The Art of Mastery

John Butz posted up a great article today called  Genetics and Hard Work By Mike Tuchscherer .  He made a great point that despite genetics, what makes a champion athlete is hard work.  Author Malcom Gladwell wrote that “it takes 10,000  hours of dedicated practice” to be a achieve mastery in his book, Outliers. And the most fantastic thing is that I’ve been thinking about this earlier this morning – what makes a winner?

Prior to discovering my passion of fitness, I have been involved in numerous activities – from art to piano playing to programming to bowling, etc. When interest catches my attention, I tend to focus. And with the sharp focus, I would spend hours on end trying to master what it is that I’m focusing on. In turn, my artworks have been displayed in galleries and gained an AA degree even before I finished high school.  I’ve performed in orchestras, recitals, and invited to study in the prestigious Westminster. I’ve won many science, programming, and mathematical awards. And I was on top of the bowling team. Many would say I’m lucky that I’m so multifaceted. But I don’t think it’s because of that. Indeed, having an affinity for learning helps. But bottom line, it’s hard work, dedication, and simply pursuing your passion is what’s going to shake the world. To make a mark anywhere, you have to have the courage to think outside the box and really focus on what you love.

Lately, I have been focused in juggling work, training, and school.  But what’s new?  I’ve been doing this for some time.  However, I have taken an additional responsibility at work while we find another printing/graphics designer to fill the position.  Life feels out-of-balanced since I’ve spent so much time at work and not enough attending to many different parts of my life.

And what’s more, I promised my sister that I’ll take care of her dogs while she’s away for a couple of weeks to Europe with her husband.  They’re great dogs. But I’m just not used to having to wake up extra early or come home earlier than usual. It threw off my schedule. But instead of wallowing in self-pity of what I put myself into, I decided to make it work. So with working overtime, taking care of dogs, training, and trying to squeeze in school in between has been challenging. But I love challenges!

Last night, I went to the gym to hit my hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, and back.

Here’s the workout:

  • Leg Extensions
  • Stiff-legged Deadlifts with Barbell
  • Leg Curls
  • Stiff-legged Deadlifts with Kettlebell
  • Calf Presses
  • One-legged Reverse Lunges on the Smith Machine
  • Pull-Ups
  • Cardio: Stair Master

It felt awesome seeing my leg muscles twitch! Yes, break them apart so they’ll grow nice and big. 😀 (I’m mean to my legs)

My carb intake has taken a plunge to 90g per day.  I like it much better because it’s more feasible. I don’t feel as bloated

My biggest feat right now is losing 3″ off my waist!!! Woohoo! I’m losing inches a lot faster than I thought!!! So I may have to readjust my suit a bit O.o But that’s ok! I’ll be coming in tighter!!!

When was the last time I’ve said, I LOVE JUGGERNAUT! I’m still with my favorite babe – Juggernaut HP Pink Lemonade.  Even with Juggernaut Raspberry Lemonade on board, I can’t stray too far from my fave.  I’m really loving the Infinite Force. However, I’m thinking of making a switch back to BCAA.  They give me far better results during cutting time. Then, I can’t wait to try the watermelon-flavored Infinite Force.  I’m also getting Final Cutz this time around – see which is better Phenyl Core or Final Cutz… dun dun dun.

My manager is M-E-A-N!!! He knows I’m on a diet and just HAS to bring this to work!  I took a pic of it b/c it lasts longer sans the extra calories, fat, and spiking of the insulin! Good thing smelling them isn’t too bad… 😀

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Busy? No Stress!

Life has just gotten more interesting lately. I hardly have any room to relax aside to go to sleep. But things have picked up to cater to my more ambitious side.  Currently, I have been working at least 60 hours per week.  I’ve also been using the weekends as times to work on my freelance projects.  Along the way, I have also managed to squeeze in my 6 short essays and 1 long essay that is being required from school per week.  However despite being this busy, I’m more energized to keep going with my figure training and get ready to join my fellow Juggernauts in Vegas.

To assist with my busy schedule, I’ve been using a lot of supersets to assist in making the most out of my training sessions for less amount of time.  I have also been doing touch-up exercises (which means hitting 4 sets of my weak spots right after training and before cardio).  Another technique that Joe SWAT always emphasize is hold and squeeze.  It’s so effective that it’s not even funny. Aside from the training sessions with my trainers, I’ve been concentrating on touching up on my shoulders, back, and abs as of late.

