Right before the seminar, I woke up at 7am, had a five-hour bus trip from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore (after watching Justin Bieber in concert. 😀 ) and had to rush to the seminar. Thus I was dead tired. Thank goodness they were giving out cups of Optimum Nutrition’s AmiN.O. Energy outside the ballroom. I took like, eight cups of AmiN.O. Energy, which certainly woke me up! Haha. And it tastes very natural, unlike the medicine-like taste some BCAA product has.
Speaking of AmiN.O. Energy, it’s Optimum Nutrition’s newest product in the Singaporean market. And being a NUS Business School student, I could see what market Optimum Nutrition is trying to sell to with AmiN.O. Energy. The product is simple yet complete and you’re able to take it anytime of the day when you need energy. It’s like coffee, but a lot better.
Most pre-workout formulas are made just for as the name says it, pre-workout. But I can see the difference in AE’s formula that makes it an all-day energy formula. For example, they took away creatine, so you could save it for your pre-workouts. And they have energy enhancers like caffeine, taurine, beta-alanine and even EGCG, which is found more commonly in fat burners than pre-workouts. And having only ten calories per serving, it won’t budge your calorie count much if you’re dieting and intend to mix several scoops of AE with your gallon of water for all-day energy, like natural bodybuilder, Steve Cook does.
Anyway, now that I’m nutritionally prepared, it’s time for the workout. I always had a weakness in my chest and I wanted to bring up my abs to look great in front of the camera. So I requested that Charles and I have a chest and abs workout and we did.
Before we start our workout, Charles put me through two stretches. In this one, just let your arms hang on a bar at shoulder height and let your bodyweight pull itself down.
And in this, hold a bar at shoulder height and turn your body so that you feel the stretch in your pecs.
This awesome photo and some of the others are taken by Eric Goh. Check out his portfolio and services at EricGoh.com
I never had so many people staring at me while I train. Haha. Felt a lil awkward.
So now that we’re done with stretches, we move on to Smith machine incline presses. How much did I bench on the incline?
50kg . . . TOTAL. Yeeaap. Only 50kg. That’s 110lbs for you American readers. And I could only performed 7 reps! And that was to failure! So how did Charles made the inclines so hard (and freakin’ effective)? By doing it SUPER slow like, 4 seconds up and 4 seconds down. Oh, and stop COMPLETELY at the bottom so that there’s no bounce stealing the work from your pectorals. This super strict movement ensures that all muscle fibres of the chest are stimulated and not just the fast-twitch fibres.
Second exercise of the day is incline dumbbell flyes. Simple? Think again. Charles made it more effective by instead of letting my butt sit on the bench, I have to push my body up the bench with my feet on the ground while having my upper back and butt lean on the incline. Why so? Because without the seat, the body won’t just rest on the butt. Instead, I have to arch back and expand my chest to maintain my position, therefore, giving a better stretch in the pectorals. Pretty neat trick, huh?
Next we move on to Smith machine bench press. This time, the positive (contraction) portion of the movement is done explosively. As for the negative portion, Charles instructed me to lower the weight slowly. And at the bottom, Charles placed the safety bars so that the barbell stops two inches above my chest. After a slight pause at the bottom, BOOM, the weight goes up full speed. Because this is a power movement, I was able to lift up to 100kg for 4 reps. Light, but hey, I had a long day. 😉
After than, Charles put me through parallel dips again, with a variation. To maximize pectoral recruitment and reduce involvement of the triceps, Charles instructed me to bend over and lift my butt up so that my upper body is almost parallel to the ground.
Looks tough right? It is. Yet, I felt that this exercise was the easiest among all of them.
Last exercise for chest before we move on to abs – push ups. But instead of the normal push ups, Charles placed my arms nearer to my feet so that my butt is lifted up and there’s a bend in my hips instead of just being straight.
Normally, push ups feel like nothing to me. But after the slamming the first three unorthodox exercises gave me, this variation of the push up felt really really difficult!
After my first set of push ups, I asked Charles, “How many did I do?”
Charles shook his head and went, “Not even ten.” We all laughed.
Next, we move on to abs. First up is crunches on a Swiss exercise ball. And.. I have bad news. Turns out that no one took photos of me performing this exercise. Anyway, there’s not much trick to it. Just know that performing crunches on a Swiss ball allows your body to crunch naturally because the Swiss ball gives way to your lower back, unlike a rigid bench.
Second exercise for abs is seated leg tucks. Tip for the tucks – don’t let your leg go low and limit the range of motion to the top half only. This way, your abs do all the work and not your hip flexors.
Charles put a lot of emphasis on concentration when training abs (and also the chest). The next exercise doesn’t seem hard AT ALL but I felt it in my abs real deep because I was concentrating real hard on contracting the abs.
Yes, the next exercise is seated crunches. Just sit down and crunch your abs real hard for 20 to 25 reps.
And here’s the last exercise for the day, seated twists. For the seated twists, sit on a bench and twist your body slightly downwards and to the side, contracting your abs and obliques for each rep. Alternate the sides throughout the set and repeat for more or less a hundred reps each side. And no, I did not perform that many reps during the seminar and bore everyone out, just in case you’re wondering.
The man still has it! That must be a bodyfat of seven percent MAX.
While I was training with Charles, Jennifer was giving Jane a multiple-bodypart workout session…
And Steve Cook was putting Keith through LEG DAY HELL!!
After a workout with Charles, I could see why they call him the Trainer of Champions. Many personal trainers could show you the safe and proper way to perform exercises but Charles can show you the BEST way to perform those moves with maximum effectiveness. It was definitely an honour to be able to receive guidance from the TOC himself.
(No, he is not poking my nipple.)
Lots of credits to Optimum Nutrition for organizing such a successful and informative seminar and for FREE. I speak on behalf of myself and everyone who enjoyed themselves at the event.
Special thanks to Edgar of SAFRA EnergyOne Gym and Clarissa of Optimum Nutrition for giving me this chance to train with Charles.
With local Optimum Nutrition athletes, Melissa and Desmond.
When I got back to my hostel, a friend asked me, “Hey Wee Kiat, was Charles like, the first black guy whom you’ve ever spoken to?”
Well, there aren’t many black guys in my university so I’m not sure.
Maybe I did. Like, Ronnie Coleman?