Happy New Years!

It’s the first day of 2013 and I had a great time spending it with my fiancée and friends.

Went to Kevin’s house and had some good food and good times playing ‘Just Dance’ on the Wii, Taboo and Arkham Horror.

So it’s the new year and times for reflection and preparation for the things to come.

Have you counted your blessings? Planned out your next adventures?

A lot of changes have occurred over 2012, I got engaged to Elena, did some photo shoots and also started thinking about my future careers and hobby projects I’ve started on and would like to accomplish in the new year.

It’s also good to be reminded and give thanks for the things we take for granted on a daily basis. The health of our bodies as well as our loved ones. The simple act of being able to breathe unassisted is an ability that I’m sure most of everyone has taken for granted on more than one occasion. I know I have.

Another thing I also take for granted are my parents, I hope that we can continually work to strengthen our relationship regardless of how busy we get or the distances that separate us. May 2013 be a year of new and re-newed relationships.

I want to be thankful for the friendships I’ve made and the friendships I’ve been able to strengthen. I think it’s a bit of a testament to my intentional act to build better relationships. I hope that 2013 will hold more opportunities that I do not miss.

2013 is also the year when I’ll get married, so it will definitely be a big change to my life and to my ‘family’ as I go from being an only child to having brothers and sisters. I pray that such a large transition will go smoothly.

I hope everyone was able to have a safe and celebrated New Years with the people they love.

Cheers to 2013!

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I Work Out.

Epic Handshake

Ahhh Arnold. After all theses years he’s still the man of one-liners and iconic actions. One of them being the above ‘Handshake’ with Dillon (Carl Weathers) in Predator. I know a few of my friends who have wanted to be able to do that Epic Handshake, and I gotta say, I’m one of them as well.

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, I’ve started a new diet and have been working out more frequently to get into better shape for my upcoming wedding and for overall good health.

Adam, one of my buddies from church and a professional personal trainer introduced me to Carb Nite Solution and I’ve been doing it ever since September when my parents left for Malaysia. Ever since the start of the diet I’ve also been increasing my gym times from 3-4 times a week. I’ve lost an overall 30+ pounds and have made some gains in muscle mass and strength.

So far, I’ve split my workouts over a 4 day period.

1st Day: Back and Biceps

2nd Day: Shoulder and Legs

3rd Day: Chest and Triceps

4th Day: Abdominals

I’ve upload most of my exercises on my Body Space at BodyBuilding.com and used to do a lot (like 20+) of exercises per session.

I’ve been recently tweaking and cutting out exercises now so I don’t spend the 2-3 hours per session and I’ve cut it down to about 6-10 exercises after my warm up.

Every session starts up with a warm up of: jump rope, jumping jacks, glute bridges, hip flexors, pushups, spidermans, shoulder rotations, quadruped thoracic rotations, body squats and some time on the foam roller.

More of less I mixed and matched a few items from these two sites:

http://www.roglawfitness.com/the-minimalist-guide-to-mobility/

http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2012/01/09/warm-up/

I’m starting to really like using the jump rope, it’s always rewarding to be able to jump rope both faster and for longer periods of time without stopping or getting caught up in the ropes. Though I have whipped myself a number of times with the speed rope which hurts like crazy. I’m hoping soon enough I’ll be able to do more advance jump rope, like the double hops and arm crossovers.

I definitely need to work on my biceps as I can do pretty heavy weights on the chest and shoulder exercises, but my curls are still quite low weight. Today I read an article on Arnold and his workout and it really inspired me. I don’t think I’ll be doing 15+ sets per exercise like him, but I definitely want to try out the small additional techniques he mentioned for each move so maybe I can get some Himalayan Mount Kinabalu peaks on my arms too 😛

One day I will be able to do that ‘Epic Handshake.’ One can hope anyways 🙂

Wedding Stuff

So its December 2012 and there’s still a ways to go before my wedding in the summer of 2013.

It seems like a long time, but I thought that a few months back when we were planning to make the invitations by December and here December is!

To go along with the theme we’ve chosen and to be smart with our money, my Fiancee (Elena) and I are trying to do the DIY wedding thing wherever we can. Three days ago, we started the card making process. Brenda (Elena’s sister), a demonstator for ‘Stampin Up’ gave us a bunch of stuff to use to make the invitations. We went through  all the card stock so far and have embossed them with a wood grain pattern. Each of them done by yours truly. I’m thinking the cards will look pretty sweet and I hope they turn out as well as we both planned them out to look like in our minds.

