Hey guys, sorry for not posting much lately. NUS (National University of Singapore) just had its bi-annual Hell Week and I had to do my best to come out alive. Anyway, school is over for me and Mr Kuala Lumpur 2012 is just 8 weeks out and I’m really excited about it! It’s been two years since I’ve last stepped on a bodybuilding stage and I really miss the feeling!
Hi. My name is Ursula Pong and I was recently invited to join the team of bloggers at Fabodylous started by Lai Wee Kiat.
I am a High School Physical Education and Health teacher specializing in fitness and have been involved in the fitness industry for twenty plus years. I will be blogging primarily about fitness/health issues amongst the baby boomer population and create a platform for those interested in finding out information on how to age gracefully and how to move efficiently. This can be helpful for the younger generation too as you can share this information with your parents or relatives who are baby boomers and use this information to invest in your body and brain before you move in to your 40’s and 50’s. If you’re wondering why I am targeting the boomer population, it is because I am one myself as I turn 53 years old this year. I am still very active in the fitness scene having just competed in a couple of figure competitions in the last two years as well as going in to the boxing ring as an almost 50 year old. I also plan on competing in another figure competition this year. I am very passionate about inspiring fitness and changing lives through education regardless of age.
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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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*. 🙂
This winter, don’t let the cold weather affect your regular workout routine. Sure, this is a lot easier said than done, considering it’s negative 8 and your car won’t start. But perhaps it’s the perfect time of the year to ask for a home gym, or elliptical from your loved one? But for most of us, this is a luxury that we simply cannot afford. The simplest solution would be to join a health club or local gym.
This can be one of the most significant things to do during the cold months. Joining a gym not only gives you the ability to stay in shape, but it also diversifies your daily routine, removing unwanted stress and boredom from your life. Similarly, it gives those of us looking for new relationships the ability to meet new people and explore those others that also share interest in exercise and health.
You see, during winter people have a tendency to eat fattening foods, drink more coffee/tea, and ultimately pursue activities that don’t involve going outside. Subsequently, holiday parties are a huge contributing factor to weight gain and increased appetite. More technically speaking, during the winter months we’re exposed to less sunlight, which will soon lead to fluctuations in hormones and chemicals in the brain. At the same time, the blood vessels in our skin begin to contract, driving blood towards the centre of the body which influences our digestive systems.
Combined, all of the above factors above severely hinder our ability to lose inches off our waistline. Yet, the biggest obstacle is simply leaving your house. Some of the best advice I can gave to getting your butt to the local gym involves the following:
Be sure to dress as warm as possible before heading off to the gym. This includes warm-ups, along with advanced gym clothing like under armor for greater protection. Similarly, it’s okay to change at the gym; don’t be ashamed to show off your body in the locker room – This can be a great impediment for a lot of people. The warmer you are before your workout, the easier the transition into full cardio or strength training. Tighter clothing will also help keep warmth in, but if you’re not a fan, or too self-conscious, sweatshirts/pants are an excellent way to go!
It’s almost guaranteed that as human beings, we’re going to eat more during the winter. But eating at the right times (small meals every three hours), while eating the right foods will ultimately give you a better workout and drive you to stay full longer. This means foods that are high in protein, along with carbohydrate infused beverages like Gatorade. Although it may not get you to the gym, it will certainly keep you from missing out – Calcium and Potassium are very important for nutritional health and avoiding sickness. Be sure to invest in foods high in both. Also, try substituting some of your every day foods for things like almonds, peanuts, dates and raisins – These are high in protein and natural sugars. They will certainly give you an extra drive during the day. On a side note, they also are great for your digestive system. If not properly maintained, bowel movements can cause distress and back pain, lowering workout motivation.
Drinking adequate amounts of water will also help with digestion and acts as a preventive measure for muscle aches and back pain. And most importantly, it helps with weight loss.
