Blog: Updates, Training Progress, Training as a lifestyle, …

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You know that awkward moment when your mom posts on your science and sports related facebook group and your wife replies to it ? No ? Well that’s what happened over on the M.A.S.S. facebook group yesterday. Little embarrassing, but hey, it’s good to know you are surrounded by people who support what you do. I didn’t get a whole lot done these last 4 days. I know I promised to get this blog up yesterday, and I’m rushing to complete it here in the few moments I have in between stuff at work on a Monday morning. I’ve been swamped and in a foul mood because of my diet (more on that below). After the go-live and promotion of the site (we are still trying our best to get as many people behind this project as we can, and we appreciate your help) it’s been tough getting my footing. I was hoping to have some time this weekend to get a lot squared away, but that turned out differently. I’ve been recovering poorly from some hard workouts and I can’t let up now. Then Saturday the wife took me sales shopping. Luckily the quality and price of sales on clothes were rather poor, so that I ended up spending more on cookware for the recipes section than anything else. By the time that, all the weekly grocery shopping, my workout and making a really big cheesecake was done, the day was pretty much over. I didn’t fare much better on Sunday. Some stuff on the homefront that I won’t get into right now has been occupying me as well, and then I found out that my wife had closed the 3 pages of corrected material I had open in Word and hadn’t saved it, which sort of discouraged me. But ok, trying to get things back on track, I beg a little of your patience, I’m sure I’ll get it right soon :)

M.A.S.S. updates

I’m working on outlines for 3 articles simultaneously right now, and I can’t offer a deadline for either yet. It’s perfectly possibly I may not finish any of them in the next two to three weeks and then I’ll have all three at once, but I will try my best to spread it out a bit to give you guys something to keep coming back short of my own personal musings and ramblings in the blog. By the next blog I hope to have more details for you on at least one piece and some progress updates.

The other thing I’m hoping to wrap my head around this week is getting macronutrient contents up for the recipes. That question came from multiple people this week. I noted that if you know the content of commonly used products, you will be handling all of them and know how much you used, you can calculate them yourself, but I do want to give you an estimate. I might also add those macros for commonly used products on the FAQ so you have an easy resource to calculate future recipes when I can’t immediately add them.

Training goals for 2013

Well in the summer of 2012 I finally got myself to realize that I had been making excuses for the past decade to not do the work I should be doing. I’ve always been a researcher and a personal trainer, and I have no ambitions to become a competitor, and I’ve sort of always used that as an excuse to not live the lifestyle, instead selling myself on the basis that whatever I have achieved I have achieved with my research and little effort. And while I do not have true competitive aspirations, there really should be no excuse not to be the best you can be and get as far as you can. So I finally got honest with myself and lit a fire under my ass by committing myself to compete in the summer of 2014. Since then I have started training a young man who seems very motivated to earn his pro card in fitness in the coming years and he has opened my eyes to other options like Muscle Mania and Miami Pro style events that also have classes for fitness, muscle model and natural bodybuilding that may be well suited to where I am at and where I am headed, and we are now training together for two competitions in October of this year. So that suddenly upped the ante for me, and has me in overdrive. That’s also one of the things aside from work and M.A.S.S. that has been keeping me busy of late. I’m in the late stages of a diet now, and will be dieting for 4 more weeks, and I’m still 6 kg (13lbs) shy of my mark to get to below 5%. So I’m a little behind and that has me starving myself, recovering poorly from workouts and in an exceptionally foul mood and poor state of concentration (which doesn’t help trying to get articles and blogs finished). For October I will need to drop calories faster earlier on in the diet, so that I don’t have to starve myself towards the end, which only makes things harder. But I have to stick with it now, because after this, there’s 3 cycles of 8 weeks for bulking, to add some mass and symmetry, and then the diet for October already commences. So this is my last dry run and I need it to finally get below 5% , where I used to always gets stuck at 7%. I’m around 9% now at 97 kg, and calculate, with some muscle loss, that I need to get down to 91 kg to get below the 5% mark. Ideally I would like to show up at 92-93kg (203-205 lbs) by October.

