Category Archives: Fitness

Mission: Back To Medium

A wall decal at Fitness First, where I work out, says the following:

“Motivation is what gets you started.

Habit is what keeps you going.”

I’m sure a lot of us Big Boys can relate to this.

It’s easy to get all excited about starting a new program at the gym. You buy awesome new sneakers. You organize a new iPod playlist. You check out BodyBuilding.com for the nouveau vogue workout of the month. You meticulously research on low-fat, protein-loaded meals to help build muscle and lose fat. You download MyFitnessPal onto your phone, so you can keep a calorie log of your daily meals.

How-to-count-caloriesMonth 1 goes by. So does the first 10 pounds.

Month 2 hits. You lose another 5 pounds.

And then you hit the wall. Your once-a-week cheats devolve into once-a-day binges. You start to forget the excitement and motivation that got you started, and reason to yourself, “Hey, I’ve been a good boy… I deserve this.”

That’s called “backsliding.”

That’s where I am right now. Still loving going to the gym, but losing the first burn of excitement that hit me when I signed up. A workout that used to take me a 45 minutes now drags out to an hour and half, mainly because I stall in between sets, or drag my feet around looking for an empty Internet station or an unoccupied easy chair to read a newspaper in.

Times like this, when the passionate first spark starts to fade, there’s just one thing that can keep you going.

Willpower.

It’s time to order myself, “I will do this. I will make a better me. I will no longer be an XL, but a gosh darned MEDIUM.”

Willpower.

As the classic poem “Invictus” goes, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”

I will do this.

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MDJ vs. The Man-Boobs

Those would look awful even on a chick.

Even worse than love handles, the most painful part of being an XL Dude like me are the man-boobs.

Man-boobs, or “moobs,” as they’re popularly (or unpopularly) called, are the unfortunate fat deposits that form over your pectoral muscles and inevitably lose the battle with gravity, causing a dude to look like a Baywatch star, and I’m not talking David Hasselhoff.

Sir Isaac Newton – 1, XL Dudes – 0.

Obviously, the best way to lose fat is to burn it, so part 1 of winning the Manboob Battle is to have a light salad once in a while, and do 25-40 minutes of good cardio 3-4 times a week.

But have you ever seen how a balloon looks when you let all the air out of it? It’s saggy, droopy, and all stretched out. That’s exactly what happens when you lose your pectoral fat, but don’t invest a bit of effort into shaping the underlying muscle.

That’s where lifting weights can help.

This is the chest workout I’m using to burn off my giant, gelatinous manboobs.

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1. Incline Bench Press

This exercise targets the upper pectoral muscles – roughly the area between your collarbone, and halfway down to your nipple. Building this area allows you to “cheat” having a great chest, especially when you’re in a t-shirt – it creates a “cliff” for the fabric to hang off of, giving the impression of mass and shape.

Normally, people like doing these towards the middle part of the workout, but given my terrible manboob affliction, I’ve decided to put it up front, so I can work my upper pecs hard and heavy, while I’m still fresh.

I normally do a quick warm-up set of 18-25 reps with a very light weight, then do three sets of 12-10-8 reps, adding additional weight each set (or, as Joe Weider calls it, “pyramiding”), working to fatigue each time. On my last set, as my upper pecs fatigue, I quickly drop off 5-kilograms on each side to be able to pump out more reps, then keep on progressively dropping more plates as fatigue hits, until I’m sweating and grunting for my 25th repetition with a naked bar.

It gives a fabulous burn, and makes you feel like a Greek god when you pull on your Spider-Man t-shirt afterwards.

You can do this with dumbbells too – it’s a bit trickier because you have to balance both sides individually, but gives a great stretch.

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2. Flat Bench Press

This is the bread and butter of any half-decent bodybuilder, and helps give overall fullness and mass to the total chest area, with a bit of impact on your front deltoids and triceps.

There really isn’t much to this exercise other than to just go for it.