Lastly, be sure to stretch, strengthen, and revive your muscles whenever convenient. This doesn’t have to be at the gym – Use your spare time to stretch your muscles, including the ones in your face. The cold will eventually make you feel achier and tighten everything up. A quirky, yet effective example would be to stretch while in the shower. This is when your core temperature has a chance to rise, allowing for easier stretching.
If you’re already actively involved at a gym, it doesn’t mean that you wont’ gain weight either. Winter’s affects can be quite brutal! Trips the store; walking; playing outside; side-work – This can all be cut in half due to the cold. In order to remedy this, be sure to spend an extra few minutes at the gym, perhaps exploring new exercises. If you abide by these simple stipulations, you’ll find that it’s easy to keep that great summer shape!
To write a guest post on Fabodylous.com, email Fabodylous@gmail.com.
So here’s my bulking plan for this December. Feel free to use it as your own bulking plan, but tweak it to fit your body and schedule better (remember, listen to your own body).
First, let’s start of by gauging my current conditions first.
Sigh. This is the first time my waist measured more than 32 inches! Feel so fat. Exams have taken quite a toll on my body. And fyi, I did not train at all during my exams period and my diet was horrible. Sigh.
Goal Statement: Maintain a 31″ waist and gain a total of at least 3″ for arms, chest and thighs measurements. Plus, have a defined set of abs and be photoshoot-ready.
Deadline: 15 Jan 2010
As you can see here, the photoshoots that I plan to have in January is a driving factor for me to really train hard, or else I’ll be producing horrible photos which are not worth displaying on Fabodylous. So what’s your motivating factor for your goals?
Workout 1 -Chest and Biceps
Barbell Bench Press – 1 warm-up set, 4 working sets (drop set for last set)
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 WS (drop set)
Parallel Dips – 3 WS
Pec Deck Flys – 7 WS (FST-7 style)
EZ Bar Curls – 1 WU, 4 WS (drop set)
One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls – 3 WS
Concentration Curls – 3 WS (forced reps)
Workout 2 – Back and Triceps
Underhand Barbell Rows – 1 WU, 4 WS (drop set)
Deadlifts – 1 WU, 3 WS
Superset: Wide Grip Chins & Lat Pulldowns – 3 WS
Close-Grip Chin Ups – 3WS
Seated Triceps Extensions – 1 WU, 4 WS (drop set)
Triceps Kickbacks – 3 WS
Triceps Pressdowns – 3 WS
Workout 3 – Shoulders & Abs
Seated Dumbbell Press – 1 WU, 4 WS (drop set)
Upright Rows – 4 WS (drop)
Dumbbell Side Laterals – 3 WS
Barbell Shrugs – 3 WS
Leg Tucks – 2 WS
Hanging Reverse Crunches – 2 WS
Twisting Incline Crunches – 2 WS
Cable Crunches – 2 WS
Bicycle – 2 WS
Jack Knife – 2 WS
Workout 4 – Legs & Abs
Leg Press – 1 WU, 4 WS (drop set)
Lunges – 3 WS (drop)
Leg Extensions – 3 WS
Stiff Legged Deadlifts – 1 WU, 4 WS
Standing Leg Curls – 3 WS
Barbell Twist – 1 WS
Side Bends – 2 WS
Day 1 – Chest & Biceps
Day 2 – Back & Triceps
Day 3 – Light Cardio
Day 4 – Shoulders & Abs
Day 5 – Legs & Abs
Day 6 – Rest
I’m going to give this workout plan a try and depending on how I feel, I might tweak it here and there by removing exercises which I feel don’t train my muscle effectively. You should tweak your workouts too if you don’t feel certain exercises the way they should.
As for rep range, I plan to use something different from my usual medium range (8-12 reps). Instead of that, I’ll use 5-8 reps and gauge how my body responses to the different stimulus. First time trainers, I would not recommend that you follow this routine right away. Instead, try this one > Beginner’s Workout Routine.