I’ve been liking this super-set lately: Wide-grip pullups and Wide-grip late pull downs. I’ve also been using cable back rows with dumbbell back rows.  Then do a clean-and-press to finish off.

I’ve dropped my diet down to 15g of carbs per meal.  I’ve still been maintaining 140g of protein and 28g of fat.  I don’t what it is about carbs and me.  It makes me bloat so I have to always be careful of when I should be eating them.  Making sure that I drink my gallon of water and getting 6 hours of sleep prove to assist with the bloating.

I’ve been also CRAVING ice cream. MmmMMmmMmmmm…. I think it’s mainly because it’s summer and I love a great cold treat. So to help out with this, I would whip up my Infinite Labs vanilla whey protein and pour it in my popsicle containers for a tasty protein-packed treat. Or I’ll have my Infinite Force slushies that I need to be drinking anyways for recovery. Can we say ahhh….

To also help fuel me, I’ve been using my well-loved Juggernaut HP Pink Lemonade paired with Juggernaut Raspberry Lemonade.  Such a yummy treat to look forward to before a training session! Got to say, it’s been giving me some great results.  My shoulders are starting to shape up!

And of course the best way to beat the stress – laughter.  surround yourself with people who can make you laugh. 🙂

Physical vs. Mental

Whew, talk about being mentally drained.  Recently, the responsibilities of our graphic designer were added to my daily duties at work.  Moreover, I must quickly learn new skills that envelop printing in which I have minimal exposure in. I do not shirk in having the opportunity to learn.  However, when I have to meet deadlines for a huge project and scattered little projects that needs to be completed soon, the additions leave me overwhelmed.

Taking a step back, I can at least see the humor in my situation.  I have been known to be able to carry through high intensity training at the gym.  And yet at the end of the night, I feel exhilarated that I have gone through whereas most would have quit.  In other words, I can handle being physically drained better than being mentally drained.

Working for 11 hours straight with only 20 mins. of rest time to rush to the bank and come back before I receive any new visitors in my office created a mere dent in the duration of the day.  Thank goodness that I have my meals on hand and a timer to remind me of my intervals or else I’ll be skipping meals too.

After work, I still had assignments to hand in for class.  So I quickly wrote my discussion posts, commented on my fellow classmates’ posts, and handed in my class introduction.  I was not very happy at this point to find out that I also had a paper to hand in.

It was already 8:30 by the time I left to get to the gym. Much to my dismay, I was told that I’m not working out enough and have to be stricter on my diet.  Which I must admit have sent me to the edge a bit since I felt that I didn’t need to have someone looking over my shoulder every step of the way to make sure that I’m doing what I have to do. I know that I’ve been doing my workouts 6x a week and been on top of nutrition.  I had to tell myself, “You know what? You know what you had to do. And you did.  That’s the only person that you need to report to.”

I received a message from someone who was ranting on how they felt that girls with 6-pack is too “manly” and that they must be taking steroids.  I explained to her that through proper diet and exercise, she can too have a six-pack.  However, it is unfair to be making fun of others who have different preferences on how they would like to look like.  She inquired if I felt discouraged if someone did cheat in the sport.  Into which my reply became, “that just makes the prize that much sweeter if I won without cheating.”

Another conversation with someone else also populated in my thoughts during my drive.  I was amazed to find out that the individual who won overall in one of the divisions is employed in my gym.  When one of the staff members came by, I asked if the overall trophy belongs to one of the other staff members.  To this question, he said, “Yes. But you know what? I can do that too. I just don’t want to. I don’t have time to be doing all that he’s been doing and have to be strict on a diet? No way.” I replied to him that he’s talking about someone who is my kind – who’s been dedicated, passionate, and disciplined.

“Just because you cannot do the same, do not curse at someone else who would do what s needed to win that trophy.  You may not want to do a show and be openly criticized on stage, have to be compared with every other person who worked hard in their physique and nutrition. However, their work is nothing less than admirable. You too can do what they’ve done. But, it does require dedication, discipline, and motivation from your part. “

I can be cut-throat sometimes. It is especially shocking when I’m normally agreeable.  However, the negativity that others assess towards athletes in the sport can get into my skin from time to time.