I’ve seen a lot of dudes cheat on this exercise, not even letting the barbell all the way down for the sake of looking like they have a big bench. Don’t fall for that macho alpha male poser fluff – if it isn’t a weight you can’t comfortably allow to descend all the way to a finger’s width of your sternum, it’s too heavy.

One tip that helps me get through my final reps on each set, as I feel my pecs faltering is to squeeze the bar as hard I can. I read somewhere this recruits more muscles to help you keep pumping out the last few reps, and I’ve found it to be extremely effective.

I don’t do a warm-up set for this anymore, since I’m still pumped from the incline bench press, but still stick to the 12-10-8 pyramid sets.

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3. Decline Machine Press

It’s hard to find a gym that has a decline bench, so I’m stuck doing machine presses by default. But I think that works better for me, since I’ve always felt a bit awkward and wobbly doing barbell presses on a decline bench.

This is a really delicious exercise to be doing, since the machine guides the motion, so you can really just savor the push of each rep, and getting a really amazing squeeze at the peak of your press.

I like to go really, really slow on the decline machine press – each push lasts about 2 seconds, the squeeze on top lasts about a second, and I really slow down the descent to 3 seconds, just feeling the resistance pushing against my muscles.

Most dudes ignore any movements that target the lower chest, but I strongly advise against that. A well-developed lower chest is what gives separation and fullness from your ribcage, just like a WWE wrestler.

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4. Incline Chest Fly’s

This is the only sculpting exercise I do on my chest, since I feel that detailing moves like cable fly’s won’t do me much good until I’ve lost a significant enough amount of fat for the striations and veins to pop out form my chest. This particular motion gives an extra pump to the part of your chest connecting to your shoulders and armpit, and is probably my all-time favorite chest exercise.

I tend to go light with this exercise, partly because my chest is just on fire by this point, and partly because I like to get a really good spread at the bottom. I want to be able to control the weight all throughout, so I don’t tear up my rotator cuffs or anything.

I’ve seen guys struggle with this exercise, doing it completely wrong – they turn it into a press (pushing upwards motion), instead of a fly (sweeping squeezing motion). The best tip I read says that to perform this exercise properly is to imagine yourself hugging a giant tree.

I make sure not to clang the dumbbells at the top, too – that relieves your muscles of tension (which is not the point of working out!), and the momentum might cause you to go too fast on your downward motion and rip your arm off. Instead, I bring them within a millimeter of each other, and give one good squeeze before the descent.

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I hope to have some decent pictures of my chest to post in a couple of months. My manboobs aren’t exactly fit for public consumption just yet.

“M” is for “Manboobs,” apparently.

Got any other anti-manboob exercises you’d like to share?

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Willpower & Weight Loss

We all know that feeling – telling yourself, by gum, I’m on a diet, I’m suffering a great amount of emotional distress, but I’m sticking to it!

Sometimes, you have to be your own watchdog.

Five minutes later, someone peeks in through the door. “Hey guys! Free pizza!”

Away goes all the discipline, and you end  up wolfing down five slices of pizza in a span of fifteen minutes.

(This is a true story, by the way, and I’m not naming names, but if anyone asks if this is an autobiographical experience from four days ago, my only answer would be a very subdued “No comment.”)

And then you spend the rest of the day wallowing in anger and remorse, chastising yourself for that one moment of weakness that completely offset the muesli you had for breakfast and the 2-hour gym session from the night before.

This is the kind of moment where I need to remind myself of the one amazing piece of advice a friend gave me when it comes to dieting:

“The only thing worse than suffering… is regret.”

Remember: “XL” is the default when you’re weak and impulsive. “Medium” only comes with discipline and self-control.

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One Pound of Fat

I admit, I get depressed when I hop onto my deluxe Conair digital weighing scale (I know, I’m overcompensating, but please cut me some slack – fat boy on a mission here!), and see that I’ve only lost one pound.

I see that a lot on Twitter or Facebook too – friends who’ve invested two months of their lives into some fancy-pants fitness routine like CrossfitPlana FORMA, or TRX, and only lost one pound.

But I saw something today that made me realize that there is nothing “only” about losing one pound of fat. Behold:

Isn’t that nasty?

