This Is How We Guys Do It

You've been warned!

Sometimes I wonder if girls do admire each others’ bodies in a wow-that-is-nice-and-how-did-you-do-it kind of way like we (or some of us) do publicly. Be it as girls or guys, I think we all want a … erm … fuller chest. For guys, it is relatively easy. Just need to do more push-ups and iron pumping, have a good diet, rest to let the muscles grow, and lots of determination.

Days ago, my buddy KF texted me and told me that he has finally reached 70 kg (from 84 kg back in early 2006) while I am trying to get to where he is from a weight of … shall I say … way below. KF started his exercise ritual a little more than a year ago and his progress has always been an inspiration to readers like me.

Two days ago I met KF in person. While he noticed (and felt) my progress due to my ad hoc exercise ritual, I couldn’t help but to admire the results of all the persistent workouts he much talked about. First he asked me to feel his chest. I gave it a few punches (much like how we men access the quality of furniture – give it a few knocks to see how solid it is) and gosh, what muscles he has! Monstrous. Then he asked me to feel his bulging traps (just below neck). Let me tell you, those small muscles are hard to train. Already impressed, he further asked me to feel his lats (those muscles at the back just beneath the arms that give us the V-shape from behind). Tsk tsk tsk … truly amazing. I think that was how far we could go without starting to look weird in public. KF shared some tips with me and definitely prompted me to expand my exercise ritual. His next target is to build the “horizontal lines” in between his chest muscles. Now that, I want to see.

My Scorecard Results for Feb 2007

Time passes me by and without realizing it, it is the month of March. A good portion of this rather short month I was holidaying with Cynthia in Melbourne. Barely made it for the home cooked meals measurement, I yet again have failed the exercise index with a downward trend. If only I can find a way to quantify all the walking and hiking in Melbourne, I could have made it. I guess the take home message for me is to emphasis on training this March. Besides, my friends and I am heading to Mount Kinabalu at the end of the month.

Looking ahead, I am most likely to fail two of the three quarterly measurements. Oh well, I have a month to think about it.

(click here to see the color coding system).

Category Measurement Frequency Target Stretched Target Result Score
Life Traveling Budget Utilised Half-yearly S$2,000 S$3,000 n/a n/a
Life No. of Extraordinary Projects Quarterly 1 2 n/a n/a
Health Exercise Hours Monthly 8 10 4.5 0
Health No. of Home Cooked Meals Monthly 15 20 15 5
Money Return of Total Savings Quarterly 3% p.a. 5% p.a. n/a n/a
Hobby No. of Public Performance Quarterly 1 2 n/a n/a
Hobby No. of Books Published Yearly 1 2 n/a n/a
Habit No. of Hangover Monthly 2 0 0 10
Habit No. of Gaming Hours Monthly 40 30 7.5 10

A Family Gathering at Mumtaz Mahal

From left to right: Cynthia, Benny (my sister's boyfriend), and Lora (my sister)

Avid readers of my site may have already known that my sister Lora (the lady in pink on the right) who currently lives in Hong Kong has been dating my buddy Benny (the dude behind the two lovely ladies) whom is the very first Singaporean I befriended with when I made Singapore my home back in 1995. The lady in red on the left is of course my “boss” Cynthia as now I am her personal driver, butler, cook, and etc. No price in guessing why my sister is in Singapore this week. Think “V”.

I always love to take my friends and families to Mumtaz Mahal, a Northern Indian cuisine at Far East Plaza (Orchard). The boss of the restaurant is so friendly that he always greets me personally and we always shake hands like good old friends. I don’t order from the menu; I just ask the boss for recommendation. The food is delicious. I first fell in love with Northern Indian food back in UK and Mumtaz Mahal can easily the best Northern Indian restaurant I have been to so far. Give their Tandoori chicken a try and you won’t regret it. Their home made mango ice-cream is mouth watering. What I find interesting is that after we finish the home made ice-cream, they always serve us complimentary mango ice-cream (different texture from their homemade one but is also delicious). Oh, one more thing: don’t forget to wrap up the entire meal with a cup of Masala tea as well!

My Scorecard Results for Jan 2007

It is time to tally up the score and see how I am doing in the month of January based on the targets I have set at the beginning of the year. I know, some friends of mine are a bit concerned over how well this tool is going to help me in reaching my goals. One friend of mine feels that it is not the scorecard but because I have more will power this year to accomplish what I set out to do. Whilst it is true that I need the will power to get things done, having a easy-to-remember scorecard helps me to stay focus day after day.

Scorecard results are often visually presented by the “traffic light system” (green is good, yellow is average, and red is bad). There are thousands and one ways to compute and present scores. I am a simple man. If I miss the target, I get a zero. If I hit the target, I get a 5 (hence nothing in between 0 and 5). If I reach the stretched target and beyond, I get a 10. Anything in between the target and stretched target I proportionate the score. As for the “traffic light system”, I use the 5-band descriptors and 3-colour coding system (click here to see). This is commonly used in places such as Metacritic.com.