My motivation is sky high however, because I’m finally putting myself and my knowledge on the line to show what I can do in a year’s time. I am really looking forward to it. But at this particular time, hungry and extremely busy, I’m slightly irritated and fatigued. But then no one ever said this was easy. If anything I hope to motivate people by showing if you know what you are doing, it’s easier than you think, but that doesn’t change the fact that anything worth working for, you should be working hard for.

Training as a lifestyle

My personal musing for the week is that really this lifestyle is better than yoga, meditation and all that mindfulness crap to help you become a better, healthier and more balanced person, mentally as well as physically. At least if you let it. Among the die-hard enthusiasts you’ll probably find the biggest bunch of character disturbed nut-jobs, so that may seem odd, but if anything, this is a great tool for overcoming your insecurities. And not so much by becoming bigger and looking better so that you no longer feel inferior physically, but rather by handling the environment you place yourself in. Some of you may be the biggest at your gym, but for most of you, there’s always bigger guys around. And there are two ways that people typically look at bigger people, or people who lift more, and neither of them is ideal. Either people immediately get disdainful, saying those guys are only bigger and stronger because they use steroids or cheat, or they get woefully insecure and discouraged that all their hard work hasn’t gotten them in the neighborhood of those guys yet. But neither of those options gets you closer to where you want to be. The first position, I personally feel, is pitiful. Any excuse to dismiss the hard work of others is just an excuse for you not to have to work as hard or harder. Maybe those guys do use something and maybe that’s a big reason for why they are where they are, but just assuming they don’t work as hard is lame. You could be learning from them. Not saying that you will for a fact learn something, there’s a ton of bigger guys that don’t know what they are doing, but you’ll never know if you don’t give it a chance. There is enough prejudice in the world, and you don’t need to bring it in the gym. We are a brotherhood, and you need to support anyone who promotes and supports the lifestyle. People who think that way are typically weak-minded, and often turn to steroid use themselves and end up getting nowhere, because they are doing it for all the wrong reasons, and forget that hard work and dedication is ALWAYS the basis for success, more than anything else. The other stance really is no better. You need to remind yourself of your goals every day and work hard to be a better you. You need to look at each day as an opportunity, waking up with the thought that you need to do all you can to get better, and go to sleep resting assured that you did in fact do all you could that day. And when you do, I promise you, there is no greater peace of mind. But obviously you need to work hard, not just at the gym, but eating right and increasing your knowledge so you don’t end up wasting your time. A bigger guy in the gym doesn’t impede your goals, unless your goals are as limited and short-sighted as being the biggest or strongest at your gym. If that’s your goal, it might be as easy as changing gyms. Impressing others is futile. I often head to the gym without even combing my hair, looking like crap. I mean, what do I care what those people think ? I have to do my thing. And in October is when I prove what I have to prove (to myself mostly), and no one is going to remember how big I was in January, or how much I benched. Half the people there you won’t even know in a year’s time, because they will quit long before you do. If I had a dime for every person I run into I knew at the gym once, that was once bigger than me and is now a shadow of their old selves, well let’s say I’d have more time to write :)

And once you get past that superficial stuff, and stop going to the gym to listen to your music while you go through the motions, to show off your new threads, look at the girls on the stairmaster, impress people you don’t know by lifting more than you can handle to the point of injury, etc. and just FOCUS on what YOU have to do to get the most out of this day and every day to come, you will not only progress faster and more linear than ever, you will command as much respect for your demeanor as for your physique, or more. There’s always going to be other people, there’s always going to be mirrors. But the person who can spend those 40-60 minutes each day looking inside, instead of outside will be the one that succeeds in life. And when I step on that stage in October, it won’t be any of those guys standing next to me that I have to beat. I have nothing to go on but myself. And if I don’t bring the best that I can bring, it will all be for nothing. So why bother with the rest ? It doesn’t just make you better at this game, it just makes you a better, more balanced person. And people spend money on retreats and various new age type books to achieve peace of mind, when in the end, I can be more at one with the universe than any of them, just learning to do what I do better. So whatever irks you at your gym, just let it go. Because any moment spent on things around you, is a moment less spent on you. Focus on your contraction, reaching failure, examining weak points. Because time is so precious.

