The first thing anyone interested in bodybuilding should understand is what amino acids are and their importance to the human body. When the human body breaks down protein, what’s left is a number of amino acids that the body needs and uses to perform many bodily functions including: breaking down food and growing and repairing body tissue. These amino acids can be classified as Essential, Non-Essential and Conditional.
Hey guys. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile now, you will probably know that for my post-workout drink, I usually take a glucose, fast-acting whey and creatine mix. That mix is simple and provides the body with all the basic nutrients it needs for replenishment. However, as with most things, this can be improved. That’s why I’m now using Maximuscle Cyclone as my post-workout supplement.
Alright, so I thought, wouldn’t it be boring if readers just read stuff from my perspective? So I collected some questions from you, my dear readers on Fabodylous’ Facebook fan page and forwarded them to some local (Malaysian and Singaporean) bodybuilders and fitness competitors! So here is what they have to say. Enjoy and learn!! 🙂
Muscle Pharm Assault Introduction
If you’ve been in the bodybuilding and fitness scene long enough, chances are that you have already heard of Muscle Pharm Assault, which is now the hottest selling pre-workout formula worldwide. I myself have gotten a bottle and tried it out. Here’s my review of it. Firstly, let’s look at the ingredients then I’ll share my workout experience while on Muscle Pharm Assault.
Hey peeps! Here are some discount coupons for you guys who are gonna order supplements from Bodybuilding.com. To use them, click on the link to order and before checking out, key in the coupon codes! Happy shopping!
What is Jack3d? Jack3d is currently of the top-selling pre-workout formulas available on the market today. So far, it has won the Bodybuilding.com 2010 Best Energy Supplement Award and 2010 Best Pre-Workout Supplement Award. The supplement promises to promote the desire to lift more weight, pump out more reps and have crazy lasting energy, along with sick muscle-engorging pumps.
So does USPlabs Jack3d do what it promises? First, let’s check out its ingredients and what are their purpose and then I’ll share my experience and review on Jack3d.
I guess I can say this is my best weight loss supplement stack… So far, that is. Using this stack I’m able to lose weight pretty fast (10kg in 8 weeks) and still maintain quite a lot of my strength (actually, I credit that to my radical new training style too, which I will blog about soon). Anyway, here’s the weight loss supplements I’m taking now and a brief explanation of why I’m taking them.
This is my supplement STACK… literally. 😀
I’ve improved since the start of my diet, but I still need a few weeks more of dieting. Click on this link to view my before photos – Before and After. My before photos might look better because of better lighting but look at my chin and you can tell that I’ve shed off several pounds of fat.
My weight is now 76kg, down from 82kg since I started cutting four weeks ago. The reason I’m cutting is (maybe) for Mr Kuala Lumpur 2011 and most of all, for several photoshoots coming up real soon. Certainly everyone would prefer to see chiseled abs on the photos rather than a belly, right? Err.. Right?? I hope so.
The best part of my diet and training plan is that I don’t feel hungry, don’t get cravings, my strength levels are up and I’m still losing weight, which is a good indication that a large proportion of the weight I’m losing is fat, not muscle.
Here’s my current cutting diet.
Meal Two – 8 egg whites with 3 yolks, 2 scoops oatmeal
Meal Four – 1 chicken breast cooked with olive oil, broccoli
Meal Five – 1 canned tuna mixed with olive oil, broccoli
Intra-Workout – 20g Xtreme ICE BCAA & Glutamine blend
Meal Six – 2 scoops Optimum Nutrition Casein
Total Calories – 290g protein, 85g carbs, 75g fat, 2180 kcal
As for my workouts, I don’t have a rigid written workout plan as I had. I do have my workout cycle planned out, which is
Day 1 – Chest & Biceps
Day 2 – Shoulders & Abs
Day 3 – 45 minutes cardio
Day 4 – Back & Triceps
Day 5 – Legs & Abs
Day 6 – Rest
So what exercises am I performing for each workout? Here’s the thing. I’m using what bodybuilders call “instinctive training”, which means going to the gym just knowing which body parts you want to train and just choose the exercises at that time itself. However, I think that the name “instinctive training” is stupid. Firstly, what instincts do we have? If we follow our instincts, we will run away from the gym. Which instinct would tell you to go to the gym and put yourself through an hour of torture?