Just think of that next time you’re whining about how lame it is to be losing “just” one pound at a time. It isn’t as insignificant as it seems.

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I happen to be an expert on fat.

Some interesting facts on fat:

  • 1 pound of fat gained is roughly equivalent to 3,500 excess calories. A grande-sized Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream contains 400 calories. So if you have one thrice a week (and I have friends who do this), that’s over 16 pounds gained in a year! On the other hand, dropping your daily can of Coke (which is about 140 calories) means you lose over a pound a month! It’s really the small things that make a difference, so don’t get discouraged for one-time cheats on your diet!
  • 1 pound of muscle is much smaller than 1 pound of fat. Don’t believe me? Drop by the butcher’s section at your favorite supermarket, and ask them to slice you a pound’s worth of lean meat, and compare it to a pound’s worth of fat. A pound of fat is approximately the size of half a loaf of bread, while a pound of lean meat is about the size of a hamburger bun.Your scale may not be reflecting that great a drop in weight because you’re losing fat, while also gaining muscle – but visually, you’d appear to be leaner and trimmer. So don’t let the weighing scale be your guide – base your progress on how you fit into your clothes!
  • You can’t target a specific area of your body from which to reduce fat. So don’t believe that just doing endless crunches is going to give you abs, while ignoring the rest of your body covered in blubber and lard. You’ll be toning your abdominal muscles and making them pull tighter into your body, but if they’re still covered with fat, they won’t be visible. Losing fat is a full-body proposition, so don’t fall into the trap of focusing on just one area. You’re just fooling yourself with an optical illusion.

And that’s all I have to say about fat. I should know. I’m an expert, based on my years of extensive, intimate, personal (and occasionally tragic) experience with it.

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Adidas Crazy Light: Fat Feet Finally Find A Friend

I’ve been in the marketing profession for almost a decade now. And one thing I’ve learned is that when it comes to campaign materials, everything has to communicate; everything has to tell a story.

One of the most brilliant creatives I know always says, “First be clear, then be clever.”

It’s that rare and special case when you’re actually able to achieve both. Here’s one gorgeous example we spotted from the folks over at Adidas.

As a marketing professional, I love merchandise displays that tell a story.

As a lifelong Man of Girth, AKA Mr. Fluffyface McMuffintop, I’ve been cursed with a distinct lack of grace, athletic conditioning, and sleek aerodynamicism.

It isn’t my fault I’m fat, I wail at my physical trainer on his three-hours-and-running attempt to coach me through my 4th situp. I can’t jog because my feet are too fat and heavy to lift!

Which is why I completely adore the window display Adidas came up with for their Crazy Light series of Adizero athletic shoes.

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There’s a lot of copy going on about how each shoe weighs just 9.5 ounces. For perspective, that’s just a little bit over than half a pound.

But really, all that boring marketingspeak is completely unnecessary. The creative treatment says everything that needs to be said about the shoes.

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The damn shoes are lifting off by themselves, is the story you get in just two seconds of appreciating the display. They’re too light for even gravity to keep them down to the ground! We had to spend an extravagant amount on concrete blocks just to weigh them down and keep them from floating into the sky, potentially disrupting the flight path of a Cebu Pacific airplane skimming cheerfully to Tuguegarao!

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Spectacularly sharp messaging, and an overall magnificent use of the medium. My fat feet have finally found the friend they need to help them blast off and achieve new heights to my pathetic 4″ vertical leap.creative’s

This Adidas Crazy Light campaign is just crazy brilliant.

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Memories of a 32-inch Waistline

Once upon a time, I was a sexy man.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I was once a 14, instead of the 8 that I am today.

It was amazing, liberating, and very reaffirming to be able to ask for size-32 jeans and medium-sized shirts when I’d do my shopping, and even more heartwarming to know that I could cinch my belt tight without worrying about muffin-topping over the waistband of my pants.

But that was 4 years ago.

