not been able to rest good at night during this fasting month. Maybe working out at night has its downside aswell. Maybe the body keeps on running long after the workout session ended, maybe all the food being thrown into the body keeps it up all night too..

not to mention i gotta get up at 4 to cook, eat and clean up by 6 in the morning. And i have to report for duty at 7 everyday.

not that i'm complaining, truth is.. life has been great this Ramadhan. Work has progressed nicely, and my training in the gym has also been great.

but i'm just a little bit winded. out of breath.

so i'm going to take the next 4-5 days off.. or maybe take time off til AidilFitri.

getting some rest might do me good, physically and mentally.

anyways, for all Muslims out there, happy Eid Fitri.. may Allah bless us all year, every year.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

get up, stand up.

day 10 of Ramadhan.

I am now feeling well, refreshed and rejuvenated. Alhamdulillah i have fully recovered from the Severe Acute Gastroentitis. Infact, i have been able to fast, train and maintain a pretty good daily routine for the past week.

I have changed my workout sessions to be at night, after breaking my fast. That way i can get my body hydrated and maintain energy and focus throughout the workout. I am back on Xplode & CellMass on training days now.

My body has been able to cope with the long periods of hunger and bursts of heavy eating at night. And i'm glad that i am still able to make progress with my workouts during Ramadhan.

funny how things changed is a very short period of time.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

everybody have bad days.

turns out mine would be a couple of days before the fasting season.

i was down and out with fever, cold, stomach pains and virtually no food for 3 days. I was warded for 1 of those, in which i had to commute between the bed and the toilet every 10 minutes, while being on drips.

i was discharged, straight into Ramadhan. My body hadnt had any food for the past 72hrs and now its going straight into one month of imbalanced eating.

i'm coping with it all good so far, but with far less energy & strength.

i already missed a whole week's worth of training, AND my body has gone down as result of the illnesses and not being able to eat for extended period of time. BUT I AM POSITIVE THAT I CAN, AND I WILL RECOVER AND GET OUT ON TOP OF THINGS.

those goals i set before, they stand firm.