Wood Grain Paper - The Fruits of my Labour

My main focus for the wedding day is to help out with preparations where ever I can (such as card making), work out, get fit and look good for the wedding day. Most of the ideas and planning sprout out of Elena’s mind.

She has already created a dress from scratch for one of our photo shoots and plans to make a few more before the wedding. She is a professional make-up artist and I’m happy for her that she is starting to get recognized more and more for the great work she has done.

Not only does she hold a steady teaching career and does make-up when booked, she is also very active on her blog site and has posted some of her make-up work as well as some of the DIY stuff she made for our wedding.

A truly talented and hard working person! Check out her site at: http://elenatsang.com/.

She was the one that inspired me to start this blog in the first place, so that I have a place to put my thoughts and (hopefully soon) have some thing to share that will interest others.

I think for now there will most likely be lots of posts about working out and wedding stuff as that is most of the major items that take up my time aside from work (and job hunting). I’m also thinking of sharing about my more recent interests in board gaming and why I’ve taken to its draw over video games. Stay tuned for new posts!

The Things I Do Now

So recently I’ve been on a massive change in my dieting and exercise habits and I have to say it’s been going well.

The initial motivation was two fold, one was so that I looked good for my upcoming wedding and two, for my overall health. Though I weighed in at 235 lbs, I can say I was relatively lucky to carry the weight around quite well without ‘too’ many rolls here and there. It was definitely distressing for me that after doing the simple Body Mass Index (BMI) that I landed in the range of “OBESE” (Background sound effect ‘DUN DUN DUNNNNN!’ of all old school horror flicks). It was then that I decided that I can’t just do what I’ve been doing and hope that something magically changes about my body. So I started working…

My buddy (whose a personal trainer) told me of a “new” diet that is actually really a summarization of thousands of diet research (so I guess it’s actually an “old” diet) called Carb Nite Solution (CNS). – which is basically a moderate fat/protein diet with super-low carbs ( <30 grams of carbs a day).

My initial weight was 235 lbs. at my max in August, 2012 after my decadent living in Las Vegas, but after adopting a healthier eating habit dropped to about 225-228 lbs.

I started CNS about 3 months ago during the start of September and cut out the carbs in my diet…and dang was it hard. For those that know me, they’d know I love rice…and I mean LOVE it. You know those Chinese 12 course meals where they serve at weddings (or fancy occasions) and don’t have rice until about the last dish? I usually ask for a bowl of white rice for myself so I can enjoy all the dishes as they should be enjoyed…with rice. Cutting out carbs also meant  cutting out sugars as well as starchy vegetables and fruit. When you stop to think about it, this makes eating out very difficult, almost every dish is served on top of the foundations of either rice, noodles or potatoes. It definitely wasn’t too fun to eat out anymore and I’ve had my fair share of raised eyebrows from people close to me, but the madness definitely had a method and the method worked.

I can proudly report that as of tonight, Dec 6, 2012 I weigh in at 202.8 lbs.

This of course was due to the diet change as well as exercising at the gym. For me I really started to amp my time at the gym from 2-3 days/week to about 4 days/week. I’ve been quite happy as I’ve started to really figure out the muscle groups I want to work as a whole so that my overall fitness level is strengthened. I’m also trying to ensure that my exercises are working opposing muscles (e.g. the biceps and triceps) so that I reach a physiological “balance.” I really realized the importance of the “balance,” after learning how to squat properly. I’ve been suffering from knee problems for a long time and I was told my Quads were too tight and putting strain my my knees. So I stretched and stretched, but my knees still hurt.  After starting to work on my legs with the proper, deeper squats and deadlifts, I believe the strengthening of my Hamstrings has reduce the uneven pull of the upper leg muscles and I can slowly feel the knees become less and less pained day after day.

I hope to provide periodic progress updates for my own accountability and hopefully people will be encouraged to go and make their own necessary lifestyle changes. I’m currently also signed into BodyBuilding.com under the user jtf604 for keeping track of my progress as well as being connected to a community that can provide exercise ideas. If you’re in the BB.com community drop by my page to say Hello.