What I’m trying to say is, if anyone goes into the gym empty-headed, as a human, our tendency to be lazy will make us just do less. So to prevent that, you must go in with a goal. For me, I always tell myself,
“You must push your chest to the limit!”
“Train til’ your abs hurt!”
“Blast those legs!”
Other than that, you should set some parameters for each workout so that there may be variations, but not too much. Such parameters could include number of sets. For me, I perform 12 to 16 sets per body part. And there must be a balance of compound and isolation movements so that I stimulate enough muscle and at the same time, target my muscle specifically enough. And I always include supersets and drop sets. My parameters could be too hard/easy for you, depending on your training level and experience. Know your body, and set suitable parameters for yourself.
So, what have I learnt since my last cutting diet in the past year?
1. Limit cardio.
I don’t like cardio that much. Not on a low-carb diet at least. From my workout schedule, you could see that I perform cardio once every six days. Oh, and the cardio I perform is a slow walk on the threadmill with a very high incline, which burns an ok amount of calories, but targets fat instead of glycogen storage. Anyway, quite a number of friends (and no, they are not just gym rats. They are competitive bodybuilders) told me that their pre-contest cardio routine is pretty light but they are still able to get ripped. As of now, I found out that it’s pretty true!
2. High-fat diet
I first stumbled upon this high-fat weight loss diet in a dieting guide written by the guys from Scivation. Turns out that fat actually buffers food digestion, making the food you consume time-released and therefore, creating less spike in insulin. Also, it really helps with the hunger. If you reduce your carbs enough, your fat intake can still be high and you’ll still lose weight. My main source of fat is olive oil, which is full of good monounsaturated fats.
3. Have cheat meals
Ok, this is NOT the best advice you can get if your sole goal is to lose weight. But it’s the best if you want to make your diet bearable and not mood-depressing. Before this, I have re-feeding days. Every week, I have a clean high-carb day (300-400g carbs) to restore my leptin levels. Now, I have SUSHI!! Mmm.. yum! I loooovvve sushi. If I could, I would have sushi everyday. Sushi restaurant owners, if you’re reading this, please approach me for sponsorship!! Cheat meals have a psychological effect that makes your diet not feel like a diet. And if you spend that weekly cheat meal well, it’ll help your social life too. Besides, with this high fat diet, my cravings are not that bad so my carb intake is still less than 300g during my cheat meal day.
4. Form habits
If you do the same thing everyday for a week, you’ll almost automatically do it for the next few weeks. Eat meals at the same time, go to the gym at the same time. Hold it in there for a several days. Hold back the urge to laze and drift away from your routine. Soon, you won’t even need to try.
There you go. Another update of my progress. Any questions about losing weight? Email me at Fabodylous@gmail.com.
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Fruits have a very highly-propagated image of being a healthy, somewhat perfect food. PARTIALLY true. Yes, they do have their share of vitamins, but when you’re aiming to sculpt your body, your main concern should be your macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats). And honestly, fruits have plenty of fructose, which is a carbohydrate, which you should limit in order to lose weight. I’m currently cutting now and the only fruit I’m having is an apple post-workout.
Follow a Balanced Diet
Firstly, what on Earth is a balanced diet? Is it a diet which you juggle with your hands while balancing an egg on your nose? Ok, don’t worry, that’s as much sarcasm as I could possibly squeeze out of my fingers while they are typing. But seriously, I heard this when someone who knew nothing about losing weight saw me eating only chicken breasts and broccoli, couldn’t stand seeing me just eating that and told me how “unbalanced” my diet was. So I asked him, “What is a balanced diet?”. And he said, “You should have rice, fruits, noodles and add some variety in your diet”. Well, that, my friend, is not a weight loss diet. That’s an Asian diet! And the only reason an Asian guy will tell you that is not because it’s the best advice to lose weight, but it’s because Asian food is so gooooooood and hard to give up. In short, if you want to lose weight, something’s gotta give. And if you want to lose weight, you have to consume less calories than you burn. Therefore, your diet is actually “out-of-balance”.