The two years that I spent in the advertising industry were hell on my SQ (sexy-time quotient). The late nights, the sisig therapy lunches, the midnight fast-food runs – all of these things took their toll on my slim-and-trim figure, and it doesn’t help that I currently work in a place where free-flowing Oreos and Tang and Tiger Energy Biscuits and Cheez Whiz permeate practically every single meeting.

I’ve put on 48 pounds in the 4 years since then.

That’s literally a pound increase each month.

That’s the weight of 24 Christmas hams.

That’s the raw meat equivalent of almost 200 Quarter Pounders.

I really miss those days but can find neither the time, discipline, metabolic rate, nor hate for pizza that I had in my lean and mean era.

Richard Gutierrez once asked if he could have a picture taken with me in Embassy (“Hi, excuse me, are you THE legendary MDJ Superstar with the 32-inch waistline?”), and I’m 73% sure Raymond quite possibly keeps a print-out of it in his wallet.

Can you tell me how to go back?

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Even Werewolves Need Body Doubles: The Deception of Team Jacob

So we all know that New Moon is pure adolescent sexual napalm.

With all the greased-up abs and sweaty, shirtless action scenes, it’s like watching a gothic Sweet Valley adventure ever-so-gently blended in with a Calvin Klein Spring/Summer underwear fashion shoot.

Francine Pascal would be so proud.

Sure, we get it, werewolves are outdoorsy; they like frolicking around in fields, slaughtering large helpless mammals for giggles, and bounding over streams and stuff, so of COURSE they’re going to be naturally buff and ripped and brawny.

And you have to admit, Taylor Lautner, the dude who plays Jacob, President of the Baby Oil Boys Club, is one Mr Fine Universe. He’s so pumped, even his abs have abs.

Except, as it turns out, in some of the movie’s collateral materials, they weren’t really his abs…

Nice Photoshop work, New Moon marketing dudes. If it weren’t for the little bit of tighty-whitey garter peeking ouf Jacob’s jeans’ waistband, I would have been forced to give you a grudging slow clap…

Spotted this on the PhotoshopDisasters blog. Those boys rule.

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Lasik – A Superstar’s Path To Freedom & My Little Pony Bikinis

I’m really thinking about getting laser surgery done.

I’m really sick of having hairy armpits…

Just kidding. I’m talking about getting LASIK for my eyes, and it’s something I’ve been wanting for years now.

I’ve always been a fat, slovenly, socially-inept kid, and I suppose one of the big reasons I was never into sports while I was growing up was because my eyesight was so damn terrible. I could run around, sure, but fielding a baseball or spotting up for a 3-point basketball shot was an exercise in futility. I liked staying in, drawing, reading my Little House On The Prairie books (Laura Ingalls Wilder FTW!), and mucking around on MS-DOS.

I was a dork.

And I didn’t like wearing my eyeglasses much. Even when my mum sprung for a cool-beans pair of specs that folded up into a pocketable little square, kind of like the Transformers, but distinctively less cool.

I’m now 29 years old, and much more secure in my dorkhood.

I don’t see wearing glasses so much as a social curse as an opportunity to assert my offbeat, quirky, yet incredibly lovable and winning personality.

But I think the time has come for me to escape the binding oppression of a Life With Glasses, and graduate into a brave new world of 20/20 vision.

LASIK is for me.

I must admit that my motivations for wanting perfect eyesight are less than noble.

I want to be able to wear shades at the beach and not have to squint to check out the hot barely legal Cebuana schoolgirls frolicking around in their My Little Pony bikinis.

I want to be able to pull up outside a club and be able to nonchalantly step out of my car without having to worry about eyeglasses fogging up.

I want to be able to wake up at 4 in the morning to pee, and be able to see the stream of steaming golden liquid shimmer delicately in the flickering fluorescent light.

I want to see the world as it really is, and not just as it kind-of-sort-of-blurrily is.

LASIK is the key.

This is it.

Let’s see how this goes.

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Jose Mari Chan – The Ultimate He-Man Sex Panther of the 1990s

People may argue that the true contenders for the title of Ultimate He-Man Sex Panther of the 1990s were such traditional macho ladykillers as Jestoni Alarcon, Christopher De Leon, and Richard Gomez.