I’m aiming for 3200 calories a day, as clean as possible (but with allowance to enjoy the blessings of life). Protein consumption per day, 250g along with 300g of carbs and 110g of fat. This calorie intake is sort of a low-medium range for someone around my weight who is bulking. I don’t like to consume mega calories (4k-8k kcal) because being natural, it’s obvious that most of the food will not be converted into lean mass but fat instead. If you noticed a little more variety in my (still boring) diet, that’s because I’ll be spending December back home at Kuala Lumpur instead at my university’s hostel in Singapore. Thus, I’ll have my dear grandma to cook for me and a kitchen full of appliances to store and cook more food.
Meal One – 1 large apple and 8 egg whites and 1 yolk (32g protein, 30g carbs, 5g fat)
Meal Two – 1 can of tuna with olive oil and a bowl of rice (30g protein, 50g carbs, 10g fat)
Meal Three – 1 can of tuna with olive oil, veggies, rice (30g protein, 55g carbs, 10g fat)
Meal Four – 200g beef cooked with olive oil, 60g oatmeal (50g protein, 40g carbs, 30g fat)
Meal Five – Whatever grandma cooks for dinner, hopefully with lots of meat
Pre-workout – Magnum A-Bomb
Intra-workout – Scivation Xtend (10g protein)
Post-workout – Magnum Quattro, Glucose and creatine monohydrate mix (40g protein, 50g carbs)
Meal Six – 200g beef cooked with olive oil, 60g oatmeal (50g protein, 40g carbs, 30g fat)
I’m using pretty much the same supplements as I’ve listed in this post – click here.
Controlled Labs Blue Up
This is my first experience with a natural testosterone booster. Not sure if my still-hormonally raging 20 year old body needs it, but we’ll find out soon!
Nutrifirst Acai Berry
Two things you should know about acai berries. Firstly, they are pronounced ah-sigh-ee berries.
Secondly, if you’ve received those emails about acai berries being miracle weight loss supplements (and perhaps something about Oprah Winfrey too), those are scams. Acai berries do not help in weight loss directly. However, they are powerful antioxidants which help reduce the wear and tear of the body caused by free radicals. A friend of mine started taking this supplement and said that he feels so much more energetic after that. Plus, my diet has always been low in veggies. So why not give it a try?
All the supplements listed above could be purchased from Nutrifirst.net and be delivered to your place for free if you’re in Singapore!
Clean Bulking Tips & Other Stuff
1. I bet most of you will find it troublesome to have to weigh your food everytime before you cook them. I think so too (and I always feel lazy when it’s time to cook). So I choose foods which can be counted and don’t require weighing such as eggs, apples, cans of tuna and bowls of rice. As for oatmeal, I use the scoop that comes with protein powders and just consume 2 1/4 scoops of oatmeal for each meal. For beef, there’s no choice but the weigh it (if you do know how to get around this hassle, share your idea with us in the comments section!).
2. Beef is king! I’ve mentioned this in my first mass gaining programme, but if some of you have not read it, beef builds muscle – FAST! It provides the body with a time-released protein source and contains creatine too! And yes, it makes a BIG difference.
3. Keep details. Measure your body parts fortnightly or monthly, keep a training log, write your diet plan on an A4 size paper and paste it up on your wall. It’s proven by research and common sense that the more details you keep, the faster your progress will be.
4. Make it your lifestyle. Sign up for a gym membership if you have not, buy supplements, write your diet plan on a paper and paste in front of your usual work desk, stock up your fridge with diet food, make friends in the gym. Why do all this? Because when you get yourself so deep into something, it’s hard to get out of it. This is to prevent yourself from joining the wanted-to-build-muscle-but-never-did-it club, which is a very big and popular club.
5. The majority of your workouts should consist of free weights exercises, which involve more muscle fibres and therefore, build muscle faster than machines, which usually involve movements along a single plane which reduces muscle recruitment.