Wild card weekend

Well Wild Card Weekend is in the books in the NFL. I still love playoff season, even when the Steelers aren’t playing, although I do hope they turn things around from this stinker of a season. 4 games down, and I called 3 of them right, down to the course of the game. Sadly, I would have preferred to get the other three wrong to see Baltimore lose, but ah well, None of my final predictions are in jeopardy. The AFC battles were really a measure for nothing with 4 teams competing for two spots, and the honor to get slaughtered by the Patriots and Broncos next week. Houston and Cincinatti came into this with two very poor offenses and decent defenses, but because the Cinci offense is so predicated on the Dalton to Green combo, I already predicted they would rush Dalton and keep Joseph on Green with a safety over the top. And they did. And it shut Cinci down. Schaub was effective for a QB of limited talents. He let Foster set up the screen action and then took it to the Bengal’s worst player (Rey Maualuga) on nearly every play. It still didn’t get them very far offensively, having to settle for field goals each time, but it worked. They need to do better, a lot better, if they want to even challenge New England however, and it just won’t happen in a week’s time. Apparently Ray Lewis motivates the Ravens more than Bruce Arians, the guy that carried the Colts the better part of the year, motivated the Colts. They clearly don’t play as hard when Arians is in the hospital as when Pagano is. Very disappointing. Well, here’s to Denver kicking the living crap out of the Ravens next week. In the NFC the Packers beat the Vikings and earned a lot of praise, although I don’t know why. Even when limiting Peterson to less than 100, and with Joe Webb stinking it up at QB, they only managed to get to 24-10, and did so despite many mistakes by the Vikings and largely on the merit of their RB rather than their QB. I’m not seeing anything that makes me think they will get to the championship game at the expense of Niners like so many seem to think. The other game was easily the most interesting one of the weekend, at least until the Seahawks defense got its footing in the second quarter. Offensive play-calling was horrible for the Hawks, they didn’t feed Lynch enough on first and second down, setting up longer third downs, and Wilson was woefully ineffective when the Redskins knew he was going to scramble. The offense didn’t play bad for its capacity at all (safe for Rice’s propensity to keep dropping balls and Lynch fumbling at the 1-yard line), but play-calling will need to be more effective next week. A hobbled RG3 killed the Skins, they would have been better off sending Cousins in sooner. Still, these guys have got to feel good going into next year with Morris on the roster. That sets the Hawks up for a game against the Falcons in Atlanta. This one could go either way. If they are smart, I agree an upset is most logical. But people have underestimated the Falcons all year. They are an effective defense, and although the offense is one-dimensional, those receivers get it done every week. Now the Hawks can probably be confident of a game plan with Browner and Sherman in a cover-2 on Jones and White, but Seattle will have to limit the fouls, since especially Browner tends to play dirty and that won’t work as well next week as it did this week. And then its just a matter of being effective and mistake free, with better plays on offense : pound it hard on first down, set up screen-action on second, so you have the choice of both on third. Seattle has everything it takes to get to the championship game this year, but I’m not convinced they will. I hope they do as I’m riding Wilson, Lynch and the Seattle defense into next week’s fantasy games ;)

Gifts for the science-lovers

Well holiday season is over, but still, I wanted to leave you with what I feel are possibly the two greatest gifts you could give to someone around you with the same passion for science :

Muscle Skinsuit

Pick-up line T-shirt

I don’t own either of these, but I’m damn sure making it a goal to get my hands on them this year :p

Final musings

Well here’s hoping things settle down in every way. On the homefront and at work. That’s been the main issue, I do work a fulltime job (the downside of having free projects), and when that gets busy it has a big impact on how much I can do outside of work. I hope the New year has begun well for all of you, and I’m really hoping 2013 is the year of MASS. Not just the website, but in your progress as well ;) Don’t forget to give us your feedback. What you liked, what you want to see more of, suggestions, tips and questions. They are all very welcome. Hopefully next update will be before the weekend, keep checking the facebook group to stay in the loop.

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