Girls, Don’t Weight Train Or You’ll Look Like A Guy
Normal testosterone levels in men are 200-1200 ng/dl while 15-70 ng/dl are normal in women. As you can see, men’s testosterone levels are significantly higher than women’s. If we look at the median or mid-range testosterone levels in men and women, men = 700 and women = 42.5. So on an average, men have 16 times more testosterone than women! And have you seen plenty of guys who weight train their ass off and has just a slight bit of muscle? Now, if those test-filled guys can just build that tiny amount of muscles with so much more testosterone, how about you ladies? So to say, it’s far-fetched to assume that a lady can be too masculine by weight training. If you look at the physique of IFBB Pro Bikini competitor (yes! They have such a category now!) Nicole Nagrani, it is curvy, perky, feminine and yes, build on a combination of weight training and cardio. Plus, weight training increases post-workout metabolism and metabolism in the long run, which burns fat a lot effectively than cardio.
Do Lots of Cardio If You Want to Lose Weight
Again, partially true. The problem is when someone does ONLY cardio without and high-intensity training. Here’s the problem with doing ONLY cardio. One of my interviewees, World natural female bodybuilding champ Lilian Tan told me that when she first started training, she did only cardio, and lots of it. Her weight went down significantly, but when she took a bodyfat test, her bodyfat levels stayed the same! Now, I know most of you girls are not aiming to be bodybuilders but if you think about it, losing muscles instead of fat will make you smaller… but still fat. Plus, you’ll be weaker and because your metabolism is lower, you’ll gain back the weight faster than you lost it.
Simple (very simple) explanation why you lose muscle if you just perform cardio:
Your body adapts to your needs. When your workouts are mainly high-intensity workouts, your body builds up strength for it. Body fat? Not really needed because workouts are short. Fat, after all, is stored up energy, ready to be used for long periods of energy expansion. On the other hand, long and low-intensity workouts doesn’t require much muscle. In fact, your body would burn muscle to lower your metabolism so that it can last the entire cardio session (if it’s long enough). AND it’ll store up bodyfat so you’ll have enough energy.
Supplements Are Dangerous
Actually, this is cause by a stigma that protein supplements will actually blow your muscles up to a huge unimaginable size against the user’s own will. Well, I kinda wish, actually. But no, not at all. Whey, as defined by Wikipedia, is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. And if you think about the point of supplements in the first place, which is to synthesize/filter out the good nutrients from food, make them into a concentrate without the unwanted nutrients, supplements aren’t supposed to be bad after all. Think about it, a scoop of whey has the same amount of protein as 3.5 eggs, minus the cholesterol and need for cooking.
Another thing I noticed is that some people don’t think it’s “natural” to take supplements and actually take pride in being able to build muscle without them. About the “natural” part, let’s just say that if you know what goes in your other processed food, supplements will seem a lot more “natural”. And whenever someone told me that they intend to train without supplements, I tell them to go ahead and try working out without them. Few weeks later, they either give up trying to get in shape or they’ll ask me for recommendations of what supplements to get. Nuff’ said.
You Should Miss Meals to Lose Weight
Ouch! If you believe in this advice, your body is really gonna punish you with less energy, lower metabolism and fluctuating weight. Seriously, this is not just ineffective, it’s also dangerous. Hunger actually puts your body in an emergency state, making it hold back fat. Read this previous post to find out more – The Right Way to Lose Weight.
I seriously hate the media and food producers who propagate that fat is bad for the body. A study which I stumbled upon once showed that study participants who ate a high-fat, low-carb diet used more fat for their energy needs, as opposed to the control group who took in a high-carb, low-fat diet. In short, your body adapts to the food you give it. Give it fat, it’ll burn fat. Plus, fat doesn’t increase insulin release in the body, which is the enemy of fat loss and it fills you up, so you don’t go hungry while on a low-calorie diet. In fact, I’m currently on a cutting (weight loss) diet and my fat intake is 80g per day, which isn’t low. Your dietary fats should come from vegetable oils (especially olive and canola oil) and nuts, not junk food. These fats will the be fat that will not clog your arteries and improve your cholesterol profile. Oh, there’s one fat which you really should avoid. If you see “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “trans fat” on the label, don’t eat it, at all! I’ll explain next time. Promise.
Alright, now that you have the skinny on some common weight loss misconceptions, check out this guide to weight loss – How to Lose Weight Fast.