I have made some minor revision to the original scorecard. Since I am not pursuing a career at present, I drop that measurement. In time to come, I believe “net revenue generated” may be a better replacement. Also, based on my current financial situation, I revised down the traveling budget. As for the “home cooked food” measurement, getting a percentage is tedious as at times we do cook lunch during weekends (original measurement was targeted at dinner time). So I opt for a number instead. Besides, it is a lot easier to count this way. I have also revised down my “return on total saving” target because in reality, it is pretty hard to hit that 5% to 8% given how unsound my financial management is.

Lesson learnt from the operation perspective is that data collection at times can be a challenge. Sometimes I forgot if I have already registered the progress. One easy way to solve it is that each time I write down a piece of information, put a simple descriptor to it. For instance, I may have … +1 pasta, +1 pork, +1 fish, +1 beef … for my “home cooked food” measurement. And I may have … +0.5 jog, +0.75 swim, +0.5 dumbbells … for my “exercise hours”. It saves me a lot of time that way.

In the month of January, I have missed my “exercise hour” by 2 hours. I don’t think it is a big issue. And all thanks to the New Year celebration or otherwise, I would have zero hangover. “Gaming hour” is a surprise to me because I really did not think I can achieve that stretched target … given the fact that I did buy World Of Warcraft’s Expansion. Pretty amazing will power there.

Looking ahead, I have a Melbourne trip planned for this Chinese New Year so my half-yearly “traveling budget” target is settled. I have planned out something “extraordinary” to do in Q2 (2nd quarter) and Q4. Now I need to scrach my head to think of what to do in Q1. Chucked half of my saving into a 2.65% fixed deposit. It is a far cry from the yearly “return on saving” target. Time to do some readings and talk to my friends who are good at managing their money. As for the quarterly “public performance” target, I have more or less memorised 5 of my songs. One of which has reached the “gold” standard (consistently able to perform with minor not-too-noticeable mistakes) while the rest are at “silver standard (noticeable mistakes at times). Once they reach the “platinum” standard, I am ready to perform. Hopefully that will be before end of March (Cynthia keeps asking me to book the venue and Jason keeps offering to jam with me on stage!). Last but not the least, I still do wish to publish a book or two. Somehow, the two books that are supposed to be collaborated with two of my friends kind of slowed down a bit. However, I have already drawn out the character map for a story that I wish to write on my own. Now I need to plan out the events. I have 3 so far and target to have at least 12.

Category Measurement Frequency Target Stretched Target Result Score
Life Traveling Budget Utilised Half-yearly S$2,000 S$3,000 n/a n/a
Life No. of Extraordinary Projects Quarterly 1 2 n/a n/a
Health Exercise Hours Monthly 8 10 6 0
Health No. of Home Cooked Dinner Monthly 15 20 16 6
Money Return of Total Savings Quarterly 3% p.a. 5% p.a. n/a n/a
Hobby No. of Public Performance Quarterly 1 2 n/a n/a
Hobby No. of Books Published Yearly 1 2 n/a n/a
Habit No. of Hangover Monthly 2 0 1 7.5
Habit No. of Gaming Hours Monthly 40 30 28.5 10

I Have Decided To Gain Weight

Who would have know?!

Decisions in life are often made with a blink of thought. For instance, I bought my pair of dumbbells without much thought about what to do with it except that one routine I know of. Or over the dining table having a lovely company of Cynthia and my buddy Tong Kiat, I suddenly announced that I want to gain 15 kg. Why 15 kg? That was my consultant instinct to pluck a number from the air. Interestingly, based on my height – according to Cynthia – 15 kg is about right. Tong Kiat shook his head in disbelief. Not because of 15 kg but rather … I am taller than him. Sigh. Men are the competitive species.

15 kg is the goal. But how to reach there is the question. Searching the Internet high and low, I have uncovered a whole new dimension called … Body Building. You know, before this week, I look at those “muscle men” thinking that they have nothing but muscles (men are the competitive …). Now, I do appreciate the kind of hard work and discipline that goes into each of those muscle that by the way, each muscle has a name. And each named muscle has a certain routine that designed to make them grow bigger and stronger.

After hours of of sieving through tons of advertisement and not too useful articles, I have found a couple of good sites that explain and illustrate how to gain muscles using dumbbells. One site has listed a seemingly unending list of routines to train different kinds of muscle. Excellent! Let my ritual begins!

Lifting dumbbells is actually pretty fun. I mean, it is fun to exercise. Looking back at all those hours spent in the corporate world, my body was so conditioned to sit for hours, feeling tired and drained after a long day at work, and only wanted to be a coach potato watching TV programs when I returned home. Compares to now, gosh, I am so full of energy! Even at night! Grrr!

I was used to puzzle over how Cynthia can spent hours reading about the different kinds of exercise from the Internet and the books and was used to think that exercise is like common sense. You just need to move your body. Now, I think differently.

And I shall close off this blog with my buddy Benny’s advice (in his exact words) on training with dumbbells (he knows how over-enthusiastic I can become):

Start small and work your way up. During my NS days, lots of guys (myself included) suffered serious muscle tearing in attempts to out-do one another. Ironically when that happens, your muscles will swell by 25%. After that, any endeavour to feed yourself or even wipe your a*s will be an achievement in itself. Generally, it takes 3 weeks minimum for the pain and swelling to lessen/go away. ~ Ouch.

Related Readings: BodyBuilding.com, Building-Muscle101.com.