Sometimes, it’s very challenging being an extrovert since your motivation is normally derived from external factors.  It has its pros and cons.  And the biggest con is when you had too much dose of negativity, you’ve taken a hard hit.  It’s an even faster route of being mentally drained.

I started my ab workout last night. However, I succumbed into my loss of concentration.  I’ve been utilizing the hold and squeeze methods to give me the results that I need.  So after 30 mins, I finally just went home.

Well, after a much-needed rest, I came back to the gym this morning to finish off my ab workout and had a fasted AM cardio. Look out world! Lilmzchief is finally awake again 🙂

A quick, delicious way of eating spinach: sauté spinach, thinly sliced red onions, and chopped pepperocini in a medium-sized sauce pan.  Sprinkle with Bragg Organic Sprinkle Seasoning (doesn’t have salt). Enjoy!

Sauteed Spinach

Why SO Serious???

As I was getting ready to head out to work after a fasted AM cardio, I had a huge smile in my face and feeling very relieved that I prepared my week’s worth of meals and clothes yesterday. Then a conversation I had to with someone went through my head – “You make life seem so easy that people don’t think how much hard work you put into it.” It amazes me that anyone would think that I got it easy since I have such huge hurdles to jump through, forces that have set me back, and cuts and bruises that I proudly show off.  My optimistic views are not always embraced. But I have to finally admit that it works for me. So next time, I’ll be quicker with my remark – “I work very very hard to make life seem easy because everyone already knows how hard life is.  And that’s not going to allow me to inspire someone else to be better.”

This weekend has been action-packed.  Which made me appreciate that Sunday was a day to help me preparing for the entire week and has been a little bit more relaxed.  I rushed to posing practice last Friday, missing out on the information about figure.  However, I decided to stay after the seminar and ended up with a 1-on-1 with the judges to see how I can improve my poses.  Cat has been really great in making me believe in myself and look into “being myself” on stage.

After the clinic, I bumped into bodybuilding champion, Don Long. He’s currently a coach and a few of his athletes are competing for the show.  Admittedly, I’m still rather new in the world of bodybuilding, fitness, figure, and bikini. So I didn’t recognize him. However, he did sit down to give me some advice on how to improved. It’s always refreshing to know that people within the sport look out for each other.  Well, as I say knowledge is powerful but if knowledge is put into action, you get results. So I was excited to make use of his advice.

It was great to see so many athletes getting ready to compete so early in the morning.  I volunteered to and was assigned to help out the girls do some touchups at the back. But ended up floating around, asking everyone if they needed help.  So ended up handing flyers, helping girls put on makeup, grease up a few competitors, helped separate general admission from VIP, ran around looking for ice for one of the athletes who had a dumbbell drop on her toe, and calming down a couple of athletes about getting on stage.  I having the opportunity to develop new friendships, cheering the hard work everyone has done for a few weeks, and congratulating the winners. Moreover, I also got to meet Keith, Jessie, Jonny, and IFBB Pro Candice Keene in person. And of course, cheer for Hope and Ty.

Infinite Labs must have done a great job promoting since I had a few athletes stop me to talk about how they’ve used Juggernaut. I got excited talking to some people about the Juggernaut Challenge. I hope they’ll sign up and get involved too!!!

Apart from food and clothes preparation day, Sunday was also grocery shopping, training, and cleaning day.

The biggest advantage of having such a busy life is that it doesn’t give much room to think up of ways how everything can go wrong but rather think up on how to get everything to flow together and get the results that’s needed.  Life’s too short to be serious all the time. Maybe I should turn this question around and ask, what do you do that you should be serious all the time? Probably not much.

Backstage with Hope Trask

Juggernauts

Video

Juggernaut Winners

I was going through my I Am Juggernaut log today – lilmzchief and found out that IFBB Pro Joe Palumbo (a.k.a. Joe SWAT) posted up the video for the Juggernaut winners:

As usual, Rick gave me a “JUGGERNAUT” training.  We hit practically everything. No wonder it took 2 hours.

Training:

  • Clean and Press
  • Skull Crushers
  • Triceps Chest Press
  • Lat Pull-Downs
  • Triceps Cable Extensions
  • Leg Curls
  • Donkey Kicks
  • Lateral & Front Riases
  • Triceps Cable Press
  • Triceps Dumbbell Press
  • Sumo Squats
  • One-Legged Step-Up with Dumbbells

Let me just say that being upside-down on the inversion table was heaven and gave me a great stretch!