6. Everything works, but not forever. Your body is an adaptive organism. So change things up every month or so. You have many parameters to play around with – volume, rep range, exercise choice, intensity techniques, etc. For me, I’m experimenting with a lower rep range.
6. Subscribe to Fabodylous to keep yourself updated with muscle building tips and articles, along with events so you could take part of and make looking good your lifestyle. Click here.
Got enough bulk? Click here for Fabodylous’ How to Lose Weight Fast guide!
Honestly, I don’t use High Intensity Training. Instead, I use the conventional volume training. But if you’ve read this article before (The Most Important Factor of Training), you’ll know that I’m for the opinion that it doesn’t really matter how you train, but the effects it has on your body.
Enjoy the videos!
Part 1: Chest & Biceps
Part 2: Back
Part 3: Dorian’s Tips
Part 4: Delts & Triceps
Part 5: Legs
I have this friend of mine, and he *grasps hair* is the most stubborn friend one can ever get. He’ll come to me and say,
“Wee Kiat, I’m serious now. I really want to lose weight. Tell me how.”
“Are you really sure? Will you do whatever it takes?”
“Yes, just tell me and I’ll do it.”
“Ok, first, you need to eat six meals a day…”
“WTF!! You don’t make sense man. Most people will eat less, maybe once or twice to lose weight. How can eating six times a day make me lose weight?”
“You see, I know you’re gonna say this already. Why did you even bother asking me for advice again and again?”
To those who think like this friend of mine, I’m sorry, but the “common sense” method of losing weight (eat less, burn more calories, create a caloric deficit) doesn’t make sense if you take every biological factor into consideration.
I’ve seen this MANY MANY times!
The other person (usually a girl) will go “Hey Wee Kiat, I’m eating only one meal per day, and I jog sometimes, why am I not losing weight?”
And I go, “You need to eat more often, up to six times a day to lose weight, and jogging alone won’t help. You need to weight train.”
“Hellooooo. I’m trying to lose weight, ok? Not build muscle! Why must I weight train?”
Sigh. Life isn’t easy.
Here’s the explanation of some basics of losing weight –
Why Must I Eat More Often When I Wanna Lose Weight?
Short explanation: Your body will not want to burn fat if it’s in a state of hunger. The body will usually go into this state after 4 (or maybe fewer) hours without food.
Long nagging explanation:
You see, the body has many priorities, such as survival, immunity system, reproduction capabilities, building muscle, burning fat and staying lean, etc. And from that list, survival rates as the highest priority among them all. Guess which priority is at the bottom? Building muscle and burning fat. So you see, until you ensure your body that it’ll survive and it’s free of illness, it won’t even care about building muscle or burning fat at all.
Now let’s think, what type of body can survive the longest without food? The answer: A body with loads of stored up calories (fat) and very slow metabolism (low in muscle mass) – which is exactly what we DON’T want!
So how does this relate with eating more often? Well, if we eat more often, our body won’t be so concerned about survival, because it knows that you’re giving it supplies (food) every few hours. Thus, it won’t bother keeping fat levels high and muscle levels low. This will make it easier to burn fat.
So THAT’S why eating one meal a day is the worst thing you can do in trying to burn the fat!
Why Must I Weight Train When I Want to Lose Weight, Not Build Muscle?
To my cardio-loving ladies out there who do not weight train, how is your day? Please don’t hate me for saying this but I have to – your efforts could have been more efficient if you weight trained. You see, weight training in short increases muscle mass and therefore, increases metabolism, making it easier to lose weight. Plus, it gives ladies the ‘healthy’ look instead of the skinny look after losing the fat. As for men, need I say more?
And again, ladies, don’t worry about becoming bulky because you don’t have the testosterone level to become so.
So what’s the lesson for the day?
Never expect someone who is your friend to take your weight loss advice seriously. Clients who PAY for it will take you seriously because they PAID for it. What comes free, is never appreciated.