How indeed could any self-respecting 1990s dalagang bukid resist the magnetic pull of a Speedo-and-boldstar-bigote combination like this?

And then you have aberrations, like the goofy-grinning, jug-eared Jose Mari Chan.

Gifted neither with conventional good looks nor your typical alpha-male “oozing machismo” sex appeal, it’s hard to argue with the quality of ladies he would bag in his music videos. Sheryl Cruz. Sharon Cuneta. Vilma Santos. Regine Velasquez. If you’re in the 1990s, those four made up the mythical Mount Rushmore of Most Desireable Leading Ladies whose So-en panties any man should aspire to get into.

Say what you will, but Tetchie Agbayani, Carmi Martin, Dawn Zulueta, and Anjanette Abayari just cannot hold a candle to those four.

Jose Mari Chan was the man. Despite the Dumbo ears and shit-eating smile, he made it with the ladies in a way that nobody else could have. Unconfirmed rumors in fact suggest that good ol’ JMC engaged not just in raunchy monkey sex with these vivacious vixens, but did so all at the same time*.

Forget ménage-a-troix, this man was good for a four-pack.

Ultimate He-Man Sex Panther of the 1990s?

He may not have had the Speedo-filling swollen physiques that the original bigote boys of the 1990s had, but when you boil things down to the rawest results, it’s hard to deny that Jose Mari Chan, the Chinky-Eyed Czar of Cherry-Poppin’, brought home not just the bacon, but every last “Beautiful Girl” upon whom he sets his eyes.

* Attributed to shady yet intensely good-looking Internet resource operating under the nom-de-plume “MDJ Superstar.”

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If You Want To Be Sexy, You Have To Sweat A Little (Not To Mention Grunt, Groan, and Cry Once In A While)

I have a new physical trainer at my new gym, Gold’s Gym Alabang. His name is Froiland.

He looks something like this, only not as pleasant.

Demon

He’s brutal, ripped, and unusually cruel – he makes me do painful, unusual things on machines with such strange names as a “treadmill” and a “stationary bike.”

He’s also brutally frank, and took my vital statistics to prove a point. I’m obviously not in the best of shape, as I’m shaped more like a Coke can than a Coke bottle. (In the meantime, let’s not debate on why a rugged, manly dude such as myself would want to shape like a Coke bottle, to begin with…)

Vital Stats

I’m extremely lopsided, based on these numbers. My right side outmeasures my left side by half an inch for most bodyparts.. no wonder my clothes fit funny.

Froiland has his heart set on turning me into the second coming of Ravishing Rick Rude. He says it’s for my health, but I think he just likes the thought of “accidentally” teabagging me as he spots me on my bench press…

My workout is divided into three days. Here’s how Day One (Shoulders & Legs) looks.

Day 1

He expects me to finish all of these in an hour-and-a-half. Right.

Day Two (Back & Biceps) is slightly easier, but is still a pain to get through. I’ve always had a strong back and biceps though, so I expect I’ll be able to just breeze through this day.

Day 2

Day 3 is for Chest & Triceps, and looks like the most fun.

Day 3

The one thing I don’t like from this program (apart from all the cardio, which I really do, but hate every step of the way!) is the little addendum he tacked on at the end. He says I have to do this too, on top of the 3-day split:

Day 4

I swear to God, it’s a joke asking MDJ Superstar to do such undignified, un-cool things as freaking abdominal crunches. I don’t think I’ve done those in years. But alas, I must obey, despite the unglamorous side effects of doing crunches, such as grunting, groaning, sobbing a little bit inside, and just overall sounding like “a cow with intestinal gas” (based on feedback heard from innocent bystanders).

I no longer want to argue with people that I am in shape – the caveat being that round certainly counts as a shape.

I no longer want to insist that I am just “big-boned” – with the caveat this time being that my stomach simply has a big tummy bone.

I want to be fit, I want to be ripped, and most importantly I want to be loved and wanted for my body more than for my mind.

Because at the end of the day, that’s what being a Superstar is really all about.

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