During my nine years of training, my progress were in steps. Sudden spurt in gains, followed by a plateau, then another spurt, plateau, repeat. A spurt happens when I learn something new about bodybuilding or implement something new into my programme. So here’s a record of what changes I’ve made to my programme that created those spurts. Note that I was young, did not know any bodybuilders personally and the Internet was pretty raw with bodybuilding information back then. If I had the money and right info, I would have done what I’m doing now. So if you have the money, seriously, do yourself a favour and hire an experienced personal trainer. It may be expensive, but you’ll save yourself many years of effort.
So take a look at my progression, find out which stage are you at, and follow what I did to experience your own growth spurt.
Age: 11 Weight:36kg
Pre-bodybuilding Wee Kiat.
So my bodybuilding journey begins! My only guide back then was my aunt, who was just an occasional gym-goer and the old edition (yellow front page) of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, which is honestly, pretty outdated, even at that time. Believe me, I love the book so much and I’ve read it and looked at the photos at least twenty times. However, I was overtraining (training up to two and a half hours one session), with too little frequency (once or twice a week) and didn’t have the right technique. But I did make gains because after all, the untrained body gains muscle easily with whatever stimulus it gets. And I was eating six meals a day already, even though it’s low-protein crap such as bread, instant noodles, leftovers. Still, I include this step because I have so many people who tell me that they wanna transform their body but have yet to touch any weights (doing only push ups and sit ups) and not eating enough meals. So if you’re not even at this step, do it!
Age: 13 Weight: 50kg
Damn! Look at those skinny arms! Age 15 in this photo.
Training is the same. Still with the crappy technique while not stressing the targeted muscle enough. The biggest change I’ve made at this time was that I started taking supplements. I started with the very basic, whey and creatine monohydrate. Other than that, I added meat to my six meals too. However, because I lack the cooking skills, all I had were eggs, sausages and sandwich ham. Eggs are great but sausages and sandwich ham are not pure meat, therefore not as effective. Still, I hit a few milestones at this age, such as being able to bench my own weight, perform several chin ups without assistance and have a few tiny muscle bumps popping out.
Age: 17 Weight: 67kg
On stage during Mr Kuala Lumpur 2008.
College starts! And I got my driver’s license too so I could travel to further gyms. So I signed up with a better gym. It has more weights, more machines and most importantly, a more hardcore and supportive community. By now, with more knowledge about current training programmes, I’ve reduced my volume to a more appropriate number of sets (around 6 to 10 working sets per body part). And yes, 6 to 10 sets is too low for most situations, but it was better than 20-25 sets that the skinny Lai Wee Kiat did at age 11. Also, I was training more often. Three to four times a week, to be exact. At this time, I had some bulk already. Also, I established a better mind-muscle connection, so my exercises had more specific stress on the muscle I was targeting.
Age: 19 Weight: 72kg
Time for the final chapter of my formal education – tertiary education at the National University of Singapore. Before I started my university life, I worked for one year, abandoned my training and lost a lot of momentum and some muscle mass. However, if this happens and you restart your training programme, your muscles will grow and adapt quickly because of “muscle memory”. This year, I increased my volume to 12 to 16 sets per bodypart and I took more supplements – weight gainer and BCAA. My strength increased a lot, my big lifts were 100kg+ and in just two months, I went from 72kg to 75kg. If I had any weakness in my programme, it would be me missing meals.
Age: 20 Weight: 75kg
At Mr Kuala Lumpur 2010
After competing in Mr Kuala Lumpur 2010, my weight rebounded from contest eight of 67kg to 75kg. Pretty much abandoned training to focus on my studies. Training was three times a week. Diet has lots of missing meals. Until…
Age: 20 Weight: 76kg
December 2010. Exams are over and I wanted to take advantage of this period to bulk up. And I did. If you look at this post – Bulking Up, I made loads of gains. My supplement stack was comprehensive (Multivitamins, fish oil, whey, protein isolate blend, creatine, arginine, test booster, CLA, etc) and I trained five to six times a week. Missing meals were rare, perhaps only a few times a week. In the end, I got up to 83kg, and was stronger than ever.
So there’s my chronicle of how I broke my plateaus. For guys who are already doing what I’m doing plus more, sorry but I can’t help you from first hand experience. But perhaps you might *cough*consider steroids*cough*. 🙂