Nutrition:

  • Eggs + Oatmeal + Cinnamon + Coconut Oil
  • Chicken + Green Beans
  • Eggs + Green beans + Coconut Oil
  • Chicken + Greenbeans
  • Whey + Oatmeal + Cinnamon
  • Chicken + Green beans
  • Supplements: Phenyl-Core, L-Carnitine, Cyclo REM, Infinite Force
  • Pre-workout: Juggernaut HP.

Macros:

Carbs: 48g
Protein: 140g
Fats: 28g

I came across a great article about Annie Glenn.  Who would have thought that she had such a struggle in her life?

Who is John Glenn’s Hero?

 

I AM JUGGERNAUT!!!

I can finally say it, “I AM JUGGERNAUT!!!”  It took me awhile to realize that I’m looking at my own name in the list of winners for the I Am Juggernaut Challenge – Olympiad Portion.  Then I turned to my co-worker and said, “Hey man, I’m going to Vegas.  Remember the Juggernaut challenge that I keep tell you about? Well, I’m one of the Juggernauts heading to Las Vegas.” Then congratulations came pouring in and I’m starting to wake up from my sleepy state from the weekend’s physical activities.  FINALLY – OMG!!! WOW, DID THIS REALLY JUST HAPPENED?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It took a lot of thank yous from my end to finally come into acceptance. Yep. I’m officially going. This is the reality.  Congrats, lilmzchief. 🙂

Let me tell you, the excitement was overwhelming.  I didn’t know who to answer first and what to say. I’m absolutely floored.  Wow, all of that hard work – training, time doing the logs, helping another Juggernaut, dreaming of creative ideas to post up in my logs, answer questions and comments, entering the Juggernaut contests, promoting my log, talking what Juggernaut is all about, etc. Well, ok, it’s not work. Because I had fun doing it 🙂  But everything did take a lot of time.  Forced me into mastering time management though 😉

Looking back at the old pictures, I came across a pic that I made back in April:
lilmzchief

I suppose visualizations really do work.  Well, it did for me anyways.  But I couldn’t do any of this without my fellow Juggernauts 🙂

Now, I’m really excited! Didn’t know how to break it to my manager since we’re in a time crunch already.  Being the only web designer has its pros and cons.  And one of the cons include not having someone else to cover you when you need to take off!  But he gave me permission so no worries in that end.

And so… vegas… here come the JUGGERNAUTS!!!

Las Vegas

Video

Rest Day Sunday

Stopped by Downtown Disney and spent time with my brother and his girlfriend.  And of course, need to stop by my favorite store, The Lego Store!!!  Always make me reminescense the days when I opted to build blocks over playing house.  Then we ended up watching Ice Age. It’s a funny movie but I think my body was so exhausted from Sat that it took the opportunity of me just sitting down as a way to make me go ZzzzzzzzZZZZZzzz. Caught the last half though 🙂

Afterwards, I headed to the gym to do the 120 mins of cardio that I said I would for Nike’s “Find Your Greatest” event.  This event is meant to encourage individuals to be more active and do what they don’t normally do.  Since I already went all out the day before, I have to find something that’s doable yet challenging. Burned more than 1000+ calories.  SCORE!!!  No worries, I made sure to take a lot of BCAA and eat a lot of protein 😉

Nutrition:
Meal #1: Egg white omlette with chicken, mushroom, spinach, and onions
Meal #2: Chicken, avocado, and brown rice
Meal #3: Chicken and spinach
Meal #4: Chicken, green beans, and couscous
Meal #5: Eggs and green beans
Meal #6: Eggs and green beans
Pre-workout: Juggernaut Raspberry Lemonade
Supplements: Infinite Force, Carnatine MTX, Phenyl-Core, and Cyclo REM
Macros:
Carbs: 55g
Protein: 158g
Fats: 28g

The announcement of the winners of the I Am Juggernaut Challenge is the next day. Who would be able to sleep with that in mind???!!!

Here’s the video the training video for shoulders:

Shoulder training with the Original Juggernaut, Joe Palumbo (a.k.a. Joe SWAT)