This blog is about a young man’s journey to be the best he can be, inspired by Adam Waters’ Real-Time-Physique blog.
Growing up, I was considered the “smart” boy in the family, the last of three brothers. Smart to the point of being just short of ‘nerdy” – I was often entered and won in inter-school (even national) quiz contests. My interests were in science, math and writing in the English language (we’re at least bilingual in the Philippines from childhood). Later on, I developed an aptitude for playing the piano. I was so focused on my mental aspect, that I didn’t develop any liking for sports. While every other boy in school played basketball (which is big in my country), at best I only liked shooting from the free throw line; I didn’t like running around with the ball and always passed the ball at the first opportunity. I did like being in the water, but my “swimming” was limited to a few strokes here and there; it was more because I liked cooling off from the warm weather, and going to the pool in my country is usually something you do with family, like a picnic once or twice a year.
My brothers were a lot more physical than I was. They played football (soccer) and engaged in martial arts. In high school, they even became officers in the Citizen’s Army Training corps (we have compulsory military training in senior year of high school), which is preceded by a year of training (staring junior year). It was a big thing in an all-boys school. The “cool” guys were either CAT officers, or athletes. I was envious of my brothers’ status, and decided to become a model cadet when I got to senior year. Model cadets do a lot more training compared to ordinary cadets, since the “models” are the ones who compete in drills and other military competitions.
It was literally the first time I pushed myself in the physical sense. Saturdays were spent in training the whole day. At first I had difficulty with the physical training – I could not do even 1 pullup, and there were times I felt like fainting after doing a few laps of the track. But I pushed on (my brothers would have laughed at me if I quit) and got through. Being “intellectual”, the skill I excelled at the most turned out to be map reading! I enjoyed the discipline instilled in me by my year as a model cadet, and felt pretty proud of myself for achieving something outside of my “core” strengths.
When I went to university to pursue an engineering degree, I found that the military training (compulsory for males in the first and second years) was a joke, so I didn’t get regular exercise and started getting fat again. In my second year, I picked up weights for the first time in our school gym. The gym instructor was a former Mr. Philippines, and he looked awesome! I pushed myself in the gym trying to get bigger and to lose weight, but after training, I often blew it all off by getting a Big Mac and fries. So after about a year of lifting weights, I didn’t see much progress physically, and just basically went through the motions.
By the time I graduated and started working, I was only going to the gym once or at most twice a week, and at times went through months without lifting any weights. So therein started a cycle of going to the gym for a few months, losing interest, going again, then losing interest again. There was no consistency, and no real plan. No plan means I was basically treading water.
I found a job in a big multinational company producing microchips for personal computers. My job had me at my desk the whole day, and it took a good part of my day commuting to and from work. I didn’t find a balance between work and life. I did try going to the gym a few times, but just like before, wasn’t consistent and kept stopping and starting. Even after moving to another job (as a software application specialist) closer to where I live, things didn’t improve much fitness-wise.
At some point, my second brother started going cycling. I decided I wanted to do so too, bought my own bike, then went cycling almost every week. However, just like with every other physical pursuit, I soon lost interest and cycled less and less.
Once a nice local gym opened in July 2006, I took the opportunity and signed up. Instead of a “pay as you go” scheme with most gyms around here, this one forced you to pay ahead of time, for a minimum contract period. It was more expensive then regular gyms, but the facilities were much better than anything I’ve used before. I figured joining would give me the added pressure of making sure I was getting my money’s worth. So when I joined I went there up to six times a week, doing cardio and weights on alternate days. Soon, I felt too tired, and little by little, I cut back until I was only doing two or three sessions a week. Soon I was just treading water again.
My job then evolved so that I was out of the country for a good part of the year. I just tried to get two or three sessions a week at they gym while travelling, but didn’t watch what I ate, so every time I went back home, I noticed I gained fat. My dad started kidding me about it, and I felt frustrated by my lack of progress. I was even regressing!
In July 2008, I discovered Adam’s transformation video on YouTube. I felt inspired, followed the links to his blog, and was blown away even more by his dedication, and his idea of getting “positive pressure” by keeping a blog. After giving it some thought, I decided that I had to reboot and start over. I will not anymore be known as just the “brains” of the family; I will be its “brawn” as well! I will not be just treading water anymore, but making lasting progress! I started this blog to document my journey and keep myself accountable, and to hopefully inspire others to chase their dreams.